“Are you excited?”, I asked Sharon, knowing her answer already.
“Of course I am! I’m getting married! I can’t even begin to express how excited I am!”, she squealed on the other end of the line.
I listened to her gush about her dress and her makeup and the lilies that were going to be covering the entire reception hall and her happiness should’ve been contagious, but I was immune.
I had to admit, I was a little jealous. Not because she getting married, but because she was happy and in love and the man she loved, loved her back. The man I loved was no where to be found and I had no idea if he really loved me back, or where he was, if he was thinking of me or if he missed me.
I hung up and checked my makeup in the mirror. I looked amazing, but I felt like dirt. I felt so ugly emotionally and so empty. The only thing keeping me from bailing on Sharon was that I was a bridesmaid and there was an open bar.
The wedding was beautiful, but I just stood there like a zombie, in some sort of emotionless hole tuning the whole thing out.
Sitting at the table I was assigned to, near people I didn’t recognize, I stared at the ivory china with the silver trim and the tall centerpieces and I felt sick and angry. I wanted to leave or at least get embarrassingly drunk and I knew neither of those thoughts were options. I just felt numb to the whole love thing. My past mistakes with love were haunting me and making me feel so regretful and angry.
“Hey! Are you having fun? You aren’t dancing!”, Nat said to me as she plopped down next to me with her third cocktail of the night.
“The reception has hardly started and you already seem buzzed.”, I said to her looking at her brightly colored drink.
“I know, but how else are we gonna get through this. Besides, there’s a groomsmen I have my eye on and I need the courage to hit on him. Are you going to dance or something?”, she said to me.
“Not right now.”, I said as I stirred my water with a straw.
“Okay, well, don’t sit here in misery all night, try to have some fun.”, she said as she poked me in the shoulder.
I was happy she was having fun or at least trying to, but I would rather be anywhere but a wedding at this point.
I got up from my chair and made my way to the bar. It was covered in lights and little flowers and looked so elegant. The bartender was in a bowtie and he looked bored.
“Hi, can I get a white wine, please?”, I asked him.
“What kind?”, he asked me.
“I don’t care, something that doesn’t taste like garbage water.”, I said to him sarcastically.
He smiled slightly and poured from a fancy bottle. I took a sip and was delighted to taste a glass of wine I could stand.
I never loved wine, but it felt more appropriate than taking shots or drinking from a beer bottle, I don’t know why.
I stood there and sipped slowly, scanning the room. Steve and Sharon were dancing and laughing, the dance floor was packed. The tables were full of people mingling and eating fancy finger foods, chucking in conversation.
Most of the people at the reception I didn’t recognize and the ones I did were all busy with dates or friends, dancing and drinking. I felt like my misery made me stick out like a sore thumb.
I turned around to check my lipstick in my compact. Sharon made me bring this tiny little purse that practically only held a lipstick and a tissue and I thought it was more annoying to carry around than to just stash my lipstick in my bra, but she said that was tacky.
I turned around, thinking of ways I could sneak out and not be noticed, but I knew it was too early for that and I wasn’t quite drunk enough for the balls to do that on Sharon’s wedding day. I was sipping the wine and nearly finished with my first glass when the bartender smiled and refilled it to the top. I smiled back and figured we had an understanding being we were the only two people there who were only there due to obligations. Mine was Sharon, his was a paycheck.
As I looked around, I saw him. He was standing outside on the deck of the reception hall smoking a cigarette. He was looking out onto the ocean and the dim lighting wrapping around the deck railing lit his face so that I could hardly make out his features, but I knew him by the the frame of his body and the way he put the cigarette between his lips.
My heart literally jumped in my chest. I felt flushed and hot and a little sick. I just stood there, frozen and couldn’t stop looking at him.
“Oh God! Jen, come with me.”, Sharon said as she suddenly grabbed my arm. Nat quickly followed and they rushed me off to a side room where she got ready before the reception.
I found myself standing in the dark room, they were standing in front of me and their facial expressions were that of fear and regret.
“Are you okay?”, Nat asked me.
I couldn’t answer her.
“Jen, Steve said he wasn’t coming.”, Sharon said with a fearful look.
