If you're going to marry someone, you'd better damned well be sure.
That's what Geoff told himself as he fixed the... cravat, was it called? He could barely tie a Windsor knot without watching a step-by-step on YouTube. This thing was utterly beyond his comprehension.
"Dude, let me take care of that for you."
"No, I can do it. You just focus on making sure Kyle doesn't yack in the sink."
"I warned him to stay away from that Blind Dog bourbon." Mustafa shook his head. "Can't I just watch the ring or something?"
"The best man's duties include," Geoff quoted, "the planning of the bachelor party, the holding of the ring until it is needed, helping to dress the groom, delivering the toast at the reception, and ensuring the rest of the groomsmen are prepared for the ceremony. I can tie my own tie," he lied. "I need you to do some ensuring right now."
"I'm so going to deliver a crappy speech for your toast."
"That's fine. Amanda will totally welcome the chance to show you up."
"The bitch," they both continued in unison. No one liked the maid of honor. No one with a Y-chromosome, anyway; women seemed generally immune to her vileness for some inexplicable reason, and Rosemarie, the bride-to-be, had long welcomed Amanda as companion and confidante.
"Your cummerbund's upside down."
"How can you tell?"
"The ridges are supposed to face up. To catch the crumbs."
"You're totally making that shit up to avoid having to deal with Kyle."
"Wikipedia, motherfucker. Use it."
"Shit... Are you serious?"
The toilet flushed in the adjacent commode. The aforementioned Kyle emerged, looking much the worse for wear. "How the fuck," he demanded, "am I supposed to wear this cumber-bun?"
As Mustafa helped Kyle, Geoff was able to focus more on his own internal dialogue and less on this mismatched couple of thugs he called a wedding party. They called it the pre-wedding jitters, and the book Rosie had given him at their wedding shower had a whole chapter dedicated to it. He'd read it, but at the moment he couldn't recall a single thing it had said other than, "You've thought about this day for a long time. When confronted with the fight or flight reflex, you need to ask yourself if months of profound ponderance should be undone by a moment's indecision."
What-thefuck-ever. Rosie was right for him, that was certain. She was cute without being vain, largely agreed with him on most matters political and domestic, and prided herself in the way she took care of him. Younger, but only by about eight years. Keeps me in line, too, he thought. My life was pretty chaotic before she came in and added order. And where else was he going to find a woman he could discuss theoretical quantum mechanics with, and actually find himself outdone a good percentage of the time? She worked in the High Energy Physics Lab of the state university and by all measurements was an up-and-comer on the scene there. Why, then, did he feel like he was missing something... some crucial bit of information he needed to feel perfect about this?
The phone rang, and Mustafa answered it while Kyle returned to the rest room. "Hello? Yeah, he's doing fine... Are you supposed to talk to him before the wedding? I thought there were rules... Ha. Yeah, I'll put him on." He held the phone out to the groom. "Your lovely bride-to-be, man."
Geoff swooped up the cell. "Hey, what's up, woman?"
"The dress popped three pearls, the ribbons the florist decorated with are Mediterranean instead of Tropical Aqua, and Kathy is late back from the drugstore. This is so going wrong!"
He chuckled. "It's going to be fine, honey. As long as we both make it to the altar, it won't matter if the flowers match the dresses exactly."
"Whatever. It's going to be fine."
"I don't want it to be fine. I want it to be perfect."
"It will be, by definition. Now stop worrying about that stuff. Focus on the goal: getting pretty. Prettier."
"Nice sliding catch, Geoffrey."
"I thought so."
"Is everything okay over there?"
"Sure," he replied, ignoring any noises which might perhaps be coming from the area of the commode. "Everything's great. We're thinking of going out for pizza."
"Don't you dare! The ceremony's in an hour and a half, and if you drip tomat--"
"Kidding, Rosie. We'll be there on time. And unstained." Could they dry clean Kyle?
"You'd better be. If you screw this up I will totally use you for antiproton target practice."
"I love you too, baby."
"Uh huh. I love you. Be good."
"I will. Relax and have fun."
"Easy for you to say. Bye!"
Geoff smiled at her consternation. Through this whole process, Rosie had made it clear that this event was the pinnacle of her young life, and that she was not going to let pesky things like flexibility or tolerance get in the way of her bridal apotheosis. The things she'd said to his sister and mother were only matched in audacity by what she'd said to her own sisters and mother. Bridezilla-town had a new sheriff. He, himself, knowing the better part of valor, had let her dictate most of the event's parameters, being satisfied with mere veto power (seldom-- and delicately-- exercised).
