“I'll take that as a compliment.”
“I mean, I'm sorry Gab its just that you're German is perfect, bit of an accent but I couldn't guess you aren't born here.”
“I have been living here for a year.”
“Its not such a long time to be so good, I've studied English since kindergarten and I still struggle.”
“It was a steep learning curve with school and my friends.”
“Are you girls going to bed?” Frau Strechau suggested a few minutes later.
“I guess it has been a long day.” I agreed.
And so my first day rubbing shoulders with the German upper echelon drew to a close even if Sophia would've kept me talking all night.
The smell of bacon guided me to the breakfast room at silly past seven, my built in alarm preventing any chance of sleeping in.
I was by no means the first to arrive but beyond mumbled ‘morgens' conversation was somewhat muted. Whilst I generally survive on coffee and pastries in the morning, when its on offer I'll certainly partake of cooked food so I took a plate and collected scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh brötchen and found a place at the table. A girl appeared at my elbow with coffee and I was in heaven.
“Do you mind?” he requested.
He pulled out the chair and dropped down beside me.”
“Some life eh?”
“This isn't normal though is it?”
“I guess not.”
"Er thanks for coming Gabs." he got out between mouthfuls of his own substantive breakfast.
"If you hadn't come I would've been paired off with Sophia."
"It would've only been for today."
"Yeah well my Gran been trying to get us together for years, it would be a good alliance for our family, the Taxis are loaded."
"So I'm the decoy?" I started to huff.
"Yes, I mean no, well kind of."
"What is it?" my ire was rising.
He seemed to debate his answer for a moment, "look I fancy you something rotten and you could like have your pick and I know you're not interested in me that way but I thought I could at least spend a bit of time with you if you came and derail Gran a bit - she really likes you you know."
Some confession and it left me a bit bewildered. I am so not into having a boyfriend but I did feel a bit sorry for him getting steamrollered into something, maybe even marriage with Sophia.
"So what's wrong with Sophia, she seems nice enough."
"Horses, money, private schools - she drives me loopy!"
"Well I'm here but don't expect anything more."
He leant over and gave me a very eggy kiss on my cheek.
"Ew," I had to wipe my face, "geroff you lummox."
"But I'm your lummox." he grinned.
"A girl could go off someone." I noted.
From what my travel companions have told me yesterday, the wedding is at two and we'll be leaving Augsburg about twelve to get there on time. You would have thought I'd got plenty of time but when I returned to my quarters Sophia was already in the throes of getting ready.
"You not having breakfast?"
"I'll get some coffee later, you need to get a move on too, the hairdresser is due in an hour."
Now I think of it Max did mention something about that the other day.
"Um sorry if like I stepped on your toes with Max."
"Max? Oh he's told you about the matchmaking. Well we don't get along, I'm quite glad you're here as I'd get stuck with him again, gives me some space, know what I mean?"
"'Kay." Not that I wanted him.
I went through to my room and found the underwear, hose and shoes I intended wearing before going through to the bathroom to get on with my ablutions. Mum had put in some extras that I wouldn't have thought about, not least of which was a big tube of hair remover. Now I'm hardly an ape-man and my legs get done regularly but some other parts, well lets just say I don't want to seem uncouth.
I emerged from the bathroom with a certain nakedness to every limb and other places a lady doesn't mention! Mum's body lotion worked wonders in taking away most of the redness and it felt weird without the slight coating of hair that normally adorns me.
My lingerie didn't take long to put on and it was time then to lacquer my nails with a pink varnish to match my outfit. How comes that nail varnish never wants to dry? I was still busily blowing my nails when I heard the outer door of the suite open.
“She's in her room.” Sophia told someone.
“Hi I'm Heidi, I've come to do your hair and makeup.”
“Er thanks, Gaby, I'm terrible at it.” Well I am.
“You are wearing a hat?”
“Um, in the box.”
The young woman opened the hatbox and removed the daft bit of millinery.