I knew that Steve spoke to him, but I didn’t know nor did I want to know anything he ever said. I told Steve and Sharon both not to tell me. I told Nat to only tell me if he was coming back to town. She didn’t this time and I wanted to rip her hair out.
I looked at her and imagined slapping her across the face like they do dramatically in soap operas.
“Jen”, she said as she walked towards me, speaking softly but confidently, “I didn’t know he was coming. I knew there was a very slight chance he would come into the city but I didn’t know for sure and I didn’t want to tell you unless I knew for sure.”
“Did you know?”, I asked Sharon. She didn’t say anything, she was silent as she looked down at the floor.
“Sharon…did you know?”, I asked her feeling heat rise up in my throat.
“Steve said he spoke to him, but he said James never got back to him. I was afraid if I told you, you wouldn’t come at all.”, she said to me.
I didn’t say anything, I just stood there a minute. I turned around, my back to them and I took a deep breath, trying not to scream at Sharon. I may not have had much self confidence those days, but I had enough self control not to make a scene at her wedding.
“Jen, please say something.”, Sharon said to me.
I turned around slowly.
“It’s okay. I understand. But you should’ve told me. I’m sick of everyone treating me like I’m going to fall apart, so I need you to tell me these things BEFORE I’m surprised by it. It’s okay. I just need a minute to myself," I said to them.
I wasn’t calm, I felt like screaming and throwing things, but I needed to keep it together. They both agreed and left, Nat was hesitant to leave but I she respected me enough to leave anyway.
I stood there and felt like my knees were going to give way. I felt weak and confused. I knew I needed to face this, but I hadn’t seen him in so long and I hardly saw him now in the dim light from the deck and I only imagined how he looked after so long.
I did manage to throw a few anxiety pills in my clutch and I took one and washed it down with the rest of my wine. Not a good idea, but at this point, I figured everyone would understand if I dropped dead from intoxication, so I didn’t care.
I walked out and the party was still as alive as ever. I looked over to the deck and he was still standing there, leaning up against the wall of the reception hall outside.
I walked closer to the door and opened it, the music muffling behind me as the door closed. He was smoking the end of a cigarette. Bringing it to his lips with his thick fingers. As I walked closer to him, he was exactly as I was afraid he would be. He was so beautiful. Tall, thick shoulders and tanned skin. His hair was cut short and not as dark as it was before when I knew him.
Just as I was about to turn around and run, he saw me. He stood there taking a drag of his cigarette and he looked at me. His brows furrowed a minute and his blue eyes looked brighter than I remember. He took a deep breath and exhaled the smoke as he spoke to me.
“Hello,” he said to me softly.
“Hi, I…I can’t believe I’m looking at you," I said to him.
I walked closer to him, I could already smell his cologne. He was dressed in all black as he usually was, that part of him was familiar. His button down shirt was unbuttoned at the neck, no tie, skinny dress pants. His black boots made me chuckle under my breath. No matter how nice he looked from the ankles up, he always wore those scuffed up, old war boots.
He was so insanely sexy, it nearly made me catch my breath when I looked at him and as always, I imagined him unclothed and ripping off my dress.
I was close enough to him to see his face up close and his struggles showed on his face. Little lines around his eyes, his forehead. He looked as if he spent a lot of time in the sun and his chest muscles were showing through his shirt. It was hard to be so close to him and not want to throw myself into his arms…or his crotch.
He smiled at me slightly.
“I can’t believe it either. You look stunning," he said to me with a soft tone.
He looked at me from head to toe and then locked eyes with me.
“You look great, too. I didn’t know you were coming, that’s maybe why I look so surprised right now. No one ever told me and I would have…like… called you or said something right away," I said to him babbling feeling awkward.
“I know, that’s my fault. I told Steve at the last minute and I asked him not to say anything to you. I’m sorry, but I didn’t want it to ruin the wedding or reception if you knew and didn’t want me to be here. I told him I wasn’t coming but he wasn’t really hearing that and so I just hung out out here for a while.”, he said to me.
“I saw you at the table. At the bar drinking wine. I saw you walk in. You looked kind of etherial. In the light, all shimmery and beautiful. And then very bored.”, he said chuckling.
