|Temptation and Manipulation
Author: passionatewriter84 PM
There's a fine line between love and hate, but when the fiance of Victor's best friend starts to come onto him, he soon finds himself in an awkward position. Will he give into temptation and risk losing his best friend or will he play it cool?Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Friendship - Words: 13,500 - Favs: 3 - Published: 01-08-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2301458
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: In this short story, the role of Edele is played by Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham. If you're not already familiar with my characters, Victor and James, see my profile page for which actors I've chosen to portray them in my mind's eye.
"Oh, I'll propose a toast to the happy couple, all right." Victor Bane remarked flatly, raising the glass of scotch he clutched in one of his large and masculine hands. Like hell he would!
The corners of James' thin lips curled into a smug smile, as he followed suit and raised his bottle of Jack Daniels with a nod of appreciation. "Your toast would be most appreciated. I just know you'll come up with something smashing to say about your best mate and his lovely bride. Cheers mate," he replied in his thick British accent. The two men clinked their glasses against one another.
Victor's deep-set and steely green eyes fixated on his friend in vexation, doing his best to hold back the scoff that wanted to escape him and taking a guzzle from his glass. His eyes shifted to something else in the room other than James' face. He found his gaze falling on an alluring looking blonde in the corner of the bar. The young woman had model-like features and long, perfectly sculptured tan legs. He bit down on his bottom lip, imaging what it would be like to have her in his bed, pounding her until they were both dripping with sweat, and she begged him for release. Suddenly, the sound of James' voice averted his attention away from the blonde.
"Magnificent rack, great body."
This time, there was no way Victor could prevent the scoff from escaping him, followed by a shake of his head. "Jesus."
James turned his head back to gape at him, his thin brows furrowed inquisitively. "Do you know her?"
He rolled his eyes, and sat back in the booth, stretching out his large and rugged upper body. Taking another swig of his scotch, he ignored his friend's question as if it didn't mean a damn thing, and truth be told, it didn't.
A devilish grin slowly spread over James' face. "Did you shag her? You got that horny look in your eye." Victor stared blankly at the man. He just didn't get it. James' features turned somber once he got no reply, and he continued, "all right, so tell me. What on earth happened? Did the bloody bird try to castrate big Ben in the bedroom like your last one-nighter?"
The glass in Victor's hand hit the table top with an audible clinking sound, which resonated throughout the spacious and dimly lit bar. "No, as a matter of fact, I didn't shag her. In fact, I've never seen the little bitch before in my life." He snapped.
James' handsome features darkened, his brows wrinkling in an incriminating fashion. "Right then. What's up with you mate?"
"What's up with me? What the hell is up with you?"
Victor sat forward and rested his forearms on the table. "Listen, it was hard enough for me to believe you, of all people, would be stupid enough to get married. You've spent these last eighteen years of your life doing the exact same things I have, charming every hot little female in sight just for a screw, but you can't play the Goddamn playboy for the rest of your pussy whipped life. The one-night-stands are going to have to be outlawed, my friend, and that includes checking out other 'birds' like that perfectly screwable blonde over there." His eyes roamed back to the alluring woman they had been admiring moments ago.
The blonde now looked to be having an intimate and somewhat heated conversation with the Hispanic, dark-haired and muscular bartender, who seemed to take great pleasure in stroking his goatee every time he laughed, and the woman was responding to his words like a moth to a flame. Victor stared coldly at the pair, his teeth clenching and the muscles in his jaw tightening up. He could have her, if he really wanted to get laid tonight. He could snatch her right up and make goatee guy look like a complete amateur compared to him.
James stole a glance over at the blonde and then turned his head to look back at Victor, his expression full of determination. "Hey mate, there's no bloody law against looking, you know? Besides, Edele isn't here. What does it matter? I know I can't keep up this act forever, and it's quite a pity, but what's that saying? Times change, eh?"
Victor opened his mouth to reply, but James continued.
"And if you think I'm pussy whipped, you can sod off. There's no way I'd ever let some simple bird turn me into another mum's boy. In our marriage, I'll be wearing the pants."
He exhaled sharply. "Well, I hate to break it to you buddy, but without me around to keep you in line, you're on your own with that one." He scoffed. "Why the hell are you even getting married to begin with? We always agreed that marriage and commitment were both a crock of shit."
James chuckled in amusement. "Oh Vic, we were college boys at the time, that was centuries ago, or don't you remember?" He sighed softly, lifting his bottle of Jack Daniels and averted his gaze to the ceiling. "We had quite a lovely time, didn't we?"
"We're not taking a Goddamn trip down memory lane right now, James. I've been there and done that, but I'll be damned if I'm going to give myself over to a woman the way you're so intent on doing, and you want to know why?" James brows arched expectantly, wanting Victor to go on, and he did. "Because there's not a chance in hell I'd ever find a woman that can get me hard both physically and mentally, like my true future bride would have to do before I even consider slipping that ring on her finger."
"You never know what life might bring you, mate, but you got to admit, it would be nice to have a certain someone to spend Christmas with this year, you know what I mean?"
"If you're about to tell me that I need to sit on Santa's lap and ask for a bride that will get me hard, I will personally break that bottle of Jack Daniels over your fucking head. I don't need a Goddamn bride this Christmas. All I need is a good screw, perhaps a couple strippers, and a bottle of scotch, and that my friend, is my guide to a happy holiday."
James shot him a glare. "So what the bleeding Christ are you saying? You're not coming to my bloody wedding?"
Victor sat back in his seat once again, sighing wearily. "I'll be honest with you James; big events such as weddings, funerals, birthday parties were never really my…thing. Unless of course I'm the guest of honor." He chuckled.
James' piercing green eyes narrowed irritably. "I'm your best mate! We've been mates for nearly eighteen years, and you're just going to be a sodding wanker and skip out on the most important moment of my life. Well fine, you can sod off, and find yourself a new best friend." Pushing himself up to his feet, he turned to stride out of the bar.
Victor exhaled sharply. "Shit," he cursed under his breath. Springing up to his feet, he chased after his former best friend who was stalking angrily towards the door. "Goddamn it! James, wait!" He seriously needed to start thinking before speaking, but with him, he didn't really give a shit who he hurt. All he cared about was his opinion and anyone else's opinion could be flushed down the toilet where it belonged.
James stopped a foot away from the door, but didn't bother turning around. "Why bother catching up with me when you've been two miles ahead of me these past eighteen years?"
His brows furrowed in bafflement. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? Look, I sounded like an asshole before and I'm sorry, but I was being honest when I said weddings weren't my thing. They're not, but…"
James sighed wearily and slowly turned around to face him. "But…you're too much of a bugger to stand up for a rich, well-mannered bloke such as myself. Oh no, wait, hold on, I see how it is. You're jealous."
Victor blinked back his surprise. "Jealous?" He chuckled in amusement. "Of you? That's bullshit."
"Bullshit? Let me tell you something, mate. You've laid your bloody tragedy on me for years. I know your story. You've told me all about your father, and your mum, and basically the ins and outs of your miserable childhood, and I've done my best to support you in that. I've listened, and I've critiqued, and for what? You don't ever listen to a bloody word I have to say half the time, and you treat me like I'm a piece of shit. I had a great relationship with my father, and my mum showered me with love, but for you, it's the opposite, en it?"
