“This . . . this is fucking bullshit!”
Weasel and Blind Al watched—well, one of them did—Wade pace up and down the bride’s changing room, his frilly, silk, off-the-shoulder, virginal-white, Princess Di wedding dress-replica clinging to muscular curves and trailing after him like a faithful hound. In his right hand was a Spider-Man stress ball. In his left was a cordless phone, from which the faint sound of a dial tone could be heard.
Wade paused in his incessant pacing to frown down at the cordless so hard, it showed up even through the—silk, white and red—matching mask he wore for his Special Day. Weasel and Blind Al “shared” a “glance” as a loud crunching sound filled the room for a few seconds.
Then Wade was dropping the stress ball and the crushed remains of the cordless on the carpeted floor and staring down at them, white lenses narrowed in their red patches. Weasel, king of cutting edge weapons and armor, still hadn’t figured out how the fuck Wade did that shit. Nano-tech? Truly eerie muscle-control? Magic, maybe?
“Bullshit,” Wade huffed, breathing deep and hard. Weasel rolled his eyes and Blind Al patted his hand.
“Your turn, Tiger,” she murmured serenely, and Weasel sighed. She was right. When divvying up who handled Wade before and after the craziness that was his Special Day, Weasel’d thought Al had drawn the short straw, because—c’mon . . . Wade, just before his wedding would have to be more batshit than Wade after the blessed event, right? Right?
Nah . . . kinda wrong.
Girding his loins, Weasel stood up—an iffy bet in the changing room’s tar-pit couch—and carefully approached a now-growling Wade. “Hey, buddy . . . what’s up?” he asked, wary of ending up like the poor cordless phone because, let’s face it, Wade Wilson had anger-management issues that were vast and breath-taking.
But instead of answering with either words or fists, Wade simply stood there panting, his absolutely ripped chest and broad shoulders heaving so hard, the pretty white dress was probably in danger of splitting open at the seams. . . .
Then Wade’s shoulders sagged and he groaned, burying his face in his hands. A few seconds later it became painfully obvious that Wade was . . . weeping. . . .
Horrified, Weasel glanced back at Al, who shrugged, as if she could feel his gaze. “Your turn,” she said again, helpfully. Weasel rolled his eyes. If only she’d been that willing to keep track of whose turn it was that time they’d banged.
“Listen, Wade, amigo,” Weasel began, reaching a tentative hand out and settling it on Wade’s rough, scarred shoulder. Though Wade’s almost scaly skin felt markedly softer than usual. Maybe he was using some new kind of lotion. It was good stuff, if he was, and Weasel made a mental note to find out the brand. “What’s with the water-works? Unless, like, they’re tears of joy, since you married the man of your dreams, right? Star-crossed lovers, overcoming all odds, yadda-yadda . . . soon to be starting a boring new life in lovely Providence . . . it’s Miller-time, right?”
Wade sniffled soggily, turning suddenly and looping big, ridiculous-strong arms around Weasel’s neck, pulling him into a spine-realigning embrace.
“Oh, Jack,” he whimpered into Weasel’s shoulder. “My sweet, simple Jack. . . .”
“Hey!” Weasel protested, offended even as he wrapped hesitant arms around Wade’s back. “I’m not sweet!”
“You’ve never been a bridesmaid, let alone a bride,” Wade wibbled between dramatic sobs. “Never had such a blessed, unbearable onus thrust upon fragile shoulders.”
“Uh. . . .”
“Never had to juggle a husband, two children, and a beautiful wedding reception . . . which has been incredibly fucked up by a wedding planner who couldn’t plan her way out of an open doorway!” Wade was growling again, in between his sobs. Weasel rolled his eyes and patted Wade’s back till the other man calmed down a bit.
“Listen, nothing’s fucked up, man. Everything’s copacetic. I mean, we’ve still got the reception hall, right?”
“Yeah.” Wade sniffled miserably.
“And it’s still an open bar, right? And free food?”
Weasel relaxed. Even smiled a bit. “Then what’s the problem?”
Wade leaned back, the white lenses of his mask slightly . . . red, now.
Seriously, how the fuck?! Weasel wondered, brows furrowing as he squinted into Wade’s face and leaned a little closer. Wade leaned back warily.
“Um,” he said, seeming chagrined. “Listen, Jack—I’m flattered. And I won’t lie and say the idea of kissing you never crossed my mind back in the day—you’re all cute and clueless, like a mentally-challenged Teddy bear—but—”
“What? Ew, no!” Pulling a face, Weasel shook his head and smacked Wade upside his. “No kissing! I was just . . . trying to get a closer look at your lenses, douche-canoe!”
“Uh-huh. My lenses. Riiight.” Wade’s right lens seemed to wink—because Weasel’s life just wasn’t weird enough—and he cupped Weasel’s cheek in his big, silk-gloved hand. “Alas, that particular bit of subtext will have to remain subtext, my little chimichanga. This pretty, pansexual palomino is somebody’s wifey, now, and totes off the market.”
“Gee, that’s too bad,” Weasel said flatly. “How will I ever cope?”
“Yeah, I—I just dunno, buddy. We were just . . . two ships that passed in the night, and all that jazz. The road not taken, y'know?” Wade nodded sagely, his hand falling almost sadly away from Weasel’s face. “Anyway, the reception’s still on, of course. But the planner just called me to ask if it was okay if, instead of pigs-in-a-blanket, we have these little mini-quiche things, instead!”
Weasel blinked, when no more “problem” was forthcoming. “Uh-huh. Okay. And?”
“No! Not okay!” Wade was growling again. “I specifically told her I wanted those pigs-in-a-blanket because Nate likes ‘em, and Ellie and Hope like ‘em, too. And this was their day as much as it was mine . . . okay, except, not really—but still! I was willing to grant some concessions, here and there! I am very magnanimous! Hence: pigs-in-a-mother-fucking-blanket!”
“Right,” Weasel said, as if he even had any clue. “So . . . they did the mini-quiches instead? And you’re, uh, pretty tight about that, I’m guessing.”
“Yes!” Weasel could swear he heard Wade’s teeth grinding. “And the damn planner considers it an upgrade! Said it was no extra charge, even!”
“Well . . . I mean, that’s something, at least. And, hey! The booze is still free,” Weasel added helpfully. Only for Wade’s lenses to . . . tremble . . . as if. . . . “Oh, fuck, no, don’t start crying aga—”
Wade collapsed in Weasel’s arms, sobbing hysterically.
“Ah, fuck,” Weasel muttered, wrapping his arms around Wade again with a sigh. At least the other man smelled really good—that new lotion he was using was off the chain—not that he usually smelled bad. But even Weasel wasn’t particularly fond of the combined scents of taco-meat, metal, and gunpowder.
“There, there,” Weasel said awkwardly, patting Wade’s back as he shook and wept, wept and shook. Then mumbled an apology for the tears. Something about his hormones being all out of whack, recently. Weasel snorted and made a lame attempt to lighten the atmosphere. “Hey, maybe Nate got ya pregnant!”
Admittedly, it wasn’t the most sensitive or wise thing to say. But Weasel didn’t think it warranted Wade picking him up by the throat—incidentally choking him out, like it was little Jacky Hammer’s prom night, all over again—and shaking him like a terrier would a rat.
“Not funny, Weas,” Wade gritted out, those lenses narrowed again. “I’ve been on birth control for, like, the past six months. Nate and I agreed we are not ready for another kid! Do not jinx us, motherfucker!”
“Blaaaagh!” Weasel choked out. If he could’ve spoken, he’d have said something along the lines of maybe the birth control was screwing with Wade’s hormones/brain chemistry . . . and that, few exceptions aside, guys usually didn’t get pregnant no matter how virile their time-traveling, sorta-cyborg husbands were. . . .
But all that came out was another desperate: “Blaaaaagh!”
