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CHAPTER 2: A Warm Reception
“It is my pleasure to present Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Clark!”
Our family and friends cheered as we entered the hall. It was going to be a definite change to hear my name now. Mrs. Elizabeth Clark. It brought a smile to my face.
Dennis swung me into his arms as our song began to play. He wasn’t very coordinated, but I gave him credit; he was romantic.
“I love you, Liz,” he whispered into my ear as we swayed with the music.
“I love you too.”
I was on cloud nine. The moment was perfect. I was dancing in the middle of an eloquent banquet hall with the man I had loved for most of my life. He looked handsome in his tuxedo. I was wearing the dress of a princess and I felt as such. Our close friends and family, who were watching us sway around the dance floor, surrounded us. Quiet “oh”s and “ah”s were interspersed with the sound of camera shutters and sobbing. It was our moment.
I looked around at the faces of my guests with a gleaming smile. Nothing could ruin this moment.
During the next pass, my eyes connected with Alex. We had slept together mere hours ago and here I was, acting as if nothing had happened. I had married, promising my husband I would always be faithful, when I had just betrayed him.
I was trying to get a read on Alex’s expression. After the heat died down following our intense intimate experience, we said nothing. We didn’t talk about how we were going to handle this or what it all meant. Alex just collected himself and left. He looked distraught upon his departure. Now, his look was the same: distracted, upset, and distant. He couldn’t look at us, as we swirled to the music. He just stared blankly into space.
“Isn’t she gorgeous?” shrieked the fair skinned woman clinging to him. He didn’t answer her. He couldn’t even look at his own girlfriend, not that Brittany noticed. She was too absorbed in her admiration of Dennis and me, probably fantasizing about her own wedding dreams. All of us assumed that would be right around the corner. Well, that was before.
I tried to focus back on the moment, but I was finding it incredibly difficult. All I could see was Alex in the crowd. He was there, yet couldn’t be further from what was happening. He was just present. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for his current condition. Granted, he walked in on me masturbating and he kissed me first, but I had been fantasizing about him and I was the one who had taken things to the next step.
As I laid my head on Dennis’s shoulder, I was finally taking inventory of what Alex and I had done. In a moment of weakness, I had thrown myself at my husband’s best friend and he took me as if I had been his. Nothing had stopped us. Neither of us had given Dennis a thought. We had just been in the moment. And oh what a moment it was. I had over an eighteen-month absence of sex, but I did not remember it being that amazing. Did the absence really make sex better, or was it Alex that made it so much more enjoyable?
“Liz? You okay?” Dennis asked, pulling me from my train of thought.
“Yea. Just caught up in the moment.”
He smiled and led me to the head table. I had to focus now. The last place I wanted Dennis to learn that I had cheated on him on our wedding day was at the reception. I just had to make it through this until I could figure out how to handle what happened. One thing was for sure: I had to talk to Alex. I had to see what he was planning to do. I didn’t need him spilling the beans to Dennis and I certainly didn’t need him telling Brittany. If she found out, the entire state would know before I left the hall.
“Oh my God, Liz you look absolutely stunning in that dress,” Brittany gushed, sitting next to me. I had very few female friends to fill spots in my wedding party and the ones I had, I wasn’t close enough with to ask them to be my maid of honor. Dennis and Alex had suggested Brittany and she was more than happy to take on the role. I think she viewed it as her moment instead of Dennis and mine.
Not that Brittany wasn’t worthy of the spotlight. She was a gorgeous woman: long strawberry blonde hair, which was pinned up in a myriad of curls, perfect white smile, deep brown eyes, and a tight body. She was a football cheerleader for our local team and modeled in the off-season. However, Brittany was self-centered. Aside from looks, she had no personality. Frankly, I couldn’t see what made Alex head over heels for her. But then again, there was a lot about Alex I didn’t understand, in light of recent activities.
“Thanks, Brittany,” I weakly smiled, seeming to be engaged. Alex was seated next to her, still not looking in my direction. I couldn’t look at him any longer without feeling the urge to blurt everything out. Luckily, the ever-expanding line of guests passing by my table kept me distracted.