Oh he wasn't about to go there now, was he? His gaze instantly turned stone cold, his tone of voice low but menacing. "You don't understand a Goddamn thing that I went through back then. You didn't have to deal with half the shit I did."
"Right, I didn't, but despite your childhood crisis, you have no problem waltzing around town pretending you're the king of the bleeding world, pretending you're better than me. Pretending you're better than any other bloke. As a matter of fact, I don't believe there's ever been a time when something good has happened to me, and you've shared in my delights."
"Yet again, that's bullshit. I've been happy for you more than enough times. Remember the time when you…" His voice trailed off, and suddenly, he realized that James was right. He'd rarely been happy for him at all.
"Exactly." He took a step towards Victor, in an effort to intimidate him, which was a little hard to do, considering the man was almost twice James' size and a few inches taller. "The only time you've ever, truly been happy for me is when I've busted my bum doing something for you. My father treated me better than you have. I mean, really, what's it take for you to come through for me just this once and be at my wedding, the day that's supposed to be one of the happiest times in any chap's life? What's it take?"
Victor sighed deeply. "Fine, I'll go. Will that make you happy?"
"I don't want you there out of pity for me. If you're going to be there, you bloody well better care enough about my happiness to stand up there with me…as my best man."
He rolled his eyes dramatically. "Goddamn it, I do care. Look, I know I can be an asshole at times, and end up saying whatever the hell I want without so much as giving it a second thought, but you were right before. We're best friends, and I should start acting like one instead of like an arrogant prick." He sighed softly. "Now can we put our differences aside and start acting like—"
Before Victor or James could say anymore, the door to the bar opened up and none other than, Edele Adams stepped inside. She was a tall but alluring woman with a perfectly tanned and toned upper body, long and wavy brown hair, shimmering brown eyes, and fully kissable lips.
"Edele," Victor's brows arched in surprise, without so much as a clue of what she was doing here. James hadn't mentioned anything about Edele stopping by while they were here.
A bewildered expression came over James' face. "Edele? What does Edele have to do…?" His voice trailed off, as the woman slipped one of her large but feminine hands beneath James' arm. He turned his head, realizing his blushing bride was in fact present. "Edele!"
A smile spread across her face. "Hi darling." Leaning in, she pressed her lips against his in a brief but tender kiss.
Victor sighed wearily. So much for things going back to normal.
James flashed Edele a smile of his own. "What are you doing here, love? You told me you were working late tonight."
Edele nibbled at his ear lobe, "oh nonsense James, you know I couldn't resist dropping in on my boys."
Victor arched a brow at her in question. Boys? Since when did she consider him and James to be her boys? What the hell were he and James? Kids? What was with the plural context of the word? Didn't she mean 'boy?' He hadn't known Edele that long. Sure, James had mentioned her more than enough times than he could count, talking about how "magnificent" and "ravishing" she was, and Victor had even spoken with her once or twice over the phone, but as far as socializing with her in person went, well, this was only his third encounter with the brunette. The first time had been at James' loft to which he introduced his girlfriend to Victor, just one week after they'd gotten together, and the second had been, well, a bit of an accident. Apparently, he'd stopped by James' loft at a bad time, and Edele had taken it upon herself to answer the door…wrapped in nothing but a maroon sheet of Egyptian cotton.
James laughed lightly, nuzzling his nose into the curve of her neck. "You were always quite cheeky, weren't you? What a lovely surprise."
Victor rolled his eyes dramatically, crossing his arms firmly over his chest, and clearing his throat audibly in an effort to alert the two of them he was still present. "Good to see you too, Edele," he remarked dryly, his eyes narrowing in consideration.
Edele pulled her head away from James' lips and turned to look over in Victor's direction, a coy smile curling her lips. "Hello Victor. It's a pleasure to see you again. How've you been?"
Victor sent her a tight smile. "Great, couldn't be better actually, and yourself?" There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice, but he was doing a hell of a job covering it up and still appearing cordial, although he knew that James could probably see through his act. Hell, he'd known him long enough to know when he was shelling out the occasional bullshit to curb his own irritation, and when it was actually genuine.
"Fantastic. I apologize for crashing your boys' night, but I just couldn't stay away from my James." She pressed another kiss to her fiancé's neck, to which he chuckled and turned his head to cover her lips with his, the couple exchanging a pleasant moan as they did so.
Once again, Victor rolled his eyes. Way to make him feel like an ass for not having a hot little female on his arm tonight, just rub it right in his face. "You just couldn't contain your horniness, could you Edele?" He exuded an amused chuckle.
James shot him a glare, his brows wrinkling incriminatingly on Victor. He looked as though he wanted to say something, to snap at him, but just when Victor thought he was about to get another bitter tongue-lashing, James turned to Edele and smirked, "hey, love? What do you say the two of us be on our way?" His eyes roamed disapprovingly back to a slightly disgruntled Victor, "Vic's a bit…plastered tonight and my flat misses you terribly."
Victor blinked back his irritation, exchanging a look with an inquisitive Edele. A scoff escaped him. "Oh that's bullshit. Do I look wasted to you?" His gaze was mainly focused on her rather than his so-called "friend."
Edele's eyes shifted back to her beau, a scowl crossing her face as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. "Oh James, stop making up such things. Victor isn't drunk." She stole a glance at Victor, "you're not drunk. I don't know where he'd ever get that idea."
Victor planted his hands firmly on his hips, bringing his hand up to his heart, and making a seemingly hurt expression. "Yeah, James, where would you ever get such an idea?"
James features turned cold, "gee, that's a good question mate, but, as we both know, you do tend to get a bit pissy after you've had a few drinks. Call me crazy, but you are acting a little higher and mightier than usual."
His hands came away from his hips to rest at his side, but slowly began to clench into tight fists. The muscles in his jaw and in his shoulders tensed up, as Victor's blood began to boil. He stared coldly back at the man. It was becoming increasingly tougher and tougher for him to resist beating the shit out of James. Was he really still holding a grudge against him for the wedding remark? Or was he just trying to get back at him, and in front of his fiancé, to make him feel like the bigger man in the equation. It was pathetic. Surely he could do better than that. Well, if James wanted to continue to test his patience, he would take the challenge.
James turned his attention back to Edele, wrapping his arm around her waist, and giving her a small nudge in the direction of the door. "Come on pet, let's go. It's getting late."
Edele pushed James aside and stepped before him, placing herself in-between the two men. She turned to look from him to Victor. "All right, you two boys need to hug and make-up. I don't know what on earth this little tiff is about, but this is no way for two grown and might I add, incredibly gorgeous men, to behave." A smirk crossed her face as she eyed Victor for a brief moment, sizing him up. She turned back to her fiancé, "now James, apologize to Victor."
As James' jaw went slack, Victor's brows arched in surprise. A smile played at the corners of Victor's mouth, but for the fate of their friendship, he tried not to let it show. As much as his best friend's behavior aggravated him at times, he still cared for the guy, in spite of everything else, even if he didn't show it that often. He scowled, arching a brow in challenge as his gaze fixated on James, awaiting his apology.
James looked as ready to punch him as he had been moments ago, but the vexation quickly disappeared from his face, and his shoulders slumped in defeat. "Oh bullocks." He exhaled sharply, squaring his shoulders and crossing his arms firmly over his chest. "Sorry," he spoke flatly.
