It takes a minute for my head to register the drunken slur behind me. The fog of desire that has been so thick between us almost makes completing any thought other than a dirty one impossible. I feel the muscles in my jaw tighten as anger pulses through my veins. I knew tonight had the potential to get ugly; I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.
Giving her thigh a quick reassuring squeeze, I look into her eyes and try to express I’ll take care of this. My asshole best friend has put her through enough shit already. I have no idea how long he’s been watching us, but my guess is he’s had his eyes on her since she first walked in. I turn my head to look up at Evan, “What are you talking about?” I let my hand fall slowly from her thigh and turn my chair so my body is blocking his path to her.
Evan huffs and I can see he’s trying to think of a way to say his next words without me calling him out on the hypocrisy of hooking up with your best friend’s ex. I’m curious how he’s going to pull this off. “Shouldn’t you guys be over with the group?” His eyes shoot daggers into mine and I lift a brow at his intensity.
“She was just getting a drink, and I need a refill.” I lift my empty glass so he can see it’s the truth. I can tell he isn’t buying it so I decide to add a little more information to sell the story. “I came over here because the bartender was laying it on pretty thick with her. I saw and decided to do something about it.”
His eyes soften slightly as he looks between us. “Grab your drinks and come hang out with us!” He gives me one more warning glare before turning around and pushing his way back to the group.
“Oops,” Sophie’s voice carries over the loud beat. She shrugs and takes a sip of her pink drink. I watch as her perfect mouth puckers around the straw and feel the fog rolling back in. Her tongue slides across her lips collecting the moisture before she says, “I guess we have to go back.”
“Probably the right thing to do.” It’s absolutely not what I want to do though. What I want to do includes more strawberries, those pink lips of hers and my hotel room. This week is going to be torture. We stand up together in the small space between our two stools and her breasts press against my chest. I can’t resist wrapping my arm around her waist and pulling her a little closer.
The line about the bartender wasn’t a lie. It really was the reason I was making my way over to her. I’d watched him lean across the bar further than necessary and stare at her chest while he poured her drink. It was as if someone shot me with a dart of testosterone because I couldn’t get across the bar and subtly claim her in font of the douche fast enough. She has no idea how innocent she looks and how that alone is causing all kinds of dirty thoughts in the minds of the men who are watching her.
I purposely rest my cheek against hers when I say, “Stay close to me tonight. You look fucking gorgeous. Like sex in a dress and I want to make sure no one tries anything you don’t want.” Her hands grip my shirt like her knees might have gone weak and damn if my dick didn’t enjoy that.
I start to move my lips away from her, but she pulls me back. “Who says I don’t want someone to try something?” I’m pretty sure I’ve descended into a circle of hell having her soft, hot body pressed up against mine while her ex—my best friend—is only a few feet away watching the whole thing. I know he doesn’t have boundaries, but before this wedding I had liked knowing I had some.
“You have no idea how good that sounds,” and just to reassure her I adjust and pull her closer so she can feel exactly how her little show has affected me. “But you’ve had a lot to drink and I don’t know you well enough to know if you’re going to regret it in the morning or when all of the people from the wedding find out about it. Rachel’s your best friend and Evan is mine. If we did anything, and God please believe me that not doing anything is taking everything I have, I’m worried it will get out and your reputation will be drug through the mud.”
Her response surprises me. “Why couldn’t it have been you?” She pulls back and looks at me. I’m not sure exactly what she means. She smiles up at me and moves her lips back to my ear. “Why couldn’t it have been you back then instead of Evan? Why didn’t I see how much more of a man you are then him? It might have saved me a lot of heartache.” Damn.
“I asked myself that so many times back then. Why he had to find you first. In all these years I haven’t been able to figure it out. I guess it’s just the way it was meant to be.” This time I press a small kiss to her cheek not giving a shit of Evan sees it. I might be crossing some lines with her, but it’s the lines I’m not crossing he should be grateful for.
She steps out from our tiny space and I let my hand rest on her back, guiding her to the group. Rachel smiles and waves her over right away. This is how it should be. I should be with the guys and she should be with the women. It’s tradition. I know that and I can tell myself that, but I can’t stop my eyes from seeking her out and my heart from pounding when her eyes meet mine each time. I want her so bad I ache. Reminding myself I have built a friendship with Evan for years is the only thing keeping me from throwing her over my shoulder and carrying her off to my room.
As the night goes on, she seems more comfortable with the woman and I swear Rachel can’t get enough of her. The two seem inseparable again and I find myself becoming more involved with the conversations around me. The guys are talking about the bachelor party, which is going to be held at a strip club a few blocks from here. I wonder if Rachel knows, but I doubt it. I’m about five drinks in when Marty moves to stand beside me.
“What’s the deal with Sophie? Holy shit! I swear she didn’t look like that when Evan was dating her.” His words are slurred and I’m sure mine would be also so I just nod my head and hope he shuts up. No such luck. “You think Evan would be cool if I try to get some while she’s here?”
“He would not be ‘cool,’” my words bite and I focus on keeping the muscle in my jaw from ticking and giving away how badly I want to punch him.
“What’s the big deal? He’s getting hitched and she’s fucking hot. Any guy would be stupid not to try it,” he informs me. I take a long sip from my strong drink trying to keep my fist occupied with something other than the need to slam it right into his face. He elbows me and my drink sloshes around from the impact. “It’s not like I’m the best man!” And there it is, the reason that I can’t have her.
“I wouldn’t even ask him. There are tons of other chicks in here right now. Go try to get it in with one of them. Stay away from Sophie.” I shoot the rest of my drink and then hold up my empty glass as if to signal it’s time to get a refill. I move away from him before I lose my restraint. I find a seat at the bar and order my drink. Spinning around on the stool, I rest my elbows on the bar and watch the group from a safer distance.
