..........God knows the rest of us have..........
She sat in a fancy chair at the wedding of her sisters, sighing in happiness.
She turns to the person next to her murmuring, "Don't they all just look so happy together?"
He looks to where the brides and grooms are. "I guess so, is there a reason they shouldn't be?"
She glanced at him as if only noticing she was speaking to a person with an accent and someone she had never seen before.
"I take it you're not close to the family of the brides?"
"I can't say I am, no. Did they used to want to all kill each other or something?"
She doesn't answer at first, just smiles proudly like she knows something he doesn't, so he continued on with his train of thought. "It certainly doesn't look like it. The four sisters are looking quite happy giggling amongst themselves about their new husbands. Wouldn't they have to be happy with each other anyway to agree to have a quadruple wedding together?"
She looks to the family once more, sighing happily, before replying, "Apparently not. At the start of their engagements, it was completely different. They hated each other."
Looking at the couples now, he couldn't help but be shocked. "You're joking. All four of them?"
"Well I guess Ari didn't hate Aubrey all that much, but Aubrey definitely hated her. She had a good reason to too, enough of a reason to move anyway."
"The eldest," she says automatically like she says it on a daily basis. "How do you Aubrey?"
"As of today she's my cousin's wife." She looked confused at that so he added, "I'm the cousin of her groom. I like her. I like her paintings too. They're amazing."
She nodded in agreement before looking at him curiously, "So your accents from England then."
"Yes, how did you know?"
"Because Aubrey met your cousin there," she explains. "In fact, she just got back a couple months ago, no one had heard from her for five years before then.
Wanting to ask about it all, but knowing it wasn't his business, he asks instead, "Is she the second eldest?"
"Third eldest," she recites automatically again. "Ari, or Arianne, the one who's laughing with Aubrey, is the eldest," She pauses, and then explains, "I never thought I'd hear myself say that a few months ago. Ari's thirty-one. Alesha, the shortest, is the second eldest. She turned thirty a few months ago. Then there's Aubrey, who you know, at twenty six. Then there's Annabelle, who only a few years ago always demanded to be called Anna instead. She's the one with the darker hair and twenty-three. Understand?"
"I think so. There are certainly a lot of girls in their family. Is that all of them?"
"No, there's one more, Adele. She's the youngest at eighteen."
He whistles in astonishment. "Five sisters, six girls all together; how does the dad cope?" He doesn't notice the small flicker of sadness that appears in her face at his words, instead, continuing, "Where's the fifth sister, Adele, then?"
"Oh, you know, around," she motions around the room while smiling cheekily.
They fall silent for a moment until he asks a question that's been itching to be said, despite what he said about it not being his business before.
"So, why don't the sisters hate each other anymore?" Then, of course, he changes his mind. "I mean, you don't have to tell me if you don't think it's my business."
That same proud smile was appearing on her face again.
"No, I have to tell someone all about it," she said, growing excited at the prospect of telling someone finally. "I'll have to start at last Christmas, so it all makes sense. You don't mind long stories do you?"
At the shake of his head she crosses her legs to get comfy and begins, "For the first time in five years, the whole family, all seven of us, were there."
"Shh, don't interrupt," she scowled. "All of them were there, even the boyfriends of the elder four so I guess it was eleven all up. You would think they would all be happy because of the reunion. They weren't. Instead, the girls spent most of the time glaring at each other. It turned out being one of the worst get togethers ever, I assure you. Although I guess it got better towards the end…"
We sat in silence, biting at the different meats and salads. There was a large variety to choose from, as it was Christmas. You know, the holiday we were supposed to celebrate as a family. Not sitting in awkward silence. I study the people in the room, hoping to understand what's gone wrong.
But of course, I already know what's wrong.
I had just hoped for so much better. That hope went to waste, just like every other family get together.
Mum, sitting at the head of the table, was avoiding Dad's eye, just like he was avoiding hers. Basically they were acting like nothing was wrong. Like this silence wasn't suffocating, like this was some happy family.
All my sisters were barely eating. Instead they were having silent conversations, or arguments, with each other.
Arianne, the eldest, was looking at Alesha, the second eldest, with fierce blue eyes, accusing her of her poor choice in boyfriend and the reason they were together probably.
Alesha however, was staring at Annabelle, the fourth eldest, with fierce blue eyes jealously, because Annabelle has a boyfriend who loves her back. Goes to show how little she knows, with Daniel staring at her like he is.
