Solid Ground

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 15

Jill held up the glass of wine and stared at the woman in the mirror. “Simone, it’s perfect.”

Simone wrapped her arms about Jill’s waist in another hug. “Did you honestly think I’d let you down, girlfriend?” She reached up and adjusted the sheer, white lace robe on her friend. “I know exactly how you’re feeling. You think just because I flaunt my stuff that it’s easy for me to be around all these teeny weeny beauty queens?”

Jill stared at her friend, “But you’re so confident.”

Simone laughed, “No, sweetie, I’s arrogant.” She took the glass of wine and turned Jill back to face her. “I meant what I said earlier. You are perfect, and that has nothing to do with what? Size sixteen?”

Jill blushed, “Something like that.”

“Look at you. You’re breath-taking.”

Jill did take another long look at herself in the mirror. The white satin bodice of the corset lifted and molded her breasts until they sprang like the waters of life from its D cups. The stays inside the soft material also did a beautiful job of holding in the waistline that made her cringe. The array of pastel-colored scarves tied to its bottom formed a skirt of sorts that hung to her stocking clad calves. Beneath it, she wore a white garter belt and lacy underwear that were like a second skin to her round bottom. Her friend had even found an entirely sheer chiffon robe that covered the lingerie until it looked almost presentable enough to be worn in public.

Almost, Jill thought. She still would much rather be just about anywhere else at this moment. But with Simone’s help, she would make it through the next five and a half minutes, or so she promised herself as she took a deep breath. “Let’s do this damn thing then,” she did not bother trying to wrestle the glass of wine from her friend’s fingers. Instead, she picked up the bottle that was sitting on the dresser, and downed what amounted to another half a glass.

“You know we’re all right there with you,” Simone reassured her as she swung the door open, and more than a dozen squeals greeted them.

“For the first fucking verse, thanks a lot, girlfriend,” Jill answered sarcastically as she was passed from wife to girlfriend to wife for hugs and inspections.

“You’ll do fine, sweetie. Just think of it as another two-step,” Trisha slapped Jill on the ass. Hard. “Come on.”

The group of women exploded like a hurricane through the back door. A storm of giggles, laughter, and blushing. Night had fallen, and the children had been whisked away by a couple of the more reserved wives to communal beds in their homes. A few, including Bel, were bedded down in Simone’s living room watching a Nick marathon. Even the group of teens had disappeared in favor of bad horror movies, junk food, and whatever mischief they could manage.

Only a couple dozen guys and the stray date that was not yet ‘official’ enough to be included in the traditions remained in the back yard. Lanterns flared around it, casting shadows. Shadows that Jill was thankful would hide what sins this amazing get-up did not. The soft glow of the fire lights cast a spell that the bright light of day and even the haze of early evening had not.

Despite the chill of the breeze coming off the ocean, there was a warmth to the place. Or perhaps it was just that extra glass and a half of wine that gave her the courage to think that she stood half a chance of pulling this one off.

Until she saw him. The men were assembled by the bar, laughing at another of Samuel’s stories. As if on signal, they moved as the team they were, surrounding their leader. Jill lost sight of him among the crowd for a moment, but not before she saw a dark and unreadable expression cross his handsome face. “I told you,” she heard his voice carry across the yard, but the rest of his sentence was muffled by the robust heckles of his friends and the silly giggles of hers.

She turned to run back into the house as the recognizable, pounding eighties beat suddenly blared from the speakers. Two hands reached out to restrain her. Simone’s dark one and a freckled one with a stone the size of Texas on its ring finger. She looked up into their faces.

“You can do this,” the women said as the group began to move together as one across the all too short yards that separated them from their husbands and boyfriends. The shaking of their arms and shoulders imitations of the MTV video that had once been among Jill’s favorites.

Jill surrendered to their words of encouragement. The die was cast already. Now she just needed to make it through the next five minutes, she thought as she began to move her satin and lace-clad figure in time to the familiar song. She closed her eyes and prayed for strength. For the damned song to end. For this night to end.

When she opened her eyes again, she realized that her troubles had just begun. Daniel stood only ten feet away, stripped to the waist of his too damned tight jeans. The impossibly defined muscles of his bronzed chest glistened in the firelight. The air caught in her throat, and she willed herself to breathe. But nothing could stop the insanely fast pounding of her heart. Its beat faster than even the song. Jill noticed that somehow the t-shirt that he had changed into for the party was now wrapped about his wrists, securing them firmly behind his back.

“You’ll pay for this.” Jill winced. Although she was not sure if he was speaking to her or Simone or even Samuel and his other men. The intense need to escape, to take flight, gripped her once more, consuming what false bravado the wine and her friends had managed to impart.

As if they could read her thoughts, the group of women surrounded her then. With smiles and giggles, they began to move faster to the chorus. The singer’s words rang like an anthem in Jill’s mind. Of heroes rising from heat, of gods and white knights. ‘I need a hero,’ ‘fresh from the fight,’ and ‘larger than life’ played through her mind.

Suddenly, Jill was transported to another time and another place. The music moved over her, carrying her on its wings, transforming her into that young girl she had once been, brimming with newfound beauty and sexual confidence.

Without thought, she began to move in earnest to its rhythm. Her steps were sure as she focused on the moment, surrounded by new friends and old memories. As they had promised, the group remained by her side as they swayed and gyrated across the all too short distance. Jill led them with confidence as they flanked her like her own unit of warrior women invading and conquering.

But as the pounding refrain died and that sultry voice slowed once more into the second verse, Jill found herself eye-to-eye with the man that was her new husband. She swallowed hard at the look she saw in the depths of those crystal blue oceans. Her heart stuttered in her chest, skipping beats as her brief surge of assurance came face-to-face with the enemy.

