" ... and so, Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in raising our glasses in a toast to the bride and groom, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Adler!" Jim lifted his champagne flute in the air and watched as Larry and Claire mirrored his gesture. He handed the microphone back to the singer in the band and returned to his seat, next to the groom.
Larry was smiling broadly as his brother sat back down. "Great speech, Jim!"
"Thanks! It's easy to write when the words come from the heart."
Claire dabbed her eyes and said, "That means a lot to me, Jim. It really does. I mean, I know how close you two are, and I, well, I don't, I guess I really don't want to come between you two in any way."
Jim was about to respond when he heard the familiar clinking noises. The high-pitched chime was the unmistakeable sound of a metal fork against a crystal goblet: someone wanted to see the couple kiss.
Larry whispered to Claire before they gave their audience what they wanted, "That's, like, the fourth time already!"
Claire giggled and said nothing. Before she could say or do anything, she could feel Larry's lips touching hers, his tongue gently separating them and gently making contact with her own tongue. She closed her eyes and imagined that it was just the two of them, just as she had at the altar, and just as she had done each of the other times someone started to tap their fork against their glass.
There was something to these kisses since the reception started, Claire mused. She couldn't help but analyze them. Before she got married, there was no shortage of electricity and chemistry. While it certainly wasn't the only reason why she wanted to be Larry's wife, she couldn't deny that if he hadn't been a good kisser, she probably wouldn't have wanted to keep going out with him. The kiss at the actual ceremony had a certain subtlety to it. She didn't want to chew his lips off in a church; he must've felt the same way since they both restrained themselves; she could feel it and she was sure he could, too. But at the reception. These weren't the marathon tongue wrestling sessions they engaged in, but they weren't as laid-back as the ceremony itself either. There was just something ... different, magical, now that it was, well, official that they were together.
Yes, being married was good.
Larry and Claire extricated themselves from the other's embrace and leaned back in their respective chairs. Claire straightened up her hair with her hand and looked up to see her grandmother standing next to her, smiling broadly.
"You remind me a little bit of me and your grandfather when we were your age."
"Thank you, nana! I just hope Larry and I are together as long as you and pop-pop! How long were you two married?"
"Fifty six years! And he would've loved to have seen your wedding!"
"I'd have loved it if he could've been here, too."
Claire's grandmother paused. Based upon the faint smile carved across her face, Claire got the impression that she was simultaneously sad and joyful, as though she was moving through thousands of happy memories, all of them tinged with the knowledge that all of those memories were remnants of a past that she could not re-live anywhere outside of her head.
"Oh, nana, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to--"
"There's nothing to be sorry about, dear. Actually, I'm glad you said that. May I have a word with you? I'd like to share something with you, something that made my marriage to your grandfather such a joy."
Claire's heart leapt at this statement. She had always told people how much she envied people like her grandparents, how hard it must be to stay with one person for that long a period of time and never get bored of them, never wanting to leave, never wondering if you were better off not getting married in the first place. If anyone could tell her the secret to a long, happy marriage, it was the woman hunched over her chair at this very moment.
"I have a little wedding gift for you." Her grandmother placed a small white box, about three inches on each side, topped with a pink ribbon, on the table in front of Claire. "This is the secret to a long, happy, healthy marriage. My grandmother gave it to me when I got married, and now I shall pass this on to you!"
Claire didn't know what to say or how to act. She was being handed a family heirloom, one she didn't even know existed a few moments before. She tentatively reached for the box that now stood before her. As soon as her hand came in contact with the ribbon, she immediately withdrew her hand and looked back up at her grandmother.
"Go on, dearie! Don't be shy. Open it!"
With a fair amount more confidence, but still deliberately slowly, Claire picked up the box, held it near her ear, and shook it. The low rattling sound coming from the box didn't offer any clues as to what mysterious object or objects it contained. She grabbed the ribbon with her thumb and forefinger. With a gentle tug, Claire untied the ribbon, which fell to the table around the package. The bright pink of the ribbon stood in stark contrast to both the white box and the pale yellow of the tablecloth.
