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This is a slow burn, in multiple parts. Nothing but kissing and suggestiveness in this first part.
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The Wedding of the Fashion Dolls
© 2021 CeVin_ChienElle
Elody Conners was bored out of her skull. She was only at the dinner because the Conners contingent was so shy of relatives. It wasn’t like she’d had anything to rehearse.
She felt a perverse desire for a cigarette, though her last smoke had been ground out between a deck shoe and a dock more than two decades previously. That was back when Obelia was still charming and fascinating. “Beelee” had been able to coax her into anything.
Judith had charmed her into sucking on (among other things) the end of a burning paper tube stuffed with shredded leaves a bit over a decade and a half before Beelee had charmed her into stopping. Well, stopping the burning tubes. She owed Beelee that, at least. Maybe it was worth the heartbreak.
Judith had flitted away, and Beelee had sneaked away, and now here she was after a lifetime of acquaintances, sitting near the end of the table in a posh Italian restaurant in Grosse Pointe Woods, trying to stay awake for her niece’s—and soon to be niece in law’s—rehearsal dinner. The niece who’d been in kindergarten when Elody had quit smoking was now going to marry the love of her life. They were absolutely soul mates, you could see it when they looked at each other. Whatever might come later, right now all they wanted was to share their lives. Share their life. Live and grow old together.
Tomorrow they’d make it official. Lucky little twerps.
She really was happy for them when the green-eyed monster was being kept at bay, but it just wasn’t fair, dammit! Apart from the facts that they could even get married and had found each other, they were both stunning. Like, “model turned movie star” stunning.
In El’s opinion Bandia, her niece, and Anilaja, Bandi’s fiancee—collectively known as “BandAnja”—were only allowed to get married because the goddesses were amused by the fact that they would frustrate the het males. That and they couldn’t reproduce directly with each other. Combining those genes would produce women too beautiful to be allowed. The goddesses would wipe them out with no better excuse than preemptive jealousy.
“Bandia” and “Anilaja,” for mercy’s sake. Irish for “goddess” and Hindi for “perfect.” El remembered when she had been that slim, that smooth, that… taut. Never quite that good looking, of course, but BandAnja were so good looking they weren’t as good looking as they were, since nobody could possibly be that goddamn’ good looking!
Not that El thought her own looks would turn anyone to stone. Her twenties through mid thirties had had a few downsides, but those had little to do with her appearance. Really she couldn’t bring to mind any but her brother Willy and her truly stellar record at failed relationships. That last was a considerable downside, but otherwise the span had been pretty good, even if it had started badly.
Those relationships, though. If you could call anything as one-sided as both of them had been “a relationship.” Fifteen years wasted on two women, both of whom were “The One,” even though neither of them ever told her she was. Plenty of people had told her neither of them were, but what did “plenty of people” know?
She put a hard stop on that train of thought and re-boarded the “hot-ass twenty-something nieces” line. Better to be envious than bitter.
Not that she ever wanted to be that young again, of course, or even have that body again. Well, maybe the skin. Lines were fine (if they were fine) but when the skin under her jaw started to sag a little it was a tad alarming, although she found it kind of sexy on other women, and yes she knew you didn’t think it was sagging, but that was not the point. Her twenty-six year old self would have balked hard at the idea of taking someone who looked her current age to bed, and yes, she also knew that you didn’t think that, but who the hell cared what you thought anyway? She knew she wasn’t that attractive to young women, because kids were so shallow, so shut up, oh nameless critic.
She sighed and picked at her ravioli. She was seated between “Mr. Sorry I didn’t catch your name okay fine then just totally ignore me you rude old bastard,” and “Marge, Anilaja’s Lesbian Aunt.” She’d heard the capital letters when Marge was introduced by one of the Matrons of Honor—maybe Ani’s MoH? Whatever. She and Marge had chatted for a minute, and then some family member up the table had grabbed Marge’s attention and kept it. Tenaciously. Marge had actually attempted to turn back to her right-hand table mate multiple times, but with zero success.
The over-explicitness of the introduction hadn’t been necessary. El had known for some time that Bandia’s girl had an aunt who wasn’t straight, but this was the kocaeli escort first time they’d met. Not surprising, really, since she’d only met Ani a handful of times previous to the dinner. Very brief meetings, all of them. “Ani, this is my Aunt El. She’s ‘Fam,'” was the first meeting, and “you remember my Aunt Elody” were most of the rest. The longest conversation she’d had with Ani lasted less than fifteen minutes, although it was long enough to tell her that the girl was absolutely delightful.