Edele stole a glance over her shoulder at James, placing her hands upon her hips and shaking her head in disbelief. "Close enough." She stepped up beside him once again, linking her arm with his own, "now come on baby, let's not leave poor Victor here all by his lonesome, let's order a drink or two and join him. The night is still young."
Before Victor or James could say anymore, Edele grabbed both of their hands and led them in the direction of a booth in the far right hand corner of the bar. Not the booth in which Victor and James had been sitting in before, but he didn't care. It wasn't as if he hadn't finished his second glass of scotch, and he could always order himself another one. All three of them slid into the booth, James and Edele on one side and Victor on the other. Truth be told, it was getting rather late, being that Victor had arrived at the bar to meet James an hour ago, and it was now nearing eleven thirty.
Victor signaled the nearest waitress and ordered himself another glass of scotch, James ordered another bottle of Jack Daniels, and Edele ordered an apple martini. "You sure you want to take the risk of getting pissed drunk yourself with another bottle of Jack there, James?" Victor remarked, seconds after the waitress turned to leave.
James shot him a glare. "Hey, sod off! I'm not a bloody drunk."
"Hey pal, lighten up. It was a joke, a joke that you have to admit you had coming, don't you think?" His brows arched expectantly, a smug smile crossing his face.
"Oh, well then, forgive me for not seeing the humor in the situation." James' voice was thick with sarcasm. With a roll of his eyes, he reached under his black wool coat and pulled out a small metal lighter, and a cigarette. He placed the cigarette between his lips, and brought the lighter up to ignite the end of it, but before the flame could reach the butt, Edele's hand reached out and snatched the cigarette out of his mouth. "Hey! Edele! What gives?"
She held up the cigarette indignantly. "You told me you were going to stop! I'm sick and tired of you kissing me right after you've had one of these things. If this is the way our marriage is going to be, maybe we should reconsider our options."
Victor blinked back his surprise, pursing his lips together in an attempt to hold back the amused laugh that wanted to escape him. Arching his brows, he turned his head away, pretending he had better things to do than watch them, but eventually, his eyes roamed back over to the pair, his curiosity getting the best of him. Especially since James said that he would be wearing the pants in their marriage. Oh, Victor couldn't wait to see how he handled this little squabble, even if a part of him already knew the outcome.
James stared dumbfounded at the woman beside him, sighing wearily, his shoulders slumping once again in defeat as he sat back against the wood lining of the booth. He chewed agitatedly on his bottom lip, trying mercilessly to curb the arrogant remarks Victor knew he wanted to utter. "Bloody hell," he muttered. Turning his head back to a skeptical looking Edele, he managed to utter a reply. "I know, I know, I did, and I'm sorry love. Consider it the furthest thing from my mind this moment on."
Exchanging a look with his friend, he shook his head in disbelief. Pussy whipped! Unbelievable. Why had he been feeling so out of the loop earlier? Settling down with a woman was a crock. He could never imagine giving himself over to someone like that. Why bother being hen pecked by a woman like Edele? Well, unless of course they were playing dominatrix games, but it wasn't too often that he let the woman be in control, and if he did, it would be in the sexual sense and for a limited amount of time.
Edele sighed softly and tossed the unused cigarette into the ash tray on a nearby table. "That's more like it." She leaned in and pressed a kiss to James' cheek before turning her attention on Victor. "So, Victor, I'm sure my James told you about the engagement." She thrust her left arm in his direction, displaying the shimmering, six karat silver diamond on her finger.
He nodded his head, taking notice of the diamond on her ring finger, the very diamond that he himself had helped James pick out for her. "He did. In fact, you wouldn't believe how much he won't stop talking about it." He chuckled softly. "I think someone's in a hurry to walk down that aisle with you. I keep telling him, 'take it slow, buddy. Your bride will still be here tomorrow.'"
James laughed. "Ah yes, I simply can't wait another minute for the big day, but what's a wedding without my best man." His features turned somber, his gaze settling on Edele, "I'm afraid I'll have to find myself a new bloke to fit the bill, Victor has decided not to attend."
Edele jaw went slack. "What?" She looked over at Victor, a scowl crossing her face. "Victor…darling, you're not coming? Why not?"
Victor exhaled sharply. "Edele, sweetheart, I'm afraid your fiancé has taken it upon himself to put words into my mouth. I never said I wouldn't be at your wedding."
"Oh bullocks!" James cried. "You did too."
"I might have hinted at it, but I never actually said the words, now did I? Besides, I changed my mind, and if you had been listening just before your bride walked into the bar, you would have remembered me telling you I'd be there." Jesus, when would their childish argument end?
"Boys, boys, boys, would you stop the fighting? You're best friends. The least you can do is act like it." Edele blurted out.
Both James and Victor grew quiet, neither of them wanting to admit that the other was right. Just then, the waitress approached their table, set their drinks down before them, and then turned to walk away. Victor exhaled sharply, breaking the awkward silence at the table. "She's right."
James said nothing; he simply took a swig from his bottle of Jack Daniel's, and kept his gaze focused on the table before him.
"Oh come on, how many God damn times do I have to say it? For the five hundredth time, I'll be at your wedding, all right? I wouldn't miss it for the world." He sighed softly, tugging at the collar of the red dress shirt he wore beneath his black suit, "after all, you have to have a Best Man, and well, let's consider the options, shall we? There's no one better suited to fill that position than yours truly."
Finally, James lifted his chin and looked up at Victor, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "You better be wearing a tux. I know you fancy those Gucci suits, but unless you're a guest, my best mate has got to blend in with my other groomsmen."
Victor guzzled some scotch from his glass and sighed wearily. "Deal."
Edele smiled when she saw the exchange between the two. "Now that's the way two gentlemen such as you should behave."
A smug smile crossed his face. "Yes, I suppose you're right, Edele, but you have to admit, it's still fun being naughty every now and again, don't you think?"
Her lips twisted into a smirk. "Oh of course, my dear Victor."
James draped his arm over the back of the booth, and grinned evilly at the woman. "She's certainly not afraid to be naughty in the bedroom, I'll tell you that much, Vic," he laughed.
He laughed along with his best friend. "Oh really? And just how naughty is she?"
Edele shifted in her seat, and gave them a coy smile. She sat forward in the booth, folding her hands on top of the table, and fixing her eyes on Victor. Her lips curled into a mischievous smile, "well, I can be a really bad girl…" Suddenly, the smile on Victor's face disappeared as he felt what seemed like a foot sliding up between his legs, and moving slowly towards his crotch. "Given the circumstances. I'm afraid I need a spanking most of the time, you know what I mean, Vic?" She held his gaze for a long moment.
His brows furrowed in consideration, the toes from that same foot curling against the fabric covering his crotch and teasing his shaft. Stealing a glance down at his crotch, he saw a large and feminine foot resting between his thighs. It was obvious that the foot belonged to Edele. She was sitting right across from him, and judging by the suddenly heated look in her eyes and her choice of words, she was laying her seduction on thick. His eyes shifted from Edele to James and then back to Edele. He shifted in his seat, in an attempt to get her foot away from him, but the movement only caused his crotch to get even closer to it, and ultimately caused him to gasp heatedly. He bit down on his bottom lip, the word slipping from his lips. "Christ." He sighed softly.
"Something wrong, mate?" A weird expression came over James' face.
