Authors: M. S. Parker
I felt a surge of relief when I saw the colors were a dusky rose color and gold, different than my dream. I was admiring the floral arrangements when I heard a sharp intake of breath.
I looked up and saw Reed staring right at me. His face was pale and he almost looked like he was going to throw up.
“Piper?” he said it so softly that I almost couldn't hear.
“Oh, hey man.” Brock appeared behind him and clapped a hand on Reed's shoulder. “I forgot to tell you that I asked one of the girls from Vegas to be my date.” He walked over to me and brushed the back of his hand against the side of my neck. “But don't worry, I didn't tell anyone how we met.”
The anger I'd felt at Reed before came back, tightening my stomach. I reached up and took Brock's hand, pressing it against my cheek. Reed blanched and his lips flattened into a line.
“I'm looking forward to meeting Britni,” I said evenly. I kept my eyes on Reed's face. “You don't need to worry though. I'll keep your little secret.”
“Gotta go,” Brock said. He bent down and brushed his lips against my cheek. A muscle in Reed's jaw jumped. “We just came out to see if Danny was out here. I'll see you after the ceremony.”
“I'll be here.”
Reed held my gaze for a few seconds longer and I saw dozens of emotions flicker across his eyes, but then he broke away without a word, going to do whatever it was he had to do. That was fine with me. I'd at least gotten a reaction out of him.
When he came back out at the start of the ceremony, he didn't look my way. Brock, however, did and the smile he was wearing made me smile too. If he hadn't kept glancing at me, I would've just thought he was happy his sister was getting married, but his eyes clearly said I was some of the reason too.
The bridal march started and my chest tightened, the memory of my dream flooding over me. I swallowed hard as I joined the rest of the congregation in standing. This time when I turned, however, I could see Reed's wife-to-be for the first time. She was about my height, but slender. Her hair was the color of coffee and, unless she had extensions, long. Her eyes were light, like her brother's, though they appeared to be more gray than his. Her features were her mother's, delicate and fine. She was a beautiful young woman and I felt a pang as I thought about how she and Reed would look together.
I turned as she reached the front and couldn't stop my gaze from sliding over, wanting to see the expression on Reed's face when he looked at the woman he was marrying. Except he wasn't looking at her. He was facing her, but his line of sight was just to one side and his eyes met mine. I flushed and tore my gaze away.
What kind of bastard would stare at another woman while his fiancée was walking down the aisle? I tried very hard not to scowl. That would be rude.
For the rest of the ceremony, I kept my eyes glued on the priest and a fake smile pasted to my face. Once it was done, I could relax.
One of my favorite places in Philadelphia was The Free Library. At least every two weeks or so, I'd walk or take the train or bus when we had a little extra money, and I'd always come home with a dozen books or more. Then, when my mom had gotten sick, it had become a haven, a place I went to when I couldn't take another minute at the hospital.
When I stepped into the lobby, those memories washed over me, and with them also came the sense of awe I'd always felt when I looked up at the high ceiling, the beautiful architecture. And then there was the smell of books. It didn't matter if it was a single ratty paperback or a massive collection, there was something about the scent of a book that felt like home.
I was thinking all of this while the bridal party was posing on the marble steps that led up to the second floor. Brock had insisted I come with him even though it meant standing off to the side and trying not to look anything other than happy for the bride and groom. That was difficult when I knew the truth behind the vows they'd recited. I might not believe a word Reed said about how he felt about me, but I didn't think he was lying when he'd said he didn't love Britni. Guys who cheat don't really love the person they cheat on, no matter how many times they say they do. I might've been his choice, but I had no doubt he would've found someone else to fuck if I hadn't been there.
“Bored?” Brock came up behind me and put his arms around me.
I almost stepped away, but then I saw Reed glance at us and that hurt part of me urged me to take a step back and lean into the embrace. Brock wasn't touching anything he shouldn't have been and it was nice to feel someone's arms around me and know I didn't have to worry about meeting his fiancée – or wife – later.
“Are you okay?” Brock's voice was low in my ear.
I nodded. “Just a bit of jet lag.”
