She walked across the threshold into the patio and saw him standing there alone.
Still dressed in his wrinkled tuxedo, his tie askew and his dark hair tousled as if he'd been in a brawl.
A silent testament to what had happened at what some media outlets had proclaimed the wedding that never finished. It had begun as he and his bride to be had made their final preparations separately and ended with a couple of men speaking up when the minister had invited anyone to come forward if they objected to the marriage.
Of course, he had only said that because it had been part of the ceremonial script. No one actually crashed weddings anymore to break up the bride and the groom but in this case that's what happened according to the police reports written afterward.
The groom, Devlin had wrestled one of the guys to the ground when he had grabbed his bride and they had fought for a while most of the rest of the wedding party.
Until the other man produced a badge and proved he was a federal agent and he had a warrant for the bride's arrest.
The hundreds of guests then scattered to the far winds, rushing outside to give breathy interviews to any media outlet hanging around.
Eliza of course had remained behind as his best man even though she wasn't a man but she had been tight with him most of their lives. His bride to be had fussed a bit at his choice but he'd stood firm to her and everyone else that no one else could fit the position.
That should have afforded him some clue that the match between him and his bride might not last to the bouquet toss even if the feds hadn't crashed it. But afterward when they had both called it quits while the agents were escorting the handcuffed woman wearing white into a sedan. Eliza had been handed an icepack to nurse her own bruises because she hadn't just stood there and watched the fight but had thrown a punch or two to help Devlin.
Now she stood still in her torn peach colored dress which she had hated anyway looking out at him. She picked up a bottle of the champagne that never got poured into flutes for a toast, opened it up with a rowdy pop and went to join him on the patio.
He didn't turn around even though she knew he heard her approach
"Hey, is this only a party for one?"
She heard him sigh.
"No…I'm just spending a few moments before returning to the office to get some work done."
"Devlin, you don't have to work today."
He already had a drink in his hand, which looked a lot like Scotch.
"Nothing else to do…I guess we're lucky they're not locking us up to for assaulting an agent."
She put the champagne down on a bench and sat down beside it, looking at him.
"He didn't ID himself before you hit him…"
"I didn't give him much chance."
She took the lid off of the champagne and poured herself a glass, then gestured for him to sit down with her. He looked indecisive for a moment, and then did just that. Close enough so that their shoulders brushed together, as they both sipped their drinks.
"Anyway…I'm sorry about what happened," she said, "but didn't she give off any clues that she was into money laundering?"
He shook his head, sipping his scotch.
"She was gone a lot on business trips," he said, "but then so am I."
Eliza knew that because she had gone with him on many of them, staking out her spot on the comfy Lear Jet with piles of paperwork but Wolfgang Puck pizza they had warming in the galley.
"Well it doesn't matter," she reasoned, "It's all on her for breaking the law and for stringing you along."
He looked down at his glass and she thought how incredibly well packaged he was for a man. Ruggedly handsome from his years spent in construction, his hands lined with scars but strong like the rest of him. He filled out suits with his muscular frame and having seen him swimming laps in his Speedo, she knew he had nothing to worry about in that department.
But more than that, Devlin was the best buddy a person could ever know. The two of them had been through so much together building their engineering firm and seeing each other through personal tragedies and relationship breakups through hours spent over wine at their favorite eateries or out on his boat sailing across an endless ocean.
He'd make it through this broken engagement as well because she'd be right there beside him as he had always been for her.
Still looking at him right now, she found herself idling wondering as she often did what it'd be like to be more than his friend.
But what it'd be like to be his lover too.
Because she did love him, she knew that but like now, when she saw how gorgeous he looked even after his wedding day crashed and burned, she felt herself wanting to comfort him in a new way. Her fingers itched to touch him, would his muscles twitch beneath them, would his skin feel hot?
No, she couldn't think like that and he needed a friend right now. He turned around to look at her.
"Look no problem, I'll be inside if you want to talk about it some more but I swear if you try to go to the office, I'm going to show you some more of my tackling skills."
His mouth curved into a smile despite the circumstances.
"I might take you up on that."
She just shook her head and chuckled at him, before leaving him to head inside the suite. They'd been staying at a resort with the other members of the wedding party and some of the guests.
Inside, she went to take some leftover pizza out of the frig to heat it up in the microwave in the kitchenette. She then grabbed a plate and slid the slices onto it and took it over to the living area to eat.
God, she hated it that the man she loved had his heart broken but she knew he'd work his way through it. She'd help him until he got back on his feet and started hitting the social scene again. And when that happened, another little bit of her own heart would break again.
But what were friends for anyway but to support each other in life, even if it meant putting aside some of their own feelings? Still she wondered what it'd be like if he ever looked at her…that way that made her heart sizzle until she realized it was at someone else. One day, she told herself she'd mix it up and maybe then, he'd realize that he'd been looking in the wrong places.
She looked up suddenly and there he was, standing there, with his empty glass in hand.
"Hey you, you feeling better now?"
He nodded and sat down beside her.
"I never really loved her," he said, "I stood out there and it hit me only after everything that happened.
She tilted her face.
"Better that you know I guess," She said, "than wind up married to someone you don't love and a felon to boot."
He smiled at her then and then reached out to stroke her face, the way he often did which just left her wanting.
