Cecile was an angel, Daniel glowed. Watching them, Christy's heart swelled with anticipation. In only a few short weeks that would be her.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Mr and Mrs Scott."
Everyone stood and applauded, turning toward the centre aisle. Christy felt Neil move closer behind her. It was a hot day and it just got warmer. No one was watching them and he took advantage, running his finger down her neck to her collar.
She shivered and laughing, turned to him.
He smiled, cheeky, joyous.
The dancing went on into the evening. The crowd farewelled Dan and Cecile and kept dancing, talking, eating...
Alice was catching up with old friends, thick in conversation. Neil and Christy danced. It had cooled down since the sun had set, but not by much.
One song ended and another begun but Christy stopped, shook her head, turned toward the refreshments table. Neil nodded, followed, and eagerly poured two cups of punch.
"I don't know if I can keep dancing." Christy spoke after drinking half of her punch in one gulp.
"Let's take a walk." He refilled their cups and took her hand.
They walked away from the people and noise, away from the light. The cool, dark quiet was a relief. Christy felt warm like fresh caramel, warm and sticky, from the heat, the dancing, and then there was Neil's constant tantalizing touch. When they stopped walking he let go of her hand. She felt the loss of it and stepped closer. He put his empty cup down between two tree branches. She put hers on top of it.
"Finally I get you to myself." He kissed her temple and trailed kisses down to her jaw.
"I haven't danced with anyone else in hours."
"I know – believe me." He continued the trail of kisses down her neck.
She stretched out her neck, shutting her eyes to savour every sensation.
He gave up the quest and kissed her mouth, pulling her closer.
She wanted to just melt into him. Her body, reacting without thought, pressed to his, arms pulling closer, senses full of him.
Breaking for breath, they didn't part at all, mouths happily finding other places to kiss, before returning to one another.
"Three weeks," he pried himself away, "is a very long time."
She nodded her agreement, a nervous hand at her throat where he'd peppered a hundred kisses. Her pulse beat violently against her fingers. She thought she should be embarrassed, but she wasn't. It felt so good to lose control. She met his eyes, full of desire, and a little amusement.
It was really hot. She fanned her face with her hand, which did nothing. Undoing the top button of her blouse she took a deep breath of cool night air and laughed. This was crazy behaviour – not like her at all. But then, she'd never been in a situation quite like this before.
Neil leaned back on the tree, ran his fingers through his hair, trying to slow his racing heart with deep, deliberate breaths.
She took languid steps toward him, eyes locked to his. It felt as though he was pulling her in and warning her at the same time. She couldn't resist. She traced her fingertips down his cheek and kissed him, her hands trailing around his shoulders, relishing the solid strength beneath her fingertips.
He kissed her neck again and she arched against him. Then he stopped, didn't move. Just stopped. She opened her eyes and looked at him. He brushed his thumb against her chest, against the scar, then kissed it and rested his head against her shoulder. "I love you."
She draped her arms around his shoulders, rubbed his head, kissed his hair. "I love you."
They stood in that silent embrace till their breathing was back to normal.
"Don't expect me to say this again in the next three weeks," Christy straightened, "but you'd better button me up and take me back to the party."
He laughed and kissed her, "Will you never cease to amaze me?" He kissed her again.
"I'll try not to," she did up her top button, "not to cease to."
He smiled and turned her around, "Quick, back to the party before we don't go back to the party."
"Is that an option?" She did as she was told, walking toward the lights.
"Oh yes, but no."
She took his hand, "Three weeks."
"We could just elope."
"Only to be murdered in our bed by my mother."
"It would be a shame."
"But it can't be helped."
"Our cups-" Neil let go of hand and ran back to get them.