Then, just as the edges of his vision began to grey out, Weasel found himself sprawled on the floor, gasping for air and glaring up at Wade, who towered above him in his silk and frills frock.
An exact replica of Princess Di’s dress, it was. Except for the slit up the side to show some leg and the extra-low décolletage to maximize Wade’s . . . cleavage.
(“Seriously, dude?” Weasel had asked as Wade preened at the designer’s after the final fitting. In the seat next to him, Blind Al had long-since nodded off. Wade, however, wide awake and giddy, had spun around, eyeing himself in the many mirrors with great satisfaction.
“Totes serious, Weas. If Di-Di had shown more leg and cleavage, bitch mighta kept her man in check, is all I’m sayin’.” Wade had snapped his fingers like the sassy, strong black woman he sometimes claimed he was, then shifted the yards of fabric and stuck his leg out.
“Ugh. Too soon,” Blind Al had snorted, still half-asleep and Weasel had rolled his eyes, wishing for the day to be over, already, so he could smoke a bowl, jerk off to the Food Network, then fall asleep to lasagna-porn.)
“Although,” Wade mused almost wistfully, now, one index finger tapping his lower lip. “Babies are adorable. And Nate probably would like a son to carry on the Summers name . . . a cute little tyke with Daddy’s telekinesis and Mommy’s killer ass.”
Weasel sat up, still panting, and adjusted his glasses. “Yuh-huh. That’d be cool, too. Whatever path you choose, I’m sure you’ll all be very happy?” he said hopefully, one hand coming up to cover his throat just in case.
But Wade was squealing and picking Weasel up by the arm, with one hand, then pulling him into another hug.
“You’re a good friend, Jack Hammer,” he whispered in Weasel’s ear, his voice hitching with emotion. “I’m so glad I made you my maid of honor . . . even if you refused to wear the nice dress I had made specially for you.”
Weasel rolled his eyes and patted Wade on the back. “Sorry, Wilson, fuschia and chartreuse just aren’t my colors.”
“We’ll have to agree to disagree, Weas. And it’s Summers-Wilson, now,” Wade reminded him, thoughtfully, rather bemusedly. “Weird, huh? I never thought this day’d come.”
“Well, no one deserves it more than you, bud. Be happy.” Weasel found himself sniffling . . . then he snorted and pounded Wade’s back manfully. “And, uh, hey . . . better you than me.”
“I heard that,” Al agreed from the couch, and when Weasel and Wade glanced over at her, the normally unflappable woman was wiping at her face, under the sunglasses. Then she almost smiled, seeming to gaze directly at Wade. “Mazel tov . . . dumbass.”
“They make a most striking couple, do they not?” someone asked, sitting at the otherwise empty table where Bob was brooding over a virgin daiquiri.
Bob looked up from his grousing, his eyes automatically going to the dance floor, where most of the reception, including the happy newlyweds were . . . dancing.
Well, Mr. Wilson was dancing—something that looked like a cross between the Macarena and the Lambada—and Mr. Summers was . . . shuffling along awkwardly, not at all with the beat. But at least he looked handsome in his custom-made tux. And Mr. Wilson was, as always, quite eye-catching in his wedding dress.
Bob sighed. “Yes. Very striking. But then, happiness is always striking in a world so full of the exact opposite,” he noted glumly, as Mr. Summers finally gave up on trying to keep up with the beat or Mr. Wilson, shrugging his massive shoulders and looking very put out. But Mr. Wilson merely laughed and wrapped his arms around Mr. Summers’ neck then leaned their foreheads together. Mr. Summers actually smiled, reaching up to push Mr. Wilson’s mask up to his nose and kiss him tenderly. As if Mr. Wilson was the only person in his world.
As if Mr. Wilson was his world. . . .
I know that feeling pretty well, Bob thought morosely. Then, blinking, he turned back to his daiquiri with another sigh. He plucked at the jaunty little umbrella, then mustered up a smile before looking up at the only other person sitting at his table. Then he was blinking again, looking into kind, round dark-brown eyes in a face the color of sun-bleached mahogany . . . and topped by somewhat messy, straight black hair. Those eyes seemed vaguely familiar, but then, Bob had met a lot of people through Mr. Wilson—who certainly had the common-touch—and had quite lost track of individual faces.
Though it certainly seemed as if he’d have remembered this face, even though it wasn’t especially memorable . . . except for the innate kindness shining out of those dark eyes and the sweetness of that smile.
In their line of work, Bob and Mr. Wilson rarely ran into kind or sweet anything.
“A very striking couple,” Bob repeated, lifting his glass to the other in a silent toast. The smiling young man raised his own glass—champagne—and clinked it gently with Bob’s. They each took a sip of their beverages and regarded each other in wary and curious silence, respectively.
“So,” Bob finally said, when the silence had become a bit . . . too silent, but for the DJ—who was eighty if he was a day—pumping out The Humpty Dance at even louder levels than the previous song, (which, weirdly enough, had been about the origins of peaches. Strange—inaccurate—but catchy). Bob raised his voice to be heard. “How do you, uh, know the happy couple?”
The other man smiled that sweet smile again, blushing just enough that it showed up on his dark skin. “I know Mr. Pool from . . . work.”
Bob’s brows lifted, though it probably wasn’t visible, what with his mask and all. “You’re a merc?”
“What? Oh, no! No-no-no-no-no!” the other man hurried to deny, laughing a little. “I’m a cabdriver.”
“Oh.” Bob’s brow furrowed as he made a connection. “Oh, you’re Dopinder, right?”
The other man looked pleasantly surprised. “Mr. Pool has . . . mentioned me?”
“He sure has! Wow, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you! He has nothing but nice things to say about you!” Bob offered his hand across the table. Dopinder reached for it, then drew his hand back, standing up to move to the seat immediately next to Bob’s, sitting and taking the offered hand. His eyes were dark, dancing, and quite tipsy.
“I was surprised and touched to be invited to his wedding! I thought he was only inviting me because I’d invited him to mine. Unfortunately he couldn’t make it, but he sent a lovely gift,” Dopinder admitted, taking another sip of his champagne. Bob’s smile faltered from faint disappointment.
“Oh, you’re, uh . . . you’re married?”
Dopinder’s brows shot up. “Oh! No-no-no-no-no!” he laughed, sounding a bit embarrassed. “No, I’m not—I mean, there was a wedding . . . but my fiancée, Gita, ran off with my cousin, Bandu, and . . . agh! Such a mess!”
“Wow—oh, I’m . . . so sorry,” Bob fumbled, blushing and glad the mask hid it. But Dopinder merely laughed again.
“No need to be . . . it was an arranged marriage. And though she was very beautiful, we . . . did not suit each other. And she was in love with Bandu, after all, so. . . .” Dopinder shrugged, his smile daffy and adorable. “I do not think our marriage would have worked out. For many reasons, actually.”
“I see,” Bob mumbled, though he really didn’t. It just seemed like the thing to say. “Well, at least you both realized before you took the plunge.”
“That is true.”
Another silence spun out between them and Bob went back to gazing into the depths of his daiquiri. Then Dopinder laughed and touched the back of Bob’s hand with feather-light fingers. Bob shivered and looked up, straight into that sweet smile and those kind, curious eyes.
“It seems you have me at a disadvantage,” Dopinder said, his fingers sliding across the back of Bob’s hand, down his fingers, then—sadly—away. “You know my name, but I’m afraid I do not know yours.”
“Uh.” Bob blushed, his brain giving several false starts before he remembered what his name was. “I’m, uh, Bob. My name’s Bob.”
“Bob,” Dopinder repeated wonderingly, as if he’d never heard such a name before. And it did, in fact, sound fresh and new in his mouth. Bob found himself smiling for real for the first time in . . . maybe months. “And how do you know the happy couple, Mr. Bob?”
