Lady in Red Ch. 32byHarddaysknight©
Gwen and Steve arrived at the Governor's mansion in plenty of time for the rehearsal. Steve had tried to beg off, and remain at the hotel, but Gwen wouldn't hear of it. "I know you aren't in the wedding party, but Amber and her parents will want you there. Remember how they treated you last time we saw them? Besides, we'll be going to dinner afterward and I'll need you to protect me from all of those handsome Army Rangers."
Lisa and Jason met Gwen and Steve as soon as they were granted access to the mansion. "Gwen! I heard that Steve had to help you out with that kid in the rip tide! I'm so glad he was there. I don't think he'd ever let anything bad happen to you.
"Steve, thanks for taking care of my little sister. I don't have to tell you what she means to me. Now let's go in and get this rehearsal out of the way so we can eat!" insisted Lisa.
When they entered the large chapel room where the wedding was to take place, Amber O'Leary rushed up to them. She hugged Gwen, and then Steve.
"I really appreciate all you two are doing for me this weekend. I know you're busy making a movie in Florida. You've made me your friend for life by being in my wedding, and supplying the music. Everyone's so impressed that I was able to get the three top singers in the world for my wedding. I can't believe how lucky I am."
"I'm glad you feel that way," replied a relieved Gwen. "I'm afraid it's becoming a bit of a circus wherever we go these days. Reporters and paparazzi follow us all over. We don't want to take away any of the attention that should be on you."
"Nonsense! I've lived under the microscope since dad was elected to congress 12 years ago. I know how it works. In politics, as well as Hollywood, any publicity is good and you guys get lots of it. That means more people will be interested in my wedding, and that's a good thing."
"Am I missing something?" asked Steve. "Are you running for office or something?"
"No, but I'm starting a business. You know how I signed over all the 'Lady in Red' designs to your new company? I did those designs for charity and I'm glad I did. That allowed me to get you two into some of my designs, and that was the start I needed.
"Now I'm starting my own fashion line. We'll be competing in some areas, but in a friendly way. I designed all of the gowns and tuxedos for my wedding, so the more press we get, the more exposure my work will receive. I'm taking advantage of Gwen and Lisa by having them wear my designs, even though they have contracts with other firms. I checked into it and it's okay for you both to wear my creations at my wedding. I asked about it."
"I sure hope everything works out well for you, Amber. If it doesn't, and if our line, which you really started, does well, you can always design for us. You're very talented."
"Thanks, but a lot of the success was because of the bombshells and stud that wore my ideas. Jordan Quick, the Anderson sisters, and Steve Hammer in my designs? How hard could it be to make my stuff look good?
"Brad and I want to introduce you to the other bridesmaids and groomsmen. Come on with me," urged Amber as she suddenly remembered people were waiting for her.
The rehearsal was over in less than an hour. The group retired to a local restaurant for dinner. Governor O'Leary had a private room reserved for the wedding party and guests. Gwen was impressed with how easily Steve got along with the Brad's friends. They were all military men and took every opportunity to ride Steve, or goad him during the early part of the meal. When it became evident that Steve wasn't going to react to their comments, the men seemed to suddenly change tact and become quite warm.
Two of the groomsmen's wives were laughing at Gwen's confusion over Steve's treatment. "These guys were just testing him a little to see if he was a prima donna, or a mommy's boy. He passed the test and now they're accepting him as one of them."
"But they said some embarrassing and crude things to Steve. They even suggested a few unflattering things about me. How did they know that Steve wouldn't get angry? Why didn't he get angry?"
"Because they're men. It's just that simple. Men don't hug and flatter each other. They tease and insult each other, but within certain boundaries. None of them would say anything truly bad about each other's wives or mothers, but they will make references and they expect other men to do the same. It's much worse when we ladies aren't present. They found out that Steve can give as well as he gets. He's a man like them, and they've accepted him."
A short while later, one of the groomsmen asked Steve about Afghanistan. "That was you with your dad at that hotel outside of Kabul a year and a half ago? We heard that it was a hell of a fight. Four marines, a SEAL, and a kid killed 17 Taliban and wounded half a dozen more."
