“Ah, Mickey…!” Emil gasped, but was immediately hushed as they broke for air, both trying to catch their breath and stay quiet. In hindsight, perhaps making out in one of the dressing rooms of the bridal shop hadn’t been the best idea they’d ever had, but when Emil walked in to check on Michele and saw him in his charcoal suit with deep purple lapels that fit him just so, well, he couldn’t help himself.
Then again, Michele hadn’t tried to stop him either, seeming to recognize the look in his eye and even going as far as to meet him halfway before he reached behind Emil and locked the door.
Now, safely hidden away from prying eyes, the two whispered and giggled between kisses, Emil on the little stool in the corner and Michele in his lap, his arms wrapped around his boyfriend’s neck as he fought to keep balance on the short seat designed to be used by someone making last-minute alterations.
“This looks so good on you,” Emil praised, smoothing down the material of the suit and kissing Michele on his neck, just below his ear.
“You should see me out of it,” Michele replied and then chuckled when Emil groaned against his neck.
“Mickey…” he whined in the back of his throat. “We’re in public.”
“I didn’t say here.”
Emil and Michele had been dating for six months and, although they managed to meet up outside of competitions more often than they’d originally thought possible, they still didn’t get much time together as a couple.
Currently, they were spending two whole weeks together. They were even sharing a room. Even sharing a bed!
They were staying in Michele’s room. Michele’s childhood room at the Crispino family home. So, Emil slept on the top bunk, while Michele took the bottom – the twin mattresses just a bit too narrow to fit both of them comfortably – while Sara, thankfully, stayed in the guestroom with her fiancé, as opposed to the room she used to share with her twin brother growing up. Still, the walls were thin.
So, it was no wonder that the two of them took advantage of every opportunity that presented itself, like the privacy they were currently enjoying in the dressing room.
“We need to go to a hotel,” Emil complained, loosening Michele’s tie and popping the top button of his shirt. “Just for one night.” He kissed the olive skin revealed to him, his fingers moving to the next button. “Maybe just a few hours.”
“Emil…” Michele sucked in a breath as Emil bit down lightly on his collarbone. He’d come a long way from hesitantly returning his boyfriend’s kisses, even if they hadn’t gotten down to doing everything just yet. “Ah…that’s my-!”
Emil hushed him and pulled back, giving a lopsided grin. “Weren’t you just telling me to keep quiet?”
“Intelligentone,” Michele snorted and then pulled him in for another kiss, which Emil eagerly returned, albeit a bit too enthusiastically. And, as he pressed forward, Michele lost his balance, his looped arms locking around Emil’s neck and pulling his boyfriend along with him.
It wasn’t a far fall to the ground, but even so, Emil had managed to lift a hand up, cradling Michele’s head so he didn’t hit it on the floor – worn carpet which barely covered what was undoubtedly hard concrete. Still, he was certain he was crushing the man beneath him. But, before he could ask if his boyfriend was alright, the door to the dressing room flew open.
Ah, old floors and faulty locks.
“Mickey, are you almost done? I wanted to get your opinion on my-” but Sara froze, dropping the two veils she held in her hands as her violet eyes went wide.
Emil couldn’t blame her. They were in a pretty compromising position, after all. Michele on his back, his previously perfectly coiffed hair mussed and the front of his shirt halfway open. Plus, he had an equally disheveled Emil between his legs and hovering over him, lips pink and wet and cheeks burning with the embarrassment of being caught.
The three were silent until Emil finally spoke.
“Uh, hey Sara-”
“I can explain!” Michele interjected, shooting up and nearly hitting Emil in the chin with his head. He scrambled to his feet, but Sara was already gone. Michele stared at the space his twin had just occupied.
“Well.” Emil cleared his throat as he stood up, dusting off his own suit he’d been trying on. “We were planning on telling her about us after the wedding anyway, so…what difference does a few days make?” he offered, placing a hand on his boyfriend’s shoulder. It was then that he noticed it was shaking. “Mickey?”
