Chapter Nine - Dance Like No One Is Watching
I couldn’t be Kate’s bridesmaid. I couldn’t let this ruse infect a day that was meant to be perfect, and yet I couldn’t say no. The way she looked at me, her eyes still wet with tears but full of hope.
“Of course.” I responded, ignoring the well of pain gnawing at my insides. “I’d love to be your bridesmaid.”
“Thank you!” Kate leapt to her feet and pulled me into a hug, she was strong, almost to the point of being able to lift me off the ground. She pulled back and looked at Jaq who was also beaming.
“Mom, we’ll need to get the dress fitted for Grace. Can you call ahead and let her know to have Emily’s dress out of the bag?”
Jaq nodded and walked away, Jade followed behind.
“Brennan, you and Grace should eat. We had an early lunch.”
Kate disappeared and left Brennan and I standing there, breathless in the face of everything that had just occurred.
I swallowed, a ball of nerves rested in my throat and I felt like I wanted to throw up. I was not hungry in the slightest.
“I can talk to her.” Brennan said finally, he stood up and closed the distance between us. “I get this is turning into more than you signed on for.”
For a moment I contemplated it. Brennan sweetly letting his sister down, explaining that I couldn’t be a bridesmaid. What excuse did he have though? Saying no was suspicious at best. I shook my head.
“I don’t mind.” I replied. “I just wish that maybe there wasn’t such a lie hanging over my head. I want your sister’s day to be perfect, and if me filling in helps that happen, I’m all in.”
“Thank you.” he whispered.
Brennan and I stood there, not saying anything, but also not moving for a minute at least.
“Grace!” Jaq’s voice called out. “We’re going to start the hens festivities after the dress shop, so get changed for a night out!”
I looked at Brennan again and smiled.
“I should go get changed.”
Brennan nodded and I turned and left the room. Only to find as I made my way back to our room that I missed him. I changed into the only other dress I’d brought with me. A black cocktail dress and a pair of black stiletto’s that Belle had leant me for the Christmas luncheon that I’d put on, but had chickened out of wearing. I freshened up my hair and makeup then made my way back down to the foyer where the others were already waiting.
We left the house and a driver took us into town. The dress shop was a small boutique that looked like it oozed class. We walked in and the owner hugged both Kate and Jaq. I looked at the tags on one of the dresses on the mannequin beside me. I almost gasped. $5,000 for a flimsy bit of fabric.
“Come through ladies. All the dresses are in bags except for Emily’s. I’ve put it in the changing room.”
I looked at the woman who was guiding me into said changing room. I closed the door and reached behind me, pulling the zip down. I stepped out of it and unzipped the lavender colored gown. I stepped into it, it was flowy and gorgeous, with thin straps, I’d worn a strapless bra, not knowing what to expect and now I was thankful I had. It was a little tight around, the bust, but not enough to require repairs. I opened the changing room door and looked between the four women staring back at me.
“You look amazing.” Kate exclaimed. “It fits you perfectly!”
The seamstress stepped forward and checked the fit she nodded and then leaned in to Jaq.
“There will be no need for adjustments, I can bag them all up and you’re ready to go Mrs. Wolf.”
I changed back into my cocktail dress and then joined the others out in the shop. The owner and Jaq’s driver loaded the dresses into the back of the car.
“Now, you’re in for a treat ladies.” Jaq exclaimed. “We’ve got the rest of the girls waiting for us. Let’s go!”
We left the store and the driver took us to what I presumed was a club. The four of us walked inside, and almost instantly I could hear the sound of girls laughing and music pumping. I hadn’t been to a club before, and I didn’t tend to spend much time in the company of other girls outside of Belle. I was kind of an introverted recluse. My stomach churned as we walked further inside, until finally we walked into the main area. Inside the club you’d not believe it was midday outside. There were girls dressed to the nines with cocktails in both hands laughing and talking incessantly. As soon as they spied Kate a table of them rushed to her and lifted her off the ground before placing a “Bride” Sash on her.
I wondered why she hadn’t asked any of these girls to be her bridesmaid over me, but I noted the sort of fake smile present on her face as they placed her back down. She straightened her dress and then thanked them for showing up.
“I swear, if the invitation didn’t say open bar half of them wouldn’t be here.” She looped her arm through mine and Jades. “High school friends who only know how to use me.”
I frowned. Brennan had assumed that Kate and Blake had it easy because they were popular, but Kate kind of seemed Jaded by her own friends.
Kate ordered us cosmo’s then tequila sunrises and then dirty martinis. I wasn’t sure what the time was, but six drinks in I was suitably drunk. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and as I sat down at a table with Jaq, Jade and Kate, I regretted that decision as the room began to spin. When the lights dimmed at first I thought it was a power cut, but then really rhythmic music began to place and a group of five men came out onto the floor. They were topless and all dressed the same. Kate laughed and poked her Mom, telling her she was crazy. My eyes focused on the guys and as the music intensified so did their dance moves. They pulled off their pants, throwing them out into the audience. A pair of tear of track pants landed in my hands. They were stripping. One of the guys grabbed Kate’s hand and led her out into the middle of the floor, they placed her on a chair before slipping on a blindfold that said bride. Then the other four boys came back to our table, and escorted both Jade and me to the center of the floor.
