I squatted down in front of the oven to assess the damage.
Hair mussed, shirt untucked, tie askew… Is that lipstick on my neck or a bite mark? She’s such an animal.
The shiny glass pane on the stainless steel oven door was the closest thing I could get to a mirror and I needed to get myself back in order. I might have been fucking the bride, but I also had a professional image to uphold.
“Quit fiddling with it,” she said. “You’re fine.”
I shot her approaching reflection a look. The pane was dark, which only accentuated her stark white silhouette and the flash of her toothy smirk.
“I know I am, but my tie isn’t.”
I didn’t need to look at her again to know she planted her hand into the sassy dip of her waist when she scoffed at me and said, “Your hair could use some attention too.”
“You’re the one who made a mess of it,” I retorted as ran my fingers through my hair a few times and mussed it back into place. “Perhaps you should be the one to fix it.”
When I stood and turned to face her, she too busy taking a swig from the neck of a deep blue Prosecco bottle to shoot off another clever retort.
“Starting a little early are we?” I chided.
“It’s my day,” she said handing me the bottle. “And what do you care? You’re just the hired help.”
“Just,” I repeated and took a sip without averting my gaze.
She crossed her arms under her breasts and cocked her hip, raising the ruched curves of her — admittedly stunning — dress just so.
“Don’t look at me like that,” she said. “You knew this day was going to come.”
When I didn’t say anything immediately, she furrowed her brow and breathed in short through her mouth, as if prompting me to continue. It gave her lovely face a serious yet balking air, not unlike the moments right before I knew she was going to come.
“Yes, I did,” I conceded. “You booked it with my company months ago.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Does that fiancé of yours?”
“Does he what?”
“Know that his bride is a whore?”
She shot daggers at me. I added a smug grin when I passed the bottle back to her. The thump in my loins was building with every passing moment of tense silence; I knew the same was likely for her. We both knew exactly which strings to pluck to best draw out our best, most dissonant harmonies.
She was waiting for me to take her. But I didn’t want to. Not today. Of all days, I wanted her to take the first step this time.
It was her day, after all.
“Fuck you,” she spat and took another sip.
“You do look beautiful in that wedding dress.”
Her sip turned to a gratuitous glue as she glared down the strangled neck of the bottle at me.
“I’m serious.” I extended my hand to her. Reluctantly, she left the bottle on the counter; her glare softened when her fingers nestled into my palm.
“Thank you,” she said, nearly a whisper.
With my free hand, I tilted her chin up to guide her eyes to mine. I changed my mind; I couldn’t help myself — the whole thing was too scandalous to pass up.
“How much time do we have?”
“For me to take a look at what’s going on underneath it. I think that’s tradition, right? The prenuptial inspection? What kind of friend would I be if I let you go up there unprepared?”
With the exception of the soft hum coming from the coolers along the wall, the kitchen was silent. I could practically hear her wicked smile tug at the corners of her mouth at my deliberately dumb jokes. The coy nod she gave me was all I needed to continue.
I kissed her quick and I dropped to my knees. Looking up at her, I carefully lifted the hem of her wedding dress to reveal the length of her bare legs.
I ran my knuckles down the inside of one thigh and shook my head at her.
“What?” Her demand was soft yet firm. After all that time, it still annoyed her that she couldn’t read my mind.
I laughed softly through my nose and said, “Nothing.”
“Fuck you, what?
“I fucking love you. That’s all.”
She ran her fingers once through my hair before I disappeared under the tent of her milk-white skirts.
It had been an age since I’d been this close to her. What few encounters we’d been able to snag in recent months were rushed at best; all fumbling mouths and hands like we hadn’t been doing this for years. In a bathroom stall, behind her car, in the back of our cab, in the quiet corner of this hotel’s kitchen before our short time ran out and we had to resume our air of chaste friendship.
With a hand on each thigh, I nuzzled into her folds and breathed in her familiar scent. She pressed back and I felt the hum of her soft moan travel through her towards my lips. I held her steady when she began to melt under my tongue.
Between her thighs clenched tight around my head and the soft rustle of crinoline all around me, I never heard her fiancé walk in.