"Do we have to go back in there? Can't we just leave?" he asked when they stopped kissing. It was the first good kiss he'd gotten in hours. This was also the first time he'd gotten her alone for longer than two seconds in hours. He wanted her alone for a lot longer than that, but then he suspected she knew that.
"John," she said softly, resting her head against his shoulder. He ran his fingers along her back, toying with a couple of the little buttons back there. "We can't."
"Brides and grooms do that. I see them do it all of the time!"
"If we'd gotten married today we could do that. We didn't, so we can't."
"So many rules," he whispered kissing the top of her head with a sigh.
"Are you really having that awful of a time?"
"Not awful, no, but," he said, running a finger along her spine. "I'm anxious to see how long it'll take me to work all these little buttons."
She'd gotten ready at her parents' house so he had no idea what she looked like until the car hired to pick him up first got to their house. To say she was breathtaking was an understatement. No one would ever mistake her dress for a wedding gown, but the tiny little buttons were definitely something he'd only ever seen on that type of dress before. The dress was formfitting enough to put to rest any rumors or ideas that they'd gotten married because she was pregnant. There was absolutely no room for her to hide the evidence of that.
He'd been oddly a little disappointed she hadn't been. A little. It would have eased his mind regarding that issue, but he knew deep down neither of them were ready for that yet. They were still learning how to live with one another, but in the back of his mind was the glimmer of hope that maybe she would be.
"Me, too," she said.
Her breath caught at his words. He knew the feeling. His breath caught at the idea of touching her inch by inch. He'd never before had occasion to touch the same woman this many times and he was more than a little surprised at how much he enjoyed it. He never thought he was the type.
"Yeah? See. We're in agreement on this. We could leave. I could start with this one right here by your neck," he said, running a fingertip along the button in question.
The holes for the buttons were not your run of the mill buttonholes he noticed earlier. They were little loop like things so he would actually have to pay attention to what he was doing. He had no idea how much this dress cost her, but he knew it wasn't cheap and he wasn't going to ruin it.
"We can't! My father would be furious."
"It's such hard work pleasing parents. I don't like it. I just want to worry about pleasing you."
"I know," she whispered.
He slid the back of his hand over her breast causing her to groan just as he kissed her again. He loved how she reacted to him. It didn't seem to matter where or when, even if it was just the idea of him wanting to do something with or to her she reacted. It made things very exciting, and sometimes frustrating. There was nowhere for them to disappear to here really. Not and be obvious about it, so he was contenting himself with this moment until it was time to finally leave. She seemed more than willing to give it to him, too, this little bit of a reprieve. A moment or two just the two of them so he could assure himself that she was really his.
"Oh, hey, Claire, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
"Of course you didn't," John said, having no clue who the guy talking was. They were clearly out here, away from the ballroom and the guests, for a reason. "That's why you walked up on what was clearly a private moment between us."
"Hey, sorry, really," the guy said, regarding John pretty oddly. John would say he was looking at him with interest, but he had to be wrong because he'd never seen the guy before in his life. "I just came to say good bye because I have to go. You're John right?"
"Good call," John said. It was pretty obvious he was John since he'd been caught standing here kissing the bride half of the couple this reception was being thrown for.
The guy extended his hand, John took it. "I'm Phillip Taylor. I grew up with Christopher and Claire."
"Oh, okay," John said.
"It's really good to meet you," Phillip said. "Really. I tried to get your attention earlier but you had so many people congratulating you I just figured I'd wait until later."
"Uh, yeah, you, too. You know, any friend of Claire's is a friend of mine."
"Well, sure, that, too," he said. "I just, uh," he frowned a bit and John wondered what that was about. He looked like he wanted to say something, but obviously stopped himself. "Well, anyway. It was good seeing you, Claire."
"You, too, Phil. I'm sorry your parents couldn't be here."
"Yeah. They wanted to come, you know, but just couldn't swing it."
"Tell them I said hello."
"I will." He leaned in and gave Claire a kiss on the cheek. "You look great. Mom's going to ask me for sure what your dress looked like. I'll be sure to tell her it was as beautiful as she expected it to be."
"Thank you," Claire said, sounding legitimately flattered. John had to admit she looked gorgeous. The dress was perfect. Perfect for her. Perfect color. Perfectly tailored. It was almost a shame to have to take the gown off of her later.
He reached in then and gave John a hug.
"It was real good to meet you, John. Really. You take care of her now, you hear."
"Uh, yeah, sure, I'll do my best."
John glanced after him, wondering what in the hell that was about. He wasn't a hugger in general certainly not with other guys so he had no idea how to respond to another guy going out of his way to hug him.
"Who the hell is he?" John asked once he was well out of earshot.
"He grew up down the street from us. He's a year younger than Christopher I think, so three years older than us I guess. He has an older brother and sister. I spent some time at his house growing up. His parents were nice. You know. Just neighbors."
"He always that friendly?"
