Vixen hadn’t been to very many weddings.
This environment still made her uneasy and she could see it on Lola’s face, that she wasn’t sure what to do either.
But unlike Vixen, Lola had her new husband for guidance, to pull her around and show off. She had told Vixen that his instructions were to “smile” and “for God’s sake, try not to get any lipstick on your teeth.” Vixen understood that. Lola’s perfectly plump red lips were compliments of a custom made matte by Serge Lutens himself. When Vixen saw it, she immediately wiped her drugstore lip gloss off on one of the embroidered doilies that occupied every table.
Lola had managed to sneak away from Thomas and find her so that she could pull her over to this handsome Ken doll in front of her. But Lola had only managed to introduce him as “Thomas’ friend” before her new husband had yanked her arm and pulled her away to cut the half groom/half bride cake. A cake Vixen thought was far too lovely to cut but one that Thomas had insisted was “no problem” for his mother and soon would be “no problem” for Lola.
Vixen allowed herself to look up from the neatly pressed tie of his suit- an Yves Saint Laurent, a nice stand to Thomas’ Tom Ford- and into the prettiest brown eyes she had ever seen. She had always thought that brown, so common, so dark, so devoid of detail, was nothing special and absolutely hideous matching other dark features. But Thomas’ friend had large, soft brown eyes speckled with gold and black. They sat so sweetly behind his long beautiful eyelashes and made his rich brown skin look even smoother.
“Hello,” he said with a grin. He stuck out his hand- large with the alarmingly calloused fingers of a laborer- and continued, “Tommy’s told me a lot about you.”
“Is that so?” Vixen offered a small smile, but cut her narrowed eyes to her best friend and his best friend holding each other.
Lola’s eyeliner was too deep and her mascara was obviously drug store but she looked beautiful. And together, they looked almost perfect. Like they were made for each other.
Although Vixen didn’t like the thought of a narcissist like Thomas Lombardi talking about her, she decided not to comment on it any further. She had already ruined one of the Lombardi family doilies. She couldn’t afford to offend his friend. Not in a place like Liberty City. Not while she was still in Hove Beach.
“Lola’s told me so much about you,” she finally said.
“Did she happen to tell you my name?” He asked, grinning. He had a mischievous spark in his eyes and dimples that deepened with his happiness. Like a child. His whole face was refreshingly boyish.
She looked up and stared into his eyes again. So large, so open.
“Well, Tommy never really mentioned yours. But you know, that’s just how he is. I didn’t even know the bride’s name until the rehearsal dinner. James McCloud.”
“Vixen,” is the only thing she said back. She turned back to the newlyweds just as Lola kissed Thomas, leaving no trace of red on his cheek. If she was lucky, perhaps her last name wouldn’t even matter.
“Vixen… how exotic.”
Odd. She was sure that people thought that, but no one, especially, no man, had ever said it to her.
“Can I order you a drink, Vixy?”
She stopped herself from wrinkling her nose. “Yes, thank you, James.”
“Tommy told me that the bar has a lovely Gamay that I’m dying to try. I think you’ll like it too, Vixy.”
He smiled. She didn’t.
She was going to need something stronger than some strawberry banana smoothie to get through this one.
“Right this way, Vixy,” he said, offering his arm.
She took it with a small smile. A gentleman. As they walked, she carefully slipped the doily, still soiled by her red lip gloss, into the trash.
Perhaps this could be a productive evening after all.