Amy peered at the mountain of cream swirled elegantly on the top of her hot chocolate as she wondered where the pink marshmallows were. She wondered if they were buried under the chocolate sprinkles where they were slowly melting into the chocolate. This really had to be her favourite drink in the world.
'Amy?' Julia, her best friend was staring at her with a worried expression on her face. 'I'm getting married.'
'Congratulations,' Amy forced her attention away from the hot chocolate and back to her friend managing to pull herself together. She was happy for Julia, but this was all a little bit unexpected. 'How? When? Have you got a ring?' Amy paused as a sudden thought drifted through her mind. 'You are marrying Tony, aren’t you?'
Julia laughed loudly and pulled Amy into a big hug. 'Of course, I’m marrying Tony and yes, I have a ring,' she held out her hand so Amy could admire the cluster of diamonds that sparkled there.
'It's beautiful,' Amy looked at her happy face and smiled. Tony could have given Julia the ring off a coke can and she would have loved it just as much. They had only been dating for about six months but Amy had never seen Julia so completely and utterly besotted like this before.
'Anyway,' Julia took a second to look at her engagement ring and smile. 'I want you to be one of my bridesmaids.'
Immediately a whole host of conflicting feelings washed over Amy – and not all of them were good. Firstly she felt honoured that Julia wanted her to be a bridesmaid but the idea of having to wear a puffy bridesmaid dress filled her with terror. Amy knew she had always been a big girl, she loved everything about food including cooking and eating it besides which diets had never really worked. Mostly she was OK with her weight but there are always those not so isolated incidents where her feelings get battered by the thoughtlessness of a few individuals.
Julia hadn't finished. 'My sisters are going to be the other bridesmaids.' She was telling Amy. 'But we're getting married in seven weeks’ time.'
Reality popped into Amy’s universe. 'Seven weeks?' she gasped. 'Are you pregnant?'
Julia laughed again. 'My father would kill me if I got pregnant before I was married.'
Amy sighed. Julia's parents had loads of money and didn't seem to mind paying off her credit card bills at the end of every month. All Julia had to do was make sure that she worked at least 25 hours per week - which was probably why she had had almost as many jobs as Amy had had hot dinners.
'So are you OK with being a bridesmaid?' Julia looked worried.
'Absolutely,' Amy reassured her.
This time Julia heaved a sigh of relief. 'I wouldn't want to get married without you at my side.'
'So tell me about this wonderful wedding?' Amy sipped my coffee making a concerted effort to push the thought of bridesmaid's dresses to the darkest corner of her mind. There were seven weeks between now and the wedding and a lot could happy in that time. Meanwhile, Amy just wanted to be happy for her best friend. 'Why the rush?' she asked. ‘If you’re not expecting a little Julia or a little Tony?’
Julia shrugged her shoulders. 'We didn't see any reason to wait and the venue happened to have a cancellation.'
'The Somerville Hotel.'
Amy was impressed. The Somerville Hotel was a beautiful 16th-century manor house with several acres of landscaped gardens. Not that she had ever been there but she had seen photos and heard the rumours. 'I'm really surprised that you managed to get a booking there.'
'It was a sign,' Julia winked at Amy. 'At least that's what Tony said. Personally I just thought it was a lovely old house and a good price.'
Amy laughed softly thinking that only Julia would be worried about the cost when she wasn't even paying.
'I'm so excited Ames. I can't wait to marry Tony and finally be Mrs Rogers.'
This time as Amy smiled she asked herself if she ever wanted to be Mrs Paul Smith. They had been dating for almost three years now and there hadn't been the tiniest whisper of an engagement let alone a wedding. The thing that probably disturbed her the most was the fact that she wasn't disappointed.
'Obviously we need to get a move on with regards to the dresses.' Julia dropped two sugars into her coffee.
'Ok,' Amy was having trouble shaking the feeling that she wasn't going to like what was coming next.
'So we have an appointment at Ribbons and Pearls tomorrow.'
Amy frowned as she ran through a million unsuitable reasons why she couldn't go. 'But tomorrow's Sunday...'
'I know but these dresses have to be ordered and we're cutting it fine anyway.'
'My sisters are all OK for tomorrow and I promise that afterwards we can all go out and get a late lunch to celebrate at the new carvery in town.'
The thought of food cheered her up. Maybe she could put up with trying on a couple please of puffy dresses for Julia, knowing that there was going to be a delicious meal afterwards. 'What time do we have to be there?'
'The appointment is for 11 o'clock.'
'Are we meeting there?'
'Probably easiest. Brenda is going to pick Jordan up but Louise and Vicki are both making their own way. I'd pick you up but Tony and I are going over to Mom and Dad's.'
'That's not a problem. I'll meet you there at 11. Are you picking your dress tomorrow?'
'Top of my priorities,' Julia dug deeply into her handbag and pulled out a crumpled page from a magazine before handing it to me. 'What do you think?'
Amy looked at the delicate lace dress with its sweetheart neckline and long sleeves. It was fitted and flared out at the bottom into a gorgeous train. It was absolutely perfect for Julia and Amy could really imagine Julia wearing it at her wedding.
'It's perfect,' in the back of her mind, she couldn’t help but think that she had just enjoyed her last hot chocolate with sprinkles and marshmallows …