"Man! That must have been something. I wish I could've been there!" interjected a guy introduced to Steve and Gwen as the husband of a bridesmaid. "What a rush it must be to take out a few of those bastards."
No one spoke for several seconds. Steve simply stared at the man. Gwen quickly placed her hand on Steve's and patted it. It was Brad that finally broke the silence.
"I realize that you don't know any better, but that sort of talk around military men can, and will, get your ass kicked. Did Steve say anything about enjoying that fight? Four of the guys here right now served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They've been in battles and probably shot a few enemy combatants, as they're called. I know I have. It's not something men take any pleasure in.
"Look at the wives of these guys. Look at Gwen and Amber. They're horrified that anyone would say something like that. They know how we feel about killing other human beings. They know how hard we work to forget it ever happened. We do it when we must, but we sure as hell don't enjoy it!"
"That's one of the things that makes these guys such close friends. They've shared experiences most men can't even imagine," added Amber. "It changes them. They never forget it, but we do our best to make sure they know they're loved and appreciated. What Steve did, what all of these men have done, was necessary, but very difficult. They really don't like it when civilians make light of combat and death. They fight to protect the ones they love. They don't fight because they hate the enemy."
"I know that's true with Steve. He resents it when people try to pump him for information about those terrible gun battles. I disarmed the bombs strapped to those four dead men lying on the floor with two bullet holes in their head. It was horrible, but I was glad that Steve had the nerve and ability required to save my life and the lives of so many others. You can watch the video and see for yourself just what he risked. He still doesn't talk about it much, even when we're alone, in the dark, in the middle of the night."
"Well, that restores my faith in the American male!" laughed Brad's friend, Tim. "Any man that has a girl like you lying next to him in bed sure as hell shouldn't be using his mouth for talking!"
"I admit his mouth gets a workout, but he really doesn't talk very much," blurted Gwen just before her face turned red. "Was that too much information?"
"No! Tell us more about this big movie star and his nocturnal habits," insisted Tim's wife. "I'm getting aroused just imaging what I think you're saying. It sounds like you've hit the jackpot!"
"Let me give you a little tip I learned from my mother many years ago," interjected Janice O'Leary. "If you're fortunate enough to have a man that is an exceptional lover, never tell your friends. Reputations like that will bring the competition out of the woodwork. Tell everyone he's a regular minuteman and has a short carbine. It's worked for me all of these years."
"So that's why your friends shake their head when they see me?" asked the governor. "There's got to be a better solution than that!"
"So I shouldn't tell these girls that Steve packs a long gun, is an excellent shot, and always eats what he shoots?" asked Gwen, trying to sound like an innocent young girl.
"Please tell me that he eats it before he shoots it!" begged Tim as waves of laughter swept around the table.
"Just like a man," managed Tim's wife as the laughter died down. "I'm still looking for a guy that shoots first and eats later."
"I'm sitting right here, at your beck and call," responded Brad's friend, Jake. "I can do that for you. I'll make you forget all about Tim in about forty minutes or so."
"Don't fall for that story," laughed Jake's wife. "He'll shoot the hell out of it and then watch TV, or fall asleep, and it won't take forty minutes!"
"So how about Jason? Is he a fast shot? How's his appetite? You're awfully quiet, Lisa," pointed out Tim's wife.
"Well, Jason's parents are here, along with the governor and his wife, so I'll just say that he shoots straight, and often. He's a real marksman!" finished Lisa with a blush.
"Mom, these Anderson girls aren't following your advice! They're bragging about their men," laughed Amber. "But then I have to admit that I don't think Brad would want me to take your advice either. His so-called friends would tease him mercilessly if I indicated he didn't get the job done quite well, and frequently."
Gwen found herself having a great time dining and joking with Brad, Jason, and their friends. Later that evening as they climbed into bed, she mentioned it to Steve.
"When those guys first started trash talking you, and even making some crude remarks about my physical attributes, I worried that you'd become angry. Instead, you just laughed and make crude comments back to them. I didn't realize it at the time, but you knew exactly how to handle those men. Now they all like and respect you.
