It’s a brand-new round of promptly penned, and they are just as awesome as last year’s. Here’s the prompt. I will fit it in “somewhere” in the story, lol. I hope you enjoy…
My apologies. It’s a long one. I wanted it to be short. I really did, but… sigh.
“Take one step closer to me, and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”
“How do I look?”
Trixie looked up from the glass of white wine death-clamped between her fingers and gave her best friend the once-over. Bard had his back to her, his body reflected in the long mirror in front of him. Crisp white shirt, grey vest, dark blue tie topped off with a black tux. How did her look? Fucking amazing. Good enough to eat. Exactly the way she’d always envisioned he’d look on his wedding day, only… he wasn’t marrying her.
She bit back the bite of jealousy that burned her throat. She didn’t have any right to be jealous. As far as Bard knew, they were friends. Best friends. Drinking buddies. Road trip renegades. Hell, she’d even bailed his ass out of jail once when he’d gotten into a fight in some red-neck town with the local sheriff’s son.
But that was it. Not lovers. Not even friends with benefits, despite the signs she’d been throwing his way for—Christ? Ten years? Maybe twelve? The guy was brilliant when it came to architecture. Had created a stunning new wing for the marine museum. But he wouldn’t know a flirt or pass if it bit him in the ass.
In retrospect, she should have literally bitten him in the ass. At least that way he would have gotten the message. Or maybe he had and he’d pretended to be dense because he didn’t have any romantic feelings for her. Didn’t feel his skin tighten, his heart race. Didn’t feel as if his tongue was too thick to form words or that he was going to spontaneously combust if she rubbed up innocently against him one more time.
She smiled. “You look great. You’re gonna make Monica cry.”
He snorted. “Make her cry? Are we talking about the same woman, because I’m certain she’ll say my tie isn’t right, or my hair’s unruly.” He looked down. “Shit. Do these shoes go with this tux?”
Trixie choked on her next swig of alcohol. Damn, she couldn’t afford to waste any of it. The only way she was getting through this ceremony was with an obscene amount of ninety-proof in her system.
Bard frowned. “What’s so funny? Do they look that bad? Should I change them?”
She shook her head, muttering when a chunk of her updo let loose, dropping a curly mass of hair around her shoulder. Fuck, she couldn’t get her hair right with someone helping and Miss Perfect managed to hold all hers in with two freaking chop sticks.
Trixie shoved the hair out of her face as she sat up straighter. “I was laughing at you, not your shoes.”
The lines above his nose deepened. “Why?”
“Because you sound like a freaking girl. How many vaginas are there in your relationship? I thought it was only supposed to be Monica’s.”
“Not funny, Trix. This is important.”
“Getting married is important. Saying your vows and believing in them is important. Being so in love with your partner you’re blind to everyone else in the room is important. Who gives a crap if your shoes are shined properly? Besides, they’re black. They match everything.”
His face relaxed and his lips curved up. “Monica cares. About everything. About the color of the damn pocket square I’m supposed to wear.” He turned to face her. “What the fuck is a pocket square? Am I supposed to give it to her if she starts crying? Or if her mother does? If my mother? And why does it matter if the groomsmen and bridesmaids aren’t organized by height? It’s supposed to be about having your friends stand up with you. Not whether Nancy is taller than my brother.”
“Nancy is taller than everyone’s brother.”
“Right?” He toed at the floor. “You were supposed to be my best man.”
“Best woman. Person. I’m sure there’s a name for it.” She shrugged as she paced to the other side of the small antechamber. “It’s fine. I get it. It would have thrown off the whole balance of the wedding party. God forbid, I didn’t have anyone to dance with.”
“I would have danced with you.”
Trixie snapped her head around. Had she imagined the hint of longing in his voice? The slight gravelly tone she’d only ever heard him talk to his ‘dates’ with? She studied his face. Lips pinched tight, brows slightly furrowed. A slight blush colored his cheeks as he drew air in through his nose, the rhythm faster than usual.
“I know. But that kind of defeats the purpose. You’re supposed to be dancing with your bride.”
He nodded. “I know. I’ve seen enough sappy chick flicks to have it all down pat.”
“She made you watch wedding movies?”
“Endlessly. And not just me. The entire wedding party. It was one long weekend I will never get back. I thought my brother was going to bail.”
