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* * * Matt and Lucy * * *
I groan as Toby pushes me back onto the bed, grips my legs and lifts them high, then enters me. “I want to fuck you, darling,” he is saying, “fuck you and fuck you and…”
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Don is snapping as I wake up bleary-eyed and aroused.
I roll over. He’s standing in his shirt and suit jacket, his face thunderous.
“Fucking alarm on my Iphone didn’t go off. I don’t know why you didn’t set yours too. Fuck!” He knocks his shin on the side of the bed as he struggles into his trousers. “Jesus! Don’t just lie there, get up!”
I check my phone. Ten twenty. The wedding is at eleven and the church is at least forty five minutes drive away.
Ten minutes later we’re in the car, grinding through town. The radio is playing Saturday Morning Love Songs. Don is his usual courteous self, swearing at other drivers, making obscene gestures at pedestrians and traffic lights. When we finally get onto the dual carriageway, he turns on me.
“I don’t know why the fuck you didn’t set your alarm. You knew my Iphone was on the blink.”
I try to ignore him; concentrate on the mirror in the sun visor as I apply my eye-liner.
“You just didn’t think, did you. But then you never do.”
“That’s right, it’s all my fault Don, isn’t it?” I snap back. “The fact that you went out drinking after work and forgot to set your phone had nothing to do with it.”
“Jesus, Sophie! You’re always blaming me. I swear to God I can’t handle much more of this.”
Eleven fifteen and we slip into the back of the church. The congregation are sitting in silence. There are a few disdainful looks. “Jesus Christ,” Don mutters as we slip into the rear pew. He is still furious, and stands stony-faced as Lucy’s sister stumbles through a reading from 1 Corinthians:
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
It’s a workmanlike service, but I find myself in tears. Perhaps it’s the stress of the morning, or maybe just the simple sentiment expressed in the readings and hymns: “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” Seeing me crying, Don sighs with contempt.
Afterwards there are photographs amongst the gravestones. Lucy looks resplendent in a white mermaid dress, blond hair piled high. Don slips away as soon as he can, to talk to a couple of male friends. They stand with their backs to the rest of the crowd, laughing like schoolboys. I feel awkward and alone.
It’s then that I see him: a guy in his mid-twenties chatting to a couple of older men. He’s wearing a cheap-looking suit and unshaven, but smiling. He catches my eye. I smile back, then feel a hand on my arm: “Overslept?”
It’s Hannah, the wife of Don’s friend Nick. She’s very slim and perfectly tanned. She’s wearing an elegant blue dress and has an enormous silk gardenia flower istanbul escort in her hair. My own dress feels crumpled and uncomfortable, and I left my hat in the car.
“Well yes, and then the traffic, you know,” I fumble.
“Well, don’t worry,” she says. “You look marvellous by the way.”
We stand watching while Don and Nick line up for a photograph with the rest of the men. Matt, the groom, stands at the centre, looking proud and broad-shouldered in his hired morning suit.
Afterwards, we share a car to the reception with Hannah and Nick. Don makes a point of talking to his friends and not to me. The reception is in a big marquee in the gardens of a stately home. As we walk over from the car park, I can smell wood smoke and freshly cut grass. A pretty waitress hands us glasses of champagne as we enter.
“Thank fuck for that, I was getting thirsty,” Don brays, to laughter from his friends. He knocks back one glass then gets to work on another. I sigh. He’ll soon be drunk again.
At the afternoon meal, I’m seated between Don and Marshall. Don, Nick, Matt and Marshall all work together at Mercer’s, an investment bank in the City. Marshall is tall and blond. He’s wearing an expensive but ill-fitting suit. His face is red from the afternoon sun and alcohol. Specks of spit fly out of his mouth as he speaks. His wife Karen leans round him to tell me loudly about their recent holiday to Antigua.
The mid-twenties guy is sitting at a table with two young families. One of the children is crying, and the parents appear to be arguing. He catches my eye again, and smiles.
The first course is duck pate. It’s delicious. By the time the waiters have removed the plates, Don has drunk four glasses of red wine. I hate to count, but I know what he’s like when he’s drunk.
“Where’s the fucking main course?” he snaps. “Sophie will be getting hungry. Look at her, she’s practically fading away!” He turns and grabs the flesh of my arm. His friends erupt in laughter.
“Pig,” I half-laugh back, twisting away. “Look, will you all excuse me for a few minutes, I need to get some fresh air.”
“Pig,” I half-spit again outside. Catching my breath, I walk away from the marquee. It’s late afternoon, the sun just dipping slightly, the shadows beginning to lengthen. I walk down a gravel path between a row of trees, emerging by a stone summer house.
“You caught me!”
It’s the mid-twenties guy. He’s loitering behind the summer house, smoking a joint.
“Oh I was just… I had to get some air.”
“You want some?” He offers me the joint.
“Oh no. No. I really oughtn’t.”
He shrugs. “Suit yourself. So how do you know the happy couple?”
“I’m here with Don. He’s a friend of Matt’s from Mercer’s.”
“Oh that bunch, right.”
I laugh. “Yeah, that bunch.”
He raises an eyebrow, and I take the joint when it’s offered again. I inhale deeply, and feel the rush of the nicotine, the tingling in my feet and fingers. “I haven’t done this since uni,” I sputter.
He shrugs again.
“So how avcılar escort do you know Matt and Lucy?” I ask.
“I’m Kit. I’m Lucy’s baby brother. Can’t you see the resemblance?”