Anyway, it was nice that The Other Lesbian Aunt was not just “not straight,” but also very good looking. Maybe forty-five or so, so old enough to converse with without having to explain most of the references. Deliciously curvy everywhere she should be. Toned but not a hardbody. Dark brown, almost black hair pulled into a loose braid, with the occasional meteoric streak in the midst of that warm dark night. Deep brown eyes. A very nice neck. Kissable ear lobes. Full-but-not-pouty lips. Really interesting from the waist all the way down to the feet—she’d caught that much as the woman was being seated. Just all-over attractive.
Very attractive. Subtly visible “points of interest” if you looked very carefully. She could imagine…
“Turn off the video, Elody,” said her shoulder angel, “and eat your expensive Ravioli dinner, you wanton!” Her shoulder angel was an uptight little snot. “Are you seriously considering propositioning your niece’s aunt? Honestly, Elody! You’re a bit too grown-up for this sort of nonsense.”
Her shoulder devil wasn’t saying much. She was just dragging her pitchfork’s tines across the tips of Elody’s nipples, which would be very unsubtly visible if they weren’t suitably restrained and camouflaged. The little demon sent the occasional tentative zing into El’s “area of yearning,” which was when the slutty little bitch repeated the only thing she was saying: “Been a while, hasn’t it Honey?”
Really deep brown eyes, with a dusting of gold. Mesmerizing irises that dilated until they almost disappeared when their eyes had met.
Marge was saying “okay, okay, I’ll call you and we can talk about,” and Elody had just stuffed half of a very tasty cheese-filled pasta pillow into her mouth, when the server who was refilling the tea of the old bastard next to her overbalanced their tray. A carafe of ice water fell onto her shoulder, and her spastic reaction bounced it onto Marge’s chest. They shrieked in succession at the onslaught of the frigid liquid, El twice as the carafe was flung back when Marge jerked her hand up. It dumped crushed ice down El’s bodice and into her lap.
Both women jumped up and grabbed their napkins, intent on wiping away the water. They began apologizing to each other, competing with the Server’s apologies and, when he got there, the Headwaiter’s blithering. The Headwaiter was so obsequious it took less than fifteen seconds before El wanted to smack him one.
“Alright,” said El, taking another swipe at her chest, “why don’t you stop apologizing and just get our places cleaned up and our food replaced? Flapping your hands and saying how sorry you are isn’t fixing anything. The restroom has air dryers, yes? Good. C’mon Margery. Let’s get dried off while the table gets fixed.” She grabbed her purse and put a guiding hand on Margery’s back.
As they headed toward the restrooms, her fellow dousing victim said “I go by ‘Marj,’ or ‘Marji.’ Actually, it’s ‘Marjani,’ with a ‘J’ and ending with an ‘I.’ It’s kind of desi, although it’s pretty much usually a surname, I think. Mama didn’t really know what she was doing, because my great grandfather effectively put the kibosh on anything Indian when he got here. He figured out fairly quickly that being a brown person with an Indian accent was not such a good thing in the early 1900’s if you were ‘just an immigrant.'”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said El. “It wasn’t just race, for what it’s worth. My great grandfather’s family came from Quebec, and the American schoolteachers paddled him whenever he spoke French. He never taught his kids anything but English.”
“‘Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'” Marj wryly quoted, and shrugged.
The restroom was big enough to have two stalls, two sinks, a towel dispenser, and an air dryer. The restroom was also the location of a primary vent for the air-conditioning, apparently. “Must want people to get in and get out before they freeze to death,” Marj observed.
“Well, it would keep people from hogging the stalls, I guess. Why have a lock on the door if there are two stalls?”
Marj raised her eyebrows, shook her head and shrugged. El waved a hand under the dryer, crouched down, and thrust her bust under the vent. She held out her arms and moved her torso back and forth. She couldn’t see the woman behind her, but she thought she heard giggling.
She craned her head back over her shoulder. “What?”
Marj giggled kocaeli escort bayan a bit more before replying. “You have a fascinating butt, and though you’re a little too conservatively dressed you look like you’re at Carnaval, crouched on a balcony over the parade and shakin’ your tits!”
