Happily Ever Afterbyadam applebiter©
This is the 17th and final story in a series. The whole series is
1 -- In Camera
2 -- Sins Of The Father
3 -- Summer Of Love
4 -- A lady's companion
5 -- Summa Cum Laude
6 -- Things To Be Thankful For
7 -- That Special Someone
8 -- Homecoming Queen
9 -- Touch But Don't Look
10 - Promises, Rules And Their Breaking
11 -- Fifty Ways To Please Your Lover
12 -- London Calling
13 -- Business And Pleasure
14 -- Through A Glass Darkly
15 -- Family And Friends
16 -- The Morning After The Night Before
17 -- Happily Ever After
"Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?" David had everyone's attention and that was more than a little nerve-racking, even though they were all friends. This was a big day and he had one more important duty to perform.
"No, I'm not about to betray Eric, stab him in the back or anything so dramatic. Eric is my friend, my fraternity brother and my boss. But our familiarity -- and believe me when I say we are familiar -- doesn't lessen the awe I hold him in. If anything, knowing Eric as I do, I'm more in awe of him.
Perhaps this will make more sense if I start at the beginning.
I first met Eric when I pledged to Phi Kappa Delta and Eric was that year's Fraternity President. He wasn't notably scandalous at that time and I was such a quiet, studious soul that I dropped completely below his radar... Or so I thought. It was all about to change. That was the year Eric inherited a business empire he had little understanding of and less interest in. It's been said often, by Eric himself, that the only good business decision he's ever made was giving Parry control of the company. And while Parry slaves away over a hot desk, Eric has been free to pursue his true vocation as a libertine.
Nor did Eric forget his oath to his fraternity. His largesse has become the stuff of legends, especially the Social Development Program, of which I am a graduate."
"With honours!" A sweet contralto voice interjected. David glanced along the high table to B who smiled to see him blush just a little.
"Eric's career since has been more notorious than notable, he is more infamous than famous. His art has pushed the boundaries further than anyone could have thought possible. But let's be honest: he's had help." David glanced along the table again, past Eric, past Kelsey, making eye contact with first B then Helen, both beautiful in their matching dresses. Both were smiling their gentle encouragement. He continued.
"He had help from... I have to get this right..." David made a show of remembering what he'd been told to say. "From two of the sweetest and most adorable young ladies one could wish to meet."
There was laughter. Everyone present knew to whom he was referring and just how much of the truth his description of them had left out.
"And, in truth, it was that notoriety -- the provocatively intimate nature of Eric's work that first drew Kelsey into his orbit. In a frankly bizarre parody of a very adult fairy tale, Eric and Kelsey found each other and found in each other the thing they really sought -- the thing everyone seeks -- the other halves of their hearts.
The unicorn... and we're all aware of Eric's unique horn... The unicorn has, true to the fairy tale, been tamed by a virgin and we are gathered today to wish them both a happily-ever-after.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glasses to the bride and groom."
"The bride and groom!" Many voices echoed in unison. Glasses clinked and Champagne was quaffed.
* * * * *
"Phew!" David sat back down, his work done. Barring incident, he had no more formal duties as best man. Traditionally, he had to look after the bridesmaids but he really didn't think Helen and B needed any help. He finished his champagne in one gulp.
"You were great!" Rebecca whispered, leaning against his arm and insinuating her hand into his, drawing it into her lap.
"Really?" He whispered back, turning towards her and pressing both their hands a little more firmly against her thigh as he buzzed her."
"Yes... Shh" Rebecca nodded along the table. Parry was on his feet and speaking.
* * * * *
"... absolute honesty that I've come to think of Kelsey as a daughter and so I was honoured and delighted when she asked me to give her away. In keeping with tradition, I'm also paying for the wedding... out of Eric's funds." There was a little laughter at that. Parry held Eric's power of attorney. "I haven't much to say, but there are some people to thank. Firstly, Titania, for arranging all the flowers today. Tittie, they're beautiful. Thank you." There was brief but hearty applause for Titania's work, which made her blush a little -- no mean feat.
"... And tomorrow, all those flowers will be taken to local hospitals and nursing homes so enjoy them while you can.
