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Title and Copyright Page

Sharing Seals

Menage Military Romance

Author: Zelda Clemens


© Copyright 2016 by Zelda Clemens

All rights reserved.

In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person,

living or dead, is purely coincidental.


From the Author:

2 Special Bonus Stories INSIDE!

Thank you for purchasing this book.



Table of Contents


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Sharing Seals

Description

Best friends, Patrick and Kevin, have always done everything together, from Boy Scouts to high school sports to the Navy. Now these two SEALS have returned to their hometown on leave only to discover that another close friend from school is preparing to deploy and wants to get married before he goes.

Thrown into planning an impromptu wedding, the two meet the bride's sister and soon find themselves engaged in much more than just picking out flowers and booking a wedding band.


Chapter 1

"I can't believe your room looks exactly the same," Kevin said, walking into the small bedroom at the top of the old house and reaching up to tap the bunkbed wall with one palm.

He turned around and tossed his canvas duffel bag to the floor. The clothing inside made a dull thump when it hit the worn, aged wooden boards and the canvas sagged as if it was as tired after their long trip as he was. Patrick stepped in and looked around the space with a nostalgic sparkle in his eye. He sighed, one hand clasped around the woven strap of the identical canvas duffel bag looped over his shoulder and Kevin saw a soft smile touch his best friend's lips.

There were so many memories in that space and they were all reflected in Patrick's gaze as he looked at each piece of furniture, each poster, and each reminder of his younger years throughout the bedroom. It was as if he had never walked out of it six years before when they left together to join the Navy. Now with the years of SEAL training and their first tour behind them, they were finally back in their hometown. Even though they felt completely different, much of what they had seen had proven that nothing had really changed in the little town where they had both grown up.

"It hasn't," Patrick said.

"It's like your parents kept it as a shrine to you."

Patrick laughed and stepped into the room, seemingly broken out of the sentimental spell that had been cast over him by the sight of his childhood bedroom by his best friend's sarcasm. He dropped his bag to the floor beside Kevin's and immediately clambered up the ladder onto the top bunk of his old bunkbeds.

He had never had a sibling that occupied the bottom bunk, but he had asked for the beds when he was six, and, like always, his parents had obliged. When he met Kevin just a few weeks later, it was like he was being given the brother that was supposed to go into that second bed and his instant best friend ended up spending what seemed like just as much time, if not more, in that bottom bunkbed throughout their childhood than he did in his own bed at his home.

"That's fine with me. Maybe that's what made them keep the house rather than selling it when they retired to Florida. They didn't want to interrupt a historical landmark."

Now it was Kevin's turn to laugh and flop onto his back on the lower bunk so that his position mimicked that of his lifelong best friend on the bed above him. He reached up and ran his fingers along the faded marks of the words and drawings that they had made there over the years. It was like looking at a collage of their lives, the handwriting and themes of the sentiments changing and becoming sharper and edgier as the boys grew older and the lines layered on top of the softer, more playful inscriptions of their younger years.

"That's a plausible idea," he said. "But I think it has a whole lot more to do with them wanting you to finally settle down and find some girl to marry and have a horde of little babies with. They figured that if you had a house to live in, you would just have to fill it up with a family or it wouldn't make sense."

"Yeah," Patrick said. "That will definitely be happening some time soon." Kevin heard him give a derisive laugh. "After six years in the Navy, I have no interest in getting tied down. They are just going to have to be happy with me living here with an equally not tied-down roommate for the time being."

"Speaking of which," Kevin said, swinging his legs off of the side of the bed so that he could stand up and grab his bag. "I'm going to go peruse the bedrooms and decide which one is mine."

"Peruse?" Patrick asked with another laugh. "You sure did pick up some fancy words during the tour."

"They sound good to the girls," Kevin told him. "Something about a man in uniform who sounds smart. They love it."

"Yeah, well, that might work for the girls out there, but I wouldn't recommend wandering into the bar tonight wearing your uniform. I think the girls around here are all too used to you to get fooled by that bull."

Kevin shot a glare over his shoulder at Patrick and walked out of the room. He was familiar enough with the rest of the house that he knew where all of the bedrooms were. Now that he was going to be living there with Patrick as adults, though, the space seemed different. He no longer had to think of the big room at the head of the hallway as Patrick's parents' room, or the smaller room between that room and Patrick's as his mother's sewing room. The room that had been Patrick's father's den was now empty except for rows of heavy bookshelves along one wall and a faded globe on the floor. The final bedroom at the opposite end of the hall had acted as the guest room, but as far as Kevin knew, had never had an actual guest. It had been preserved like Patrick's, exactly as it had been when they were children, complete with frilly white comforter set and pillows covered in a spray of miniature purple flowers and delicate green leaves.


Chapter 2

Patrick and Kevin spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking the truck that contained Kevin's belongings that they had gotten out of the storage unit where his parents had put them before they moved to another town. The family had never been particularly close, but that had been a difficult blow for Kevin to deal with when he got the letter from his mother informing him that they had sold the house that they had always lived in and were moving three towns over so that his father could be closer to his new job.

It had all sounded so positive and optimistic, but Patrick knew that that wasn't the case and that for the most part, the letter had been a lie. Kevin's family had never owned any of the houses that he lived in when he was growing up. Rather, they bounced around from rental property to rental property burning bridges with landlords and making more enemies out of their neighbors with their arguments and late night drunken screaming fits than they did friends.