El frowned. “Thank you. I’ve never been, but I’ll take your word for it. I would think I’m a little old for that.”
“You’re welcome, and age is no impediment, believe me. They take getting ready for Lent very seriously in Rio! Everybody gets into the act. Young or old, y’gotta get all that sinning you haven’t gotten around to done, girl! It’s gonna theoretically be five weeks before you find anyone who’s up for brillo boogie!”
El literally fell on her ass laughing; she’d been reaching to wave a hand under the dryer vent and get it started again, but lost her balance when she was blindsided by Marj’s description. “‘Brillo boogie!?’ Oh my god! Okay, that’s a new one on me.” She got up to wash her hands and asked, “I assume that’s tribbing for the au naturel crowd?”
“Scissoring, specifically, but yeah. You alright?”
“I’m fine. I’m sufficiently padded. I’m also dry enough, so it’s your turn.”
“Well,” said Marj as she pulled down a towel and dusted off El’s butt, “I’m dry enough too, waiting for you. The damp doesn’t show so much on this blouse. You, on the other hand, are still pretty obviously um, ‘less than arid’ around, um,” Marj raised an eyebrow and vaguely waved her hand around in front, “the ‘brillo’ area.”
El raised an eyebrow back as she started drying her hands. “Ah-HEM,” she said, over the fan noise. “There was an ice cube stuck in a bad spot for a second there. Anyway, I think only someone who was looking with nefarious intent would notice any lack of aridity.”
“Is that a word?” Marj asked, as she unlocked and opened the door. She was just in time to see BandAnja walking up together and looking concerned. She said, “we’re being checked on,” over her shoulder.
El stepped up behind her. “No worries girls. We were able to get our lipstick straightened out before you knocked.” El patted Marj’s hip and winked at her, while Marj squeezed her eyes shut and covered her mouth to keep from laughing too loud.
“We didn’t,” said Bandi, ignoring all that.
“Didn’t knock,” said Ani.
“Oh,” said Marj. “Well we didn’t either.”
“Don’t be nonsensical,” Marj retorted. “‘We didn’t’ frantically finger each other into bliss.”
“We,” said El, haughtily, “are properly decorous old dykes! We’ll do the fingering in the alley, later.” She held out her arm to Marj, who took her elbow. They walked, noses in the air, back to the table.
Ani looked at Bandi, Bandi looked back, and they shook their heads. Bandi blew out a breath. “They just met. TONIGHT! Chayzus. I can’t wait for the reception.”
Ani grabbed her hand and pulled her along, following their aunts. “Yeah. Well, we had to get them together.” She glanced at her fiancee. “Where are they sitting for the reception?”
“They’re not right next to each other, just close. I mean, we had to give them the space if it doesn’t work out, you know that. They’re at three and four, the big round tables in front? Marj is at four o’clock at table three, and El’s at eight o’clock at four.”
“Oh boy. Abbot and effing Costello in perfect position to raise a ruckus. And they really like each other. Already! This may’ve worked way too well.”
Bandia squeezed her hand. “I don’t think it could work too well. I just hope it works well enough.”
The rest of the dinner went very well, at least from the perspective of the bride’s aunts. They spent the remaining forty-five minutes chatting with each other and getting El introduced to some of Marjani and Anilaja’s family, mostly by being very loud and talking to people four or more seats away.
El pulled out of her funk, and she and Marj talked with Laoise, El’s sister-in-law and Bandia’s mother, and Nancy, El’s younger sister. The old guy next to her was actually Bandi’s Physics teacher from High School, and not a bastard at all. He was a bit deaf, and painfully shy, but a very nice old guy. Bandi had wanted him to walk her down the aisle, but he couldn’t do it for some reason. She’d invited him to the rehearsal anyway.
Further up the table Ani’s mother, Cynthia, let the conversation swirl around her and ignored El and Marj. She was the one who’d established what “up” and “down” the table meant, by decree. The general attitude from Ani’s circle seemed to be “whatever, Cindy,” so everyone just went with it. Cindy really, literally ignored El and Marj, as if they didn’t exist. She was five seats “up” the table on the same side as “the silly aunts,” so it wasn’t a big problem. All Marj would tell El about her sister was “neither of us is a particular hit or boost to Cindy’s kocaeli escort status at the moment, so we needn’t bother about her. She sure as hell won’t bother about us.”