I scan his face. His hair is messy blond, his nose wide, his eyes big and brown and warm.
“Her brother, really? I don’t think she’s mentioned you.”
He laughs. “Now why doesn’t that surprise me? I’m sort of the black sheep of the family. I’ve been dossing on various third world beaches while my older siblings chase high-powered jobs. Or chase men with high powered jobs.”
“So you decided to come home for your sister’s wedding?”
He smiles. “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. That, and my father paid a thousand pounds into my bank account. And if I’d spent it on anything other than an air fare and a suit, I’m pretty sure he would have cut me off completely. Anyway I should be getting back. I hope you enjoyed the smoke.”
“Shit, I’m sorry,” I say, suddenly realising that I’ve smoked the joint right down to the end.
“Don’t worry, you look like you needed it. Perhaps we’ll catch up later.”
Back inside, the main course and the dessert seem to pass in a dream. The conversation is all about hedge funds and holidays, flats and houses and cars. It seems to wash over me. From time to time I catch Kit’s eye, and we smile.
There are the toasts then, and the speeches. The best man gives a sanitised account of various escapades, no doubt omitting the prostitutes and the cocaine. Afterwards, Matt and Lucy start the dancing. Their first song is “It had to be you.” Don puts a clumsy arm around me for the first time today.
There are more drinks. Marshall’s face grows redder, and Don gets that steely look in his eyes that I know spells trouble later. Buffet trolleys are wheeled out for the evening guests. The DJ plays “Jump Around” by House of Pain, and the Mercer’s boys form a circle, arms round each others’ shoulders, yelling and leaping into the air: “I’ll serve your ass like John McEnroe, if your girl steps up, I’m smackin’ the ho!”
I feel a gentle touch on my arm.
“You look bored.”
I turn. It’s Kit. I smile back at him.
“Want to slip outside?” he offers.
“You oughtn’t, but…”
We walk back down between the trees towards the summer house. It’s dark now. Kit has prepared another joint, and we smoke it together, listening to the music and laughter drifting through the cool night air.
I look at Kit. I regard his wide, rough face and his deep brown eyes. I feel a flush of attraction. Then I hesitate. He’s probably ten years younger than me.
“What will you do after the wedding?” I ask, mostly to distract myself from my feelings.
He takes a long drag on the joint. The cannabis glows and crackles in the darkness, emitting its pungent herbal smell. He hands it back to me.
“Well. Last night we were at my parents’ place, and Matt took me to one side, and offered me a place on the graduate training scheme at Mercer’s. There’s a whole selection process of course, interviews and so forth, şirinevler escort but he said they’d nod me through.”
“What did you say to him?”
“I could have called him a patronising prick to his face. But I just said thanks, but no thanks. I’m going to see some old uni friends down in Bristol. Then I’m flying back to Bangkok. I’ve got plans to travel down through Cambodia and Vietnam. Then, who knows? You?”
“Yes. What will you do after the wedding?”
“Oh God. I don’t know. Just the same I guess. I work in publishing, so-“
He takes the joint back, takes a couple of last drags, then grinds it out against the summerhouse wall.
I feel him lightly touch my arm.
“I’m here with Don.”
“I know. You told me.”
He runs his hand up towards my shoulder.
“I shouldn’t,” I say.
“But you like me. I like you. This is hurting no-one. The way I see it, we should have every possible experience in life. And never hold back. Let yourself go, just enjoy it.”
He kisses me then, and I don’t resist. His lips are gentle, though his face is rough. His hands explore me hungrily, and I gasp aloud. He touches my breasts with a relish I’d forgotten, and gives a moan at the feel of them.
“Kit,” I say. “Kit.” I reach down to his suit trousers, and can feel his manhood through them, thick and stiff. “Kit.” I unzip his flies and reach inside. I want him now, lost in the moment. I find him through the folds of his boxers, stroke him, and he groans. “Kit.” I ease him out now through his flies. He’s satisfyingly long and very hard. Slowly I kneel down in front of him, stroke him faster. “Kit.” I start to suck him then, long, deep strokes, feeling him right to the back of my mouth. He tastes salty and fresh.
From the marquee comes the sound of music and drunken singing: “And through it all, she offers me protection, a lot of love and affection, whether I’m right or wrong.”
Kit gives a long, loud groan and I feel his body tense. I work his manhood hard with my hand. He stops breathing for a second or two. I can feel him trembling. Then he stifles a cry as he comes in several long spurts. Most of it goes into my mouth, but a good deal over my neck and chest. He gives a long sigh, and his hands gently squeeze my shoulders.
“My God, that was good,” he says, “my God!”
I swallow him down, then wipe the rest of him away with my hand.
He sinks back against the summerhouse wall, still trembling.
There are a few moments of silence.
“Another smoke?” he offers.
“No.” I step up, touch him on the arm. He slips a hand around my waist.
“You know, I kind of get the feeling that you’re not too happy with Don. You know if-“
I squeeze his arm, and gently slip away. “Thank you for tonight, Kit. I have to get back now. I’ll see you, okay?”
He shrugs, brushes my cheek with his lips, and lets me go.
Back in the marquee, Don is staggering off the dancefloor, one hand round Nick’s shoulders, the other clutching a plastic pint glass that is buckling and overflowing with lager.
“Ah there you are!” he booms, “Where the fuck have you been?”
“I told you!” he shouts to Nick. “She’s been at the fucking buffet! Look, mayonnaise all over her dress!” He grabs a napkin from a nearby table, and dabs away Kit’s semen. “Pig!”
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