The After Party

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XXI
The After Party


By the time Grace and Luca got back to the house, the wedding reception was in full swing. Grace could hardly believe it was the same house she had stayed in the past three weeks. It had completely transformed. Somehow, Gia had strung thousands of tiny lights all around the fences and trees making everything look like a fairytale. Jazz floated through the air in a melodic breeze from somewhere within the house. It mingled with the noise of the exuberant chatter of the guests. Grace couldn’t have imagined a more perfect party.

Carefully, Luca helped his new bride out of the car they’d taken after leaving the chapel. Naturally, Gia had arranged for a social columnist to interview the newlyweds directly following the ceremony. After her incident walking into the church, Grace was less than pleased to have to endure another reporter, but she did it with a smile for Gia’s sake. 

“Watch your step,” Luca muttered sweetly, taking his new wife’s hand.

Gently, Grace stepped out of the car and into Luca’s strong side, ever cautious of her dress. Despite her attempts to remain graceful, she stumbled forward into her husband’s chest with an oomph!

“Careful,” Luca smirked, catching Grace.

She used his chest to push off of to right her posture, and in the process felt something in his breast pocket. Curiously, she reached in and pulled out a tiny bar of metal, no larger than her pinkie finger.

"What’s this?” she wondered aloud, examining the metal. Luca took it from her, holding it up in the moonlight.

“Iron. Italian tradition says that it will ward off any bad luck trying to plague this marriage. I don’t know if I believe in all that, but Mother wanted me to have it and so I did.” He shoved it back into his pocket.

Grace laughed. She was no stranger to the fact that it was easier to let Gia have her way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Inside, the party was in full swing. The air was full of laughter and cigarette smoke. Vincent, who had clearly had a couple somethings to drink, announced the newlyweds as they entered the great hall. The whole house seemed to shake with applause and cheers.

Sensing that Grace was quickly becoming uncomfortable with the copious amounts of attention on her, Luca grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the back of the house where Gia had fashioned a dance floor.

Someone Grace was unacquainted with got up in front of the band and shouted to the masses that they had waited damn long enough to see the happy couple dance and that now would be the perfect time, so would everyone please clear the floor. The man had made a complete fool of himself. He seemed to be completely drunk, but no one seemed to mind instead, they all just raised their glasses to him in a tipsy salute.

Suddenly, the music changed as a slower paced song began to play. With a dashing smile, Luca grabbed Grace’s waist and pulled her dangerously close. She heard a few whistles from somewhere behind her and felt her cheeks turn hot. Luca merely laughed as he led her around the room. Everything seemed to go quiet aside from the music, and for the second time that day, Grace felt as though nothing else existed but her and Luca. She melted into his physique, laying her head on his chest while they danced. Grace was on cloud nine and didn’t even realize that Valentino had tapped Luca on the shoulder asking to cut in.

Grace hoped Luca would say no, but knew that he was far too much of a gentleman to ever do such a thing. Instead, he placed her hand in Valentino’s and went to find his mother.  Grace stiffened the moment she was close enough to smell the rich cigar smoke permeating his person. The two moved around the dance floor in an awkward unison until Valentino finally spoke up.

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