Ani’s father James, in contrast, was out of his seat as much as he was in it. He wandered around the table getting introduced to everyone he didn’t know and exchanging pleasantries with everyone in general.
“I see you two are getting along,” he said, as Marj got up and hugged him.
“We have a bit in common,” said Marj. “We were baptized together.”
James leaned over to El and said, in a theatrical whisper, “make sure you get a word in edgewise, if you can.”
Towards the fortieth minute past the drowning incident, El caught BandAnja giving each other a meaningful glance after she and Marj had tag-teamed someone up the table in the never-ending Detroit Regional Sarcastic Zinger Competition. That was the third time she’d caught them exchanging such a glance. El had gone from “bored out of my skull” to “don’t make me leave yet,” and was feeling like she’d known Marj forever. The meaningful glances between their nieces, she decided, must mean something. She and Marj glanced at each other (as they had been doing at least every twenty seconds since returning from the restroom.) El raised an eyebrow a fraction and leaned toward her new friend.
Marj leaned as well. “The looks they’ve been giving each other?”
El nodded. “You read my mind.”
“Only fair. You’ve been reading mine all evening. So. If I was a betting bimbo, I’d bet that they set us up.”
El nodded again. “Have you caught the ‘having second thoughts’ vibe, or am I seeing things?”
“Oh, I definitely have. I think they’re worried.” Marj glanced up the table. “They’re doing it right now,” and she instantly turned back, leaned in all the way, and kissed El.
El saw it coming, and reacted on instinct. She leaned in to meet her.
It was a nice little peck. It gave El the warm fuzzies. Way, way back in her mind some small risk management group was freaking out, but they were easy to ignore at that moment.
Immediately after the little kiss, Marj leaned further into, and a bit behind El, and turned to face the brides. She and El ended up with arms over shoulders, cheek to cheek and grinning like maniacs. Both MoH’s got really good pictures, one of which was immediately posted with the caption “BandAnja’s rainbow aunts, fresh from a snog.” The other picture was posted with the caption “Awwwwwwww,” two “laughing so hard I’m crying” and fifteen heart emojis, ending with “so adorable!!!!!”
Another immediate aftereffect of the incident was the satisfying look of total blankness on both of their nieces’ faces—a frozen “deer in the headlights emotionlessness” kind of look. El and Marj sat there chuckling and watching their nieces looking worried, but the chuckles became infrequent.
“Y’know,” said El, “they’re getting married tomorrow.”
“Lotsa stress,” said Marj.
“We probably oughta…”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Good. It’s time to go, anyway.”
Marj got out of her chair, retrieved her purse and headed up the table, greeting relatives and family friends as she went. When she was about to go around the end of the table El grabbed her jacket and bag and headed down the table and around the end near her. The women continued back to the middle, where they met up as they reached Bandia and Anilaja. They crouched next to each other’s nieces. Marj looked over at El, then at Bandi. “El and I want to thank you for sitting us next to each other. We’ve had a blast!”
“But,” said El, looking at Ani, “even though we got a bang out of teasing you tonight, you know that we understand that tomorrow is your day, right? Your crazy aunts would never ever do anything to take that away from you, or spoil it for you!”
“We love you too much to screw that up,” said Marj as she patted Bandi’s shoulder.
El squeezed Ani’s hand and gave her a—hopefully reassuring—smile. “We really do!”
The girls stood up radiating relief, and there were hugs and cheek-pecks and multiple repetitions of “love you” all around.
“They’re so young,” said El.
“And so nervous!” answered Marj.
“I always imagined I’d be that way.”
Marj gave her a sort of sad and resigned look. She put an arm around El’s waist, leaned her head over and said, “We were just born too early.”
“Or way too late.” El patted the soft, warm hand on her hip. “Well, this is me,” she said, as they walked up behind her red Prius. She turned in Marj’s arm until they were hugging.
“Well?” she asked, bringing her face a bit closer to Marj’s.
“Well what?” asked Marj, leaning just shade closer in return.
“Well are you going to kiss me again?”
“I… was not sure you would want me to?”
“Well now you’re just being silly,” said El, as their lips met. El’s shoulder devil had pinned down her shoulder angel with her pitchfork, and had a red stiletto-shod foot on the angel’s mouth.
It was a very, very nice kiss for the ten seconds it lasted before Marj’s phone started an obnoxious, strident beeping.
Under their breaths Marj, El, and El’s shoulder devil all said “Fuck.”
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