Disclaimers: This is a work of original fiction, please don’t use any of it without my permission. British setting, British spelling, punctuation and word usage.
Like they say before all the best TV programmes: The following contains strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. It’s between women and isn’t particularly graphic.
Any resemblance is to anyone living, dead or teaching maths is purely coincidental.
Synopsis: This is a follow up to Hen night, and just like with the real thing, you don’t have to go on the hen night to enjoy the wedding reception, but it’s more fun if you do. It’s the day of Isabel’s wedding, and Kit finds herself in the middle of some unexpected sibling rivalry.
Please feel free to email me at Ceri.Lloyd@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Thanks to Sally, my writing partner in crime, for character discussion, suggestions and proof reading.
Okay, so one person’s miserable cow is another person’s cynical realist, but I’d have had a heart of granite not to wish Isabel well, and I’m many things but hard hearted isn’t one of them. So there I was, standing on the doorstep of the McFarland family home in my chocolate brown suit and my orange, pink and white striped shirt, anxious to make a good impression on more levels than I could count.
On my better days, I know I look good in that suit, especially with that shirt, especially when my hair is at that perfect point between cuts; a couple more days and it’ll be over, like cherry blossom, but also like the blossom, I had 24 hours of glory. However, knowing that I looked as hot as it’s possible for me to look didn’t help with the tightness in my stomach. I hoped Iz wasn’t feeling half as nervous as I was ringing the door bell. I saw a shape through the frosted glass and rubbed the damp palms of my hands against the legs of my trousers.
“Good morning, Catherine”
Mrs. McFarland always calls me by my full name, as if she thinks my diminutive is the height of self indulgence.
“Good morning, Mrs. McFarland”
I struggled to keep the classroom sing-song out of my voice. It was 10 years since she’d taught me maths, a subject I have no aptitude for whatsoever, but the woman could still reduce me to a cowed 15 year old. I watched as disapproving eyes drifted over my suit down to my polished Chelsea boots and back up again to rest at the two buttons undone at the neck of my shirt. Hotness was evaporating off me with every second that passed, the wattage of my suit ebbing under her steely gaze. It was as if something about me had never added up and if there’s one thing Mrs. McFarland can’t abide, it’s an equation that doesn’t balance.
Isabel doesn’t share her mother’s dislike of nicknames. She was standing behind her, her hair already swept up and artfully teased into the occasional ringlet. She was wearing a very pretty white lace bra and knickers. And nothing else. I couldn’t help the grin that cracked my face; Mrs. McFarland took her cue from me and turned her head.
“For heaven’s sake, girl, put something on. The neighbours don’t need to see your business!”
I was thinking it was probably a little too late for that when a hand snaked around Mrs. McFarland, grabbed the front of my shirt and pulled me into the hall. Izzie drew me close enough for my breasts to brush hers.
“We’re drinking champagne”
“Are we? That’s very civilised of us”
She grabbed my hand and dragged me into the lounge, which had been converted into a dressing room and beauty salon. We stopped just inside the door, Iz turning to me. Standing close again, she ran the tips of her fingers across my chest, a frown creasing the usually smooth skin between her eyebrows. I wanted to stroke it away with the edge of my thumb but that would’ve smudged her make up.
“What’s up, Wiz?”
She evidently wasn’t as worried about her make up as I was, as she pressed her mouth against mine and huffed warm air against my lips.
“Are you sure you don’t mind not being a bridesmaid?”
I laughed and cocked my head towards two young women, one a cousin, the other an old family friend, dressed in frothy off white satin.
“Like you’d have ever got me into anything like that without a major fight”
Iz let out a hissing laugh through her teeth; a sound that I’ve always loved. To the world, Isabel McFarland appears a sophisticated and mature young woman. There are times when nothing could be further from the truth. She sniggered like Muttley.
“Tell me about it. It was enough of a struggle getting Rach into a dress”
Just the mention of her sister’s name, my heart started to thud, and colour and heat flooded my face.
“Where is the maid of honour?”
I tried to make my voice light but Izzie was mere centimetres away and rarely missed a trick. She looked directly into my eyes for longer than was completely comfortable. Impossible as it might seem, I reddened even further until she took pity on me and broke contact. She straightened the lapel of my jacket, running her thumb and index finger up and down the material.
“She’s gone to pick up the last of the flowers. She won’t be long”
I blew out the breath I didn’t realise I’d been holding.
