The Bridesmaid

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Five

I enjoyed my shower and even had time for a quick nap. I changed into a more relaxed outfit, a smart pair of trousers, a shirt, tie, and a jacket. I left my room and head down to the ballroom, where the evening party was to be held.

I have been looking forward to this evening so much. A lot of people who hadn’t been to the wedding were coming to the party, and I hadn’t seen some of them for a long time. Also, it had been some time since I had been to a party. Not being that much of a socialiser, I was a little out of practice, and since my wife had died I had rarely been out to social occasion like this.

In the past. I have declined many invites to weddings, birthday parties, and various celebrations, I have never felt comfortable being around people who had known Helen. II hated the sense of pity that I felt from them, even though it was always well-intentioned, and I would use my daughter as the excuse for not going, but tonight I couldn’t do that, nor did I want to.

I wanted to enjoy the party, I hoped that this would be the moment that would lead me to make changes in my life. I had been told many times, by many people, that I needed to start living again, it has taken time, but I hope that this evening would be the ‘kick up the backside’ that I needed to start to enjoy life again.

I waited at the door to the ballroom, along with my daughter and her new husband, Mike. Both were still in their wedding outfits, the plan was to change after they’d had their first dance together, and, she’s had her dance with me, something that I was looking forward to very much.

The room began to fill as people arrived, and the noise level slowly increased. The DJ kept the music low, and in the background, but as the numbers increased he gradually increased the volume, and slowly people took to the floor as the alcohol flowed and people began to relax.

There was, of course, a buffet, and I took the opportunity to thank everyone for coming, and as people sat down to eat, I circulated the room and chatted to as many friends and relatives that I could. Most of the talk was about the happy couple, the wedding, but it soon turned to catching up with those whom I hadn’t seen for some time.

The music started up again and it was the happy couple’s first dance together as a married couple. Then, as the applause died down I walked onto the dance floor and took her into my arms for the father-daughter dance.

I am normally very self-conscious, and, the thought of being on a dance-floor, without being surrounded by other people would fill me with dread. But as I danced with my daughter, I stared at her. She looked so grown-up, and as I held her, she leaned her head against my chest as we slowly danced to what was my wife’s, ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. She used to sing it to my daughter whenever she was feeling down, or upset, and it always used to make her smile.

That evening turned into one of the happiest nights of my life. I couldn’t remember when I had last felt so relaxed in the company of others, and seeing so many of my relatives and friends in one place reminded me of the many happy times that I’d enjoyed with my wife.

Throughout the evening, I’d received many invites to dinner, for drinks, to parties and even to visit. I was feeling so good, I had thought that I might feel subdued, depressed even, about losing my daughter, but I didn’t, because I wasn’t. She would always be with me, and they weren’t moving away, she would only be a short car journey from me.

It was almost eleven, and I was exhausted, I flopped onto a bench seat at one of the tables and leaned back, I scanned the dance-floor and my eyes fell onto Emma. She was dancing with a young guy wearing a suit, and she looked very happy. She had changed out of her bridesmaid dress and now wore a beautiful short dress and heels. Her long blonde hair swayed over her shoulders and down her back as she danced and she looked as if she was having a great time. As I watched her move, I couldn’t help notice how beautiful and sexy she was, and how fantastic her body was. And the way that she interacted with him, it was clear that there was a sexual connection between them. I sighed. “Someone’s getting lucky tonight,” I said softly.

A few couples away from her, I noticed Lauren. And like Emma, she had found herself a good-looking young man and was dancing with him and looked to be having a great time. Shorter than her friend, but just as attractive, I was aware that the pair of them often ‘hunted’ together. My daughter had often regaled me with their exploits after they had all been out together.

I watched as she danced close to her partner, gyrating and brushing her body against him as they both moved to the music, I leaned back into the seat and stared at her legs, beautifully toned, and disappearing under a very short dress.

I picked up my glass of beer and took a long drink, as I did, I looked around for the third member of their little gang of four, Kim. I scanned the dance-floor but couldn’t see her, and as I searched further, my brother, Geoff, sat down in the chair beside me and patted me on the back.

Geoff is a couple of years older than me, and as brothers, we have always been close, and he was a great help to me, and Emily, in the early years following Helen’s death.

“Great party!” He said loudly, trying to make himself heard over the music.

I nodded, my eyes still scanned the room. Geoff leaned closer.

“Those bridesmaids look pretty hot eh? If only we were twenty years younger!” he smiled.

I nodded. “They’d eat us alive!” I replied.

Geoff laughed. “Yeah! But what a way to go!”

Then I found her, she was sat at a table with her mother and younger sister. I knew them both, our families had known each other for years.

“Who are you looking at?” Geoff asked.

I shook my head, feeling a little embarrassed that I’d been caught staring at her, I looked away. “Nobody.”

Geoff looked in the direction of my attention, he turned to me and smiled.

“Oh, that’s the other bridesmaid, isn’t it? She’s kinda cute too, a little chunky, but she’s pretty.”

I glared at my brother. “Chunky? What the fuck does that mean? She’s lovely. Sure, she’s not got the model figure’s of the others, but I think she looks great. She’s a woman, not a model!”

Geoff stared at me, I’d defended Kim a little too enthusiastically. He smiled.

“I wasn’t saying that she’s not cute, man. I mean, she’s pretty hot yes, I was just saying that she’s got a little bit more on her than her friends.”

I stared at my brother. “A little bit more on her? You can’t seriously think that she’s fat?” I said a little too forcefully.

Geoff was surprised by my reaction and held his hands up.

