Just a reminder to, please, support two of my current endeavours: Hammer Up! on Amazon Kindle Scout (there’s still time to nominate it and get a chance to receive a free copy in a couple weeks); and Due North on Inkitt.com (sign in and grab a free copy of the full story before they’re all gone and the contest is over! You get a funny story, and I might win a publication contract. And please, leave a review. Just a few words are enough!)
Killian and Lan’s engagement party is the acest, raddest, most hilarious thing ever!
But first there was this one thing… When the two muppets told you and John that they’re tying the knot, and they were thoroughly congratulated, Lan nonchalantly announced that his Dad was throwing the engagement party. The four of you were having dinner at your place; Killian and John cooked. The piece of news was released over the dessert, and you choked on your Black Forest cake, while John lifted one eyebrow – especially highly.
“Your Dad… Your Dad, Elliot Thrandon is throwing you an engagement party?” you asked, and Lan also cocked an eyebrow. This one wasn’t questioning; it’s more of a half wiggle. “I mean, he’s perpetually arsed up, so he knows how to… be merry; but I thought he didn’t approve…” You bit your tongue, but Killian seemed to be fine with it. He chuckled, and shook his finger at you.
“I’m a Durinson, and a nephew of the Dr. John Thorington, Wrennie.” He saluted you with his glass. “I might not have tits, which he’d hoped for Lan; and especially not such glorious ones as yours, but I’m the best Thrandon could get in this family.”
“What do the gloriousness of my tits have to do with it?” you snorted.
“They’ve been mentioned,” Lan drew out, and it’s John’s turn to choke on his cake.
“Pardon?” You gawked at Lan.
“My Dad is still not over them. It’s going to be fun at the party. His nose is looking even better than before, by the way.” Lan gave John a meaningful look.
“What the actual..?” you muttered. “I’ve only met your Dad once. And it’s been years!”
“He’s mentioned you since then… Might have something to do with how much you look like Mom.” Lan shrugged, and you whipped your head, and gave John a death glare. Seriously?! He could have bloody mentioned that!
“Only in size. And the eyes I guess. Well, the hair, and the mouth too…” John innocently sipped his wine. He was so getting an earful later!
“I thought he was chatting me up to cock you up!” you hissed at John.
“Oh, he was,” John answered, and smirked. “But we’ve always had similar taste in women.”
“Oh, that’s just grand,” you groaned. The three men laughed. “Thank goodness, it’s all complete bollocks, and you three are just taking the piss.” You threw a hopeful look around. “Right?” Three glasses were lifted in a salute, and you stuffed a forkful of cake into your mouth.
Oh c’mon, that would be simply ridiculous if they weren’t joking. You had indeed met the man only once; and it’s not a harlequin novel where He would been harbouring some sort of obsessive desire for Her for a long time. Also, men get fixated on the likes of their previous paramours only in the books of Jude Deveraux.
That evening you googled Imogen Thrandon, née O’Sullivan.
All you can say is ‘oh poop.’
The hall rented for the party is as posh as they come. Everything is decorated in white and silver, probably to go with Thrandon’s personal monochrome style. He’s almost always dressed in black and white, probably to match his long white hair and the surreal black eyebrows – you always get surprised when you see them. Seriously, like a jack-in-a-box toy, they just jump at a person, no matter how much one prepares oneself for them.
Lan and Killian look amazing, a blond and a brunet. And then you snort when you see that Killian’s wearing a burgundy tux, with a blood red waistcoat and a bowtie of a slightly darker shade. Way to stick it up to his future father-in-law! And John’s choice of a red bowtie with a white jacket becomes so much more understandable.
You’re wearing a black silk, floor length dress, tunic like, with a low V-neck right down to your waist. The back is bare, and John’s warm palm lies below your shoulder blades. A pleasant shiver runs down your spine. The two of you are still riding the wave of your sort of reconciliation. The ‘old couple’ mode hasn’t kicked in yet; and you two just can’t keep your hands off each other.
“Wren, darling, you look dazzling!” Dea’s voice is the first thing that greets you when the two of you come in.
You haven’t seen her since the wedding dress shopping trip. Oops.
John’s hand on your back twitches, and then he rubs your skin with his thumb in a comforting gesture. You stretch your lips in a polite smile.
“You’re simply glowing,” she purrs, before you can say anything, and her eyes run over your body. Hm, what’s this about? And then she notices the brace on John’s ankle. It does look good paired with one black Ferragamo, doesn’t it? “John, dear, what happened?”
“We were building a human pyramid,” you answer without missing a beat, and John emits a loud guffaw. All her toff upbringing forgotten, Dea’s gaping; the two of you pass her and go inside.
