They returned to their room for a break as there was a lull in proceedings before the dancing commenced. Sophie wanted nothing more than to kick off her shoes and dress and slob in a t-shirt, but she knew there was no way she'd squeeze her feet back into those items of torture again. So instead she slumped into a chair and sighed.
"Wish we were going home now Bill. I've had enough, I hate weddings!"
He slid into the chair opposite and loosened his tie, "I know what you mean, but we're here, we can have a dance, eat some more food then turn in. Ok? Let's at least get our money's worth out of this family!"
She nodded but he laughed at her lack of enthusiasm, the mini bar had some rescue remedies, "doughnuts and full fat coke!" He threw them on the table in front of her, "Energy and rejuvenation!"
They hit the spot and the fatigue that had hampered as soon as she'd entered the room eased. She hadn't allowed herself to analyse the events earlier, she had no idea what she thought about her dialogue with Miles, but she did feel that she'd left the situation with the upper hand. And that was all that mattered.
Back in the circus that was the wedding, it was all change. With subdued lighting, and soft music the room did seem transformed into the winter paradise that Melody had obviously desired. Bill collected another two glasses of champagne and led her into the room.
Relocating their seats, they sat and watched the bride and groom take to the dance floor.
"Celine Dion?" Sophie hissed. "I can't bloody stand her!"
Bill chuckled a deep resonant sound, "My heart will go on...cheesy! What would you have as your wedding song?"
She tilted her head in rebellion, "I'm never getting married Bill."
She thought for a moment, "Dolly Parton D.I.V.O.R.C.E.?"
Chuckling again he shook his head, "there am I thinking you do have a romantic side!"
"I'm practical, how can you be practical AND romantic?"
Running a hand over his chin he sighed, "You're an artist; love and romance are your fodder."
She laughed, "Maybe that's why I'm so unsuccessful? If I put more romance into my drawings..."
"You're not unsuccessful, but you are a little cynical Sophie, and that's sad."
There was no real comeback to that, as they watched the newly married couple on the dance floor. Once the song finished other music started and the dance floor filled with various other couples. Bill spotted Miles prowling and whilst he'd been a little critical of her and she seemed frosty to him for a moment, he couldn't let that man step in.
She tried to protest but Bill didn't listen pulling her onto the dance floor and then into his arms.
"You're such a bully, no wonder I don't want to get married, no man is bossing me around!"
He smiled a response, they were friends again. They moved to the music and it was a few minutes until she lifted her head from his shoulder to look up at him.
"What would be your song?"
It only seemed fair that she finally ask him that, it had been a very one sided conversation earlier.
"I don't think you can pick one until you're in a relationship, as it should be linked to them I suppose, but I do know it wouldn't be Celine Dion. I'd probably pick some crooner, old Blue Eyes or something."
" 'I Did It My Way'! That sounds about right!"
He laughed, "Are you saying I'm some over dominating chauvinistic male?"
Sophie leaned back in his arms looking up at his affronted expression that he struggled to control, laughter bubbled below the surface, he was the least likely to be described as that, but she loved teasing him, "if the cap fits..."
Swinging her around rather dramatically he led her around the dance floor laughing.
Being best friends, they had a comfortableness and familiarity that you didn't see in new relationships, and as they laughed and joked oblivious to everyone else, and Sophie realised with irony that it was that fact that made their story so believable.
They were stood near the bar drinking champagne...again, when the bride approached.
"Sophie! Do you mind if I steal your man for a dance? I think I've danced with every other man!" Whilst she spoke to Sophie her eyes were well and truly on Bill.
Bill shrugged, "who am I to refuse the bride!" Sweeping down he kissed Sophie's lips gently, then followed the bride onto the dance floor. Ironically, Sinatra with 'Have you met Miss Jones' started up, and Sophie wiggled an eyebrow ironically as he glanced back at her.
It took all of five seconds for Miles to sidle up and engage in conversation. Sophie took a deep breath before she looked up at him.
"Not really, I've just loaned William to your sister for a few moments!"
"Then it's my duty to look after you! Dance?"