As for leaving so that his father could be closer to his job, Patrick knew that Kevin's father had never been one to be able to maintain a job for more than a year or so and that at last count he had been without a job for more than a year and a half. More likely than him moving to be close to his job was, they had run out of people who were willing to rent to them and were now moving on in hopes of finding somebody who would hire such an undesirable candidate and rent to a couple without checking their rental history or credit.

Patrick had always felt bad for Kevin and the experiences that he had back home with his family, but he also knew that it was those experiences that made his friendship with him even more important. They were the closest of friends that either of them had ever had, and in a way he felt like having Kevin as his best friend gave his parents the second child that they had always desperately wanted, but had never been able to have, and had given Kevin the type of loving, supportive family that he had never been able to experience either. Almost as soon as they met, Kevin became a fixture at the dinner table, on weekend outings, in the yard playing, and even on family vacations. It was only logical that the two of them would decide to join the Navy and go for SEAL status together.

Once they had everything in the house, Patrick and Kevin took showers, got dressed, and headed out to the neighborhood bar where nearly all of the adults in town gathered on weekends. When they were just out of high school, the pair had spent evenings in the bar playing pool and eating the overly greasy food that filled the menu as they tried to stay beyond the 9 PM cut-off for anyone under the age of 21. Eventually they became such fixtures that in the last weeks before they deployed, they spent nearly all of their time at the bar collecting the good will and advice from the friends, family, and neighbors who gathered there to support them.

Walking back into the bar after more than a year since they had been able to visit on leave before their deployment was just as much coming home again as it had been to step in the house, and immediately Patrick felt the last of the tension and stress ease out of his muscles. They walked up to the bar and slipped onto two of the worn leather stools, but before they could even order their beers, Patrick heard a shout from across the room.

He turned toward the sound of their names being yelled in their direction and saw Evan pushing toward them through the crowd. One of their close friends from school, Evan was supposed to be there that night for their homecoming celebration, but the gleam in his eyes and the slight wobble in his step said that he had been there for much longer and might be celebrating something beyond just his friends coming back.

"Hey, Evan," Patrick said as his friend clasped his hand and pulled him in for a hug.

Evan stepped back and hugged Kevin, pounding him on the back a few jovial times.

"I'm going to do it," Evan announced, opening up his arms and sloshing a bit of beer over the edge of his glass.

"You're going to do what?" Patrick asked.

He looked over at the bartender and gestured at the glass in Evan's hand with his eyes and then between Kevin and him with one finger. The bartender nodded and reached for two glasses, filling them with a frothy ale from the tap and sliding them toward the two men.

"I'm getting deployed."

"What?" Kevin asked, setting the beer his had picked up to sip down and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"I'm getting deployed."

"I thought you were in the reserves."

"I am, but my unit got called up. I'm leaving in six weeks."

"Wow," Patrick said, unsure of what else to say. Evan seemed unusually excited at the prospect and he wasn't sure what the appropriate response at that moment would be. "That's…"

Before he could finish, Evan whirled around and reached his arm out toward a blond woman standing a few feet away. She took his hand and let him pull her toward them.

"That's not the good part," he said. "This is."

"Hi," the woman said, extending her hand to them. "I'm Brandy."

"Brandy and I are getting married."

"Married?" Patrick asked.

He had never met this woman and the announcement was truly surprising to him.

"Yep. She just agreed to it a few minutes ago."

"That's great, Evan," Kevin said, sounding more convinced than Patrick was feeling, but still hesitant. "When's the big day?"

"As soon as possible," Evan said. "We want to do it before I leave. I wanted to ask the two of you if you'll be my groomsmen."

Patrick looked at Kevin and then back at Evan. They both nodded. Regardless of the circumstances, their friend was getting married and they knew that it was their responsibility to be there for him.

"Of course," Patrick said, lifting his glass as if in toast of Evan.

"Awesome," Evan said. He looked back over his shoulder and another blond woman, this one smaller and slightly younger-looking than the first, walked up. "This is Brandy's sister, Eileen."

"You'll be helping me plan the wedding."

Patrick was so lost in Eileen's big green eyes and the swell of her hips beneath her tight jeans that he almost missed that sentence. When it sank in he snapped his eyes to Evan and then back to Eileen.

"What?"


Chapter 3

"What do you mean we're going to be helping you plan the wedding?" Patrick asked.

Eileen looked up at her sister, who glanced over at Evan, who looked at Patrick and Kevin sheepishly. He shifted around for a few seconds as if he were trying to come up with the right thing to say at that moment.

"I should probably have mentioned that, huh?"

"Mentioned what?" Kevin asked, his voice leading like he wanted to force Evan to say exactly what he was thinking.

"Well…" Evan hesitated for a few more moments before going into his explanation. "I probably should have mentioned that the position of groomsmen comes with the fun and responsibility of helping Eileen plan Brandy and my wedding."

"Fun?" Kevin said unsurely.

Evan nodded, seeming to smile as wide as he could so that he could demonstrate just how much fun it would be for the two confirmed bachelors to team up with a woman they didn't even know to plan a last-minute wedding.

