You’ve been standing outside of the restaurant, staring up at the wood panel and exposed brick of the facade for about 30 minutes, (which is a feat, considering it’s butt-fuckingly cold out) and based on the look that the hostess is giving you, you know you can’t put it off any longer.
God, you want to though. You just know that the minute you walk in alone, Auntie Hattie is going to zero in on you and shit is a wrap. You’re going to have to explain to everyone in there (because damn if News By Auntie Hattie Incorporated don’t travel at the speed of a Hennessy bottle at a cookout) that, no, Jim is not, in fact, busy getting ready go off-world again, but he said he would try to make it!!!, but, in fact, you and Jim broke up after four solid years of coupledom and then the inevitable “that’s what happens when you go with them white boys” conversation will start.
Going home is always an option, you think. After all, it’s not like you need to be there. You can just…drop off your gift with the hostess and be back in your hotel bed right when Get Out reruns on TCM.
But you’d feel bad. Cara is like a sister to you; you practically grew up together, and this is one of the most important days of her life. You’re in the wedding party, for fuck’s sake. You were already late for the last dress fitting last night, you can’t be late for the rehearsal dinner.
So here you are, in what is probably an inappropriately short and low cut dress, standing outside an obscenely fancy and expensive looking Italian restaurant, hoping that…you don’t know. That the last three months would disappear? That you could go back to when you got the invitation while on video call with Jim, and stop yourself from RSVPing yes?
Goddamnit, you’re not doing this. You’ll just lie and say you’re not feeling well. You let out a sigh, then turn to leave. You make it maybe two or three yards down the block.
“Really? Leaving already?” Your blood runs cold as you pause, then turn to look at the source, though you already know who it is.
Goddamnit. Fuck. Why does Jim have to look so fucking good? More importantly…
“What the fuck are you doing here?” You reply, staring as he moves toward you, the jacket of his navy blue suit blowing in the soft, chilly breeze. He’s wearing a deep blue shirt with gold cranes underneath. You almost want to laugh; you bought him that shirt, kind of as a joke, mostly because he sincerely liked it, and now he’s wearing it. In public. With a suit. And his hair all slicked back and dark in the light. With a short scruffy beard, just the way you like it. And his eyes, twinkly and bright and blue.
He shrugs. “Because the RSVP is linked to my PADD, and when she sent you a reminder, I got one.”
“That doesn’t answer my question,” you reply. He clears his throat, then looks up at you.
“I knew you…you uh, wouldn’t want to do this alone, so I just…” He waves his hand vaguely. “Aunt Hattie would be asking for me, you know how she is…figured I’d just…save you the trouble…”
Part of you wants to be angry; especially over the fact that he would be so fucking presumptuous. But a bigger part of you is relieved. Relieved that you have someone to hold your hand through this. And all of you is trying not to die over just how fucking good he looks, because son of a bitch does this fucker look fantastic.
He holds out his hand.
“Well…darling,” he teases, grinning a bit. “Ready to join the rest of us, or are you gonna be hot out here all night?” Curse that stupid fucking smile; it always pulls a matching one out of you, no matter how annoyed you are. You sigh, fighting back the curl at the corners of your lips, and take his hand.
“Fine,” you huff. “Let’s go.”
Jim pulls in a soft breath as he slides your coat off your shoulders, and you can’t help but smile, turning to look at him. He gives you a slow once-over as he hands your coat over to the coat check attendant.
“Damn, baby,” he murmurs, biting his bottom lip. “You look fucking good.”
“I know,” you reply, taking his arm. “You clean up pretty well yourself, Kirk.” He smiles at that, wider, that dangerous, delicious grin that made shivers run up your spine. That still does, to be completely honest. You clear your throat and take his arm, letting him lead you through the quiet restaurant to the massive garden. Your eyes widen as you walk through the fairy-light adorned threshold and out into the heated back.
“Wow,” your eyes trace over the canopy of lights and greenery hanging above your heads. “They really went all out for this.”
“You know how much Cara loves a fairy light,” Jim whispers. You can’t help but laugh at that, too, looking over to meet his gaze as you do.
“Issa deep and abiding love,” you murmur, holding in a chuckle.
“A vibrant love, tested by the ages,” he snickers, joining in.
