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Engagement Party Chemistry

March 13th, 2011 by admin

Winona and Will haven’t gone to much fuss for their engagement party. The back room of  Wazzer’s bar has been adorned with white fairy lights. A long table is jumbled with wine bottles, bowls of chips, and irregular engagement presents that arrived with guests. When Ulrika attempts a dramatic entrance, no-one pays much attention, they are all getting along so well and calling for more chips.

The happy couple are standing up, being introduced to some friends of Wazzer’s. “No, mate, they’re both my dates! Otto and Alf! They’re from Amsterdam!”

One of the tall dreadlocked blondes holds out his tattooed hand and says, “We are – how you say in English? Polydactyl? Polyamorous?” The other one nods in agreement, setting his saucer-sized ear disks wagging.

“I see,” Winona manages, faintly. She casts a quick look at avant-garde Karin, who is eyeing up the trio speculatively. If her sister was polyphonic, or whatever, it was surely overdue to start warping Wellington. “Do have a drink.”

Shy Willow plucks at Winona’s sleeve. “Who’s that? In the bowler hat?”

“Oh, that’s Will’s friend Owen from Omaru. I think he was in Christchurch for the quake.” Ignoring Willow’s embarrassed waving and shushing, she shouts, ‘Owen! Come here and meet Willow. She’s ever so brilliant!”

Sipping a stout, he ambles over, one thumb denting his braces. “And what do you do?”

“I’m a soil microbe scientist,” Willow stammers. Oh dear, she’d been doing so well lately, and now she gets to repel him instantly, she thinks.

But no. His eyes light up. “Really! Do you mind if I ask you some questions? I’ve been trying to enrich soil for avocados and…”

Ulrika hears someone behind her squeal. She turns, and a painfully well-groomed woman beams at her, to enunciate a well-bred, multi-syllable,  “Hello! I’m Win’s cousin, Angela. Down from Auckland. Your hair is just brilliant. Such a dark blue. And your cheekbones! That dress – is it Nom ‘D? I thought so. You’re so quintessentially Wellington, except you’re much too gorgeous. Do you ever come up to Auckland?”


“Oh, yes. It’s so much warmer. Do come up sometime, I must take you out to drinks. Can I post your picture on Facebook?” She squeezes beside Ulrika and snaps a shot at arm’s length.

Meanwhile, Ulrika’s entry has been noted by Will and Winona at last. Will watches this development with a creased brow. “What do you think they’re talking about?”

“No idea. Especially because Ulrika is smart. Oh! Hello, so nice to see you…”

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