“Oh, I’m—Mr. Wilson’s assistant. Sorta. And it’s just Bob, by the way. Mr. Bob was my Dad.”
Dopinder laughed again. He had a nice one—more a giggle than a laugh, and as sweet as his smile. “Alright. Bob. Well, it is very nice to meet you. Any friend of Mr. Pool’s is, I hope, a friend of mine.”
“Likewise,” Bob agreed. Then he and Dopinder sat there smiling at each other for a while, till the other man flushed and looked down, biting his lip.
“So,” he said, dragging the word out a bit, his dark eyes darting briefly up to Bob’s masked face before locking back onto his half-empty glass of champagne. “Are you a m-mercenary, too?”
“Me? Oh, Heavens, no!” Bob chuckled self-deprecatingly. “I was—am—was an agent with, uh . . . an organization that Mr. Wilson had . . . dealings with. Eventually I, uh, sorta left that organization? Um, well, at least I figure not showing up for work for, like, several years, despite not giving my two weeks’ notice, means I left. And I’ve, um, been with Mr. Wilson ever since! Helping out however I can. Doing paperwork. Inventory. Babysitting. Cleaning. More babysitting.”
“Ah.” Dopinder’s shining eyes were on Bob’s face again, wondering and playful. “Is he a good boss, Mr. Pool?”
“Oh, Mr. Wilson’s the best!” Bob gushed, then blushed, then shook his head. “Well . . . yeah, he’s got a temper. And he can be really, um . . . kind of a diva. And he and Mr. Summers are always either fighting or . . . making up. But it’s been a rollercoaster ride I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
“Wow, that sounds . . . really great,” Dopinder said wistfully, leaning on his hand and sipping more champagne as he watched Mr. Wilson and Mr. Summers doing the Humpty Dance. Well, Mr. Wilson was doing the Humpty Dance. Mr. Summers was . . . perhaps having some sort of seizure? Marginally to the beat of the song?
Bob snorted and smiled. The sound pulled Dopinder’s attention back to him and the other man smiled, too, and it just . . . it was such a nice smile. . . .
“I’ll bet you have a wonderful smile,” Dopinder said, like some sort of strange telepathy, sounding wistful once more. Then his eyes widened and he blushed. “I mean, I . . . you seem very nice . . . I can’t imagine that your smile doesn’t match your personality.”
This last bit was mumbled into Dopinder’s glass, those dark eyes darting everywhere but at Bob.
“I . . . oh,” Bob mumbled, blushing, too. Then he shrugged. “I . . . my mom always said I had a nice smile. But, you know . . . moms have to say that.” Shrugging and gulping a mouthful of his now tasteless daiquiri, Bob forged ahead bravely. “You, uh . . . your smile is . . . really . . . um. It’s . . . it’s like sunshine . . . just very bright and warm. And b-beautiful.”
Those eyes widened as they met Bob’s lenses and Dopinder leaned closer. He smelled like flowers, champagne, and, very faintly, new car-scent.
“Would it—that is, if you wouldn’t mind . . . maybe you could,” Dopinder stammered hesitantly, biting his bottom lip. Bob swallowed and tugged on the suddenly tight collar of his shirt. (Unlike Mr. Summers’ tux, Bob’s tux—powder-blue—was just a rental, not custom-made.) Dopinder smiled anxiously, the tip of his tongue coming out to swipe his lips. “I would very much like to see your face, Bob.”
Bob went pale. “I . . . I haven’t, uh, unmasked for anyone in . . . years,” he said quietly, flustered and wary. During the last few months of their marriage, he hadn’t even bothered unmasking for Gail. And she hadn’t even seemed to care. No one had, really. Not even his few remaining family members. No one missed Bob’s face enough to want to see it. “Why do you want to see my face?”
Dopinder’s smile widened, and even though it was a little dopey, it really was like sunshine. “Because it seems like it would be awkward for me to k-kiss you while you are wearing a mask, Bob.”
“Oh,” Bob breathed softly, shocked and somewhat numb. He glanced back at the dance floor. At Mr. Wilson and Mr. Summers, who were in each other’s arms and swaying to Girl You Got What I Need. Mr. Wilson was gazing up into Mr. Summers’ eyes and Mr. Summers was gazing down into Mr. Wilson’s. The former’s huge hands were resting on Mr. Wilson’s waist and the latter’s were clenched possessively on Mr. Summers’ behind. Nearby, to their left, Ellie Wilson was leading her new sister, Hope—still just a toddler, barely coordinated enough to walk—in a shambles of a waltz. Both girls were giggling and occasionally bumping into their fathers’ legs.
They really were a striking family.
There’s no room for me, Bob finally told himself, accepting that fact with surprisingly painless resignation. That’s their story, and it’s not my place to insert myself in it. Not anymore. It’s time to find my own story and play a starring role, for once.
“. . . presumptuous of me. Perhaps it is all this lovely champagne—of which I’ve clearly had more than my share—making me so bold. I apologize, Mr. Bob—” Dopinder was saying glumly, when Bob returned his attention to his embarrassed table-mate. Dopinder was starting to stand and avoiding Bob’s eyes. “Sorry,” he added in a miserable mumble.
Before the other man could gain his feet, Bob quickly reached out and covered Dopinder’s hand with his own. “Wait!” he said, and Dopinder froze, blinking at Bob warily, but dropping back into his chair when Bob attempted to link their fingers together.
“Please, stay,” he whispered. “And it’s just Bob, remember?”
“I remember.” Dopinder’s brow furrowed. “But that doesn’t change the fact that I shouldn’t have said what I said. It was terribly forward of me. ”
“Maybe it was, but,” Bob chuckled softly, pulling Dopinder’s hand up to his face, letting it rest on his cheek for a moment before pushing it down to the hem of his mask. Dopinder’s eyes widened. “But I’m really glad you said it.”
That sunshine-smile came back, brighter than ever, and Dopinder put down his champagne, his now free hand joining its mate on Bob’s mask.
“Are you . . . certain?” he asked, his slim fingers finding purchase in the fabric and brushing the skin of Bob’s throat in the process. Bob swallowed nervously, shivering from just that light, incidental touch. “It was not my intention to pressure you into . . . something that makes you uncomfortable.”
Bob crooked a half-smile and swallowed again, his Adam’s apple bobbing, brushing Dopinder’s cool fingers. “I’m not certain at all and I am uncomfortable. Very much so, Dopinder. But . . . if I was going to unmask for anyone here . . . I’d unmask for you. And that . . . that, I guess, is good enough to be going on with. Don't you think?”
Dopinder bit his bottom lip again, round eyes narrowing as he slowly pushed up Bob’s mask. "Yes, I do." For every centimeter of over-warm, slightly-damp skin revealed, Bob went paler and paler, blood draining from his face till the fabric passed his eyes, briefly. Then he was blinking at Dopinder as the mask finally eased over his sweaty, messy, smooshed, sandy curls.
For long moments, they sat there, staring at each other, Bob grimacing a nervous smile, his ordinary brown eyes—also round, but not nearly as nice as Dopinder’s—probably gone froggy and ridiculous. Dopinder was simply cataloguing Bob’s face, still smiling, his lips parted slightly, as if he was about to speak. When he didn’t, Bob decided to leaven the expectant silence.
“So. Yeah. I’m no Ryan Reynolds,” he said, shrugging jerkily. “I’m just . . . Bob. And you’re probably thinking it wasn’t even worth the effort to take the mask off, seeing what’s under it.”
“No offense, Mr. Bob, but you have no idea what I am thinking,” Dopinder breathed, eyes crinkling as his smile widened. He dropped the mask on the table and reached back up to cup Bob’s face in his gentle, cool hand. “I do not know who this Ryan Reynolds is, but I think you are quite handsome.”