"Do you think I went too far with my jokes about you eating what you shoot? I hope I didn't embarrass you with some of my comments. Those guys, and their wives, are so down to earth and discuss sex so casually and tease each other about it so well that I found myself doing the same. Did I embarrass you, or make a fool of myself?"
"Are you kidding? You were perfect. Those guys think you're tops. They could see how beautiful you are, but they discovered that you're not a stuck up bitch. A lot of people would be intolerable if they had your success, but you've become even more approachable. Everyone loved your jokes, especially coming from one of the world's sexiest women. They'll always remember tonight and tell their friends about it. They'll also be your friends for life, and not because you're famous and beautiful, but because you're smart, fun, and well grounded. I was so proud of you that I was ready to burst," replied Steve just before he took Gwen's left nipple into his mouth.
"You sure know how to make me feel good," cooed Gwen as she felt goose bumps spread down her back. "I was so proud to be there with you sitting next to me. I saw how those women looked you over, like vultures around road kill. I'll never give you up, so they're out of luck."
Steve picked Gwen up and slowly lowered her onto his very hard cock. Once he was fully seated in her warmth, he gently sat in a straight-backed chair and held her close.
"I've got something I've been wanting to talk to you about," he whispered as he slowly moved Gwen up and down on his erection. "I debated whether I should admit it or not, but I've decided that I will."
"Now you have my attention. Between your mysterious words and your steel hard cock, I can hardly focus. Is there a problem?" asked Gwen between gasps.
"We're going to be apart a lot, starting in a couple weeks. This isn't easy for me to say, but you need to know it. I will stick by you no matter what. If you get drugged and find yourself in bed with another guy, if you just have a fling, if you get married to someone else, even if you make a hundred porno movies, I want you to know that I'll always love you and will crawl back to you any time you indicate that you want me.
"Don't ever think you've done something I can't forgive, or that prevents us from ever being together. If you can't wait for me, if you tire of me, if you find someone better, just remember that I'll be there for you when it's over with him. Never be afraid or ashamed to call me, to take me back into your life. Does that make any sense to you?"
"Oh, Steve! That's pretty much what I've come to realize about you. No matter how many women you make love to, how much rumors and gossip link you to beautiful women, I'll come to you whenever you want me. Never think that anything you've done has driven me away. You've given me so much, I think I'll forgive you anything as long as I can be with you."
"Then we agree? We'll remain faithful and totally in love, but if either of us ever slips, or worse, the other will have to forgive, simply because we have no choice. Love makes us forgive, at least a love like ours does. This isn't a 'get out of jail free' card that allows us a fling. It's simply a truth that we've come to accept. If either of us falters, or simply wants to move on, we owe it to the other to be open and honest about it," stated Steve. "But know this. I will never be unfaithful to you. My soul would burn in hell if I ever came close. I'm certain of that."
"You're the only man I'll ever sleep with. I promise you that, Sweetheart," moaned Gwen as an orgasm rocked her body.
The next day, Steve helped Jordan, Charlie, and the other band members set up for the wedding while Gwen spent the morning helping the bride and getting her makeup and hair perfect.
Later that day, at the wedding ceremony, Steve sat with Kate. He had to admit that Amber had the best looking wedding party that he had ever seen. Lisa and Gwen were stunning. Lisa wore a blue gown while Gwen wore red. The designs were the same, but each bridesmaid had a different color. Gwen was paired with Brad's friend Tim while Lisa was paired with his buddy, Jake. Jason was the best man and walked down the aisle with Amber's best friend, Claire.
It was a simple matter for those attending the wedding to move to the east side of the mansion for the reception. Charlie had indicated that he had experience doing weddings and smoothly handled all of the usual announcements and games conducted at weddings. Steve and Jordan handled the singing during the early part of the reception while Gwen was involved in wedding party activities.
After the meal had been served, Gwen joined Steve and Amber on the small stage to perform with them. When she wasn't singing, Gwen spent much of her time dancing. She was in constant demand by the young men present.