I wanted to run screaming from the floor because I couldn’t dance, but I was wearing stilettos… drunk. So I sat down on the seat.
I knew that it was meant to be sexy, the gyrating in my face as the blindfold came off, but it wasn’t my scene. I played the part and pretended to find it as entertaining as everyone else. Once the song was over we made it back to our seats. The show continued, and more clothes came off. We had another three drinks before we left around 9pm. Brennan, Blake and Alec were waiting on the deck when we got home. We spilled out of the car onto the gravel driveway. The boys each had a glass of something in their hands and their button ups were half unbuttoned.
“Good night ladies?” Alec Teased, scooping his wife to be up until his arms.
“Yes!” Kate laughed. “And you my love?”
“Yes, we played poker and drank a lot.” he chuckled.
“No stripper?” Kate said with a pout.
“I didn’t want one.” He replied. “We’re gentlemen.”
Blake scoffed. “Speak for yourself.”
“Blake!” Jade laughed running up the steps to him. “Jerk.”
Blake kissed her on the cheek, before basically making out with her in the middle of the driveway. Jaq leaned in and wished me a good night before disappearing inside. Brennan placed his empty glass on the table on the deck before walking down to where I stood alone between two sets of lovebirds.
“Hey you.” He murmured. “Ready for bed?”
I nodded, my head needed to hit the pillow to stop it from spinning. Brennan held out his hand for mine and I slipped my hand in his. He was warm, I wanted to cover myself in his warmth. I wanted to get drunk off of it and feel it for days. He smelled good, like his aftershave and expensive whiskey. I stopped and tugged on his arm, pulling him back into me. I rested my head on his chest and listened to the steady sound of his heart against his chest. His arms wrapped around me, his hands cradled the back of my neck. I almost tiptoed and kissed his neck but stopped myself by muttering “uh ah” and stepping out of the embrace.
Somehow we made it back to the bedroom. I’d felt lost numerous times, but Brennan had been my compass. We walked into the room and I stumbled to the bed, falling on to it with very little grace.
“I take it you had a good time?” Brennan asked
“I had a ball.” I exclaimed standing back up, I danced into the middle of the room before snorting. Loudly and saying “ball!”
“I had balls, plural… in my face at one point.” I laughed before reaching behind and unzipping my dress. I felt constricted, I needed my PJ’s on, or at the very least, this dress off.
“Is that right.” Brennan replied, sounding less than impressed.
“Oh, are you sad you missed out on the stripper and we had five.”
I looked over at Brennan who was sitting on the end of the bed watching me. His eyes were hooded, he had untucked his shirt and he looked a little drunk himself.
“Maybe I am.” He replied.
“I can fix that.” I laughed. I was too drunk to be standing, especially in these stilettos, but I started to dance, badly on the spot.
“Grace.” Brennan said softly. “Stop.”
I didn’t listen, I could hear the music from the club playing in my head. I danced and let my dress fall to the ground.
“Fuck.” Brennan mumbled under his breath. I opened my eyes and looked at him. I wore nothing but the black lace strapless bra, panties and the stilettos. I felt sexy.
Brennan stood up, he pulled a blanket off the bed with him and walked toward me. I didn’t think much about it, but as he approached me I placed my hand under his shirt and onto his bare chest. He froze on the spot and looked at me like he had the night before, only this time he stayed. He dropped the blanket and his arms wrapped around my waist. He pulled me in close, until our bodies were flush with one another. I could feel him, hard beneath his clothes and the thought I had done that made me feel giddy.
I’m not sure who kissed who, but suddenly we were kissing. Even drunk I felt something shift within me. I wanted Brennan, and a part of me always had. Kissing him felt all kinds of right in the way that kissing anyone else felt wrong. Brennan removed himself from me without notice, rudely taking away the truest thing I’d ever known. He lifted the blanket up off the ground and wrapped around my almost naked body. He was rejecting me. My heart hurt, or maybe it was my ego.
“We can’t.” Brennan said softly, making sure I was covered.
“Why not. We’re fake engaged.” I protested.
“Because you’re drunk and I’m not exactly sober either.” he paused. “You can’t consent if you can’t even think clearly. I’m not going to take advantage of you Grace.”
I shook my head, he was making up excuses, finally letting a girl down easy, but it hurt that the girl was me. I walked to my case and grabbed my PJ’s from the night before out. I kicked off my shoes and dropped the blanket before walking through to the bathroom. I shut the door and dropped my clothes onto the vanity. I showered, and dropped panties in the hamper, but held on to my bra for the wedding. My dress from the day before was gone, obviously they had housekeeping. I pulled on my PJ’s and walked out of the bathroom, dropping my bra on top of the suitcase. Brennan had already turned his side lamp off. I sighed, found the switch for my lamp and turned it off before lying down and falling asleep.