Why the Bride was Late

by oosh

I can't get her voice out of my head. That little rasp of desperation. She needed me so much, you know. I shall never, never forget it. Strange how happy it makes me, to be needed like that.

And what of the wedding? Well, yes, he's handsome. Really handsome. I'd like to feel a little jealous; but no matter how rich he will be, no matter how wonderful they say he is, somehow it just doesn't touch anything in me. There's something inside me that just doesn't want to be impressed. Can you understand that?

I don't think I shall get married. Mind you, just at the moment I can't think straight. I just remember how much she needed me, and then how she looked, afterwards...

And then, so many things! I'm struggling to get it all into balance in my mind. Just for example —

I got so angry at the reception! It wasn't the best man, but it was one of them. I suppose he wasn't ugly exactly. He looked very young – and his skin was shiny. I remember that. I dare say he'd had too much to drink. "Do you know," he said to me – and his glass went over at such an angle I thought he'd spill it – "Do you know, I think the bridesmaid was even prettier than the bride?" He smiled really nicely. I suppose I shouldn't have; but in that moment I was so angry, just so, so angry, I looked around – nobody was looking at us – and I stuck my tongue out at him. And what did he do? He laughed. I turned my back on him so fast that my dress nearly cracked like a whip. And I wish it had. What's wrong with me? I suppose some people would have been really pleased. And I suppose, in a way I was. But it was just so tasteless, to say such a thing at that time. It's like pinching the widow's bum at a funeral, isn't it? Why can't people be more sensitive?

I see I'm going to have to explain. I can't just start telling the story backwards, can I? You'll have to forgive me. My mind is just a boiling chaos of thoughts at the moment. Yes, let me tell you, let me explain properly. Otherwise I shall simply end up going round and round, like water down the plug-hole, and I'll end up driving myself mad.

So, where do I start? Not when she first met him – that wasn't a particularly memorable event. Nor when she went away to college – although, for me, that was all too memorable.

No, I have to go right back to the beginning, to when I was just twelve. That was when she suddenly sat up in bed and looked at me, and even though I was deep in my book I knew she wanted to talk to me. Do you know, I can't remember that book at all? Strange, really, because I can remember everything else as if it happened five minutes ago.

It's good for me, you know, telling you this. I really would be going mad otherwise. I hope I'm not boring you.

Anyhow: what she said was: "Hey! I've just discovered something that feels really wonderful!"

I could easily have said "So what?" or something equally disdainful. We were like that, she and I. But there was something in her expression that was particularly alive, as if there was some really big idea in her mind. She was looking right into me. I couldn't help it. I was curious.

"What's that?" I asked. "Show it to me." I expected her to show me a piece of velvet or satin, or a soft cuddly toy, or something like that.

But instead, she just got out of bed and padded over to me. She threw my bedclothes aside and snuggled up to me.

I was surprised. "What are you doing?" I asked.

"Hitch up your nightie," she told me. "Right up." Her voice was all warm and breathy. She sounded excited.

I obeyed her. I hitched it up. I wasn't wearing anything underneath.

She put her hand on my thigh. "What are you doing?" I asked again. For a moment, I was a little afraid.

"I'm just going to show you. Shut your eyes. Just feel what I'm doing to you."

Her voice was so gentle, and her eyes so tender, that I did what she told me. And when her hand began to move, my mind seemed to float off into space. She was right. It did feel nice. "I like this," I said.

"Just wait!" She said it with a soft, confident, grown-up little laugh. Gradually, her hand moved up and up, and all the time it was feeling lovelier and lovelier. I didn't know where I was; I didn't care that I was bouncing around and moaning like an idiot: all I could think of was the magical sensation of her fingers on my sensitive places. And then she touched me there — you know where I mean. Of course, she had been aiming for it all along. I suppose I just went wild, and for a moment she took her hand away.

"Don't worry," she assured me. "You'll get used to it. Just concentrate on the feelings – you'll really like it."

"But it feels so... so..." I couldn't explain. It was taking me over so completely.

"Just trust me," she said. "I promise you'll like it." Her voice was so gentle, and her eyes so tender, that I parted my legs again and wriggled into a more comfortable position.