The reception was going phenomenally. The guests greeted us with hugs, kisses, and praise. When we cut the cake, Dennis smashed it into my face, igniting a mini food fight between escort ataşehir the two of us. We danced until our feet hurt, him keeping me in a deep embrace. It was magical.
Shortly after our dinner, Alex pulled Dennis away for a few moments. I panicked as I thought of what he might be telling him. What if he was ratting us out? If so, why had he waited so long to say anything? I tried to control myself, but the fear was reaching up into my throat, threatening to choke me.
I watched across the hall as Alex spoke to Dennis, his hands in his pockets. It was a brief conversation, with neither man’s eyes straying from each other. At the end, each man shared a smile, before sharing a hug. Their interaction made my fear subside only a little as I awaited their return. Dennis walked towards me, while another of his friends greeted Alex.
“What was that about?” I asked timidly once Dennis returned.
“Alex was originally going to propose to Brittany today & earlier he had asked me to transition into it during my speech. But now, he says he’s going to wait because he wants us to enjoy the spotlight just a little bit longer.”
“How nice of him,” I smiled, relieved that he had kept our secret. Although another thought had taken place of the fear.
Had our sexual encounter ruined his and Brittany’s chance at happiness? Could he no longer marry her because of what we had done? Was he expecting me to do the same? I had to talk to him. I had to get him alone for two minutes. There were so many unanswered questions.
Dennis stood up, taking a microphone in hand, calling everyone to take a seat. Alex returned to his seat next to Brittany. She grabbed his hand and wrapped it around her. He looked uninterested. Had I really ruined them?
“Hey everyone! Liz and I would like to thank you all for coming to share our special moment together. You know, everyone told me growing up that if I wanted lifelong happiness, that I should marry my best friend. And I’m here to say…sorry Alex, I’m just not into you.” The entire room exploded in laughter, including Alex. It was a welcome change from the distant stare.
“But all kidding aside, I can proudly say that today I married my best friend and that I am looking forward to a lifetime of happiness and adventures with you, Liz. I love you so much!”
I was a teary-eyed mess. Dennis always knew the right things to say. It was part of the reason I was so in love with him. I stood up, tears streaming down my face, and embraced him.
“I love you, Dennis,” I said, taking his face in my hands and kissing him. The crowd around us cheered, applauded, and cried. It was so moving. In a perfect world, nothing could have ruined this moment.
But after the crowd settled and we returned to our seats to hear a lineup of speeches, I was drawn back to my memory of mine and Alex’s transgressions. How could I have betrayed a man who loved me as much as Dennis? How could I have done that to a man I was madly in love with? What was wrong with me to make me hurt my husband so much, yet he not know the pain I had caused him?
I ignored most of the speeches that followed, lost in thought as how to handle my problem. I mechanically followed the crowd, laughing, smiling, and applauding, but nothing more. I wasn’t in the moment, just present. My ears perked up at the call that Alex was speaking next. Oh God, what was he going to say?
“Dennis, I am still reeling that you chose Liz over me. This was supposed to be our wedding day.” The room filled with laughter, but I was too focused to join in. If I hadn’t, I was sure to have missed his face.
His eyes dialed in on me. It was as if he was no longer speaking to the crowd, but to me. I caught my breath, trying to determine his next move before he made it.
“Anyways, I will have to find a way to move on without you,” he smiled weakly. “I’ve known you and Liz for years Dennis and I must say that you have found an amazing woman. She’s the real deal and you guys are perfect for each other.”
I felt Dennis wrap his arm around me, pulling me in close. My eyes were still locked with Alex’s. I could see something in his eyes, but I couldn’t quite place it. Was he begging me to be with him? Was he apologizing for our behavior earlier today? What was he saying?
After a slight pause, he continued.
“Don’t ever let her go, Dennis. Because you’ll never find a love more true than what you and her share. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. You guys deserve it.”
The room filled with applause. Dennis rose from his seat behind me, taking Alex in his embrace. I automatically stood up, following Dennis’s lead. Alex gave me a tight hug, almost squeezing the air from my lungs. I wanted to whisper in his ear, to tell him that we needed to talk, but there wasn’t nearly enough time. He returned to his seat next to Brittany, who kissed him possessively, although he had almost no interest.
