‘But if you – ’
‘I’m not wearing it.’
‘But Gemma’s spent all this – ’
‘I’m not wearing it.’
‘… How about if I – ’
‘I’m not wearing it, Sue! How many times?!’ Alex scrubbed a hand through her cropped hair, fuming. She eyed the bridesmaid’s dress sprawled on her bed with the tight-lipped revulsion normally reserved for vomit stains. ‘It’s hideous.’
‘It’s … a lovely colour.’ Sue said feebly. Alex snorted and stomped into the living room.
‘Forget it, I’ll phone Gemma. What’s her number?’
‘No, Alex. If this needs doing, it needs to be done with tact.’
Josh waved from the sofa. ‘So: how was the hen do?’
Sue grunted, trudged over to the sink and poured herself a large seltzer water.
‘… Not brilliant,’ Alex ventured. ‘Off the leash with her chums, turns out Gemma’s quite the party animal. Well, actually a complete party animal.’
Josh winced. ‘I thought she was a health freak and a total stickler for sobriety.’
‘Perhaps when her fiancé’s around, she is.’ Alex shrugged. ‘Once her friends got a few cocktails inside her, she kept bugging Sue to try one.’ She squeezed Sue’s shoulder. ‘But Sue stuck to her guns, like a good girl.’
‘Oh go on, Sue. Oh go on. Why don’t you like having fun, Sue? Why are you so boooring, Sue? Maybe just one drink. Oh go on …’ Sue parroted her tormenters with a shrill nasal squawk before flopping down on the sofa, muttering, ‘why can’t you be like us, Sue? It’s nooormal to drink, Sue …’
Josh patted her knee. ‘Poor sizzywops. Why didn’t you just say you were pregnant?’
‘Didn’t have a chance,’ Sue muttered. ‘That excuse was taken…’ She turned to glare at Alex.
‘Not my fault,’ Alex raised her hands. ‘Never actually said it! I just … didn’t deny it.’
Sue groaned into a cushion. ‘And all the bridesmaids have a mandatory singing rehearsal tomorrow! How do I get out of it?’
‘Tell her you’ve got leprosy,’ Josh shrugged. ‘C’mon, Sue. Might be more fun than you think!’
‘Turning up probably is your safe ticket out,’ Alex grinned. ‘I’ve heard you sing, after all.’
Josh waved the hair shears and a cosmetic brush. ‘Thought you might fancy a do-over before the big night, Al – ’
‘Come near me with those,’ Alex smiled sweetly, ‘and I’ll rip your arms off.’ Both brush and shears instantly vanished.
Sue sighed. ‘We still need to tell Gemma.’
Alex chewed her lip. ‘We could say I’ve gained weight … because of the baby.’
Josh snorted. ‘But they saw you just two nights ago; you can’t’ve put on that much since then.’
Alex bristled. ‘I could’ve, quite easily; I was wearing baggy clothes then, like always.’
‘Hmmm,’ Sue sounded unconvinced. ‘So what were you going to wear?’
‘A tux, of course!’ Alex brightened. ‘Already hired one – it’s in my room.’
‘Well, go try it on, then,’ Sue grimaced. ‘And we’ll keep thinking.’ Alex grinned and swaggered out the door.
‘I could wear the dress,’ Josh ventured, after pondering for a few minutes. ‘And…pretend to be Alex?’
Sue blinked. ‘Would you actually do that?’
Sue folded her arms. ‘Josh … Alex and I are actually trying to sort out this crucial situation for a friend’s wedding day. We are not lying with our feet on the sofa, picking our nose and making idiotic suggestions. Would you mind either taking this seriously or not saying anything at all?’
Before Josh could make a reply – idiotic or otherwise – the flat was rent with a howl of outrage.
Alex emerged from her bedroom with a livid scowl, wearing a white shirt and dress trousers unzipped at the waist.
‘I have put on weight!’ she roared. ‘They don’t bloody fit!’
© 2021 | Tom Burton