Authors: Mary Beth Daniels
Tags: #Fiction, #Humorous, #Humor, #General, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Women, #Weddings, #gay marriage, #election, #Prop 8
My focus shifted for a moment, away from the women, and back to my life. Maybe it was my show time too.
I sat on a chair and texted her back.
I know about u and Cade.
Almost immediately came a response.
I figured. Can we talk?
I sucked in a breath.
What did she mean by that?
He won’t leave me alone.
Ha. That’s hilarious.
Ur problem. Not mine.
He luvs u.
I typed furiously.
I’ve fallen 4 a girl. Surprise! He mite wreck it 4 me.
“Zest, you with us?”
Ivy stood near me. “We’ll need you as a back up in case the women get caught. Someone who won’t have been arrested or handcuffed. Haverty shouldn’t target you.”
I nodded and snapped the phone shut. Fern was not going to fuck up one more thing for me.
Nikki shoved her way through the door to the patio and dropped into her chair. “I talked to the wait staff. Apparently there’s over a hundred people out there now, and a lot of them have handcuffs. They’re shouting crap about how it is their moral obligation to stop our wedding. Even if we got out the back way, we don’t have access to the parking lot and the cars. We’d have to walk right by them.”
Robert came back out with a tray of shots. “These are on the house,” he said. “The owner’s called the cops, but unless they damage something, we can’t make them leave.”
“What if we dressed as waiters?” Jenna asked.
“In what?” Nikki said, gesturing to Robert in his jeans and t-shirt, a black apron tied around his waist. “They just wear regular clothes.”
“What would we do if this was a movie?” Jenna went on. “What would be the most ridiculous thing we could think of to create a diversion?”
“There’s always explosives,” Blitz said.
“In Star Wars, the Ewoks steal their speeder bikes,” Audrey said.
“In Revenge of the Nerds, they had a panty raid,” Bella offered.
“That’s useful,” Aud said.
Audrey nudged her. “Don’t be mean to the mama-to-be.”
Aud frowned. “We’ve got to come up with something.”
“Well, if you need a laugh,” I said, suddenly remembering a funny line from
The Lion King
. “You can always dress in drag and do the hula.”
Everyone turned to me. “That’s brilliant,” Ivy said.
Bradford threw up his hand. “Please don’t ask me.”
“No,” Ivy said, pulling out her phone. “The Ball Breakers.”
“Perfect!” Amy said. “Their bridal show!”
Ivy walked to the corner of the patio, talking manically into her cell.
“Someone explain?” Nikki started pacing.
“The Ball Breakers are another softball team,” Amy said, then turned to me. “The gay male one.”
“Yes!” said another one of the Patties. “They do a mock drag show every year to raise money for the food bank. This year was a bridal show.”
“So they all have wedding gowns?” Nikki asked.
“They should,” Amy said.
“Can they pull it off?” Mary asked. “The protestors know what we look like.”
“Not true,” said Nikki. “Only
of the wingnuts know what we look like. All the Ball Breakers have to do is excite enough of them to stop watching the back door, and we can make it out to the limo.” She turned to Mary. “Can you call the driver and make sure he knows to be ready?”
“I’m on it,” Mary said.
“This is crazy,” Bella said.
“Not as crazy as what they’re planning out there.” Nikki paced the room again. She turned to me. “You have to get all this,” she said.
“I’m on it,” I said, grinning.
Jenna picked up her dog, clutching it to her chest. “I’ll have to make sure Butch doesn’t get squashed in the rush.”
Mary petted the mop of white fur. “He’ll be okay.”
Ivy popped her phone closed and walked back to the table. “They’re coming,” she said. “Amy, what time are we supposed to meet the JP?”
“Not until two. We can make it as long as the Ball Breakers don’t take too long.”
Chapter 28: Send in the Cavalry
They arrived slowly, in twos and threes, carrying duffle bags and expressions of grim determination. Tall men, short men. Good looking and average. None looked the least bit pretty or feminine.
One man was especially striking, not just strong, but with a body builder physique and wheat blond hair that spiked in every direction. He strode in with his bag over his shoulder, his immense chest seeming to enter the room before the rest of him.
“Horatio!” Ivy called. “I haven’t seen you in ages! Have any trouble getting through the crowd?”
