Velvet Kisses Ch. 03byvirgofemme©
*So glad that you guys are enjoying this story. Thanks for all of the Awesome support!! :)**
"No way," Luna said. "No fucking way. You're *engaged*?"
"What?" Ethan, who was standing in front of a full length mirror, turned to face Luna and Jeneda, who were sitting on the edge of his bed.
"Yep. Dane asked me to marry him," Jeneda said.
"When did this happen?" Luna asked.
"Four days ago."
"Four days...." The expression on her face clearly displayed her dissatisfaction at Jeneda's response. "And when exactly were you planning on telling us?"
"Holy cow," Ethan interjected. "Look at the size of that thing!" He walked closer to Jeneda, then grabbed her hand so he could check out her ring up close.
"I meant to tell you guys sooner, but I just never got the chance," Jeneda said.
"What do you mean you never got the chance?" Luna asked. "How hard is it to pick up the phone and call us?"
"A lot of stuff has happened since he proposed."
"Who cares why it took her so long to tell us." Continuing to admire her ring, Ethan tilted her hand from side to side so that the sunlight filtering in through the gauzy curtains bounced off of the stunning diamond. "I'm more interested in hearing the details of how Dane proposed."
"He did it at Grace Cathedral," Jeneda said. "There's a gazebo in the gardens out back, and that's where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him."
"It was all lit up with candles and fairy lights, and the top of the gazebo was covered with red roses."
"Oh my gosh, that sounds so beautiful," Ethan said.
"That really does sound amazing," Luna agreed, and she took another glance at Jeneda's engagement ring before asking, "So did you cry, jump up and down, faint, or what? We want to hear everything."
"Faint?" Her face split into a huge smile. "Do I look like a fainter to you?"
"*I'd* faint," Ethan said. "This ring is huge, I mean look at it."
"The cut and clarity is flawless." Luna shook her head in astonishment, then lightly ran the tip of her finger over the sparkling gemstone. "He must have spent some serious cash."
"It doesn't matter how much he spent," Jeneda said. "I'm just thrilled to have him as my fiancée."
"You better be careful, girl." Luna averted her attention from the ring and gave Jeneda a serious look.
"Why?" Jeneda asked.
"Because once word hits the street, all of Dane's little comic book groupies are going to come after you."
"Jeneda will be fine," Ethan said. "She has us to protect her, remember?"
"Let them come," Jeneda said. "I'd love to see them try."
"No, actually you wouldn't." Luna looked her straight in the eyes, and in a tone that was completely earnest, she said, "Some of these girls can be pretty hardcore."
"What do you mean?"
"Dane has a few rabid fans. And when I say rabid, I mean batshit crazy and completely obsessed."
"What?" She faintly chuckled, but it was out of nervousness more than amusement. "Luna, you're starting to scare me."
"Sorry, sweetie. But I thought I'd give you fair warning, so you know the type of broads you'll be dealing with."
"Luna's right," Ethan said. "I've been to a quite a few comic book conventions with her, and he does have a couple of fans who seem a little unbalanced."
"What do you mean by unbalanced? And how do you guys know what his fans are like? Have you actually talked to them, or are you just making assumptions?"
"Jeneda, come on. We wouldn't lie to you about this," Luna said.
"I'm not calling you liars. I just need to know the exact level of crazy I'm dealing with here."
"First off, It's only a couple of nutty females, okay? The majority of his fan base is pretty chill and laid back."
"Okay, well that makes me feel a little better. But what about the ones who aren't so sane?"
Luna and Ethan exchanged a brief glance, and after positioning her body so that she was sitting cross legged, Luna stared to speak.
"I doubt that any of these girls will actually try and do you harm. But if you start attending conventions with Dane, you'll most likely run into at least a few them."
"Now we aren't telling you to start carrying pepper spray," Ethan said. "You'll probably just get a couple of dirty looks and some nasty comments."
"No big deal. I can handle that," Jeneda said. "As long as they don't try to go all fatal attraction on Dane, then there shouldn't be any problems."
Curious as to what time it was, Jeneda glanced at the display screen of her cell phone, and as she saw that it was a quarter to noon, she scooted off Ethan's bed. "The parade starts in half an hour you guys."
"Is it that late already?" Ethan checked the time on his own mobile phone, and as he saw that it was indeed almost noon, he said, "You're right. I'd better get dressed."
