“Green! How on earth can you expect
me to wear green? It’s so not my colour.”

Stuart was not happy. His partner,
Richard, waved the fabric swatches under his nose. Stuart pointedly looked away.

“It’s an important message my love,”
said Richard. “We’re making our statement about the environment. Just as we are
with the electric car.”

“And that’s another thing,”
retorted Stuart. “I’m not arriving in that electric roller skate. It’s so demeaning.”

With an effort Stuart suppressed the
anger bubbling inside him. He looked up at his partner with what he hoped were puppy
dog eyes.

“Richard. Sweet heart. Ours is
going to be the first gay wedding in Britain. Although, only just,” Stuart’s
nostrils flared momentarily. “After all, it was so nearly Trevor Ecclestone and
his ghastly twink from Portugal”.

Stuart was less upset about the
colour green, than Richard’s bid to take over the design of their wedding.
After all, he was Stuart LeVain, the twice Olivier award winning theatre
designer. As they stood in the dining room of their lovingly restored Art Deco
flat in Pimlico, the evidence of Stuart’s skill was all about them. Richard by
contrast was the heartthrob presenter of environment programmes on global

“My love,” said Richard, in the warm
voice-over tone he used for his shows on armchair environmentalism. “The
world’s media will be focused on us, in a beautiful village at the heart of one
of Britain’s world environment heritage sites. It’s a perfect opportunity to
make a statement about how man’s life choices are destroying the world. The
publicity will be perfect. Please Stuart. You know that HBO is looking for a
front man for its big push into environmental programming. A green gay wedding
could do wonderful things for my prospects. It could mean two years in

Richard added this last point
enticingly, knowing his partner’s weakness for the West Coast.

“And with one green suit on the
front cover of Hello, I destroy my credibility in theatre land,” Stuart took
hold of one of the fabric swatches. “If I wear this I’ll look like Shrek. You
know I wanted white. Well cream. Dominic had set aside some beautiful cloth
he’d found loitering at the back of his storeroom months ago. In fact”, he
paused for effect, “he went and sought it out the day after I called him from
St Raphael to tell him about your beautiful proposal.”

Throughout this speech Stuart had held
his eyelids open. It forced his eyes to water. The timing was perfect. He
blinked and turned his head slightly, to let Richard see the glistening tear in
the corner of his eye.

His partner fanned out the cloth
swatches like a deck of cards. “Stuart dear. Don’t pull that damp eye trick
with me. I know what your theatrical friends teach you. Look, I don’t want us
to fall out over this my love. Perhaps we could have a horse drawn carriage
instead of the electric car…”

“White horses,” added Stuart.

“Yes of course, white horses and a
liveried groom to drive the carriage…”

“In tall boots,” added Stuart.

“You design his outfit my love. But
please, I’d like us to make a strong, green statement…”

Stuart reached for the little
pieces of of fabric, now spread across the Rennie Mackintosh table. An idea had
popped into his head. An idea that was brilliant, but devious. A dark cream
colour would suit his complexion best. Richard would never know the subterfuge.
He was colour-blind.

“Well, I’d really like a colour
that’s paler than any of these. It has to be light. Not dark and heavy. Let me
ask Dominic to find something from his little goldmine. I’ll bring it for your
approval of course.”

Richard leaned forward and kissed
Stuart gently on the lips. “I do love you,” he whispered.

Stuart melted, and his devious plan
melted away as well. How could he pull such a cheap trick on this adorable man?
On his wedding day? He looked lovingly into Richard’s eyes. “What about cream
with a green pinstripe?”