It made a lump rise in my throat when I heard him say I was beautiful and that he was watching me. I had longed to hear words like that from him for so long, but my self-denial was stronger than my puppy-love. I wanted to both punch him and stick my tongue in his mouth.
I chuckled back out of not knowing what else to say. I could smell him. He smelled like fresh soap and cologne and the warmth I remembered and I missed it. I wanted more than anything to bury my face in his neck and touch his jawline with my lips. I also thought of what his cock tasted like if I put it in his mouth right at that moment.
“I should go back in. I shouldn’t linger out here. I think Sharon would want me to mingle or something being I’m her maid of honor.”, I said to him. He just nodded his head.
His lack of emotion was always something that angered me about him. I wanted him to scream or yell or kiss me or ask me not to go.
I started to walk away and then I stopped suddenly. Something came over me and I was instantly feeling a lot less intimidated as the two glasses of wine rushed to my head.
“Why did you come back?”, I asked him.
He just stood there and his face expressed terrible sadness and confusion.
“Jen..I just needed not to interrupt your life.”, he said to me.
“Why did you come back?!”, I asked him again angrily.
Jen, don’t do this!”, he said to me intently.
“Answer me!”, I asked him firmly.
He stepped towards me, he was close enough that I could feel the warmth coming off his skin and it made me crazy.
“Just tell me why.”, I whispered.
“You know why," he whispered back.
I was close enough to kiss him, but instead I turned around and left quickly. The whole situation felt surreal and ridiculous. I ran to the bathroom and stood in a stall. Taking deep breaths, trying not to panic…or vomit.
I heard Sharon and Nat walk in, giggling and talking about the food and the cute bartender.
I walked out of the stall I was hiding in and stood there, feeling stupid.
“Oh Jen, where were you?”, Sharon asked.
I didn’t say anything and they knew. Their expressions went from having fun to feeling regret.
“Well, enough of this. Let’s dance!”, Nat said awkwardly as she grabbed both of our arms and yanked us back out to the reception hall.
I started dancing with them, trying to ignore what happened and how I felt and the fact that James was there at all. It was difficult but I knew I had to practice some humility for self preservation. I tried so hard to put on a brave, I don’t-give-a-fuck face, but inside my head I was ready to start throwing champagne glasses.
A couple of hours had passed and after about three dances and two more glasses of wine, I was sufficiently feeling the effects of the wine and the effects of dancing. Nat, Sharon and I sat down at a table. My armpits were sweating and my makeup was melting off.
They were chatting about guests and I was picking at the wedding cake in front of me. I occasionally scanned the room and never saw James again. I figured he left and I also figured that was better for my emotions. Thankfully, the wine was helping me feel less overwhelmed and the more I drank, the less I cared about what anyone thought. I just couldn’t stop thinking about him and how much I wanted to unzip his pants.
The way he looked, his blue eyes, his soft hair. How his hands looked strong and large and warm and I wanted more than anything to feel his skin pressed against mine. I had to literally squeeze my eyes shut to force the images out of my brain.
“I’m gonna get some fresh air,," I said to them and they didn’t really notice.
They were too busy gossiping and drinking to notice much of anything. Sharon was high on the excitement of being married and Nat was full of fruity cocktails.
I walked out to the deck and sat down on the steps at the end of board walk. I couldn’t see the reception hall from there, but I could hear the muffled dance music and laughing every time someone opened the door and took a smoke break.
There was a couple in the corner, kissing wildly and I was so jealous. I wanted more than anything to feel James kiss me, feel his hands slide into my dress and squeeze my ass.
I sat there imagining these naughty things, my eyes closed, my wine glass empty. The cool air felt good on my face and I could feel a tinge of pressure between my legs.
I wondered where he went. I wondered if he left again or if he stayed in the city. I wondered what Steve would think if I asked him where he was, if he was staying in the hotel the reception was at, what room he might be in. I knew Steve would know why I was asking and I knew he would instantly get that Dad look on his face and talk me out of whatever the wine was telling me I should do.
I heard a loud thump underneath me and bent over to see if I could make out what it was under the boardwalk. When I sat back up, he was sitting next to me.