The rest of the party progressed spectacularly. More guests continued to congratulate kadıköy escort bayan Dennis and me on our marriage. We danced excessively and shared an amazing evening. Somewhere midway through the night, I had lost track of Alex. I had wanted one minute to talk to him, yet couldn’t find him anywhere.
I tried for much of the night to push it all from my mind. I was trying to live in the moment. It was my wedding day and I intended on having only one. But I just couldn’t shake it entirely from my mind. It was like a nagging fly in the back of my head.
As the night wore on, people started to disperse and the hall began to empty.
“Why don’t we make our way up to the room, my beautiful bride?” Dennis asked, taking my hand. I knew what he had in mind, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to take it.
We reached my room and Dennis unlocked the door. He struggled to pick me up. My dress easily added fifteen pounds, maybe more. Granted I was physically fit, but Dennis was just thin. He carried me over the threshold, before dropping me to my feet just passed the door. Again, I was giving him points for being romantic.
I gazed around the room, which my bridesmaids had graciously cleaned of all of our preparatory supplies. However, they weren’t able to clear it of the memories I shared with Alex in that room. I looked around, reliving the experience in my head: his hands on my body, his eyes drinking in my naked form, our kiss.
My eyes fell upon the bed as I envisioned how we had defiled it hours ago. This was to be the same bed where Dennis and I would share our first union as husband and wife. We would be making love in the same spot where Alex and I had fucked!
“Shall we?” Dennis asked, snapping me back to reality. He took my hand and led me across the room to the bed. He sat down, gesturing for me to do the same. I complied.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been together like this. I’ve missed sleeping next to you.”
We sat there awkwardly for a moment. It was uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do. It was hard for me to focus in this environment. I had to do something. Now that we were married, I should have been more hyped to sleep with my husband, yet here I was, hesitant to do it.
Stop thinking about it, I finally told myself. My husband is here, the man who could make you moan with a single touch. It will only be a matter of seconds before Alex is a distant memory. This thought put me at ease as I finally faced Dennis.
He was still sitting awkwardly, his fingers fumbling in his hand. I took his hands in mine, pulling them around my waist. I leaned into him, our lips gently touching as I gave him a sweet, reassuring kiss.
“Relax,” I told him, kissing him again.
I pushed Dennis onto his back, my lips gently caressing his. I slipped my tongue into his mouth, intertwining mine with his. I was determined to make this a night of passion and better than what Alex and I had shared.
“You know what, Liz?” Dennis said, pushing me off him.
“What?” I whispered sexily as I undid his bow tie and began working on the buttons of his shirt.
He grabbed my hands, stopping my motions.
“Why don’t we wait one more day?”
I was stunned. What possible reason could he have for delaying sex with me?
“As eager as I am to take you right now, I think our sexual reunion should be more romantic. I’m thinking in our suite in Hawaii, as the sunset spills into our room and cascades all over us. Doesn’t that sound perfect?”
I clawed eagerly at the buttons of his shirt, fighting to remove them as I spoke.
“That does sound romantic, but I need you now Dennis. It’s been eighteen long months that I’ve been without your touch; I don’t think I can handle another minute.” I was begging. I needed him, yet here he was denying me.
He pushed my hands away and stood up from the bed.
“I know it’s been awhile, Liz, but I want our reunion to be perfect. I’m exhausted from all the events today and I just know it will ruin everything. I promise only one more day sweetheart.”
There was no more discussion as he headed to the bathroom to change for bed.
How could he deny me so easily? Me, his wife? I was in such shock that I didn’t move until he returned from the bathroom.
“Need help getting out of your dress?” Dennis asked. He was wearing a white tee shirt and navy blue gym shorts.
I nodded and stood up. He quickly unzipped the dress, then kissed me before sliding into bed. In a matter of minutes, he was asleep while I was left wanting.
Everything had happened so fast, I didn’t have time to process it all. My hopes of making it all up to Dennis and forgetting my transgressions with Alex had been dashed. Here I was, alone on my wedding night, something I had never heard happening to any other woman. I was unwanted by my husband. Furthermore, I was left alone in thought, my only thoughts focused in on my adulterous activity with Alex. It was something I didn’t want to think escort bostancı about.