“2 Skron,” Jim snorts and you join him in trying to stifle your giggles as you pause in your walk across the gardens to your seats. Jim smiles, watching you as you try to compose yourself.
“I miss you,” he says, suddenly. “I miss this.” You clear your throat gently, as you lock eyes with him.
“Me too,” you reply, letting out a long breath. Jim reaches up to cup your face, but pauses, then pulls away.
“No,” you shake your head gently. “It’s…I…we didn’t…”
“Hey!” You turn and throw your arms open, just as Cara runs straight into you, laughing as she swings you around. “Hey cousin! I was just telling Jim I was scared you weren’t gonna make it!” You can see Aunt Hattie, talking to Cara’s mom, just within earshot of all of you, and now you’re wondering just how much she heard.
“Well, sorry I’m late,” you reply. “I couldn’t figure out what to wear.”
“And you let her struggle in the room by herself, Jim?” Auntie Hattie says, directing her attention to him and shaking her head. “I thought I liked you, young man. What’s going on?”
“Oh no, uh,” Jim throws his arm around your shoulders and pulls you close.
“She sent me here early in case Ra needed help, Auntie Hattie,” he replies. “Good thing I was here too, or those place cards never would have gone out, right?”
Aunt Hattie nods as Cara and her mom laugh, but her eyes are darting between the two of you. Jim can feel it too, so he reaches down and takes your hand.
“My favorite girl is in need of a drink. Can I get you ladies something?” They shake their heads. He looks down at you. “Come with or hang with Ra?” You pretend to think.
“Y’know, I think I’ll just…” Cara gestures for you to go as she crowds her mom and Hattie toward their tables.
“Nah, go ahead, get you some crudite and shit, cuz. Imma see you all weekend anyway.” You let Jim lead you away, toward the bar. He taps his knuckles on the bar to get the bartender’s attention and orders “A whiskey on the rocks for me, and a vodka tonic for the lady.”
“So,” he hands you your drink and clinks his glass against yours.
“Right. So…how do you wanna…handle this? Should we lay down some…I dunno, ground rules, or something?” You realize you’re standing perilously close to him, enough to smell his warm, citrusy aftershave. You take a half step back; not far enough away to look suspicious, but enough to keep your head clear so you can be sensible.
“Well, um…” Jim moves forward, closing that half step gap between you and you catch a whiff of his aftershave again; you can see the soft tendrils of grey in his beard. “We probably shouldn’t…well…any questions we get about marriage we’ll just…brush off?”
“Okay. Let’s maybe put anything and everything about the future on that list.”
“Fine with me,” you shrug. “What’s your stance on PDA?” Jim crosses his arms and looks around as he thinks.
“I dunno, babe,” he murmurs; you flinch, as if you’ve just been shot. Which is exactly what him saying that nickname feels like. “What do you think?”
“Well, um…call me something other than babe, or baby, please,” you start. He nods.
“Noted. What else?”
“I’m fine with handholding, but I think hugs and kissing might need to be off the table.” Jim nods.
“Understandable. But if you wanna convince Aunt Hattie—”
“I’m going to announce our break up a couple weeks from now, so we don’t have to be loved up and shit. Cordial and a little standoffish is fine. Just don’t flirt with my family and we’ll be golden.” Jim offers his arm to you, again, and you oblige as he leads you to your seats.
“I wouldn’t dream of it, doll.”
Cara and Jessa’s wedding rehearsal is perfect. Your speech, a short, sweet, heartfelt treatise on your relationship with Cara and how happy Jessa makes her, is well received and the recipient of several teary smiles and joyful applause.
Jim is, as always, the perfect gentleman around your people: funny, charming, clever, and sweet, to both aunt and little cousins alike. You remember, watching him with a fond smile on your face, how and why you love him so much.
You meant loved.
“Hey,” Jim is standing over you, holding out his hand. “Let’s cut a rug, dollface?” You smile, a polite excuse forming on your lips. “They’re playing our song. Well, they’re gonna, I begged the DJ to do it.” You let out a soft laugh. Why not? At least it’ll look good; Auntie Hattie had been whispering to your cousins and sideeying the two of you since you walked in, you probably shouldn’t give anyone a reason to ask questions.