An errection was already present in Victor's pants. He clenched his teeth together; his breathing deep and heavy, and as he shot a glare in Edele's direction, all she could do was smirk back at him, almost as if she could sense his irritation with what she was doing. She was enjoying this, entirely too much. He stole a glance over at James, "no James, everything's fi-i-ine…" Upon uttering his last word, he felt Edele's toes curl around the head of his penis and squeeze it. He emitted a low growl from deep in his chest, slipping his arm beneath the table, grabbing her foot, and shoving it away from his groin. As much as he wanted to give in to his arousal and enjoy it for as long as he could, there was no way he could do it with his best friend present.
James's brows furrowed in bewilderment, looking between his best friend and his fiancé, trying to figure out what was going on. His gaze settled on Victor once again, "I don't buy that for a minute. What's gotten into you, Vic? You look like a bloke about to shag a woman's brains out."
Oh if only he knew. Clearing his throat audibly, he let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding in, a part of him relieved that he no longer felt Edele's foot in-between his thighs. Meeting his best friend's inquisitive gaze, he shook his head, "nothing. This booth is just a little…cramped."
Edele exchanged a look with Victor, her brows arching in surprise as she turned to look over at her fiancé. "You know what, James? I think Victor is right." She shifted in her seat, and once again, he felt that familiar foot sliding up between his legs. "Maybe we should move to a table, where we can be more comfortable." She reached out and touched the side of James' face, caressing his cheek with her fingers. "Don't you agree?" Her fingers traveled up to the top of his head, slipping into the short and straight strands of dirty blonde hair on his head, to which he grinned devilishly, turning his head to kiss her lips.
"Absolutely." He murmured against her lips.
Victor's jaw went slack, watching in disbelief at the pair before him. Who the hell did she think she was? She was using him and she was using James, at the exact same time. Even as she continued to kiss her beau, he could still feel her foot teasing him beneath the table, and her toes curling against his crotch. He groaned irritably, grasping her foot tightly in his hand and once again, shoving it away. "Goddamn it Edele!" He cried.
The sudden sound of his voice startled both of them. They both turned their heads, looking over in his direction in bafflement, but he was pretty sure that the confusion on Edele's face was merely for show.
"Bloody hell, what's wrong with you mate? That's no way to talk to my bride-to-be." James spat.
He rolled his eyes. God was he oblivious to the shit she was doing. "Your bride-to-be has been—"
"Rude." Edele cut in.
You're damn right you been rude, you little slut! Victor thought, arching his brows expectantly. Was she actually going to have the decency to cough up an apology now? Oh, he could hardly wait to hear this.
James stared dumbfounded at the woman. "Rude? Oh no love, you haven't done a thing. It's Vic that—"
"No, it's not Vic, sweetheart. It's me. I've been awfully rude to just drop in on you two like this," she stole a glance over at Victor. "And it's quite obvious I've been making Victor here feel like the third wheel in the equation. I'm so sorry Victor, can you ever forgive me?" She batted her eyelashes at him and put on the best innocent face she could possibly muster, which caused him to scoff.
He exchanged a look with James, and sighed wearily, shaking his head in disbelief. Focusing his attention back on Edele, he sent her a tight smile. "Sure, why not." He replied flatly, averting his gaze downward, and reaching out to take another swig of his drink. As much as he wanted to rat the bitch out for what she'd done, he didn't know if he was ready to see his best friend get hurt…again. James had already lost his father, and even though he might not admit it to himself, he had hurt the man enough times as well. He didn't need anymore guilt looming over his head at the moment.
Edele smiled brightly, fiddling with the swizzle stick in her martini glass. "Well, now that that's settled, tell me Victor…do you plan on bringing a certain special someone to the wedding?"
His eyes narrowed in consideration. "That depends. What exactly do you mean by 'special someone?'"
"I mean, do you have a girlfriend? Are you attached? Any long-term commitments?" She took the swizzle stick out of her glass and put it into her mouth, letting it slide in and out in a provocative manner.
Upon seeing this, Victor clenched his teeth together, feeling that errection in his pants returning. He exhaled sharply. "No, Edele, as hard as it may be for you to believe, I don't. No girlfriend. No attachments. No commitments."
James nodded his head. "Yes, I'm afraid Vic is a bit of a one-night-stand bloke. A shag here, a shag there, and no commitments whatsoever. Right?"
"Right you are, my friend." Victor took another guzzle from his glass, eyeing Edele intently over the rim of it, just challenging her to make another move on him beneath the table. "I've never been a one woman man as it is." There it was again, that foot was making a comeback, only this time she didn't get but half way up his leg before he forced his legs shut. No more cock teasing for her.
Edele scowled. "That's a shame. Doesn't it ever get lonely? So much sex, but nobody to cuddle…"
His brows arched expectantly as her voice trailed off, apparently realizing what he'd done. A smug smile stretched across his face, but his features quickly grew serious. "See, that's the thing, I've never been much of a cuddly type of man. If a woman wants to cuddle after sex, she should go find herself a lesbian or a bi-sexual. Why bother with commitments?" He sat back in the booth and continued. "After all, I can't very well risk my fiancé cheating on me with another man now, can I?" He held her gaze, cocking a challenging brow her way.
A dumfounded look came over Edele's face. She knew she was caught. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, and that sneaky little foot recoiled back to its rightful place beneath the table, away from his groin.
James looked between the two, setting his bottle of Jack back on the table and sighing softly. A scowl came over his face. "I can't imagine my Edele ever doing such a bloody thing." He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. "As it is, she can't possibly spend one waking day without me, can you darling?"
Victor exchanged a look with Edele, his face void of emotion. His interest peeked, curious as to what she would say next to get her out of this one.
Edele glared at Victor for a brief moment before smiling at James, "of course not baby. You mean the world to me." James, satisfied with her answer, kissed her lips once again.
He rolled his eyes and shook his head in disbelief. Like hell he did. "Yes, it would certainly be a shame now, wouldn't it? I don't see how a man can give himself so willingly to someone for the rest of his life when there's no guarantee that the woman he marries will truly be faithful to him, but you wouldn't think to cheat on James, would you Edele? After all, you two seem so…" He leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table, "hopelessly in love."
Edele's eyes narrowed on him, "no, dear Victor, I wouldn't, but how will I know that the man I love will truly be faithful to me in return? It does go both ways you know."
"Of course it does," his eyes roamed over to a now baffled and inquisitive James, "but while James here is just as capable of cheating on you as you would be to him, it would be a stupid and under handed thing to do to a person, especially if the evidence was right under their nose."
Both Victor and Edele stared back at one another with vexation in their eyes.
James took a swig from his bottle, but when he returned it to the table, he set it down with an audible cling, much in the same way Victor had earlier. "All right, what in the bloody hell is going on with you two? And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. Something's going on; I can smell it, like its right under my nose."
"Not a thing, James, honest. Just discussing the pros and cons of marital life, but nobody's perfect these days, are they?" She leaned in and nibbled at James' ear, murmuring something Victor couldn't decipher from his place across the table. For a moment, Victor thought she might be telling James lies about him, but his assumptions were proven false when his friend began to chuckle. The woman leaned a little closer to James, sliding a little farther down in her seat to begin nibbling on his ear lobe.