"I still think you think you should wear a costume instead of jeans and a T-shirt," Jeneda said as she joined him at the closet.
"What, you mean like a pair of assless chaps and a leather vest?"
Jeneda chuckled in response, and with a smile on his lips, Ethan pulled out a pair of jeans and a T-shirt that proclaimed, 'Some dudes marry dudes. Get over it'. "Maybe if I was still on the prowl. But I'm with someone now."
"That hasn't stopped you before," Luna said with a large grin.
"Yeah, well that was then and this is now. Marco's my boyfriend. He's not just some guy I'm sleeping with."
"So this is it, then. You're officially coupled up."
"Yep." A soft smile graced his lips, and after slipping into his jeans he pulled his T-shirt over his tanned, muscular torso.
"Well good for you," Jeneda said. "Marco seems like a really nice guy, so I'm glad you're still together."
"Thanks, hon. I appreciate that."
Ethan took a few moments to admire himself in the full length mirror, then distributed some gel through his hair, which was neatly trimmed on the sides and spiky on top. Jeneda, who was outfitted in a pair of jean shorts and a white tank top, checked herself out in the mirror as well.
"When are you and Dane getting married?" Ethan asked.
"You have a venue picked out?"
"How about a dress?" Luna asked.
"Of course not. I've only been engaged for four days."
"Why of course? I've had my wedding dress picked out for three years now."
"Three years?" Ethan averted his attention from the mirror to look at Luna, who was pulling her long, curly hair into a high ponytail. "You're joking, right?"
"No, I'm not joking. Why? What's so weird about that?"
"I didn't say it was weird." He sprayed himself with cologne, then turned to face Luna. "But three years is kind of a long time, isn't it? Fashions change, and by the time you get married, that dress will be vintage."
"Oh, thanks," Luna said.
Jeneda tried her best to resist from smirking, but against her best efforts, the corners of her lips tugged upward.
"Go ahead, laugh it up." Luna pinned Jeneda with an intent gaze, then crossed her arms against her chest. "I can already tell you'll be one of those smug married people, looking down on me because I'm still single and waiting to be proposed to."
"I will not." Her tone of voice implied that she took offense to Luna's statement, and with slightly furrowed brows, she gave a response. "Just because I'm getting married doesn't mean I'll be smug. And I certainly won't think that I'm better than you."
She said nothing in return, only preened at her reflection in the mirror.
"Come on, Luna. You don't seriously think that this ring on my finger will change our relationship, do you?"
She lightly shrugged, then retrieved a pair of rainbow sunglasses from the surface of Ethan's dresser and slipped them on.
"Take the glasses off, Luna."
"Because I want to see your eyes."
A few moments passed before Luna reluctantly removed the sunglasses, and as Jeneda saw that her eyes were moist, she realized that she was on the verge of crying.
"What's going on, sweetie?"
"Come on, I know something's wrong. Talk to me."
Luna's bottom lip began to quiver, and she blinked a few times to keep the tears from spilling. "It's Jason..."
The expression on Jeneda's face was one of concern, and as Luna looked back at her with a heartbroken expression, Jeneda steeled herself for what would most certainly be unpleasant news.
"He's screwing around on me." She plopped down on the edge of Ethan's bed, then let out a shaky breath.
"You mean you've been holding this in the entire day?" Ethan took a seat next to her on the bed. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Ever since we met up this morning, you've been taking about how good things are with Marco," she said. "I didn't want to ruin your mood, so I decided to just keep quiet and not burden you with my problems."
"But that's what I'm here for," Ethan said. "I'm supposed to be there for you, regardless of whatever is happening in my life."
"We're both here for you." Jeneda sat down on the other side of Luna, then gently grabbed her hand. "And just because I'm getting married, doesn't mean that you have to feel uncomfortable talking to me about your relationship issues."
"Maybe I shouldn't, but I do," Luna said. "This is your time to celebrate and be happy, not listen to me whine about Jason's cheating ass."
"I'm your friend, Luna. And like Ethan said, we're here for you regardless. So stop worrying about whether or not we want to hear about your problems, because that's just part of being a good friend."
Luna sniffed and wiped the tears off her cheek. "I'm sorry to bring you guys down like this." She let out a shaky breath before adding, "I must look so pathetic."
