I’m still recovering from Milos speech, the kid crushed it. I haven’t laughed that hard since Al fell down the stairs of her apartment building that time after we played ‘who can drink more vodka in ten minutes’. That boy is going to be a nightmare in a few years; gorgeous and funny – Tara better be ready for a lot of broken hearted girls turning up on the doorstep.
“We’re going to do the first dance in a minute so let’s do shots before another one of Tara’s mates tries to talk to me about the bloody centrepieces again.”
Al’s hardly had five minutes to sit down, but I’m pretty sure her and Jayce just consummated their marriage in the disabled toilets. Classy bitch, real classy.
Okay, I’m jealous. I’d had my eyes set on one of Jayce’s single team mates for round one of bang-fest but now I can’t stop staring at the dish of tall, tattooed and handsome outside. Why the fuck does he do this to me? It’s like I forget who I am around him, until all I am is his.
“Okay, I got them.” Lisa scurries over to the bar to bring in the shots. Kal and Drew have been doing well with the jet lag but now they’re both passed out in the corner. I had to hide my eyeliner just so May doesn’t draw on their faces. She’s such a little shit, although she does look cute as hell feeding tiny chocolate coins to Heather right now.
“You happy beaut? Everything turned out how you wanted it?”
Al nods but she hardly had to answer, her face has looked deliriously content since the moment they said I do and it hasn’t wavered for a instant.
“It’s better than I could’ve dreamed Brie. Thank you babe, for everything.”
Jayce walks up behind her, slowly wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing the side of her neck with adoring love. “They want to do the first dance now princess.” She leans back into his chest with a smile, before letting him spin her over to the dance floor.
They’re so boring. I offered to choreograph them something epic, there would’ve been actual fireworks and a smoke machine but no, they just wanted to two step whilst staring into each others eyes and listening to their song. I swear, if I get married, my first dance is going to be a bigger production than Wicked.
Lisa drops the tray of shots on the table and I grab her hand to walk with me to the dance floor just as the music starts. The crowd grows to watch but neither of them can see us anymore, they’re the only two people in the world to each other now.
“I hate them.” Lisa states as I lean against her shoulder. “I swear, I’m never falling in love again, they make me sick with how easy they make it look.”
Chuckling, I wrap my arm around her delicate hips. “Me too. If they weren’t so adorable I’d cave their little heads in.”
She laughs but we both know we don’t mean it, neither if us can even stop staring at them. The music goes on and people begin to join the floor. Tara and Cole dancing with Heather between them, May making Milo twirl her even though his attention seems to be focused else where. I grab Lisa’s wrist and yank her with me onto the floor.
“Brie, I told you I don’t dance.”
I roll my eyes, forcing her hands to my hips as I move us in sync. “You know, people who can’t dance are usually shit in bed.”
She stops, looking thoroughly offended before spinning me in her grasp and dipping me quickly. Okay, girl’s got skills.
“Brie, I’ve fucked more girl’s than you’ve had hot dinners, trust me when I tell you that you’d never look back after I was done with you.”
Damn, if a certain blue eyed monster hadn’t decided to return to my life tonight I’d be dragging this girl upstairs quicker than you could shout ‘stop riding the lesbian Brianna’. I still could I guess, but I won’t. Rule one of sex therapy, no using other people to block out the one you want.
I smile at Lisa as she continues to show off her little dancing skills, until she almost drops me right on my head whilst looking behind me. “Holy fucking shit Brie, who is that?”
Looking over to where she’s staring, I see Hannah standing by the bar, helping Josh get the barmaids attention.
“That’s Hannah, she’s Tara’s friend.”
Lisa looks completely mesmerised as Hannah walks towards Tara and offers her a hug.
“That’s the cop Jayce was talking about? Fuck, I thought she’d be like... I didn’t think she’d be so...”
“Hot?” Lisa turn bright red just as Hannah looks our way. I wave at her, although she’s too busy checking Lisa out to notice and return it. “Want me to introduce you?”
Lisa shakes her head. “No, no just act cool. Fuck, she’s really fucking beautiful. She’s on the rainbow side of the flag right?” I laugh and nod just as Connor and Aniston walk past us, Lisa reaching out and immediately slamming Connor into me as her replacement. “You two dance, have I got anything in my teeth?”
I check her over and sort out her bow tie before smacking her ass and sending her on her way. I guess Hannah did always have a thing for younger girls...
Aniston laughs along with me as we watch Lisa’s attempt to be smooth when introducing herself to Hannah, only to almost fall over a chair she didn’t see behind her. She turns and gives Connor a kiss on his cheek. “You two dance, standing up for more than three minutes with these two sitting on my organs just makes me want to pee anyway. We still on for Harry Potter marathon with the kids next weekend?”
I’m probably more excited for that than I should be. “Damn right, I knew this weirdo would love it when he gave it a chance!”