"For what, I'm your friend Devlin and I always will be no matter what."
After all, that's the way it had always been between them since they were kids. She reached over and handed him a slice of pizza which he accepted.
They ate quietly, together as the light in the suite began to dim with the setting of the sun.
After a while, they walked into the kitchenette where they rinsed the glasses and plate in the tiny sink. They didn't have any plans for leaving the resort but decided to leave it open.
She had just finished the drying when she felt his hands on her shoulders, massaging them, which she loved. He had a gift for cajoling the tension out of her by his touch so she leaned against him without thinking, as her muscles began to relax.
"You have any plans for tonight?"
She thought about it.
"Not really, maybe watch a movie what about you?
Then suddenly he turned her around to face him, putting his arms around her waist and pulling her closer.
He brushed his mouth against hers before she could finish, and her words evaporated, as he deepened his kiss, exploring her lips sending all kinds of delicious sensations through her body, far away from her mouth. His kiss came from somewhere deep inside of him, as if had been waiting, the realization hit her like a rush.
When he released her, her mouth still tasting him, he stroked her mouth with a finger and she felt her breath hitch.
"What was that?"
He arched a brow, a smile hinting on the mouth that had just pleasured her.
She just tilted her head looking at him reproachfully, while still in his embrace.
"I know that but why?"
He sighed, stroking her back with his hands, sliding the silky fabric of her dress against her skin. She closed her eyes, because she wanted those hands on her bare skin but…
Then he kissed her again, more powerfully this time and she felt the nudge of his tongue against her lips until they parted allowing him to slide right in. She nearly jumped as he stroked the inside of her mouth, and she felt heat building and wetness too between her thighs.
She should really tell him not to do this, that he was just reacting to his busted wedding but somehow she just kissed him back instead. God, it felt so intense more than she ever dreamed, more than should be allowed.
His hands slid down the back of her dress and began nudging it up her thighs, which made her break away and look at him. Her heart pounding in her ears as he slid her dress all the way up. He then pressed his body against her lacy panties and damn, she felt him there.
He felt damn hard.
But he just looked at her, his hands still clenching her dress and kissed her again. This time, she ground her panty sheathed mound against the erection threatening to break through his pants.
And it felt too damn naughty.
"I think we should take this to the other room," he said softly.
She swallowed, knowing what room he meant, the bedroom.
But then he swept her off of her feet and carried her there anyway.
The bedroom was simply furnished consisting mainly of a bed, and dimly lit as he set her down on the floor and started unzipping her dress, until it fell on the floor. She stood there with her peach covered pushup bra and panties, looking at him and then nodding.
She asked the unimaginable question to him.
"Do you have anything?"
"Relax Devlin; every hotel suite probably has samples…check the drawer."
She watched him fumble a bit through the drawer, quickly until he returned, carrying a foil package in his fingers. She looked at it and then it hit her, what they were about to do.
An act that would change everything….but she was ready for that, she thought unsnapping her bra, allowing her creamy breasts to spill out, the rosy tips already hardened even before he began touching them.
That felt amazing and that it was his hands but she felt impatient, wanting everything and no wait to get it
"I need you…"
She leaned back into the bed, wearing just the panties and feeling the mattress against her. He looked at her a moment as he too casually thought started to unbutton his own rumpled shirt after tossing the tie aside.
His pants followed, much more quickly, and his briefs too, and she admired the body she had always wanted to touch. She wanted to taste every inch that she touched but that would have to wait until later.
He followed her on the bed, after she opened her thighs to hold him against her, and she felt his fingers graze her damp panties before he pulled them down. Before she felt his formidable erection against her pussy…she had to remember to breathe and she almost died in the seconds it took for him to sheathe it.
She pulled him closer, kissing his mouth and felt him press against her, already slick and taking care to be gentle. Not that she needed that, and she sucked her breath in as he thrust his engorged penis inside of her pussy, which hugged it. She felt the sting of his penetration but his kisses heated her up as she opened up to him. He slid some fingers down where they had joined and started fondling her sweetest spot.
Sliding her hands down his side, past his hips to his ass which bucked against her with each thrust, pushing her harder against the bed…he started slowly with her almost as if she might break.
She whispered softly to him to let himself go and she'd follow.
Her hands clutched at him as he pumped into her, filling her up sublimely before a slow retreat and then…the delicious friction pushed her further, faster.
Until, she felt the tightness inside of her stretch, and stretch until finally it broke sending shards of pleasure through her body.
She cried out and a moment later, he sank against her, his body as wet as hers. They remained intertwined as they returned to earth.
Silence lingered comfortably between them.
"Wow," was all she said.
"Yeah…definitely," he responded, kissing her again, delicately and devoted.
She sighed, as she separated herself to look at him.
"I don't know what got into me."
"I did, and in oh, about a half hour, I'm going to do it again."
"Because I've wanted this for so long."
Every response she had left her head, there wasn't much to say after all except the obvious now that the walls had been stripped between them, leaving them bare. So she kept it simple.
"Only next time, we'll hit more of the highlights okay?"
She nodded and he drew her closer to him again, and she'd think about what they'd done later, but for now she chose to enjoy the moment that two friends had crossed over the line to become lovers.