“Did you know there's a map upstairs that shows how you can get around downtown Philly underground?”
I nodded without even thinking about it. “Yeah, it's up by the History section.”
As soon as I said it, I realized what I'd given away.
“You've been here before,” Brock said. There wasn't any accusation to his tone, but I wasn't going to risk him thinking I was hiding something.
“I grew up here.” I kept it vague.
He let go of me and stepped around so he could look down at me. “Seriously?”
“Quick version: grew up on the poor side of the city. Scholarship to St. George. Moved to Vegas instead of going to college. You know how it goes from there.” I knew I had to throw in the school thing because if he told anyone I grew up here, there'd be awkward questions and it'd look like I'd been hiding my prior connection to the Stirlings.
“So you knew Reed before.” He made it a statement.
“He was three grades ahead of me, but I knew who he was.” I glanced at the bridesmaids.
I could hear the understanding in a single word.
“You were in Rebecca's class.” He reached down and took my head. “Enough said. She's hot, but she's a bitch.”
I would've laughed if his statement hadn't reminded me of Reed saying close to the same thing. Dammit, why didn’t everything seem to point back to him?
The photographer called for the men and Brock hurried away, leaving me alone with my thoughts, which wasn’t much of a comfort. The women came down the steps, huddling together as they went. Even though none of them looked my way, I knew they realized I was there. How I knew was simple. They were talking about me in a way that made it very clear I was meant to hear their conversation.
“I honestly don't know why I expected anything else from Brock. I mean, I know he doesn't do the whole relationship thing, but hiring an escort to be his date to my wedding is just tacky.”
Any prior sympathy I'd had for Britni Michaels-Stirling vanished as I heard her speak. Then came Rebecca.
“It's no surprise that's what Piper does. I mean, coming from her background, it was almost inevitable.”
I took a few steps to the side so I couldn't hear them anymore, but I didn't say a word. I wasn't going to let the opinions of some high society snobs bother me. I knew who I was, and I knew there was a line I didn't cross. I didn't intend to have sex with Brock. I was his date for the wedding, nothing else. Besides, it wasn't the first comment I'd overheard today regarding my character. Mrs. Michaels hadn't even tried to lower her voice when she'd told Mrs. Stirling that at least Reed didn't have to worry about gold diggers anymore and how happy she'd be when Brock finally settled down with a decent girl. I'd ignored her too. I'd had practice. Didn't mean I enjoyed it, but I was a long way from walking out.
Before my 'fans' could make any more disparaging comments, the photographer called the entire wedding party up for the next few shots and by the time he was done, it was time to head to the reception and Brock was coming my way. He'd already told me he'd insisted we take the limo with his parents so I didn't have to be alone since I was from out of town. I'd hoped that when he found out I knew the Stirlings he hadn't assumed I'd be fine on my own. He hadn't and the two of us settled in for a short, but still uncomfortable, ride to the reception hall.
The beginning of the reception passed rather quickly, which surprised me since I was sitting at a table with people I didn't know. They were all older couples, which made me stand out, but since none of them knew me and obviously hadn't heard the gossip, I didn't mind. As soon as all the main event things, like the first dance and the cake cutting was done, Brock came down and claimed the empty seat next to me.
“Would you like some champagne?” he asked.
“Yes.” I'd already finished two glasses, but wasn't feeling much beyond a little buzz. I watched him walk away and thought about how attentive he'd been tonight. He was really taking this whole idea of showing me that he wasn't a drunken douchebag seriously.
A ruggedly handsome and, judging by the smell of him, extremely inebriated man plopped down in the seat next to me. He gave me a roguish grin.
“Hello.” I'd seen this guy with his hands all over one of Britni's bridesmaids, some tiny little brunette with fake nails and awful pink lipstick.
I wanted to say 'good for you' but I behaved myself and gave him a polite smile.
“So, I was just wondering.” He leaned toward me. “How much would it be to hire you for next weekend? None of this going out shit. Just you, me, some condoms and a video camera.” He winked. “And I'd be willing to pay extra to forget the condoms.”