"All right," I said. "I'll try."

She put her fingers back, but didn't move them. "Are you very sensitive?"

I nodded. Just having her fingers there at all was doing extraordinary things to me. But then, very slowly, she began to move; and every imperceptible movement was like looping the loop in an aeroplane. Several times she hushed me, but I didn't care. It was exhilarating, and frightening, and lovely, all at the same time. And then, suddenly, it all became too much and I felt totally overwhelmed. I was really frightened, but she was saying "yes, yes, yes," over and over again, and somehow that comforted me. Her face was ever so close to mine, her eyes big and round, looking into my very soul.

And then it was over, and I felt ordinary again. It was such a relief! One minute, I had been in a complete panic, and the next, it was as if nothing had happened.

"See?" she said. "Wasn't that wonderful?"

To tell the truth, I wasn't sure. I'd really liked it to start with, but well... I suppose I just didn't know how to deal with something that intense. But I didn't want to seem ungrateful. It wasn't very often that she showed me any intimacy, or bothered to share things with me. I wasn't about to rebuff her. So I nodded. "Yeah," I croaked, trying to sound grown-up. "Wonderful."

I must have been asleep in seconds. And it must have been one of those really deep, profound slumbers in which all the knots in your brain just unravel themselves, and the next day you wake up as if nothing has ever gone wrong in your life before, and everything is new and exciting. During the days that followed, I never thought back to that night: I never even questioned what had happened.

But then, a few nights later, when I got into bed and started reading, she came over and sat beside me. She just put one finger on the corner of my book, not quite interrupting, but letting me know she wanted to talk. I looked up at her, questioning.

"Want to do it again?" she asked.

I looked into her eyes, and what I saw there took me straight back to that first time. There was something in those eyes that I'd only seen that once; but I wanted to see it again. I threw my book down and readied myself. "All right," I sighed, a little condescendingly, and parted my legs. Even before she touched me, I think I was feeling something. My heart was a-flutter. And then she was doing it, and this time it did feel fantastic. I kept trying to look into her eyes – never, ever have I seen such tenderness – but the sheer excess of pleasure was already making it difficult. I just couldn't control myself. I must have gasped or moaned, because I know she started hushing me and reassuring me again. This time, I was reassured, and I did trust her – and yes, it was lovely – overpoweringly, almost painfully beautiful in fact. I don't know what I said or moaned in those moments of frenzied, abandoned exhilaration, but I remember she was still saying "yes, yes, yes," as my consciousness gradually ebbed back. She seemed so glad for me. I don't think I've ever seen such happiness in a smile.

"You liked it that time, didn't you?"

I didn't have to answer.

It wasn't long before I was yearning to re-experience that piercing pleasure. And I think this is what brought us so close together: I didn't actually have to say anything. I would just put down my book, and she would be looking at me. Without a word, she'd just get up and come over to my bed. She knew what I wanted. And there, in her eyes, was that intimate, glowing tenderness again.

I remember one occasion, after she'd done it to me a few times – and by then I suppose I was really getting totally addicted to the feeling – the moment her fingers reached my place, she shivered and let out a little moan. That's when I realized that just by touching me down there, she could feel how much I wanted it. Just by touching me, she knew what it was like for me. Understanding that, I just rocketed into that state of paralyzing sweetness, that perfect moment that she had taught me to crave during every idle moment.

It wasn't long before she suggested that I reciprocate. I was awkward at first, but she was amazingly patient. Perhaps, inadvertently, my clumsiness prolonged and intensified her arousal; I don't know. But what happiness it was for me to see her savouring that delectable sensation from my little fingertips, and what pride to see her roll over, sighing contentedly, drugged in sleepy satisfaction!

And yet we never teased one another. Back then, it was a point of honour for each of us to bring the other to orgasm as quickly and reliably as possible.

Saying that, I don't think the pleasure of orgasm was even the most important thing — certainly not for me. Rather, it was a kind of closeness of understanding that I'd never even dreamed could exist between two people. Somehow, it was just overridingly important, more important than anything else. I know she felt the same.