A weary sigh escaped Victor. He had to give the little bitch credit. If she could use sex or any form of affection to get her lover's mind off the current matter at hand, then she was good, almost as good as him. Almost. Turning his head to put his eyes on something else in the room besides the two of them, he took his glass in his hand, and took another drink of his scotch. Then, suddenly, he felt that foot. Edele's foot! Somehow--he couldn't figure out how--it had managed to inch its way back up to his crotch. Upon feeling her toes pressing against the head of his penis, the alcohol wound up entering the wrong tube and he immediately began to choke.
Edele and James immediately diverted their attention to a coughing and sputtering Victor.
"Hey Vic, you all right?" James inquired, his brows furrowing in concern.
Taking another moment to collect himself, Victor nodded in agreement. "I'm fine." He sighed irritably, his eyes fixing themselves on Edele, a smug smile crossing his face. He stole a glance at James, "James, would you mind if I borrowed your lovely bride-to-be for a moment? I need to have a little…chat with her." Taking Edele's toes in his hand, he pushed her foot away and without waiting for a response from either one of them, slid out of the booth and rose to his feet.
James was hesitant but nodded. "No, not at all, go right ahead."
"Thank you." Victor looked down at Edele, waiting for her to get up out of the booth, but it didn't look as if she was so intent on doing so. Stepping up beside her, he leaned down and whispered in her ear. "You know, it might help if you put your shoe on before you stood up."
She smiled sheepishly at him, took a sip from her martini glass and then turned to kiss James on the cheek. "I'll be back, sweetie."
James smirked. "All right love, hurry back."
"This won't take long, trust me." Victor remarked, watching Edele slide her black patent leather pump back on her foot, and finally slip out of the booth. Once she stood up, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and led her in the direction of the bathrooms. He stole a quick glance around the area to make sure no one was looking, before yanking her around the corner, and out of sight. Taking both of her shoulders in his hands, he slammed her against the wall. "What the fuck do you think you're doing, huh? Huh?" He demanded angrily.
Edele's brows furrowed incriminatingly, wriggling in his grasp in an attempt to get free. "I don't know what you're talking about. Let go of me!"
"Oh don't pretend to be stupid, sweetheart. You've been trying to get me off ever since you sat down, and if you don't believe it, try asking your Goddamn foot. It certainly knows its way around my dick, but if you really think I'm going to screw you, you've got another thing coming. Why did you do it, huh? Looking for a last minute fuck to commemorate your bachelorette party?"
"No, that's not why I did it. I haven't even had a bachelorette party. Now if you'd let me go, I might tell you!" She wriggled once again in his grasp, struggling to free herself, and after a slight hesitation, he finally took his hands off her. "Thank you."
He placed one of his hands on his hips, and the other against the wall above her head. "All right, I let you go, now you better start talking, sweetie pie, because right now, it would not be wise for you to test my patience."
Edele sighed irritably. "Look Victor, I like James, and don't get me wrong, he's gorgeous, but to be quite honest, he's not nearly as gorgeous as you are."
A smug smile crept across his face. He chuckled softly. "Well, I'm flattered, really, I am, but as true as that may be, it won't change a damn thing. You can toss as many compliments my way as you please, but it's not going to make me sleep with you tonight." What he was saying was highly out of character at the moment, especially for him. Truth be told, he often times needed his ego to be stroked before his dick, but this was a whole different circumstance. His best friend was involved.
"Oh come on," she brought one of her hands up, placing it against his large chest and letting her fingers slide up the length of it, resting her hand against the curve of his neck, and urging his face closer to hers. She gazed deeply into his eyes, "you're not even the least bit curious? I sense you're a man who likes to live life dangerously, taking no notice of the consequences of his actions. I'm right, aren't I?" She leaned in to kiss him, but he pulled his head back.
He narrowed his eyes in consideration. "You're very perceptive."
She smirked. "I've always thought so." The hand that was on his neck came back down, sliding once again over his chest, but continued downward until it reached the zipper of his black slacks. She squeezed his shaft through the fabric of his pants to which he gasped, and exuded a soft but passionate moan. He looked deep into her eyes, wanting desperately to drop his pants at that very moment. If he really wanted to, he could be inside her within five seconds flat, and be pounding her harder than she could possibly imagine.
Her fingers found the zipper on his slacks, and she was about to pull it down, until his hand came down and stopped her. Grasping her wrist tightly in his hand, his gaze turned cold. It took all of his willpower to utter the words, "nice try sweetheart, but no amount of rub and tugs are going to change my mind." Even though he'd spoken the words, the hard shaft in his pants was enough evidence to tell her otherwise, and once she looked down, she would know he was lying. Jesus! Why did she have to be such a little tease?
Edele glanced down at his pants, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. "Something tells me a part of your anatomy already has. Maybe I can convince the rest of your body." Using her free hand, she slipped her fingers into the dark strands of hair on his head and urged his head back in her direction, placing her lips against the curve of his neck. She raked her teeth along the skin and let her tongue slide over it attentively. "Stop fooling yourself, Vic. I can tell you want to do naughty things with me. Don't fight it darling, you know you want me as much as I want you."
As she murmured the words into his ear, he could feel himself involuntarily tremble at the feel of her warm breath against his skin. A part of him wanted to pull away from her, to tell her to go find some other man to toy with, but a bigger part of him wanted to have her, right there and then. He sighed softly, his arm snaking out and grabbing her by the small of her back, urging her closer to him to which she squealed with delight. He dipped his chin, nibbling at the curve of her neck just as she had him. Pressing the side of his face against hers, his eyes fell closed as he allowed her to tease the skin of his neck with her mouth. "Are you this much of a little tease with James as you are with me?"
Edele pressed a kiss to his neck. "Maybe. I suppose you'll never know, unless of course you ask him, but we both know how inquisitive James is, he might get the idea that you were attracted to me."
A grin curled Victor's lips, a light bulb turning on in his head. His hands slid down over her backside, and didn't stop until they reached the firm curves of her bottom. "Mmm, well we certainly wouldn't want that, now would we?"
Edele moaned softly, as he grasped her buttocks firmly in his strong hands. As he proceeded suck on the skin of her neck, her hand traveled back down to waistband of his pants, undoing the button on his slacks and then, finally, urging the zipper down. Upon feeling her fingers slip beneath his boxer briefs, he groaned irritably. As much as it pained him to do so, he grabbed her wrist and placed it on the outside of his pants, right on top of his hard shaft.
"Bad girl," he snarled into her ear, a soft and slightly sinister chuckle escaping him.
Edele laughed dryly. "Baby, you have no idea."
He continued sucking on the skin of her neck, moaning passionately when she began to rub his penis through his pants, and wishing her hands were on his bare skin rather than fabric, but if his plan was going to work then everything had to run smoothly, even if it meant sacrificing his own happiness. He had to start thinking about people other than himself, or at least his best friend for that matter. Edele arched her chin towards the ceiling, and moaned softly.
"Oh, not too hard Victor dear. We don't want to leave any marks behind."
He paused in his action and smiled against her neck. "Funny. That's the first time a woman has ever said those words to me." He inhaled sharply upon feeling her squeeze his shaft. Pulling his head back, he locked eyes with her in a fiery gaze. A grin spread across his face. "I certainly haven't had any complaints so far."
Edele's brows arched intriguingly. "I'll bet you haven't."