“Whoah! I’m not saying that at all. All I said was that she’s bigger than her friends, that’s all. I’d still jump at the chance if I was twenty years younger.” He paused. “And single.”

He smiled at me and being brothers we sometimes knew what the other was thinking, and I felt that this was one of those occasions. I’d been far too defensive about Kim, I tried to diffuse the situation.

“Yeah, I know the feeling Geoff.” I sighed.

Geoff nodded and picked up his glass, he paused with it at his lips and looked at me. “But at least you’re single.” He said before drinking.

I didn’t reply to his comment, I sighed and looked across the dance-floor at Kim. As I watched her, I thought that she looked upset, or unhappy, and I started to wonder what might have brought that on.

‘A dance won’t do any harm.’ I thought, and as if he could read my mind, my brother leaned across.

“You should do her a favour and ask her to dance. She looks so bored.” He said into my ear.

I looked at him, our eyes locked, Geoff smiled. “John, it’s time. Sure she’s younger than you, and she’s Emily’s friend, but it’s not like you’re going to marry her.”

I looked surprised and was about to protest, Geoff put his hand on my arm.

“I’ve watched you, John. You can’t take your eyes off her, and, you’ve already rejected the advances of her two friends.” He said.

I was shocked. I hadn’t realised that Geoff had noticed, it was true, both Emma and Lauren had tried several times to get me to dance with them, but they now had other interests, more their age.

I sighed. Geoff squeezed my arm.

“For fuck’s sake John, you’re only dancing with her!” He said.

My legs trembled as I walked across the room towards her table. Her mother saw me approach and smiled. I sat between her and her daughter and chatted about the wedding service, and the reception, which she’d attended. She thanked me for the invite and the excellent party.

I glanced at Kim and then at her mother.

“I’ve come to ask your daughter to dance if that’s okay with you ladies?” I said.

Kim blushed immediately, as her mother answered for her and she found herself being pulled to her feet, my hand in hers, as I led her to the dance floor.

She looked embarrassed as we began to dance. She wore a loose-fitting, flowing, knee-length dress. The lower part of the dress swayed as she danced, and she could dance. She moved well, as she slowly got into it. She was pretty, very pretty, and when she smiled she looked gorgeous, her lovely bright green eyes shone.

I held her close, the song was a mid-tempo song that could be danced apart or together, I chose the latter, mostly because I was more comfortable in a clinch than alone. As we danced I told her that she looked beautiful, she blushed, but slowly began to relax and we danced through a couple of songs. I was surprised by how good I felt, and the next song was a little faster, and I was forced to dance apart from her, as I did, I couldn’t help looking at her as she moved. She could dance, but my eyes were drawn to her body, she was curvy, and I had to stop myself from staring at her breasts. The upper part of her dress was stretched across her large bosom and I felt a twitch when I noticed that her nipples were poking against the thin material of her dress as she moved.

After a couple of more dances, she looked a little flushed, so I suggested that we grab a drink. I led her to the bar area where I ordered our drinks and handed hers to her.

She was hot, her face was flushed and she was breathing quite quickly. I sipped at my beer then looked at her.

“Fancy a walk outside? You look a little warm, maybe a walk in the cool night air might cool you down.” I said.

She looked up at me, she looked surprised by my question. “Er, sure.” She replied. We finished our drinks and I led her out into the garden. As soon as we stepped outside, I realised that it was colder than I had thought. She shivered. I slipped off my jacket and slid it around her shoulders. She smiled at me and thanked me. As we walked we talked about the wedding, just making conversation really, but I wanted to know why she had looked so down earlier.

We stopped as we walked between the flower-beds, I turned to her and looked at her. Her face was illuminated by the light coming from the hotel behind me, and she looked at me, her eyes wide, staring at me.

“What’s wrong Kim? And don’t say anything. I saw you sat with your mother and aunt, you looked miserable.” I said.

She opened her mouth, I knew that she was going to say that everything was fine, but I knew that it wasn’t, she sighed. “It’s okay, John. It’s nothing.”

I reached out and slid my fingers under her chin and lifted her head to look at me. “Kim?” I said softly. She sighed and explained that Lauren had told her that she couldn’t go back to the room, they wanted to take their two guys back and spend the night.

I was furious. “They can’t do that!” I said. “I paid for that damn room!”

She looked at me, her eyes wider, she didn’t want any trouble.

“It’s okay, John, I can go home with Mum.” She said.

I shook my head. “No, no way. You’re going to enjoy this evening, and those two aren’t going to spoil it for you.”

She put her hand out and held my arm, I looked down as her fingers curled around my skin. I looked into her eyes. “Please, John. Don’t say anything to them.” She pleaded.

I stared at her, it was typical of those two, as nice and sweet as they were, they were also selfish, and this was another example of that.

I looked at Kim. “Okay. But, you’re not going home.” I took a breath. “You can sleep in my room. I’ve got a sofa in there, I’ll sleep on that.” I said.

She stared, open-mouthed. “I couldn’t! ” She protested.

I smiled at her and slid my hands around her waist. “You can, and you will.” I leaned close to her, I could smell her perfume, it was so intoxicating, it was all I could do not to kiss her. “Imagine what they’d think when you tell them tomorrow where you spent the night,” I whispered.

She blushed and bit her lip, another thing about women that drives me crazy/. She thought for a few moments then nodded. “Okay.” We walked back to the ballroom, as we did, I told her that if either of them asked her, she was to tell them that she had found somewhere to sleep.

“You can tell them that a hot guy has asked you to stay,” I said. “They don’t need to know the truth.” I laughed. She stared at me. “It is the truth.” She said, then lifted herself onto her tip-toes and kissed me on the cheek, before walking back to join her mother.

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