The Struggle Continues - Part 2 - The Wedding - 2 - The Morning After


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I returned to the room about eight-thirty the next morning after breakfast and Alice was still in the same uncomfortable-looking position in which she'd gone to sleep at about one. She was snoring, but not in any way loudly. I stroked her hair to wake her up gently. 'Alice! It's time to get up!'

She started and turned. 'Go away!' She was now on on her back and slowly she opened her eyes and rubbed them with her hand. 'I feel absolutely terrible! I'm going to stay in bed.'

It was a typical Alice reaction. If you'd drunk too much the night before, you should spend the next day in bed. Not that had got that drunk that often, as she was too sensible for that. But today was the one time she had to get up and get dressed. I tried in vain to rouse her again.

'Bugger off!' She turned over and away from me. 'I said that I'm staying here. You go! Tell Josh and Licinda, I've got food poisoning!'

'I can't say that!' I tried to turn her back. 'You can't stay there! You have to go home!'

Alice turned back and slowly sat up, finally propping herself on a pile of pillows. 'Try this!' I handed her the glass of rather processed orange juice I'd brought from my breakfast. I tried to talk calmly and slowly. 'I've collected the car and it's now in the garage of the hotel. What time are we supposed to be at Josh's house?'

'Oh God!' She handed the glass back to me, turned quickly, threw her legs on the floor and rushed to the bathroom. I could hear her being sick.

In a way I smiled and even laughed a bit, as Alice with any sort of hangover was a complete no-go and do-nothing area. Not that it had happened more than about three times in all the years we were together. 'Can I help?' I shouted.

More retching and various expletives were returned from the bathroom, before she staggered back into the room and laid face down on top of the bed.

***

'You're a complete sadist, you are!' She was wrapped in a towel sitting on the end of the bed. 'Did you have to make the bath so cold?'

'It'll wake you up!' I handed her a cup of fresh instant coffee, I'd made from the sachets in the room. 'Do you feel better now?'

She shook her head, but a slight smile said that perhaps some of the excesses were receding. 'Perhaps! I've certainly got to get myself together!' She shook her head again. 'Remind me not to drink anything again! Ever!'

'Good!' But I'd heard her say that before. 'I drunk as much as you last night and I'm fine!'

'Don't boast!' She took another sip of the coffee and shook her head. 'I never seem to be able to take alcohol like you can.'

'As I've said before, it must be your genes!' I paused. 'But being adopted, who's to know what they are!'

'True!' She smiled a bit broader. 'You must come from a long line of drinkers!'

I smiled back and gave her a very light kiss on the forehead. 'We had better get going!' I showed her my watch. 'You said last night, that we've got to be at the house by eleven. That means we have just under two hours. Where are your clothes for the wedding?' I tried to remember, if I'd seen them in the car. 'Were they in the car? I didn't see a bag or anything!'

'They're not here! I was expecting to go back home!' She stood up unsteadily and grabbed her underwear from the chair, before disappearing into the bathroom. More expletives echoed from behind the door.

'Can't you wear what you wore last night?' Alice had returned to sit on the bed. 'The leather jacket was classy and it all went well with the skirt!' It was a silly suggestion and it got the contempt it deserved. I thought again. 'On the other hand, could this Alistair bring it up to Josh's house? He could easily be there by half past ten!'

Alice thought for a bit. 'Perhaps!' She started searching in her bag for her mobile phone. 'I'll give him a call!'

I looked as her face grew progressively more irritated as the phone kept ringing. 'I guess he's left for Chambers!' I thought again. 'What time do the shops open?'

***

'I don't like to say anything! Especially as you're so fragile!' Alice was now fully dressed in the clothes from last night and I was pointing at her left ankle. 'But you seem to have a rather large ladder in those tights! Have you got any spares?'

'Shit! No! But I can buy some in somewhere like Fenwicks!' She shrugged her head. 'I hope it's not going to be one of those days?'

'Probably!' I pulled her towards me and put my hands around her waist. She didn't seem to object, so perhaps my slight advance wasn't too unwelcome. 'If the worst comes to the worst, you can go as you are now in the jacket and skirt.' I smiled. 'You'll have to! With new tights! Of course!'

'I'm also missing a hat!' She tried to pull away, but I had my hands fimly on her waist.

'Don't worry about it!' I squeezed her slightly. 'You've still got that waist and even in your working clothes, you've got to admit that you do look rather smart! But then you always do!'

'You're right!' It was an unusual admission.

'If we find something suitable, so be it!' I pointed again at her feet. 'Don't forget to buy the tights!'

'Yes! I won't forget!' She stretched upwards on her heels and looked more than slightly down on me. 'I do like being taller than you! Put's you in your rightful place!' She smiled properly for the first time that morning.

'Am I OK?' The suit had fitted well and despite having been on a hanger for a few years, it looked reasonably well pressed. 'Thanks for pressing the suit!'

'I didn't!' She giggled. 'Alistair did it. He has his uses!'

'I thought we'd established that!' I laughed.

'Now let's have a proper look at you!' She broke away from me and looked me up and down. 'Hmm! You'll do! You look very good in that suit. The tie from Hong Kong goes very well and you've even cleaned your shoes.'

'The Mandarin cleaned the shoes and Jacinta bought the tie!' The first was true, but the second wasn't.

Alice frowned at me. 'You really can't live by yourself can you?'

***

'Are we going to walk?' We were in the hotel lobby, as I looked at my watch and asked the question. I realised that we had about half-an-hour before the decent shops opened at about ten.

'How far is St. Christopher's Place from here?' Alice had stopped walking towards the door of the hotel. 'Isn't it over by Selfridges?'

'Yes! We have plenty of time!' I showed her my watch, as Alice never wore one herself.

She turned and then sat down on a sofa waving her feet rather dismissively in the air. 'I don't think I can walk that far in these!'

'Probably not!' I was still standing. 'In any case, you need them to stay clean for today and I don't think I've anything to clean them with. Perhaps, Josh has something?'

Alice laughed and I agreed with her. Josh would not have any shoe brushes, let alone polish.

She stood up abruptly. 'I forgot! I do have a pair of sensible flat shoes underneath the front seat of the Audi for driving!' She reached in her handbag for the keys. 'Please! Would you mind getting them?' She smiled and then kissed me.

'No! Not at all!' I accepted the small bribe and moved towards the stairs for the garage. 'I'll meet you back upstairs in the room! You'll need a bag for those killer heels, if you're going to wear them later! I've got a small rucksack that will do! We also better make sure we don't forget anything.'

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