One Day 12
Chapter twelve Weddings Thursday, 15th July 1999
It seemed to Emma Morley that all her friends were getting married this year. As she drove to Somerset, in the west of England, on the morning of 15th July, she thought of the weddings she had been to recently. Some of her friends from university had married for the first time that year. Some of them had married for the second time. Watching these wedding ceremonies had made Emma feel that she was growing old. All the university friends she met at them asked her if she had a boyfriend. And they all pretended to be sad for her when she said she hadn't. But they all said she was looking better than she had ever looked. They were right. She took better care of herself these days and she even wore pretty clothes for these occasions.
The best thing about these weddings for Emma was that she had met Dexter Mayhew at several of them. At last they were speaking to each other again, after more than three years of silence. That was very, very good. Of course, she had met Dexter's girlfriend Sylvie too and perhaps that was less good. But Dexter was clearly in love with the girl, so Emma tried to be happy for him. She had never seen Dexter really in love before.
This morning, Emma was driving to Somerset for the marriage of Tilly Killick. Tilly was getting married at a posh hotel in the countryside. Dexter had known Tilly during their university days too, so he was going to be there and Emma was looking forward to seeing him again. She was driving an old car. It was the first car she had ever owned and it was the best she was able to afford. Emma certainly wasn't a rich woman. In fact, she was now living on a small advance from a publisher and was writing her second book about Julie Criscoll. But the first book was going to be published soon and the publisher expected it to sell very well. Emma had some problems with her car during the journey and she was a bit late when she arrived at the hotel. The ceremony had already begun when she entered the big marriage room, so she found a seat at the back of the room. As she was sitting down, Dexter Mayhew turned round and saw her. He smiled and waved his hand.
Dexter was sitting at the front with Sylvie. He hadn't really been listening to the ceremony. He had been counting the number of women in the room he had slept with. 'It's five,' he thought. 'It's five in one room, including the bride. It's a good score. Is it a record? Do I get an extra point for the bride? And really, it's five-and-a-half if I count that night with Emma.' And as he thought this, he realized that it was a bad thing to think. He also realized that he wanted to talk to Emma very much. 'I'll try to talk to her alone,' he thought. 'I need to tell her everything.'
After the ceremony, the party began. Dexter left Sylvie with some friends and started to look for Emma. But the first person he met was Callum O'Neill. The two men hadn't spoken for a long time. Dexter had heard that Callum had sold his computer business for a huge amount of money. He had now started a new business - a successful chain of sandwich shops. Today, he was very expensively dressed in beautiful, fashionable clothes. Dexter remembered that at Edinburgh University, Callum had worn the same pair of trousers every day for three years. How things had changed! Callum had gone up in the world and Dexter had come down. 'Dexter, old friend, you're still alive,' Callum said. 'It's been a long time since I've seen you. I stopped phoning you because you never returned my calls.'
'Didn't I?' Dexter said. 'Well, you know, I've been very busy with my television programmes.' He tried to sound confident.
'And are you still on television? I haven't seen you on TV for a long time,' Callum said.
'I'm usually in programmes for sophisticated, late-night viewers,' Dexter said uncomfortably.
'Mm. Perhaps you need a new career opportunity,' Callum said. 'You could work for me, Dex. I need a new manager. Come and see me soon. I'll buy you a good lunch - not sandwiches. We'll talk about it. Now, let's go and find your lovely girlfriend. I saw you with her earlier and I want to meet her. Have you seen my girlfriend? I won't ask you to meet her, I'm getting rid of her soon.'
Much later in the afternoon, Dexter finally met up with Emma. 'Let's go somewhere quiet,' he said. 'I want to talk to you.'
'Where's somewhere quiet?' Emma asked him.
'Well, there's a maze here, I believe,' said Dexter. 'It's a large one. It would be nice to get lost in it.'
They found the entrance to the maze and they walked inside. They didn't stop until they reached the centre. Then they turned to face each other.
'Well, isn't it strange?' Emma began. 'These days, we only talk at other people's weddings.'
'I'm sorry that I've been so obnoxious during these last few years,' Dexter said quietly. 'I don't blame you for ending our friendship. But I want us to be friends again now.' 'I'm sorry too, Dex,' Emma replied. 'Perhaps I didn't understand how badly your mother's death had hurt you. I didn't wait for you to start feeling better. We were both to blame.'
'I'm a different person now, Em,' Dexter said. 'Sylvie has changed me. I love her very much.' He stopped speaking for a moment. 'Emma, there's going to be another wedding soon,' he went on. 'Sylvie and I are going to get married later this year. And Sylvie is going to have a baby.'
For another moment they didn't speak, but their faces showed their real feelings. Then Emma knew that she had to say something to hide her fee lings, at least.
'She's a lovely girl, Dex,' Emma said. 'It's marvellous news.'
'I think that fatherhood will transform my life,' Dexter replied. 'I've almost stopped drinking already. I'll be a good family man.'
'Well, that's good,' said Emma. She laughed. 'Of course, you've just ruined any chance of future happiness for me, but it's all great news.' She stopped for a moment. 'Don't worry,' she added. 'I'm only joking.' And then they both laughed.
'The wedding will be in September,' said Dexter. 'Emma, will you help me write my speech for the big day?'
'No, Dexter,' said Emma. 'Don't be an idiot. Just look into your heart and write.'
Then they walked back towards the entrance of the maze.