And it shouldn’t be too bad now, considering that the party started to break up after Cara and Jessa left; damn near everyone, including you, needs to be up early to prepare for the ceremony tomorrow afternoon. With the exception of the wait staff and the DJ, it’s really just a handful of your distant relatives and Hattie’s daughter, who’s like a 25 year younger version of her damn mama.
You have to, you think. So she won’t report back to Aunt Hattie.
Yeah. Just that.
You take his hand and he gently pulls you to your feet, guiding you to the dance floor. He brings you close and smiles, just as Sam Cooke begins to croon.
“This isn’t our song,” you murmur. Jim smirks as he looks down at you.
“Yeah, I know. But I thought ‘The Box’ would probably kill the whole snuggly wedding mood.”
You burst into soft laughter, trying not to draw too much attention from the other couples around you. Jim’s eyes twinkle a little as he takes in your smile.
“God, I almost forgot how beautiful you are,” he sighs. His left thumb brushes up and down your side, and he pulls you closer, his hand going around your back. The intimacy makes your heart race; you can’t deny you missed this, just a little.
You say nothing, just turning your head to rest your cheek against his chest. He rests his chin on the crown of your head, breathing in deep to smell your hair and let out a soft sigh.
“Jim…” you start, your soft tone undercutting the warning you meant it to be. He just holds you closer, his hand moving to the dip in your back on your spine, right where your dress ends. You shiver at the skin to skin contact.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I know you don’t want to hear this.”
“No,” your hand ghosts along his shoulder blade until your fingers bunch in the material of his jacket; not having to look him in the eye makes this easier for you to say, though you kind of hate yourself for doing it. “I just…I don’t know. I miss you too. A lot.” His hands drop to your waist. “I miss this. I miss laughing. And hugging. Talking to you. I wish…I wish I hadn’t broken up with you. I regretted it the minute I made the decision.” Jim’s hand tightens on your hip, just a little; you almost don’t want to look up at him, but you do it anyway. His expression is guarded, a tiny gimlet spark of hope in his eyes.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” You sigh, shaking your head.
“Because I hurt you. How could I come back and say ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, let’s get back together’ after that?”
“I would’ve forgiven you, eventually. After an excessive amount of blowjobs.” You let out another soft laugh, smiling weakly at him.
“Oh well, in that case…” Jim leans his forehead against yours and tilts his head.
“That was barely a joke, and you know it.”
“I meant it. I would have forgiven you. I do forgive you.” You didn’t realize that there were tears welling up in the corners of your eyes until he wipes them away with his thumbs.
“I’m sorry,” you whisper. “I’m so sorry.”
“Hey…” Jim’s finger taps the underside of your chin and raises your gaze to meet his. He leans forward, slow, until your lips touch, and you gasp, softly, as he pulls you closer, his tongue slipping into your mouth. Your body reacts, instantly, your heart beginning to hammer in your chest as he holds you closer to him, his teeth sinking into your bottom lip, just enough for you to feel a hot rush flutter down your spine. You want to pull away; the two of you are making out, in front of your family, (the few that are left at least) and the way that you know Jim is itching to grab you isn’t gonna win him any favors.
But fuck…fucking hell the way he is kissing you is making you not give a single motherfuck. You know you should. But the way he moans into your mouth, the way he holds your hips, the way he licks your bottom lip as he pulls away from you…
“Babe,” he pulls you closer, impossibly, unbelievably closer as he leans to whisper into your ear; his fingers skim down to grip your ass, briefly. “How close is your hotel?”
It takes you longer than it should to answer him; the way his thumb is tracing patterns on your side is unbelievably fucking distracting; it reminds you of how he liked to trace the line of a stretch mark on your hip with his pointer finger before he pulled you down onto him, how he sighed against your neck as you worked your hips, trying to give yourself a moment to adjust to the feel of him in you, filling you up. Your thighs clench, hard, at the memory, at the feel of his hands on you now, and you let out a soft, involuntary whimper.
“Come on, doll,” he whispers against your cheek. His hands move away from the parts of you that aren’t appropriate to touch in polite company. “Let’s get out of here.” You smile back, brushing your fingers across his neck.