His eyes never left her face as he reached down, slipping one of his hands beneath the slinky fabric of her dress and sliding his index and middle finger deep inside her. She gasped and exuded a pleasurable moan, the walls of her vagina gripping his fingers. It was then he realized, she wasn't wearing any underwear. Nice. "Mmm…I've always loved a woman who's not afraid to go all natur-rall." He smiled smugly.
Her chest rose and fell rapidly with each heavy breath she took, "oh Vic my darling…let's stop delaying the inevitable…" Grabbing either sides of his suit jacket, she yanked him towards her, pressing her lips to his in a passionate kiss, her fingers slipping into his hair once again and tugging on the strands. "Take me, and take me now," she murmured against his lips.
Victor's own chest began heaving up and down with anticipation, but he knew he couldn't give in to that anticipation. Well, not just yet anyway. As much as it frustrated him to do so, he took his fingers out of her and placed his hand back against the wall. He stole a glance around the area, half-surprised that no one had thought to pass by in the time they'd been standing there. "Look, if you want me that bad, sweetheart, I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you."
"I'm listening," she murmured somewhat breathlessly.
"I'll go and tell James we need a few more minutes to…chat, or simply make-up some bullshit story that he'd be stupid enough to believe, and then, I'll come right back here and show you just how naughty I can be. Sound good to you?"
Edele giggled, running her index finger lightly down his chest. "You, are quite a clever man."
Victor chuckled, tossing his head to one side, and mocking her earlier choice of words. "I've always thought so." He pressed his lips firmly against hers in a passionate kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, opening her mouth wider to deepen the kiss, but he pulled his head back before she could get any further, removing her arms from around his neck and taking a step back. "Let's not spoil it, sweetheart. Save me something sweet to come back to."
Edele sighed softly. "Hurry back. A woman can only wait so long."
He smirked. "Oh don't worry, I will, but until then, don't go anywhere." Before she could say or do anymore to try and delay his plans, he turned on his heels and started off back in the direction he'd come. He had made it about halfway to their table when he noticed James had gotten up, and was heading in the opposite direction, a combination of irritation and fatigue on his face. "James!" He quickened his pace when he saw him nearing closer.
James stopped in his tracks when he saw Victor coming towards him, his brows furrowing inquisitively. "Vic, what in the bloody hell took you so long?" He stole a glance around the man, "where's Edele?"
Victor sighed deeply, wrapping his arm around James' shoulder. "Yeah, see, that's the thing I need to talk to you about."
James looked up at him in bewilderment. "Why's that? What's going on? Did something happen to Edele?"
He gave his best friend a pat on the back. "James, buddy, why don't you sit down, hmm?" He led him back to their table, despite the man's pleas for him to simply come out with what he needed to say.
"All right mate, I'm sitting down, now for crying out loud, tell me what happened to my fiancé." James insisted, as soon as the two men were seated back at their booth.
"We're still best friends here, aren't we?"
"Of course we are, why would you ever think not?"
"Just making sure we're on the same page. Look, I know I don't always act even remotely close to what you'd call a friend, and I know I don't give you nearly enough credit for the shit you do for me, but you know I've always had your back. If there was ever a time when you were in deep and you needed someone to get you out, it was me. Remember? You trust me that much, don't you? To get you out of a rough situation?"
James sighed irritably with a roll of his eyes. "Oh blimey! I know all this already, now would you come out with it? You're driving me absolutely bonkers!"
Victor folded his arms on top of the table. "Well, shortly after my little…chat with Edele, which by the way was simply spent discuss your wedding gift, I excused myself to take a piss, but the real problem was what I found on my way back."
He feigned a heavy sigh and scowled at the other man. "I heard what sounded a lot like passionate but loud moaning coming from the women's bathroom."
"And being the curious, closet pervert that I tend to be on occasion, I couldn't help but peek inside." He sat back in the booth, averting his gaze downward. "James, I saw Edele, screwing some guy in the bathroom."
For a long moment, James could do nothing more than stare dumbfounded at Victor. Then, after what seemed like hours, he spoke. "You're a fucking liar!"
Victor's brows furrowed incriminatingly. "James, I'm not lying to you. Do you really think I'd lie to you about something like this? All I'm trying to do is save you the Goddamn heartache of finding out your bride-to-be is as much of a slut as the two of us. You've seen the way she treats you, she's got you whipped, my friend. All the signs are there, you're just not seeing them."
James eyes narrowed in consideration. "What is this? Another random moment of jealousy on your part? Let me guess. You've suddenly developed an attraction to my Edele, and this little story you've concocted is simply your way of getting back at me for having her."
He exhaled sharply with a roll of his eyes. "Jesus, you really don't believe me, do you? I'm trying to do the right thing for once. I'm trying to be a remotely good friend. I would think you would do the same damn thing for me in return."
James' brows furrowed inquisitively. "How can I be sure you're telling me the truth?"
He folded his hands on top of the table, leaning a little closer to James. "How can you be so sure? Well, I'll tell you one thing, she might be one hell of a good liar, but there's no way she can cover up the evidence. In fact, I bet you fifty bucks that the scum bag didn't bang her silly, without leaving a little something behind. A hickey, a scent of his cologne, it could be anything." Thank God he had forgotten to splash on his cologne that night, or James would smell it on Edele the minute she made herself known.
Vexation filled James' eyes, and Victor could already sense his best friend's growing anger. He could also sense his manic need to hit something, or more suitably someone. Well he'd be damned if he was going to let it be him. James wasn't born with quite as quick a temper as he was, but the man was still capable of violence. Not so much as Victor was, but he wasn't a pacifist either. "We'll see about that." Pushing himself up to his feet, James strode off in the direction of the restrooms.
Victor deliberately hesitated for about five seconds before taking off after him. His scheme was going perfectly to plan, but it wouldn't be long until Edele knew about it. By the time James had reached the restrooms, Edele was still standing in the same place he'd left her moments ago, but was currently taking the opportunity to powder her nose, and look herself over in her pocket mirror. A smug smile crossed his face when Victor took notice of the woman. This was working out more perfectly than he anticipated, because to James, the time she was taking to "freshen-up" made her appear as though she were trying to cover up the evidence of the false sex act.
"Edele!" James cried.
The sound of his voice startled her so much that the compact slipped out of her hands, and clattered to the floor. She awkwardly knelt down to pick it up, straightening back up, and finally meeting her fiancé's determined gaze. "James! What's going on?" Her brows wrinkled inquisitively, her eyes shifting towards Victor, "Victor…I thought--"
"You could play me for a Goddamn fool? Sorry sweetheart, but I'm afraid you underestimated me. I'm much cleverer than you thought I was. He knows Edele. Your little game is up." A smug smile played at the corners of Victor's mouth. Revenge was so sweet.
Edele stared dumbfounded at the two men. She looked much like a deer caught in headlights. Her eyes met James' disgruntled ones. She opened her mouth to say something, but it didn't look as though she could form a single sentence.
"How could you do this to me, Edele? Only two weeks before our wedding?" James demanded.
"I-I'm sorry sweetheart. I don't know what I was thinking. I probably should have broken the news to you sooner, but I was afraid it would ruin your friendship with Victor."
A bewildered expression came over James' face. "What in the bloody hell does my friendship with Victor have anything to do with it? This is about you and me."
"Yeah, Edele, why would you even think to bring me into this? After all, I wasn't the one who was getting impounded by some guy in the women's restroom." Victor cocked a challenging brow in her direction. "Look, its clear to both of us that the damage is already done, so why don't you just save your fiancé and me a lot of time, and come clean."