When she would have turned and fled back to the safety of the group if not the house, he whispered, “You started this, you gonna run away now, sweetie?”

Even over the lingering charcoal, citronella, and beer, she could smell him. The rush of adrenaline. Man, pure and simple. Words filtered through the haze of the wine, as she took up his challenge and the unspoken one that those eyes held as well. She knew this song. She knew these people. And on some primal level, she knew this man. The rest just sort of flowed out of the depths of her soul.

Her hands trailed slowly across the heated, bare flesh of his chest as she swayed and moved against him. She felt the silk scarves wrap about her calves as she moved her hips in seductive circles, brushing against the rough denim of his jeans. Her nipples tingled and swelled inside the corset, and for a moment, she feared that they would burst over the dam of its low-cut cups.

Emboldened by the moment, their audience drifted away until, in her mind, nothing remained but the two of them. They were as alone as they had been in the laundry room. Was it just a little over twenty-four hours? Things were moving too fast, voiced logic. Not fast enough, her body replied as her hands came to rest on his broad shoulders, her hips repeatedly brushed against his in this mock lap dance.

She could not bring herself to look into those blue-grey pools again, so instead, she found herself mesmerized by his soft, pink lips that were curled into a sardonic smile. If she closed the distance, if she had the courage, would she savor that fire again? Or would it be the ice she had found when the chaplain said…you may kiss your bride?

She would never find out, she thought with a touch of disappointment when the pounding bass trailed off, and the song came to an end. She smiled. At least, she had done it, as she went to step away. To flee back inside the house with her comrades. To change out of this remarkable but ridiculous outfit. Before she could turn, though, hands came from out of nowhere, imprisoning her wrists more securely than handcuffs ever had.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he drew her into his arms. Smiling over at Simone, who had retreated to the safety of her husband’s embrace, “The little witch didn’t tell you the rest, did she?” His arms beneath the chiffon of her robe were like a vise holding her still against him. “Stick around, sweetheart, cause this night is just getting started.”

With a wink to Samuel, a slower tune drifted on the still, cool night air. This voice was male but equally throaty and seductive. Daniel’s smile was brighter than any of the lanterns that dotted the landscape. Her eyes were once more glued to those hypnotizing lips as he repeated the singer’s words, “Would you dance if I asked you to dance?”

Jill’s heart froze in her chest. The air seemed impossibly thin as she struggled to move it in and out of her lungs. Her mind was thrown into turmoil. She forced her eyes to meet his gaze. The azure depths of his eyes were hazy. An erotic invitation to the unknown. It was probably all just a show for his friends; she knew that. But some part of her wanted to believe that even just a tiny portion of it was only for her. At that moment, she decided to give in to this temptation. To go with the flow. To be hypnotized by it all.

Surrendering her last reservation, she melted against him, moving slowly with him as the music drifted around them, and the other couples joined them on the makeshift dance floor. Her arms wrapped about his neck as she leaned her head against his shoulder. It was just beginning to throb a bit from the alcohol and, more than likely, the stress of the past few days. In the ridiculously high heels that went with the get-up that Simone had chosen, they were practically eye-to-eye.

His hands slipped lower to rest against her hips, drawing her even tighter against him. The hard ridge beneath the rough material was pressed against her, making a mockery of her earlier taunts about being a ‘real couple.’ Standing this close, she could feel the pounding of his heart as it strove to match the wild music of her own. She could feel its life force in his neck pulsing beneath her cheek. She bit her lip to stave off the temptation to kiss and lick at his pulse beating so steadily there.

This moment seemed more ‘real’ than anything she had felt. In a very long time. She smiled against the warmth of his shoulder. Tears gathered in her eyes. She knew this feeling well. Safety. Perhaps it was not as sure, as fully-realized, as it had been once. Maybe this man was not the best friend, lover, and husband of her youth. But the two of them were more alike than different. And this moment could be a start, a new beginning. If she let it.

For the first time, she faced the truth that she had been avoiding these past weeks. She could not just casually exchange one hero for another. It was more complicated than that. As much alike as David and Daniel were, they were individuals. They were different men. As familiar as this new life was, she needed to let the old one go.

As the tears spilled over, she felt the power of the song wash like a benediction over her. She was most definitely in over her head as she followed her new husband’s lead. Her mind battled to come to terms with it all. She heard some temptress whisper, “Will you?”

The man in her arms turned to look at her. Through the haze of tears, it was clear. Clear blue eyes that stared back at her, not the laughing brown ones that had taken a part of her heart with them to the grave.

She smiled as she realized that a part was not all. There was plenty of heart still beating, quite loudly in fact, inside her chest. And just as loving Daniel’s daughters would never take anything away from the love she felt for her sons, neither would loving this man ever change any of the twenty wonderful years she had shared with David.

He answered her with a tentative one of his own. “Will I what?” his voice was a low throaty whisper.

“Kiss away the pain,” her answer echoed the singers.

Their eyes held for a moment. She watched as dark clouds gathered in the blue skies of those eyes. She felt him stiffen a bit, and she worried that she had said something terribly wrong. The memory of his cold kiss earlier burned in her mind.

She opened her mouth to take it all back. Instead, his covered hers. And fire erupted. The chill of the night melted away at the touch of his tongue against hers. She tasted the beer, but another taste overpowered it. Daniel. It was more intoxicating than the wine she had drunk. More potent than any drug. And she feared she might be addicted already.

“I’ll do my best,” he whispered against her lips as the music stopped.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.