This is my entry for the 2013 Halloween contest.
"I guess they didn't waste any time. I got the invitation a couple weeks ago. Halloween? Really? Who plans a Halloween wedding?" They both laughed at that and he shrugged.
"It sounds like a good time. Fun fun fun for all ages."
"Did you see that coming? The two of them together? Married?" She tilted her head tossing her hair over her shoulder. "First it was Julia and Paul getting together, then we lost Dave to that woman he brought to dinner twice, Jenny and Mara both married off and gone, now these two. I guess it's just the getting together with each other that makes me go, huh. We've all known each other so long I can't picture it, like it's almost incestuous, like kissing brothers and sisters."
"Well, I saw it coming. He's had it in his head for a while. Why do you think he hasn't dated anyone else since that hag, what was her name, the short one. Not everyone here only sees us as brothers." He punctuated that with a wink. "Kissing cousins maybe." She gave a small yelp from the kick under the table.
"He's been waiting to swoop in on her when the time was right." He moved his hand through the air like a bird to emphasis his joke. From there he ran his hand through the dark hair. To Juniper's envy that's all it ever got for styling.
His usual perma grin showed his amusement at her annoyance. It surprised him, she was usually the one in the know about these kinds of things. She could always see it for everyone else but not for herself.
The happy couple holding hands turned to wave from the doorway of the restaurant like sickeningly sweet school kids. A quick wave back at them and she turned her eyes to Donovan. He'd been watching the sweetheart cuteness too, with an expression that came as much from the display as from the response across the table. He rolled his eyes which could have been taken as humor for the PDA but was really a reaction to her. She always amused him.
She sat across from him stacking up the plates to push them aside when they were alone at the table. The group of friends that gathered for dinner every Sunday had gotten smaller and smaller as everyone's lives shifted from the carefree college kids to real life grown ups. Now they were starting to pair off together, not just with other people but now getting together with each other within the circle of friends.
"Juniper, will you go with me? We don't have to do a couples costume or anything." The mischief in his eyes says he knew how it sounded and he added the pleading tone for effect. "No really, you have to go with me. If I don't pick you up and keep you as a captive audience, you'll find some way to sneak away early or flake out entirely and not show up." His easy smile softened the truth. "I know this wedding is a whole list of things you hate. But they are both our friends, and you love them like a brother and a sister. It will hurt their feelings if you're not there," he said in a rare moment of seriousness.
"I don't hate..." Donovan quickly interrupted as he was ready for a number of different arguments and was entertained by her first choice. "Juniper Pearl Carter, I know you. I know you better than you'd like to admit. Shall I list the things about this you hate? Let's start with crowds in general, Halloween in principle, wearing a costume, the sappy public displays of affection, cheap cold food, a whole evening of small talk, shall I continue?" He swatted her elbow with the hand he'd just ticked off points on and made a face in response to the indignant expression across the table.
"But I like weddings." Her posture softened at the thought, her gaze drifted away as she twirled a curl of hair off her shoulder. She hid her dark eyes by looking away, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of being right on all counts.
"Yeah, maybe you like them for the open bar." He scoffed and pushed back from the table, his long legs unfolding. They'd been to weddings together, they'd been to lots of things together. Together with a group or alone with each other. He knew how she worked.
"That's nice too but not the only reason." She shifted her weight to turn away from the table and reached for another curl to twist. A nervous habit but she liked how it made her hair look like the natural loose curls were tighter.
"Why then? Tell me why do you like weddings?" She was always one of his favorite people to tease because of the way they played off each other and together.
"I like to flirt with the dirty old men and their being drunk helps." She caught him finishing his beer and laughed at him when it almost ended up spit out on the table. She was playing with him but it was also the truth, not the only reason but one of them.
