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Anne & Big Bertha

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Chapter 12

 

‘We are just having fun for right now, Lister.’ Tib said. ‘We still have a wedding to organise. I have to get gussied up. Cordingley is in the kitchen preparing our meal. Her and Hemingway have already made salads and cook two chickens and a leg of lamb. They are going to bake vegetables later.’

‘How many are coming, Anne?’ Aunt Anne asked.

‘I don’t remember. I think about fifty.’

‘You didn’t invite you know who. Lister? Did you?’ Tib asked.

‘Actually I did. To rub it into her face and believe it or not she is coming with her husband in tow. I am guessing she will try something on. Ann here has a plan of her own to wipe the grin of her ugly dial.’

‘Come on, that’s a bit rough. You thought she was the most beautiful woman in town when you were with her.’

‘She was until I spied this one drinking alone in the pub. Then all bets were off and this cutie won first prize.’

‘Oh, did she?’ Marian smirked at Anne.

‘Marian, you need to know one thing about today and it is important that you never forget this. I love Ann Walker. I am marrying her because I love her and for no other reason.’

‘Okay.’ Marian said as she raised her arms in self defence. ‘I believe you.Now, let’s get your bride ready for the biggest day in her life.’ Ann and Anne were only going to wear something casual. They didn’t want to make a big deal about this day but Marian wanted to make Ann look pretty. So, she took Ann up to her bathroom and showed Ann the make up she had. She had an extensive collection of lip gloss and nail polish. ‘Hey, what’s this, Marian?’

‘That’s pink hair dye. Why do you ask?’

‘I wonder what Anne would think if we dyed my hair pink for today.’

‘She might freak. Shouldn’t we ask her opinion.’

‘Call Tib. Tell her we need her advice on something.’ Ann said. Marian called Tib. ‘What’s up, ladies?’ Tib said with a serious tone in her voice.’Missy here wants to dye her hair pink for her wedding. What do you think?’

‘I would think Lister there would freak but I would do it. You never know she might like it.’ Ann was gamer than she thought. So, Marian washed Ann’s hair the set about dying it. Ann looked in the mirror. She liked it but it was a bit dark. ‘Get under the shower and rinse off the excess.’ Marian said. Ann did and when her hair was dry it looked amazing. Even Tib liked it. ‘I think Lister is going to go crazy when she sees that. ‘When I see what, Tib?’ Shit Ann thought this is a do or die moment. ‘Stop thinking aloud, Adney.’ Then Anne saw her wife. Her jaw hit the bathroom floor. ‘You had better pick your jaw up, Anne so you can say I will later today.’

‘I will once you tell me what you have done with my wife. This one looks so sexy now. Your pink hair is driving me wild. Ann Walker, why did you do that?’

‘It was a dare from Tib.’

‘Norcliffe, We should have you around more often.’

‘You might if things work out between me and your sister there.’ Marian smiled. She was hoping it would. ‘Now, everyone leave except Ann, of course, We need to get her looking good because in less than three hours she will be your wife, Anne.’ Marian said. ‘Now, shoo.’

‘We are going. I need to get ready too.’ Anne said as she strolled to her bedroom. The suit she had picked out was laying on their bed. She didn’t know what Ann was wearing. She hoped she wouldn’t be upstaging her wife. Then there was a soft knock on the door. ‘Can I come in. I want to talk to you for a few minutes before you get ready. ‘ Aunt Anne said cautiously. ‘Come in, Aunt.’

Anne had opened the door and Aunt Anne walked in. ‘What do you want to talk about?’ Anne said looking puzzled. ‘I have something I would like Ann to wear. It was passed down from your great grandmother to your grandmother then to me. It’s a gondola pin. I really don’t know how grandmother acquired it but I was told she had an affair with an Italian and he gave it to her so she would never forget him. She might have made it up. Who knows?’ Aunt said as she showed Anne the pin. ‘I think Ann would love the gesture, Aunt. You can show her. I am not allowed to see her until the ceremony. I have already seem more than I really should have.’

‘What do you mean?’ Aunt asked quizzically. ‘You’ll see when you see her, Aunt. I think they are still in the bathroom making her look pretty. They can’t do that because she is pretty already. Isn’t she?’

