He was surprised to be met at the door by a man, in his estimation about his own age. The man introduced himself as Mary’s father-in-law, David. They walked through the house and out to a medium sized garden, seemingly full of people. This was not at all what he’d hoped for. A romantic little lunch, just the two of them had been his expectation.
David went round introducing him. There was David’s wife, Pat a fairly attractive woman, and Mary’s mother, Anne-Marie, fairly attractive, but too old for him, she had wrinkles and had let her hair go completely grey. The others were all “family” around the pool. David said, you’ll get a chance to meet them all at lunch.
Anne-Marie looked at his flowers and said, “come inside, Mary will put those in some water”. They walked back into the house, he following her. There in the kitchen was Mary, a stocky dark-haired man with his arm around her waist and the pair of them tasting from a pot. Dennis’s smile disappeared. She was taken. Anne-Marie noticing nothing amiss, said “Mary dear, here’s your friend Dennis and he’s brought you some flowers”.
Mary extricated herself from the man and came over, kissed Dennis on the cheek and thanked him for coming and for the flowers. Then she said to her mother, “Mum, please will you cut them shorter and add them to the arrangement on the table. I’m at a delicate stage with the Hollandaise.” Then she turned back to the cooking.
Dennis, feeling totally rejected, walked outside and stood looking at the people, children, some more adults, all playing in or around the swimming pool. David came and gave him a glass of white wine. The man from the kitchen came out and introduced himself as Peter, Mary’s husband. She was MARRIED!