He smiled and it took my breath away.
“Hey, I think there’s a bum sleeping under there," he said to me as he pointed towards the boardwalk.
“Hi, I thought you left or something,”. I said to him.
“Oh, no, I was exploring the hotel a bit, drinking a bit, smoking a bit," he responded as he took a swig from a beer bottle.
“Oh, wedding mingling not your thing?”, I said to him playfully.
He scoffed a bit. “Not really, I can’t get into it," he said.
“Then why didn’t you leave? I’m sure Steve would understand, doubt he would notice. He’s very much into his new bride right now,” I said to him looking back towards the reception hall windows even though I couldn’t see anything through them.
“Because you’re still here,” he said to me looking at the ocean and drinking his beer. His lips were so pink and full, I wanted his lips on mine instead of the neck of the beer.
As much as I wanted to hear him say those things, it also made me angry. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in so long and it made me angry he had the audacity to say those things at all.
“You don’t have the right to say that to me. You don’t have the right to come back and expect me to swoon at your every word…” I started to bark at him.
“Jen, wait," he said but I interrupted him.
“You shouldn’t have come here, James! You know you shouldn’t have. You said yourself that you didn’t wanna interrupt my life, but you are!”, I shouted at him, feeling dizzy and angry.
“It’s my life too. Steve wanted me to come here. I came here for him, but yes, yes I admit I came here to see you too. I just can’t avoid my life because you happen to be in it,” he said to me.
He was crazy gorgeous in the moonlight and I had to leave before I leaned over and kissed him. If I did that, life would be over as I knew it.
I just got up and started to walk away. He got up and just as I turned around to face him, he stopped.
“Just don’t..tell me when you’re leaving again. Just do what you need to do, but stay away from me while you’re here, okay?”, I said to him.
I stated it more than I asked it as a question and I didn’t want to say it. It killed me to tell him to stay away from me but I needed to do it. I hated being so close to him and not being with him.
I walked in and noticed a lot of people were leaving and the reception was wrapping up, people lingering about taking full advantage of the open bar. I stood in the back of the reception against a wall, feeling angry at myself and regretful and drunk.
Sharon walked up to me and hugged me tightly.
“I am so glad you are here. I am so, so glad. I’m sorry things didn’t go quite as planned with James, but I hope you at least had some fun.”, she said smiling.
“Of course I did. It was so beautiful. I’m so happy for you.”, I said hugging her back.
“I need to ask you something and I need you not to ask why.”I said to her.
“Oooh kay.”, she said looking concerned.
“Is James staying in the city?”, I asked her.
“He’s staying here. I’m not sure for how long. Steve got him a room. Steve figured it would be easier if he weren’t staying with us since he thought you’d be coming over and stuff.”, she said.
“Why didn’t you just tell me?”, I asked her.
“Jen, I dunno…I just wanted to protect you,” she said with a regretful look.
I wanted to scream at her again for that, but I knew it was in good intentions and I couldn’t fault her for that.
Sharon was looking around and not really paying attention to me, I gotta check on the bartender and make sure he got paid. He looks confused. Are you going home?”, she asked me.
“Sharon!”, I said as she was walking away. She walked back towards me.
“What room is he in?”, I asked her quietly.
She didn’t say anything right away. Her face said it all. She wasn’t into the idea of giving me that information, but I knew she wouldn’t argue much with me at that point.
She sighed. “1463," she said. “Be careful, Jen.” She said to me as she walked away to talk to the confused bartender.
I took the info and stored it in my brain. I walked out towards the lobby, my feet were on fire with pain and I could feel the strap of my bra digging into my shoulder. I wanted to go home, but I wanted to go to him. I knew that was a bad idea. I walked outside and saw a cab waiting to pick up people. I stood there a moment, contemplating. I was completely torn down the middle of my emotions.
If I went to him, it would open a pandoras box of pain for me. If I went home, I would cry myself to sleep but most likely survive the heartbreak of being with him. I seriously needed an emotional lobotomy.
I reluctantly got into a cab. Gave the cabbie my address and he didn’t say much in return. There was dance music on the radio and I could smell my deodorant. My toes were crunched tightly into my heels and I just couldn’t stop the nagging feeling of barking at the cabby to turn around.