Frankly, the pomp and circumstance meant little to him-- for that matter, the ceremony was just words. If they loved each other, that was all that mattered to him. The wedding itself was for her. At least he'd gotten to choose the lingerie, though she'd ultimately reneged at wearing it to the ceremony or the reception out of "practicality". She'd wear it later that night, of course, and that was something to look forward to.
He checked his watch. "All right, guys. We need to get going."
Mustafa nodded. "What about him?"
"Hair of the dog?"
"I don't live that dangerously. Let's just prop him up against a pillar or something and pretend we don't notice."
"Works for me. Kyle, c'mon man! There are nice toilets at the church, too."
* * *
Kyle seemed much better now, though Mustafa had made him brush his teeth twice.
The three tuxedoed men stopped off at the Circle K for breakfast burritos, which Geoff hastily microwaved and consumed with a certain guilty charge. Rosie would approve of neither the inorganicity nor the plethora of polysyllabic chemicals on the ingredients listed, many of them doubtless corn-derived. Horrors. But damned tasty.
Acquiring cheap sunglasses to take the edge off the morning, which was turning out to be much brighter than the clouded dawn skies had boded, the groom and his friends hit the road again for the fifteen minute trek to St. Mary's of Avalon or Avoton or something like that. Geoff wasn't big on religion, and when his opinion had been solicited on potential venues he'd responded with suggestions like "Vegas" and "Reno" before realizing that his jests were not appreciated. Again, he didn't care much about the details. Just show up was as far as he figured he needed to go.
The church was decorated in their colors, or at least something close. The pastor greeted him at the door; none of the guests had started filing in except Rosie's great aunt Mildred and her octogenerian nephew/escort Claude. She took no notice of him, consumed as she was by expounding on the non-traditionality of their ceremony. She was Roman Catholic, and Geoff was given to understand that the full formal wedding in a Catholic church could consume hours. Shudder. They'd written their own vows, and he'd bet on the wedding lasting all of half an hour, tops. Thank God.
Pastor Schumer smirked at Mildred's outbursts and shook Geoff's hands. "How are you feeling, son? Ready for the most important day of your life?"
"Feeling okay, sir." And he was feeling just that. "Ready as I'll ever be."
"You'll be fine. If it's meant to be, it will work out as God has planned it. And I think you're meant to be with Rosie. I can see how much you care for her."
"Thanks," Geoff returned, companionably but absently. Something had caught his eye in the corner. Something subliminal which was enough to distract him from the pastor's conversation, but which he couldn't put his finger on. Something about the woman futzing with the floral arrangement on the side of the nave. "Excuse me, pastor," he added, "I need to go take care of... something."
The older man took the opportunity to chat with Kyle and Mustafa, no doubt disapproving of the former while trying to size the latter up for conversion away from his light brand of Islam. Good luck with that. Geoff headed toward the flowers.
The woman was poised over a pile of bluish blooms Geoff could not hope to identify. Knees bent slightly, most of her movement was accomplished from the waist, and though still on the edge of propriety, her skirt rose enough to reveal... Hmmm... Well, at least I know why I noticed her.
She turned around. The front was as intriguing as the back. A bit older, she was. Late thirties to early forties, probably, but very attractively made up. Dark blond hair, rich blue eyes that seemed to sparkle, and lips that went with a subtle pink shade rather than the reds and browns Rosie tended to use. There was a familiarity to her; he thought she must have been one of the vendors who'd visited their apartment to peddle their wares for the bride-to-be.
Surely he would have remembered her better had she been dressed like this, though. Her dress matched her eyes perfectly, and clung tenaciously to every curve. The fabric was smooth and was probably revealing more than she intended. Geoff could see the telltale bumps outlined beneath it. As if the seams and heel treatment hadn't been obvious enough... He forced himself to look at her face, and not at what he knew was about two and a half feet lower.
"Yes?" she replied, and he remembered that he had been the one who had interrupted her.
"Er... hi. I'm the groom."
"That was my first guess." A dimple in her cheek signified her amusement, but her gaze belied this in its seriousness.
"Hey, I was just noticing... not that I notice these things, but... are the ribbons the right color?"
"If you don't notice, why would it matter?"
"Because the bride will notice. Has noticed. She was looking for Tropical Aqua and these are... well, they might be--"
"Mediterranean? Yes, I remember the conversation." What she did with her mouth wasn't really a pout, but it made her lips fill out in a very fetching way. "I assure you these are exactly the right color."
"Ah. Got it. Well, then." End of conversation, apparently. "Thanks for clearing that up." He took a step back, and had already turned on his heel when her voice summoned him back.
"Um... I know you've got a lot to do, but the ceremony doesn't start for another forty-five minutes or so, right? Would you mind helping me get something?"