Horatio laid his duffle on the table. “Nope. They’re not stopping anyone, but the regular people are just driving by without parking. Not going to get much business here today.” His voice was unnaturally low.
“Did they say anything to you?” Nikki asked.
“Yes. They said that if we saw the sinners, to beseech them to come out for healing and forgiveness.”
“Beseech us?” Nikki said.
Horatio got on one knee, his thighs bulging in the faded jeans. I couldn’t help but stare, longing to photograph each one separately, in honor of every sinew. He stretched out his arms. “Ladies, I beseech you, shed your sinful ways!”
Ivy shoved him from the side. He neatly caught himself with one palm to the floor, then sprung back toward her, pulling her into a headlock. “Sinning lesbians get noogies,” he said, rubbing his fist through her hair.
“Arghh! Stop!” Ivy called, laughing. “My do! You’re wrecking my do!”
“Awww, you dykes don’t care about your hair,” Horatio said. He glanced up and saw Bradford, and instantly let go of Ivy.
I turned to glance back at Bradford, who also seemed frozen in place.
“Hey, Brad baby,” Horatio said.
Bradford responded with only a grim smile. They had a history, I knew it.
Four more Ball Breakers strode through the door. “What’s the plan?” asked one, heaving a suit bag over an empty table. “We left our cars in the back like you asked.”
Amy held out her hand. “Give me the keys. I think it will work best if we ask the driver to move the limo forward, like he’s about to get the women. Then we’ll send you boys out, and this will make them think we’re making a break for it.”
Nikki came forward. “And we’ll sneak out the back and take their cars?”
“Exactly.” Amy handed her the keys. “It’s a red Rav 4 and a black Prius, right?”
The men nodded. Amy walked back around the girls. “Let’s decide who’s driving and who is getting in each car. Don’t worry about the Patties, they’ll make it out okay. I’ll ride with the Hoebags to get them to the JP.”
Bradford began unzipping bags and pulling out great tufts of white fabric. “What about me and Zest?”
“Heads up.” Amy tossed him another set of keys. “You take my car and meet us. That way Zest can cover the fun with the Ball Breakers, and then you guys can catch us at The Plantation.”
Bradford winced. “That’s where we’re meeting the JP?”
“Yeah, sorry,” Amy said.
“It’s all right,” Bradford said. “I’m a big boy.”
I watched him, hoping they’d say more, but Bradford just walked away.
First Horatio, and now this. I desperately wanted a moment alone with Nikki to see what she knew.
A set of near-identical California surfer types came into the room, and we were up to eight Ball Breakers. Two of them had facial hair, and I had no idea how they were going to pass for lesbians, but what did I know.
Bradford tugged another gown out of a bag. “Let’s get everyone dressed.”
Horatio immediately kicked off his shoes and stripped out of his light sweater and jeans. I held my camera a moment, frozen in awe, then Nikki elbowed me awake. “You don’t want to miss this man.”
I raised the camera and began taking shots. The light entered from above the high wall and struck the curves of his arms and thighs with amazing effect. I could have photographed this all day, him in gray silk boxers, utterly tan and perfectly formed.
Bradford approached with a white bustier and the sight of him fitting the lace-trimmed underwear to this man was just too much. The bulging shoulders, the delicate trim. The broad chest, the fitted corset. I sat on the floor and burst into giggles.
“Somebody cut off the photographer,” Nikki said. “She’s had too much booze.”
“No,” I said, tears beginning to stream out of my eyes, “I just—I can’t—”
Nikki stood over me, holding a pitcher of ice water. “Don’t make me do this.”
I scrambled to my feet. “The camera!”
All around, the Ball Breakers were stripping with no shyness whatsoever. I needed six photographers to cover it all well. I stepped away, trying to get broader shots, glad for the ambient light and no need for flash, which would have been distracting and would have flattened the perfect shadows and highlights of their bodies.
And the dresses. They were obscenely overdone, all sequins and satin, lace and enormous puffs of crinoline and net.
“Hold up, you’re missing something,” Bradford said. He extended his hand, cupped around a perfect pink breast.
“My contour!” Horatio said. “Where’s the adhesive?”
“Heads up,” a gray-haired man tossed him a roll of tape.
