I grew up in a close knit family, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and a lot of cousins. I was close to one cousin in particular, a boy my own age named Reggie, and we were good friends. He had nothing but sisters so when I'd come around he was excited about it and I was a bit spoiled by his attention, but kids don't think that way. We were just a couple boys messing around mostly and if he acted a bit girlish sometimes, like how he acted and especially talked, that wasn't his fault. Like I say, Reggie didn't have anything but sisters, like six of them.
I hadn't seen him in about three years when I graduated high school and joined the Navy. After that I didn't get to see much of anyone, except now and again when I could get a couple weeks leave and come home. I was glad to get out of the service after four years and still young enough to start college, now with a bit of money thanks to the government.
Of course the big question was when I was gonna hook up with a girl, since every spring it seemed like one or another of my relatives was getting hitched. The truth was that I just hadn't met a girl I liked that well. A girl I loved. I didn't have any fear of marriage and I would have liked settling down with one woman, believe me, but I wasn't going to do it just so I could get a divorce three or five years later.
"I'd rather suffer a little now, than a lot later," I'd grin and my family would smile and tell me I was the smart one, but...
"Don't be too smart for your own good, Thomas," someone would say and I'd nod agreeably.
This particular spring, when I was all of twenty-three and in my second year at college, it was my cousin Susan getting married. She was older than me by five years and an old maid by my family's standards. It was going to be a big celebration and something of a family reunion and so I was looking forward to seeing so many of my relatives that I'd missed over the years.
Of course, in addition to all the family in attendance, there were a lot of guests and friends who'd been invited, or just brought along as the case may be. I imagine we had a couple hundred people at the reception all told, and while I knew some of them, I wouldn't go so far as to say I knew most of them. So I spent a lot of time smiling and shaking hands and meeting people I'd forget ten minutes later. It was fun though and I was having a good time.
I didn't know the girl in the emerald dress and we hadn't been introduced, and I very much wanted to make her acquaintance. She was tall, dark haired with olive skin and doe eyes, qualities common to my side of the family. We're all a bunch of Italians mostly, but if we were related, I'd have known it. A girl like that? Yeah, I'd remember her ten minutes later. Ten years later, I bet. She had a body to go with her beautiful face. Some proud breasts, not large, but firm and beneath that a thin waist and narrow, but deftly rounded hips. Her dress wasn't hiding her shape at all and I watched the girl move and smile, tilting her head and tossing her thick mane of black hair. I thought she was just about the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen.
Some other people thought so too, other men, and the girl's dance card was full. From young boys to old men, she wasn't saying no to anyone and she left them all smiling and just a bit out of breath, I think. I wondered who she was with, deciding this girl must be someone's date. The groom's side was predominantly Irish, with pale skin and red hair the lot of them. No, this girl, she'd come with someone, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out who.
She didn't seem to be with anyone, not so I could tell. She moved around the party like a butterfly, emerald green and floating above the ground. I asked one of my brothers, already half-tanked and he laughed at my questions. I found one of my sisters and she claimed not to know the girl, but with a teasing smirk I'd come to hate growing up. My sister knew, but she wasn't telling me and so after those two failed efforts I decided upon a more direct approach.
"Hi, can I cut in?" If I felt bad about cutting in on a twelve year old with orange hair and freckles, I refused to show it. The kid took it like a man anyway, giving me a shrug and a frown as he pulled his nose from between her breasts.
"That wasn't very nice," the girl giggled, putting her hands on my shoulders while I took her gently by the waist.
"I'm saving him from a broken heart," I smiled at her and her eyes were even more beautiful than I'd imagined. Smoldering with promise.
"Oh," she pursed her ruby lips. "But what about yours?"
"I'm sort of hoping you'll be gentle with me," I told her, only half-jokingly. "I'm Tom."
"I know your name." She smiled generously, flashing me her perfect teeth and just the tip of her tongue.
"You do?" I widened my eyes slightly and she nodded. "Hmmmm ... Do I know yours?"
"Oh yes!" she giggled happily and her brown eyes shone with a playful exuberance.
"Please," I smiled back and shook my head slightly, "don't tell me we're related."