He turned back a bit faster than was appropriate. Probably made him look like he had just been waiting for an excuse to check her out again. Which was completely untrue. His scan of her figure was just reflexive and entirely male and were those elbow-length gloves?
"Er... sure! Should I get my groomsmen? If it's heavy, that is."
"No, I'm sure you can take care of it."
"Okay. Let's go. Lead the way." I'll just follow. And watch.
She smirked as if she knew what he was thinking. Which, in fairness... women who dressed like that couldn't be entirely unaware of the reaction they could garner from men, right? Rosie was entirely knowledgeable of his proclivities and fetishes and would display herself on the bed, arrayed for his approval, whenever she decided to indulge him.
This woman wasn't showing off, or modeling. She was wearing what he knew she was wearing like it was utterly natural, like she was born to it. Like she had been born a half-century earlier, when this was how a lady held herself.
He followed. And watched.
Cuban heels, he verified. And not the fake ones. Part of the construction. He felt his trousers grow tight around his groin despite his internal reassurance that he was just enjoying the eye candy, not fantasizing further than that. Fully-fashioned. You've got to be fucking kidding me.
The woman in front of him strode out a side door at the back of the church. Geoff tore his eyes away from her backside long enough to look over to Mustafa, who returned his gaze inquiringly. He waved off his best man's unspoken offer of help and turned to catch up with the lusciously dressed female. You're such a dog, he grinned to himself. But Rosie would not object to him just enjoying the show. Certainly if she didn't know. It was really just getting him worked up for later, after the reception, when she would be wearing something similar she'd consented to purchase for the wedding night festivities. She'd reap the benefits, ultimately.
Right now, the benefits were his, as the lady he trailed clacked down a staircase in pumps that were delicate and and lent a sexy arch to her step, but weren't so high she was tottering. Her calves were well-formed, and he glimpsed very mild wrinkles where the hose was loose at ankle and the back of the knee. He didn't growl, exactly, but his breath came out with a series of glottal clicks that were entirely involuntary. It's a very nice walk she has. Just sayin'.
"Hey," he called down after her as the door closed behind him and he rushed to catch up.
She stopped and turned to face to face him, lit only by a single bulb in a cheesy fixture from the previous century. She took a step up with one foot, her other leg straight and tall and damn this girl had a pair of stems. Rosie was no slouch in the leg department, but this woman knew how to work it. Tease. That pose has to be on purpose.
"Hey," he repeated as he came to face her again. "I thought we were getting something out of your car or something. Why are we going down..."
The spray of something perfume-y but with a medicinal hint cut him off as he inhaled in surprise, covering his mouth and nose too late. He relaxed into her arms, as she caught him and led him precariously down the last three stairs and into a side chamber. She placed him on a chair as she closed the door, putting them in darkness but for the basement windows across the room letting in the late morning. The lock on the door clicked, and her heard her fumbling on the wall for a moment before a switch was found for the lights.
She turned around to face him again, serious as cancer. Vulpine. Predatory. Uh oh...
"Geoffrey." She spoke his name urgently, as if she'd spoken it countless times before. In longing or ecstasy. The... whatever it was she had sprayed in his face... it was heady. He felt like he should be reeling, but he was cogent. Coherent. Focused. Everything fell into sharp contrast and stayed there.
She took another chair and pulled it in front of him, then took her place in it. "Geoffrey, baby. It's time to correct a mistake you're about to make."
"Excusemawhuh?" Okay, perhaps not so cogent, at least as far as his verbal responses were concerned. He understood exactly what she was saying to him, he just didn't have useful faculty to respond with language at present. His eyes fell on her shapely knees and on her hose, slightly askew with the effort of dragging him in here. His earlier ponderings about those garments made response of nonverbal sort very possible. And very possibly inevitable.
She was, indeed, not unaware of this, and her smile was genuine and perhaps even flattered.
She paused, considering. "No, Geoffrey. I think it's safe to say you've never met anyone like me. You can call me Marie."
She paused and drank him in. "I've been watching you for so long now. Desiring you. It's been so long since... But time is meaningless when it comes to love. Take it from me.
"You like what you see, don't you? Don't try to answer, I know the drug is making it hard for you to talk. You don't have to say anything. I can see it in your eyes. You couldn't keep your eyes off my seams, could you? You could see my garter straps through the dress, right? I know. It's not my intention to display them, but they do show up for people who are on the lookout for them. People who adore what I'm wearing underneath. People like you, baby."
She crossed her legs sexily and slid her skirt up a bit to reveal the dark welt at the top of her nylon and the white garter strap which held it taut and provided a delightful line leading up her thigh.