"It'll be a blast," Eileen said. She looked at the bartender and gestured for another drink, accepting it when he held it out to her. "Want to go sit down and talk about it a bit?"

The last thing that Patrick wanted to do at that moment was go sit and talk about a wedding, but he did want to continue looking at Eileen, so he was willing to go along with it. He nodded and followed Eileen as she led him toward a booth in a shadowy corner of the bar. He could feel Kevin following behind him and heard Brandy whispering to Evan as they walked away. He felt somewhat ambushed by the sudden proposal that he and Kevin be the ones that were going to put together Evan's wedding. But the sway of Eileen's hips and the soft glisten of her hair in the lights of the bar helped to lessen the negative feelings.

When they reached the booth, Eileen slid into the seat on one side of the table and positioned herself directly in the middle of the cushion, indicating that she expected the two men to sit on the other side facing her. They complied, sliding into place and setting their beers in front of them and staring at her expectantly.

"I know that you probably aren't thrilled to be roped into doing this, especially when you just got home and you were expecting a celebration for the two of you," she said, taking a sip of her own drink.

"It's an interesting change of events," Patrick said, wanting to agree with her but also not wanting to sound like he didn't care about how Evan felt.

"Evan has been really excited about the two of you coming home and being in the wedding," she said seriously. "He says that you two are the closest friends that he still has."

That statement sent a slight wave of guilt through Patrick and he looked at Kevin, giving him an expression that he knew would speak to his best friend without him having to use words. They had been able to communicate that way since they were very young and were still able to tell what the other one was thinking just by looking at each other.

"What can we do?" Patrick asked.

Eileen shifted, straightening her back in a way that made her breasts push out toward him. She didn't look pleased about the situation, but he couldn’t take his eyes off of the lovely cleavage now appearing over the neckline of her shirt.

"You don't have to do much," she said. "I've already picked a place for the ceremony and found an officiant. I can handle most of the details myself."

"Then why did he want us to do anything?" Kevin asked.

"He thinks that you will make sure that the wedding is something that he will enjoy and that you'll take some of the burden off of me. I told him that I can take care of it and that you wouldn't want anything to do with it, but for some reason he insisted that you would be happy to be a part of it. I say that we just chat here for a few more minutes and then I'll put the wedding together and we can pretend that you helped if they ask."

Patrick felt a surge of defensiveness and stared at her, trying to see past the slightly unpleasant look on her face so that he could talk to her without getting even more defensive than he already felt.

"You don't even know us. How could you possibly know that we wouldn't want to have anything to do with planning the wedding?"

"Guys don't ever want anything to do with weddings."

"How many times have you been married?"

"Never," she admitted somewhat reluctantly.

"And how many weddings have you planned with guys helping you?"

"None."

"But you automatically know exactly what all men are thinking and how we are going to react?"

Eileen looked somewhat stunned. She blinked a few times and made small sounds like she couldn't quite bring the right words forward.

"I guess I don't."

"No, you don't. Evan is a really great guy and he was one of our best friends in high school. If he wants us to help plan this wedding for him, then it's not really your place to decide if we are going to do it or what we are going to do."

"Alright," Eileen said, some of the terseness coming back to her voice. "Here's my phone number." She pulled a pen from the small purse she had been carrying and scribbled numbers on her napkin. "Call me tomorrow and we'll figure out a time for you to come to my house to see everything that I've done so far and we can figure out where to go from there."

Patrick took the napkin and tucked it into his pocket.

"Fine," he said. "We'll do that."

Eileen grabbed her drink and slid out of the booth, stomping back across the bar toward her sister.

"What the hell did you just do?" Kevin asked when she was out of earshot.

Patrick looked at him and shook his head.

"I have no idea," he said. "She was just pissing me off and I reacted."

"So you don't actually want to be a part of this whole wedding planning thing?"

Before Patrick could tell Kevin that he didn't know the first thing about planning a wedding and that they would have to try to figure out a way to get out of it, Evan showed up at the edge of the table. He was beaming, much of it undoubtedly coming from the beer he had already consumed throughout the evening, and he gazed back and forth between Patrick and Kevin.

"You guys are the best," he said, slurring slightly, but sounding genuinely delighted. "I'm so happy you're going to be a part of this with me."

Patrick looked at Kevin again, who looked at Evan with a forced look of excitement.

"Of course, buddy. We're happy to do it for you."

Obviously not recognizing the tension behind the expression or the words, Evan smiled even bigger and raised his glass as if to toast his own upcoming nuptials. Patrick picked up his own glass and took a swig.

"It's going to be great."


Chapter 4

"What is it that we are supposed to be doing here, again?" Kevin asked.

Patrick turned off the engine of his car and leaned so he could look over Kevin through the passenger window at Eileen's house. He was now looking at the way she had approached them about getting their help with the wedding planning as a competition and didn't want to give her any more leverage by showing up to their first planning meeting late so now they were sitting in front of her house ten minutes before they were supposed to arrive.

"I don't know," Patrick said, sitting back. "I've never even been to a wedding much less helped plan one."

"You've really never been to a wedding?" Kevin asked, sounding surprised.

Patrick thought back for a few minutes and then shrugged.

"Actually, yeah, I have. I was six and it was for a distant cousin who I had never met and who I haven't seen since. It was also in her backyard followed by cake and punch in her living room, and I'm fairly certain her new husband then left with all of the guys to go to a bar. So I'm not sure that that would exactly be considered a prime example of a wedding."