James stole a glance over his shoulder at him. "Your support is much appreciated, Vic, but I can sort this one out on my own, thank you." Victor held up his hands in surrender.
Edele's jaw went slack. "What in the world are you talking about? I never..!" She looked between the two men, her eyes narrowing on Victor before locking eyes with James. "He's lying to you, James! I wasn't getting impounded by anybody, well, not by anybody but him. He made a move on me, just ask him yourself."
Victor's brows furrowed incriminatingly. "Oh please, that is bullshit. If anyone is lying here, it's you sweetheart. Blaming an innocent person such as myself isn't going to do you any good."
"Your neck…" James' eyes finally took notice of the huge hickey on Edele's neck, which she had tried mercilessly to cover up with make up, but had not done such a bang up job.
"Ah, yes," Taking another step closer to James, he leaned in to whisper in his ear, "and as I was saying before, the evidence does not lie, my friend. I told you her little lover would leave something behind, didn't I? It sure as hell wasn't me who left it there." He gave his friend's shoulder a pat before stepping back.
James' glared coldly at the woman before him. "The fucking wanker left a humongous hickey on your neck! Tell me pet, was this before or after you went and shagged the grimy bastard?"
Victor exchanged a look with Edele. He crossed his arms firmly over his chest, his brows arching expectantly. If she was going to continue to accuse him of the things he knew he did, but did not want James knowing, well then this little scheme of his was going to be even greater of challenge to pull off than he thought.
Edele brought her hand up to her neck, in a vain attempt to hide the evidence. "I didn't have sex with him, James! In fact, the only man responsible for giving me this hickey is standing right behind you this very minute. I told you before, Victor came onto me. He was the one who left this hickey on my neck, and he was the one that obviously lied to you about what I was doing in your absence."
James' head spun around, meeting Victor's indignant gaze. "Is that true?"
His brows stitched together incriminatingly at the hatred that filled James' eyes. "What? No! You're actually going to take her word over mine? Come on James, think about it. Which one of us have you known longer? Which of us can you truly trust to stand by your side in the long run? I might not be the one who gives you frequent blow, but I sure wouldn't go behind your back and give your fiancé a hickey just for kicks. And I sure wouldn't try to get another man off by playing footsy with his dick under the table. Oh yeah, she's been doing that to me ever since we sat down. Ask her yourself." He planted his hands on his hips. Try and top that one, you little bitch.
James turned his attention back to an astonished Edele. A smug smile stretched across Victor's face. Edele shook her head, "no, James, my love, you can't believe a word this man says. He's just trying to break us apart, don't you get it?"
He stole a glance at Victor. "This man is my best mate. He's been best mates with me since college, and he's always gotten me out of a rough patch, no matter what the case may be. Now I know he's a bit of a promiscuous fellow at times, but I don't think he'd toy with his best friend's fiancé behind his back. He's got more sense than that. After all, I'm sure he's well aware that if he ever did such a thing, it would undoubtedly put an end to our lifelong friendship, right Vic?"
Way to lay the guilt trip on a man, Victor thought with a tight smile and an affirmative nod of his head. "Of course. Why would I ever be so idiotic as to do such thing?"
Edele rolled her eyes at his words, crossing her arms comfortably over her chest. "James, please, listen to me…"
"No, Edele, you listen to me." James took a step towards her, determination and vexation gleaming in his eyes. "I've spent half my life trying to break free of my mum's bloody shell. See, the thing is, she wanted me to be a refined young chap, to do everything her way, on her own terms. If it hadn't been for Vic here, I would've completely lost my masculinity. So you see, I been whipped by one woman in my life, and I don't need another one. You dug yourself in deep with that one, love, but now that you've cheated on me, I can't even begin to tell you how much lower you've sunk."
Victor held back the chuckle that wanted to escape him, and mimicked Edele's stance, crossing his own arms over his chest, and grinned devilishly.
Edele was quiet for a long moment, not knowing quite what else to say to get her out of this mess. Her eyes shifted from James to Victor, narrowing to angry slits for a split second, before settling back on James' face. "All right, if that's the way you want it, I suppose we don't belong together after all."
James dropped his gaze to his feet, a deep scowl appearing on his face. He looked as though he might start to cry, but quickly found the strength to look back up at her. "I loved you, Edele," he spoke softly, "but I don't love you quite enough to let you take control of me, or even play me for a bloody fool. If this is the beginning of the end, I'd wager you better find some other poor sap to be joined in holy matrimony with."
"Well, I never thought I'd see the day a man would choose his best friend, who, if I may say happens to be quite the asshole, over the love of his life, but if it's any consolation, I hope the two of you are very happy together. Goodbye James." Squaring her shoulders, she turned and scurried off in the direction of the door.
"Oh love?" James called across the room. "The diamond stays!"
Stopping half-way towards the door, Edele spun back around and took a few steps back in his direction. "Fine, if that's all you care about," she hastily slipped the ring off her finger, and hurled it in his direction, nearly putting his eye out as she did so, "take the damn thing!"
James didn't catch the ring in time, and it hit the floor with a soft clinking sound. Once Victor saw the manner in which she'd returned the ring, and how close she'd been to harming his best friend, he took a step forward, intent on going after her and making her pay for what she'd done, to both of them that night. James brought his arm out in front of him, keeping him at bay, "don't. She's not worth it, mate."
Victor exhaled sharply, planting his hands firmly on his hips and looking down at the ring on the floor. "Well, she might not be worth shit, but," he knelt down to retrieve the tiny object, came back up, and wrapped an arm around James' shoulders, holding the ring up before them, "this should be worth a pretty penny. Hawk it." The other man made a move to take it from him, but he pulled it away at the last minute. "Better yet, I'll hang onto it. I can get you quite a hefty sum for this baby with my bargaining skills."
James rolled his eyes, snatching it from his hand before he could pocket it in his slacks. "Thanks Vic, but I'd prefer to hang onto it myself."
"Why? All its going to do is remind of the little slut."
James turned and walked back to their booth. "Perhaps, but who's to say I won't find another little slut to give it later in life?"
"Later in life?" Victor chuckled, following him back to their table. "You're thirty-four years old, James. We're only three years apart. There might not be a later for either of us." He slid into the opposite side of the booth, and took a swig from his half-full glass of scotch.
"Oh bloody hell."
Hearing the discouragement in James' voice, he lifted his chin and looked up at the man. "What?"
"Edele," James held up a white, leather Louis Vutton bag, "she forgot her purse."
He sighed wearily with a roll of his eyes, leaning his back against the interior wall of the booth. "So what? They have Fed-Ex for this kind of shit. Just UPS it back to the bitch."
James placed the bag on the table, giving him a look. "No, you don't understand, mate. This thing is Edele's Holy Grail, she doesn't go anywhere without this bloody bag. She won't even let me touch the sodding thing."
He scoffed with a shake of his head, "well, if she's that possessive over a Goddamn purse, she's certainly not from this planet. It did you a world of good to put an end to it once and for all." Or rather, it did him a world of good.
James' eyes shifted in the direction of the door Edele had walked out of, only moments ago. "She'll be coming back for it. Blimey! She could walk in any minute now." He shifted restlessly in his seat, running his fingers through his hair. "Ah bugger this; I can't bear to see her face again." He reached under his coat and pulled out a cigarette, just before he rose to his feet.
