Another scrap from the fictional pending wedding

Simi: a Londoner, who happens to be staying at the resort while the wedding is on

Rudd: the young manager of the resort

Katania: the mother of the bride

Jen and Hansie: the soon-to-be-married couple

Setting: Zimbabwe

Rudd escorted Katania back to the reception area. He knew Mick’s absence was a problem, but he had a feeling Katania was about to make it much worse. He walked beside her, nodding sympathetically, trying to calm her irritation. But still it came.

“What am I supposed to do? I’m going to have to tell Jen. Not that she’ll mind. Never sees how important these things are. So wrapped up in love she’s not thinking straight. Perhaps I should tell Tim?”

He led her across to a sofa, and took the chair opposite her.

“Good idea to speak to Tim,” he said, sitting down slowly. “Only problem is that he’s just gone off for the bird walk.”

“Typical. And Jen’s still asleep.”

He watched as she fixed her green eyes on the view, and then sat down, her back stiff as a pylon.  

“Let’s think about this,” he said. “Is it definite your brother can’t come?”

“Of course, it is. It’s just so irritating. He always makes a plan, and now, suddenly, when it really, really matters, he gives up. Just like that.”

The door thumped open and Innocence rattled past, en route to the kitchen, his arms stretched taut by a tray, laden with teapots and empty mugs.

Rudd felt the sudden stab of Katania’s eyes.

“I know. You could take the service for us.”

“Me?”

Alarm surged through Rudd.

“Yes!” She leant towards him. “Yes, you Rudd. You’d be perfect.”

“Me?”

“You’d be completely inoffensive. Boring. Nobody would object.”

Rudd stared at her.

“Boring” he muttered. “Inoffensive …”

He’d never been called boring. Young, yes. Quiet, yes. Tough, yes. Inoffensive … part of his job. But not boring. His jaw clenched. He took two slow breaths, as she studied him.

“Yes. Ideal. It’s not about you anyway.”

 “No,” he said, shaking his head. “No. It’s not about me, but I won’t do. No … I mean … I’m sorry. There’s no way I can take the service for you. I’m too busy.”

He paused, flushed, as her eyes scanned over him. First they were surprised, and then dismissive. Then she flicked a bangled wrist in his direction.

“Oh well. That’s a good thing. I can see that now. Wouldn’t have worked anyway. Not enough gravitas.” She paused. “So who else?”

Rudd wondered if there was anyone who wanted to do her a favour. Her brother, he thought, but knew that wouldn’t do. The tap of her fingers on the table, drummed on his nerves. He retraced the guest list in his head, putting names to faces, but found no solution. Then he remembered the priest he’d met at the tea factory. Norman. Father Norman.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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