Bob’s sandy-colored eyebrows shot up. “Y-you do?”
Dopinder nodded, leaning in a bit more, his free hand settling on Bob’s left bicep. “Very much so. And I,” his smile turned a bit shy. “I like your broad shoulders and big muscles.”
“Oh.” Bob blushed, resisting the strong urge to flex his arms—which, though not as big as Mr. Summers’ were, were still pretty impressive—though he did square his shoulders and preen a bit when Dopinder’s pupils visibly dilated. “I do favor a rather strict diet and exercise regimen, which—”
“May I kiss you, now?” Dopinder interrupted Bob to ask, eyebrows quirked up and face hopeful.
“Um. Yeah. Please. If you still w-want to, that is,” Bob exhaled in a whistling, breathless voice.
“Oh, I want. Very much, Mr. Bob,” Dopinder murmured, eyelids fluttering to a sooty-lashed half-mast as he leaned in some more. His hand on Bob’s arm clutched, tight and anxious. “I want. . . .”
“Me, too,” Bob sighed into the kiss he met halfway. Dopinder tasted like champagne and those amazing mini-quiches, and yeah . . . kind of like sunshine. His lips were soft and supple, parting at the first tentative touch of Bob’s tongue, to release a moan as sweetly yearning—and hungry—as anything.
At some point during the beginning of the kiss—the make-out session, because, let’s be honest, no less than two songs had gone by while they were tasting each other’s tonsils—Dopinder’s arms had slid around Bob’s neck and Bob’s hands were clenching tight on Dopinder’s waist. Then he finally pulled the other man onto his lap in a straddle that left them touching in all the right places.
“Oh, wow, Dopinder,” Bob panted when they came up for air briefly in the middle of the third song. Dopinder leaned his forehead against Bob’s, also panting. It’d never been like this with anyone. Not even with Gail. “Wow . . . wow. . . .”
“Bob,” Dopinder murmured, stealing a quick kiss and pressing their pelvises together. Which was good for another: Wow! groaned from Bob’s wet, swollen lips. His hands were itching to slide back from Dopinder’s waist, and down, but he wasn’t sure he should. . . .
Could it hurt to ask? he wondered. Then remembered one of his late mother’s favorite sayings: “Who dares, wins, Bobby. And the more you dare, the more you stand to win.”
So, Bob screwed his courage to the sticking place. “I-is it okay if I—I mean, may I—?”
“Yes, Bob.” Dopinder put his hands on Bob’s and pushed them around to his backside, encouraging them to squeeze until Bob took the hint and showed some more initiative. Dopinder moaned and wrapped his arms back around Bob’s neck, practically purring . . . like a very sexy kitten. “Yes.”
“Golly,” Bob breathed, beyond awed as he gazed up into Dopinder’s dark, lovely eyes. Then they were kissing again, slow and thorough, not even noticing the applause and whistles that sprang up around them—started by none other than Mr. Wilson—or the repeated flash of a camera from somewhere to their right.
Because for the first time ever, Bob got it. Totally got it. Mr. Wilson was, as always, right on the nose about the important things in life. Grabbing the ass of someone you were into was not only the fun thing, but the necessary thing. And Dopinder’s ass was . . . just perfect for grabbing. And his lips were so soft and sweet and sinful—just perfect for kissing. And the hot hardness pressed against Bob’s own hot hardness was—just—
Bob groaned, kneading the double-handful of ass in his hands and pushing Dopinder’s slender body against his own. The other man moaned kind of desperately, his tongue stuttering alongside Bob’s.
“Please,” he sighed huskily into their kiss, before locking their mouths together once more with another hungry moan.
“This is—really—just the best day!” Bob broke that kiss to exclaim, beaming up at Dopinder, whose smile was positively wicked as he ran his thumb across Bob’s sensitive lower lip while licking his own. His eyes were so bright and fond and . . . yeah, horny, that it made Bob blush yet again.
“You are adorable,” Dopinder whispered, pecking Bob’s lower lip chastely, almost reverently. “And I still like your broad shoulders and big muscles.”
Then he was melting in Bob’s arms like he was made of soft-serve ice cream. Well, not all of him, obviously . . . no, some of him was still pretty hard. And Bob. . . .
Bob, panting, ground up against Dopinder and pulled him in for another kiss, because oxygen? So over-rated. Who knew?
Peter Parker snapped another, final photo of the cute couple making out at the table—it was getting really steamy, actually, the pair practically crawling all over each other, sucking face and grinding like dey was in da club. . . .
Sighing wistfully, Peter silently wished them all the best—wedding reception hook-ups were notoriously a source of regret for most people—and backed away, turning to see if there were any more amazing shots of Wade and Nate—not that Peter hadn’t already taken a thousand—to be had. Because the photographer Wade had hired was a fucking amateur, and too busy flirting with Domino to do her job, to boot.
Grumbling to himself, Peter was distractedly fiddling with his Nikon’s settings and didn't notice he was about to collide with someone. And then, he already had, instinctively grabbing his camera in one hand and the other person’s arm in the other, steadying both with spidey-reflexes and strength.
“Whoa!” Peter exclaimed—glad, nonetheless—that the camera-strap was, for once, around his neck. “Sorry, pal!”
“Oh, no, that’s my bad, dude, I’m—sorry,” the other guy exhaled, his wide light brown eyes widening even further behind big, dorky glasses as he stared at Peter and blinked. It was then that Peter suddenly recognized Wade's, er, maid of honor. “Wow,” the erstwhile maid said, shaking his head a little, as if to clear it, then blinking some more. He ran a hand through chin-length, straight blond hair and smiled. “Wow, uh . . . what’s your, uh, hurry, there, brown-eyes?”
Brown-eyes? Peter thought, his nose wrinkling as he let go of the other man’s arm. “Not in any hurry . . . Blondie. Just lookin’ for some photo-ops.”
“Ah, right. ‘Cause . . . camera. I see,” the other man said, pointing at Peter’s Nikon and grinning toothily. “You know there’s already a wedding photographer, right? That redhead dyking out with that goth-looking chick, over there?”
Peter’s eyes narrowed and his inner Social Justice Warrior poked its head out, ready for a fight. “Dyking out?”
The other man’s toothy grin widened and he elbowed Peter, winking. “I know, right? I’m not super into pussy—you know, unless we’re talkin’ cougars—but even I’d like to get between those two. Amirite?”
Sighing, Peter started moving away. “No, you’re not. In fact, you’re so wrong, I struggle to even comprehend your existence. Good-bye.”
“Hey! Wait!” As Peter turned and tried to slip away into the dancing crowd, the other guy caught his arm. Stopping—not because he had to, but because he didn’t want this loser following him around—Peter sighed again.
“You’re, uh . . . wow . . . way more defined under that rent-a-tux you’re wearing than I woulda guessed, brown-eyes.” The other man squeezed Peter’s bicep, nodding his approval.
Peter threw a glare over his shoulder at this new and appalling bane of his existence. “My name isn’t brown-eyes, jerk.”
The other guy continued to show off slightly crooked, but very white teeth. “Yeah? Then what is your name, cutie? Mine is Jack. Jack Hammer.”
Peter’s eyebrows shot up incredulously, and Jack laughed. “No, seriously, it is. Jack Hammer, Jr., actually.” He shrugged affably. “Most people just call me Weasel.”
“I wonder why,” Peter muttered, shaking Jack’s hand off his arm. “Well, nice meeting you, Jack. I’m gonna float around and see if I can find some more photo ops. Peace out, boy scout.”
“Oh, sweet! I’ll come with!”
Rolling his eyes and gritting his teeth, Peter started to stalk away. “You really don’t have to. I’m . . . I’m fine by myself.”
“Yes, you are.”
Walked right into that one, Peter thought ruefully.