Evan spots me alone and leaves the group to join me. He copies my position and sits quietly for a minute watching everyone drink and talk. Finally he turns his head in my direction so I can hear his voice above the music. “It’s fucking driving me insane man.” He scrubs a hand down his face and reaches for his drink. “The guys can’t stop talking about how bad they want to fuck her and I swear I’m going to lose my shit if one of them tries.” He doesn’t have to tell me he’s talking about Sophie and not Rachel. I know how the guys feel about Rachel.
“They’re just drunk. None of them have the balls to try. Focus on your future bride and let their drunken comments about your ex go.” The bartender hands me my drink and I immediately fold the small straw over the edge. I’m drunk now for sure, not just buzzed, full on plastered and having to listen to this shit from Evan is not making stopping any easier.
His hand claps down on my shoulder and he stands up. “You’re right man. None of them have a chance with her now. Sorry about earlier, I know you are too good of a guy and a friend to try anything with her. I just wasn’t thinking. Having her here is doing all kinds of shit to my head. Rachel insisted she be invited.” He takes the last sip from his drink and holds it up for the bartender to see.
I don’t respond as he turns to face the bar and wait for his drink. Sophie and a few of the other girls are now in the center of the bar dancing to the music. I watch her dip low and roll her hips slowly. She lets her head drop back and closes her eyes. I pray that no guy gets the courage to try and touch her because I might actually murder them and ruin this entire evening. Right now I want to sit here and imagine what it would be like if she were dancing like that for just me.
Her head lifts and her eyes, which are hazy from all the alcohol, open and lock right on mine. She winks at me and then runs her hand down her body in the sexiest move I’ve ever seen a girl do while in the middle of a dance floor in front of about fifty men that want to take her home. I’m beginning to wonder if there will be a point in this whole fucking wedding extravaganza that I won’t be hard for her.
Evan’s voice pulls me from my thoughts. “I’m going to head back over to the guys. Thanks for setting my head straight.” He pushes off the bar and I see the exact moment his gaze lands on Sophie. “It’s such a fucking tease. I wonder if she’s a better lay now. Her body didn’t move like that when we were younger.”
I don’t know if he’s saying that honestly or just to try and make it clear she’s not worth going after. I nod my head but keep my eyes on her as she continues to move in perfect step with the music. I love the way she keeps bringing her eyes back to mine and how a perfect flush has worked its way across her chest and up her neck. It makes me want to taste her. I doubt that she was ever a terrible lay, but I have a feeling if she were, it had more to do with him than her.
We close down the bar around two A.M. and begin our walk back to our hotel. The strand is dark in between the dim lights only each illuminating a small circle of pavement. Evan can’t even walk straight and has his arm slung around Rachel who’s giggling like crazy. Most of the group is moving quicker than those of us in the rear and soon it’s just Evan, Rachel, Sophie and I stumbling along at a snail’s pace in the darkness.
I’m looking everywhere but at Sophie, knowing that chancing a look at her could mean I’d find her staring back at me, or worse, staring up at Evan as he openly gropes Rachel and whispers loud enough for all of us to hear what his plans are for her tonight. It’s disgusting. Finally we make it into the lobby and stand waiting for the elevator to pick us up. When the doors open and Evan and Rachel step in, he puts his hands on the side of her face and kisses her more passionately than I’ve ever seen before. I look quickly at Sophie and see the shock and hurt on her face.
Rachel at least has the decency to look embarrassed when he finally lets her up for air. Sophie takes a step closer to getting on with them, but I reach out and grab her elbow, stopping her before she can. I shake my head and look at my best friend. “We’ll catch the next one,” I tell him. His eyes flare with anger, but I stare back at him so disappointed in how he’s handling this whole thing.
“Thanks,” Rachel calls out as the doors slide closed. We’re left standing in an almost empty lobby staring at the doors because it feels too intimate to look at each other when I know how raw her emotions must be right now. It feels like an eternity has passed by the time the doors slide open again. We both step on and as the doors close I look to her expecting to see the hurt in her eyes. What I see there is something else entirely.
At this point what’s running through my veins might actually be more alcohol than blood cells and all the thoughts of boundaries and bro code go flying out the window when eyes full of need and desire are staring back at me. I close the distance between us and tangle my fingers into the smooth strands of hair pulled up on the sides of her head. My lips meet hers as her hands twist in my shirt and pull me to her like I’m a lifeline and she’s drowning.
A soft moan escapes her lips and I swallow it with mine, thrusting my tongue into her mouth as she melds her body to mine. She tastes like alcohol and strawberries, sin and redemption. Her hand slips down my stomach and over my dick, and this time I groan with the contact. I kiss and suck a trail down her neck as she tips her head giving me more access. On a breathy whisper she begs, “Come to my room.” There’s no way I can turn that down right now. It would take divine intervention when her palm is sliding up and down over my jeans.
“Yes,” I say as the elevator jumps a little when it reaches our floor. We separate just seconds before the doors slide open and a very pissed-off Evan and a flustered Rachel appear right in front of us. Damn it! I didn’t want to waste any time getting my lips on Sophie again. I’m not sure if Evan is pissed at Rachel or irritated that I rode up in the elevator alone with his ex.
Rachel shrugs and reaches for her best friend’s hand. “I told Evan that I wanted to have a slumber party with you tonight to catch up. Don’t mind his grumpy face, he’s just upset that I’ll be sharing your bed instead of his.” Somehow I doubted that.
Sophie looks at me quickly before stepping into the hallway and squeezing Rachel’s hand. “Sure. That’d be fun.”