"It's the Fourth of July, Rachel. You're off duty. You're supposed to be relaxing." Ann sank into a deck chair as she held out a beer. Out of the fridge for less than a minute and it was already sweating.
"I am relaxing." Rachel took the beer without looking at Ann and twisted off the top, but she didn't move from her perch at the railing. She never got over just how much backyard Ann had, or that it could be filled so easily at her whim. People mingled below her, moving in patternless circles, dressed in varying shades of red, white, and blue. The amount of seersucker and madras and perfectly pastel garden party dresses on display verged on garish, on parody, but it was just understated enough to avoid that fate. Ann wouldn't have allowed anything so gauche at her party anyway. Ann was wearing one of those perfect dresses too and she didn't have to turn to know what Ann's legs looked like as she curled them under herself, pale skin against pale skin against white linen that miraculously wasn't wrinkled.
"No you aren't. You're staring down at the grill like he's doing it wrong." Ann readjusted her straw hat, shading her eyes more as she looked up at Rachel.
"He is doing it wrong." As much as she appreciated the invitation, Rachel would have been happier down at Keith's bar. But Keith had closed it for the holiday and skipped town with his girlfriend, claiming that the heat wasn't good for his constitution. Really, it was just that he won a pair of Yankee's tickets in a poker game that she had missed because it hadn't been worth getting thrown in the brig. Again. Sitting at home alone held even less appeal than Ann's garden party, so there she was. That, and she had been promised fireworks.
"He's a professional chef. He isn't doing it wrong." She reached for Rachel's hand and tugged her down onto the edge of the chair. "You know, there was no reason for you to wear that uniform, even if you do look very nice in white." She fingered the sleeve of Rachel's uniform jacket before she pulled her down for a light but lingering kiss.
"It was this, or jeans, and somehow I don't think jeans are in your dress code." A bead of sweat trailed down the back of Rachel's neck and she shivered. Whether it was from that, or from the way she could feel Ann's breath on her lips, she wasn't sure.
Ann smirked as she started unbuttoning the jacket. "I guess you're right." Rachel's stomach jumped against Ann's hand as she pressed her palm against it. Even through her shirt, it felt like Ann was branding her, fingers leaving charred streaks that radiated outward. Rachel was surprised when she looked down and saw only ordinary skin touching an ordinary shirt. It didn't stop her breath from catching. The sounds from the party became more acute, the hum starting to overwhelm her.
"Come inside with me." Ann whispered it against her ear, cutting through the din and smiling in delight as Rachel's breath caught again. "No one will miss us."
"It's your party. Everyone will miss us," Rachel protested even as she knew it wouldn't do any good. She couldn't explain her weakness for Ann, but that didn't make it any less fatal.
"We won't be gone that long." Ann stood up, tangling her fingers with Rachel's and pulling her toward the french doors.
Rachel could feel the prick of eyes on her back as she passed into the air conditioned house, but her skin flushed in anticipation anyway.
The room was small, just a dressing room off of the pool, really, practically a closet in this house. And before she could get a good look at it, Ann was pushing her jacket off of her shoulders and untucking her shirt. She reached for the strap on Ann's dress, only to get her hand slapped away and "I don't want you wrinkling it," murmured in her ear. It seemed like leaving it on was going to leave it just as wrinkled, but Ann wouldn't stand for being questioned and Rachel was beyond trying to avoid the situation. It had been inevitable, really, since the moment she accepted the invitation.
Instead, she cupped Ann's breast through the dress and squeezed, taking out her frustration on that soft bit of flesh. She barely heard Ann's moan as she pushed her skirt up and used what leverage she had to push Ann against a nearby dresser, pinning her there. She moved Ann's panties out of the way and pushed two fingers inside of her, thumb already seeking out her clit. She squeezed Ann's breast harder, wondering just how many creases she could press into the linen before they were through.
"I should probably get going." Rachel sat down her nearly full glass, rum sloshing out of the side, making her fingers sticky again. They were back on the porch, and Ann's dress was as impeccable as it had been at the beginning of the party. She had thought maybe Ann would let her get away with wandering through the crowd after she got what she wanted, but when Ann had pressed yet another drink into her hand, a mojito this time, she knew that wouldn't be the case. If she didn't leave, she would be stuck by Ann's side for the rest of the night and in her bed afterwards. It wasn't the worst fate, but she wasn't in the mood.
"The sun hasn't even started to go down yet. You'll miss those fireworks I promised you." Ann protested with her words, but her tone was noncommittal, as if caring either way would be more effort than Rachel was worth.
"Your husband just got here." She nodded toward Brian and straightened her uniform jacket reflexively. He was weaving through the crowd, but in a way that would bring him to them in a matter of minutes. His eyes burned the way that Ann's hands had earlier.
"So he has." She smiled and waved, and Rachel thought that the smile might even be genuine. She wasn't privy to what their relationship was like when she wasn't around, but she had spent enough time with them together to know that they cared far more about each other than they did about her. She wasn't in the mood for that either.
Rachel swallowed and forced a smile of her own. "Have a happy fourth." She nodded toward Brian, though only Ann could hear her words as she turned and headed back inside. If Ann responded to her at all, she didn't hear it.
She had to peel her thumb from the base of her index finger in order to reach for her phone. She switched hands where she wouldn't transfer the stickiness to the buttons and scrolled through until she found Keith's number. The smile on her face when he answered was still fake, but it was slowly becoming more genuine. "So, who's winning?"