Authors: Mary Martinez
Tags: #General Fiction
A frown wrinkled the woman’s brow. “I don’t know. You’ve admitted you’re going to quit the firm and start your private practice here in your home office…”
Rae cut in to remind, “And you have a copy of her savings. Do the math. She can live here through the lease without earning a dime.”
Her forehead smoothed. “There is that fact. I will need to have those documents as soon as possible though. Your new bank account information for direct withdraw for your monthly rent. It’s a requirement.”
Cecelia stuck out her hand. “Deal.”
Once on the street, she turned to her friends. “Do either of you have a futon I can sleep on until I get furniture?”
What’s a Bachelorette party?
The flowers woven into my Alencon lace crinkled in confusion. My bride or I guess my non-bride, had her phone between shoulder and ear, in a very uncomfortable looking position, while she chatted about something called a bachelorette party.
I must say I’m a little shocked at her attire. Her black leather skirt. As a bride dress I really didn’t like leather however that’s beside the point, the point is…It was too short.
The material barely covered her buttocks. I use the word because that’s what Heidi would say. Cecelia had black hose that stopped at the thigh held up only by the lace at the top.
She had her long black hair pulled up in some elaborate style, and her makeup looked very faux to me. I was scandalized to my core.
She did not look bride-like at all.
At least her blouse was a little more modest. Its silver sheen molded to her body, and covered her breasts except for the V at her neck.
I would worry all night. Hoping that whatever this party was, she wouldn’t break her neck walking on those spiked heels. She actually teetered on the scrapin’ things as she weaved around the bedroom gathering things into her purse, all the while her excited chatter continued.
She stood in front of me when she snapped the phone shut. Her attention focused and she smiled.
“Bella.” She threw a look over her shoulder at the closed door and then lowered her tone to a whisper. “I found a place to live. It’s perfect. I’m really going to have a life on my own. If you were a person I’d kiss you.”
My see-through bolero quaked along with her happiness.
“I’m going to celebrate my new beginning at my Bachelorette party. No one will know except my good friends. It will still symbolize the same meaning though.”
Cecelia twirled around the room. I sucked in my bodice sure she’d trip and break her neck. By some miracle she made it to the door, slung the strap of her small purse over her shoulder and winked at me.
“Don’t worry, someday I’ll meet my prince charming. First freedom! Wish me luck.”
I did wish her luck. Though it saddened me that if she did, I wouldn’t be part of her dream wedding.
Pandora’s overflowed with bodies who couldn’t find a place to sit. Weaving her way through the masses, Cecelia finally spotted her friends.
Several women from the firm, some of her cousins and Chandler’s cousins were all attending. The only guests she cared about were her four best friends.
They knew the real reason for celebration, Cecelia’s liberation from Wilson-Evans and new beginnings.
“Here’s the bride-of-honor.” Someone shouted as she neared the long table.
Decorations and balloons clung to chairs, littered guests and ceiling. One of her friends must have reserved the entire front section of the bar. The area was center-stage where the male dancers came out to frolic every night at eleven.
Skye stood on her chair and clicked a knife against her cosmopolitan. “Toast to the happy woman.”
Joy, Rae and Fanny all climbed up to teeter next to their friend. Cecelia held her breath and hoped she wouldn’t lose all of them in one crash to the floor.
“To Cecie, may your life be happy.” Skye raised her glass.
“May your time be one filled with adventure.” Rae lifted hers.
“May you have a wonderful new existence.” Fanny heaved her wine glass up.
Last Joy held up hers. “And may you never be bored.”
A girl who looked vaguely familiar, maybe one of Chandler’s relations raised her glass, before she clicked to Cecelia’s she asked. “They expect you to have that with Chandler?”
Without answering Cecelia clinked everyone’s glasses and sipped the cocktail her friends had ordered. She intended to have all those things.
The receptionist from Wilson and Evans shot to her feet, “Toast. May you dance with a cute stripper tonight. After all it may be your last chance.”
Little did the girl know. Cecelia grinned and took another sip.
Toasts rang around. During the course of an hour, cocktails graduated to kamikaze shots.
Drums reverberated, the sound pinged off the walls and people. It was Pandora’s signature announcement of their showcased dancers.
Tall, slick and good looking stepped onto the stage. Hips gyrating as he sensually walked to the edge. Cecelia’s friends began to chant her name as they banged on the table.
Rae yelled over the din. “Go dance with him, Cecie. It’s your night.”
Pushing away from the table, she stood. The room bucked a moment, then it finally settled back into place. Whoa, maybe she’d had a bit too much to drink.