Steve had it almost as bad. He played the guitar in most of the songs, so even when he wasn't singing lead or backing up one of the girls; he was often needed by the band. He did delight a few guests by singing to them as he danced. Now and then he managed to work a dance in with some of the ladies that Governor O'Leary made a special effort to introduce.
One such lady was Senator Chatham. "It's such a pleasure to finally meet you, Steve. You dance even better than I had imagined. You make this old lady feel young again."
"Ma'am, your age is public record and fifty is hardly old," responded Steve smoothly. "Besides, you could easily pass for the late thirties."
"Wow, that makes what I'm about to tell you even easier. I'm on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I'm going to Russia and will attend the same state dinner that you are. The President has asked me to convey several things to you, Ms. Anderson, and Ms. Quick.
"The Russians are hosting the Winter Olympics next February. They've built a new stadium for the event. It will seat about 40,000 people. They've planned to have a grand opening for it during the trade conference that we'll be attending. There's one problem.
"This is information not for public consumption. They don't seem to be able to get enough people interested in it to even half fill the new Fisht Stadium, as it's called. They have a few Russian entertainers and musical acts performing, but interest is lagging. If that happens, the government will be publicly embarrassed and an already difficult time will be exacerbated," worried Senator Chatham as the dance ended. "Please dance at least one more with me right now so I can complete my sales pitch.
"Thank you, Steve," stated the senator through a large smile as Steve kept his arms around her and began the next dance. "Russia is having a lot of trouble with terrorists. They also had an Olympic hero caught spying in France this spring. France has him locked up tight and it's creating a major rift in relations between the two countries and it's spilling over and affecting allies of both countries.
"The State Department would very much appreciate it if you, Gwen, Jordan, and your band requested the opportunity to play at the new stadium. The thinking is this; if you do not draw a large crowd, Russia will be able to blame the Americans; that you are not popular in Russia. If you do help fill seats in the stadium, the Russians will avert an embarrassing situation and point out that you kids are climbing on the bandwagon to perform in front of the many fans that were going to be there to see the Russian performers. You risk being blamed if no one shows up, but it's very unlikely you will receive any credit if a public relations disaster is avoided. We're pretty much throwing you under the bus."
"I'll speak to the others and see if they're willing. We'll also have to talk to Clyde Davis. He's guided us so far and done a great job. I'll make some calls and let you know as soon as possible," promised Steve as he led the Senator back to her table as the dance ended.
"Steve, please sit down with me for a few more minutes. The young ladies will have to wait a little longer. I still have some items to discuss with you," directed Senator Chatham as Steve took a seat to her left.
"This one is more difficult. Everyone in our government knows how well you got along with President D'Anjou and his family when you were in Paris last spring. President Novokov asked that you and Gwen attend the state dinner, so it seems that you may have an 'in' with him. All we're asking is that you and Gwen be very careful about what you say to these two leaders, especially in regards to each other."
Steve remained silent as he stared at the Senator for several seconds. "Okay, we want you to very carefully try to find any common ground that may exist between the two countries to help the state department determine a solution to this situation. France has flatly refused to release the Russian spy and can't backtrack on that without losing international credibility. Russia really wants it Olympic hero back in Russia for the winter games. See what you can find out, but avoid adding any fuel to the flames. That's all we ask."
"You sure spent a long time with Senator Chatham," observed Gwen a short time later when Steve returned to the stage. "Should I be worried about her? You really seem to like mature women a lot."
"That's true," admitted Steve. "If they look like your mom and Aunt Diane, I do like them a lot. You really do have reason to worry about the Senator. She strongly urged that we ask to perform at the new Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi while we're in Russia."
"She wants us to ask to perform? Isn't that a bit presumptuous? What are the odds of even having our request accepted? When would we have the time? What's this all about?" demanded Gwen as she considered Steve's words.
"This is just between us. The word on the diplomatic street is that Russia can't entice enough people to attend the grand unveiling of the stadium with the acts they have scheduled. The state department feels that if Russia is humiliated in this prelude to the Olympics, they'll be even more stubborn when the trade talks between the West and Eastern Europe get under way. It's no secret that Russia still leans on Eastern Europe pretty hard."