‘She certainly is.’ Aunt said as she wandered down the hall and into Marian’s bathroom. Then the whole house heard her scream. She had her hand on her heart. ‘Goodness, Ann Walker. Do you want to give this poor old woman a heart attack?’

‘Sorry, Aunt. Blame Tib.it was her idea.’

‘Isabelle Norcliffe;’

‘Coming, Aunt.’ Everyone jumped when Aunt Anne screamed their name. ‘What’s up?’ She said as she squeezed herself into Marian’s bathroom.

‘Are we aware that my niece has pink hair?’

‘Yes, we are aware that your niece has pink hair.’

‘Why?’

‘Because it was there. Marian and Ann wondered if they should dye Ann’s hair. So I said go for it and they did.’ Tib said. ‘Doesn’t she look good?’

‘She does but it was a bit of a shock to this old bird. You could have warned me.’

‘So, could have Anne.’ Then Aunt remember why she was there.’I have something I would like to show you. It was passed down from my grandmother to my mother then to me. It’s a gondola pin. If you like you can wear it today and keep it, Ann. Then if you and Anne have a girl you can pass it on to her.’

‘I would love to wear it, Aunt. It is so beautiful. I suppose a lover gave it to your grandmother.’ Aunt Anne blushed. ‘Yes, before she married grandad.’

‘She must have been a bit of a flirt.’ Marian said.

‘i think she was. I don’t remember her. She died when I was just a toddler. Your father might remember her, Marian,  if you ask him about her but not today. Okay!!’

‘I would be honoured to wear your family heirloom, Aunt. But won’t you want it back.’

‘No, Ann. As I said give it to your daughter. I know Anne desires above everything to marry and be a mum one day.’

‘We haven’t talked about children yet but I will keep it and pass it on if we do become the parents of a daughter. If not.I am sure there are other family members who could pass it on to their children.’ Marian blushed and so did Tib.  ‘Thanks for the pin, Aunt. Did you show Anne?’

‘Yes. I think she was hoping you would wear it.’ Aunt Anne said. ‘I will leave you to it. I have to get ready too. Put on my prettiest dress and comb my hair. Of course, I am sure you will look prettier, Ann. See you in an hour.’

‘Okay! Just remember the bitch will be here. So prepare yourself.’

‘Why the fuck did you invite her? Tib said as Aunt Anne left the room.’Language, Miss Norcliffe.’ Aunt said.

‘Oops. Why did you invite her, Ann? She could cause more problems than Eliza and William would have. She still thinks Anne is hers and won’t give her up to no one. Especially, someone who is years younger than Anne.’

‘Don’t worry, Anne and I have a few tricks up our sleeves and with your help I think we can put them to good use today.’

You don’t say, Ann.’ Marian said. ‘And what would they be.’

‘Well, the obvious one is sticking close to each other. If that doesn’t put her off we might need you to intervene. Tell her she should grow up and leave us alone.’

‘Any others, Ann?’

‘I don’t think she will do much because we invited Charles too.’ Ann said. ‘I don’t know what we will do if he doesn’t come. I doubt if Mariana told him about the invitation.’

‘She probably didn’t. That way she can do whatever she wants. Can’t she?’ Tib said.

'Probably,’ Marian said. ‘I think between the four of us we can deal with her. Can’t we?’ Ann smiled. She had never had so many people have her back and want to support her so much. She walked over and gave both Tib and Marian a hug. ‘I need get into my dress in your bedroom, Marian?’

‘Yes, just excuse the mess please.’

Father was going to give Ann away. He was waiting at the bottom of the stairs as Ann walked down. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. ‘Miss Walker, I like the pink hair. Was that Marian’s idea?’

‘No, Tib’s but she’s already seen it.

‘ Okay!! I do love it. Our Anne is going to go crazy when she sees you and the dress that is adorable, Ann.’

‘She always has and she did go crazy.Now, let’s get going. Anne is waiting to make me her wife. Isn’t she?’

