'I don't really eat vegetables,' said the grown man sitting to my left. He screwed up his nose at the main course of beef on a bed of potato puree with a generous helping of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.
Scott and I were seated at what he called the 'kiddie table,' otherwise known as the table at the back of the room where they put all ragtag singles. Predictably, we were the loudest group at the reception. One woman I recognised from the hen's night wouldn't stop yelling 'Woo!,' while another squawked with laughter. The latter's wine glass was permanently poised under her chin, ready to either drink or splash.
I was drunk, too. My cheeks were hot and I'd already caught myself on two occasions wiping wine drops off the napkin on my lap. The man sat to Scott's right was one of Will's friends from university and he'd already regaled the group with his tale about Will's projectile vomit over a group of skinheads on a night bus through Brixton five years ago.
I could tell that Izzy's seating plan was meticulous and deliberate. Night bus guy was just the right combination of dapper and rowdy, plus he was clearly interested in Scott. He kept topping up his wine glass.
My guy, who told me he sat opposite Will at work, was charming and cute with his curly brown hair and thick eyebrows, but the vegetable comment had thrown me. How could I have a relationship with someone who didn't eat vegetables? Still, his confession that he owned the Saved By the Bell DVD box set gave him big brownie points with me.
'I'll have your broccoli,' I offered, wondering if what I'd said could qualify as flirting. If so, it was slightly lame and mum-like, but what the hell? I liked broccoli.
I craned my neck and saw Will sitting dead centre of the long bridal table, kissing Izzy's cheek as she skulled her champagne. I remembered her vow at the afternoon tea not to drink too much at the wedding, but it didn't look like she was pacing herself.
I followed her line of eyesight. She was looking at her mother.
Karen poked her curly blonde head over my shoulder at that moment with a giggle so sharp and loud that it made me jump. It was like a crisp bell that brought me to attention.
'You look beautiful Karen! What a gorgeous ceremony.'
'It's true,' nodded Scott emphatically. 'I even saw a tear roll down her face.'
'I know, right?' agreed Karen.
'How's the day been?' I asked.
'It's been... good.' The word 'good' came out of her mouth slowly, as if she wasn't certain she should use it in the sentence. For the first time since I'd met her, I saw a frown cross her lovely face.
'What?' Scott looked alarmed by the unexpected frown.
'Oh, nothing,' said Karen, lowering her voice to a whisper. 'It's just that Izzy's been acting weird.'
Scott and I exchanged a glance. An image of Izzy shivering on my doorstep on that early Sunday morning with her sash in her hand came to mind.
'How so?' I asked.
'She was very quiet the whole day when we were getting ready and now she's being very loud. She's ploughing through the champagne.'
'Oh, I'm sure it's just the stress of the day,' assured Scott carefully, although by the tone of his voice, I wasn't entirely sure I believed him, or that he believed himself.
'I'm sure you're right,' smiled Karen. 'You guys have fun and I'll see you on the dance floor, yeah? Izzy's got her DJ friend Rob lined up.'
'Cocaine Rob?' asked Scott, his eyes widening. 'No!'
YOU ARE READING
Girl and Boys (#Wattys2015 Winner - New Adult Romance)ChickLit
Wattys 2015 Winner - New Adult Romance. Highest ranking in ChickLit - #7. When Beth George runs into an ex-boyfriend who came out to her in high school, she feels like her life has rewound almost ten years. Little does she know that her new life is...