“Wasn’t there talk of champagne? I distinctly remember champagne being mentioned”
Izzie raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything before she wandered off to find me a glass. I leant against the back of the sofa and sighed. It had been a week since I’d seen Rachel; a week since Isabel’s hen night and I hadn’t got a clue what was going on. Things had been said, things had been done but the night had dissolved in too much alcohol, and even though I could remember everything said and done, I wasn’t convinced anyone else did. I doubted either Izzie or Rachel had any memory of kissing me, and I didn’t know if I was disappointed or relieved. Part of me was desperate to see Rachel but the other part wanted to run and hide. That part was going to be ultimately thwarted; I’d volunteered to drive the bridesmaids the 8 miles to the Linden Lodge hotel. At the time I hadn’t foreseen any problems but that was before I kissed Rachel McFarland and before she spent the week not phoning me.
I keep saying kiss; I’m not sure it was even as definite a thing as that. Rachel had stood so close her breath had mingled with mine and I know my lips brushed hers, but was I reading too much into it? With Isabel there had been no ambiguity; that girl’s tongue had been half way down my throat and I’d done nothing to stop her, but full on as it was, it hadn’t fired me as much as that brief press and sigh of her sister. I thought Rachel had felt the same way, but now I wasn’t sure.
I closed my eyes and rubbed a hand across my forehead until something cold pressed against my cheek and, startled, I opened my eyes. Izzie was holding a glass against my skin and gave me a half smile when I took the champagne from her. As we clinked glasses, she looked very intently at me, her eyes a very pure, clear green.
Shaking her head, she started to say something but stopped suddenly, her eyes swinging beyond my shoulder to the door behind me. I turned to see what she was looking at and met eyes the exact shade of Isabel’s.
Rachel McFarland was standing in the doorway in a white shirt, baggy jeans and Adidas skate trainers, her short blonde bob pulled into a tiny pony tail that resembled an old fashioned pastry brush. She’d have been adorable if she hadn’t looked as if she wished I wasn’t there. I was mugged by a rowdy gang of emotions: joy at seeing her gave way to puzzlement at her unsmiling face which was then burnt off by a flash of abrupt anger. I’d spent 12 years convinced Rachel hated me, and today it seemed I’d always been right; the few drunken hours the week before had merely been a glorious break from it. For an evening she had actually liked me. But it seemed everything was back to normal as I watched her eyes follow the same path her mother’s had. You really are her daughter, aren’t you? I thought bitterly as her gaze came to rest at my neck and chest. She didn’t frown like her mother but neither did she smile. Her expression was solemn, unreadable. Her eyes flicked away from me to take in how close her sister was standing, that she was wearing nothing more than her bra and knickers. Finally a frown crept across Rachel’s face.
“Izzie, I can’t believe you’re not ready yet”
Izzie frowned back.
“All I’ve got do is put my dress on”
“Well go and put it on then”
“You haven’t even done your hair yet”
“That’s only going to take a couple of minutes”
“It’s going to take longer than that”
“It’s my hair, I think I know how long it’ll take”
I could see things escalating and then deteriorating rapidly and decided I didn’t want to be caught in the middle of it, so I dropped down onto the sofa. Strangely, the simple act of me removing myself stopped both women in their tracks.
“I – I’ll go and get dressed then”
“Erm, yeah, me too”
I slumped in the sofa and ran my fingers through my hair. It was going to be a long day.
Half an hour later, I heard a slight cough and when I looked up, I was stunned speechless. Isabel was in a strapless, ivory silk A line dress that swooshed when she walked, the bodice a figure hugging white on white brocade. With her hair piled on top of her head, she looked like a blonde haired, green eyed Audrey Hepburn. She was beautiful, but that wasn’t what had rendered me speechless; I’d seen Isabel beautiful in dresses before. Rachel was again framed in the doorway but it was impossible to recognise her as the same woman. In an instant I realised that I’d never seen her in anything other than school uniform or jeans; every day rough and tumble. The transformation was incredible. Her dress was the same material as Izzie’s, also strapless, but rather than a flowing skirt, it was cut as a ball gown. She was as beautiful and classically elegant as Grace Kelly; her hair falling a little below her ears, the strength of her shoulders offset by the heart jerking vulnerability of lightly freckled skin. I was finding it hard to breathe. Izzie’s voice cut through my open mouthed stare.