Horatio looked at me. “Medical grade tape. Works wonders.” He pulled off a three-inch section and ripped it with his teeth, laying it against the back section of the breast. Then he removed the other side of the tape and slipped the breast into the top of his bustier. “Reverse mastectomy!” he said, shimmying his shoulders.
Nikki groaned. “Man, you’re terrible. My gramma had a mastectomy.”
“So did mine,” Horatio said. “Where do you think I got these?” He held up the other breast.
He ducked as underwear, gloves, and t-shirts flew at him. I snapped the shot at just the right moment, Horatio leaning backward, laughing face full of surprise, breast in hand, just as a white glove was about to hit his ear.
“Where’s my gaff?” one of the others asked.
“You don’t need a gaff!” Horatio said. “It’s a gown!”
“I’m wearing a mermaid style,” he said. “It’ll show! Remember the picture on the runway!” He turned to me. “Damn photographer caught my junk.”
“I’ll do better,” I said.
Horatio rifled through his bag.“ All right, fine, borrow mine.”
“I’m not wearing yours!” the man said.
I had to know. “Okay, what’s a gaff?”
Horatio held his up. It looked like control top panties. “You tuck your jewels up and under, then push down your bad boy, and this keeps it all in flat and smooth.”
All I could manage is, “Oh.”
The other man walked up and took it. “You can’t wear them too much or you lose potency.”
“Potency,” I repeated.
“Hot balls,” Horatio said. “Loss of testicular function. Mark worries about those things.”
“Do any of you do drag professionally?”
Horatio looked horrified. “God, no. Just once a year for the fundraiser.” He glanced at the Hoebags. “And for this very special occasion.”
Despite what he said, Mark did indeed borrow Horatio’s gaff, stripping completely naked. I turned away, then back. This was education.
“Can someone tape these down please?” Mark asked.
“You wish!” Horatio called back.
Bradford stepped forward with the tape and then I couldn’t look at all as he knelt before Mark’s naked thighs. I whirled around, photographing the more dressed members of the Ball Breakers. The tall gray-haired man had on a slender white sheath and looked stunning. Amy slid a black wig into place.
“Are we going to hide the ones with goatees?” I asked.
Horatio tugged a full head and face veil from his bag. “Voila!” he said.
We just might actually pull this off.
It couldn’t be. I lowered the camera from my eye. But it was.
She wore one of her more conservative outfits, a frilly blouse with a ruffle down the front and a short navy skirt.
“Why are you in California? How did you—” Fern wasn’t looking at me. She stood, still as night, staring at Aud.
Aud hadn’t noticed her, sitting to the side and leaning against Audrey.
Fern strode toward their table. Her hands were tightened into fists, not swinging at her sides, but great stiff rods.
I changed my path to intercept her, snatching her elbow and whirling her around. “What is going on?”
“What is SHE doing here?” She pointed at Aud.
“Getting married. It was the plan.”
“She isn’t supposed to.” Her voice had turned shrill. “She told me she was backing out.”
The Audreys had heard her. Aud sat stiff and anxious, her arm curled through Audrey’s.
Audrey looked at me. “I remember your friend.” She turned back to Fern. “You were at one of the games.”
The room grew still, even the Ball Breakers paused in dressing.
Fern yanked her arm free. “You told me you weren’t going to marry her!”
Aud seemed paralyzed, pressed against Audrey, staring with shock at Fern.
Audrey pulled her arm away from Aud. “Is someone going to explain this to me?”
Fern circled the table and tried to grasp Aud by the shoulders.
Aud pulled away. “Fern, you’ve known all along I was getting married. What we had is totally in the past.” She turned to Audrey. “There is nothing going on between us right now.”
Audrey’s hand flew to her chest. “You slept with her?”
Aud reached for Audrey’s hand. “Remember when we split up? Before we got back together and figured out this was it, we were the ones?”
Audrey nodded, her face a startlingly white against the black of her hair.
“It happened then, and never again. I swear.”
Audrey pulled Aud into an embrace. “I believe you.”
Fern’s face bloomed red to her white-blond roots. “You little bitch.”
Blitz stepped forward, arms across her chest. “You’ve worn out your welcome.”
I rapidly crossed the room to approach them. “Don’t believe anything Fern says. She’s a class A manipulator. She was fucking my husband.”