Annabelle is looking at Aubrey, the third eldest, with hate in her fierce blue eyes, wanting to know why Aubrey thinks she can barge back into our lives after five years of silence.
Aubrey is actually staring at Arianne, with fierce blue eyes, as is her right, and what is pretty much expected of her at her first family get together in five years, considering what went down to cause her to leave.
So that's the family from oldest to youngest, Dad, Mum, Arianne, Alesha, Aubrey, Annabelle, and then there's also a fifth sister.
Me: Adele, the youngest.
Thankfully, no one's staring at me with fierce blue eyes. Instead, Spencer, Aubrey's boyfriend, who wouldn't know what's going on, is looking at me questionably. He's has probably looked around at the circle of hate, noticing I'm not in it and hoping I have answers.
I just shake my head and smile. No time to explain it all now. Aubrey should have put him up-to-date before bringing him here.
The other two guys, Arianne's boyfriend Greg, and Annabelle's boyfriend James, are looking at each other rolling their eyes at the predictability of these family get togethers, already been to more then their fair share. Although I do notice Greg casting quick concerned glances at Aubrey.
Another thing that's different about me is that I don't have a boyfriend. Thank goodness too. Imagine bringing another poor guy into these things. I couldn't help but be sorry for him.
All of my elder siblings obviously felt the heat of the argument, because they all stood up and broke the silence.
At exactly the same time, with exactly the same words, those words being, "I have something important to say." Though I think Annabelle said 'announce', instead of 'say'. Always the rebel as she used to point out.
Needless to point out, considering everyone's shocked expressions at the silence being broken, this was not included in the predictability of the evening.
It was funny because all their boyfriends got up at the same time next.
The sisters' glares were happening again, so ever the peace maker, I stand up to join the others.
"Well, what's this important news you have to say big sisters? And because I know you're all going to start talking at once again, which I have to admit, was pretty funny, we'll go oldest to youngest yeah?"
They nod, some gratefully, sit back down, excluding Arianne and Greg, and the announcing commences.
"We're engaged!" She exclaims with the biggest smile I have ever seen her use at a family get together. Maybe even the biggest smile ever.
"You're engaged? Ditto!" That was Annabelle.
"You're kidding me! All three of us are engaged?" Alesha.
"Four of us, I am too," says Aubrey showing us her diamond with a smile.
Yeah, by now, it turns the unpredictable into the predictable.
I only just stop myself from giggling uncontrollably.
It is a rare moment though, because all four of them are now smiling, in the same room together.
I celebrate. Mum and Dad sit there in shock, staring.
"Congratulations guys! Do you have any idea how weird it is for me to find out all four of my sisters are suddenly engaged? It's weird. But other then that, it's amazing! You have to tell me how it all happened!"
Aubrey obviously notices that I, unlike everyone else, am not engaged, because she comments, "Aw girl, you need to get yourself a boyfriend. That way, maybe in a few years, you can feel what I'm feeling too. Trust me, it's great. Isn't babe?" She turns to Spencer, who plants one on her.
This causes the rest of them to get romantic and kiss. I start clearing up. Mum and Dad murmur their congratulations then start helping me collect the plates.
Later, when everyone's, wherever they go to get away from each other in this house, I'm in the bedroom with Annabelle.
"Adele, please tell me why Aubrey thinks she can just come back into our lives?"
"Honestly Belle, I don't think she wants to be here. I reckon she would rather be back in England."
"Then why isn't she?" The words almost came out as a whine.
"Because she's engaged obviously, and she didn't come back only to tell everyone, or have you forgotten everyone's dream to get married at the-"
"Nobel Gardens!" That one came out as a scream of joy.
"Yes, the Noble Gardens. The same Noble Gardens you girls have screaming of joy like you just demonstrated since the age of nine."
"Oh, you think you're so funny don't you," She smirks. "Mocking our dreams like that?"
"You bet," I smirk back.
"Where do you want to get marriaged anyway? I never heard you, how did you put it, screaming of joy since the age of nine about the Noble Gardens."
"If I get marriaged," I corrected. "I think I'll just get marriaged in a church. It sounds so much less dramatic don't you think?"
"And so much more boring," she drawled. "A church really? I always thought you'd go for the dramatic. Your life's too un-dramatic, well, compared to everyone else living in this house, that you'd need your moment to stand out. God knows the rest of us have."
"Speaking of which, it's Dad's time, and by the way they reacted to your engagements, I'd say they'll be calling us to talk in the next hour or so."