"No, not really. I haven't seen him in probably two years I bet. I mean, we were always friends, but he's not someone I ever really hung out with when we got older. Chris did more than I did because they were in college together. I was just the little sister."
"Maybe. I don't know. I don't think so, he didn't seem that way."
"He's one of the few people who seemed actually happy to meet me. I'm almost kind of worried he's going to think I'm an asshole for what I said to him at first. Who does that, though? Walks up to a couple clearly into themselves?"
"He was saying good bye, it's what people do who are invited. If he's drunk he won't remember anyway. He did walk in on us kissing, so I'm sure he understands."
"He did, didn't he? Want to do it some more?"
"We should go back inside."
He sighed. "I know we should. I just want to stand here with you for the rest of the night."
"We can dance right here."
"As nice as that sounds…"
"I know your dad didn't shell out all this money for us to dance out here."
"No, he didn't."
"All right," he said, dropping his hand into hers. "Lead the way then, Princess. I am here to do your bidding."
"My bidding, huh?"
He glanced back at Phillip who had turned around before leaving to look at them again. He was a decent looking guy if one went for the Nordic blond hair and blue eyed type. He was definitely someone he could see Claire being into when she was younger, even though she claimed not to have been interested in anyone but him.
"He like you or something?" John asked. He could see that, too. Christopher's little sister or not, if she hung out at his house he would've seen her grow up from being the little sister to a teenaged girl.
"No. I never got that vibe off of him. Like I said, we were friends but not real close or anything. I couldn't tell you what his major was or what he does for a living now or anything."
"Weird," John said. "Well, I hope he has a ride home if he's drunk."
"I think he came with someone."
"Good." John couldn't remember because he honestly didn't recall seeing the guy until a few minutes ago. There were almost four hundred people here so he hoped he wasn't expected to remember faces let alone names.
She leaned up and kissed him. It wasn't nearly as nice as the kiss she'd been giving him out in the hallway before Phillip interrupted them. It was a kiss, though, and would sustain him until the next one.
"Speaking of drinking…"
"You are not getting drunk!"
"I want a drink. If I'm dancing in front of people I need a drink."
"Thank you," he said, heading toward the bar. "I will join you after a drink."
"Maybe two. I'm sure you won't lack for companionship on the dance floor in the meantime. Chicks always dance together."
"You're right. I'm surprised you haven't used that knowledge before."
"I didn't need to know how to dance to help me pick up women. Not once."
"Yes, but it would've been a great in. No lines necessary."
"There's only one chick I'd venture out to a dance floor for, Princess."
She blushed at that.
"I didn't say it was you."
"You don't have to!"
"I suppose not."
She reached up to kiss him. "Don't make me wait too long."
"You planning on leaving without me, sweets?"
"You never know!"
"I won't be long. I swear. I'm just going to have a beer with your brother here."
"You," she said, pointing at Christopher.
"Me what?" he asked, apparently oblivious to their conversation.
"You make sure one beer doesn't turn into ten."
"Why am I doing this?"
"Yeah," John said. "Why is he doing this? Maybe he'd like to have ten beers with me. You know, you Standishes can't seem to resist me and my charming personality."
She rolled her eyes and Christopher gave him a rather amused look, which was good. He was hoping his brother-in-law wouldn't take offense to his teasing comment.
"Because he needs to come dance with me."
"I can't make him do that, sis, but I'll do my best."
"Thank you," Claire said, walking toward the dance floor.
John took the seat next to Christopher's and ordered a beer. Great thing about being the groom part of the reason for this party, he hadn't had to wait for a drink once tonight. The bartender was Johnny-on-the-spot for him.
"You better not make her wait long," her brother said.
"She'll be kept occupied," John said, taking a sip of the beer the bartender set in front of him.
"Not a dancer?"
"You're a good photographer."
"I'm not sure what that has to do with dancing."
"It doesn't. I just felt like saying so."
John regarded him for a minute. "You're not drunk enough to come onto your sister's husband, are you?"
Christopher laughed then. "No, I'm not. And don't worry, you're not my type anyway."
"Hmm," John said. So, he had a type. He wondered what type that was. "So, that Phillip guy. What's his deal?"
"Phil Taylor? Why?"
"He hugged me!"
Christopher shrugged. "I have no idea. He was asking me some questions about you earlier."
"Yeah. You know, what you did and stuff. I don't know. We grow up with him, I'm sure he's just curious about you."
"Like no one else here isn't?"
"Well, yes, but he just knows me well enough to ask."
"Thanks for picking up the slack for her the past couple of days."
"I didn't have to do a whole lot."
"Well, still, I know she appreciates it."
"She told me."
"I'm telling you, too."
"You didn't even want this party."
"No, but she did."
"You're not so bad."
"Thanks, I think."
"Go dance with my sister. You don't want her mad at you tonight."
"No, I don't think I do."
John finished his beer, setting it on the bar and headed in her direction. He was not looking forward to this part of the evening at all. The slow dances he could handle, anything more than that he was in totally foreign territory. She knew that, so hopefully she'd be reasonable.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com