"That wouldn't be gentle at all would it?" she shook her head as well and I sighed.
"No, it wouldn't."
"Alright..." she pulled me a little closer, leaning forward so she could whisper in my ear, " ... I won't tell you that."
I didn't know if she was going to pull back again, but I wasn't letting her loose anyway. We were dancing close together, slowly to a fast beat and if people wondered, nobody cared. It was a wedding and the wine and champagne were flowing. I had her in my arms and my hands were in the small of the girl's back, pressing against the satin of her dress and more, bringing her hips to mine and I understood that she had to be feeling the excitement in my loins. My cock was hard, pressing outward and I was moving it against her, not deliberately, but necessarily and a girl like that, she would forgive me. I hoped.
"So what is you do these days, Thomas?" she asked, stroking the back of my neck lightly with her nails. "When you're not saving young men from broken hearts, I mean."
"I go to college," I shrugged, wondering where I'd seen those eyes before, because they did seem almost familiar.
"Are you going to be a doctor or a lawyer?" she wondered and her soft tummy was undulating against my erection, driving me slightly mad with the urge to slide my hands down to her ass.
"I'd like to be a teacher," I smiled. "I'm studying literature."
"Really?" She smiled then laughed.
"What?" I smiled too. "I like it. Don't you?"
"I like poetry," she nodded. "Do you know any poems?"
"One of mine, you mean?" I cleared my throat as she kept nodding. "Well, as a matter of fact..."
I was laughing and only slightly self-conscious, my face flushing as much with pure pleasure as anything else. This was so good, so perfect the way I was holding this woman against me. It seemed as if I'd been born for this moment, when every decision I'd ever made in my life, every step taken had led me to her. It was heady stuff and I felt a bit overwhelmed by it.
"Oh, you have to tell me one now," she whispered, pressing a silky soft cheek against my own. "Please?"
"I love you is a little thing,
Most easily said at night;
Tis whispered in the dark
And frightened of the light."
"Oh." The woman licked her lips and watched my eyes. "Do you really believe that?"
"Yeah," I told her after a moment. "I believe it, because too often when people say it, it isn't true."
"So your poem is about lies then," she smiled, perhaps a little sadly and I wondered how many men had told her they loved her.
"Maybe," I shrugged gently. "Mostly I think it's about being afraid to examine your true feelings. It's easy to say you're in love, but to really look at it and understand what you feel..."
"We want to believe it," she nodded. "Okay, maybe. That's kind of deep. Have you ever been in love?"
"Uh..." I smiled, " ... Does right now count?"
"I don't know." She bit her bottom lip and we were moving so slowly, it could hardly be called dancing anymore.
"Would you like to get some fresh air?" I asked her. "There's gardens on the roof of the hotel, or so I heard."
"Yes," she dipped her chin, dropping her eyes briefly. "I would like that."
"Are you cold?" I asked the girl once we were outside and she shook her head.
The roof was finished as a Grecian terrace, or so it seemed, with imitation marble columns and balustrades. There were large sections of planted flowered and bushes, even potted trees and it was nice, the walkways covered over with thin canopies of brightly colored canvas that flapped in the breeze. Lights were strung high, mostly yellow and offering enough light to see by but with the illusion of privacy preserved. It was pleasant and unexpected.
"No, not at all. It's nice out tonight." She looked around as we stepped onto the roof. "Dark too, is that why you brought me up here?"
"To tell you I love you?" I smiled, holding her around the waist as we walked slowly.
"Uh-huh," the girl agreed with a soft sigh. "If it is..."
"I've never told any girl I loved her before," I said, stopping near the railing and looking out over the city. "But I'll tell you..."
" ... I have to tell you something, Thomas."
" ... I love you." I turned to face her. "And I don't care about anything else."
"I've loved you since I was thirteen," she smiled. "I've dreamed of this, all of this. Right here and now..."
"And now we're here." I took her in my arms and she didn't resist me. "Thirteen, huh? Are we..."
"Cousins," she swallowed hard. "I wish we weren't..."
"I don't care," I decided. "It doesn't matter."