Note: This scene originally took place at the beginning of Chapter 11 [pg 86] right after Denise tells Cat to come with her to get the pictures. It’s a segment showing Cat and Bones taking wedding pictures with the rest of the bridal party:
Felicity was delighted with having Bones as her partner for the wedding. She managed to squeeze herself next to him indecently in every shot. My jaw ached from how hard I grit my teeth to keep from backhanding her across the room. To make it worse, Bones was being charming and she ate it up. When I could stand it no longer, I turned my head away to face a wall and spoke under my breath, knowing he’d be the only one who could hear me.
“Keep it up and she’ll need a new pair of panties before dinner.”
“Jealous, luv?” he coughed into his hand and smiled at something Felicity said.
Jealous? Hell yes. Even though Noah waited patiently for me at cocktail hour, my feelings had no sense of hypocrisy. I took the offensive, as I usually did when I was upset.
“Not at all. Why don’t you just take her around back and fuck her real fast before we go to the reception? Then maybe she’ll simmer down a notch and not act like such a whore.”
I was on the opposite side of the room, pretending to adjust the strap on my shoes while spitting out the words.
“Ah, Kitten,” Bones said low, refitting the rose in his lapel so no one would see his lips move. “You know how I like to take my time…”
“Just the wedding party, now,” the photographer said and ushered us to stand together. I stomped over gracelessly. “Move in closer, that’s right, a little closer. Now smile and think about the one you love.”
A corny pitch to get a good photo, but I fell for it. Just as the flash reflected I glanced up and saw Bones staring at me. He wasn’t smiling and neither was I. But we looked at each other and no one else.
This scene segment was the original start of the scene on pg 94, right after Cat walks away from Bones outside to go back to the reception. Reminder that Cat was going by the alias “Cristine” and Bones was under the name of “Cris” at the wedding.
Dinner was a living hell. Felicity kept up a steady stream of suggestive chatter with Bones that had me digging bloody crescents into my palms. Then she’d coil her hair around her fingers and lean in very close to whisper something to him. Or her hand would reach out to rest on his thigh while he spoke. Unable to watch anymore, I turned away to speared my dinner roll viciously with my knife. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bones glance at me and chuckle.
“I have to go powder my nose, I’ll be right back,” Felicity cooed, brushing her breast deliberately by his shoulder when she bent to retrieve her handbag. He didn’t even flinch away to avoid it. Bastard. I consoled myself by giving the helpless roll a twist with my blade and imagined it was his heart.
“Trying to tell me something, pet?” he asked as he observed the remains of the roll on my plate.
“Just wishful thinking,” I shot back evilly.
His brow arched before Bones clasped his own dinner roll between his elegant fingers and split the center, buttering it with careful attention. Then, with his head lowered, he slowly ran his tongue along the crevasse until he’d licked away every drop of moisture.
The air left my lungs in a rush.
“Wishful thinking,” he murmured, shooting a heated look at me.
I stood so hastily my chair upended beneath me. Once again, people turned to stare at the disruption. My face burned with something I hadn’t had in over four years - a full crimson blush, and it had nothing to do with causing a distraction among the guests.
“Um, a toast to the bride and groom,” I improvised. “Denise, Randy, may you always remember the commitment you made to each other today. Marriage is more than the paper with your signatures, more than words recited. It’s the pledge you make that come hell or high water, you will stand together and not be knocked over by what life throws at you. Today and always, I wish you strength, courage, and tenacity to overcome any obstacles that threaten your relationship. Once again, congratulations.”
A smattering of polite applause sounded, with more than a few sideways glances. Okay, so maybe I sounded like a drill sergeant, but I was trying to keep my head above water here. Randy leaned over and gave me a kiss, as did Denise, and I sat back down feeling slightly better.
Then Randy stood and raised his glass. “I’d like to thank Cristine for strongly reminding everyone of the seriousness of marriage. Since she’s usually armed, I’m not going to disagree with her.”
There was genuine laughter and clapping at that statement. Most of the people present knew I worked for the Bureau in some capacity, and they knew it wasn’t typing. Poor schmucks, if they had any real idea.
“But let me deviate a bit. Denise and I have known each other for just over six weeks. A very short period of time, many would say, and they would be correct. We have different backgrounds, different upbringings, and different religious beliefs. None of that matters to me. The first night I met her, I knew she was the one for me.” Here he paused and gave Denise a gentle stroke of her face.
“The night before I asked her to marry me, I had a talk with my friend Cris.” Randy gestured in to my right and I tensed, afraid to listen further. “Most of you don’t know Cris. We met six months ago, and I asked him if he thought I was rushing things by proposing to a woman I’d only dated two weeks. My family had reservations, and I knew how Denise’s family felt about our differences. I want to share with all of you what Cris said, because I think it bears repeating.”
Randy moved to stand behind Bones, and my knuckles whitened on the edge of the table. Something told me I didn’t want to hear what was coming. Randy went on anyway.
“He said, ‘Randy, mate, don’t bother about how long you’ve known this girl if you love her. Time has no dominion over love. Love is the one thing that transcends time.’”
There were sentimental ahhs from the guests. I didn’t dare look to my right, because tears coursed a slow steady trail down my cheeks. How right Bones was. Love did transcend time, because my heart was breaking as much now as it had been the day I left him.
“I would like to thank new friends and old, family and extended family, in sharing the happiest day of my life with the woman I love.”
Heartfelt applause broke out when Randy finished speaking. He gave Denise a kiss and she hugged him. Then her eyes widened a bit when she saw me over her husband’s shoulder.
“Cristine! You’re crying. I’ve never seen you cry before.”
I smiled and spoke through a throat choked with emotion. “Denise…I’m just so happy for you. So happy for you both.”