Post continued from Meet the Parents (Again)
Saturday 14th July. Bastille Day! My first Bastille Day in France!
The day had been planned several weeks ago. There was a Franco-Ecossaise party a few hours from Mr and Mrs FP's house and we, as a foursome, would be there. There would be kilts!!! There would be Scottish dancing!!! There would be whisky!! And it was all advertised on a beautiful tartan poster with every sentence punctuated with several exclamation marks!!!
At 8am we were up and getting ready for our trip. By 8:30 am we had decided not to go. It was 30 degree heat and no one was prepared to sit in congested traffic on the auto route for three hours each way.
The air of awkwardness had cleared from the night before when I descended the stairs to greet Mr and Mrs FP. As they kissed me good morning, I smiled in relief. Thank God! So they didn’t hate me for the way I’d been so sullen.
And then it happened. The point where I knew I was a walking disaster. The moment I knew my weekend was going to be full of terrible mistakes and faux pas.
It was after breakfast. I was outside, reading Mrs FP’s glossy magazine, FP was breaking wood and twigs for the barbecue (how sexy is that sentence?! My man is just sooo manly!)
Mrs FP came out and asked me to open the shutters and windows upstairs. I duly went upstairs, into the warm, stuffy bedroom and began to open windows. The shutters were new, white, clean and modern. Expensive. They weren’t your average French shutters. No, they were high tech. They didn’t open outwards. You pulled a cord, fed the cord into a hole, and magically up slid the shutters. Grand! Just as I was having a little trouble with the second one, I wondered if I was doing it correctly. I’d seen FP doing it a hundred times; he’d made it look so quick and easy, but this was stiff and taking a while.
And then the cord snapped, the shutter clattered loudly and fell and I was left wide eyed, wondering what the bloody hell to do.
I considered walking away and denying all knowledge.
Five minutes of chewing my fingernails and planning my apology speech and FP called my name. Looking out the window to the Terrace where FP was standing, he shouted up at me ‘what’s taking you so long?’
‘I … I think I broke a shutter.’ I muttered, making sad eyes at him and twisting a strand of hair round my finger. Look innocent. Please don’t be angry, please don’t be angry.
FP wasn’t angry. He claimed he was fine. But he was worried when he realised we had to explain to Mr FP. That was much worse.
We both approached Mr FP cautiously. He was fiddling with the barbecue. I lingered behind FP, holding onto the waistband of his jeans, peering over his shoulder and trying to suss out Mr FP’s mood. Things didn’t look good.
‘Merde!’ I believe was his first word that indicated he wasn’t happy. He then went on to talk about the extortionate price it would cost to repair it.
But when he found out it was me who broke it he slowly let a smile spread across his face, looked my way and said kindly, ‘ahh c’est pas grave, ma grande fille’. I offered to pay, said I was really very sorry and that I would never lay a finger on his windows again. But everything was waved away with his hand as Mr and Mrs FP found the funny side of it. It appears I'm so clumsy that I'm actually expected to break things, trip over things and spill food down myself. Grand! I can be myself so.
FP will now be blaming me for every upset in the FP household – that way, no one gets into trouble.
The rest of the day involved two huge (and delicious) meals, eight courses, seven people sunburned, five bottles of wine, one Princesse singing Scottish songs to six amused people, two hundred comments on how white Princesse's skin is, at least five hundred pétardes, fifty fireworks, one massive water fight and 736810038 references of The Window Incident.
I suppose the jokes were funny the first couple of times...