Elise stood in the triple mirrors and willed the dress down over her stomach. “Everything ok in there?” the clerk asked for the 3rd time. Elise growled and gave up, recognizing the dress wasn’t as “flowy” as she described.
“It doesn’t fit,” she said, yanking the flimsy material back over her head. As she redressed, she felt a short moment of embarrassment and shame. If she’d stuck with the keto diet, it may have worked. She yanked the curtains open and stepped back out into the showroom. The clerk, petite and brunette, made a face before taking back the dress. “This is the largest size we have,” she turned to announce to the rest of the wedding party. Emerald, Elise’s older sister and the bride, stood and smiled slightly.
“We’ll look somewhere else,” she said before leading the bridal party out of the store.
“You didn’t have to do that for me. I know you really liked that place,” Elise said, looping her arm through her sister’s. Ever since Elise was small, Emerald was always standing up for her.
“Fuck them. They were stingy with the Bellinis anyway,” Emerald said, laying her head on her sister’s shoulder. The day had been set aside for wedding shopping; Emerald had been engaged for nearly a year and had made no arrangements up until then. Her fiancé finally put his foot down towards her flighty behavior and made her choose a wedding date, which was now six weeks away. Even though she’d vowed to give her sister her full attention, Elise’s mind continuously drifted, causing her to check her phone at her every convenience.
“You’ve been staring at that phone all day,” Emerald said, emerging in a massive white dress with matching veil. Elise looked up and immediately lost her words. The dress was covered in ruffles, hiding most of her frame. “Too much?” she asked sarcastically before bursting into laughter.
“A bit,” Elise said before glancing back at her phone.
“You’re waiting for a boy to call!” Emerald exclaimed. She bunched up the dress and made her way to her sister’s side.
“Spill,” she said, whipping the veil out of the way.
“It’s nothing. Just someone I’ve been…spending some time with.”
“That sounds vertical!” Emerald said, pinching her sister on the shoulder.
“Mostly. But he’s amazing. Kind, sweet, and his body!” Elise said before she feigned a faint.
“Who is he?”
“Someone close. I don’t wanna spill the beans until I’m sure.”
“Well, I hope he sees how amazing you are. In the meantime, I need to change. I think this dress is growing.”
6 weeks ago
Liam stared at his phone for the second hour in a row, praying for three bubbles to jump across his screen. He’d texted her an hour ago and still no reply. The room around him was abuzz with booze and revelry, the result of the birthday celebration for Amara he’d planned. He would take a small part in the fun, before withdrawing to the lonely stool in the corner. A small part of him knew Ramona wouldn’t show; she’d been her normal elusive self when he’d asked the first time.
A shot glass appeared on the counter next to him, along with Elise, who was licking the wasted liquor off her fingertips. “Why…are you all the way over here when there is a party going on right over there?” she asked, gesturing grandly behind her. Their friends had all exclaimed and began dancing to the Juvenile song that just started.
“Just taking a break.”
“Fuck that,” Elise said before downing her own shot. Liam chuckled and poured the warm, brown liquor down his own throat.
“Now, do you wanna talk about what’s really bugging you?”
“I invited someone and I thought she would show up,” Liam said, shrugging.
“Any girl that stands you up is a special kind of idiot and she doesn’t deserve you,” Elise said. She gave him a warm albeit intoxicated smile and a kiss on the cheek before she returned to the party.
It took Liam a short while to regain his spirits and rejoin the party. In their standard fashion, the crew partied until the wee hours of the morning, dropping off one by one into drunken slumbers. Elise realized that she and Liam had been talking alone for some time. “Wow, it’s almost 5,” she said, lighting another blunt.
“Funny how time flies when you’re having fun,” Liam chuckled. Elise did a slight jig before whipping out her cell phone.
“That’s my damn jam!” she said as the music began playing. She wiggled in her seat to the gentle piano notes and branched into a full dance when Janet began singing. Elise slipped into her own world as she sang along, nearly forgetting Liam was in the room. She opened her eyes and caught him staring. In a split second, she touched her lips to his, letting her curiosity get the best of her. Liam wrapped his arms around her and pulled her down into his lap. His hands spread out on her soft form, lightly gripping her and holding her against his chest. They’d gotten lost in one another until one of the sleeping guest began snoring almost in tempo with the moaning floating from the speakers. Their lips parted and they stared at one another for a second.
“Um…I’d better go,” Elise said, dismounting him and straightening out her clothes.
He couldn’t stop thinking about her, even after his head finally cleared and the liquor had run dry. He’d started, and deleted, a handful of texts to her over the next few days, unsure of his approach. Was it just a drunken mistake? And if so, was she up to make more? He’d finally sat at his computer to do some work when his phone chirped.
Attachment: 1 image.
It was Elise, clad in a black strappy lingerie set that left very little to the imagination.
“Well damn…” Liam said, suddenly feeling the urge to see her. Another message popped up beneath the photo with an address.