Before she moved on to the gift box itself, Claire glanced over at Larry, whose eyes kept bouncing back and forth between her and her grandmother. She followed Larry's eyes over to her grandmother, who was smiling broadly, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet, clearly excited about what was about to be revealed.
Careful not to rip the gift box, Claire pulled open the top of the box and looked inside. Because of the shadows and the darkness of its contents, she wasn't immediately certain what it was she had just received. Reaching into the box, she pulled out ... another box.
This gift was a small wooden box, with a dark brown finish, and a few rough engravings on the top and sides. It's too small to be a jewelry box, Claire thought. She lifted the top and looked inside. Although she expected to see something inside, it wasn't even lined with velvet or any other material. She ran her fingers over the edges of the box, the engravings on the sides and scratched her head. Her grandmother started to laugh; the sound was a mix between a girlish giggle and the chuckle of a much wiser woman.
"Nana, I don't want to sound un--"
Before Claire could finish her sentence, her grandmother had reached forward and, with a pair of scissors she previously hadn't noticed, snipped off a small lock of her hair.
"What was that?" Her tone was a mix of shock and discomfort at what had just happened.
Her grandmother flipped open the wooden box and dropped Claire's recently removed locks of hair into the box. Smiling broadly, Claire's grandmother sidled closer to Larry and, reaching forward, told him, "I need some of your hair, too. You won't regret it."
"What's going on, Nana? What is this?" Claire demanded, her voice a mixture of confusion, anger, and uncertainty.
"I'll explain in a minute, dearie." Flashing in the light, the scissors snipped off a few strands of Larry's hair, which fell gently into her wrinkled palm. As she dropped the added strands into the box and closed the lid, she smiled warmly.
Helping herself to a drink of ice water, her grandmother inhaled deeply and recounted, "Claire, I think you need to know the secret of how your grandfather and I loved each other until the day he passed away. I still love him, and sometimes miss him terribly, but our love was always fresh, new, and exciting."
Claire wiped a tear out of her eye. With a sniffle, she apologized for interrupting her grandmother's story.
"That's all right, dear. Your grandfather and I always understood that love is not just gazing at one another, but also gazing outwards in the same direction. As long as you and your husband are on the same page, your love will be wonderful, almost magical. And that's where this box comes in."
Claire's grandmother looked around cautiously and then leaned forward, speaking in a hushed voice. Larry leaned in to hear her better. "This box now contains a piece of the two of you. The box has already started to get to know both of you; before you know it, you two will be in agreement about everything that's important to a complete, satisfying marriage. Just make sure you've both got some hair in the box. And you two will remain happily married -- just like you're feeling right now -- until death do you part. Then, and only then, should you remove the hair from the box and pass it on to a worthy descendant."
Without saying another word, and without allowing Claire or Larry the opportunity to ask any questions, her grandmother stood up and walked away from the newlyweds. They each gaped at her as she slowly found her way past the bridesmaids. Claire could've thought she saw her make some kind of gesture to the Maid of Honor. She started to point this gesture out to Larry, when the familiar clinking of fork against crystal goblet indicated that someone wanted them to kiss again. Claire was certain the Maid of Honor started this one.
Not wanting to deny their audience, Larry placed his hand behind Claire's head; she leaned back and closed her eyes, lips slightly parted. As his mouth approached hers, she felt a chill run down her spine and she shuddered. There was a certain amount of unexpected heat coming from this kiss. She suddenly found herself thinking of the time in a few hours when the two of them would be alone in the honeymoon suite at their hotel. If kissing Larry felt this much better now that they were married, imagine how much better it'll feel when they actually, ahem, consummate the marriage. She let out a low moan that only she and Larry could hear. For some reason, waiting a few hours seemed like an eternity.