I also have to thank Pierre and Mary for hosting this wedding. I think you'll all agree, they've done us proud." More applause. If Mary blushed, it didn't show on her dark chocolate skin, but Pierre's beaming, gleaming smile was more than obvious. "Thanks guys..."
Parry had quite a few more people to thank but David tuned the rest out. He was distracted by the warmth of Rebecca's thighs, trapping his hand. He hadn't had time for sex last night, with all the last minute stuff for the wedding, and they'd been separated for bachelor parties the night before. He did a quick calculation. It was 70 hours, almost to the minute, since they'd had sex. That was the longest dry spell they'd had in six months of dating. He was rock hard right now and, for two pins, would just bend Rebecca over the table and fuck her like a jack hammer. In this company, it's quite probable that nobody would mind. That is, nobody but Rebecca. She was shy... compared to the rest of the women at this table.
"What're you thinking?" Rebecca asked quietly. She'd noticed he wasn't paying attention to Parry's speech or her.
"Just how long it's been since we made love."
"And?" There was a momentary increase in the pressure from her thighs.
"And it's been 3 days. Would you be very embarrassed if I fucked you right now, in front of everyone?"
"Very." Rebecca knew he was being hypothetical. "But..." she eased his hand out of her lap just long enough to hitch her hem up. David found his hand being thrust back between her legs. "Aren't long table cloths great?" Rebecca asked, mischief gleaming in her eyes.
"I'm so hard right now."
"Good." Rebecca stroked the ridge along David's thigh. It twitched. "Very good." She was either complimenting him on the temper of his erection or the impudence of his fingertips that were rubbing just above the nub of her clitoris through her underwear.
* * * * *
There was more applause as Parry finished speaking and ceded the floor to the groom. Eric glanced around him before speaking.
"Thank you Parry. Thank you all for being here to share this occasion with us." Eric's arms spread expansively, encompassing all his guests. "We really do appreciate it." He glanced down at Kelsey. She was radiant. "David was kind enough to remind you of my notoriety. Well allow me to retort." He made a point of looking at his best-man, noticing where David's hand must be. That made Eric smile. "Some are born notorious, some achieve notoriety and some have notoriety thrust upon them. I won't say my public image was entirely thrust upon me, but I'm not wholly to blame for it either..." His glance fell on Helen and B who were snogging and pretending to ignore him. Everyone else got the point and there was a smattering of laughter. Eric continued. "And as much as I've enjoyed every minute of it, all I ever really wanted was to find that special someone I knew was out there. And she found me.
You probably noticed a significant omission in our vows: we did not promise each other fidelity. Our relationship was never based on that and our marriage couldn't be. We love each other, but that love is expressed in our trust, not our fidelity. We're making it up as we go among but it's our hope that we can define a new morality that does not judge us for our desires and does not treat anyone as property. It's a bold experiment, changing centuries of dogmatic thinking, but we feel we have to try." Eric felt Kelsey's hand slide into his and squeeze his fingers.
"But enough seriousness... This is a celebration! Eat. Drink. And don't forget the wedding album."
* * * * *
"What about the wedding album?" Rebecca asked David as Eric sat down and got preoccupied with kissing his bride.
"Kelsey's idea. Eric's doing an album of 'his' photographs of his guests. I didn't mention it because... you've been pretty clear about not being photographed." David had broached the subject once and Rebecca had been more than a little vocal on the theme of no, no way, not now, not soon, not ever.
"Oh." Rebecca's face shut down. It was what David thought of as her poker face and he was used to seeing it whenever Eric's work came up in conversation. Rebecca liked Eric, really liked all of Eric's family now that she knew them, but didn't like the ever present sexual imagery or the pressure she felt under - unfairly -- for being the only person in the room who wasn't shown naked on the walls. Nobody ever mentioned that but Rebecca felt it and that was enough to make her always a little edgy in Eric's home. David had long since given up trying to tell her she was being silly.
"Don't do that. Please." David put a conciliatory arm around her shoulders.
"Shut down on me like that. It's not compulsory. Most of the people here have been in front of Eric's camera before so Kelsey thought it'd be a suitable memento of their special day. I'm sure you won't be the only one not posing." David hated having to defend his friends against his girlfriend but it happened quite a lot.
"Are you going to?" It was a loaded question.
"Yes... I am. I'm best-man so I should lead by example and..."
