Run­away bride

Emily’s big day was a car crash

Real People - - CONTENTS -

Well, it was al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge…

‘Sudi?’ I said to my fi­ancé, Sudi Pa­tel. ‘What about these cake top­pers?’

I held my ipad up so he could see the glit­tery, sil­ver Mr and Mrs.

‘What­ever makes you happy,’ he mum­bled, glued to James Bond’s Goldfin­ger.

I was in full-on wed­ding plan­ning mode, but Sudi was so laid-back he was al­most hor­i­zon­tal.

We’d met when I was work­ing in Costa Cof­fee. He came in for a cap­puc­cino and left with­out giv­ing me more than a thank you, but then my boss came over…

‘A man just rang and asked me to give you his num­ber,’ he grinned.

In­trigued, I gave him a call. ‘Mr Mys­te­ri­ous?’ I asked. Sudi asked me out on a date! And that was that. We just clicked. We loved go­ing to fancy res­tau­rants in Lon­don, and

I grew to share his love of James Bond films…

Af­ter three years to­gether, in April 2015, he swept me off to Lon­don for my 20th birth­day, to a suite at the Corinthia Ho­tel.

‘Wow!’ I gasped. In the bed­room, red rose petals were scat­tered across the bed. There was a bot­tle of Cham­pagne on the side… and a gor­geous halo di­a­mond ring.

‘So,’ Sudi, 28, grinned. ‘Will you marry me?’

‘Yes,’ I sobbed. We cel­e­brated with din­ner at the Shard.

Af­ter­wards, I started book­ing ap­point­ments at dif­fer­ent venues. ‘Al­ready?’ Sudi gasped.

‘It’s never too soon,’ I smiled. And then he said the words I’d heard a mil­lion times since – ‘What­ever makes you happy.’ The mes­sage? He was go­ing to leave the wed­ding stuff to me.

So I found a stun­ning coun­try house in Chid­ding­fold, Sur­rey, and booked it for 10 Septem­ber 2016. And now, in be­tween run­ning a beauty sa­lon with my mum, Deb­bie, and Sudi’s job as an as­set man­ager, it was all wed­ding, wed­ding, wed­ding…

There were just a few months to go, so it was time for dress shop­ping! It was in the third shop that I felt the tin­gle. I slipped the dress on and… wow!

‘Stun­ning,’ Mum choked, as I twirled around in a beau­ti­ful fish­tail ivory dress, be­decked with lace and dia­mantes.

‘It’ll need tak­ing up,’ I said – I was only 5ft 2in.

‘We can ad­just it to fit per­fectly with your heels,’ the shop owner as­sured me.

And now, even laid-back Sudi was get­ting ex­cited.

He threw him­self into the food and wine tast­ing. I drove and he sam­pled the wine for both of us.

‘Best bit so far,’ he gig­gled. Thank­fully, he was sober enough to help me de­cide on the beef, risotto balls and choco­late brown­ies for our feast.

As Sudi was half In­dian, we were plan­ning an In­dian theme for the evening do, serv­ing up samosas and play­ing Bhangra mu­sic.

Be­fore long, there was just 10 days to go. I’d been go­ing to an out­door boot camp to get sleek for my gown, and I had a ses­sion booked for that night.

‘I can’t re­ally be both­ered,’ I mut­tered. I’d been on my feet all day at work. But still, I put on my leg­gings, T-shirt and train­ers, and drove to the park.

‘Ex­cuse the racket,’ my in­struc­tor groaned.

Near our group were two blokes with a noisy, 2ft-long re­mote-con­trol petrol car.

They were clearly en­joy­ing an­noy­ing us.

We all thought ig­nor­ing them was the best idea as we started mak­ing our way around the var­i­ous ex­er­cise sta­tions and lift­ing dumb bells and do­ing star jumps. About 20 min­utes in, I was sprint­ing shut­tle runs across the park, next to the buzz of a re­mote­con­trol car.

One of the blokes was mak­ing it cir­cle us. It was go­ing at about 30mph! Vrooooom!

The car was com­ing straight for me!

It was com­ing straight for me as I ran. ‘He’ll stop it,’ I thought. But it kept com­ing…

There was a mas­sive crunch as it ca­reered into my left leg.

‘Aar­rrgh!’ I screamed, fall­ing to the ground. Pain sliced me.

‘Are you OK?’ a woman asked. ‘We’ve called the po­lice.’ ‘My leg!’ I screamed. I man­aged to get my trainer off and then some class­mates car­ried me to a bench. The bloke had taken his car and run off.

‘I need to call my fi­ancé,’ I gib­bered. I was in shock, shak­ing, my heart rac­ing. Some­one handed me a phone and I called him.

‘I’ve had a car ac­ci­dent,’ I told Sudi.

‘A car ac­ci­dent?’ he cried, pan­icked. Well, sort of ! I gave him a slightly less gar­bled ex­pla­na­tion and he said he’d be straight down.

My an­kle was now swelling like a rub­ber glove some­one was blow­ing up. A bag of ice was fetched from a nearby restau­rant and I held it to my leg as it throbbed. By this time, I could see Sudi run­ning to­wards me.

‘It’s OK,’ he said, hug­ging me. We knew it’d be quicker to drive to hospi­tal rather than wait­ing for an am­bu­lance.

He hoisted me up and helped me to the car. I could see the po­lice speak­ing to my class­mates. ‘It can’t be bro­ken,’ I whim­pered to Sudi. ‘The wed­ding…’ ‘Don’t think like that,’ he said. At hospi­tal, Sudi got me a wheel­chair. Then I faced a fourhour wait. ‘That man aimed the car straight at me,’ I croaked. ‘Id­iot!’ he raged.