"Sounds about like my family's weddings except you didn't mention any gunfire or the fact that the lighting effects for the reception were provided by the police cars that showed up to break up all of the fights that inevitably broke out by the time the buffet closed down."

"So do we bail? She probably doesn't even know that we got here yet. We could make a clean getaway."

Patrick laughed and shook his head.

"No. I think we have to do this. We owe it to Evan. Besides, as sexy as she is, this Eileen girl can certainly be annoying, and the last thing I want to do is give her any more fuel for acting like that. She seems like she could use somebody putting her in her place a little bit."

"There are several places that I would like to put her," Kevin muttered.

Patrick gave a slight grunt of agreement and nodded.

"You and me both."

It was getting close to when they were supposed to be at Eileen's house. So they climbed out of the car and started up the long sidewalk to the front door of the house. The house itself was much larger than Patrick anticipated and something about its pristine appearance surprised him. It sounded like a horrible cliché in his mind and he would never have voiced it to anyone else, but he didn't expect Evan to marry into a family that could afford this type of home.

Patrick rang the doorbell and after a few seconds, Eileen opened the door. She was wearing a long blue dress that swept across bare feet and had her thick blond hair pulled into a messy bun. Even though the look was casual, she was even sexier than when he had met her in the bar. Eileen gestured for them to come inside and both men complied, trying to get through at the same time and then battling briefly to enter first when they realized that they wouldn’t be able to get through the door at the same time.

"Is this your house?" Patrick asked, immediately regretting the words as they came out of his mouth.

Eileen glanced over her shoulder at him and gave him a strange look.

"Yes."

"You live here alone?" Kevin asked.

Patrick slid his eyes toward his best friend, silently willing him not to continue the embarrassing course of questioning that he had begun.

"Yes," Eileen repeated. "It is my house, I own it, and I live here alone. Come on. Everything's in here."

She crossed the foyer toward an open arched doorway that led into what looked like a pastel-decorated living room. Patrick and Kevin exchanged glances and then followed her. By the time they made it to the living room, Eileen was sitting on a large white leather sofa, her legs tucked under her as she sifted through papers that were spread across a glass coffee table in front of her.

"This is what I've gotten planned out so far," she said as they walked into the room.

She hadn't invited them to sit, but Patrick took an overstuffed chair that sat diagonal to the sofa while Kevin perched on the edge of a loveseat opposite across from Eileen. Patrick reached forward and picked up one of the pieces of paper on the table and read it.

"The ceremony and reception are going to be at a hotel?" he asked.

Eileen looked up at him.

"Do you have any other suggestions?"

"Not really, I just have never been to a wedding at a hotel before."

Kevin looked at him but Patrick avoided making eye contact with him, knowing that his friend would be covering a laugh at the sincerity in Patrick's voice after learning of the one and only wedding Patrick had ever attended.

"It doesn’t matter anyway, because with this thing only three weeks away we don't have time to book another venue. I've ordered flowers and am meeting with a caterer tomorrow about dinner."

"What haven't you done?" Patrick asked.

"Not much, to be honest. I still need to choose a cake."

"I can do that," Patrick answered swiftly.

"Not a lot needs to be done with it. White cake to feed around 50 people. Simple flowers."

"Really?" Patrick asked. "You want something that boring for the wedding?"

"It's not boring, it's classic."

"It's boring. They aren't getting married under conventional circumstances, so why make their wedding cake boring and conventional? They should have something flavored at the very least."

"Wedding cakes are white."

"Not always, besides, is there some sort of law that says that all wedding cake have to be white in order for them to be right? I really doubt it."

"I guess not," Eileen said, not sounding like she was fully conceding, but unable to say anything else.

"Then let me come up with the flavor."

"I don't know."

"I tell you what. I'll go to the bakery and try some out and I'll bring you samples of a few to try and we'll decide."

He knew that he was putting her in a strange position, and it was exactly the way he wanted it. Eileen wanted all of the power and control of the planning, but at the same time she wanted to force the guys to prove that they were actually going to help her with the wedding. If she refused to let them do anything, she wouldn't have the chance to gloat when they didn't do what they were supposed to do or when they dropped out halfway through the planning. He was making it even worse by offering to allow her to be a part of the decision, at once showing his willingness to be part of the process and taking away any opportunity she would have to say that it was all his fault if they picked a flavor that didn't go over well at the wedding and to say that she should have just done it all on her own.

This meant that as much as she obviously didn't want to leave a decision that was as important as the wedding cake up to Patrick, he wasn't really giving her a choice. She finally nodded reluctantly and Patrick had to withhold a laugh. Toying with her was proving to be more fun than he would have anticipated.

"Fine," Eileen said, grabbing a business card from the table. "This is the bakery. Call them tomorrow and set up a tasting."

"Sounds good," Patrick said, slipping the card into his pocket.

"Where are they going on their honeymoon?" Kevin asked.

Eileen looked up at him with a slightly startled expression on his face and Patrick felt proud of his best friend for how smoothly he was able to throw her off of her perfectly organized path with just that one question.

"I don't know," she replied. "I hadn't thought about that."