“So,” Jack said as Peter’s instinct for a good shot—almost like his spidey-sense—tingled and he aimed his Nikon at Ellie and Hope flailing about on the dance floor. Snap! Perfect shot . . . capturing happiness and innocence and a lack of self-consciousness that anyone would envy. “I gotta ask . . . you here with anyone? I mean, like a date? Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Inflatable other?”
Peter gaped over at Jack, who was still grinning—or smirking—looking like a hot mess in his ill-fitting silver tux and string tie. Wade must’ve had a fit when he saw what his maid of honor was wearing.
“That’s—that’s none of your business!” Peter spluttered, only for Jack’s grin-smirk to widen.
“Kinda is, since I wanna ask you to dance without some jealous prick tryin’ to kick my ass.”
“Who’s to say I won’t kick your ass?” Peter demanded, eyes narrowing again. Jack’s smirk stretched into some new expression that he probably thought was charming.
“Ah, don’t be like that, baby. You strike me as more of a . . . lover, than a fighter.” Jack’s eyebrows waggled in such an over-the-top, over-done lothario-leer, Peter’s annoyance and offense spiked up to flat-out rage for a moment. . . .
Then, suddenly, a lone snort escaped, forcing Peter to cover his mouth. But not before a giggle escaped right after it—one that was clearly loud enough for Jack to hear, for the other man’s toothy grin turned knowing and his left eyebrow quirked wryly.
“Huh? Huh?” he said, mugging as if Peter was about to take a picture of him. Peter rolled his eyes and didn’t even bother to stifle the other giggles that were threatening to escape. He just stood there, snickering and guffawing goonishly, the way he almost never did, anymore, while Jack watched him with relaxed bemusement.
“So,” Peter said, when his giggles and snorfles had slowed to something that allowed for talking. “That’s your big play, huh? This is your game? Be so annoying and offensive, it circles back around to charming?”’
“Ah.” Jack waved a hand modestly. “I don’t play games. But I know my strengths, and being charming with words and, like, debonair and shit? That’s just not something I excel at.” He shrugged. “What I do excel at is annoying the shit out of people—and the more annoying I am, the more I like someone. And sometimes . . . yeah, when I’m with the right people, it kinda works its way back around to charming.”
“I see.” Peter dug in his pocket for the lens cover for his Nikon. When he found it and capped the camera, he looked back up at Jack, a small smile of consideration on his face. “You must like me whole lot, then.”
“Well, I don’t know you,” Jack said reasonably, smiling again. This one was sincere and almost shy. “But I think I’d like to.”
“Based on what criteria?” Peter let his right eyebrow drift up. It was the same look he gave his students when he filled in for the professor he TA’d for.
“Hmm, well,” Jack said, stepping closer to Peter, his eyes rolling in a hapless, almost adorable manner. “I won’t lie and say that I haven’t noticed that you’re . . . en fuego, dude. I mean, you’re easily the hottest guy in here. Even with that checkered bowtie—which, by the way, I kinda wanna pull off with my teeth—and that ugly plaid cummerbund. You’re also kinda clumsy, like me, which turns my crank, for some reason. You’re obviously smart—quick with a quip, which is sexy as fuck. And,” he tilted his head and stared directly into Peter’s eyes as if trying to get a read on his damn soul. “And your eyes are . . . Jesus. You’ve got eyes like a Bollywood starlet. I just wanna stare into ‘em for, like—”
“Hours?” Peter finished. He’d actually heard that line before . . . quite frequently. Not the Bollywood starlet part but the staring part. Proof positive that guys were all the same.
“I was gonna say ever, but, yeah . . . we could start off with a few hours, get to know each other properly. Maybe dance a little,” Jack allowed with unflappable nonchalance. Peter blinked. Then blushed. Then looked down at his camera.
“Can’t dance?” Jack chuckled. “Yeah, me neither. Not really. But hey, maybe if there’re two of us out there, flailing around like total spazzes, it’ll look like we know what we’re doing.”
And with that, he held out his hand.
Peter stole a glance at Jack’s stubbly face and the somewhat disheveled rest of him, in that ill-fitting silver tux. He was about Wade’s height, four inches taller than Peter, kinda chubby and hairy and awkward-looking, even standing still. His hands were large, but gentle-looking and his smile—now that it wasn’t that smarmy smirk—was actually. . . .
Those glasses, huge and hideous, looked powerful enough to see the distant future. And Jack still had a tendency to squint myopically while looking at semi-distant things, Peter had noticed.
Overall, he was a sort of dumpy wise-ass who knew just how smart he was and just how charming he wasn’t. He probably had a bad habit of under-thinking despite his intelligence and was likely, even as they stood here, stoned, if his reddened scleras and the faint, green-dank scent that attended him were any indications.
He was funny and he knew it, and played to his strengths, rather than pretended to be someone he wasn’t. And he clearly didn’t give two shits what anyone else thought about him, assuming they’d take him or leave him, according to their own tastes.
A classic underachiever, by everyone else’s standards, probably. But more likely just a man with nothing to prove to the rest of world, in his own eyes.
Jack Hammer was pretty damned content with who he was.
In other words . . . he was exactly Peter’s type. Exactly the kind of guy Peter’s inner SJW knew he should steer clear of . . . but somehow, he never did.
And really, he asked himself flippantly, why start tonight?
He took Jack’s hand and the other man grinned delightedly, leading Peter out nearly to the center of the floor. Just then, the song—Sweet Caroline—turned into Some Enchanted Evening (the DJ was apparently born in 1852, and a glance at the DJ booth did nothing to change Peter’s mind on this), and everyone’s dancing slowed, partners moved in closer to each other, arms wrapped around bodies, and heads leaned together.
Noticing this, Peter looked up into Jack’s eyes to see the other staring down at him as if asking for permission. Peter cleared his throat and stepped closer, into Jack’s personal space, placing one hand on Jack’s shoulder while the other clasped Jack’s hand firmly. Still grinning, Jack pulled Peter in close—as close as he could with the Nikon between them—his free hand settling on the small of Peter’s back. Slowly, hesitantly, they began to sway in time to the music.
“So . . . got a name to go with those gorgeous eyes?”
Peter flushed, but tried to affect the same nonchalance Jack did. “Peter Parker.”
Jack’s eyebrows lifted. “You’re Wade’s Baby Boy? His Petey-pie?”
“Oh, God, Wade talks about me?” Peter’s flush deepened as Jack laughed.
“Uh, yeah, he does. Fuck me, and here I thought you’d be this big bruiser, like Nate!”
“Oh? And why’s that?”
“Well, you’ve seen Wade’s type.” Jack nodded toward the newlyweds, who were lost in each other’s arms. And eyes. Well, lenses and eye. “And he had the hugest crush on you, for a long time. So, natch, I assumed. . . .”
“Ah.” Peter rolled his eyes. “Well, I guess I should be flattered that he went against type just to perv on lil ol’ me.”
“That’s how I’d look at it. Man, and the way he’d wax poetical about your ass . . . holy shit, I’m surprised your ears weren’t constantly burning!”
“Who says they weren’t? Jesus, Wade,” Peter muttered, and Jack laughed, his hand on Peter’s back tightening as he pulled Peter fractionally closer.
“I’m, uh, a bit hurt? That he never mentioned me to you?” Jack said, fishing, but sounding not at all put out. Peter smiled a little.
“Well, Wade never names names, but he’s told me a few stories that I suspect had you in them. Do you or did you, at one point, tend bar in Upstate New York?”
“Indeed, I did.” Jack’s big grin shone out once more and Peter was almost unwillingly charmed. “That fucker’s tab is still open. He owes me, like, twenty-eight thousand dollars.”
Peter laughed and after a moment of watching him with something like pleasant surprise, Jack joined him.
Their laughter tapered off and they danced the rest of their dance in silence, sneaking smiling glances at each other.
