Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Fifty-Four
8th February 1975
Having to make the long journey from Berlin was not the highlight of Suse Rosa’s week. In many ways it was the culmination of every nightmare she’d had over the previous years about how her wedding would play out. It wasn’t just her getting married to Manny, it was the joining of three powerful families, and she had always feared that her mother would make it into a massive production. This gave Lagertha von Knispel nee Wolvogle the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. There was also the aspect of this being a double wedding with Manny’s little sister Ina’s marriage to Christian Weise. Manny regarded Christian as a brother having served in the same Regiment since they had completed Basic Training and having seen each other through some hairy situations in Argentina. There had also been the suggestion that his maternal grandfather probably wouldn’t be around for many more weddings, so he couldn’t just say no this time. Tonight, he was delayed in getting out of Wunsdorf-Zossen, so she didn’t even have the comfort of his presence to even things out.
“You are supposed to save the tears for the wedding day, Love” Klaus Voll said as he approached her. So far, he was one of the few people in the rancid production who was not ignoring her. The fact that Suse had been sulking at the table what would be the venue for the reception with no one seeming to notice spoke volumes. The place was huge, so vast that Suse felt like she was lost in it. It was the sort of symbol that her mother would have known that she wanted to avoid, if she could be bothered to pay attention. Even Ina, who was going along with this entire thing had looked at this venue with a great deal of trepidation. This was entirely because of politics. Everyone of importance in Silesia had needed to be invited. A considerable number of invitations had gone elsewhere as well. All the capitals of the various States within the German Empire as well as several other nations. That meant that there were going to be hundreds of guests.
“Tears of happiness” Suse replied, “From my mother perhaps, after all, this is her big day.”
Voll gave her an appraising look.
“Your mother wants you to have the fairy tale wedding that she didn’t get to have” Voll said, “And you can trust that on that day, which happens to be the first day of spring, all eyes will be on you, with your mother in the background.”
“That doesn’t sound very appealing” Suse replied.
Voll just smiled. “You are not your mother, that is something that I understand better than most” He said, “The not wanting to draw attention to yourself. The truth is that this is your one day to shine and then your mother cannot ever ask anything from you again after this sort of favor.”
“Don’t be absurd. My mother won’t stop being my mother because of this” Suse replied before switching to an imitation of her mother’s voice. “Suse, we’ve company tonight, and would it kill you not be such a sour-faced little bitch for once. By the way Suse, your boyfriend called to say he is coming by, and you how you get with all that repressed sexual tension…”
Voll actually laughed at that.
“I’m being dead serious” Suse said, “She says those things to me.”
“Your mother is not necessarily the libertine that she imagines herself to be” Voll replied, “Underneath the flossy exterior is something else entirely.”
“If you say so” Suse replied. She had seen nothing but the frivolous aspect of her mother for her entire life. While supposedly, Gerta was a hardnosed businesswoman who got results with the production company she had started as well as a huge portion of the existing film and television studios in Potsdam, Vienna, and Prague. That was an aspect of her mother that Suse was totally unfamiliar with.
“I don’t blame you for the sexual tension part” Voll said, “I’ve seen your fiancé around. I must say if you like them tall and ruggedly handsome, he is quite the dish.”
That was a reminder as to just whose side Voll played for. Suse was a Berliner from birth so someone being a dear friend of Old Fritz had never bothered her. Klaus Voll had never judged her either over the years that Suse had known him. Others in his position might have pointed out that she was entirely too short and too plain to have his services be of much help. Instead, he had worked to bring out the best in her during certain milestone events in her life. It occurred Suse as she had that thought that it was only right that he be here for her wedding too, even if he couldn’t contain her mother’s worst impulses.
“Whoever said that there is any sexual tension between me and Manny?” Suse asked, “Aside from my mother who thinks that it is a giant joke? What happens, or has happened, between us is no one else’s business”
“Well, I had assumed that…” Voll started to say, “Er… You haven’t mentioned any of this to anyone else have you?”
“Of course, not” Suse replied, “As you said, my mother is not the libertine she thinks she is. God only knows how she would react if I ever told her everything about my personal life.”
“Funny how that works” Voll said, “Just as well you can keep the personal, personal. It would be a real pity if I had to redesign your dress at this late stage of the game.”
“My mother would just throw money at the problem” Suse replied, “She’s been doing that a lot lately.”
“Luckily for her and your father, she just has the one daughter” Voll said, “Otherwise, bankruptcy might be a real possibility.”
“Care to tell my mother that?” Suse asked in reply.