“God, you look absolutely gorgeous, Iz”
She grinned. I turned shyly to Rachel.
“You too, Rach”
I wouldn’t swear to it, but I’m sure I caught a blush colouring Rachel’s chest and throat. Izzie grabbed my hand, pulling me in close.
“Here, put this on”
It was a rosebud button hole, the pink of the stripes of my shirt. I fumbled with it for a couple of seconds before Iz took it off me, securing it with a pin.
“Is it the same as the groom’s party?”
“No, they’ve got white. This is the pink from my bouquet”
When she’d finished pinning, she held on to both lapels and reached in to kiss me on the mouth.
“It shows you’re with me. Why should Mark be the only one to have a best man?”
Her lips were soft and warm, her breath hot. When I glanced at Rachel, she was watching me, her face expressionless. I drew away gently, fishing car keys out of my pocket.
“C’mon ladies, probably time we got moving”
It had been a quiet drive to the country house hotel. Well, quiet for me and Rachel. The other two bridesmaids had chattered away in the back seat, excited and happy, the way bridesmaids are supposed to be. Rachel was elegant but silent in the passenger seat. Changing gear, my hand had brushed against the outside of her thigh; my hastily murmured apology met by a quick glance, but she said nothing and turned her attention to the countryside whizzing past outside the window, withdrawing far enough into her side of the car that no further contact would be possible without an effort on my behalf. That wasn’t going to happen; I can take a hint.
I can’t say that I’m a big fan of weddings, one seems much the same as any other, the ceremonies vary very little. Mark stood at the front with his best man and the registrar, handsome in his morning suit and white rose bud button hole, so anxious he might puke at any given moment. But then Isabel appeared at his side and he gazed at her with such astonished joy, I liked him more than I ever thought possible.
When it came to the reception, I detected the hand of Mrs. McFarland in the seating arrangements. I was out of harm’s way, about as far from the top table as it was possible to be without being in the corridor. To make matters worse, she’d put me on a table with Darren Risby who I remembered as a dull, overachieving teenager. Nothing much had changed in the intervening years: he’d grown into a dull, overachieving man. He was only there, I was sure, because he’d saved the McFarlands a fortune in tax loopholes and they were grateful, but not that grateful. Somehow, however, Darren had managed to score himself a very pretty wife. She was dark haired and dark eyed and shy, but I noticed her gaze lingering on me and realised that despite Mrs. McFarland’s best efforts to neutralise it, the suit was still working its magic. And with a few glasses of toasting champagne under my belt I thought sod it, if the old bag is going to treat me like a naughty girl, I might as well be one.
I watched Jenny Risby blush and bloom and expand before my attentive eyes; it didn’t take much: a few compliments, a gentle touch of her hand as I refilled her glass, holding her gaze for a little longer than was absolutely necessary. I suspected the last time Darren had lavished any kind of affection on the girl was on her wedding night; he didn’t appreciate what he had and it served him right if it was taken out from under his nose. He was so busy explaining the finer details of accountancy to the bored man sitting on his left, he didn’t notice Jenny smiling intimately at me, leaning in a little closer so that when I spoke to her, my breath ruffled the fine hairs on her cheek. He didn’t notice the glow of her skin or the brightness of her eyes that had nothing to do with the champagne. I was contemplating asking her to slow dance, thrilled by the certainty she’d say yes and delighting in the anticipated top table shock, when I felt a warm hand that wasn’t hers stroking up and down my thigh. Startled, I turned my head, my eyes colliding with Isabel’s. I grinned at her.
“Hello Mrs. Fisher”
Izzie hunkered down next to my chair, her face flushed and her eyes a little sharp.
“I want to change, Kit, come with me?”
Jenny Risby barely suppressed her disappointment when I excused myself from the table. I leant over and kissed her cheek, relishing her deepening blush and the look on Darren’s face as he finally began to twig. Izzie grabbed my hand and dragged me away from the table just as Darren’s mouth was opening to say something. She muttered close to my ear.
