Tattoo of Love Ch. 02byvirgofemme©
*This will be a bit of a long chapter, because there really wasn't any way of splitting it up without making it awkward. So I hope you won't mind that. As always, thank you for reading!*
A grand archway greeted their arrival, and as they entered the ballroom they saw that the whole room had a white and lavender theme to it. Chandeliers with candles in them filled the room with soft glowing light, and as they made their way through the rows of guests, they saw there were mini lamps with glass shades placed upon each table.
As they approached the head table, Julia noticed a woman in an elaborately designed wedding dress rise from her seat and walk over to greet them. Her lips peeled back into a wide smile at the sight of them, and Mimi called out to her cousin excitedly.
"Well hello there, Mrs. Denmoore. How's married life treating you so far?"
Expelling a little chuckle Mimi's cousin replied, "Just great, couldn't be better."
As the two women embraced, Julia's eyes roved over the bride's gown. It was a fancy princess-style dress, and had a train which stretched well out behind her. She also noticed that the woman's ears were adorned with large diamond earrings, which sparked as they caught the light.
As Mimi and her cousin pulled back from the hug, the newly married woman turned her attention toward Julia. Extending a hand in a welcoming gesture she said, "I'm Lois, and it's very nice to meet you."
Lois had a brilliant white smile, and as Julia took her hand she was taken aback by the size of the bride's wedding ring. Julia found herself surprised that the woman could lift her hand at all, and it was very clear that the man she'd married was very financially secure.
"It's nice to meet you, Lois. Thanks for inviting me, I appreciate it."
"I'm very happy to have you here. Mimi tells me you work with her at the bakery, and were in charge in of creating the wonderful desserts we'll be serving after dinner."
With a modest shrug of her shoulders Julia stated, "I couldn't have done it without Mimi's help. She is an expert baker, after all."
"Well I thank you for your involvement. I saw the desserts and they look absolutely delicious. They're almost too beautiful to eat, in my opinion."
Julia glanced fondly toward Mimi and said, "Hey, I learned from the best."
"She's being far too humble," Mimi spoke to her cousin. "All I did was provide her with some advice and she did all the rest."
"It sounds like you two make a great team." Lois's peach colored lips pulled back into a smile and with a tone full of eager anticipation she said, "Well ladies, let's join the party and have a good time, okay?"
Guiding them through the rows of tables, Lois halted at a small circular table and motioned for them to sit down.
"Take a seat and a waiter will come by to pour you some champagne. Dinner won't be served for a bit, but we have some wonderful appetizers in the meantime. So sit back, relax, and have some fun!"
Normally a chipper attitude such as Lois's would have annoyed Julia to no end, but she couldn't dislike a woman who had complimented her on her baking skills. And besides, Lois seemed nice and she was also Mimi's cousin. Mimi was like a sister to her, so anyone associated with Mimi was definitely okay in her book.
The ballroom was teeming with energy from all of the different people around them, and as Mimi and Julia sipped champagne their eyes roved curiously around. They made comments to each other about the nice dresses the other women were wearing, and they also pointed out men whom they found to be attractive.
Nibbling on a crab cake, Julia found herself focusing upon the people on the dance floor. The song the band was playing was a lively seventies tune, and as more guests spilled onto the dance floor Mimi leaned toward Julia and asked if she wanted to dance.
With a shake of her head Julia responded, "No, I think I'll just sit here and enjoy my appetizer. I really don't have much rhythm, anyhow."
"Oh come on, Julia. You can't let me go out on that dance floor all by myself. Besides, if you're really that shy about your dancing then we can slip into the middle of the crowd, that way nobody sitting at the tables will be able to spot us."
Julia really was self conscious about her lack of rhythm, but since Mimi had been nice enough to invite her out she figured the least she could do was accompany her friend and dance with her. Setting her champagne glass upon the table Julia got onto her feet and reached her hand out toward Mimi's.
"Okay let's go. I'm warning you though, i'm a pretty terrible dancer so I just may end up embarrassing you."
Taking Julia's hand in her own Mimi responded with a little smile, "I'll take that chance."
As they walked onto the dance floor they saw some of the men glance in their direction. Mimi threw flirtatious looks to the ones she favored the most, and as she held onto Julia's hand she gently pulled her along.