There was no way he'd take 'no' as an answer, and if she made a big deal out of this then he'd know that it bothered her, HE bothered her. So she nodded, and followed him to the centre of the room, purposely avoiding his outstretched hand that offered to lead her. As she stepped into his arms, she saw Bill staring at her over the shoulder of Melody who was draped across his body, and he couldn't hide the concern and the downright anger on his face.
Sophie wanted to chuckle at his protectiveness, but she didn't want to give the wrong impression to Miles. His hands were burning where they touched her, one in the small of her back, the other gripping her left hand firmly. He held her too close, too tightly for comfort, and the smell of his expensive aftershave whilst subtle, overwhelmed her. She thought she was past swooning, that his overconfidence had made her dislike him more, but as she let him guide her around the dance floor, she could feel those old familiar sensations starting to rise.
Miles Langley was very broad, his body blocked out everything, so Sophie had to focus on the crisp whiteness of his shirt, and the feel of his arms around her. He was humming along to the song, his cheek touching the top of her head as he moved. It was all helping to create a sensual bubble, and she was losing the ability to fight it. She'd come here to prove a point, and she'd done that. She couldn't blow it now by draping herself all over this man.
"You're a great dancer..." he offered, "you used to have two left feet!"
One Christmas he'd come to the school Ball, and as usual had singled her out, but she'd been so nervous that she'd literally fallen around the dance floor, spending more time with her feet on his toes than actually on the floor.
"I was nervous then Miles, you made me nervous." Glancing up she met his eyes, she wasn't embarrassed about her childhood crush anymore.
"I did?" he asked huskily.
She nodded, "you know you did. You flirted with me all the time; I wondered whether you did it deliberately?" At his faux innocent expression she almost laughed, "But I'm not nervous today, and William does SO like to dance that you get into it...you know?"
He closed his eyes for a moment, then sighed, twirling her to a darker corner of the dance floor, "I was surprised to see you here. I didn't know Melody still kept in touch with you. I haven't heard anything about you since school days."
It was so important that she kept calm, didn't show how angry his words made her, "well I suppose as you get married you go through a transition, I suppose your sister is wanting to say goodbye to singledom."
Raising an eyebrow he contemplated that for a moment, "not for me! Plus, not sure I could fit all my faux pas and disasters into one wedding congregation, even if it was cathartic."
Sophie stiffened, "so am I a faux pas or a disaster?"
Miles realised he was bordering on offending her, "if what you say is right, then maybe my sister is looking to right a wrong?"
This was music to Sophie's ears, proof that she was played by both him and his sister, "so she did play a role in what happened! I always wondered!" Miles started to flounder, but Sophie just grinned, "I think instead she's wondering how the hell she hasn't met him before!"
She looked pointedly at Melody draped over Bill, he was a gent, accommodating her expertly, but as her best friend grimaced, she knew that he was in a really difficult position. "Ironic really that she seems to be enthralled by a man who finds Poor Sophie Beck desirable, hey? Seems that I'm being re-evaluated all around; just because a handsome, rich and very successful man loves me...did I mention he was titled? I was the ridicule of your posh circle for years, but now, I'm far above you guys in my social standing, and I bet that grates on quite a few nerves. No whatever reason I was invited to this wedding, I think it's all blown up in your darling sister's face. And to be honest, I can't feel any sympathy for that."
The dialogue cut the mood like a knife, Miles had been pleasant, amorous almost in his ways, but like a dousing with cold water, his jaw tightened and his arms became stiff. The song ended and she stopped dead, stepping back from him with a gracious smile, just as Bill whirled past her linking fingers and taking him with her off the dance floor. A lucky escape.
Their favourite part of the hotel seemed to be the grand veranda, both needing the time to regroup out of the limelight.
"That looked cosy," Bill hated that he snapped, but seeing Miles so smarmy, so in control and all over Sophie. She was weakening, and she couldn't do that.
"He was trying it on Bill, and I sorted it. Ok? So relax."
As a few more people burst out of the room to join them in the darkening night, he held her close, his chin on her forehead, "the guy is a complete bastard, I could so easily break his nose!"
Sophie chuckled, "Bill might think about that, but not Sir William Swift. Now relax, the night is almost over. We can be gone in not very long. OK?"