“You were playing with fire there”
“Really? What can he do, double entry me to death? It’s Darren Risby, for fuck’s sake. If it came to a fight I could have him easy”
“Come on, let’s get out of here”
She pulled me around the edge of the room. It wasn’t as if I cared, but I saw the best man leaning up the top table to ask Rachel to dance, her mother nudging her until she complied. It wasn’t as if I cared, but I saw him lead her into the middle of the dance floor, drawing her in too close as he palmed her back, letting his hands wander where they wanted with full parental sanction. Izzie yanked me through the double doors and out into the hallway, my back turned to the sight of his body thrust up against hers. After all, it wasn’t as if I cared about any of it.
As soon as the bedroom door clicked closed behind us, Izzie turned her back to me.
The tiny hooks trembled beneath my fingers; not knowing if it was me or Isabel, I stopped my hands and watched as they shook. When she spoke, Izzie’s voice was a whisper.
“Don’t stop. I can’t do it myself”
But it wasn’t just my hands that trembled: this close I could see the light shivering that swept across her body. Eventually I managed to unhook her and her dress fell into heavy waves of silk that pooled at her feet. She stepped out of it as if she were leaving a discarded skin. My voice was broken when it came out of my mouth.
“We should hang it up, Iz. The floor’s no place for something so beautiful”
She simply shrugged and walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge.
“Come and lie down with me for awhile, Kit. I’ve missed you. I can’t believe she made you sit so far away”
“I think it was an attempt to put me in my place”
“Well, your place is here now”
She patted the space next to her on the massive bed. I stood for a moment, unsure what to do, but this was Isabel, my best friend for 12 years. If I wasn’t meant to be by her side, where was I meant to be? I slid off my jacket and hung it over the back of a chair, toed off my boots and joined her on the bed. Once I was settled, Izzie rolled over onto her side, the fingers of one hand toying with the material of my shirt.
“I’ve always loved you in this. I can’t believe how well it goes with your suit. You’re so hot”
“Izzie – ”
The tips of her fingers reached up to cover my lips, quickly replaced by her mouth: a soft kiss that was laced with champagne and fruit cake. She was every wedding I’d ever been to and I tasted her with the tip of my tongue, feeling her sigh against my mouth. We lay quiet for a few minutes; I was happy to listen to her breathing, to watch the rise and fall of her chest, but I could see she was frowning, like she was working herself up to telling me something, or asking. It was still a surprise when it came.
“Kit, how long have you wanted to sleep with my sister?”
I thought about not answering but we were lying on her marriage bed and she was half dressed; honesty was the only choice.
“Only since last week”
“Since my hen night?”
I nodded. She was still frowning.
“Did something happen I don’t know about?”
I sighed, catching a long curl of hair and winding it gently between my fingers.
“No. We sort of kissed and she told me she didn’t hate me”
“She’s never hated you”
“She does a bloody good impression of it”
Izzie fell silent for another couple of minutes. I knew better than think this was the end of it. She started to play with the buttons of my shirt; slowly and deliberately popping the next two open. She ran her finger tips across my exposed chest, much as she had in the living room of her parents’ house. It was as if she found my skin endlessly fascinating. Then she reached up and kissed me again, letting her lips cling to mine.
“I love kissing you. Your skin is so soft. Not like Mark’s. His gets so stubbly and scratchy so quickly”
“Well, that’s boys for you”
My voice was hoarse, my throat dry. Alcohol can do that to you, I told myself; it had nothing to do with how close Isabel was.
“Why her, Kit? Why her and not me?”
Her tone was so plaintive, I wanted to comfort her, stroking her jaw with the back of my hand.
“O Iz, there are probably a million and one reasons but only two that matter. Firstly, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I love you and I always will. Secondly, it’s less than 3 hours since you got married. To a man”
Isabel scooted even closer, her fingers still rubbing the skin of my collar bone.
“But I’ve already had sex with Mark: I know what he’s like. I’ve never had sex with you”
Her hand had sneaked into my shirt and was making its way towards my breast; I grabbed it, halting its progress, inadvertently holding it against my rapidly hardening nipple. I could barely contain a soft groan as I wished I’d worn a bra.
“What if that’s not what I want?”
Under my hand, Izzie’s pushed into warm flesh, making me gasp.
“Your mouth might be saying that, but your body is saying the complete opposite”
Could she blame it? I am human after all. There was only so much it could take of a beautiful woman kissing and touching it without it firing no matter how much my head was yelling that it was a mistake of epic proportions. Even my mouth had stopped denying it, opening to the insistence of her tongue. It wasn’t the first time I’d had her tongue in my mouth but it was the first time my body had surged into her kiss, my tongue eager to taste the inside of her mouth. She was grinning against my lips, I could feel it but didn’t care. I cared even less when she pulled away and buried her mouth at the base of my throat. I didn’t care about anything as I lost the ability for conscious, reasonable thought.