"You don't wait for weddings to do that and you don't need them drunk at any age." His voice sobered even if his expression still laughed. She could flirt her way into most anything, he'd seen her do it. She didn't go anywhere with it most of the time, she was just having fun. His mind wandered away for a moment. Those tits, ahh look what she can do. No don't look, don't get caught. Again. He chastised himself, he should be more respectful. She was a lady and she was his friend. What do the ladies like them called - boobs, they preferred boobs. Ahh look what she can do with those boobs. He shifted in his seat because just thinking about her tii...boobs could do that to him.
Juniper shifted in her seat a little thinking that might have been a dig at her dating history. The two of them had seen a lot happen in each others lives over the last few years. As the circle of friends got smaller the closer they became with those that were left. Sometimes it embarrassed her when she thought about the depth of personal details he knew, things only the closest girlfriends are supposed to be in on. He was definitely not a girlfriend but somehow had always been a safe confidante. Safe in that way a woman can talk with gay, married or inappropriately old men. He was definitely none of those either.
Donovan had also confessed to all kinds of sin, usually under the influence to some degree but she suspected the drunk was only a screen to hide behind, can't blame much on only a couple beers. He would often ask about the woman's perspective on matters of dating and love. By the end of these discussions she usually ended up saying the same thing, that if she knew what to do she'd be doing it in bed every night, wrapped around a man with the biggest cock imaginable with no time for his problems.
How did they end up so far into the 'friend zone' without ever doing anything about it? It was something they never talked about.
"I don't know what to be. A fireman? A cowboy? A cop?"
"Why don't you go as the entire 'Village People' and sing YMCA. Go look in the costume shop, they'll help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up. I gotta go, you ready?"
"Just get a dress, make yourself pretty and I'll pick you up." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders pulling her to his side as they made for the door. At his height her shoulders landed under his armpit when she didn't have heels on. This left a large space open below his ribs where she often gave him an elbow shot. He always exaggerated the force of it and usually played it up with sound effects. That day was no different.
"I'm always pretty." She responded to his fake hurt with an exaggerated pout, flipping her hair at him as they walked down the sidewalk. Waiting at the stop light to cross the road she gasped as he reached out taking a fistful of hair to point her face up to his.
"Don't flip your hair at me," in a playful growl "or I'll use it as a handle and you've just told me I'm nothing better than a bratty brother." This kind of joking sexual threat was not unheard of between them and others of the group but never the hair pulling. Her eyes shot open wide, darker than usual in the street light.
A thought raced through her mind, how do men learn how to grab hair so erotically without hurting too much, and had she told him at some point how much she liked it.
She shifted her eyes away first then her whole face as much as his grip would allow, afraid that he'd see the fire that he turned on in that instant. She was surprised that such a simple playful gesture could cause her to respond with such intense sexual heat, and from him. He was just playing, right? The warmth flushed her face and her panties.
When he released her hair, she wormed away from his grasp like a small child would and added the girlie whimper just for added effect to help convince herself that she wasn't suddenly incredibly horny. He was the only one of their friends that she played the little girl vs bratty brother with.
He was also the only one that she was so attracted to, and the one she labeled 'off limits'. It was an easy place to keep him; between his girlfriends, her boyfriends and the broken-hearted wallowing in-between they were safe.
Not in his mind, they were never safe. He would've taken her in a heartbeat had she made any offer. There were a couple girlfriends he would have dropped if she had made any offer. He caught a hint here or there, an eye down his body, leaning a little closer for a little longer. Every now and then he thought... maybe she's... But then she'd call him brother or brat and treat him like a gay faux beau.
"Brat." She turned left at the next street while his car was to the right. "See ya next week." A wave over her shoulder and she was gone just like every other dinner, movie, party, concert they'd been to.
The Sunday dinner table ended up with all the women on one end, the men on the other. It didn't matter because they were all talking about the upcoming wedding, everyone at the table having been invited. The happy couple were not there. They were already busy with preparations for the following weekend. From one end of the table to the other the topics ranged from chicks clucking with gossip to crude honeymoon jokes but everyone was talking about costumes.
