One of my cousins has recently turned 21. Her boyfriend took her to Paris, which I find befuddling, personally. She looks like something out of a Tim Burton film, and he looks a bit like he's raided Cheryl Cole's wardrobe, so I'd think somewhere like Transylvania may suit them more. Yeah, but Paris is nice, nevertheless. And I'll admit they make a cute couple. In fact, they suit really well.
So it was unsurprising that he popped the question - the big one - while they were in Paris. And after that, he asked her to marry him. She said yes.
I found this out the wrong way.
I was trying to sleep when the 'phone rang. It was nearing 11pm. We had gone to bed at about half ten - knackered, to tell you the truth - and since our 'phone rarely rings much, especially at that time, it was a bit of a surprise. But I sure as hell wasn't going to get out of bed.
I heard footsteps and my mother's voice.
"Hello? ... Oh, hello, you!"
"OH, CONGRATULATIONS! THAT'S EXCELLENT NEWS!"
I think the whole neighbourhood heard.
"I wonder who's pregnant?" I whispered to TD, who shifted, but said nothing.
"WHAT HAPPENED, EXACTLY?" yelled my mother.
After a while, it became apparent that nobody was pregnant. There's nobody in my immediate family who would be in such a position to do so, anyway. Well, not deliberately. The word is that my cousin with large breasts has been sleeping with the young raver, but even they used a condom. Or so I hear...
"Someone's got engaged?" I whispered to TD, although I already had a shrewd idea of what had happened. Wow, I'm such a great detective. It only took me ages to guess.
TD whispered my cousin's name, with a finality to her voice. My mother's yell of, "DID HE ASK YOU ON TOP OF THE EIFFEL TOWER? DID HE?!" seemed to confirm it, in a much louder manner than I had perhaps wanted.
I turned onto my side and tried to get back to sleep, confident in the knowledge that:
a) everyone's going to be wondering why it isn't me...
b) ...for the first ten minutes, beofre they start getting all excited about a wedding...
c) ...which isn't going to be likely for about three years
d) this is going to be unbearable
e) I have got to get out of this house
An excited knock on my door shattered the relative silence.
"Did you... did you know..." my mother started.
"Yes, I heard," I shouted back, deliberately leaving it ambiguous as to whether I'd heard some other way or "heard" her voice. It was the latter, obviously. As it was evident that I wasn't going to get any more sleep, I slipped out to fetch myself some milk.
"Do you think she'll ask you to be a pageboy?" my mother squealed as soon as she saw me, at which point I had a horrific vision of me in a sailor suit. Most porn isn't even that bad. I did want to be a pageboy at my auntie's wedding, but I was about 9 at the time. I got made an usher. I shudder to think what the bridesmaids will look like - multiple versions of the Corpse Bride, probably.
Not that I could avoid the news any longer. It's been the constant topic of conversation for my mother - strange, since it's not even her daughter, but that's mothers for you - ever since. Plus, I got the ultimate reminder this morning - a relationship change on Facebook. That most crucial of notifications.
I ought to say something, I thought. Something not too sarky, but not too glowing either. I did toy with, "really? I hadn't heard," but that would be a bit strange, even for me - I mean, it's not my cousin's fault that my mother is going to be a pain to live with for a few months.
"Oh, good for you, honey," I settled on. Yes, I do realise I stole that from the wedding special of Green Arrow and Black Canary. But it seemed the right thing in the circumstances.
I'll let you all know how this one works out.