I sat there, the cabbie viciously beeping his horn at every other cab driver. We didn’t get too far from the hotel, a line of cars fighting one another to leave and get onto the highway. It was just stop and go for several minutes.
Before I knew it, I just jumped out of the cab and thew some cash onto the front seat before slamming the door. I heard the cabbie yelling as I ran away, but I didn’t turn around.
I wasn’t far from the hotel at all, definitely walking distance, but I was running and in the uncomfortable heels I had on, it felt like I wasn’t making much progress.
I reached the double doors and squeezed into the lobby between people who were leaving the reception.
There I was standing in the hotel lobby, feeling like I had lost my mind.
What was I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?
I had no answers. My attempt to find answers only resulted in his image showing up in my brain. I started to walk towards the elevator and when I glanced into the hotel bar, trying to catch my breath, I saw him. I walked in slowly, he was sitting at the dark bar. The bar was empty except for a few wedding guest stragglers who didn’t want the party to stop. They were dancing and mingling, taking shots. Their actions not matching up to the atmosphere of the high-class lounge.
I walked up to him and he saw me just as he took a drink from his gin on the rocks. He looked surprised. Watching his Adams apple move with his gulp nearly knocked me off my feet.
“Take me somewhere.”, I whispered in his ear. So close to him that I could smell his shampoo.
He immediately got up, threw money on the bar and took my hand. He said nothing.
Before I knew it, we were in his room.
He closed the door and before he could even turn on a light, I grabbed him by the collar and pushed him harshly up against the wall.
Our lips slammed into one another and my tongue found his, he tasted so good and I could feel my thighs tense at the touch of his fingertips on my back.
His kissing became more and more desperate and he suddenly picked me up and wrapped my legs around his waist. Every time he kissed me, he lightly bit my lip and I could feel the wet between my legs.
He carried me to the bed and laid me down. I looked up at him standing over me and the light shone in the windows so perfectly that I could see every ab muscle as he unbuttoned his shirt. He grabbed my hands and put them on his stomach. My brain instantly went to wondering how long one has to spend in the gym to get a physique like that.
I sat up and looked up him, he caressed my cheek and put his hand on the back of my neck, gently pushing me towards his hips. I so desperately wanted to feel him inside my mouth and I unbuckled his belt and unzipped his pants like a kid on Christmas Day opening a present.
He had on dark red boxer briefs and as his pants fell to his ankles, his bulge was showing nicely through his tight shorts. That alone was enough to bring me to the edge, but I needed more. The desire to taste him and wrap my lips around his cock was ridiculously strong.
I pulled his shorts down and his cock was already hard and firm. It bounced playfully out of his shorts and up towards my face. I looked up at him once more and his he was biting his bottom lip, lightly pulling the back of my hair.
As I wrapped my lips around the head of his cock, I tasted him so deeply and couldn’t wait to feel him cum.
He was warm and hard and the moans he let out were turning me on so badly that I couldn’t help, but suck him harder and faster.
“Fuck!”, he said quietly and desperately and it only made me hotter to hear him curse at how much he was enjoying himself.
I looked up at him as I sucked his cock and he had his head back, eyes closed, grinding against my mouth. Spit dribbled out of the corner of my mouth, onto my thigh and all I wanted at that moment was to make him cum.
I could feel my jaw aching from the mouth fuck and I didn’t care. He tasted exquisite and I could feel myself getting wetter, my thighs clenching at the fact his cock was finally in my mouth.
As I sucked him harder, he pumped harder against me and I knew he was close. He grabbed the back fo my hair and pulled hard, making me wince a bit, but not enough to stray from my goal.
I just kept sucking him and all of a sudden he was moaning loudly and I tasted him cum into my mouth. Each shot of warmth covering my tongue as his body contracted in pleasure.
I took a deep gulp, tasting his cum slide down my throat. It reminded me of salty pineapple and it was gloriously delicious.
He looked down at me, his chest heaving as he tried to catch his breath. He smiled and I knew.
I knew the rest of the night would be just as intense and just as wet. I suddenly had no more regrets. I suddenly knew I was right where I was supposed to be.