Over the course of the remainder of the reception, amidst all of the dancing and drinking, talking with guests and generally having a good time, Claire's thoughts kept reverting alternately to the heirloom her grandmother had passed to her, to what she and Larry would do when they were finally alone and not expected to be anywhere but in each other's arms. Both sets of thoughts made her feel warm and excited.
The band played the final song, and Larry and Claire took the center of the dance floor as all of the guests joined in a circle around them. The closing out of the reception was just as magical as the entire day had been. The photographer took one final portrait of the newlyweds and the entire reception in a courtyard outside the banquet hall, and people started to leave. Larry returned to the table where the heirloom from Claire's grandmother had been sitting. He grabbed it and caught up with Claire.
Larry and Claire hitched a ride with Jim and his wife at a nearby hotel, their luggage already in Jim's car.
The newlyweds were to stay one night in the hotel before leaving in the morning for their honeymoon destination, a tropical resort island in the Caribbean. They thanked Jim and his wife for bringing them to the hotel, grabbed their luggage, and found their way up to the room, the first bed they would share as husband and wife.
Larry put the bags down outside the hotel room door, unlocked it, and opened it slightly. He looked at Claire and smiled. "I don't know if I'm supposed to do it here, tomorrow, or when we finally get back home, but..."
Claire didn't have much warning as he picked her up off the ground, cradling her in his arms as she instinctively put her arms around his neck. He carried her through the doorway and finished his thoughts, "I think I'll just carry you across the threshold in all three places, eh?"
Claire didn't say anything. She simply gazed into his eyes and kissed him once more. Unlike the other kisses of the day, this one wasn't staged or for anyone else's benefit. As the day grew on, these osculations became more and more sensual, more passionate. With no one else around them as they shared in this powerful, but ultimately short-lived demonstration of their feeling, Claire started to feel somewhat light-headed.
Larry tossed her playfully onto the bed as he returned to the hallway to retrieve their luggage and the wooden box from Claire's grandmother.
By the time he returned with everything, Claire had sat up on the edge of the bed, removed her veil, train, and shoes, and was feeling around uncomfortably for the zipper (with fake and unnecessary buttons giving off an illusion as to the proper way to remove it). She looked over at her new husband and asked, "Can you unzip me?"
Larry sat down next to her on the bed, placed one hand on her knee, and leaned around behind her to help with the removal of her gown. With a gentle tug, he unzipped the back of her gown, causing it to fall loosely away from her body. She slipped her arms out of her sleeves. Seizing the opportunity, he planted a series of gentle kisses on her back, beginning with the base of her hairline and casually moving further down her back. As he reached her bra, he deftly unclasped it and continued with his kisses.
She gave a half-hearted protest, that he was turning her on too much, too soon. "That's totally unfair! Give me that." She took the wooden box, stood up, and placed it on the nightstand. As she stood up, her gown succumbed to gravity, leaving her upper body by and large exposed; only her hips prevented the gown from falling to the floor. She adjusted her bra to continue covering her breasts, but decided not to re-clasp it.
"What's so unfair, Mrs. Adler?" His tone, as he called her by this name, gave the impression that he'd been waiting for this moment to tease her with this name.
"Don't make me so horny that I want to rip off your tuxedo. You're going to have to return it to the shop."
"As you wish!" He pushed her gently back down to the bed and kicked his shoes off. She sat up on the edge and watched as he started removing his suit, in a slow, sensual strip-tease manner. When he removed his tie, he dangled it in front of her, running it down her cheek before draping it, casually, over her shoulder.
After doing something similar with his cummerbund, he started to work on his shirt, unbuttoning it slowly, occasionally licking his fingers. After three buttons, he showed her his left nipple, and she whooped and applauded. "Faster!"
As he let his shirt tumble to the floor, he leaned forward and kissed her. While their lips were together, he reached in between the two of them, found the fabric of her bra, and pulled it gently off of her breasts. Her nipples were standing stiff, and the motions of his hands and fingers told her in no uncertain terms that this was how they should remain.