Trixie laughed. James, Bard’s brother, would never bail on his little brother’s wedding, even if James didn’t really agree. Like her, he didn’t understand what Bard saw in Monica. They were polar opposites Trixie was sure extended to a cellular level. Of course, for her, jealousy blurred reality, and she was big enough to admit she couldn’t have pictured Bard with anyone other than her.
She drew in a calming breath then moved over to him, reaching up to straight his tie. “You look great. Perfect. Just like everything else. I’ve already checked out the chapel room. The flowers are stunning and it smells great. Like roses and summer rain. And once you’re ready, I’ll go take one last look around the reception area—they were supposed to deliver the cake. I’ll make sure it’s flawless, like everything else is supposed to be. Okay?”
Bard smiled, wrapping his arms around her then dragging her in for a soul-crushing hug. God, just feeling his arms around her—his breath warm and spicy against her cheek, his chest heaving against hers—made the pain in her heart explode outwards until it took every ounce of strength she had just to breathe. To return the hug without taking it further—letting her lips graze his neck or rubbing against the slight bulge in his pants. She wasn’t sure if he was slightly aroused or just big—great. Now, she was picturing his cock.
Bard gave her a squeeze. “What would I do without you?”
She was more interested in what he’d do with her. To her.
Trixie cleared her throat as she stepped back once he’d dropped his arms, fighting back the burning sensation in her eyes. Shit. She never cried. “Crash and burn, for sure.”
Bard frowned. “Hey, are you okay?”
She cursed inwardly. She hadn’t really thought he’d notice. “Fine. Girls are supposed to cry at weddings.”
She spun, the sharp tap of her heels cutting him off. “I’ll go check everything, again. Then, I’ll take me seat.” She paused at the doorway, glancing over her shoulder without making eye contact. “Congratulations, Bard. Monica’s a lucky lady.”
She left, walking as quickly as her damn shoes would let her. Why had she worn heels? It wasn’t as if she was in the wedding party. Monica had vetoed that the moment Bard had brought it up—had said he needed his best friend up there with him. Trixie still wasn’t sure why Bard hadn’t fought Monica’s decision. They were supposed to be equals, yet, he seemed content more times than not to let Monica make the decisions.
Which was just another indicator that Trixie and Bard never would have lasted. She didn’t want a guy who caved to her every whim. She wanted a man who called her on her bullshit. Who stood up for his beliefs, but who both expected and respected that she did the same. She’d always thought Bard was that kind of guy. He was in every other facet of his life, but with Monica…
Stop thinking about it, you ditz. He’s marrying her. In like thirty minutes, so…
Trixie walked into the reception area. All the table were elegantly decorated, with more flowers and ribbons—the gleaming silverware glinting off the massive chandelier hanging in the middle of the dance floor. It looked beautiful. Though, if she were honest with herself, it didn’t suit Bard. She’d always pictured him whirling through a Vegas chapel then spending the honeymoon gambling and fucking. Not necessarily in that order. But definitely not the Kardashian event Monica had arranged.
Trixie’s stomach roiled as she made her way toward the cake. Everything else seemed fine. One final inspection and she could say she’d done her best to ensure Bard’s day was as great as he deserved. Even if Monica didn’t want Trixie to be a part of it, she’d assured Bard she’d be there for him. And she had. Despite the toll it had taken on her heart.
She stopped in front of the cake, staring up at the multiple tiers of smooth perfection. A ceramic bride and groom decorated the top layer, and Trixie swore Monica had paid to have them resemble her and Bard.
Talk about overkill.
She leaned in when footsteps sounded behind her. She nearly bumped the damn cake as she spun, staring at Bard as he closed the distance, stopping a foot away. “What the hell, Bard? You’re supposed to be greeting the guests. Smiling and shaking hands.”
“You never cry. Least of all at a wedding when you can’t stand the bride, so out with it.”
Her mouth gaped open before she was able to shut it. “You’re getting married in…” She glanced at her watch. “…twenty minutes and you’re wondering why I had a few tears in my eyes?”
“I know you. Have known you since we were sixteen. You. Don’t. Cry.”
“So sue me for having a moment. Now, go out there and greet your guests. Everything’s fine in here. The wedding is going to go over without a hitch.”
He inched closer. “Tell me why you were crying.”
“It doesn’t matter. You need to go.”
Bard arched a brow then side-stepped around the table, grabbing the top tier of the wedding cake then holding it up.