"What's Dad's time?"
"Nothing good," I explain. "And that's all I'm saying."
"Oh, so it's a surprise. I hate surprises. How is it you know everything anyway?"
"It comes with being un-dramatic big sister. You should try it sometime. I mean honestly, can you really blame Aubrey for coming back? I'm kind of glad she did."
She gives me a look.
"Okay, I am glad she did," I say truthfully and cheekily knowing that's not what she meant by the look.
"You're the clown of the family, really," she says dryly.
"I love you too don't worry. Now is it just me, or do I hear stairs?"
She tilts her ear to the door, listening for someone coming up the stairs. "Yes you do. You not only have an un-dramatic life, but good ears. I'm jealous."
Tradition kicks in, and when we hear the creak from the stairs we start our countdown, "Three. Two. One."
The door opens.
"Girls, your father and I would like to have a word in the lounge room. Do you know where Aubrey is by any chance?"
"Licking the dog."
"We don't have a dog," mum pointed out confused. "You mean Spencer? Annabelle, that's no way to talk about someone!"
We burst out laughing. Recovering, I say, "Mum, I don't think that's what Belle meant. Aubrey was going to show Spencer her old tree," I pause, remembering that Mum wouldn't know what I mean. "Ah, the big tree that's near the empty garden shed."
She thanks me, and walks out the door and down the stairs. We follow, skipping the creaking step for old time's sake.
Once everyone had assembled, excluding the to-be-husbands, Mum and Dad broke the news. Dad pretty much broke-down in a temper of a sort and walked out of the room straight away though, so Mum began alone.
"Congratulations girls, all engaged, how exciting," They was fake enthusiasm, but no one commented. "That's four weddings altogether, that's going to cost quite a bit you do realise?"
Arianne speaks up, "But, we'll be able to do it still won't we? You were still rich enough last time I checked."
"Ah, yes, about that, we were. Until your father, your father," she starts stuttering as water works begin.
I take it off her hands. "Dad's been gambling again."
Everyone looks to me, shocked. Mum's sobbing gets heavier.
Aubrey's the first to recover, "I thought he only ever did that lightly for fun?"
"Yes, well, if you had been here at all, you'd notice that it's been getting heavier, and serious. But of course, you haven't been around. I wonder whose fault that is huh?" Annabelle accuses.
"Guys, shut up, this is serious. How much did he loose?"
We all look over at Mum, who answers, "A lot." Then she starts stuttering again in surprise this time, "How, how did, why, how did you know about his gambling problem?"
Annabelle answers, "Mum, no offense, but you were never around to really know what went on in this house, and what everyone knew about another."
It's not the first time Mum's been accused of never being around, as it's true, but it still makes her wince with hurt. "Well, girls, I'm sorry you see it that way. I'm also sorry but it's the only way I see your weddings happening."
"What do you mean?"
"You're going to have to have a shared wedding; all four of you."
Everyone at once break out in argument.
"No way. Not happening."
"You want me to share what with them?"
"Are you insane? Me, a wedding, with her!"
"Surely there's some way…"
Bluntly and final, Mum states, "A quadruple wedding. No arguments."
She walks out, rather wisely too.
After another moment of shock, the arguments start back up.
Stretch my arm up in yawning, but it grabs their attention, so I speak anyway.
"Okay, how many of you can afford a wedding on your own?" No answer. "Yeah, now imagine how mum feels. There are four of you, and you have to remember she probably only just found out about dad's problem. So, do you think, just for their sake, and maybe the rest of our sanities, you could act like real sisters until the wedding?" They all give me the same look. "Okay, you could act like real sisters forever?"
Annabelle smirks, sighing, "Adeline, do you think you could lay off the humour at times like this?"
I sigh as well, though in the exhaustion that's suddenly captured me, "Guys, I just mean that, could you, only for things to do with the wedding, keep you claws in tact? Please? Otherwise no one's going to enjoy their special day; you don't hate each other enough to want that with each other do you?"
"I guess not," Arianne sighs.
Annabelle sighs right along with her, "Fine, but only this once."
They both sulk out, going to tell the news to their partners presumably.
Aubrey speaks next, "Eley, you don't really believe that I can share a wedding with Arianne do you? Not after what she and Greg did."
Silently, I make a promise to myself that's been waiting a long time coming, aloud, I answer, "What else are you going to do? Unless Spencer's a millionaire, you're stuck. I don't think it's fair to you, no, but what can you do?"
