Llamas

A friend of mine, another author actually, the lovely Tess Woods posted a funny picture on Facebook of a bunch of Llama's (actually they were Alpaca's) and tagged me in the post saying that after reading Confetti Confidential: They do, I Don't, the fluffy beasts will always remind her of me. It made me laugh so I thought I'd share the section of the book she was talking about.

From CHAPTER 6

The Wedding of Nina and Chad

(Needy and Fancy?)

“Are you shooting the whole wedding, or just the ‘before’ shots and the ceremony?” I asked Tom when he called on Saturday morning.

“Just before, at their places, and then throughout the ceremony. They want a few immediately after, but that’s it. They’ve got a videographer doing the rest.”

“Did they tell you to dress up, too?” I hoped he would look as ridiculous as I did.

“No, I didn’t even know it was fancy dress.” He sounded worried.

“Well, Needy Nina only emailed me on Thursday night about it. I feel ridiculous.”

“What are you wearing?” I could tell he was smirking.

“None of your business, you’ll have to wait and see,” I teased. “I’m leaving now, so I’ll see you there.”

I packed my ceremony gear into the boot of the car and adjusted my white hat. I should have told them to stick it. I’d been a celebr​​ant for thirteen years and conducted over three hundred ceremonies, yet here I was, dressed as Little bloody Bo Peep.

Seven more after this, then that’s it, just get it over with. I buckled my seat belt and headed to Jangar Farm.

The sign at the entrance to the private road leading into the farm sent a chill up my spine.

‘Caution, Llamas roaming.’ Roaming? Why the hell were they roaming? And what was the caution for? To be careful not to hurt the llamas, or to be careful of the llamas. Were they likely to attack?

I stopped in the driveway and googled llama on my phone. Aww, they’re cute and fluffy … Eww, hang on. I flicked through a few more pictures. Weird, cranky faces and big teeth. Are they just roaming around here? I checked Wikipedia. Under ‘Behaviour’, it read:

Fully grown they can reach 1.8 metres. When mature, they will begin to treat humans as they treat each other, which is characterised by bouts of spitting, kicking and neck-wrestling.

Neck-wrestling? What the hell is that? And why are these idiots breeding these crazy, spitting beasts?

I threw my phone onto the passenger seat and planted my foot on the accelerator. If I could make it to the house, I might survive without being neck wrestled to death.

“Are you going to be here soon?” I whispered into my phone as I unpacked the car.

“Why are you whispering?” Tom asked.

“There are apparently llamas here, and they like to neck-wrestle people.”

Silence. “What are you on?” Tom said finally.

“I’m serious! There’s a sign out the front that there are llamas.”

“You’re killing me, you know? I’ll be there soon. Just get set up, and if you see one get in the car.”

Tom was laughing, but it wasn’t amusing. It would be just my luck to get neck wrestled by a fluffy, buck-toothed llama while dressed as Little Bo Peep. I didn’t need a second YouTube sensation.

I tiptoed down the stone pathway and through the vine covered arch that opened onto the garden area. The guest chairs and umbrellas were already set up, along with a decorated signing table and lectern. Fabulous, I didn’t have to go back to the car and get mine.

“Genevieve?” I heard Chad’s voice from behind me.

“Hi Chad,” I said, turning around to find him dressed in top and tails. The look of horror on his face frightened me. I scanned the area to see if there was a llama approaching.

“What are you wearing?” He seemed upset.

“I’m Little Bo Peep. Nina said it was fancy dress and to wear anything.”

“Dress fancy! Like black tie, that kind of thing. FANCY!” His voice had risen to a high octave.

I had nothing. Dress fancy! Who says dress fancy? Why didn’t she bloody well say BLACK TIE!

Chad stomped off, leaving me to the strange looks of arriving guests who were in full-length gowns and tuxedos. When Tom saw me I thought he was going to die.

“I’ve been trying to call you!” he said between gasps.