“She…” He sniffled and then turned to face him, tears streaming down his cheeks. “She hates me!”
Emil fought the urge to pummel the other man, because, as he should have known – since the entire world was already aware of it – Sara would and could never hate her beloved older brother. So, instead, Emil wrapped his arms around him, rubbing his back in soothing circles.
“She doesn’t hate you,” he whispered. “I’m sure once she calms down, we can all have a nice chat and sort things out.” Michele nodded into his shoulder and Emil smiled. At least he was getting better at the whole comforting thing.
Mila was ready. She had her iced latte in one hand and a hot, steaming cup of chamomile tea in the other. Her pace was hurried, but not so much that she’d spill their drinks. She had to time it just right. And, as she turned onto the next street, she spotted her.
Ah, there she was, the love of her life, panicking and running down the street like a mad woman. Still, she took her breath away.
“Sara!” Mila called, holding up the paper cup and grinning. The moment her fiancé spotted her, she burst into tears. Well, that was to be expected. Sara closed the distance between them and then paused to catch her breath.
“Ran out in the middle of your fitting?” she offered, smile still on her face.
“Wha…well, yes, but how did you know that?” Sara furrowed her brow.
“Well, for starters, you were running down the street like someone’d grabbed your eggs,” she began and then raised an eyebrow before adding, “in your wedding dress.”
“In my…” Sara looked down, her face going pale.
“Plus, the bridal shop called my cell to tell me that they were thrilled that you were happy with their alterations, but that you accidentally ran out on the bill.” Mila bit her lower lip, knowing that there was probably a very good reason why her fiancé had decided to take off without even bothering to grab her purse – the reason the store owner had called Mila – She just hoped it didn’t have anything to do with Sara getting cold feet.
“I…” Sara was still staring at her attire. The aged lace of her grandmother’s dress looked absolutely lovely in the midday sun and Mila thought for a moment that the other woman looked like an angel. That was, until Sara screeched at the top of her lungs, “Don’t look at me!!”
“What?” Mila blinked in surprise.
“You’re not supposed to see!” Sara tried her best to cover herself up. “It’s bad luck.”
“Okay, okay,” she placated, setting the cups down and removing her voile scarf – it was a little warm for it anyway – she wrapped it around her fiancé’s trembling form. “There you go,” she said as she picked their drinks back up. “Now it’s like you’re wearing a totally different outfit.”
“Mila…” Sara teared up again, but she looked happy this time.
“Oh, and this is for you.” She handed her the cup of chamomile tea. “Two packets of honey, just like you like.”
“Mila…” Tears were streaming down her cheeks and it was then that Mila realized that passersby had begun to stop and stare.
“Let’s go find a place to sit and, uh, talk?” she suggested and Sara nodded. Mila took her hand and led her to a more private location.
“And…so, I just wanted to check on Mickey, because he was taking so long, you know?” Sara sniffled over her cup of tea. They found a bench down a narrow cobblestone alley, not too far, but hidden away from nosy onlookers. “And then, the two of them, well, Emil was, and Mickey and everything,” she hiccuped and Mila nodded, not sure where she was going. “Anyway, can you believe that the two of them are dating?!”
Mila raised her brows. Here she thought Sara had walked in on them making out or something. But, instead, her fiancé was surprised that her brother and Emil – who’d been sharing a room with him for the past week – were dating.
“I mean, yeah?” she offered with a shrug.
“I know, I couldn’t believe it either and,” but Sara paused, turning toward her and blinking. “Wait…you knew?”
Of course she knew. Everyone knew. It was so obvious. Even if Michele and Emil hadn’t officially announced that they were dating, it was written all over their faces.
“Well, Zaika,” Mila began, smoothing her fiancé’s hair. “Weren’t you the one who pointed out how much closer they’ve gotten?”
“But I thought they were just on better terms now that Mickey didn’t think Emil was trying to date me,” Sara admitted with a slight quiver of her lower lip. “I didn’t think Mickey was interested in anyone…even if Emil is handsome…”
“My, my, should I be jealous?” Mila asked, the corners of her lips curling up.