"Yes, I know you were watching me bend over, and then watching me walk when I led you away. That excites me, Geoffrey. I love that your eyes were on me, absorbing every silken curve and tight muscle. I wanted that a lot. More than I can tell.
"Were you wondering what I was wearing underneath? Did you guess I'd be wearing this?" She dramatically drew her skirt all the way up, revealing what looked to be an open-bottom girdle which looked like something out of the 1950s. There were four or maybe six garters descending from the tight undergarment, and it coated the curves her hips and waist in a second skin, shaping them into something like art. He was entranced, and she obviously knew it and reveled in it. She was watching his face, he could tell, but he didn't return the favor, being unable to tear his gaze away from her lower body. She slid her silken-gloved hands to the interior edge of her thighs, and all the way up the girdle to reveal her utter lack of panties. She had a trim but not bare patch of hair there, and she caressed the area as he watched. Two of her fingers made their way deep within her now-parted thighs, and probed her sex all the way to the tops of her fingers. She drew them out again, coated in her wetness, and breathed lightly on them before inhaling their scent. "Mmmmmm... I love my own arousal. I bet you would, too..."
She leaned forward and smeared her damp fingers under his nose and all over his upper lips. Her scent filled his senses and he could feel himself clench and unclench repeatedly. He knew from long experience masturbating that there was likely a small droplet of pre-ejaculate at the tip of his cock right now. His balls were throbbing. His breathing increased in its cadence-- whether from his excitement or from his desire to get more of her smell into his brain, he was not certain.
"Darling, you're not going to marry her, and here's why: she's bright, and she's well-mannered, and she can cook you a decent meal and all, but she'll never be what you crave. She can play the lady in the sitting room, but she doesn't know how to be the whore in the bedroom. She talks a good game, I'm sure. Tells you she wants you. But can she be your leg tease, the way you want her to be? Your fuckwhore? You may enjoy her, even be fond of her... but you can't love the girl who is not willing to be your slut. Not fully.
"Oh, your little girl wears the girdles. The fully-fashioned stockings. Even the gloves. She wears her spiked heels in the bed, and it's not all bad. I know. But she doesn't get it, does she? It's a costume for her, isn't it? To be removed once it has served it's purpose. Playtime. Dress-up. Then she puts on something else she thinks is sexy because years of ads by Victoria's Secret have convinced her that the stuff you like is for the bedroom only, flimsy things which are meant to be removed soon after they're put on. Non-functional except to induce erection.
"That bothers you, doesn't it? Because fundamentally, in depths of your mind you probably haven't even figured out yourself yet, you want her to be dressing that way because she wants to. Because it serves a functional need, and because it gives her a thrill. Not merely because it excites you. That cheapens it for you. You want it genuine or not at all.
"I was like her once, you know. I thought of my body and the clothes I wore on it in terms of what I had to put on. A role I had to play. Whether it was career girl or bedroom vixen, I dressed in what I thought was expected of me. A uniform. And people could tell it wasn't real-- that the clothes were what I hid myself in.
"But now, Geoffrey... now... I've embraced the sensuousness of this... this... lifestyle? I dress like a sophisticated lady at all times, not just when it's expected of me. Because I want to... do you have any idea how freeing that is? To know it's my decision, that I am not doing this for someone else? I wake up in the morning, and I can't wait to get into my girdles, my waist cinchers, my garter belts. I can't wait to hook the clasps, to feel the gentle hold on my body, the pull of stocking against garter, the feeling as I straighten the seams and slide my foot into heels. Because it feels sensuous for me. Mmmmmmm... I can see I'm arousing you, baby, but believe me when I tell you I'm arousing me, too. I'm changed. Maybe it's age. Maybe it's confidence. Whatever it is, it's hot.
"And I just know that it's what you want. I know you want my body held tight in silks, satins. In nylons. I know you want to touch and stroke, to feel the spring of the girdle against the pressure of my skin. Tight beneath your fingertips. I know you want more than the smell and taste I've just given you. That you want to lick my body, bury yourself in me until I scream and come on your tongue... you want to taste my lust and fuck me as I lick myself off your cheeks. Sound about right, darling? I know and understand your fantasies like no one else could.
"So I know I can seduce you, baby. Can make you want me. But I know you too well. I know you're a gentleman, and dedicated to your morality, and would pull back at the last minute, remembering your betrothal. And I can't have that, Geoffrey. I need you to be mine just once, so you'll see how it can be and never accept anything less. I had to use the drug, darling, to overcome your pesky ethics. It will wear off later, but for now it's overcoming your resistance to my commands. My demands.