She reached down and unclasped his pants, rolling them, and his boxer shorts, down to his ankles. He pulled away from her, stepped out of his pants, and knelt down before her. He placed his hands on her hips, but before he could do anything else, she lowered her hands to meet his. Together, they both pushed her gown down over her hips and let it drop elegantly to the floor.
She stepped out of her gown and hastily removed her stockings, garters, and panties.
He stood up, taking his place directly in front of her, and they gazed for a moment into each other's eyes, completely mindful that they were both naked and that the time had come for them to consummate the marriage.
He knelt down and lifted her up off the floor, placing her gently on her back in the middle of the bed. She bent one knee as he took his place near her. He ran his hand up the unbent leg and stopped when he reached her waist.
He gazed up to her eyes and smiled. He knew that look of passion in her eyes, and he didn't want to keep her waiting. He leaned forward and began to nibble, suck, and otherwise orally please her between her legs.
His tongue entered inside of her and served as a counterbalance to his upper teeth with gentle nibble at some folds of her skin.
Claire bit her lip and arched her back as a wave of pleasure rolled through her body. Panting heavily, she started stroking her breasts with one hand and grabbed the back of his head with the other.
Gasping for breath as the pleasure subsided, she, asked him, "Are. You. Ready. Like. I. Am?" The last word came out as more of a squeak than an actual word.
He looked up at her and grinned. He knew that, once she was sufficiently aroused, she had little patience for being eaten out, although he was surprised that she got turned on so quickly. He chalked it up to the excitement of the day. He winked at her, feigning a desire to go back down on her.
As his lips came back in contact with her clit, she raised her hips into the air, quickly lowering them to free herself from his mouth. She took a deep breath, pointed to her own face, and blurted, "No more. Get your face up here."
With a chuckle in his voice, he responded, "Yes, Mrs. Adler."
He quickly crawled up to bring his face level with hers, his erect manhood dangling closely above her pelvis. He looked her straight in the eyes and saw the love, the passion, the pure lust in her eyes. Although Larry was tempted to ask her if she was sure this was what she wanted, he could tell by her look, that this question was completely unnecessary.
She felt guilty for wondering this, but the reality was that all of their kisses throughout the day had a greater degree of pleasure than she was used to; she had been thinking, fantasizing for the past few hours, that sex, like kissing, would result in more physical pleasure than it normally was. She didn't need his foreplay, it just felt like too much of a tease.
Claire ran her hands down Larry's back, reaching the small of his back and squeezed his ass, pushing him down and forcing the head of his cock to make contact with her labia. Knowing that she moved him in such a way that he didn't actually slide into her, she relaxed her grip on his body, spread her legs wider, and bent her knees.
He adjusted himself over her, slowly, gently guiding himself into her moist, engorged canyon of passion. At first, he did not penetrate deeply into her; instead, he moved short distances inside of her, barely bringing more than just the tip of his manhood inside of her.
She let out a low moan of pleasure. In terms of pure sensation, this wasn't all that different, she thought, from him trying to eat her out, other than the knowledge that at some point, when she least expected it, he would plunge himself all the way inside of her and the teasing would finally be over. It was just a question of how long he could keep going like this.
She lifted one leg and tried to wrap it around his waist, hoping, in the process, to force him in deeper, but he caught her foot with his hand and he gently placed her leg back down on the bed next to him.
Arching her back, she felt the first tingles of a forthcoming orgasm. Gasping for breath, moaning, and squealing with delight, she called out, without thinking, "Deeper!"
For once, he didn't do as she had asked. He kept moving in and out of her in short spurts, never once driving himself all the way inside of her. She rolled her eyes up inside of her head and the tingles that had been growing, rolled over her feet, hands, and back. Her voice cracked as she asked him, "Please. Please go deeEEEEE!"
Before she could complete the word "Deeper," he lunged forward and drove himself inside of her with a rapid, forceful motion and she yelped in shock and pain.
"Yes!" She cried out as an orgasm overtook her body. Her legs instinctively wrapped themselves around his waist and her hands took hold of his shoulders and squeezed. She couldn't remember the last time sex had felt so good, and, if Larry wasn't the best she'd ever had, he was a close second.