Trixie inhaled. “What are you doing? I’ll never be able to put that back the way it was. Shit, Monica is going to freak!”
“Tell me why you were crying.”
“Jesus, Bard, just…put the cake back the way you found it.” She moved toward him. “I can try to fix it. I—”
“Take one step closer to me, and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”
She froze. She knew the look in his eyes. He was serious.
She held up her hands, palms facing him. “Okay. I won’t get any closer.”
“Now, tell me why you were crying. And not some lame ass excuse. I want the truth, Trix. I need the truth.”
Trixie crossed her arms. “Fine. You want the truth? Why not. It’s not like this day can get any worse for me. In fact, it’s pretty much an indicator of how the rest of my life is going to play out, at least where you’re concerned. I mean, if you didn’t have the balls to stand up to Monica about me being your best man, then I doubt we’ll be watching the Sunday game together any time soon. So…” She wiped at the sudden rush of moisture down her cheeks, uncertain if it was sad or angry tears. “I was crying because it guts me to think you’re marrying that…that…cold prissy rich girl. You weren’t supposed to last a month, let alone a year. And you definitely weren’t supposed to have some country club wedding a few months later. I don’t understand how you don’t see it. How utterly wrong you are for each other.” She shook her head. “You weren’t supposed to marry her. You were supposed to marry…”
She clamped her mouth shut.
He stared at her, eyes wide, lips slightly parted, when more footsteps sounded behind them. Trixie turned, sighing when it was James and not Monica.
James stared at the two of them, eyeing the cake before looking up at his brother. “I was wondering where you were. I have a message for you. Call me crazy, but this…” He waved at the cake. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
Bard seemed obvious to the fact he was still holding the damn cake, losing more bits of icing every time he shuffled his feet. “What were you expecting?”
“Honestly?” Jame smiled. “I was hoping you had Trixie pinned to some wall, pounding into her as if your life depended on it.”
Trixie choked on her next breath. “Excuse me?”
James laughed. “Please, even if I hadn’t heard every word you just said, I’m not blind. Unlike my brother, who wouldn’t know if a pretty girl was hitting on him if she punched him in the eye. I always thought you two would finally figure it out. Even if it was this late in the game.”
Trixie exhaled a shaky breath, glancing over at Bard, but he didn’t seem surprised. In fact, he looked relieved. “This is crazy. I never should have said anything. I’m so sorry. Just…give me the cake, and I’ll fix this. I’ll fix everything.”
Bard shook his head, handing James the cake and nearly dropping it in the process. Bard marched around the table, palming her face with his hands. “No. You won’t fix it. I will.”
He kissed her. In the middle of the damn reception room with guests filing in at the end of the hallway. Slid his tongue into her mouth, threaded his fingers through her messed-up hair and kissed her. Long. Deep. She lost track of time, of everything but the soft, warm feel of his lips on hers and everything slotted into place.
He gave her a smile as they parted. “Been wanting to do that for ten fucking years. Never had the balls to, though. Until now. So…answer me one more question. Were you going to say I was supposed to marry you?”
She stared into his blue eyes, looking for an answer that would make everything all right, but couldn’t stop the word, “Yes,” from slipping free.
He nodded. “Then, it’s time I made this right.”
James held up his hand. “Actually, bro, remember that part where I told you I had a message?” Bard nodded.
James laughed. “Looks like you weren’t the only one who got cold feet. Monica came looking for you. When she realized Trixie was in the change room with you, she said something about it being the last straw. That she’d told you it was either her or Trixie.”
Trixie gasped. “She actually said that? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Like I was ever giving you up.” Bard waved her shock away as he faced his brother. “So, what are you saying?”
James grinned. “She left. With Greg, actually. I’m pretty sure they’ve been humping on the side.”
Bard laughed. “So, you’re saying she already left me?”
Trixie cringed. “Damn, Bard, I’m—”
“Talk about a lucky break.” He held his hand out to his brother. “Don’t suppose I could borrow your car?”
James grinned. “I just filled her up.”
Bard jingled the keys, as he took her hand. “Don’t suppose you’re up for a road trip? Maybe Vegas?”
She gulped in a mouthful of air, running after him as he made for the rear door. “Vegas?”
“I’ve waited ten years to tell you I’m crazy in love with you. About time I something about it.”
And that’s it for me. Sorry for the epic chapter there. Anyway, if you haven’t already, go and visit the rest of the gang.