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royally screwed

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“What in the world are you doing?”

Bridget looked up from her pint of Ben & Jerry’s, the scowl on her face half-obscured by the brim of her hat. She was seated on the couch with her feet on the coffee table, one foot in a black suede pump and the other in a cumbersome walking boot. Splayed around her was the dusty pink dress that had hung in their closet for weeks. On the telly, Mark could hear the pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding blaring from the screen.

“I’m drowning my sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s,” Bridget replied around a mouthful of ice cream.

“Darling…” Mark pushed Bridget’s skirt aside, bunching it between them so that he could sit next to her on the couch. “I know you’re bereft about not being able to go, but this is a bit much, isn’t it?” He gestured towards the extravagant headpiece attached to her hair, the expensive dress she was wearing, and the singular shoe on her foot.

“I’ll be the judge of what’s too much and what isn’t,” she said, jabbing her spoon back into the carton. “I had one chance, Mark. One chance. Me, Bridget Jones-Darcy, invited to the Royal Wedding--the last one we’ll probably see in our lifetimes, thank you very much--and I went and broke my fucking foot.” Her statement ended sharply, the spoon in her hand now pointing directly at the walking boot.

“Well, if we were to look at the bright side, at least we found out before the wedding that you couldn’t very well walk in those shoes.” Mark eyed the Rupert Sanderson pump Bridget wore on her good foot, propped up on the table in all of its four-inch glory. He’d be a liar if he said he hadn’t looked forward to seeing her legs in those shoes, but the emergency trip to the A&E when she fell arse over tea kettle while wearing them had made them Public Enemy #1.

“I don’t need your snarky attitude,” she said, jamming another spoonful into her mouth. “It’s bad enough that I have to sit here in the house and watch the wedding on the telly. I don’t need you squawking common sense in my ear.”

Chagrined, Mark looked down at his hands. He huffed a sigh before standing up. He could feel Bridget’s eyes on his back as he walked across the room toward the staircase.

“Mark?” she called out after him. “I’m sorry. I-I didn’t mean to be so abrupt.”

“I know,” he said over his shoulder.

“Then where are you going?”

“Don’t worry yourself about me.” Somewhere behind him, he could hear Bridget muttering under her breath before turning up the volume on the TV. He couldn’t help but smile.

Fifteen minutes later, Mark reemerged to where Bridget was still sitting.

“Well?” he said, holding out his arms.

“Shut the fuck up,” Bridget said, her mouth hanging open.

Standing in front of her, Mark thumbed the lapels of the black morning suit jacket he was now wearing. It matched the black in Bridget’s headpiece, and the pink of his tie was almost the exact shade of her dress. He smoothed his hands down the front of his jacket, fiddling with the buttons of his waistcoat before awkwardly shoving his hands into the pockets of his pinstripe trousers.

“What?” he said innocently, bringing his eyes up to meet hers. Her mouth was still hanging open, but it was now completely broken into a wide grin. Mark couldn’t help the smirk that crossed his own features.

“You look bloody handsome,” Bridget said breathlessly.

“Who, me?” he replied, padding barefoot across the floor to sit next to her. Bridget used her free hand to grab the volume of her skirt and pull it across her lap, and Mark sat as close as possible to her. He could feel the heat from her body emanating from the confines of her dress.

“Sod off,” she said with a mischievous smirk. She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek, and Mark felt himself blush. “You know you look amazing. I can tell by your dimples.”

Mark tried to school his features, but failed miserably.

“Such a shame I can’t show you off in front of the world. All of the women would be so jealous of me,” Bridget continued, lacing her fingers into his. “Meghan Markle would probably call the wedding off and try to snag you away from me.”

At this, Mark snorted. “Now you’re just being ridiculous.” He glanced down at their laced fingers, bringing her knuckles up to his lips to press a soft kiss to them. Bridget smiled at him as he lifted his chin.

“Has she arrived yet?” Mark asked, glancing towards the television.

“Not yet,” Bridget replied. She took her hand back from Mark’s to take another spoonful of ice cream.

“Don’t be greedy,” Mark said, taking the carton from her hand and taking his own spoonful.

“I think Mum is more devastated than I am,” Bridget said around the spoonful of Chocolate Therapy she had just popped into her mouth. “She called me this morning in tears, begging me to at least suck it up and make it to the ceremony.”

Mark laughed at this, taking another bite. “That’s Pam Jones for you.”

“I hung up on her,” Bridget replied, grabbing the carton back. “Haven’t heard from her since, which means I’ll probably be getting a week’s worth of the silent treatment.”

“A wedding day miracle.”

Bridget laughed at this, gently knocking her shoulder against Mark’s as he smiled beatifically at her.

“I suppose you’re right,” she said, shaking her head and laughing.

Mark grabbed her hand again, threading his large hand with hers. “I really am sorry we couldn’t go,” he said softly. Bridget looked at him and smiled. “I know how badly you wanted to.”

Shrugging, Bridget replied, “It’s fine. I mean, if we were there right now, I wouldn’t be eating Ben & Jerry’s.” To prove a point, she took another bite before offering one to Mark. He slid it off the spoon with relish.

“Very true.”

“It could be a lot worse,” she continued with another shrug. “As long as I’m with you, I suppose I don’t really care where I am.”

Mark felt his heart swell at her words. He draped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her into him and avoiding the large, white flowers on her hat as he did so.

“For the record, you look utterly gorgeous,” he murmured around the brim of her hat. “I think it would’ve been me who would be fighting off Prince Harry if we had been able to go.”

Bridget laughed at this, loudly. Mark joined her, the feeling of her body quaking against his causing an explosion of endorphins to rocket through his body.

“I love you, you idiot,” she said, dipping forward to kiss him.

“I love you, too,” he replied, dodging the brim of her hat to fully claim her mouth with his.

Bridget would never admit it, but she never did see Meghan Markle emerge from the vintage limousine. She was too busy being engaged with Mark’s mouth to take the time to peek.