"No you don't," Ethan said. "You look heartbroken, and rightfully so, because that asshole is fucking around behind your back."
"How did you find out?" Jeneda asked.
"Text messages." She briefly paused as if to collect herself, then continued on in a wavering voice. "He sent me three messages yesterday evening, but I could tell they were for somebody else."
Stunned into silence, Jeneda exchanged a glance with Ethan, who seemed equally distressed by Luna's declaration.
"What did the messages say?" Ethan asked.
"Dirty stuff...mostly letting her know how horny she made him, and how excited he was to hook up with her again."
"What a prick," Jeneda said in a voice that was thick with animosity. "If he wanted to have sex with other people, he could have at least been up front and told you how he felt."
"The cheating bastard." Ethan's brows drew together, and his mouth set in a straight, grim line. "I knew there was something going on. Remember when I bumped into him in Haight and Ashbury a few weeks ago, and told you that it seemed like he was unusually nervous?"
"Yeah, I remember. You tried to warn me that he might be up to something, but I didn't listen." She let out a harsh sigh, then slowly shook her head before adding, "Why didn't I just listen to you?"
"It's water under the bridge. No need to beat yourself up over it," Jeneda said.
"Dump his ass, and get on with your life. You deserve better, and there are plenty of men out there who would love to date a woman like you."
"Thanks for the moral support, Ethan. But the last thing I want is to get into another relationship right now."
"Of course, babe. I know you need time to heal," he looped an arm around her shoulder, then wiped a stray tear from her face. "And Jeneda and I will be here for you every step of the way."
"That's right." Jeneda lightly squeezed her hand. "So please don't worry about burdening us, because the last thing we want is for you to go through this alone."
"Thanks guys, I appreciate your support." She weakly smiled, and as she rose to her feet, so did Ethan and Jeneda.
"No need to thank us, that's what we're here for." Jeneda grabbed her purse from the bed, and after glancing at the time on the display screen of her cell phone, she said, "Ten minutes until the parade starts. If we want front row seats, we'd better get a move on."
"I hear Q-bar is having their own float this year," Luna said.
"Who cares about Q-bar?" Ethan led the way to the front door, and after grabbing his house keys from a small table next to the entryway, he opened the door. "I'm more interested in the firemen float."
"Are they real firemen, though? Or just dressed up in the costumes?" Jeneda asked.
"Does it really matter? They're hot men in uniforms with big hoses. Who cares if they're real firemen or not?"
"I guess you've got a point there," Jeneda said.
She turned her head to glance at Luna, and after sharing a smile, the two women crossed the threshold and followed Ethan out of his apartment.
* * * *
It was a wonderfully mild September evening, slightly breezy but exceptionally pleasant. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for an outdoor soiree, and considering that this particular occasion was Dane and Jeneda's engagement party, it was an undeniable stroke of luck that the temperature was so balmy.
After nearly a week of contacting various bars and restaurants, Dane's parents had finally located Top of the Mark, a San Francisco restaurant with an amazing rooftop lounge.
Located on the nineteenth floor of a grand hotel, Top of the Mark was legendary for its spectacular views. But the rooftop lounge was just as impressive, if not even more than the dining establishment that was located beneath it.
Now, as Jeneda and Dane stepped off of the elevator and onto the rooftop, they were both rendered breathless, and paused for a moment to take in their surroundings.
It wasn't just the jaw dropping views of the San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate Bridge that commanded their attention, but the sleek leather sofas and glass bar that was backlit by neon blue lighting. Adding to the romantic ambience were fairy lights that were strung tastefully above the rooftop, casting a seductive glow on the guests in attendance.
Elegantly outfitted in a slinky open-back dress made from silk chiffon, Jeneda exuded a combination of soft-spoken elegance and sex appeal.
Her heels clicked softly against the smooth tile flooring that covered the rooftop, and as she and Dane strolled hand in hand towards the awaiting partygoers, all eyes turned to watch them approach.
So captivated by the impeccably designed rooftop, Jeneda was unaware that Dane was intently watching her. But as he lightly squeezed her hand to get her attention, she glanced up at his face.
"You look stunning," he said, and his eyes quickly dipped down to give her a quick once over before he added, "Good enough to eat, actually."
His voice washed over her like a soothing balm, and although she was trying very hard to keep from getting excited, she felt the space between her thighs grow very warm. "Stop."