Connor glares at me while she laughs. He’s a Ravenclaw, definitely. He kisses her softly before she returns to their seats. Placing one hand on my lower back and the other in my own, we sway gently to the music. Aniston really is the perfect person for him, I remember when Aleah asked if she was ever concerned about mine and Connors friendship considering how we met, but she said she had nothing to worry about. She trusts Connor, she trusts me and she knows her own worth. If anything happened between us it would be his loss, and I agree, he’d never find anyone more perfect for him than that girl.
Not that anything ever would happen between us again, it wasn’t our destiny. Our friendship means so much to both of us, we wouldn’t ever risk it.
“So... Steve’s back huh?”
Oh god, he just had to bring him up. I’d been good for like a solid three minutes then, didn’t look at him once! Okay, maybe once, or twice. Okay I looked at him every thirty fucking seconds! Sue me for having eyes and noticing the hottest gut in the fucking room!
“Yep. Is he still looking?” Connor glances behind me quickly and nods with a small smirk.
“Think he’s ready to come tear my head off any second. He knows we’re just mates now, right?” Oh god, I don’t know. Josh has probably told him... I hope. “You spoken to him?”
Releasing a deep breath, I let my head fall against Connors shoulder. His strong aftershave is still one of the most comforting scents I know. “Not really, I kind of freaked out earlier. I mean, I don’t even know what’s happening with him. He could be bloody married or have a girlfriend or be gay now or-”
Connors hysterical laughter cuts me off before I can continue my rambling.
“I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be staring at you like that if any of those things were true Brianna.” He doesn’t know that. “I know you asked Josh not to tell you what’s happening with him, but I also know what it’s like to be falling in love with you Brie, trust me, that look in his eye tells me he did exactly what he said he would. He waited.”
Please don’t get my hopes up like that.
Connor holds me closer, leaning down into my ear and talking so quietly only I can hear him, his calming aura forcing me to relax more than anyone else could ever make me.
“It was always him for you Brie, I saw it that day in the hospital. It was never me, it was never Antonio. It was Steve. You know that... You only ever fell in love with one of us.”
I freeze. I did... I’ve only ever fallen for one person.
Resting my cheek against Connors I take him in, his nature has always been one that could make me see straight even when the world felt clouded. We’ve spoken a lot about us back then, I don’t think I truly realised how much I hurt though.
Leaning against his ear, I want him to hear this.
“You were so special to me Connor, I hope you know that. You were special to me then and you’re special to me now. I didn’t fall in love with you, but I do love you. You’ll always be my good boy.”
He leaves a gentle kiss on my shoulder, a smile on his lips.
“And you’ll always be my bad girl Brianna.”
Damn right I will.
My feet still as he leans back up, looking behind me quickly before loosening his grip on my waist. I can sense him, the desire to spin into his arms overwhelming me.
“Can I cut in?”
Oh god, that voice.
Connor leans over to kiss my hand, before turning it from his into Steve’s, with a nod towards the man before him. Me and that boy, what we have, it’s more than either of could’ve hoped for the day I walked out of the school. I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Steve glances down at where our hands now sit together and I know he feels it too. Pure magnetism coursing through our bodies and drawing us to each other with a force neither of us can describe, only to become amplified as his other arm curls around my waist and sharply pulls me into him.
“Can I have this dance?”
You can have all of them.
I don’t respond, the words don’t seem to want to come right now, instead I just place my other hand at the back of his neck and let him lead me into the music.
We move, we spin, we stay close. Neither of us say a word as one song moves into the next but neither of us try to break away. I have so much I want to tell him; I want him to know how grateful I am to him for giving me the time when I needed it, I want him to hear from me how I never stopped thinking about him, how I’d check in on him even when I told people I wouldn’t.
I want to know about his life, where he travelled and if he liked it there... I want to know if he’s sure he’s staying now.
Just say something Brie, it doesn’t need to be perfect or momentous. Just start the conversation.
“You got more ink.”
Jesus Christ Brianna...
He looks down at me as I glance up into his blue orbs, a small smirk curling up the edges of his lips at the sound of my voice.
“Yeah... There was this artist out in Samoa that does these crazy designs with the markings they find in the caves on the island, he did this bit old-school and it hurt like a bitch but totally worth it. Got a few pieces done all over the place. You should see how far it goes down now.”
Smirking back at him, he just matches my look. He’s such a bloody flirt, I’m glad at least something hasn’t changed.
“Oh I don’t know, if I did that it would just get all show and tell, and I think you’d like my new one more.”
His eyes grow wide, running over my body to see if there’s anything he can see.
“Where is it?” His voice deep as he glances over every piece of exposed flesh, not that he could see it in this dress.
I take the hand he has in mine and sit it on my hip, sliding it over my waist slowly until it smooth's up to the side of my ribs, letting it sit there for a moment and feeling the breath stealing vibrations seep out from him into me.
He can’t see it, but as he strokes his thumb over the fabric of my dress I can see him mentally removing my clothes to get a closer look.
I was pretty scared up after all the ops, there wasn’t a lot I could do with my hand because I may need more surgery again one day but my ribs were a different story. I was talking to Jayce about it and he showed me how he made a piece to cover the scaring on his shoulder. He offered to draw me something but I already knew what I wanted.