If I asked to borrow a pen, or take a page of her notepaper, she would scowl and grumble at me. If I asked for help with my homework, she'd throw a cushion or a pillow at my head. In most respects, you see, we were perfectly normal sisters. But if either of us gave that "I need..." look, there was never any question. It cut through everything. It was something solemn, a shared bond, an almost religious duty. Never once did she show the least reluctance – and even, once or twice, suggested it when I needed it, but was too preoccupied to be aware of it. And at that period of our lives, I think that it was perhaps our even keel, the one thing that gave us a solid foundation, a treasured stability.

We weren't avid socialites. We'd go out when we were invited, of course, and had a good time when we did. Nor did we cling together. But at night, when the day was over – that was our special time.

And I suppose that was our pattern: fiercely independent during the day, busy with our separate lives, our separate interests, our separate circles of friends; but in our room together, it all fell away, like a pile of discarded clothes, and that magical tenderness, that secret solidarity was there to comfort and strengthen us.

By the time I was fifteen, I don't believe I'd ever once touched myself, save perhaps the odd experimental grope. Nor, I think, did she. If either of us wanted it, we had only to give that special look. But then she went away to college, and I was left alone. And when my time of longing came, and I looked up to see her bed empty, it was like falling on a hard stone floor. I wanted her: I wanted her fingers, I wanted her face above mine, I wanted her tender, loving gaze. I wanted all of it. But she was miles and miles away. I knew what to do, of course. I reached down, and I did it with swift competence. But it wasn't the same. That first night, I did it again and again and again, trying to get that same wonderful satisfaction. It must have been nearly dawn before I was exhausted.

After that, I went through what I now realize was a period of emotional turmoil. Of course, I was proud of my sister being in college. I'd always read her rather sketchy letters home and felt a thrill of pride at how she was becoming ever more adult, ever more assured. I knew my desire for her was just a selfish thing, and I was ashamed of it.

But there was a hunger in my heart. I tried to extinguish it by drenching my consciousness in self-induced pleasure. After a while, I began to feel a kind of rebellious thrill at the superb proficiency with which I could bring myself to climax after climax. Even while I was still trembling with the aftershocks of the last, I'd be patting myself, gently stroking and teasing, knowledgeably reawakening that lovely, seductive inner tickle that once begun, beckons implacably to yet another panting, sweating, grunting finale of mindless, frenetic rubbing.

But even before half-term I was coming to realize that, much as I craved physical pleasure, I craved peace even more. Why was it that for years my dear sister had been able to satisfy me with just a few gentle touches? And yet, here was I, burning up half the night, exhausting myself, making myself sore sometimes, overtired, angry with myself, angry with her. Something had to change.

For a while, I tried to deny myself. At night, I lay tossing and turning, fondling myself everywhere but there. I suppose it was hopeless: but at least it kindled my imagination. Somehow, I made myself think.

I began to think less about myself, more about her, more about what she thought, about what she thought of me. I began to imagine us lying together, playing together. I began to wonder if she thought of me as I thought of her.

And then I started to understand what she saw in me. Not me particularly, but me as another person, responding to her touches. I started looking at myself in the mirror, enjoying the appearance of my young body. I began to excite myself more, to seduce myself. Instead of rubbing myself furiously in bed, I began to stroke and tease myself in front of the mirror, admiring what I saw, seeing myself through her eyes. I liked watching myself as I climaxed. I don't know why, but I began to find a kind of peace this way; and when I made myself come, it was more final, more fulfilled, more self-accepting.

When she came home for the vacation, I soon found out how much she'd missed me. I think my solitary explorations had taught me something, too. Hitherto, I'd just got her off with swift efficiency. Now I began to play with her, deliberately setting out to drive her crazy before I let her come. I'm afraid there was a selfish, devilish streak in me. When she went away again, I wanted her to miss me.

I wonder if she suffered as much during those first few terms as I did. It's funny: we never ever talked about it. When we were alone together, our eyes said everything that needed to be said.

But as the years passed, she got more and more involved with her college friends. Her letters home became fewer and further between.