Isabel Fisher, with unerring accuracy, had found the second most sensitive point on my body; a point directly linked to the most sensitive by an express way that screamed as she drew skin into her mouth and sucked. I gripped her head, my back arching as teeth brushed then pulled on me. Despite myself, my legs fell open and Isabel’s swift hand was at the fly of my trousers before I could stop her.
But she wasn’t listening to me. Her tongue was flicking into my mouth as her hand slid under my waistband, coming to rest between my knickers and the seam of my suit trousers. Her knuckles pressed into my clit; it was all I could do not to rub myself against them. Through a haze of arousal I became aware that Izzie’s hand wasn’t moving at all, that her breath was steady and regular against my neck. Isabel was asleep; fast asleep with her hand nestled in my crotch and her head snuggled into my neck. I started to laugh, but didn’t like the hysterical edge of it so stopped. Instead, I gently withdrew Izzie’s hand from my trousers before re-zipping them, edged out from under her, put on my boots and jacket before slipping out of the room without waking her.
Christ Almighty I needed a drink. Thank fuck there was a party going on.
I thought it best I tidied myself up a little before returning to the reception. I didn’t know what I looked like, but I imagined something wild eyed and even wilder haired; I wasn’t even sure my buttons were done up properly. I ducked into what the hotel euphemistically called the powder room, splashing my face with cold water and running wet hands through my hair before facing myself in the mirror. My pupils were massive, leaving only a thin rim of blue around the edge; that was something I’d have to work on before I went back into the main room. That wasn’t the only thing that needed covering up: my attention was grabbed by an angry red mark on my throat that was darkening by the second. My knees weakened when I remembered Izzie’s mouth there. I was bracing myself against the sink when I heard the door open; initially I carried on staring at the taps but the other person didn’t seem to be making any move towards the cubicles. Eventually I looked up and was startled to see Rachel staring at me in the mirror, her expression enigmatic as always. Then she noticed the mark on my neck and frowned. I didn’t bother to suppress the sigh that came from somewhere deep down and tired to death. I’d had enough of the McFarland women frowning at me for one day; for once I wanted one of them to smile. That wasn’t happening any time soon. Rachel’s reflected eyes met mine, when she spoke, her voice was cool.
“Where is she?”
I ran my fingers through my hair again in an attempt to get it to behave.
“She’s having a lie down”
Rachel’s eyes were resting on the mark. I’d had enough; I turned to face her, my arms crossed at my chest.
“Don’t worry. Her virtue’s intact”
“I’m not judging you”
“Really? Well that makes a nice change”
I made to leave the room but my arm was caught by strongly gripping hand. Surprised, I glanced down at it and then up at Rachel. She pulled me slightly and I let her draw me to her. Her voice was soft.
“I thought about you all week”
“Yeah, I could tell by the way my phone rang off the hook”
I instantly regretted my sledge hammer sarcasm when her face crumpled a little. She looked sad. I reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, letting my fingers linger on the skin just below it.
“You look beautiful”
“Do you really mean that?”
“Yes, you look like a movie star”
She was blushing, biting her bottom lip. I’d never seen her shy in the entire time I’d known her and it was an intriguing proposition. She was solemn when she asked me:
Her face broke into a massive smile that told me I’d given the right answer. She’d changed out of her ball gown into a dress of exquisite simplicity, peacock blue silk it shimmered across her body, the thin straps failing to conceal her shoulders and chest. The impulse to touch the freckled skin was too much, I gave into it easily and was rewarded by a sudden gasp from Rachel. Emboldened, I skimmed the fingers of both hands across her shoulders and into the hollows of her collar bones; her breathing became quick and shallow and nothing could stop me dipping my mouth to follow the trail of my fingerprints. Suddenly her hands tightened in my hair and she was pulling my head up until we were face to face. Blood pounded in my ears; I could hear my heart as it beat, steady and constant and deafening. Rachel’s expression was fierce, her eyes the colour of copper on fire.