"Well you probably should. After all, you did point out that the wedding is only three weeks away. You don't want them to get to their wedding day and realize that they have no special way of commemorating it together."

"I guess not."

"I tell you what," Kevin said, sliding a little closer to the edge so that he could look at her more closely. "I'll take care of arranging the wedding night for them. And if I hit any snags and have questions about what Brandy might like, I’ll let you know and we can make sure that it’s perfect. How does that sound?"

Eileen hesitated for a moment and then nodded in much the same way that she had after Patrick had offered to work with her to pick out the perfect cake.

"Sure," she said. "That would be nice."

She no longer sounded as sure of herself and Patrick found the vulnerability incredibly sexy. He licked his lips and slid a glance over at Kevin, who was looking at Eileen with the same hunger in his eyes.


Chapter 5

The next weekend Patrick sat in the small bakery that Eileen had selected, watching as a plump middle-aged woman wearing a pink and white striped apron scurried around him placing small silver trays on the table where he sat. Each of the trays held a collection of tiny cakes, the bite-sized treats decorated with delicate-looking sugar flowers in a variety of different colors.

When she finally finished putting all of the trays in front of him, the woman sat down in the seat across from him with a sigh and a wide smile like she was delighted that she was even able to get all of the trays in place.

"So," she said, sounding slightly out of breath, "I'm Mary."

"Hi," he said, trying not to laugh at the strange, somewhat out of context introduction, "I'm Patrick."

"So nice to meet you, Patrick. So what brings you in for a tasting today? Are you getting married?"

Mary seemed absolutely thrilled at the prospect that Patrick was planning a wedding, and he almost felt bad shaking his head.

"No," he said. "I'm helping a friend plan his wedding. He's getting deployed so it is kind of a last minute situation and I volunteered to take care of the cake."

Mary laughed and pushed one of the silver trays closer to him.

"I can understand that. This is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding." Suddenly her face got serious and she gestured at the tiny cakes on the tray. "Now, each of these is a different flavor. I put basic buttercream on all of them so that you can get the truest flavor of the cake. On these trays we have different filling and icing options so that we can put together the best cake for your friend. Do you have any ideas of what he might like?"

"His fiancée's sister says that we should just have a white cake."

"That is traditional, of course."

"But boring."

Mary gave a chuckle and nodded.

"But boring," she agreed. "Why don't you start trying them out and point out the ones that you like. I'll make a list and then we can narrow it down as we go through."

Patrick picked up the first tiny cake and popped into his mouth whole. It was a delicate vanilla flavor, but not much else. He assumed this was the traditional white cake that Eileen suggested. He shook his head at Mary and picked up another. This one had a rich, dark chocolate flavor that contrasted with the soft sweetness of the buttercream. He nodded and Mary jotted a note down on a piece of paper.

It took several minutes for Patrick to work his way all the way through all of the cake samples and by the time he finished he felt like he wasn't going to be able to eat for the rest of the day. Mary's paper had a list several lines long and she had started a second and third column to write down the fillings and icings that he liked the most. She gave a sigh when she looked at the list and then glanced up at him.

"Well, now we have to start narrowing it down," she said.

"Could you tell me which of the flavor combinations go best together?"

They worked together for a few minutes longer coming up with the best combinations of the different flavors he had selected.

"We've narrowed it down to five combinations," Mary said when they were finished. "You said on the phone that there will only be around 50 people at the wedding."

"Yes, it's pretty small since it’s so last minute."

"Well, that means at most we can do three tiers. You can do a different combination on each tier if you would like, but that means that you need to eliminate two of them."

Patrick thought about the flavors for a few moments and then thought back to when he told Eileen that he would take over selecting the cake. A smile came to his lips.

"Do you think that you could make up a few small cakes for me?" he asked.

"Sure," Mary said. "What would you like?"

"Could you make me the smallest cake you can of each of these flavor combinations?"

"Absolutely. Is tomorrow alright for you?"

"That would be great."

As he walked out of the bakery Patrick called Eileen.

"Hello?" she said, sounding like the unfamiliar number on her phone made her uncomfortable.

"Hi," he said, slipping on his dark sunglasses and starting down the sidewalk of the small shopping center toward a tiny store tucked into the back corner. "What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?"


Chapter 6

Patrick arrived at Eileen's house the next day exactly on time. He carried a stack of small pink bakery boxes containing the miniature cakes that Mary had made up for him, each tied with a narrow white string and marked with the flavor combination on a scrolled sticker on one side.

Eileen was already standing at the door when he got up the stairs, but she didn't look as thrilled that he was there as he would have like her to seem. She looked at the stack of bakery boxes and gave a sigh before stepping out of the way and holding the storm door open for him.

"The kitchen is to the back," she said.

Patrick walked to the back of the house and placed the stack of boxes on the long grey marble island before dismantling it so that he could open each of them individually. He purposely faced them so that Eileen couldn't see the name of the cake on the sticker or the cake itself when he opened the box.

"What's in the bag?" she asked, gestured to a small canvas bag he had slung over one forearm.

"An experiment," he said.

"What kind of experiment?"

"I know that you are determined that you want just a traditional cake for the wedding, but I think that you will really like some of the flavors that I picked out. I don't want you to be influenced by their names or what they look like; only by the way that they taste. So…"

He trailed off and reached into the bag to pull out the black satin blindfold he had purchased the day before after leaving the bakery.