Oh, what the hell, wasn’t she starting a new adventure?
Cecelia regarded the faces of her friends, and those acquaintances who’d attended her party. She raised the shot glass that had somehow found its way into her hand and downed it.
Then very cleverly she sauntered, anyway that was her intent, to the stage steps. Carefully placing one foot after the other, she climbed to the platform and faced pretty boy.
He wiggled his hips in her direction, and waggled his eyebrows. She could give as good as he could.
She let her hips sway to the beat of the drums. When she reached him, she leaned in to rub her chest against his. Cecelia tried to focus, but his head swam in her vision.
She spun until her back pressed against his body, let her spine slip down his front. Still having enough sense not to go too low, she slithered back up, as she faced the audience. Wild cheers from her party guests gave her the courage to continue.
It could have been all the shots she’d consumed.
Another twist brought her face to face with her partner. She threw her arms out like Zorba the Greek and shimmied against him. The sensual gleam in his eye told her he liked her moves.
She was having fun.
Did she dare do something brazen that would shock her friends? With as much Dutch courage as she’d had during the night the answer was a definite, yes.
Again, she spun to face her friends. Her hand found her top button of her grey silk blouse. At first, she didn’t think her fingers would work, then the top finally loosened. Mr. Slick continued to gyrate against her from behind. In order to accommodate his moves, she gradually shuffled forward.
The next button came undone to a chorus of catcalls. The cheers upped a notch as she undid the third one. Then she pulled her blouse tails out of her skirt to undo the last.
Goosebumps rose on her tummy where the cool air brushed where moments before her shirt had been. The crowd went wild.
Rae, Skye, Fanny and Joy stood on their chairs waving their hands in encouragement.
Slick bumped his hips forward, the bulge in his speedo bumping her in the bottom. She unbuttoned the last button, and took a step forward.
Nothing but air met her foot.
She flapped her arms in surprise as if she might fly, and let out a squeal. Strong arms out of nowhere caught her. Startled, she stared into the face of her rescuer.
She blinked, she couldn’t help it. Sure enough she’d seen right the first time.
God, he was beautiful. Dark hair fell over his tanned forehead, deep green eyes.
Weren’t most people gorgeous when you were drunk?
“You must be the bride-to-be.” His deep velvet voice shivered over her.
His chuckle rumbled in his chest vibrating against her shoulder. He let her legs slide down his body until she stood, unsteadily, next to him.
“Cecelia, but my friends call me Cecie.”
“Are we going to be friends?” His deep voice floated over her in a gentle wave.
“Yes.” Cecelia considered telling him the truth, but instead asked a question. “Do you come to Pandora’s often?”
“Are you flirting with me?”
Was she flirting with him? Yes, she believed she was.
It felt good.
“Well, do you?”
He took her hand and led her back to her seat without replying. He smiled at the women at the table. “Here’s your bride, Fanny, you better take care of her.”
Cecelia watched him until he disappeared around the corner, then she turned to her friend. “You know him?”
“Yes, he’s my client. He owns Pandora’s.”
Her glance slid back to where he’d disappeared. “I believe I’m going to like visiting this place.”
Fanny stood. “Nope, don’t sit. It’s time Cinderella left the ball.”
Skye gripped her other arm. “I agree.”
Joy slid in, the soft air from her words whispered over her ear. “Cecie, if you aren’t careful you’re going to make Chandlers cousin’s suspicious. Fanny’s right we need to get you home.”
Sobered enough after her near fall into the stranger’s arms, she sighed. “This is why you have my back.”
Twenty minutes later her girlfriends stuffed her, like a sausage, into the limousine they’d rented for the occasion. The presents barely fit into the trunk. A haze settled over Cecelia, one of peace, where before despair had been a permanent camper in her stomach.
“What’s the plan tomorrow?” Rae’s voice sounded as if coated in cotton.
What was the plan? She couldn’t seem to remember anything other than the fact she would not be marrying Chandler the day after tomorrow.
If things were to go as planned, she needed to be alert. Not easy to be clear headed and cheery after a night of drinking.
But damn. She’d had fun.
“What are you grinning about Missy?” Skye’s voice held laughter as she shoved Cecelia in the shoulder.
“Thinking about the hunk who’d caught and saved me from disaster.” It was too nice to open her eyes.
Fanny squirmed and disturbed Cecelia’s comfortable position. She let her head loll to the side and forced one eye opened to stare at her friend.
“What is your problem, ants in your pants?”
“I don’t think you should think too much about Pandora’s owner.” Fanny turned away from Cecelia.
All the good men were always taken. “Married?”