The next song the DJ chose was Splish Splash. Around them, everyone began shaking their asses and swinging their hips and laughing. Peter smiled wryly and Jack made a face. But neither of them stopped their slow swaying.
“What? Don’t like Bobby Darin?” Peter teased.
“Nah, he’s fine, it’s just . . . Splish Splash is kinda not vibing with the sort of mellow you and I were working on, you know?”
Up went Peter’s professor-eyebrow. “We were working on a mellow?”
“Oh, yeah. Totally.” Jack’s face turned ever so slightly pink and he looked down for a moment. “At least . . . I’d kinda hoped we were.”
“Hmm,” Peter said noncommittally. Jack looked up, a nervous smile on his face.
“Listen, Peter . . . what say we get outta here for a bit, huh? I mean, not far, just . . . find a quiet place for the two of us to—”
“Fuck?” Peter blinked up at Jack with fake-innocence thick enough to go sledding on. The pink in Jack’s cheeks grew more pronounced.
“I, uh, was gonna say get baked, but, yeah . . . that works, too. Like, so well.” Jack’s face was eager, his eyes lit up. The hand on the small of Peter’s back slid reluctantly to the curve of Peter’s ass, with obvious intent to slide further down. Peter allowed himself to feel flattered, despite the fact that at least some of Jack’s eagerness was undoubtedly for his weed. Not that Peter, who smoked mostly to keep his damn spidey-senses from waking him up constantly when he actually managed to sleep, had any room to judge.
“How about this, Jack Hammer: we find somewhere private, get baked first, and then . . . we’ll see what our mellow allows?” Peter was the one to waggle his eyebrows, now, but kept the rest of his face straight. “And we’ll take some of those mini-quiche things with us, because . . . munchies, amirite?”
Jack’s smile was ear-to-ear and almost dazed, as he let Peter back them off the dance floor and toward a side exit. “Hot, smart, funny, and you speak my language? Baby,” he sighed happily and his big hand settled firmly on Peter’s ass, squeezing lightly, then a bit more surely. “You had me at get baked first.”
Stan the Man only just barely heard the voice calling up to his booth. He really ought to keep his hearing aid cranked up, he supposed, but then the music seemed too loud, if he did.
And finding a decent middle ground had proved impossible, thus far.
Sighing, he made sure the current song—I’m Henry VIII I Am—had a good ways to go, before stepping carefully down the eight steps to lean out of the booth and his breath caught.
Before him, stood a vision.
“Well,” he said, running a hand over his thinning white hair and smiling wide—after discreetly making certain his dentures were still in place. “Hello, young lady.”
The woman standing near the door to the booth—wearing a lavender dress with little purple flowers all over it, matching shoes, and large, incongruous sunglasses—was standing patiently, head tilted to the left. Her curly grey hair seemed to shine silver in the hall lighting.
She smiled just a little, full lips curving ever so slightly. “I’m neither, but thanks for the compliment.”
Stan turned up the wattage on his smile. “I just call ‘em like I see ‘em, gorgeous. So, uh . . . what can Stan the Man do ya for?”
“Got a favor to ask, Mr. The Man.”
“Mm. Got a song I want you to play last. For my friend—the, uh, one in the Princess Di replica-wedding dress.” She nodded toward the dance floor and Stan looked. It wasn’t difficult to spot the, er, bride.
And damned if that wasn’t an exact replica of Princess Di’s wedding dress, too. Well, except for that slutty slit up the side and all the . . . cleavage. . . .
Stan shook his head. To each their own, was his motto. That, and don’t spit into the wind.
“Sure, if I have the song on my Macbook, I can play it. That is . . . if there’s something in it for me. . . .” he waggled his eyebrows meaningfully.
The woman frowned a little, her eyebrows lifting. “Something . . . meaning?” she asked, cool and regal.
Stan, as had ever been his curse, came over shy and began to blush. This was exactly why he’d lost his job at the strip club all those years ago. Not that the job before that—FedEx delivery person, on the heels of his big move from New Mexico, after that weirdness with the giant robot went down—had gone too much better. “Well . . . I was thinking maybe I play some Frankie or Dean-o, and we—you and me—could take a spin out on that dance floor. Trip the light fandango.”
Those eyebrows lifted even higher, but she seemed amused now, rather than offended. “Sinatra? Martin? And I thought I was old,” she muttered, sighing, and Stan sighed, too. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard that. Though this dame was the best looking one who’d turned him down in recent memory.
“Never mind me, I guess,” he said, shrugging with fake-nonchalance. “Sure, I’ll play your song if I have it. No problem. What song?”
That frown turned into a small, almost smirky sort of smile. “Eh. I’ll tell you after we take our spin on the floor,” she said, holding out her hand.
Stan gaped. Looked at her hand, then back at her face. Then back at her hand. Then he opened the booth door, ready to take her out for that dance before she changed her mind. But he immediately remembered he had to actually set the playlist before he did so, and fit Frankie and Dean-o in there, as well.
“Oh, uh . . . just a minute, doll-face!” he said, dashing—okay, not quite—back up into the booth.
“Sure thing, Stan the Man.”
A minute later, he was all but leaping out of the booth, taking her hand—it was slim, small, and soft, and she smelled like violets—and leading her to the dance floor.
As Volare began to play, seconds later, Stan the Man pulled his partner close, inhaled that sweet violet-scent, and the two of them cut quite a rug, to the apparent delight of everyone watching. Especially the catcalling, whistling, er, bride.
“Mm. . . ?”
“Mm. . . .”
“Fancy wedding, and everything.”
“Mmhmm. . . .”
Wade, his head resting on his husband’s shoulder—not the metal one—was clearly content to be lead about the slowly emptying dance floor. So Nate did that for a few more minutes, kissing the top of Wade’s silk-covered head. Then he glanced over at their daughters—Ellie nodding off, sitting in the middle of the floor with Hope next to her, head in Ellie’s lap, sound asleep—a smile coming to his face. As time went on, the expression felt more and more natural. Nate took that as a good sign. A sign of things to come.
Though he would remain ever vigilant, Nathan Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani'Son Summers-Wilson would accept the hope and happiness that was not his birthright, but had nevertheless become his almost by accident.
Though, in the end, as he well knew, all things served providence.
Wade sighed. “I am so fucking happy, Nate.”
Nate hummed, tightening his embrace. “Even though we had to make do with mini-quiches instead of pigs-in-a-blanket?”
Wade snorted. “I . . . may have over-reacted to that little change in plans. But those quiches were the bomb-diggity, yo! I’mma get the recipe before we leave!”
Nate sighed and shook his head. “My eager little houswife.”
“Damn right, baby.” Wade’s hands slipped down from their hold on Nate’s waist, till they were clutching meaningfully at his ass. Nate looked down at his husband questioningly. Wade was smirking clearly through the silk mask.
“Do I even want to know?” Nate asked.
“I dunno, do you?” Wade teased. Nate rolled his eyes and sighed again. He could probably guess what Wade was going to say, but Wade liked it better when he played along.
“Tell me what dirty thoughts are running through that impossible-to-read mind,” Nate whispered and Wade bobbed up on his toes—even with the heels, there was still a bit of difference between Wade’s 6’2 and Nate’s 6’8—to whisper back:
“I want you to blow me while I’m wearing this dress and then I want you to bend me over a piece of furniture—doesn’t matter which piece, don’t really care—push up the dress, and fuck me till I come again.”
Nate’s brows lifted. “That . . . is not an unreasonable request,” he finally said, and Wade let out a tiny squeal, bouncing happily in Nate’s arms. “However . . . who’s going to watch our kids while we . . . break in the dress?”
Wade’s brow clearly furrowed. “Huh. Well, Bob—”
“Probably not, since he disappeared almost forty minutes ago.”