The talk was about comfort for dancing, how much is too much cleavage in the naughty nurse, couples themed costumes, they were all excited. The ladies had been given the go ahead from the bride for things like the sexy kitten but some felt it inappropriate to be hanging out with with the father of the bride with their ass hanging out. The opinion of the table was split, not surprisingly, right down the middle.
Juniper had picked hers out on an excursion to the real costume shop, not just the Halloween store cheap crap. She was with the majority opinion of the women about not wanting full face masks or makeup. It's a wedding after all and there would be pictures, they wanted to be identifiable. The others were talking about their fun in the same shop as well. Donovan had taken the groom's brother with him and had the whole table laughing about the things they tried on.
This was going to be a loud, drunken, obnoxious wedding party.
She heard the knock on the door from the bedroom. Damn it he's early, she swore under her breath. Today of all days he's early. She gathered the dress to cover herself just enough in front, turned the door handle and kicked it open, skipping any polite greeting with a growl and a tug at the dress.
"It's always wonderful to see you too. Why thank you, it's so nice of you to say how handsome I look today. I always try hard to impress you." His laughter followed her back out of the room. He dropped the clown props in the chair in the hall and sat down heavily on the sofa, he assumed it was going to be a while. She'd never been the kind of woman to be fashionably late or take forever getting ready but he knew this was more than usual and from the look of that dress it was more than a handful. Hmm, that dress, unzipped and open all down the back.
"Need a hand with that?" he called back over his shoulder while he shuffled through the pile of books and papers on the coffee table. For all the years they'd known each other he'd never spent much time there. Yeah he and a couple other guys helped her move in after graduation but none of them ever hung out at Juniper's place. Whenever it was his turn to be designated driver he was always a curb to curb taxi. He was always just the taxi driver. Never invited in at the end of the night.
"Whose idea was this anyway? Why did I let you talk me into this? Ugh!" He chuckled loud enough for her to hear in the bathroom. He knew that at times like this his happy easy going personality could annoy her even more, and he liked to poke the bear with a stick.
"What? Can't get it zipped up? Have you gained too much..." His words were stopped by a throw pillow to the head that helped his already messy hair be more so than usual.
"You are not a smart man saying shit like that," she snapped. He always knew just how far he could take the teasing before she inflicted bodily harm, and he had no doubt that she wouldn't hesitate if he stepped over that line.
"But yes, could you zip me?" she conceded grudgingly.
"Oh stop, you know you are so..." His compliment was caught away but he quickly recovered, "Alice in wonderland?" His eyes dropped down the dress shaped tightly around her breasts, to the thin waist, along her legs bare to mid thigh and back up to see the worry on her face. He was thankful she was distracted for that moment to snap his mind back into the platonic brotherly love mode. She had always been gorgeous, but probably didn't even realize how sexy she could make a pinafore.
"No. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Do I look like Alice? Dorothy has the dark hair, I didn't want to wear a blond wig." She turned her back to him presenting the zipper and let out a slow breath as his fingers ran along her spine closing the dress and leaving a line of sparks along her skin. The barrier of cloth blocked the feel of his unsteady exhalation, and she didn't hear it through the worry of being late or was it the the distraction of his touch.
"I need another minute, I still need to do my braids." She swept her dress away after looking down to study it with doubt then went back down the hall. Get yourself together girl. It's Just Donovan and he barely touched you.
"Do I look OK? The dress is so poofy. It's too much isn't it?" He'd heard her be insecure before. She usually hid it well but he figured every woman must be a little self-conscious, even a woman as beautiful as she was.
"You look fine dear," in that placating tone of voice. He'd seen her in every state of dress there is, fuzzy flannel sleep pants puking in the toilet to spackled, sprayed and painted at the black tie event held at the country club. His eyes narrowed at the ceiling as he thought back, no, he'd never seen her naked. Almost but not quite, that damn red bikini. He mentally slapped the back of his head with the thought, this is not the time to go there. She had even taken to calling him 'brother'; she was not going to be open to drunken wedding nakedness. No, that's not what he wanted with her either, not one cheap night, even if her tits do look so... Mmm. No, it's boobs. Dammit, No. Stop thinking about the boobs altogether.
