Grandmama is the best at indirectly causing a family stir. Sunday was no different.
Every so often she invites the whole family over for dinner; Mother & Stepfather, Father & Lady-Friend, Sister, Brother-in-law and Nephew, Solicitor and Me. In most cases some of us can't make it.
Mother and Stepfather tend to cancel more than the others. I don't think Mother's quite gotten over the fact that Grandmama loves my Father like her own son, and that she never took sides during my parents divorce.
Sunday was a rare occasion when we were all present. Solicitor thought it would be an ideal opportunity to tell everybody about the baby. In theory, it's ideal. In practice... well...
"I've got something that I want to say to everyone." I said smiling.
"You're pregnant." Grandmama stated. "I know, darling, it's quite obvious." She smiled across the table and nodded knowingly.
It wasn't so obvious to my mother. The shock, followed by mortification, was so apparent.
"My God!" She glared at me furiously. "How can you embarrass yourself like that?"
"Have you no shame, Elise? Pregnant out of wedlock!"
"Please." My Father cut in rather dryly. "You have no right to talk about shame."
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Mother shot back at him.
"You actually want me to talk about it then?" Father raised his eyebrows.
"Enough!" Grandmama slammed down her wine glass.
A few moments of silence passed.
"Congratulations." Brother-in-law supplied awkwardly.
Sister leaned across the table and gripped my hand.
Another few moments of silence.
"I can't believe you just blurted it out without even speaking to me first!" Mother hissed.
I felt my cheeks flush with rage.
"With you?" I asked incredulously. "You're the last person I would have told if I decided to tell everyone separately."
Mother clanged down her cutlery.
"Elise..." Sister whispered, half warning, half pleading.
"It's not like you've been a model mother." I carried on spitefully. It was childish but she made me so angry.
"I did what I thought was right." Mother said stiffly.
"Having an affair and pissing off?" Father nodded thoughtfully. "Yep, sounds like you thought about it."
The entire table stilled. I suddenly felt cold.
"That's enough!" Grandmama shouted standing up. "It's in the past." She glared at Mother and Father. "In the past!" She repeated with emphasis. She slowly and gracefully sat down.
A few moments of reflective silence passed. Grandmama was right. It was so far back in the past it shouldn't have ever been brought up.
"Are you having a baby, Aunt Elise?" Nephew asked curiously.
"Yes, babe." I answered smiling, thinking of the little person inside.
"Why is everyone angry?"
"Eat your carrots." Sister snapped.
"I don't like carrots!" Nephew moaned. "Dad, do I have to eat the carrots?"
"No, eat what you can." Brother-in-law said kindly.
"Thanks." Sister said sarcastically. "You're supposed to back me up."
"What do you want me to do?" Brother-in-law whispered. Sister threw him a look. "Fine! You're mother told you to eat you're carrots."
Nephew sat back in him chair. "No."
"Wonderful!" Sister glared at Brother-in-law. "You deal with him."
"So how did you know Elise was pregnant?" Stepfather asked Grandmama suddenly. He bit his lip as soon as te words left his mouth. It was obvious he was trying to make conversation but said the wrong thing.
"She's got a glow." Lady-Friend smiled warmly. "I thought there was something new about her."
"And how many pregnant women do you know?" Mother snapped.
"I don't want my carrots!" Nephew yelled.
I buried my face in my hands.
"Do you want ice-cream?" Solicitor asked Nephew. "Eat your carrots first and you can come and help me dish it out."
"The first logical thing I've heard all night." Grandmama beamed at Solicitor. "Top up my glass, dear boy. It looks like it's going to be a long day."