“Shit’s sake!” Wade grumbled. Then brightened. “Well, Weas, I guess—”
“Last I saw of him, he was following Peter out a side door. And they were carrying the last of the mini-quiches.”
“And they took the quiches? Sonuvabitch!” Wade exclaimed. “Fine. At least Blind Al—oh, you can’t be serious!”
Nate, who’d been shaking his head no, shrugged apologetically. “She and that elderly DJ took off together ten minutes ago.”
“But—but—” Wade wibbled, his lenses wide, his mouth turned down in a visible frown. “I wanna get bent over in my wedding dress! On my wedding day!”
“Nathan, hubby, love of my life . . . if you care at all about my sanity, you’ll come up with a way for us to fuck without abandoning our children on the dance floor,” Wade pleaded, his hands, in their soft, silken gloves, coming up to cup Nate’s face. “Please?”
Nate sighed yet again, scratching his head. “But Wade . . . you’re not—and you know I adore you—not even remotely sane by anyone's standards.”
“Semantics,” Wade dismissed, then glared. “And really, Nate? That’s all you took from what I just said?”
“Okay, okay—look, I’ll . . . I’ll come up with something. Just . . . give me a minute to think.” Nate shook his head again, and Wade grinned, bobbing up to plant a silk-covered kiss to Nate’s chin.
“That’s what I like to hear, hubby. Fifty-six seconds, and counting,” he added, laying his head on Nate’s shoulder again, and pressing his hard-on against Nate’s thigh.
“But no pressure, right?” Nate mumbled, trying to think past his own automatic response to Wade’s obvious horniness. It was hard. Pun intended.
“Hmm. None at all, sweetie. Forty-six. Forty-five. Forty-four. . . .”
All told, it took Nate nearly two minutes to come up with a workable plan. Then another two minutes to negotiate some babysitting duty with an unimpressed Domino and yet another future ex-Mrs. Domino—during which Wade was absolutely no help, just popping and locking to Shoop, the last song of the evening, and apparently Wade's "jam"—who were, when all was said and done, rather gracious about it.
So, by the time the girls were safely in the care of Domino and Tami—who was also the photographer who’d taken all of ten wedding photos in between flirting with Domino like it was her day job—Nate was rock-hard and dragging a giggling Wade out toward the first place he could think of.
The checker was, thankfully, nowhere in sight. So Nate pulled Wade around and shoved him up against the wall next to the coatroom door hard, pushing up the mask to kiss his husband thoroughly. Wade moaned happily, his hands going right to Nate’s groin.
“Ooh, is all this for me?” he asked coquettishly, squeezing Nate’s cock like the tease he was. Nate growled, swooping in to wreak some hickies.
“And then some,” he agreed, his hand finding the slit in the dress—it went practically up to Wade’s crotch, and Wade was not, as usual, wearing any underwear—and feeling his hot, hurried way to Wade’s dick. That was good for a nice, long groan from his husband.
“Fuck,” Wade breathed, laughing. “Blow-job later, Nate. Fuck me now.”
“You know it.” Nate pulled Wade tight against him for another kiss, fumbling for the doorknob then turning it.
They stumbled into the dark coatroom and Nate automatically flicked the light switch, only to hear two gasps that weren’t his or his husband’s.
He and Wade found themselves staring into two pairs of bright, shocked, guilty eyes. In two bright, shocked, guilty faces.
Then the other, familiar pair of canoodlers were sitting up—sort of . . . the paler of the two was behind his dark companion and they were both on their hands and knees—trying to cover each other with coats from the enormous pile they were screwing on, and all without disengaging from each other.
“Oh. Em. Fucking. Gee! Bob?! Dopinder?!” Wade exclaimed, sounding utterly scandalized. The paler man—Hydra Bob . . . who knew he was blond?—flushed. Literally all over. Then he tried on a shit-eating grin, while trying to cover his companion, who Nate assumed was Dopinder.
“M-Mr. Wilson!” Bob laughed a little. “Um. This isn’t what it looks like!”
“Well, it looks like you’re fucking Dopinder in a pile of my friends’ coats!”
“Oh.” Bob sighed, so red he looked like he’d been sunburned. “Then I guess it is what it looks like.”
“Jumpin’ Jehosephat!” Wade covered his face with his hands for a few seconds. Bob turned redder, somehow, but Dopinder smiled sweetly—drunkenly—at Nate and Wade, then began rocking back against Bob in a way that made the other man’s eyes roll back into his head. Then he was clutching at Dopinder’s hips and holding him close.
“Stop fucking him!” Wade screeched irritably, waving his arms like a large, flightless bird. Bob groaned and hung his head . . . but started thrusting again.
“Sorry, Mr. . . . Wade. No can do.” Bob took a deep breath and opened his dazed, pleasure-hazy eyes, meeting Wade’s gaze steadily nonetheless. “I think I’m in love!”
Dopinder sighed contentedly, his eyes slipping shut and his legs sliding a little further apart. Bob hissed and started thrusting faster, closing his own eyes once more.
Wade began to sputter. “Love?! Love?! What the shit—who—who even brings lube to a wedding?!”
Nate cleared his throat and started to speak, but Wade hushed him sharply, probably aware of the irony in that question, considering that he’d had a special pocket sewn into the dress specifically for a small tube of Astroglide.
“Actually, Mr. Pool,” Dopinder said around measured breaths, biting his lip and making a scrinched up face as Bob rocked into him hard. “We f-found it in, um, Mr. Pool’s coat pocket.”
And when Dopinder opened his eyes and nodded at Nate, Wade spun around almost accusingly. Nate's shrug was unapologetic.
“I’m always prepared,” he said simply. Then he took Wade’s arm by the elbow. “C’mon, Wade. Let’s go find somewhere else.”
“But—but—” Wade stammered as Nate dragged him out of the coatroom, flicking off the light switch as they went. “That’s my lackey! And my cabdriver!”
“They seemed to be hitting it off pretty well,” Nate noted, pulling the door shut and dragging Wade down the hall, toward a small storage room—as usual, Nate had studied the blueprints of the building in which their reception was held . . . always prepared—not too far from the coatroom.
“Bob’s not supposed to have sex! And certainly not with my precious little Dopinder! Not on the first date!” Wade sounded traumatized as Nate continued to drag him along. “I didn’t even get to have The Talk with him!”
“Either of them!” Wade wailed as they turned a corner.
“You were the one cheering them on when they were swallowing each other’s faces at the table, earlier.”
“Well, there’s a big difference between some drunken spit-swapping and fucking in the coatroom! Ugh . . . I can never unsee that! And we are not wearing those coats again!”
Nate grunted, then smiled, stopping at an inconspicuous door. “Damn. I’m surprised Bob had it in him. Although . . . I guess Dopinder’s the one who had it in him.” Snorting, Nate put his hand on the knob.
“You’re not funny, Nate. You’ve never been funny,” Wade said with real asperity.
“My humor's always on-point,” Nate informed his husband with a straight face, then turned to let them into the storage room. As soon as the door opened, a dank, green smell hit Nate and he frowned. “Hey, is that—”
“Weas, that quiche-stealing bastard!” Wade growled, storming into the dim, junky space. Nate followed, suddenly taken by a mildly bad feeling.
Wade, still resplendent in his silk princess-dress, with its long train, stalked past some stacked chairs and a podium, and turned a corner made by two tables, only to gasp. Sighing, Nate joined his husband and shook his head at the sight before them.
Peter Parker, naked as the day he was born, was straddling a bare-from-the-waist-down Jack Hammer, riding him hard and fast, sweating and groaning as he bounced on Jack’s dick. Jack, wide-eyed and clearly stoned out of his gourd, merely lay there, hands sliding up and down Peter’s leanly-muscled thighs, and murmured dirty, almost inaudible encouragement in between giggling and gasping. His glasses were so smudged Nate could barely make out his eyes.