There was gasps from everyone who had gathered there to celebrate this occasion. Anne heard it but didn’t turn around to look. She was waiting until Ann was standing next to her. Father joined their hands together. Anne turned to look at her wife. ‘Good grief, Adney. What are you trying to do torture me. That hair with that dress. You look simply stunning.’

‘Do I?’ Ann said tentatively. .‘It’s…..it’s…..it’s gorgeous, Adney and you look simply divine today.’

‘Thank you, handsome. I love your suit and no black.’ then she whispered to Anne.’Is the bitch here.’ they both look back. Mariana was seated in the back row minus her husband. ‘I guess she didn’t tell Charles. I wonder what she told him she was doing.’

‘Who knows?’

‘Let’s begin.’ Tib said. ‘I have know Anne Lister for the biggest part of my life and I never imagined I would be performing her wedding especially not to Ann Walker but life is strange and love is stranger.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ Ann asked Tib. She was surprised by Tib’s comment. ‘Just that I never thought this one here bikie as she is would settle down with someone like you who is sweet and beautiful.Okay!!’

‘Okay!!’ Ann said. ‘Let’s get married, dearest.’

‘Yes!’ Tib was watching Mariana. She had to say those words and she knew Mariana would stand up and object. But as Tib was about to say them she could see Charles standing behind his wife. She was sure he would stop her from protesting. ‘Does anyone here know why these two women should not be joined in marriage speak now or forever hold your peace?’ Just as Mariana was about to stand up and protest she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked around to see who it was. There standing behind her was Charles. ‘What are you doing here? I didn’t even tell you about this wedding.’

‘No, you didn’t but you left your diary open and I found it. I realise I had to come because I knew what you were up to. So, give it a rest will you. She doesn’t want you in her life any more.’ Charles whispered angrily. Then he sat down beside her. ‘oh I am staying just in case you create a scene.’

‘Are we done back there?’ Tib asked.

‘Yes, I think we are.’ Charles said. ‘Let’s marry these two lovely ladies.’

Tib turned to Ann first. ‘Do you, Ann Walker, take Anne Lister to be your lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward for richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health forsaking all others and as long as you both shall live.’

‘I will!!’

Tib turned to Anne.’Do you, Anne Lister, take Ann Walker to be your lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward for richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health forsaking for as long as you both shall live.’

‘I will.’

‘Do you have vows you want to say to each other?’

‘Yes.’ Ann said. ‘I would like to go first please, Anne.’ Anne nodded. Ann had memorised this and didn’t want to wait. ‘From the first time you spoke to me in the pub that faithful night until now you have been the kindest most caring person I know. You have cared for me in ways I never imagined anyone would. I am so blessed to have you in my life. I can hardly wait to get on Bertha and go on our honeymoon, dearest. Oh one more thing. I love you.’ Anne tried to hold back the tears. She couldn’t. it was impossible. Ann leaned over and wiped the tears off her cheeks. Then Tib reached into her pocket for a hankie. She handed it to Anne who wiped her eyes and blew her nose. ‘Keep it. I have one for you, Ann, I know there will be more tears. Now, Lister, it’s seems to be your turn.’

Adney, from the moment you walked back into my life when I saw you at the pub that night to now I have never felt more alive. You, too, are the kindest most caring person I know. You have accepted this bikie even when others told you I didn’t deserve your love. You amaze me everyday in more ways than you can imagine. I love you, Adney for always.’ Then Tib reached into her pocket and handed Ann the other hankie she had. Ann was crying so hard. Anne put her arms around her wife and kissed her. ‘I was about to say you can kiss the bride. It seems like you beat me, Lister.’

‘Adney, we are married. Now, we need to sign the paperwork.’ Tib had it already in front of them on a table which appeared out of nowhere. Tib as their witness had already signed their certificate. Ann signed first. Then Anne. ‘Have you decided on last name?’

‘No. I think we will stick with our names as they are. Is that okay, Adney?’

‘Yes, dearest.’

‘I would like you to stand for the brides, Anne Lister and Ann Walker. May they have a wonderful like together.’ Tib said. Then looking at Anne and Ann whispered. ‘As long as you know who stays away from you two.’

‘Oh we can deal with her, Tib.’ Ann said with confidence. ‘She’s mine and I am hers for always.’