Once Upon a Time – Chapter 2
January 15, 2012
A full moon and long, shallow puddles across the road and pavements painted the night outside in chiaroscuro, silver and black. Ian and Dolly staggered hand-in-hand over an arched bridge in front of the palatial Innocenti town house, occasionally losing their grasp on each other and weaving apart with loud exclamations and much laughter, then veering in again to be reunited through a random process of misplaced hugs, hand clasps, ass-grabbing and yet more laughter. At last, reaching the street and the pillared balustrade looking over the wide, flat vacancy of the river, Ian lifted his girl up to the top of the wall and gave her a long, breathless kiss while she wrapped her legs around him.
Resting her chin on his shoulder, Dolly watched the house out of the corner of one eye, nuzzling gently at his neck and ear while she murmured “I thought we were supposed to pretend to be drunk and horny?”
The two broad-shouldered men at the townhouse’s front door gave them only cursory glances. Once they had left the front gate, they’d ceased to be of any concern, despite the enthusiasm with which they’d expelled the couple mere moments before.
“I’m doing really well,” Ian mumbled into her neck, pausing to puff out the few strands of her hair that clung to his lips, “…at about half of that. Any sign of Mike yet?”
She shook her head, snapping a play-bite at his shoulder. “Nuh-uh. Everything seems calm, though.” Her fingers squeezed at the top of his right arm. “Wait a minute… There he is.” Nothing more than a flicker of movement at a top floor window, a shadow blending into first, a trellis, then up to the black shingle of the roof. “He’s going over the bicep.”
Ian pulled back to look at her face, a huge, mischievous grin claiming the lower half of his face. “Did you just say ‘bicep’ for no reason?”
She flushed, lower her eyes, but there was an answering sparkle in her eyes as she squeezed her legs to pull him back against her. “No.” She shook her head, lips pressed solemnly together, but her body shook with suppressed mirth.
“No, you didn’t just say ‘bicep’?” He was laughing too, cupping her head between his hands as he rested his brow on the crown of her head, smelling the soft, subtle scent that always clung in her hair.
She squeezed his arm again. “No, I said ‘bicep.’ I just had a really good reason for it.”
“Well now, if there are any other muscles you’d like to inspect…”
A quiet splash came from the water behind them and Ian looked down to see Mike’s head and shoulders breaking the surface of the water. He was still wearing his tuxedo; it clung heavily to his limbs as he grabbed the bottom of the balustrade and pulled himself up.
“I thought you two were supposed to be waiting at Meier’s Yard?” Mike kept his voice to a harsh whisper, his wet clothes and hair making their own rain as they dripped into the black glass water around him.
Ian tucked his chin into his wife’s shoulder and hissed at his friend. “Something came up. Can’t you wait for ten frigging minutes?”
“No I bloody can’t! It’s freezing in here and this tux is a rental!”
“Fine! Five minutes, then!” He gave his wife an apologetic kiss on the forehead. “Sorry, love, no foreplay.”
She gave him a wide-eyed, vapid look. “What’s foreplay?”
“Behave!” Ian’s jaw set. “Right! Mike, give me the ring!”
A dripping arm stretched up from the shadow of the wall, meeting Ian’s down-stretched hand and slapping something small and gleaming into the palm. “Rendezvous in the bar for a couple of drinks after I’ve changed?” Mike whispered.
Ian shook his head sternly and lifted Dolly down from the balustrade, giving her a solid slap on the rump that sent a seismic wave running from back to front and quite wiped out his ability to think of work along with any wish to look at a skinny, wet, rat-faced thief instead of his girl.
“No way, mate. Tomorrow’s soon enough for celebrating. I’ve got one more job to do before tonight’s over.”
Ian straightened his tie and gave a purposeful thrust of his chin. “Got me some educating to do!” He aimed a kick at Mike’s fingers, sending the other man dropping back into the water with a splash and a drowned expletive, then jogged after the mesmeric swish of his wife’s hips. As they faded into the night together, there was a squeal, then more giggling and finally there was nothing save the rhythmic wash of the tidal river.