“I want to kiss you”
All I could do was nod. This would be no ambiguous brushing of lips; it would be so much more than her sister’s jealous burst of bi-curiosity. When Rachel McFarland kissed me properly there would be no going back. But my forward momentum was blocked by hands on my shoulders. She smiled at my confusion, stroking her lips over mine, shaking her head.
“Not out here”
Whispered breath in my ear weakened my knees. A hand in the middle of my chest pushed me backwards until she walked me into a cubicle; a half smile as she shot the bolt. A hand around the back of my neck turned me, a flutter of peacock silk and I was shoved up against the cubicle door. O my god, a fire and ice Grace Kelly with a butch streak. High Society would never be the same again.
All conscious thought slipped out of my head as the side of her nose rubbed the side of mine, her lips millimetres from mine, so close but not touching. It was more than I could bear.
“Please Rachel. Please will you just kiss me?”
Both hands on my sternum held me to the door as her mouth finally made contact with mine. There was no way I could keep my eyes open or my mouth shut, and her hot, firm tongue made its confident way past my teeth. Nor could I keep the whimper from escaping as she moved her mouth from mine to let it trail kisses across my jaw line, nor the gasp when it moved from my jaw to find, with an accuracy not dissimilar to her sister’s, the sensitive spots of my neck. Rachel’s body pressed into mine, preventing an inevitable slide to the floor as I felt the pull of her lips, the nip of teeth against the pulse point at the base of my throat. My fingers tightened their grip in her hair, not wanting her to move as my central nervous sent urgent messages that bypassed my brain and went straight between my legs. I was dimly aware of the buttons of my shirt coming undone, of hands pressing into my breasts as that mouth, that tongue, those teeth worked me until my hips pushed into hers. My voice was rough and shattered.
“Touch me, please”
To my dismay, Rachel pulled away.
“Wha – ?”
“Not here, someone could come in at any minute”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and suddenly became aware of how I was standing in a toilet cubicle, my breathing ragged, my shirt hanging open, inches away from a woman who was regarding me with serious green eyes. Admittedly, the green eyes were almost black and her breathing was as ragged as mine, but my brain had yet to jumpstart back to consciousness; all I was aware of was cold air where silk had once been, wetness that was seeping through cotton into summer weight wool. The unused adrenaline had to go somewhere: it turned to quick anger through gritted teeth.
“You fucking tease”
Rachel started to button my shirt back up. I tried to push her hands away, but she persisted, until she got to two from the top. She adjusted the collar so that the two points rested on the lapels of the jacket. Then she reached up and kissed me softly on the mouth.
“Do you know how hot you look in this?”
She ran her fingers into my hair and looked into my eyes.
“I’m only a tease if I don’t follow through and I intend to follow through. Spend the night with me”
I breathed out hard and felt my face break with my smile.
“Your room or mine?”
“Well my room has a great view of the deer park”
“Ah but mine has a whirlpool bath”
“Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner”
Laughing, she pushed me out of the cubicle and out through the swing door. Where I came face to face with her mother. Her Gorgon face turned me to stone.
“Catherine Anstruther, what have you done with my daughter?”
I knew the blood had drained from my face because it was congealing in my stomach, threatening to come straight up and out of my mouth in a hideous mess at her feet. It didn’t occur to me that she was referring to her other daughter until Rachel addressed her in a voice of unbelievable calmness.
“Isabel’s a big girl now, and a married one at that. Let Mark worry about her”
Mrs. McFarland was about to respond but Rachel cut her off.
“Do you know, Mum, Kit went out of her way to bring us here today and you haven’t even thanked her?”
I don’t know which shocked me more, the way Rachel was telling her mother off or the fact that Rachel’s hand had slid down my arm until she linked her fingers with mine. From the look on her mother’s face she was unable to make that decision either. She couldn’t take her eyes off our joined hands.
“O, erm, yes, thank you, Kit. It was very kind of you”
“It was my pleasure”
Both of us were too dazed to say anything else. Rachel, however, was just hitting her stride. She gave her mother a beatific smile and swung her arm and mine as if we held hands every day.
“Now if you don’t mind, Mum, we’re going to go and have a dance while the band’s still playing, okay with you, darling?”
Mrs. McFarland’s face was a sight to behold but all I knew was that Rachel was holding my hand and she’d called me darling. Rachel McFarland had called me darling. If I was dreaming, I didn’t want to wake up. I grinned at her.
“I’d love to. I’ll even let you lead”
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