"You're making me horny."
He lifted an eyebrow, and with an inquisitive look on his face, he asked, "Am I missing something here?"
"This party doesn't end for another three hours, and I am not about to spend the entire evening walking around in wet panties."
"It's your own fault for looking so damn good," he said. "If you didn't want me giving you compliments, then you shouldn't have worn those fuck-me heels."
A smirk played across her lips, and as he continued to fix her with a penetrating stare, she quickly averted her eyes.
"Exactly. You know what turns me on, and you use it to your full advantage."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
She shook her head, but the sly smile on her lips suggested that she did.
"Two can play that game." A smile slowly spread across his lips, and in a tone that was overly confident, he said, "By the end of this evening, those panties of yours are going to be completely soaked through."
"We'll see about that."
"Yes, we will."
"Dane...Jeneda. Over here."
They both turned their heads to see that Naohito and Kitty were standing next to the bar. Naohito gestured for the couple to come over and join them, and as Jeneda realized that Dane's parents were surrounded by a variety of people who were undoubtedly their relatives, her stomach twisted into nervous knots.
She guessed that Dane must have sensed how anxious she was, because he gingerly traced his thumb along the back of her hand.
"No need to worry, they're going to love you," he said, and with a look that conveyed how proud he was to have her by his side, he gently pulled her along by the hand.
"I was starting to wonder about you two," Naohito said as they came to a stop in front of him. "But then I realized that you had probably decided to arrive fashionably late." He offered the couple a warm smile, and after giving Dane a hug, he embraced Jeneda as well.
"Actually, we just lost track of time," Dane said. "Sorry to keep you all waiting."
"No need to apologize, darling," Kitty said. "This *is* your engagement party, so It's only natural that you'd want to make an entrance." She pulled Dane into a hug, and after parting from the embrace, she offered Jeneda a thin smile. "Hello, Jeneda. It's nice to see you again."
"Nice to see you too, Kitty." Her eyes drifted down to take in the blonde woman's dress, which was black and floor length, with shimmery beads embellishing the v-neckline. "Your dress is beautiful, by the way."
"Thank you, Jeneda. You look lovely as well." She smoothed a palm over the satiny material of her garment, then directed her attention to the woman standing directly next to her. "This is my mother, Rebecca."
"It's nice to meet you, Rebecca." Jeneda extended her hand to the older woman, who had silvery gray hair that was fashioned into in a short, tapered cut.
"So you're the young lady that captured Dane's heart." Her pale blue eyes roved from Jeneda's eyes to her hair, and then to her dress before once again resting on her face. "I was very surprised to hear that Dane was getting married. But now that I've met you, I'm beginning to understand why he proposed so quickly."
"Thank you." Jeneda smiled, and in a tone that displayed humility, she said, "That's very kind of you to say."
"I'm Howard, Kitty's father."
The man who introduced himself stood at least six feet tall, and was dressed in a charcoal colored, three-piece suit. He had thinning white hair and his eyes were dark gray. He held out his age spotted hand for Jeneda to shake it, and as she clasped palms with him, she gave him a smile.
"It's nice to meet you, Howard."
"I'm Gregory, Kitty's brother," said a slightly heavyset man with dark brown hair and warm, brown eyes.
"Nice to meet you, Gregory." She shook his hand, but no sooner had they released palms, did a statuesque woman stepped forward.
"I'm Nina, Kitty's sister."
As Jeneda shook her hand, she found herself stunned at Nina's uncanny resemblance to the model Christy Brinkley, but her attention was abruptly pulled away as several other people on Kitty's side of the family began to introduce themselves.
There were so many people surrounding her that she began to feel a bit overwhelmed, and yet at the same time, she was pleased to find that the majority of Dane's relatives seemed friendly and welcoming.
It wasn't until a separate clump of people suddenly stepped forward that Jeneda realized the introductions were far from over, and as she scanned the curious faces gazing at her, she realized that this particular group of people were clearly from Naohito's side of the family.
"This is Mitsuko, my grandmother." Dane affectionately placed his hand on an old woman's shoulder, and as she stepped forward, Jeneda smiled warmly.
"It's nice to meet you, Mitsuko."
Mitsuko, who was small in stature and dressed in a peach colored dress with a matching jacket, gave a nod of acknowledgment as well as a smile.