There’s this quote I saw on a guys chest once... My favourite Edgar Allan Poe quote... I guess it just matched my skin so perfectly I couldn’t help but copy it...
Looking at his face now, I can see the left over mark of a bruise on his cheekbone. “You’re bruised?”
He leans into my touch, holding his breath before answering me. “Had my last fight in Europe last week... Needed the release.”
Slowing our steps I run my thumb over the mark, his soft flesh warm beneath me until I find myself holding him behind his neck once more. “You couldn’t find anyone else to give you a release?”
Fucking hell Brianna...
Fire erupts in his eyes, his fingers stroking my waist like he’s considering his words carefully. “I didn’t want anyone else to give me a release.”
Oh god... Stop looking at me like that... Please...
Steve’s hands continue to travel downwards until both sit on my hips and I find myself moving even closer into his body, my hand grazing from the back of his neck down until it slips inside the collar of his shirt and moves the fabric so I can get a better look at his new piece.
I hadn’t even realised my nails were lightly scratching at his collarbone until I heard the low growl from deep within in his chest. He always did like this...
He stiffens but I don’t stop, it’s kind of comforting to know I can still have this affect on him.
The music dips into something slow, Paramore’s The Only Exception, a song that frees me from the ties of my own restraints as the lights grow darker... until all I see is him.
Those plump lips hold his hitched breath, as my nails follow the curve and bend of each inked line until I’m traveling up his neck and moving them into his hair...
His eyes close gently as he soaks in the feeling and I can’t stop myself, I have to know...
Lacing my fingers into his roots, I move so close my breath is mixing with his right before I tug his hair gently, just the way I always did when we were together.
His teeth press into his bottom lip and I know I have him, neither of us can fight it. It’s still there, us, it’s still all there.
Looking deep into my eyes again, his one hand remains firmly against my lower back keeping me with him, but the other works its way up until it has hold of my curls and is tilting my head back to face him.
Oh god, this is happening... The butterflies in my stomach erupt as his eyes fall to my lips.
“Brianna... You’re... I want to-”
He can’t get his words out but I don’t need them, I just need him to kiss me.
Placing pressure against the back of his head so he knows what I want, I force him slowly towards me and he doesn’t stop it, lowering himself until I can taste the honey whisky on his breath and the warmth of his skin as it hovers above mine...
This... is... it...
The conjoined screams of two little humans forces us to jump apart, Heather and Liam both sitting on the floor at our feet rubbing their heads with tears in their eyes after clearly smashing into each other during their little game of chase.
I immediately pick Heather up into my arms to check she’s okay, Steve not hesitating to do the same thing with Liam. My little Madame stops crying almost instantly but Liam is still sniffling as Steve checks every inch of him for injury. I don’t think he’s even realised this is the first time he’s holding that little boy, it’s so natural between them.
Al rushes to my side but she looks more pissed than actually concerned, her eyes running from Steve to me and back again.
“I’ll um.. I better get him to Josh... You look beautiful Aleah, sorry I haven’t had time to say it earlier.” Steve steps back from the floor slowly, his eyes lingering on me for a few moments longer before he takes his little brother with him.
“Shit.” Al looks at Heather with a mixture of humour and frustration before letting out a breath of exhaustion. “I love you little princess, of all the kids here you’re my favourite, but you have shockingly bad timing. You two were so bloody close!”
The little perv. “You were watching us?!”
Al throws her hands up like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Of course we were bloody watching you Brie! Why do you think none of us have moved from that bloody table in the last twenty minutes?!”
I look over to where Steve now sits with Josh, the table full of eager and disappointed looking faces: Jayce, Josh, Denise, Kal, Drew, Connor, Aniston, Helena, Christopher and even Milo looking over at me like me and Steve were the latest special on Netflix and they wanted the next fucking episode!
Al takes Heather and walks us both over towards the table, me grasping a glass of champagne from the tray of one of the passing waiters.
I go to take the empty seat next to Kal but Aleah pulls it away from me so quickly I almost hit the floor.
“Al! What the fuck?!”
She glances around the table. “Sorry, Lisa is sitting there.” Like fuck she his, her and Hannah haven’t moved from that little table in the back since the moment they started talking.
I go to move around and take the one next to Josh but Al gives a knowing look to Denise who jumps up and dives into it so fast she almost smacks the champagne straight out of my hand. “Oh I’m so sorry dear, I was just... I wanted to talk to Drew here about the team out in Oz.”
Okay, I’ve watched enough of this movie to know what these fuckers are doing. Suddenly the only seat available is the one next to Steve, these twats are Parent Trapping us! Little fuckers can’t leave well enough alone can they?
Walking over to it, I can feel every pair of eyes burrowing into my back but the second I snap my head back they all suddenly become very busy with whatever is on the table in front of them. They’re really crap at this whole ‘we’re not being obvious’ thing.
Steve doesn’t let it get by him, the second I sit down he leans over, his breath tickling my neck as he talks low enough that they all can’t hear no matter how much they try to strain.
“We’re in for a long night with this lot, aren’t we?”
Damn fucking right we are.