As soon as they were in the core of the crowd, the two women began moving to the music. Some time had passed since Julia last danced in public, so her moves felt a bit stiff and unnatural. She found, however, that as she got into the beat of music her inhibitions quickly disappeared.
As they continued to dance, Julia and Mimi realized that a few of the men who were giving them interested looks gradually seemed to be moving closer and closer. The one who had his eyes on Mimi appeared to be no older than twenty-one, and as he gave her a wink Mimi shook her head and released a laugh.
Talking loudly over the music Julia offered her friend an amused smirk, "Looks like you have an admirer there. You should go over and dance with him."
"Are you kidding, he's nearly an infant. And besides, I'm not about to abandon you on the dance floor, especially since you didn't even want to come in the first place."
"I don't care, go ahead. You deserve to enjoy yourself. He may be young, but he is quite cute."
As Mimi glanced toward him, Julia watched her give the young man a friendly smile and then a little wave. As soon as she did this he instantly made his way toward her, as if pulled in by the string of an invisible fishing rod.
"Have fun," Julia whispered into Mimi's ear, then turned and made her way off the dance floor.
She was halfway to the table when she suddenly felt a hand touch her shoulder. Turning to face the unseen person, her eyes fell upon a man with hazel eyes and spiky hair with blonde tips.
"Hey there, would you like to dance?"
Julia opened her mouth to say no and then suddenly realized there wasn't any reason for her to turn him down. She didn't want to spend the whole evening just sitting around watching everyone else have fun, so she figured she may as well join in and take advantage of the festivities.
Nodding her head she followed him back onto the dance floor and began moving to the rhythm. She was surprised to find that he could dance pretty well, and it didn't take long for her to begin to enjoy herself.
Once the song ended he gestured her off the dance floor so that they could talk a bit more. As a waiter approached them they helped themselves to some hors d'oeurves, as well as a glass of champagne. Standing at the edge of the dance floor, they began making pleasant conversation.
"Thanks for the dance," he said to her.
"No problem, I had fun."
"I'm Walter, by the way. And you are?"
"That's a very lovely name. So do you have a boyfriend, Julia?"
"No, not right now."
"Well would you like one?" his lips pulled into a little smirk.
"That depends," she flirtatiously answered.
"Upon what?" His lips widened into a grin and his eyes began to twinkle.
"Well I've been single for quite some time, so it would take a certain type of man to make me give up that freedom."
Walter chuckled, "Well maybe you don't have to give up any of your freedom."
"What do you mean?" Although she had an idea of what he was hinting at, she wanted to see how he would respond.
Leaning in a little closer to her he said, "I'm not opposed to one night stands. How about you?"
The smile on her face lessened as she responded, "I don't do one night stands."
"Are you sure about that?" His eyes roved lasciviously over the neckline of her dress.
"Oh yeah, I'm definitely sure," came her firm response.
Walter's voice was laced with disappointment as he said, "That's too bad, because I'd definitely love to take you home with me."
Unsure of how to respond to such a forward statement, Julia tipped the champagne glass toward her lips and took a sip.
Unwilling to accept no for an answer he inquired, "What do I have to do to get you to change your mind?"
With a shrug of the shoulders she replied, "There's nothing you can say, really. I don't casually sleep around and that's all there is to it."
"Come on," he urged. "It's just sex, what's the big deal?"
Releasing a sound of annoyance Julia turned her back to him and began to walk away, but Walter still refused to give up.
"Hey, don't leave. I'm not finished talking to you yet."
As she felt his hand wrap around her waist Julia turned to face him, opening her mouth so she could tell him to buzz off, but what she saw stunned her into silence.
Noticing that Julia was focused upon a point beyond his shoulder, Walter turned his head to see what she was looking at. As his eyes focused upon the handsome Polynesian man, Walter threw him a look of hostility.
With a serious look in his eyes Nolan questioned, "Is there a problem here?" His gaze was planted upon Walter as he said it.
Before she could speak a word Walter briskly answered, "No, why would there be?"
"Seems to me you're bothering her. You have no right putting your hands on a lady unless she consents."