“What? No!” Sara gasped, eyes wide. “That’s not what I meant.”
“Ah, well, that’s good then.” She took another sip of her latte and then cleared her throat. “So, you just found out that your brother is dating a very nice, very handsome man,” she teased. “Why did you run away?”
“I guess I just…” Sara’s cheeks tinted. “I guess I was just shocked.” She gave a weak laugh. “I mean, it was surprising to see my brother on the bottom, you know?”
Mila, who was in the middle of taking another sip of her drink, nearly choked. She coughed violently, thankful when she felt Sara gently patting her back. When she finally felt like she could breathe again, she turned wide eyes on her fiancé.
“What exactly did you walk in on?” she wheezed.
Emil was getting dizzy. So much so that he actually had to stop following his pacing boyfriend.
“Where is she?” Michele asked, turning on his heel and walking back in front of the dressing rooms toward the other side of the bridal shop.
“She left her phone,” Emil began. “Maybe she doesn’t know we’re-”
“But the owner called Mila!” Michele finally stopped moving and threw his arms out. “She should have found Sara by now.” He chewed on his lower lip, his gaze shooting toward the shop’s large display window. “Maybe I should go look for her.”
“I’m sure Mila has everything under control.” Emil held his hands up and then snickered. “Besides, you’re still wearing the suit. Don’t you think you should take it off first?”
“Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” Michele narrowed his eyes at him.
Under normal circumstances, Emil might have liked to hear those words from his boyfriend’s mouth, but given the venom behind them, he figured they didn’t hold their usual meaning.
“You just want me to get changed so I’ll miss Sara coming back and so you can tell her about us first, right?” Michele challenged.
Wow. Emil wasn’t even going to touch that one.
“Mickey, let’s just-” but, thankfully, Emil was saved. The bell above the front door gave a pleasant jingle as two lovely ladies walked inside. “Mila, you found her-”
“Sara!” Michele pushed past him and ran to his sister.
“Mickey, I’m sorry I-” “Sara, I didn’t mean for you to-”
They both paused, waiting for the other to go first. Emil shot Mila a nervous glance, but she smiled back at him.
“I’m sorry I ran away,” Sara said, wrapping her arms around her brother and burying her face in his chest. “I was just so…surprised!” She pulled back and wiped the tears from her eyes before beaming up at him. “But I’m so happy for you!”
“You are?” Emil echoed him. It wasn’t that he didn’t think he’d get Sara’s approval, it was just that, well, he assumed she already knew, even if Michele thought she didn’t. Well, it turned out his boyfriend had been right all along.
“Anyway.” Sara released him. “No more secrets, okay?”
“Of course. I promise!” Michele gave a relieved sigh.
“Ah, now doesn’t everyone feel better?” Mila asked. “And, I have to say,” she turned toward the owner, “The alterations look perfect!”
Just then, Michele jumped in front of Sara, throwing his arms out and blocking her from view.
“Don’t look!” he shouted at his future sister-in-law. “It’s bad luck to see the bride in her dress before the wedding!” Like she hadn’t just walked all the way there with said bride.
Unfazed, Mila continued to smile, already used to her new family’s antics, while Emil just shook his head.
“Oh, I just realized something!” Sara sidestepped her brother. “Since you’re dating,” she eyed Michele and Emil, “Do you think it’s wise for you to be sharing a room?” She delicately covered her mouth. “Mila and I are one thing, we’re engaged, but I’m not sure if Papà and Mamma would approve!”
“Sara!” Michele’s face turned bright red. “It’s not like we’re doing that kind of stuff in our room!”
“Why? You were doing it here,” she pointed out, moving her hands to her hips. “Maybe we should trade for the rest of the time before the wedding,” she said. “I can take the top bunk like when we were kids and we can roll out the air mattress in the guestroom for Emil.”
Emil heaved a sigh. That hotel room was sounding better and better.