"A blindfold?" Eileen asked.

Patrick nodded.

"This way you can't see anything. You won't get to judge the cakes based on anything other than their flavor, and that will be enhanced by the fact that you won't be able to see. Sit down."

Eileen hesitated for a second, looking at one of the dark brown chairs tucked neatly under the table in the breakfast nook of the kitchen.

"Alright," she finally said. "I'll go along with this, but only because I want to get the planning over with, and maybe this will speed it along."

She sat down and Patrick handed her the blindfold. He watched as she covered her eyes with it and tied it in place behind her head. His belly clenched slightly at the sight of her like that, but he turned his attention back to the boxes of cakes. He took the first, the dark chocolate that he had had Mary combine with an espresso filling and chocolate ganache, and picked up a piece with his fingers.

"Open your mouth," he instructed.

Eileen complied and he placed his fingers close enough to her lips that she could feel the cake. She seemed slightly startled to feel his skin, but she allowed him to place the bite onto her tongue and carefully closed her mouth. She let out a soft groan and he felt the tension in his belly increase.

"That's delicious," she said, licking a bit of the cake off of her bottom lip.

"Mmmm-hmmmm," Patrick responded. He put the box back onto the counter and picked up the next one. "Now try this one."

The second cake was vanilla with a strawberry and champagne filling and a champagne buttercream. He let his fingers linger a bit longer on Eileen's lip as she took the bite, struggling to maintain his control. When he reached the third cake, a lighter chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and buttercream, she took his fingers into her mouth with the bite, letting her tongue sweep between them so that it grazed across his skin as she brought the cake into her mouth.

Patrick took the final two boxes from the counter and brought them over to the table. He pulled a second chair out from under the table and placed the open boxes onto the cushion. Lowering himself to his knees in front of her, he broke off a piece of the lemon and raspberry cake in the fourth box and brought it to her lips. As she took the bite from his fingers, Patrick leaned forward, applying slight pressure with his chest and stomach on her legs. After a moment she parted them slightly.

Patrick eased forward so that he was slightly closer to her. Eileen still held his fingers in her mouth as she allowed the cake to dissolve away from them onto her tongue. He drew them out slowly and reached for the last cake. It was a rich spice cake with a nut filling and a rich cream cheese frosting.

Eileen moaned again as she took the final bite of cake. Patrick eased forward more, pressing against her until she parted her knees so that he could come all the way between them, touching the front of his body to hers. He brought his mouth to her ear.

"You like this one?" he whispered.

Eileen nodded and made an affirmative sound.

"Me, too," Patrick said, letting his lips brush her ear. "It's my favorite. In fact," he whispered, "I'd like another taste of it right now."

Patrick took his mouth from her ear and brought it to her lips, gliding the tip of his tongue along them to gather the hint of the cream cheese flavor that still lingered on them. She whimpered slightly into his mouth, and Patrick took that as an invitation. Leaning further forward, he cupped his hand around the back of her head and deepened the kiss, coaxing her lips apart with the tip of his tongue so that he could explore her mouth.

Eileen gave into the kiss, opening her mouth and accepting his tongue inside as she reached forward and flattened her hands on his chest. Patrick placed his other hand around the back of her hips and pulled her forward a bit more, causing her legs to part further and her pelvis to crush against his stomach. He could feel the warmth of her body coming through her thin pants and he groaned, wanting to peel the pants away and discover that warmth with his mouth, his fingers, and the surging erection he could feel pressing against the front of his pants.

His hand was moving around her hip to slip beneath the hem of her shirt when he was startled by the buzz of a phone on the surface of the table beside him. Eileen gasped and pushed away from him, pulling the blindfold off and tossing it aside as she grabbed at the phone Patrick hadn't even noticed. He climbed to his feet and carried the two boxes from the chair over to the counter, trying not to listen to her conversation as he closed the boxes and stacked the back up so that she could put them away when he left.

Eileen spoke for a few seconds and then hung up, placing the phone carefully back on the table and pausing a moment before turning to look at Patrick. Color crept along her cheeks as if she were embarrassed to be looking at him now that the mystery of the blindfold had been broken.

"Everything alright?" he asked.

"Yeah. That was Kevin actually," she said.

"Kevin?" Patrick asked, surprised. Kevin knew that he was going to Eileen's house with the cakes that afternoon so he couldn’t figure out why his best friend would be calling. "What did he want?"

"He says that we need to meet him up at the community center in half an hour, that he has something that he wants to show us that has to do with the wedding."

"He didn't mention what it was?"

"No. He just said that we need to get up there."

"I guess we should go then."


Chapter 7

The sun was beginning to set as Patrick pulled into the community center parking lot in the space beside Eileen. He had wanted them to ride together, but almost immediately after he said that they should go she had said that she would drive and follow him so he didn't push the matter. He stepped out into the waning light and thought of how strange the varying times of the seasons always seemed to him. The summer days never seemed to end and he could remember being young and having to go to bed when the sun was still up even during the school break, but then when fall hit the afternoons grew shorter and it seemed that the day had barely gotten going when it was winding to a close again.