"And I want to."
"I see." Rebecca's monotone response spoke volumes about just how much she disapproved of that idea.
"Sweetie, you did good today!" B broke up the conversation. Buzzed David's lips firmly then turned to Rebecca. "What's wrong?" B could see the storm clouds behind Rebecca's eyes.
"Nothing." Rebecca lied.
"Good. Can I tear you away from David for a few minutes? I need your help with something."
"Sure, I guess." Rebecca pushed back her chair and stood.
B straightened up and took her hand. Rebecca resisted a moment but let herself be led away.
David watched them go, bemused by how easily B had stopped an impending argument.
When they'd disappeared, he got up too and went to chat with Helen, now there was a spare seat next to her.
* * * * *
"Ellie, Robbie, have you met Rebecca? David's girlfriend?" B had practically dragged Rebecca to a table that David had pointed out to her earlier, when he'd been too busy to make introductions.
"No. Hi Rebecca." Ellie turned out to be, in Rebecca's opinion, even prettier than B, which was saying a lot.
"Hi." Rebecca smiled at the pretty girl with the blind guy. She'd certainly heard a lot about Robbie from David.
"... feeling a bit pressurized. I thought you'd both like a bit of moral support." B was explaining something to Ellie.
"Pardon?" Rebecca had missed the gist of what B had said.
B turned to face her and spoke softly and warmly. "You and Ellie have something in common. She doesn't want to pose for Eric either. I just thought you should know you aren't the only one." B gently eased the unresisting Rebecca into a spare chair while she spoke. "You guys should get to know each other better."
B left, leaving Rebecca in the company of strangers. She immediately started to look around for David.
"Intimidating, isn't it?" Ellie said, snapping Rebecca's attention back to herself.
"I can't see David." Rebecca explained her distraction. It sounded lame to her but she had nothing else to say. David was the only person here she really knew and he was nowhere near her.
"He's probably busy being Best Man." Robbie suggested. "I've been looking forward to meeting you, Rebecca. David talks about you all the time."
"Really?" Rebecca liked the sound of that. She had yet to visit the frat house and had started to wonder if she was ever going to meet David's friends.
"Constantly. Rebecca... this is going to sound odd but, may I see you?"
"Robbie sees with his hands." Ellie could see Rebecca's puzzled look.
"Oh. Sure. What do I have to do?"
"Just relax and sit still." Robbie moved a little closer and tentatively reached towards her face.
It was a little unnerving that he found it straight away. It was almost as if he could actually see where she was. She closed her eyes and felt his fingertips move ever so lightly over her face from forehead to neck. It was weird but not unpleasant. In fact, she rather liked it.
"Thank you." Robbie sat back.
"You're welcome. That was actually kind of..." She was searching for a better word than 'nice'.
"Sexy?" Ellie prompted.
"Well, yes." Rebecca felt herself blushing. "I think I'd have said intimate rather than sexy, but... I'm sorry." Her palms went to her cheeks. She could feel how hot they were.
"What's to be sorry about?" Robbie asked.
"You made her blush." Ellie explained. She didn't explain that Rebecca's nipples had got a lot more obvious too. She didn't mention it, but she noticed and Rebecca noticed her noticing.
"Is it true you won't pose for Eric either?" Rebecca tried to change the subject.
"Not entirely." Ellie moved closer to Robbie, tucking herself under his arm and resting her cheek against him. "I told Eric I'd pose for him if Robbie could see the pictures."
Rebecca thought that was a bit insensitive but Robbie was smiling at it.
"I'm her excuse but, really, she's just shy." He said.
"Not true!" Ellie slapped his leg playfully. "Not that there's anything wrong with being shy."
"It's not that..." Rebecca was shy, but that wasn't the only reason.
"You know. It really doesn't matter." Robbie said. "Eric will respect your wishes and nobody in his family will ever say a word against your choice. They believe in respect."
"True. All that stuff Eric was saying about their new morality? Its not the first time we've heard it. If you're feeling under any kind of pressure, you're imagining it."
"I know, but..."
"But it still feels real? Been there, felt that. Trust me. You'll get used to it." Ellie sounded really sincere.
"Rebecca? How did you and David really meet?" Robbie changed the subject.