Fi­nally, I was given an X-ray. ‘You’ve got three frac­tures,’ the nurse said. I burst out laugh­ing. ‘I’m get­ting mar­ried in 10 days,’ I chuck­led, prob­a­bly still in shock!

‘I’m sorry,’ she said.

I apol­o­gised. ‘If I’d fallen down the stairs drunk, fair enough,’ I said. ‘But I was mowed into by a bloomin’ re­mote-con­trol car!’

I was given pain re­lief and seen by a doc­tor. ‘They’re hair­line frac­tures – you’ll need an op­er­a­tion to put metal screws in, but only if the swelling’s gone down enough,’ he told me. ‘Then we’ll de­cide if you need a cast or boot.’

I was stuck in a tem­po­rary cast, reach­ing up to my knee.

I had to keep the leg el­e­vated and, al­lowed home, it was only the next day that my tears fell.

‘I won’t be able to wear my heels on the day,’ I blubbed. ‘And now my dress will be too long.’

‘We can can­cel the wed­ding,’ Sudi whis­pered. ‘I just want you to be happy.’

Those words, in this sit­u­a­tion, made me cry harder.

‘No,’ I snif­fled. ‘As long as I can walk down the aisle with Dad. I want to marry you.’ We’d lose a for­tune on the venue, oth­er­wise.

But poor Sudi had to do ev­ery­thing for me, carry me to the loo, wash me…

Two days later, I went back to hospi­tal. ‘The swelling’s gone down,’ the doc­tor smiled. ‘We can op­er­ate.’

It took 90 min­utes and, when I came round, my only re­lief was that I had a boot on, not a cast. I’d had six screws put in to help the bone back into place.

‘A boot’s slightly bet­ter,’ I sighed. It’d take 12 weeks to heal. Given crutches, I wasn’t al­lowed to put any pres­sure on it.

‘But I’m not be­ing wheeled down the aisle on them and

I won’t hob­ble,’ I vowed.

My par­ents lived in a bun­ga­low, so I moved in with them.

We can­celled our hon­ey­moon in Morocco, but then I threw all my en­er­gies into prac­tis­ing ‘walk­ing’ with Dad. ‘I’m not hurt­ing you, am I?’ I’d gri­mace, putting all my weight on him.

I tried hop­ping, shuf­fling… I was de­ter­mined that I wouldn’t need the crutches.

Soon enough, the big day ar­rived. Mum helped me get dressed. ‘At least the dress cov­ers the boot,’ I smiled wryly. And bless my florist, she dec­o­rated my crutches with the same white and pink roses I had in my bou­quet.

In­stead of my heels, though, I slipped on one plat­form flip-flop.

Then fi­nally, me and my dad, Brian, were stood at the top of the aisle. ‘Ready?’ he smiled. I nod­ded. I used my crutches to get halfway down, my brides­maids be­hind me.

But then I stopped, put the crutches to one side and linked arms with Dad.

I’d de­cided to ig­nore the doc­tors. I’d have one mo­ment like this, so, putting my full weight on both feet, I walked to­wards Sudi. He looked so hand­some in his navy suit and pink cra­vat.

‘Well done,’ he smiled. ‘You look beau­ti­ful.’ Then I stood be­side him, just a bit lop­sided as I stead­ied my­self on my right foot.

Af­ter­wards, I took my crutches again. The main bit was over. We en­joyed the lovely meal and, thank­fully, no­body men­tioned my foot in their speeches. ‘I didn’t want it to be all about that,’ Dad smiled.

Af­ter­wards, Sudi and I changed into our In­dian out­fits.

I slipped on a tra­di­tional red and gold dress while my new hus­band looked so hand­some in his cream em­broi­dered jacket and trousers.

As we came back in, Pan­jabi MC was play­ing. ‘We didn’t choose a first dance,’ Sudi grinned. ‘What about this?’

We’d never had a song that was ‘ours’.

Sudi held me up and the whole day was. There was no get­ting my leg over though – not even the good one – as Sudi had passed out from all the cham­pers!

We man­aged a few days away in the Cotswolds af­ter the wed­ding, but it was three months of hob­bling around be­fore I was back to nor­mal. I ended up hav­ing the screws re­moved, as they were rub­bing, which left a 5in scar.

But there was re­lief when the po­lice told me they’d ar­rested the man who’d driven the car at me.

Ricky Fitzger­ald, 40, who had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions in­clud­ing threats to kill, ad­mit­ted griev­ous bod­ily harm. I de­cided not to go to court to see him sen­tenced. In­stead, the po­lice told me he’d been jailed for two years.

The judge, Roger Hether­ing­ton, told Fitzger­ald he’d caused ‘ap­palling dis­rup­tion’ to our wed­ding and slammed him for try­ing to in­tim­i­date our class.

Now, we’ve just cel­e­brated our two-year wed­ding an­niver­sary and be­ing Mrs Pa­tel is amaz­ing.

But I ex­pected my hus­band to knock me off my feet, not a re­mote-con­trol car!

Emily Pa­tel, 23, Burgess Hill, West Sus­sex

De­spite be­ing in hospi­tal days ear­lier, I was de­ter­mined to walk down the aisle with my dad Six screws were put in to hold my leg to­gether

Ricky Fitzger­ald was jailed for two years We changed into In­dian out­fits for our evening do My florist dec­o­rated my crutches with flow­ers to match my bou­quet

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