“No, too early. Give it 15, wait for Cece to leave, and we can just go.” Jim huffs, smiling a little.
“Goddamn it,” he holds you closer to him, his hands skimming down to your hips, pulling your pelvis tight to him. “I really wanted to get this dress off you.” Your breath catches in your throat.
“Did you have anything specific in mind for after?” You reply airily. Jim’s lips skim down to your neck.
“Babe…I’ve got a list. A long one. I’d start with…kissing you here.” He presses his mouth against your jawline, then right underneath your earlobe, sending waves of shivers down your spine. Making you tremble against him. He laughs low, his lips skimming up to kiss your temple. His hands go around your waist, then trace up your spine. “And then, I’d touch you here…maybe just let my hands wander down…” His hands rest on your waist, his fingers slipping under the fabric on either side to touch your skin. The music changed, a little while ago; you can’t see Cece from where you’re standing, but you’re very close to not caring who sees. Your arms go around his neck and your nails gently go across the nape of it. Just like you expected, his eyes flutter closed, and a soft little groan comes out of his mouth. You rise onto your tiptoes, arching into his grasp to whisper in his ear.
“What else?” His breath hitches as he looks down at you.
“What do you wanna hear babe?” His voice is low, warm; it makes you shiver, the way his chest rumbles when he speaks. “Do you wanna hear me talk about how much I missed fucking your pretty little cunt? Do you wanna hear me tell you how much I love the way you shake in my hands when I make you come all over my face? What about how good I feel when you’re blowing me, babe? Can I talk about that too? Can I talk about how I like watching your ass bounce when you ride me? Or how much I love watching you come apart underneath me when I hit that shit just the way you like it?”
You go dead silent at that, your eyes locked on his, heart hammering in your chest. Jim is grinning a little, a hot twinkle in his eye. Right. Fuck that.
You pull him down to your mouth, your hand fisting in his hair, licking across his bottom lip, biting gently before pulling away.
“We’re going to leave, very calmly,” you start; Jim is riveted, watching you, watching your lips move, you suspect. “You’re going to follow me out to my hotel room and then we’re gonna fuck until one of us starts speaking in tongues. Good?”
“Good,” he nods, a little breathless.
You know, the minute Jim pulls you off the dance floor, after he steers you down the hall, away from the valet line, when he nudges you toward the coat closet, his hands already pushing your dress up, that whatever wrong you’ve done, whatever has happened between you leaving three months ago and now, is forgiven.
He shoves you against the wall, hitching your right leg up around his waist and just leans into you, slowly rolling his hips and grinding against the open v of your legs, the skirt of your dress riding up and over your thighs. You let out a sharp moan, digging your nails into his shoulder blade as you kick your heels off.
“Fuck me, babe,” you sigh into his ear. He nudges your head up and presses his lips against your exposed throat; you can feel his smile against your neck as you let out soft, plaintive whimpers.
“Do you have any fucking idea how much I missed that sound,” he sighs, gripping your hip tight and pulling you closer. His mouth drops to your collarbone. Down the deep v of your neckline. To your sternum. He sinks to the ground then, trailing kisses all along your thighs, reaching up to pull your panties down…
He looks up at you, eyebrow cocked, an awe filled grin spreading across his face.
“At long last,” you mutter, smirking down at him. “He finally notices.” He hooks your thigh over his shoulder and slaps it, making you jump. The short skirt of your dress is lifted out of his way, gripped in the hand holding your thigh. His eyes flicker up to yours as he leans forward, then licks a broad, confident stripe up to your clit. You suck in a long sharp breath, your chest heaving as he grips your other thigh and presses it hard into the wall.
“Oh,” he groans, low and raspy. “Did you do this just for me?” You can hear it in his voice; he’s replaying every single moment from tonight, every single touch, now with the awareness that you did it all without a stitch of underwear on.
“I didn’t know you were coming, remember?” You laugh; Jim huffs.
“Damnit, woman, let me dream,” he murmurs.
He reaches up, trails two fingers down from your clit, then slides them into you, chuckling as you whine at the feel of him, testing you, curling them, sliding slowly in and out of you as he sucks your clit. Your hands splay against the wall, trying to catch a grip on something as he finger fucks you, slow and sharp.