I tried to clear my mind as I mechanically undressed myself and readied for bed. I threw my dress over the back of a chair and moved to my suitcase to find some sleepwear. My eye caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had been wearing rose-colored undergarments: stockings that clipped to a garter belt, a lacy rose-colored thong, all gone to waste. My husband would never see these graced on me like this again. As I gazed into the mirror, I pictured Alex behind me. I closed my eyes and remembered his touch: his hands grazing my breasts and his fingers trailing up my back. I replicated his touch, my hands traveling over my body. What I would give for Alex to touch me now.
Ah, what was wrong with me? I had to put this to rest. I had to stop thinking about Alex. I blamed the thought on my desire to be touched by my husband and my lack of fulfillment. I just had to get some rest.
I removed my lingerie and dressed in my white silky pajama shorts and pink tank top. I climbed into bed next to my husband. I wrapped my arm around his body, but found it uncomfortable. I repositioned myself several times, but it all felt unnatural.
An hour or so passed. I just stared up at the ceiling trying not to think. I couldn’t lay there any longer. I was going insane thinking about Alex and the sex we had, and feeling guilty about cheating on Dennis. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had to go find Alex. We had to talk.
I put on my white jacket and headed down to the front desk. I had no idea which room Alex was staying in, or even if he was staying alone. I thought about how I was going to explain to Brittany why I was intruding this late at night, but I didn’t care. I had to get some answers from Alex.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Connors checked out a couple of hours ago,” the woman behind the desk stated.
Just like that, he was gone. No explanation, no talking things out. I stood there momentarily, trying to process everything. I wasn’t going to get my answers tonight. I wasn’t sure when I would get them. I was stuck in uncertainty and it was not comfortable.
“Will that be all, ma’am?”
“Yes, thank you,” as I walked away.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do now. I didn’t want to go back to the room. Seeing Dennis would only make me feel guiltier at this point. I had no one I could confide in. I was going to have to carry this burden on my own.
I don’t know how I ended up there, but when I came back to reality, I found myself in the banquet hall. The tables had been stripped and the band had cleared out. The hall was dimly lit. All traces of the happy festivities were gone and all that was left was an empty, cold shell.
“Can I help you?” a voice called from the bar. The bartender from our wedding was still cleaning up. He was the only one there.
“Oh, sorry. I was just wandering.”
“It’s all good. Need a drink? Technically, all this liquor is yours.”
“I would love one,” I said, approaching the bar.
“What can I get you?”
“Something strong,” I said as he placed a glass on the bar.
“Rough day?” he asked, pouring the drink.
I took the drink and slammed it back. It tasted disgusting, but I just cared about the alcohol. At this point, I was hoping to drink enough to fall asleep and forget this whole situation.
“Woah! Take it easy there girl,” the bartender chuckled, refilling the glass, before continuing.
“Shouldn’t you be with your husband? Or is the honeymoon already over?”
I said nothing, only continued to drink in silence.
“Okay. You don’t have to tell me. But I’ve been a bartender for over a decade and part of the job is just listening to people’s problems. I’ve heard it all, so this is a judgment free zone if you do want to talk.” He returned to his cleaning.
I sat there for a moment and considered his offer. I didn’t know this man and probably would never see him again after tonight. If I told him anything, it’s not like he would rat me out to Dennis, nor did he seem the type to do so. I really had to confide in someone and I had nothing to lose by telling him.
“I cheated on my husband this morning,” I blurted.
He paused what he was doing. I could see a smirk forming on his face. It wasn’t exactly the reaction I was hoping for and I instantly regretted saying anything.
“I’ll admit, that’s a first. Never heard of a bride cheating on her man on the big day. Who was it with?”
“Does it matter?”
I hesitated, but figured that the only way to move forward was by admitting everything. If I got it all off my chest, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so guilty.
“I slept with his best friend.”
“The best man?”
I nodded. He didn’t look as if he was judging me, but looked somewhat amused.
“Well, that is a first. Why?” he said with a chuckle.
“Well, we hadn’t been intimate during our eighteen month engagement and it all happened so fast. I couldn’t help myself.”
“What kind of man abstains from sleeping with a woman for that long? Especially one that looks like you.”
I was used to compliments but I still couldn’t keep from blushing. I was hoping it was dark enough that he couldn’t see.
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