“Minx,” John whispers in your ear, and you throw him a side glance from under your lashes. He kisses your naked shoulder; and goosebumps gallop down your spine.
You see couple of your and Lan’s colleagues from the Rivendell; and you give them a wave.
“Oh, please, don’t leave me alone,” John whines in a fake high pitched voice. “Everyone here is either your mate, or old and boring.”
“Tough tits, love,” you answer to him. “Welcome to my life.”
You let go of his arm, and head to your friends, pretty much feeling his eyes on your arse. You’re feeling very good about your arse today. The black silk hugs it just the right way – which has already been confirmed by how you had to quickly take it off, once you got dressed couple hours ago and were putting on your jewellery, to save it from being crumpled when Dr. Sexy threw you on the bed and ravished you shamelessly. You might be adding extra bounce to your step.
Half an hour into mingling and chatting, you feel peckish. It’s the ‘standing and decorously eating canapés’ part of the evening, and you slowly make your way to the tables. You find Killian there, his plate loaded – and Phil in front of him, with some tall skinny brunette glued to his side.
“Wren!” Killian greets you, and you give him a tight, one-armed hug, and an almost kiss to his cheek – no need to smear your Guerlain Kiss Kiss Red Passion on him.
“Wren, this is Amanda, and you’ve met my brother Phil,” Killian sing-songs in a innocent tone.
“No need to pussyfoot around it, Killian. Amanda is aware of my past,” Phil announces in a toff voice, and turns to you. “Good to see you again, Wren.” His tone is a bit sour.
You give him a polite smile. “Hi. The pleasure is all mine.” You turn to his date. “Hi. I’m Wren.”
She’s stretched her hand to you, and you shake it. Her eyes are coldly studying you.
“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Thorington,” she greets you. Ouch. And brava, on the other hand. That’s a hell of a demonstration of being in the know, if you’ve ever seen one. That’s basically a ‘I know all about you, pet; and I don’t approve’ line, in a neat package consisting of two words.
“I kept my surname, actually.” You smile to her widely. “Men in this family tend to get a smidge possessive. I like to remind them it’s post Lady Rhondda era we’re living in.”
She blinks uncontrollably. That was a low blow, Wrennie my dear. The chick is clearly American; and the historical reference was obscure at best.
Phil gives you a glare, and steers his plus one away from you.
“What’s a ‘lady rhondda?’” Killian asks, futilely trying to hide his sniggering under coughing.
“Look it up, love,” you answer with a flair, and snatch a vol-au-vent off his plate. He bursts into laughter; you’re chewing and smiling.
“She’s American. Daddy is a big pharmaceutical company. We hate her,” Killian reports, and you sneak a peek while loading moreish looking bites on your plate.
“We as in you and your Mother? Or you and Lan?” These would be radically different things, yeah?
“Lan and I,” he answers, and gives you a pointed look. “Mother is elated. Amanda has a sister, couple years younger. I think Mother contributed into Phil’s choice between the two of them more than Phil himself.” You cringe.
“What are we gossiping about?” Lan asks coming up and wrapping his arms around your and Killian’s waists.
“We’re being unfairly cruel about Phil’s private life,” Killin answers, and quickly kisses Lan’s cheek.
“There’s nothing unfair about being cruel about his private life.” Lan is perusing the table. “As I said before, he should’ve rebelled and did what you and John did – chose an undeserving slag.”
Al three of you snigger, and you throw a look over your shoulder. Your rebellious, slag loving Dr Delicious is on the other end of the hall, chinwagging with a couple of Japanese gentlemen from the Yamataki Fund. And then he turns and meets your eyes. Awww, he felt your looking! You smile to him, and don’t even find your own loved-up ogling that daft. C’mon, the man is a sex god, a grand husband, and he just gave you a wink! Can it get any better?
“Mom has been hinting you’re preggers, by the way. To anyone who listens,” Killian deadpans near you, and some sort of a fancy pork tapa gets stuck in your throat.
“What?” you rasp out, and quickly pick up a glass of water.
“Yeah, what’s that about? She even asked me if I noticed anything.” Killian gives you a theatrically inquisitive squinted look. “Are you in the family way, Mrs. Thorington?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” you answer, still trying to push the appetizer down your throat.
“Hm… Maybe just another of her bennies.” Killian shrugs.
You throw a quick glance at Deadre. She’s standing near the central piece, with none other than Mr. Elliot Thrandon himself. And then he turns and catches your eyes. You whip your head, like the last moron. He’s seen you looking, you daft cow! You should have smiled politely! And now it looks like you stared and then tried to hide it. Bollocks.
You pick up your plate and escape into the safety of the company of Dr. Elvig. At least here you know what to expect.
“Miss Leary,” he greets you, and you smile sincerely. “You’re positively glowing tonight.”
What the fuck?!