Every part of me tensed for several seconds as I decided between several possible actions.
Take the nearest glass and dump whatever liquid was in it over Peter's head.
Reach down between his legs, grab his balls and twist.
That last one had definite appeal, but I didn't do any of them. Instead, I stood and walked toward the bar where Brock was getting me a drink. I wanted something stronger than champagne.
Less than forty minutes later, Brock and I were dancing at the edge of the dance floor and I was more than a little tipsy. I wasn't quite to the point of drunk where I couldn't make my own decisions, but I was past the point where it would've been safe for me to drive.
I didn't usually drink very much, mostly because I didn't like not being in control, but Peter propositioning me had been the last straw. After I'd downed Brock's drink – I wasn't entirely sure what it'd been – I caught Reed staring at me while he was dancing with Britni, and I asked for another shot. When Brock had suggested we dance, I immediately agreed.
He was good, and it had felt nice to dance with someone who was looking at me, rather than having someone look at me while he was with someone else. I was ready to cut loose a bit and have some fun. After all, Brock hadn't asked me to come with him just because he thought I was cute.
As we danced, we moved closer and closer, going from the getting-to-know-you inches between us to grinding against each other in an almost-obscene way. I started doing it because Reed watching me was pissing me off, but as the alcohol started to work its way into my system, I started enjoying it for different reasons. Brock's body felt good against mine and I could tell he was enjoying himself. He wasn't being pushy or acting like I owed him anything, which I liked. He smelled good, which was always a plus. But, most of all, I wanted someone to erase the memory of fucking Reed and Brock seemed up to the challenge.
Two more shots later and I knew what I wanted. There was just one thing I had to know. I pressed my mouth against Brock's ear and whispered, “Do you have a condom?” I was drunk, not stupid.
His eyes darkened and he nodded. I grinned, grabbed his hand and dragged him away from the reception hall. My first thought was the bathroom, but even my hazy mind knew it was probably a bad idea since there were kids at the reception. Instead, I went down a short hallway, looking for somewhere we could get a few undisturbed minutes. We passed two doors and then I saw the one that said Maintenance Only. Oh yes, this will work.
I pushed the door open and pulled Brock after me. I didn't want fake and romantic. I wanted fast and dirty, even if I didn't come. I wanted an experience that was the very opposite of my time with Reed, I wanted his memory released from my body and my mind.
Either Brock understood what I needed or he was as turned on and eager as me. I didn't know, didn’t care. Before the door even closed behind us, he was pulling me into his arms, crushing his mouth to mine.
His kiss was hard and rough, so different than Reed's, which was exactly what I was looking for. I pushed my tongue into his mouth and he did the same to me. We bit and nipped at each other’s lips as he pushed me back against the door. His hand squeezed my breast through my dress and it was almost too rough, but I moaned as the pleasure and pain combined. I slid my hand between us, down to the front of his pants and cupped the hardness there. He growled and spun me around, I put out my hands, catching myself before my face hit the door.
I heard a zipper, then the tearing of a packet. A moment later, I felt cool air on my ass as he pushed up my dress. Then my panties were coming down. He left them at my knees and I felt his cock nudging against me. I arched my back and spread my legs as much as I could with my underwear still around my ankles. It was enough.
“Fuck.” I groaned as he pushed inside. He wasn't quite as big as Reed, but I hadn't been prepped at all and the intrusion was painful. It was a good kind of pain though, the kind that promised to wipe out the memories I didn't want, the kind that would leave my pussy sore. I knew the only sex I'd be thinking about would be this.
Brock grunted as he pounded into me, and just when I'd begun to think he was completely oblivious to my own needs, his hand moved around in front of me and his fingers dipped between my legs. There was no gentleness to his touch as he rubbed my clit. In fact, I cried out at the first pass, my muscles tensing up, but then my body began to respond and I let it happen.
When I felt him start to lose his rhythm and I wasn't quite there yet, I slid one hand under my dress and pushed aside my bra enough to get my fingers on my nipple. I closed my eyes and rolled the hard flesh between my fingers, sending shivers of pleasure through me to join with the sensations already there.