With a tone of annoyance Walter said, "Look, I don't know who you are but this act you're putting on isn't getting you into her pants. She's one of those frigid broads, so save yourself the trouble and don't even waste your time."
"Just leave her alone and don't bother her again, got it?" Nolan responded in a terse voice.
"Yeah, whatever buddy." Throwing a glance Julia's way he sneered at her and said, "Later, tease." As he was leaving he purposely bumped his shoulder against Nolan's, then walked off in the direction of a skinny redhead.
As soon as he was gone Nolan spoke to her, "Sorry you had to deal with that jerk."
"No it isn't. He was disrespecting you and that wasn't cool."
"Yeah, I know. He's not even worth me getting upset over, though."
"Well maybe not, but I still didn't like the way he was treating you. I was watching you two from across the room, and when I saw him touch you I knew it was time to intervene. The guy's a complete complete jerk."
"Yes he is and thank you, by the way. I do appreciate you getting him off my back."
"No problem, I was glad to do it."
Julia gave him a little smile and he returned it.
"I didn't expect to see you again, especially not here of all places," said Nolan. "Who are you here with?"
"My friend Mimi. Her cousin Lois is the one getting married."
"I see. Well I'm glad you decided to come along with her."
A waiter came by to offer them miniature egg rolls but they both declined, more interested in getting to know one another rather than eating.
"Well I guess I should properly introduce myself. I'm Nolan," extending a hand towards her, he lightly shook her hand, holding it more by the fingers than by the palm.
There was a tenderness to the way he held her hand in his, and Julia found herself very taken by his presence. His long wavy hair was slicked back into a ponytail and he was wearing a pair of black trousers and a matching suit jacket.
The look he was sporting was somewhat unconventional, as instead of wearing a dress shirt, he chose instead to don a grey t-shirt beneath his suit jacket. Nolan was a man who brimmed with confidence, yet he wasn't anywhere near conceited.
"I'm Julia, and it's very nice to meet you. Again," she tacked on at the end of her statement.
Nolan smiled at her. "It's nice to see you again, as well."
"So who did you come with?"
"I'm by myself." Nolan showed her the camera that hung from the strap which was attached to his shoulder. "I'm the wedding photographer."
"Nice. So is this your side job?"
"Yep, I do it mostly during the weekends, but every now and again I'll have a gig through the week as well. I do all sorts of photography though, not just weddings."
"You must be pretty busy then, since you work at the tattoo shop as well."
"I only work there a few days out of the week. My brother is a tattooist as well as the owner, so I help him out with managing the shop. So yeah, I guess you could say my free time is pretty limited. But I make good money working as a photographer, so it's worth it."
"Well judging from this fancy reception, I'd be willing to bet she's paying you very well."
Offering a little smile Nolan responded, "I'm being well compensated. When I found out her husband was a big shot lawyer, I decided to raise my fee. I figured with money like his, he can afford to pay me more than most of the clients. That probably sounds bad, but I figured why not?"
"I think it sounds smart," Julia responded. "I'm sure you're very talented, so every penny they pay will be well worth it."
"That's kind of you to say, Julia. I appreciate that."
"I'm only saying it because i'm sure it's the truth. You must be quite good if they hired you to photograph a lavish event like this."
As his mouth pulled upward she saw he had a beautiful smile, and her eyes were hopelessly drawn toward his sexy lips. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him, and imagined that with lips like his it would probably be quite pleasurable. Nolan's voice suddenly sliced through her thoughts and Julia was instantly brought back into the present.
"You flatter me too much. If anyone should be offering compliments, it's me. Here I am in the company of a beautiful woman and she's the one making me feel good. I knew there would be perks to working this gig, but I didn't know you would be one of them."
Feeling her cheeks heat up from his compliment, she took a light sip of champagne and matched his gaze with a deep one of her own.
Pushing a strand of hair away from her eye she asked, "Are you flirting with me?"
She already knew the answer to that question of course, but she was curious as to what he would say.
"I don't know, are you?"
She knew he was engaging her in a game and she was more than willing to play.
"Maybe I am. What do you think?"
"I think you are. I also think you have beautiful eyes and the way you're holding my gaze assures me that we have a great connection. Now what are your thoughts?"
"I'm thinking about how glad I am that I decided to attend this wedding with my friend. Running into you is definitely a nice coincidence."