“Very nice, hair up I think.” I'm sure that's what Gerta said last week.
I sat and winced as my hair was tugged, tucked, pinned and sprayed into a very Germanic braided style that the fascinator would sit onto.
“So, now your face, you have your makeup Gaby?”
Now lets just get one thing straight – I do not generally wear makeup, well okay a bit of lippy sometimes and occasionally some eyeliner but generally I'm au naturel. As a result my makeup bag is not the bulging affair my friends lump around.
“I erm, don't wear much.” I pointed out to my saviour handing her the bag.
“Oh dear,” she sighed, “wait here.”
She disappeared only to return with a big plastic toolbox type thing.
I've had my face done before – remember that treatment at the Spa? So anyway I let Heidi do her worst with her brushes and powders and only twenty minutes later she was done.
“There we go, lets get you dressed and get that hat on.”
A quick look in the mirror was confusing, she'd been working on me and I knew she'd been painting my face but apart from some lippy and some subtle eye shadow my face looked bare – I general end up looking clown like if I do it myself and after all boys don't generally wear this stuff.
It took another fifteen minutes to get me dressed in Mums suit, hosed, shoed and hatted but finally I was ready.
“No problem, this your dress for tonight?”
“Uh huh.” I agreed.
“In the drawers, there's a corset and pants, the shoes are on the shelf.”
“Ah yes. Okay I'll see you in the dressing rooms at the Palais later to help you change.”
“Er thanks, um is everyone getting this treatment?” I suddenly felt a bit awkward receiving this attention.
“For those that wish it, your grandmother suggested you'd need perhaps a little more than some.” She grinned.
Grandmother? She must mean the Baroness.
Heidi hurried off with her box of tricks leaving me slightly bewildered.
“Come on Gab, time to go.” Sophia advised, poking her head around the door.
I picked up the clutch bag that the women at Eloise Couture had supplied and picked my way out to where Sophia was waiting, in a not dissimilar outfit although hers was in a pastel blue.
“Nice.” She noted.
“I feel like a right narna.”
“Who doesn't, at least its not high summer.”
I had to agree with that.
“Come on, we don't want to be late.”
Flippin' stilts! I tottered along beside the clearly more practised Sophia to the staircase where she slipped off her heels to go down the stairs. I followed her example, gripping the banister in a bear hug until I was safely on the ground floor.
“You'd think they'd install a lift.” Soph opined.
“Ah girls, come on the bus is here.” Max's Mum told us.
We joined the throng of wedding goers out into the courtyard and through the gates to where a huge touring coach stood waiting.
“Hey Gab, you look nice.” Max mentioned joining us.
“Maximillian, you look after Gaby you hear me?” Frau Strechau told her son.
“I mean it Max.”
The bus was gradually filling up, not that I'd really thought about it but I never imagined that we'd travel to the wedding on a coach! A little before twelve we moved off and our journey to Munich began. All around was an excited murmur of conversation, much of what you'd expect – the dress, who'd be there, where they'd be honeymooning.
“You okay Gab?” Max asked as we joined the autobahn.
“Nervous? For why?”
“I've never been to a wedding before and this is like a really big deal.”
“All we do is sit, stand and sing a couple of times, then it's off to the bun fight.”
“I'm still nervous.”
The drive took about forty minutes due to the traffic in Munich, the coach having to pick through the tourist buses and shopping crowds but eventually we arrived at the cathedral. There were quite a lot of people about, limo's dropping off and a feeling of some tension in the air.
“Gaby, Max, come on.” Herr um Baron von Strechau chivvied.
I was grateful to take my escort's arm, how anyone can wear shoes like this all the time I'll never know. We followed the general flow of human traffic around to the front of the building where a considerable crowd was gathered to watch the arrivals along with several TV crews! Sugar!
“Geez!” Max said through gritted teeth.
“Don't rush, smiles.” Frau Strechau instructed.
If I was nervous before it was nothing compared to how I feel right now!
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 22.05.11 © 2011