Spluttering for breath, panting, and losing all self-control, she gave in to the sensations that were coursing through her body, heating her up, and driving her to realize, perhaps for the first time, that this was the man she had chosen to spend the rest of her life with. And, damn, it was a good choice.
As the intense orgasm subsided and her breathing slowed back down, she fell back onto the bed, listening to her heart beat and appreciating the slow rhythm with which her new husband was filling her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the box her grandmother had given her; for a moment, she thought, it looked as though the engravings in the sides of the box were glowing a soft whitish color.
She blinked and turned her head to look at the box straight on, but it had stopped glowing. She looked back up at Larry. "Did you see that, Lar?"
"That, that box!"
"What about --"
He couldn't finish his sentence because she screamed with delight as she was overwhelmed with a second orgasm, completely unexpected, hitting her without any buildup. She dug her fingers into Larry's back, arched her own back, and rolled her eyes into her head.
As she started to come down from the intense pleasure, she clenched her muscles and slowed her breathing. "Wow!" was all she could think to say.
He wasn't sure if he should ask her what she was saying before the pleasure took over her body, so he decided to leave well enough alone. If it was important, she could mention it when they were done.
As she relaxed her arms and legs, she thought about how amazing it would be if her next orgasm came at the same time as when he would have his.
She smiled and looked up into his eyes, noting the look of absolute lust and passion in his face. Nothing else matters. It was just the two of them, their love, their lust, and the pleasure the two of them shared. She nodded her head and mused, about how she had picked the right guy, wondering why it had taken so long for the two of them to meet, start dating, and decide to get married.
He slowed his motions down and ran his hand down to massage her between her legs, right around where he was driving into her.
She lifted her head slightly and started to kiss and suck on whatever she could find. His earlobes were tantalizingly close. She must've hit on something that triggered something in him, because he began to thrust with enormous energy, speed, and intensity.
Her muscles clenched once more as she could feel the pleasure welling up inside of her once more. Seizing this opportunity, he hunched forward and started to suck on one of her breasts.
As the feeling built inside of her, she asked him quietly, almost tearfully, "Please. Please cum inside of me."
He took a deep breath and paused, as she gasped for air. "That's ... that's it. Go ... wild. Aaaaaaah!"
He let out a low grunt and groan as the two of them climaxed in wave after wave of intense pleasure, before he collapsed, exhausted and spent, on top of her.
He nuzzled into the side of her head as she stroked his hair, flush with excitement and the last vestiges of the passion that had been mounting since he slid the ring onto her finger, if not longer.
Knowing that he couldn't stay on top of her much longer, he rolled over. She turned her head to look him straight in the eyes. The looks on both of their faces were pure contentment. He mouthed the words "thank you" to her. She just sighed.
There was a long, comfortable silence, that was broken when he sat forward. Leaning on one hand, he pointed to the heirloom that contained both of their hair and which now stood on the nightstand by the bed. "About midway through," he started, "you mentioned something about that box. Do you remember?"
"Um," she strained to remember. There was something, she knew it. Something about the box caught her eye, what was it? "Oh, um, I think, I thought, it's silly really, but I thought the box, um, it kind of, well, glowed."
"Well, not the whole box, really. Just the engravings on the side."
"No, I didn't really see that."
"I only saw it out of the corner of my eye."
"That's, um, I don't know..."
"I think my grandmother'll be here for breakfast in the morning. We can ask her about it then."
"Let's do that," he answered with a sigh. Stroking her hair, he lay back down beside her.
They spent the next couple of hours looking at each other, recounting moments from both the ceremony and the reception that each thought memorable, always coming back to the box her grandmother had given them.
"She didn't really say how it works, did she?" he mused.
"No, I guess she didn't."
"Do you mind if I take a look at it?"
She sat forward and picked it up, handing it over to him.
He started to run his fingers along the outside of the box. "It's really kind of plain, isn't it?"