"Really meet?" It was an odd way to put the question.
"He told us he saved you from the unwelcome advances of a predatory boss. We figured he was lying. David's not the heroic type."
"I can't believe he told you... Yes, it's true... I'm Meg's P.A. You know Meg?"
"Intimately." Robbie said with a grin.
"He's kidding." Ellie didn't seem bothered by Robbie's claimed conquest. "Go on."
"Meg hit on me on only my second day at the company and..."
"Meg? Not Parry?" Ellie's eyebrows were raised. This actually was surprising.
"I hadn't even met Parry then but there were... circumstances..." Rebecca was blushing again as she recalled the 'circumstances'.
"And?" Ellie was leaning forward, past Robbie. She wanted to hear this story.
Six months ago, Rebecca would have been far too shy to tell them but a lot had changed in six months and she was feeling quite flattered at the sincere interest her new acquaintances showed in her story.
* * * * *
"... Meg didn't push it. She backed off... I noticed her glances often enough and she stole the occasional kiss but never more than that. I was the first time I'd been openly desired by another woman but it wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it would be -- should be. I even started dressing to impress her.
I was still surprised when Meg invited me to Eric's Halloween party. Before that, the nearest we'd got to social time was lunch together."
"Sorry, Rebecca..." Robbie interrupted her story. "This was last Halloween, yes?"
"You went to that party?" Ellie was genuinely surprised now.
"Yes. I didn't know exactly what to expect. I'd visited Eric's gallery and met him and Kelsey and Helen so I expected it'd be pretty racy... Still... I was really unprepared for the shenanigans going on there."
"Robbie and I couldn't go. We had other commitments... but that party's the stuff of legends in the frat house. Go on. Is that where you met David?"
"Yes. He was one of the waiters."
"He volunteered for that. It was originally supposed to be just the pledges but David argued that the Pantheon's acolytes should provide the service." Robbie had been excused pledging but was a full member of Phi Kappa Delta and wore an acolyte's pin with a B inscribed on it. Rebecca knew what that meant because David had explained his own pin to her.
"What did you go as?" Ellie asked.
"The bride of Frankenstein. A wedding dress from a vintage clothes shop in Greenwich, green make-up and a novelty shop bolt through my neck.
I knew Meg was going as Queen of the vampires and Parry was Count Dracula and witches are just boring.
David kept plying me with drinks -- which was his job -- and I kept him talking to dodge Meg's advances. I guess I told him that because he made a point of never leaving me alone." Rebecca reflected on the fact David had not left her alone for the whole of the next day either and had been reluctant to say goodbye when Monday morning meant work was required.
* * * * *
"Problems?" Helen asked as David sat down. "I saw B stealing your girlfriend."
"Rebecca's not happy about the album." David didn't look happy right now either.
"So? Don't do it."
"I probably won't."
"David. Trust B. Have you ever seen anyone try to not like her?"
"Ok. But Prissy Chrissy's an aberration. Rebecca is far too nice a person to not like B."
"I know. Besides, I have an idea. See that?" She pointed to where Rebecca, Ellie and Robbie were sitting.
"Wanna bet I can get you and Robbie in the album and Ellie and Rebecca will actually help?"
"No way!" David meant no way would he bet against Helen. He'd lost a few forfeits to her in the past and learned his lesson.
"Coward! Go talk to Daddy. Leave this to me and B."
* * * * *
"I love you." Kelsey's voice was muffled because her face was pressed against Eric's chest. His arms felt reassuringly tight around her and she could feel the pressure of his lips on the crown of her head.
"I love you too." Eric murmured. This was the first private moment they'd had all day. Not that the 'first dance' was private, but they had a few square feet to themselves and the music kept their conversation between them. It felt private.
They swayed together as the space around them filled up with other couples, all but unnoticed.
And if they didn't really notice their guests, their guests only pretended not to notice when Eric spirited Kelsey away from the party entirely, disappearing with her into the bungalow.
They were gone too long to not be missed but David, B and Helen knew there was one last twist in the day's celebrations. Quietly, they went from table to table and group to group, explaining that everyone was expected on the beach in one hour to watch the sunset. Dress code was to be pyjamas or other appropriate nightwear. The formalities were well and truly over and tonight was a slumber party.