"K, think I'm ready." She dropped the braid over the front of her shoulder so it landed at the bare swell of her breast bringing his eye and mind back to it.
"What kind of clown are you?"
"What kind do you want me to be?" He played with the suspenders, a coy smile on his face with eyelashes flashing. Yes, they need to get back to the usual flirty, playful, teasing each other selves and stay there. His mind was churning, get back to the usual, back to the usual.
"You don't really think you can be sexy in a clown suit do you?" She flicked the wide tie and stepped onto his oversized clown shoe with the tip of her ruby red slipper. To top off the typical clown attire his face was painted with an exaggerated smile, the bright red wig a part of the top hat. It was not too far to the creepy side and very inline with his fun loving personality. She looked him up and down.
"A clown is good, not sexy, but very you," she lied. Nope he can even do a clown sexy.
Turning to the door she blinked a little slower than necessary just to quiet the groaning in her head, thank God that he wasn't shirtless or something. He hadn't been seeing anyone lately and he always turned to the gym after a breakup so his body was harder and more toned than usual. Maybe he'll hook up with a bridesmaid or something, that'll keep his chest and abs out of sight and out of mind.
They both relaxed in the car talking about what this wedding might turn into, setting odds on the bet, will it be really cute and funny or a total nightmare. Juniper's wager was on disastrous and Donovan's on hilarious. The plan was that it would be like any other wedding and reception held at a nice restaurant with a lakeside patio. Well ya know, except for it being Halloween night with everyone dressed in costume and decorated like a haunted house.
They went in different directions almost before they hit the door. They weren't there as a couple so neither one felt the need to stay together. It wasn't supposed to matter to either of them if they left together or separately. They didn't need to worry about finding each other to get home, they always found each other, no matter how big the crowd.
The wedding turned out to be one big Halloween party. The whole place was decorated floor to ceiling like a haunted house, a graveyard set up next to the patio, the staff all skeletons. The tower of cupcakes had sugar shaped ghosts, spiders, bats or pumpkins on top.
The party goers gathered for a lakeside ceremony officiated by the Pope with the best man and maid of honor being a pirate and his wench. The lovely bride was given away by a good likeness of Fred Astaire before he went back to an even better likeness of Ginger Rogers, sitting in the mother-of-the-bride's seat. The families on both sides made a good and creative showing. Many genres of music were represented, fairy tales, pop culture and a hat trick of superheroes; Superman, Spiderman and Batman. The union was even blessed by the attendance of Jesus Christ or as he was more often known 'John' who took an extra year to graduate for all his pot smoking. The bride and groom were... a bride and groom.
The fun was contagious, people couldn't help but smile. The happy couple had been friends for so long it seemed like everyone at the party knew each other, both the guests and families. There were a surprising number of small or school age children, and they were all having a blast. Actually everyone was acting like they were big kids behind the anonymous illusion of masks. Some of the costumes were so good it was hard to figure out who it was and they all played it up.
The far side of the room had started to fill up with the friends from college. Anyone that had ever been a part of the dinners on Sundays was there. It was more people together at one time than at any other single Sunday except maybe the Super Bowl.
The dinner and all the other usual wedding traditions and obligations kept the kids, of all ages, from getting too rowdy, too early anyway. Juniper found herself chatting at a table of people that had all but disappeared from her life, and she quickly realized why she hadn't missed them. It was nice to see them but that was it, just nice. She was getting bored with the idle small talk that she guessed was mostly bullshit about their successes in life. She eyed the room to see a few other people with the same opinion and found Donovan at the bar chatting with a woman that looked a little familiar.
Donovan's response to the quiet 'grown up' portion of the wedding was to drink too much too fast. He wasn't usually the kind to get over the top drunk, and when he realized it he all but stopped after dinner. He chose instead to carry around a glass of amber colored liquid, mostly melted ice, to ward off the 'you need a drink' friendly offers.