“My phone’s in the car, I don’t bring it to ceremonies. What the hell am I going to do? That witch will curse me when she sees me dressed like this.”

Pity filled his eyes. “There’s nothing you can do, just smile and get it over with.”

I inhaled the deepest breath my lungs would allow and took my place in front of the lectern, beside the squirming Chad. Whispers of “What is she wearing?” filtered up and down the rows of guests seated in front of me, but when Nina’s eyes landed on me, her face screamed “You’ll pay for this.”

She stared me down for the entire walk down the aisle, glancing only briefly at Chad, who was shaking, before looking back at me. She was calculating; weighing up her options. Throw a fit and ruin everything she had worked towards? Or pretend it was all part of the show and try to pull it off? I waited, breath held tightly in my throat, as she approached on her father’s arm. He kissed her cheek and joined her mother and the other guests. There was silence.

Nina reached for Chad’s hands and turned her eyes back on me. Squinting and tightening her lips, her look warned me this wasn’t over. Then she flashed her full gummy smile at her groom and the guests. I breathed, for the first time in what felt like minutes and began.

“On behalf of Chad and Nina, I’d like to welcome you here to celebrate with them as they publicly pledge their commitment to one another in marriage.”

Nina had smiled throughout the ceremony until we got to the exchange of rings. “Chad, take Nina’s left hand in yours and repeat after me. Nina, this ring I give you. My personal … llama.” There was a damn llama approaching.

“Get on with it,” Nina hissed under her breath.

But there’s a friggin’ Lama coming! Why isn’t anyone running?

Tom was making round circles in the air with his hand. “Keep going,” he mouthed, as I shifted nervously away from the approaching beast.

“My personal gift, my promise to be loving and faithful, for the rest of my life,” I continued.

The llama was behind me now. What was it doing back there? What if it launched into a neck-wrestle right here? How would I escape? Would anyone even save me?

“Nina, please take Chad’s left hand in yours and repeat after me.” I tried to look to see where the beast was now, as Nina repeated my words. The llama was huge – taller than 1.8 metres, and approaching as I shifted on the spot.

Go away. Go away.

I looked at Tom with pleading eyes, signalling him to shoo it away.

“I now pronounce you to be husband and wife. You may kiss your bride!” I announced, skipping the end part I had beautifully written for them. It wasn’t worth being neck-wrestled over.

Seeing the llama’s quickened movement from the corner of my eye, I dropped to the floor, commando-style, as the guests rose to their feet with applause, and the llama, spooked by the noise and motion, hissed and spat viciously at the horrified guests, before casually walking off.

“Are you okay?” Nina’s father asked, helping me up.

“Yes, thanks, the llama just spooked me. I’m so sorry about everything. Nina is furious.”

“You leave her to me, honey. She’s been a total crackpot organising this wedding, driven us all mad. But it’s done now, and it’s time for her to pull her head in.”

Really? Thank goodness. What a wonderful man. A sigh of relief exited my lips. “Please accept my apology, and I hope it’s a wonderful reception. Llama free!” I joked, gesturing to the ugly beast that was baring his big yellow teeth at us from across the paddock. I felt terrible for the misunderstanding and for upsetting Nina after she’d worked so hard to make sure every detail was perfect. Even if she had been behaving badly, she still deserved to have a wonderful wedding day.

Tom grabbed my arm. “Are you free after this? Can we talk?” he asked, as the guests were congratulating the couple.

“Sure, what’s wrong?” He sounded serious.

“Nothing’s wrong, I just need to talk to you about something.” He wasn’t going to give in.

“Okay, but I need to change, unless you want to talk to Bo Peep?” Tom didn’t laugh. “Okay, do you want to meet me at the Somerton pub at six? We can have dinner?”

He nodded. “Sounds great.”

It wasn’t great. Something was wrong, I could tell.

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AUTHOR AND CELEBRANT

Susan Murphy