"And once you take me? I am confident I can keep you, because I'm exactly what you've always desired. I love my body, and I want you to love it, too. I love to dress in the beautiful things you love to see me in. Love their feel on my skin, love to feel your hands on my body through them. Hell, I even grew so enamored that I love to feel my hands on my body through them." She matched word to deed by sliding both palms over the slick sheen of her thighs, sighing with pleasure, then arched an eyebrow at him as she dipped her gloves under the welt of the the stockings to caress her flesh beneath. Limning them, to the wrist, with a dash of beige silken hue. She inhaled rapidly at the feel, and didn't let her gaze leave his.
It was intensely erotic. He throbbed against his slacks and almost came from that alone. Her words were taking him to a dark place. A place where he threw aside dedication to the woman he'd wooed for several years, who had been with him through good times and bad... Where he cast that all away and gave himself to the moment, to the sensuality of this woman before him, to the way she knew so well what he found erotic and how to use it against him. She was teasing him the way a leg slut should tease him. Taking joy in his responses, nostrils flaring in arousal while she watched him squirm. God, he wanted this woman!
"I know you're unable to resist, baby. And I know, even without the drug, that you really don't want to, deep inside. And that's the part of you I'm taking the time to reach, Geoffrey. The part that feels pure lust for me and isn't burdened by your silly promises to someone who can't appreciate who you are and what you are capable of doing to her. That's the part of you that I want. Because I know that's the man who is going to ravish me and make the way I'm fingering my cunt right now seem paltry by comparison. Though I will admit, it will be a difficult competition. I love fingering myself, and watching you watch me do it makes it... even... hotter... uhmmmmmmmm... No. Not yet. You see? I have self-control. Some, at least. But only because I know you'll do better, and I want to save my orgasms for your mouth and cock.
"So you see, Geoffrey, I do know what you want. What you desire. Need. You see it before you, in my parted thighs, in the thin fabric that coats my knees and ankles and beckons you upward. Follow it, Geoffrey. Follow it all the way up to where you belong. Your choice is made already, in your heart. Be with me."
His face moved into her lap of its own accord, though it was assisted in its journey by his hands and knees. When his mouth reached it's destination, he gave himself over to the pungence of her raw, deeply-aroused smell. Her nyloned calves criss-crossed on his back as he applied his tongue to her sex, and he heard their frictive sizzle as they rubbed against one another in greedy response. He stroked the thighs on his shoulders, feeling the soft, slippery sheen of the hosiery under his palms. This was where he belonged, he knew then in delight.
The silken fingers guiding the back of his head very obviously agreed.
* * *
The bride wore tears.
Collapsed by the altar, yards of overpriced taffeta losing their white to the dinge of the floor, she sobbed into a Kleenex provided by her matron of honor. Standing in the atrium, Marie couldn't hear what she had to say, but she caught the occasional "humiliated" and "betrayed" and "embarrassed". She could fill in the blanks on the rest well enough. She knew the self-pitying tirade as if born to it.
Marie looked with pity on that weakling, that idiot who six years from now would have had her ego boosted by the attentions of a handsome coworker and would succumb to his advances, only to find that he was not worth the betrayal she bought him with. The foolish girl who would spend the next fifteen years being a plague on Geoffrey, berating and deriding him until his good nature was not enough anymore and she finally lost him. That person who would become the woman who would look back then and see what she'd done to him, and who would regret. Whose mind could grasp the intricacies of temporal wavefunctions but who had not yet learned to realize just how special the man who agreed to spend the rest of his life with her actually was.
Marie was not that woman, though she had been. In another year with this year's number. Another life. A loop in spacetime, now closed forever with the disruption of this conjugal event. Before the construction of the Time Displacer in a lab funded with taxpayer dollars for a purpose no congressman ever approved. Before the subtle cosmetic surgery and the not-so-subtle hair and eye coloring.
I won't let that happen to you again, Geoffrey. Won't do that to you again. You're mine, and this time I'll cherish you. And take care of your happiness. And make love to you every night. I want that so much, and you deserve it.
You'll get over it, you insipid twit, she thought bitterly at the girl who sat amidst the shrapnel of bridesmaids and floral arrangements. The more fool, you. Marie turned away from the spectacle in disdain, feeling the firmness of the girdle enclose her as she strode confidently back to her waiting car. It was like being held tightly, she thought. Embraced. And when she brought herself to her fancy new townhouse (acquired within the past year with the proceeds of knowing just how the stock market would unfold), home to Geoffrey, her love, always... she would give him that embrace.
She would enfold him in her gloved arms and stocking-clad legs and make him want, of his own free will, to stay forever.