There were several other cars in the parking lot, but he didn't see anyone else around and when Eileen looked at him questioningly, he shrugged. They walked together into the building, following the path created by the only lit hallways that wound through the building. Though the community center had been there for several years, it still wasn't unusual for there to be no events or activities going on at it for several days at a time and when they were it took a tremendous amount of word of mouth for anyone to know what was happening.

They had gone down three hallways and seemed to be nearly at the back of the building when Patrick started hearing voices. They continued on and finally walked into what looked like a small gymnasium with the bleachers pushed back and the basketball hoops tucked out of the way. Several small clusters of people stood around the room talking, and Patrick noticed Kevin standing in one close to the entrance. He glanced up and noticed Patrick.

"Hey," he said with a grin as he walked toward them.

"Hey," Patrick said, trying to convey his annoyance about being there without Eileen noticing. "What's going on here?"

"I realized that there was something that we hadn't talked about the wedding," Kevin said.

"What's that?" Eileen asked.

"The first dance."

"Uh-huh," Patrick said. "Isn't that something that the bride and groom are supposed to figure out for themselves?"

"So are the napkins and the flowers and the cake flavor, and we're apparently doing all of those things, so I figured that adding in helping them along with their first dance couldn't hurt. There's a dance lesson here tonight and then a dance so that we can practice all of our new moves."

Kevin performed a slightly spastic series of dance moves and Eileen gave a short laugh.

"That's fantastic," Patrick muttered.

"I didn't even think about that," Eileen admitted, sounding somewhat more excited about the prospect of dancing than he was feeling.

A woman walked toward a stereo system sitting on the floor and everybody turned toward her.

"It's time to get started everyone. If you could pair up, we'll start with basic stances."

Eileen glanced at Patrick, but Kevin took her by her wrist and she looked over at him.

"It looks like I'm not really needed here, so I'm just going to go," Patrick said.

"No," Eileen protested. "At least stay and watch. We'll need as many people as we can who know how to dance at the wedding."

"I don't think that one lesson is going to make it so that I know how to dance, but if you want me to stay, I'll just kind of hang out over there on the side and try to pick some stuff up."

Eileen smiled and Patrick knew that there was no way that he would be able to deny her anything that she wanted. Regardless of how frustrating she had been since they met, she was nothing short of irresistible.

For the next hour Patrick perched on a folding chair at the far edge of the floor, watching Kevin and Eileen as they learned a series of basic dances. She moved seamlessly, picking up each step like it was something she had been doing her entire life, and even though Kevin was tripping his way through most of the moves, she was able to make even him look good.

As they danced Patrick could see how Kevin looked at her and realized it was the same way that he did, the same level of desire in his eyes. The expression got Patrick's mind working, and by the time the lights in the room lowered and the music filled the space to encourage everyone to get out on the floor and dance, he couldn't keep himself away from Eileen any longer.

Kevin and Eileen were several yards away, trying to repeat the series of steps that corresponded with the style that the instructor called out at the beginning of the song. Patrick stepped up behind Eileen and rested a hand on her lower back. She jumped slightly and turned to him, her eyes widening when she saw his face.

"Do you mind if I cut in?" he asked.

Kevin winced at the cliché, but stepped back, gesturing toward Eileen as if offering her to him. Patrick took her into his arms and they started to dance. Their bodies moved against one another seamlessly and Patrick felt his need for her building again. Forgoing the steps that he had watched them learn, he pulled her tighter against his body and dipped his head down to touch his mouth to the side of her neck. As his lips moved across her skin, he felt a hand come up between them and glanced down to see that Kevin had come up behind her, touching his body to her back and reaching around her to run his hand up her belly and rest it just beneath her breast.

Patrick felt like he should have been bothered by Kevin joining them, but he found that his presence and watching Eileen respond to the feeling of both men against her was even more arousing. Kevin mimicked Patrick's movements kissing along the side of her neck and Patrick ducked his head down further, running the tip of his tongue up from the neckline of her shirt across the front of her neck and then to her mouth so that he could capture her lips in a deep kiss.

Not caring who might be watching, Patrick pressed even closer to her, holding her to him with a hand cupped on her hip. He could feel her press her hips back into Kevin while crushing her breasts against his own chest, creating an intense connection among the three of them.

"I have something else I want to show you," Kevin whispered, just loud enough for Patrick to hear over the music in the room. "Stay here with Patrick for twenty minutes and then come to our house."

"What are you up to?" Eileen asked, sounding slightly breathless.

"I have been working on my part of the planning for the wedding and I want you to see what I've come up with."

Patrick felt Eileen's hand tighten on his chest.

"Can Patrick come, too?" she asked.

"Absolutely," Kevin said.


Chapter 8

Patrick and Eileen spent the next twenty minutes dancing in the corner of the room, sinking further back into the shadows at the edge of the floor so that they could get as much privacy as they could. They had completely abandoned all of the moves that the instructor had taught during the lesson and were now just rolling against one another, their bodies pressed so tightly together he could feel her heartbeat pounding against his.

Patrick slipped his leg between Eileen's, pulling her up so that she straddled his thigh and he could feel even more of her heat. He knew she could feel the bulge of his erection pressing toward her and watched as she glanced down toward it, licking her lips as if wanting to taste him. He took her hand and guided it to the swelling, cupping it around him so that she could feel the size and intensity. She moaned softly, the luxurious little sound like the one that she made when tasting the cake in her kitchen just hours before.