In the vacations, despite the automatic resumption of our mutual comforting, I could tell that there was a new awkwardness, a shadow in the background. Oh yes, we still did it, perhaps oftener than ever: it was an unspoken necessity, and I know that in a way we were both glad that it was still there, our shared foundation. But now we were more distant during the day, blushing whenever we found ourselves alone together, muttering excuses to one another. We were like people who had lost their faith, but still went to church. But here is the paradox: for me, at any rate, that awkwardness, that little tremor of doubt, seemed to make it even more exciting physically.

Was it my fault? I know that in my zeal to give her as much pleasure as she could possibly bear, I had driven her to heights of arousal that I'd never even dreamed possible. On one or two occasions, she had fallen on me afterward, kissing me like a lover, out of her mind with a kind of emotional surcharge, until I'd had to do her again quickly, as I had when we were younger, just to calm her down. It's strange, I know: she'd never kissed me like that before, any more than we'd needed to resort to words. Just a glance, a tender caress, and then down to business. But now, things were changing. Had I, or her new-found emotions, frightened her? Was she afraid that she'd never be able to start a family of her own?

I think that now; but at the time, I confess that I blamed her new friends, her college life. I wanted to draw her back, to recapture those carefree adolescent years.

And then she met The Man. That, for us, was the end — or so I assumed. Mum and Dad were overjoyed, of course. And by the time the engagement was announced, I'd let go enough to be genuinely happy for her — for them. I suppose that it was just a matter of time, just a matter of letting my emotions subside and things fall back into their original places.

So actually I was very pleased and flattered when she asked me to be her bridesmaid, to help her choose her dress, and even to be her dresser on the Great Day – I think Mum was a bit put out, but she didn't say anything. And I must confess, it felt a little strange for me to be so intimate with my sister again, to be touching her, doing her hair, fussing over her.

There had never been any question of physical attraction between us. (And now I must confess something: although seeing her body did nothing for me at all, I have begun to get so aroused when I look at myself in the mirror that I am a little surprised at how unmoved I am when I look at her.)

No. Now I'm going to have to contradict myself, because — yes, I have felt physically attracted to her. And that was at a quarter past mid-day today, when she walked up the aisle on Dad's arm in that lovely white dress, and just for a moment, as she got to the altar step, she turned and looked at him and there was a little blush on her cheek. Then, I could have taken her in my arms and kissed her sweet mouth. But by then, it was too late.

Oh, lateness. Late, late, late. Mum and Dad were going mad, because we had planned to be ready well before the Rolls arrived, and of course when it turned up we were nowhere near ready. And that was definitely my fault. Dad was joking about it in the car. Oh yeah, girls take ages just putting their dresses on. Little did he know. She and I were both blushing like mad all the way to the church.

You see, I'd just got her dressed, all perfect, in plenty of time. And by the way, they'd done a lovely job with her hair. (It's funny: although she'd always worn her hair down, they like brides to wear it up for a wedding, don't they? I suppose it makes a feature of your neck. I must try it.) Anyhow, I'd just got the veil nicely pinned up, when I looked at her face in the mirror. And there was that look.

"No!" I cried, outraged. "We can't! Not now!"

And then she said it. It was the first time she'd ever asked me out loud — at any rate, since the very first times. "Please!" she said, and though it was through clenched teeth, it cut into my heart. "Please!"

I was at once furious with her, and yet completely melted by her desire. I could feel it flowing into me. She needed me, and I suppose in a way I was flattered. And perhaps, for her, it was a way of saying goodbye, of putting a seal on what we had done together before her new life began. Anyway, I unzipped her dress, and she shrugged out of it, kicked it away and tore her panties down. I must admit, she did look rather good standing there in just her bra and her veil. She went to lie down, but I wouldn't let her. I knew her hair would get ruined if she did. I made her lean on the dressing-table. I unhitched her bra, so that her breasts hung free. There she was, wanton, panting, looking at herself in the dressing-table mirror, her breasts dangling. And I did her from behind, watching her. I couldn't help gasping when I felt how needy she was. I've never known her so wet. When I pressed my fingers up into her, it was like I imagine a kiss to be. Her petals were so distended, so warm and wet and vibrant, that it was like being nuzzled by a friendly little animal. I started to come myself, then, and I think that just made her even more desperate. I know that if I'd been firm with her, she would have come in seconds. But I, too, wanted to say goodbye. I wanted to give her something to remember.