She sighs, the same sigh that's been going around contagiously, "I guess you're right. I'm going to go find Spencer."
Then it's just me and Alesha, who had been sitting in the corner couch silently, up until this point.
"Adele, why is it you always end up being the older sister? I swear it happens every time."
I smile denying it, "I don't know what you're talking about."
She smiles back, letting me get my way, before her face turns sad again and she explains, "I don't think I'll be able to go through with it if it's all of us together. I won't fit in, just like always. Everyone will be marrying their lovebirds, giving that loving look that you always see in happily marriaged couples. Daniel won't be looking at me like that, and I don't think I'd be able to go through with it knowing that."
I hide a grin; she doesn't have a clue.
"You know Alesha, there are still months until the wedding. How do you know he won't fall in love with you during that time?"
"I just know," she sighs sadly.
"Yes, same; I know that in that time you'll become the best friends you once were again, and even if he doesn't fall in love with you, would that really be so bad? Both of you agreed to this, so there must be something good to come out of it all. Think about it, if there's not, you should talk to him about it and cancel the wedding if you want."
Alesha sends me the same look she gave me five years ago of surprise, "I don't think I'll ever be able to understand how you ended up being the youngest, because it sure doesn't seem like it most times." She smiles then, in gratitude, "Thanks though, it helped."
She sits up, pausing at the door, saying, "You deserve someone great Ele, don't ever think anything less."
With that, she leaves, and now I'm the only one left in the room. The only one left without a husband, the only one with an un-dramatic life. The only with a brain as I see it.
The other way I see it, is the only one who can turn this into the perfect wedding.
"…so that's the start of the story. All it was, really, was Adele deciding to come to the rescue of the dramatic sisters in distress," the girl concluded.
The guy looked at her amused, "That's quite a story you started there. You do realise you have to end it now, don't you?"
She smiled at him, glad with the way he was responding to her tale, "Yes, we'll save that for another time shall we? Aubrey's heading over this way now."
Sure enough, when he looked up, he was greeted with the sight of a happily marriaged woman smiling at the girl sitting next to him as she made her way over.
"Isn't this just the perfect wedding ever!" Aubrey exclaimed, leaving no room for argument. "You have to come say goodbye to everyone. We're all leaving for our honeymoons soon. I can't wait!"
It's then that she spots the guy who Adele had been speaking too and says, "Ray-Ray, I've barely seen you all night. Been looking after my sister, I see."
'Ray-Ray' looks back and forth between the sisters, recognizing the similarities, before commenting, "Sister? Would that make you-?"
"Adele, the fifth sister, yes," she finished off for him with yet another smile.
"Adele, don't tell me you haven't been using your manners. Adele, this is Raymond, my cousin-in-law. Ray-Ray, this is Adele, my sister. I hope she hasn't been using her fancy way of using words to get people to think her way Raymond, like she does to everyone else. Anyway, now that you've been introduced, it's time to go."
With that, Aubrey drags her sister by the arm, and pulls her away.
Adele looks back at him and announces, "I'll tell you the rest of the story another time shall I?"
Aubrey leads her to the others and Adele immediately repeats her congratulations for the fifth or sixth time, "Congratulations guys! Speaking of which, how does it feel, finally being marriaged after all this time?"
Annabelle, smirking, gives her younger sister a look, to which Adele replies thoughtfully, "You're right, it's worse than eating cow dung for a year."
They both share a laugh and Annabelle comments, "Always the little rascal aren't you? But seriously," she turns to the sister standing next to her willing her to answer.
Alesha turns to Daniel giving him the look of love she was always talking about, he returns it, "It's perfect."
To which Arianne adds, "Just wait until you're pregnant, it's perfect-er."
Aubrey speaks up then, "Well, I think I'll be happy waiting a few years for that to happen. Right Spence?"
"Yeah, definitely a few years at least."
James, Annabelle's husband, turns to Adele, who he had always been closer to out of the sisters, "When is it you're turn to get marriaged, huh, missy? Got any guy in line?"
Aubrey cuts her off saying, "You were talking to Raymond before, isn't he just gorgeous?"
"Oi, that's my cousin you're talking about. You're not changing your mind on me are you babe?"
As the gossip and teasing continued, Raymond sat back at the now empty table wondering what on earth had just happened.
A/N: My questions to you:
Did I manage to introduce all the sisters in an un-confusing way by the end of the chapter?
Is this chapter interesting/capturing enough to make you want to wait for the next chapter out?
Tell me what you think?