"Has it been twenty minutes yet?" she asked, gently squeezing him through his pants.

"Yes," he growled, grabbing her by her wrist and leading her across the room and out through the hallways and into the parking lot.

He wished even more now that she hadn't brought her own car, but told himself that the drive to the house would only take a few minutes. As he drove he glanced back in the rearview mirror and saw her illuminated in the glow of the reflection of her headlights against the back of his car. She had pulled her hair down from its ponytail and it tumbled around her shoulders in an incredibly sexy mess, framing the light flush on her cheeks and the sparkle in her eyes that was evident even in the darkness.

As soon as they pulled up in front of the house, they climbed out of the car and entered the house without saying a word. The inside was dark, but Patrick could smell the hint of candles burning somewhere in the depth of the house. They followed the scent, climbing the stairs to the large master bedroom in the back of the upper floor.

When Patrick opened the door he could see the dancing glow of the candles arranged around the room leading into the large bathroom in the back corner of the bedroom. As they stepped in, Kevin came out of the bathroom, a final lit candle in his hand. He rested the candle on the table beside the bed and gestured for Eileen to come closer.

"I told you that I wanted to make sure that their wedding night was as perfect as the wedding that you are putting together for them," he said as Eileen came closer. He reached both of his hands out for her and Patrick watched as she placed her hands in his. "I wasn't sure if everything that I had come up with was good enough, so I thought that I would invite you over for a little preview."

Kevin guided Eileen toward him and Eileen brushed the tip of her nose against his.

"I'm liking everything that I see so far," she said, her voice low and breathy in a way that enticed Patrick even more.

Kevin glanced at him over Eileen's shoulder and Patrick sent him an approving look.

"There's more," Kevin said, returning the touch of her nose and bringing her hands up so that he pressed them to his chest. "Would you like to see?"

Eileen nodded and Kevin started walking backwards, leading her along toward the bathroom. Patrick watched until they were almost through the door and then followed them, crossing the bedroom slowly so that he could continue to enjoy the swell of Eileen's hips beneath her dress and the sway of her body as she let Kevin guide her.

When he reached the doorway to the bathroom, Patrick leaned against the frame, surveying the work that Kevin had done in the room. More candles filled the space, casting their glow around the room and adding a hint of sultry, smoky smell to the warm, sweet vanilla that hung in the air.

Behind them Patrick could see the large garden tub positioned in the corner of the room, soft white bubbles mounded high enough that he could see them over the edge. Kevin stopped Eileen in the middle of the room and lowered her hands from his chest to her sides. He tucked his fingers beneath the hem of her shirt and Patrick started taking off his shoes as Kevin slowly started undressing Eileen.


Chapter 9

Eileen complied willingly with Kevin as he removed her shirt and let it drop to the tile floor, then brought his hands to the front of her pants. Patrick watched her step out of her shoes and kick them aside as Kevin released the button on her pants and eased down the zipper. She reciprocated, her long, slender fingers making quick work of the row of small buttons along the front of Kevin's shirt until it hung open and she was able to push it back over his shoulders and let it drop to the floor behind him.

Soon Eileen was standing in nothing but a delicate pair of black lace panties that beautifully cupped her round ass and cut high on either side to reveal the bottom swell of soft, creamy skin and a matching bra. Patrick stepped up closer and watched Eileen release Kevin's belt and unzip his pants. They fell to the floor and Kevin removed his trunks, kicking them aside.

As Kevin stepped into the large tub, Patrick stepped up behind Eileen and released the hooks on the back of her bra. He leaned down to kiss along her spine as he opened the bra and pushed it forward so that she could let it slide from her arms and onto the floor. Patrick's hands slide around her waist and up her stomach onto her breasts, filling his hands with the full, pliant globes.

Eileen sighed and leaned back so that her head rested on Patrick's shoulder, pressing her breasts further into his grip. He kneaded them, letting his fingers play over her taut nipples. Patrick looked over at Kevin who was leaned back in the tub watching them. Kevin held up one hand and gestured for him to bring her toward the tub.

Touching his mouth to the curve of her neck and shoulder, Patrick led Eileen forward until they were a few inches from the side of the tub. Kevin moved forward, tucking his fingers into the sides of her panties so that he could ease them off of her, leaving her finally bare in front of them.

Patrick hissed a profanity at the sight of her and lowered himself to his knees behind her. He flattened one hand onto her lower back, leading her forward so that she bent over, her hands coming to brace her on the side of the tub. Kevin met her, his mouth crushing onto hers as Patrick used one hand to push her legs further apart.

The position opened her body to him and he used one hand to guide her hips back slightly more, tilting them so that he could see her hot, wet core. Patrick slid one hand up the inside of her thigh until it reached the wetness waiting for him. Eileen whimpered as his fingers slipped over her hardened peak, coaxing it forward even more. Kevin's mouth left hers and Patrick watched him bring it to one of her breasts, sucking her nipple between this lips and using his hand to massage the other.

Eileen arched her back, bringing her center even closer to Patrick. He took the invitation, ducking his head to draw his tongue through her folds. The touch caused Eileen to cry out and Patrick continued, letting his tongue delve into her and he increased the pressure of his fingers, swirling them into her creamy heat until he could feel her legs trembling on either side of him.


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