Victor looked up at his friend in bewilderment. "Where are you going?"
"For a smoke. I figure if I stage a disappearing act, she'll be gone by the time I get back, and if not, I've got half a box of these things, so there's no need to worry."
He exhaled sharply. "One can only hope."
James started past Victor, but paused mid-step and turned back to face him. "Oh, and mate?"
He nodded his head with a roll of his eyes. "Don't hurt her, I got it."
"Physically, no. Mentally, well, I don't bloody care, say whatever you wish."
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. "Will do." Out of the corner of his eye, Victor caught a familiar figure entering the bar just behind James' slender frame. "I'd get going if I were you, the devil in heels just walked in."
James' hunched over, shoving his hands in the pockets of coat. "Bugger! I'm out of here."
And before Victor could say anymore, James ducked out the back door in the blink of an eye. He was good at staging disappearing acts like that, and if he was lucky, Edele hadn't even caught a single glimpse of the man. Oh he could handle the little bitch all on his own, and truth be told, he did have a thing or two more to say to her. Before she could get any closer to the booth, he took her purse and placed it behind him, hiding it from view.
Edele approached the booth, planting her hands firmly on her hips. "I left my purse here." She searched the side of the booth she'd been sitting on, "where is it?"
Victor's brows furrowed inquisitively. "Your purse…" He took a brief glance around the booth, pretending he was actually looking for it. Or even cared for that matter. "Funny, I don't see it here. Guess that puts you shit out of luck, now doesn't it? But maybe if you're lucky, the person who picked up your purse will decide you're worth their time, and drop by to return it, but not before they get a hefty, sexual reward along with it." A cocky grin curled his lips.
Her eyes narrowed in vexation. She was not amused in the least bit by his words. "Give me my purse, Victor."
He laughed lightly. "I'm sorry sweetheart, but I don't have it. Why would you even assume that I took it?"
She crossed her arms firmly over her chest, the hatred gleaming in her eyes. "I'm not that stupid. I may not have known you quite as long as James has, but once a man such as yourself has sought revenge, stealing a woman's purse would only be a bonus to pissing her off."
He rolled his eyes. "What the hell would I do with your Goddamn purse, hmm? You really think I give a shit about what's inside of it? Aside from the numerous amount of condoms I know you've got stashed in it, and maybe a few bills or two in your wallet, there's not much left for me."
Edele placed her hands down on the table, leaning closer to him. "Give it to me, Victor."
He remained steadfast; even with her face less than a foot away from his. A grave expression crossed his face, and a hint of smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, staring deeply into her eyes, but never losing his cool. "I always win, sweetheart, and I always get what I want. One way or another. You didn't honestly assume you were going to get off Scott free for being such a little tease, did you? Actions have consequences, sweetie pie. Maybe next time you'll think twice before letting your foot get friendly with my dick."
She shook her head in disbelief. "I don't know what I ever saw in you. Truth be told, you're nothing more than a self-absorbed, conniving, and cold-hearted asshole. It's no wonder you don't have a girlfriend. The real truth of the matter is you're doomed to end up a lonely and pitiful old man, subjected to a life of solitude."
Tension was quickly building up in every muscle of his body, and his blood boiled hot with fury. Although James had advised him not to hurt her in the physical sense, as the seconds ticked by, it was becoming harder and harder to resist. His hands clenched into tight fists, his fingernails digging deeply into his palms, and the loathing in his eyes reflecting back at her. He wanted desperately to lash out, grab her neck, and squeeze it. Squeeze it until she could no longer take another breath. Then again, James wasn't the only thing keeping him from doing so. There were still a few late night patrons lingering in the bar, not counting the bartender. A fight he could handle, but he couldn't risk one of them calling the cops on him if they witnessed the scuffle. Through his already clenched teeth, he spoke in a low and gravely tone of voice, "I'd watch what I say if I were you. I've been tame with you up until this point, but I do have a dark side, and once I've unleashed it, it rarely ends well."
A hint of fear flickered within Edele's eyes. She stood up straight and took a step back, giving him every indication that she was in fact afraid of him. Well, good. She should be. She sighed softly, brushing a few loose strands of hair out of her face. "I'd love nothing more than to call the police for you threatening me, but if you give me my purse, I might consider us even."
Victor rolled his eyes dramatically, and after a brief hesitation, reached behind him and pulled out her purse, thrusting it her way. "Go right ahead, but I'm afraid you'd be wasting your time, sweetie pie, because until I lay a hand on you, it's simply your word against mine." He sat back in his seat, crossing his arms comfortably over his chest. "Now why don't you do me and James both a favor, and get the hell out of our lives. Go find some other hard up man to suck off."
Edele snatched her purse out of his hand, and slipped it onto her right shoulder. "With pleasure." She turned to leave, but stopped herself short and turned back to him. A smile played at the corners of her mouth. "To be quite honest, the two of you are much too juvenile to handle a woman with my experience."
He laughed dryly at her choice of words, leaning forward and folding his arms over the table. "If we wanted a whore, we could just as easily find one on the nearest street corner. I'm sure her rates would be a lot cheaper than the price I'd have to pay to get in your pants." He smiled smugly, waiting for her to fire back at him with another snide remark, but it appeared as though she didn't have one.
She sighed irritably, reaching into her purse and fishing out her car keys. "Tell James I'll drop by his loft on Tuesday to collect my things."
"He told me he'd Fed-Ex your things back to you, so be expecting a package, assuming he hasn't throw half of the shit out by the time he gets home."
Before he could say anymore, she whirled back around and marched towards the door without another word. He was somewhat surprised that she had nothing further to say to him. Perhaps she wasn't as spunky as he thought she was. She might have had the balls to boss James around, and was even capable of putting the man in his place at times, but when it came to him, she was defeated. Under no circumstances did he ever let a woman walk all over him, or anyone for that matter, which was the reason why he never respected or even bothered with the notion of marriage. Deep down inside, he did long for that romantic companionship with the opposite sex, but he simply refused to let himself become that vulnerable. He feared he would lose his masculinity the way that James had started to when he was a teenager, but he also feared what every other man did…heartbreak. Well he wouldn't have it that way, which was the reason why he was content being who he was.
As he turned back to face the table before him, he felt a chill dance down his spine. He raised his glass to finish off what was left of his scotch, but froze when he heard James' voice.
"She gone, mate?"
He lifted his chin to look up at the man, cringing slightly at the pungent odor of nicotine which lingered on his breath. "She's gone buddy. I put the bitch in her place and sent her packing, just as you anticipated."
James dropped into the space across from him, and sighed wearily. "Ah, marvelous. I knew I could always count on you. Thanks man."
"My pleasure." He sighed softly. "So, I assume this means I won't be making that Best Man toast after all."
"Not for a while, no. Now that Edele is gone, that puts me back on the market. I'll be honest, other blokes wouldn't be handling this half as well as I am, but I've bloody well been single before. After all, I'm one heck of a great-looking chap, I'll survive. I can have any bird I want at the drop of a hat."
"Yes my friend, you can, and what better way to get over a break-up then by screwing the first 'bird' that comes along." He raised his half-empty glass in celebratory toast fashion, "welcome back, James."
James smirked, raising his bottle of Jack and toasting with him. "Thanks Vic, it's great to be back. Cheers."