A pleased smile crossed Nolan's lips. "I agree that it's nice seeing one another, but do you really think this was just a coincidence?"
"What, us meeting here?" She thought over his words for a few moments and then warily replied, "Sure, why not? Wait, you're not saying you planned this or something, are you?"
A small laugh passed Nolan's lips, "I'm an admirer, Julia, not a stalker. I just meant that I don't believe in chance meetings. I think that fate brings people together for certain reasons."
"So why do you think we were brought together?"
"Well the first time we met things didn't go so smoothly, but apparently we were meant to work things out, because here we are. Neither of us are entirely sure of what we have to give each other, but if we get to know one another then surely we'll find out."
"Is this your way of asking me out?"
With a smile he answered, "What I'm saying is that I hope we'll be seeing more of each other, because I really enjoy being in your presence."
Julia was just about to give her response when she spotted Mimi approaching them. Sensing that somebody was coming up behind him, Nolan turned his head to see who it was.
Offering him a smile Mimi said, "Hello." Then she glanced toward Julia and silently expressed with her eyes that she wished to be introduced.
"Mimi, this is Nolan. Nolan, I'd like you to meet my boss, who also happens to be a very good friend of mine."
Nolan nodded in acknowledgment and said, "It's nice to meet you, Mimi."
"Likewise," she responded.
Turning his attention back to Julia he said, "Well I guess I'd better get back to work. It was very nice talking with you and I hope to see you again soon. You know where to find me, so don't be a stranger." He gave her a wink and then politely excused himself.
As soon as he was out of earshot Mimi turned to face Julia and excitedly stated, "He's gorgeous. Was he one of the guys you were dancing with?"
"Nope, I only danced with one guy and he was a complete jerk."
With an expression of concern on her face Mimi asked, "What happened?"
"He tried to get me to go home with him, but when I told him I wasn't interested in having a one night stand he got really aggressive. Then when I tried to walk away he made a grab for me, and that's where Nolan came in."
"Wow, he really does sound like an asshole. Well i'm glad Nolan was there to sort him out."
"Yeah, so am I."
"So did you give Nolan your phone number?" Mimi's eyes lit up with hope.
Shaking her head Julia replied, "No, he didn't ask for it."
"You should have given it to him anyhow. I glanced at you two a few times while I was on the dance floor, and it looked like you were engaging in some pretty serious eye contact."
As Julia's lips curled into a smile, Mimi took her by the hand and led her to their table so that they could discuss things in private.
Once they were seated Mimi asked, "Okay, so what are his stats? He's single, right?"
Shrugging her shoulders she replied, "I don't know, I didn't ask."
"Okay, so what do you know about him, then?"
"Well I know he's a photographer, because he's taking all of the photos for this wedding."
"Really?" Roving her eyes around the ballroom Mimi began to search for Nolan, wanting to see him in action.
"Yep, and I figure he must be pretty darn good if he got booked for a ritzy gig like this."
"You got that right, because Lois has been very particular about this wedding."
Finally spotting Nolan, Mimi saw that he was taking photos of the band on stage. Julia's eyes followed her gaze, and she watched as Nolan took shots of the performers from a variety of angles.
"He looks quite professional, doesn't he?" Julia couldn't help but admire Nolan as she watched him kneel and lean back to get an interesting shot of the band.
"Yeah, and watch the way he handles that camera. You know what they say about men who work with their hands, don't you?" Giving her a sly smile, Mimi waited for her friend's reaction.
Julia's lips curved upward. "Oh come on, that is such a cliché."
"Hey it may be a cliché, but it's certainly the truth. Why do you think I favor going out with those blue collar guys so much?"
"Well you must be into them for more than just the sex."
"Of course I am, but knowing what to do and how to manipulate things with your hands goes a long way in the bedroom."
"Yeah okay, I guess I see your point," Julia took a sip of her drink and as the song the band was playing began to taper off, she watched Nolan make his way to the other side of the room.
"You have to give him your number before we leave," urged Mimi.
"Only if he asks."
A small sigh of frustration passed Mimi's lips. "Come on Julia, snap him up before some other woman does. Besides, if you really like him then how are you supposed to see him again?"