“Petey?” Wade wibbled in horror, hands coming up to cover his mouth. “Baby Boy?”
Peter’s back arched at an impossible angle, till he was blinking up at Wade—upside-down—with wide, stoned, pleasure-dazed eyes.
“Hiya, Wade. . . .” he giggled, running a slow hand up his chest. The other was shamelessly fondling his balls. “There’s, uh . . . room for two more, I guess . . . I mean, I could blow one of you and . . . well, I’ve never done double-penetration before, but I’ll try anything once.”
“No-no-no . . . not my Petey!” Wade breathed in a shaky voice, his shoulders sagging. Peter sat back up, leaning forward over Jack to kiss him. Jack mumbled swears into the kiss, his hands grabbing Peter’s ass, squeezing and pulling his cheeks apart. Wade covered his eyes as he and Nate got a glimpse of Peter Parker they’d never expected to see.
“C’mon, guys, either hit it, or quit it,” Jack said over Peter’s shoulder, nodding down at Peter’s ass then back the way they’d come. "But don't hang around just to harsh our mellow, 'cause . . . holy GOD, his ass! I think I'm in love!"
Wade’s mouth dropped open and stayed that way for a hot minute. Then he looked at Nate pleadingly.
“No,” Nate said, laying down the law. He took Wade’s elbow again and steered his husband away from temptation. “I don’t share.”
“But—it’s Petey! Peeeteeeeey!” Wade was probably glancing longingly back at the tawdry scene behind them. Nate could hear Peter’s renewed groans and grunts, and Jack’s giggles and swears. He briefly wondered if that offer to share Peter had been sincere. . . .
Somehow, he doubted it. He rather thought that Jack Hammer wasn’t one for sharing, either.
“You an’ me, Nate, baby, we could DP him together! And Weas could have his mouth, and—”
“We’ve had this talk, Wade, and I. Don’t. Share.”
“God, you’re so mean!”
Once the door shut behind them, Nate dragged his pouting, petulant, grumbling husband back toward the coatroom, then past it.
“Where’re we goin’?” Wade demanded sulkily.
“There’s a janitor’s closet—”
“One that isn’t actually used, Wade. It’s just an auxiliary where they store extra mops and stuff.”
“Oh. Well. I guess that’s okay, then.” Wade sniffed loftily, then sighed. “I just wanted to have sex with my husband, Nate . . . is that so wrong?”
“Of course it’s not,” Nate assured him tenderly, pulling Wade into his arms as they walked down the hall. Wade sniffed again and leaned into Nate. “We just . . . had a bit of bad luck, that’s all. Third time’s the charm, right?”
“I guess,” Wade mumbled.
“No need to guess, Mr. Summers-Wilson. I know. In a few minutes, I’m gonna be all up in that tight little hole, making you beg me to fuck you harder.”
“Mm . . . I like the sound of that. . . .”
“I know you do.”
They stopped for a few moments to kiss—a surprisingly tender and sweet one—before moving on. A minute later, Nate’s hand was on the doorknob of the janitor’s closet. “Now,” he said, giving Wade the filthiest leer he could manage. “Prepare to be violated.”
Wade clapped his hands together gleefully, then as Nate started to turn the knob, they both heard a soft, but distinct moan come from behind the door. A woman’s moan, breathy and . . . familiar.
They looked at each other, mouths hanging open.
“Huh.” Now, Nate’s shrug was apologetic. Wade heaved a heavy sigh, shaking his head.
“If our luck holds the way it has been, I’m bettin’ Blind Al and Stan the Man are doin’ the old and nasty in there, as we speak,” Wade said flatly, shuddering.
“It could be empty?” Nate said without much hope. The lenses of Wade’s mask seemed to give him a waspish glare. “Or . . . it could be rats?”
Wade crossed his arms and pursed his mouth. Nate bit his lip then let his shoulders sag. “But it’s probably Blind Al and Stan the Man fucking. You’re right.”
“I know I’m right. I’m always right. If you’d remember that, this marriage’d go a lot smoother than it has the past ten minutes,” Wade huffed, then, sweeping his train behind him, he stalked off back down the hall. Nate hurried after him, feeling over-large and faintly ridiculous in his tailored tux. The hard-on of . . . jeez, had it really only been ten minutes ago? Well, that was a thing of the past.
Wade lead them back to the reception hall, where things were definitely winding down. As soon as Ellie and Hope—running around Domino and Tami’s legs—spotted them, they dashed and toddled over, squealing: “Daddy! Daddy!” and “Pa! Pa!”
Nate stepped forward, catching Ellie as she jumped, hugging her close and kissing her forehead. Ellie laughed and said: “Yuck!” wiping her forehead, then laying her head on Nate’s shoulder with a yawn.
Wade, meanwhile, had caught Hope, swung her up into his arms as she squealed happily, then pulled her close for a hug and a noisy kiss on the cheek. She giggled and flailed, her big blue eyes almost squinting shut.
“You guys have fun, today?” Wade asked. Ellie nodded sleepily and Hope squealed again.
“Fun!” she exclaimed. Wade kissed her other cheek, giving her another big hug.
“’M sleepy, Papa,” Ellie mumbled into Nate’s shoulder, her small arms winding around his neck.
“Seep! Seep!” Hope crowed, with a dismaying amount of energy. Wade’s gaze met Nate’s and they both smiled a little. It’d be at least a three-story night for Hope.
Ellie, thank goodness, was already half-asleep.
“Yeah, we’ll be leaving soon, little one," Nate promised. "We just have some good-byes to say—including Domino and . . . Tami—and then we can start heading out. Okay?”
“Okay.” Ellie’s sleepy burble turned into another yawn and a snort.
Wade moved closer to Nate, bouncing up on tiptoe to nuzzle his cheek before kissing it fondly.
“You know,” he murmured as if having a revelation. “I could just keep the dress on till after the sprogs are asleep. . . .”
“Spog! Spog!” Hope cheered, drooling all over herself and her pretty blue dress. Nate smiled, kissing Ellie’s riotous curls and wrapping his other arm around Wade’s waist, tugging him in for a quick kiss—with one for Hope, as well.
“And our bedroom has plenty of furniture for bending someone over,” Nate agreed as Wade’s free arm draped low around his waist. Then Wade was squeezing his ass possessively.
“You’d better wreck me, Nathan Summers-Wilson,” he whispered huskily.
“For my bossy little housewife? I think that can be arranged.”
“Mmm. . . .”
Sharing promising, sultry smiles—Ellie asleep in Nate’s arms and Hope gabbling to herself in Wade’s—the newlyweds made their way back to their receiving table to begin the interminable good-byes to their guests.
(Admittedly, though, since at least half their guests seemed to have snuck off with each other, the line of well-wishers went a lot faster than it otherwise might have.)
The Summers-Wilsons made it home in record time: the girls were maneuvered into their jammies and both snoring by the time their fathers kissed them good-night. Then Nate went to brush his teeth and when he came back out, Wade, still wearing the princess-dress, was fast asleep, sprawled and splayed in the center of the bed, his mask half pushed up.
Nate simply stood in the doorway, watching his husband sleep—and snore . . . and drool, a little—some quiet, eternal part of him observing the way his wary, once quite bitter heart seemed to fill to overflowing . . . then fill some more, because. . . .
Sighing, Nate loosened his black bowtie as he approached their huge, reinforced bed. He sat on the edge and leaned down to kiss Wade’s scarred cheek, lingering to nuzzle it tenderly.
“I know I don’t say it as much as I should, but . . . I love you, Wade Summers-Wilson. I love you very much.”
Wade mumbled in his sleep, smiling a little and Nate—who, like Wade, slept rarely and never for long—kept vigil beside him for the rest of the night: guarding his husband’s sleep and dreams as best he could, and letting his own heart continue to overflow.