“Come on, babe,” he sighs. “You know what I like to hear.”
“Please,” you groan, “please fuck me…” He holds your thigh down tighter on his shoulder and juts his head down. You feel his tongue slide into you and you pull in a sharp breath, your nails sinking into his shoulder and neck. He trails back up to your clit, sucking it lightly as he slides three fingers into you. “Shit…!”
You’re drifting, hot, desperate; you’re right about to come when he stops, slides his fingers out of you and rises. Before you can let out a whisper of a complaint, he turns you around and presses you into the wall, cocking your hips back.
“Jim,” you whisper. His fingers run up your thighs; his pointer finger trails up a wide stretch mark on your left thigh and suddenly he’s filling you, tight and easy. He gasps in your ear, gripping your waist tight, his body pressing hard against yours.
“Fuck,” he moans; he slides out of you, just a bit, then drives back into you, painfully slow. “You’re fucking amazing, babe.” You twist as he fucks into you, throwing your hips back to meet his, pressing your palms into the wall for leverage.
Jim’s left arm goes around your waist, pulls you closer to him; his right goes to the wall in front of you; he drives harder into you, sharper, faster. You can feel your legs threatening to give out but you go to your tip toes and hold strong, arching your back, pushing back to meet his strokes. He feels fucking perfect, his cock fitting into you perfectly, hitting a spot deep in you that you thought would never be touched ever again.
“Shit, baby,” he groans, right in your ear. “Gimme all you’ve fucking got.”
“Harder,” you fire back, digging your nails into the paneling. He lets out a laugh in your ear, then pistons his hips, harder, faster.
“Like that?” He rasps, biting your earlobe. “You like that, babe?” You nod, vigorously, your eyes screwed shut tight. “Always so wet for me, babe. Fucking missed this.” You whimper softly, in response.
“What was that?” The hand on the wall drops, and you feel light, quick movement on your clit. You convulse. “Speak up. I wanna hear you.”
“Jim,” you sigh, breathy. He presses a little harder.
“What, baby?” He pants. He pushes your feet further apart, then leans away, his hands on your waist and back.
“You like that?” You nod. “You like it? I like it too. I love it.” You tighten around him and he groans, loud, loud enough to draw attention, but he doesn’t miss a beat, just moves faster. “Fucking tease…love fucking you wordless. Fucking love screwing you blind, baby.”
“James,” your voice sounds utterly foreign to you; you’re not even sure if he heard you.
“You wanna come?”
“So bad…” Jim’s hand comes down hard on your right cheek. “Fuck…!”
He leans forward again; the angle shifts; you almost scream as his lips brush your ear. “How bad?”
“So fucking bad, please!” Jim’s free hand, the one not pressed into your back, drops between your legs and he works your clit, fast and hard. You seize up around him, moaning as you come, white stars bursting behind your eyelids. It feels like a supernova, like collapsing, sweet and overwhelming, hot and easy.
“FUCK!” He strokes into you, shaky, once, twice, three times more until he comes, holding you tight, pressing you hard into the wall, rolling his hips as you come down from your high.
Your legs give out on you but he holds you, panting in your ear, waiting for your knees to stop shaking.
“Hey,” he whispers; he brushes your hair away from your face, plants a kiss on your cheek. “Are you okay?” You nod, slowly, gathering your feet underneath you, supporting your weight on the wall.
“Yeah,” you sigh. “I’m fucking great, actually.” He laughs; you turn your head and lean into him, kissing him, softly, biting his bottom lip. He groans, gently as you pull away. You shiver as he slides his cock out of you.
“Shit,” he sighs. He leans against a nearby ledge, tucking himself back into his pants. He reaches into an inside pocket and pulls out a packet of napkins, then hands them to you. Your brow cocks. “Swiped them off the table on our way here,” he replies, in response to your expression.
“Always so prepared,” you laugh, as you clean yourself up. He ducks away and returns a second later, holding a small garbage can. You toss them in. He takes your hand and pulls you toward him, kissing you, soft and sweet.
“I have an idea,” he murmurs against your mouth.
“We leave, and continue making up somewhere with a bed.” You nod, biting his bottom lip, heat flaring low as he groans in response.
“You read my mind.”