Now I've found this little spot, during my long nocturnal investigations, where you can just tickle and tickle and although it doesn't make you come at once, your mind just floats off into a wonderful, warm, soft limbo. And after ages and ages, the climax just creeps up on you gently, and you go rigid for ages and ages, and all you can do is groan and shudder and wait for it to pass. So that's what I decided to do to her.

After about five minutes, Mum was banging on the door.

"We won't be long," I lied cheerily. I didn't stop my movements. I was being really gentle, really tender, because I know how lovely it can be.

"Ugh!" my sister said, completely out of this world. I hope Mum didn't hear. I don't think so.

Anyway, when it finally hit her, I thought she was going to wreck the whole room. I've never seen her go off like that before. It was almost frightening. But then she let out this lovely, lovely sigh, and she was goose-pimply all over, and shaking as if she had a fever. That's when something strange came over me, and I found myself kissing her, raining kisses on her bottom, her back, anywhere I could reach. I stopped myself after a few seconds, but I was really carried away for a moment. Luckily, I don't think she even noticed. After an orgasm like that I find I can't really think at all for a couple of minutes. And with her, it was at least a couple of minutes.

I had to give her a wipe with a face-flannel, and wash myself – she had drenched my forearm! While I was getting her dressed again, she was completely stupid, like a zombie. It was like dressing a life-sized doll. She didn't really come to herself until we were in the Rolls, and then, she just turned and looked at me again, and blushed.

I wish she hadn't. I don't know why, but suddenly I felt myself getting madly aroused. But I didn't give in to it. Instead, I just became angry. I turned away. I wouldn't look at her. She was so beautiful, and I didn't want to let on what she was doing to me.

But when she floated up the aisle, all rosy-cheeked, there was this lovely "aah" from everybody in the church. She was just moving like an angel. All that anxiety, all those hours and hours of "will it ever happen?" and "how will it be when it happens?" had just melted away into a kind of lovely, floating serenity.

And then, during the service, she said the "I will" in this funny, far-away monotone, as if she had drifted off into an ecstasy. I don't know what – if anything – was going on in her mind. But married she was. The Man looked so proud! And she was just glowing at him. They were so sweet together.

Well, the reception was a trial. What with Mum weeping, and Dad slapping people on the back, I was ready to bite someone's head off. I had to keep comforting Mum. She was a kind of walking rainy season. It was so embarrassing!

Once they'd left for the honeymoon, and we'd trudged back in to finish off the Champagne, things got a little easier. I had enough to drink, but not too much. I didn't want to lose my dignity. But the respite was short-lived. Mum started to become horribly cheerful, talking talking talking really loudly. I'm used to that sort of thing with Dad, but from her it seemed so forced, so desperate somehow. And then of course there was that shiny young man I told you about earlier. Spare me.

We got home about six, I suppose, Mum very tearful again. And by now the happy couple will be on a plane to the Adriatic. No — by now they'll be in their hotel room, and The Man will be about to have the time of his life. Huh.

As for me, I've eaten enough and drunk enough and now I've made my excuses and I've torn off the bedclothes and I'm just lying here, naked, glowing, my mind churning.

There was this friend of hers from London, you know – some kind of artist, very intense. She came up to me at the end. She seemed very interested all of a sudden. I think she was looking at me. I think if I saw her again I'd feel... I don't know. Forget that.

And then I hear that "Please! Please!" and I know I have to do it, and when I do, I shall be lovingly perfecting my technique, hoping that one day my hard-won experience will win the everlasting devotion it surely deserves.

I lick my finger, and I begin to touch, so so gently. I touch. I touch. Oh, I touch.

Yes, dear sister, I am good at this.

Oh yes... it is working... my noisy mind is closing down already. Peace is falling like the heavy, smoky twilight mist that stuns all sound. And as it swirls, more and more, I try to clear my mind, to banish the grey and leave only the deep black, the velvet sky-black of destiny. For there alone may I see the face of that One out there — that unknown One whose life our life shall be. And even now, I sense, half see, that tender gaze that is my everlasting home. Perhaps this time, at last, in the final rushing fall, I may be allowed to glimpse her.


This story won the first Silver Clit Award in July 2001.

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