Heat. Hot as it thrust in and out of me.
Bite. His hands on my ass set the pace. Pushing and pulling me off his cock.
Scrape. Every turn of his head, his five o’clock shadow burned its way over my ear, my neck, my chest, his gentle mouth following its path.
Sigh. The sounds of my love as he got closer. Whispers. Orders. Grunts. Worships.
Explosion. I broke in his arms, his hands moving from my ass as he wrapped them around my body and hugged me to his chest, his hips taking over the motion¸ carrying me as I fell apart, waves of pleasure that stretched out as I heard the change in his voice and knew that he was following suit.
Tumble. Both of us sideways, stretched out on the couch, my back turned to the television, spooned against his chest, his hand in my hair, eyes on my face.
“I love you,” he whispered.
And in that moment, with graduation and finals and my family and his, wedding plans stacking up mountains of stress around us... nothing else mattered.
It was all that mattered.
Days until graduation: 5
Days until wedding: 11
Dress. Simple and elegant, with a long train that made me feel glamorous.
Ring. Two-point-five carats of perfection in Brad’s custom setting, small diamonds off-setting the large stone.
Something Borrowed. Brad’s mother’s earrings—emeralds and diamonds shining from my earlobes.
Something Blue. Pale blue lace panties that matched my bra. Humorously virginal in their innocence and delicate structure.
Something Old. My husband, who would certainly be in attendance. Oops, shit. Ignore my adolescent humor. Hmmm ... something old. My practically vintage Jimmy Choos, bought at an estate sale Brad and I stumbled upon when driving through his neighborhood one day.
Something New. Everything else. My mind spun with the exorbitant bill this wedding must be racking up. Brad had forbid Rebecca to share any details with me regarding cost, but my eyes could easily pick up the details:
Two wedding planners.
The diamond-encrusted ballroom at Fleur De Lis, the only location in town big enough to hold our enormous guest list, while still providing charm and elegance.
A four-tiered wedding cake with custom Tiffany & Co Bride and Groom figurines.
A twelve-piece orchestra for the wedding, two bands for the reception.
A five-course plated dinner with wine pairings for over three hundred guests.
Custom invitations, many sent by tuxedoed courier, to the elite of the elite in the city.
The Favors—mini bottles of Dom Perignon accompanied by gold-leaf boxes of chocolate-covered strawberries.
It had wandered into the land of ridiculous, an opulent show of wealth that would be performed for individuals I barely knew. It would have been, if you subtracted Brad’s family from the equation, my dream wedding. Instead, it felt like I was anchoring myself to Dom Magiano, forever tying my life to his, a partnership with Satan sealed with a kiss and a platinum setting.
Everything had become a countdown, my graduation one small blip in the jewel-encrusted timeline leading up the big day. Little did we know, I would never walk down that rose-covered aisle, that Lohengrin’s wedding march would start, the couture-clad guests would turn, and be met by an empty aisle, no bride in sight. It would be a countdown to disappointment.
Mom and Dad arrived again, their car loaded to the gills with whoknewwhat, checking back into the Holiday Inn that had held them at Christmas. In between classes and studying, I spent as much time as possible with them. I shopped with Mom, picking out bathing suits and cover-ups for my honeymoon, the location of which only he and Rebecca knew. In the evening, I took walks with Dad through downtown, ducking into odd shops and ice cream parlors, while he did little talking, and I chattered away.
It was refreshing to have a final act in the role of daughter, before the title of wife put me fully in the role of grown up. I sucked up their love, their proud smiles and congratulatory words, and pretended, for a few days, that I wasn’t hiding a hundred secrets under the gorgeous sweep of my wedding gown.
Still, it loomed. The wedding day, the church divided. The thirty-nine wedding invites that still had outstanding RSVPS. A possible collision of suited gangsters and country bumpkins. I dreaded the casual conversations over finger food, the progression into drinking and dancing, the drinking which would loosen tongues, incite tempers, the potential for violence increasing in the midst of elegance. If something could go wrong, it would. There were too many hidden bombs for one not to explode.
Days until wedding: 6
I changed upstairs, selecting simple clothing to wear underneath the robes, and was aware, while pulling on a camisole, that I was exhausted, the last five days of double duty between my parents and finals taking its toll on me. Rebecca had become a full-time stalker, bombarding me constantly with wedding details and reminders. Her follow-through had no bounds—if I was in the shower, using the restroom, or studying for finals, she was there, with a question or demand—just the sight of her causing me anxiety.
I had, during the last week, escaped when I could, to the theatre room with Ben or to the pool or bedroom with Brad. They had both been quiet, allowing me to work out my frustration in silence. Or, in the case of Brad, with moans and gasps.
I picked up pearls, looping them around my neck, watching my face in the mirror, willing my tight face to relax. Wondering, as I did, what was going on downstairs. What my mother was saying to Brad, what pitfalls he was no doubt dodging with ease.
Dealing with the men in my life was so much easier. They were all behaving, content in their roles. It was the women who were being difficult. My mother and Rebecca, who had, after getting along perfectly for eleven months, suddenly found something to argue about. Rebecca, who was now bitching about my mother, bitching about the caterers, bitching about everything and everyone to anyone in earshot. Olivia, who seemed increasingly pissed that I was getting married at all, and Becca, whose sole goal was suddenly the need to create a synchronized dance routine for the wedding party to enter with—a burst of passionate creativity that no one else was on board with.
Somehow, in this last week, the wedding, the joining of our souls, had become about everyone else. Maybe it had been building that way for a while. Maybe that was how everyone’s weddings were . But now, on graduation day, the wedding still six days away, I was ready for everyone to leave. For my parents to pack their bags and head back to Georgia, for Rebecca to return to her office at the firm, for Olivia to get over herself and accept my marriage. Oh, and for Becca to stop breaking into improvised dance numbers, complete with jazz hands and cheery-ass smiles.