Jazz checked the last details to make sure that everything was taken care of. The flowers, the caterer, the band. Check, check, check. The guests were already waiting and the priest had just arrived. Showtime.
She quickly made her way over to the groom’s room and knocked. Goto opened the door.
“It’s time,” she said with a smile and nodded towards the door. “Get into position already.” He smiled slightly and left.
“Ishigami-san? Are you ready?”
She approached the groom, waited for his unspoken approval to fix his tie and the boutonniere.
“Congratulation, Ishigami-san. Your bride is a wonderful woman and I’m sure you will be very happy together.”
“Thank you,” he earnestly replied.
“But you better get going now, I’m going to get Liana next. Only five more minutes and you will be wed.”
She waited until he took a deep breath and nodded firmly.
“I am ready.”
It was good that there was no awkwardness between them, they both knew that whatever had happened between them had been part of a business, although it had been fun after all. Well, the act itself had been fun, the way leading there not that much. Ishigami-san had been the most difficult client in Jazz’s career but now he was happy and would marry the woman Jazz had found for him. All’s well that ends well, right?
After making sure that the groom was on his way Jazz hurried over to the bride’s room. She knocked again and when the door was opened she slipped inside, handed the bridesmaid a bouquet, and shooed Kurosawa out who was busy taking pictures of the bride in the last moments before the wedding.
“Liana? Your groom is waiting,” Jazz finally announced and the bride beamed at her.
“It’s really happening, isn’t it?” Jazz was slightly touched by how nervous the bride seemed. She had gotten to know her as a reasonable, not overly emotional woman so seeing her like this gave Jazz the good feeling that she really had matched up the right people.
“It is. He is looking very handsome and you are stunningly beautiful. I really hope that you will always be looking forward to seeing each other like you are in this moment. Congratulations and all the luck in the world to the both of you.”
Liana swallowed once and suddenly chuckled, a bit teary-eyed.
“Don’t ruin my makeup now, I can’t cry before he has seen me at least.”
Jazz smiled and handed the bride a tissue. Liana took a deep breath, grabbed her bouquet and nodded.
“I am ready.”
Yes, they were really a good match.
The ceremony went on without a hitch. The guests ‘ahh’ed and ‘ohh’ed at the bride’s entrance, the groom was visibly moved by her appearance and the bride was glowing, smiling all the time. It was perfect.
Their vows were simple but heartfelt, assuring each other of eternal support and trust. Ishigami was a bit nervous when it came to sliding the wedding band on Liana’s finger but he managed and for a moment it looked as if he would kiss her finger, but he held back. Probably because of their audience. But he was looking very relieved when the priest announced them husband and wife and this time, there was a kiss. Chaste but sweet and both blushed lightly. Very cute.
This was definitely the most emotional Jazz had seen Ishigami and considering what she heard from Goto and Subaru, she wasn’t the only one surprised at how visible touched the usually stony-faced detective was. Liana did have a softening effect on him.
When the first glasses of champagne were passed around Jazz slowly relaxed. The most important part was over, they were actually married. Whatever could go wrong now would be unpleasant but couldn’t change the fact anymore that Liana and Ishigami-san were newlyweds.
Jazz quickly checked on the serving staff and the caterer but they told her everything was fine. Of course Jazz wouldn’t drink at a day like this, she was on a job after all. But she got a glass of ginger ale that at least looked a bit like champagne and watched the guests and the bridal couple. She also watched Miho and Goto who were standing together, chatting and drinking with as much of physical contact they could get away with in this setting. Jazz knew that Miho was practically shameless but also that Ishigami was Goto’s boss and she was proud that Miho seemed to hold back. At least for now. What would happen when she had some more drinks was unpredictable.
“They are next, huh?”
Jazz slightly flinched, she hadn’t expected for anyone to talk to her.
“They are. What about you?” She turned to face Subaru who simply shrugged.
“MJS couldn’t match me up with someone suitable after all,” he casually said and took a sip of champagne.
“You mean you didn’t really give anyone else a chance,” Jazz shot back and he shrugged.
“Maybe I’m not the kind of guy that can be set up with someone easily.”
“Maybe we wouldn’t want our clients to have to deal with you all their life,” she said with a sweet smile.
“You are one to talk,” he grumbled but Jazz laughed happily.
“I am. After all I already am married.” He raised both eyebrows, surprised at her announcement.
“I mean I was. I already was married,” she quickly corrected herself. Dammit! Being Kunihiko’s wife felt so natural and right that she sometimes forgot to keep it a secret for now.
“You were. Well, well, the fact that you aren’t anymore doesn’t surprise me. I bet he got fed up with your talking back to him all the time.” His smug grin made her roll her eyes.
“No. He simply got fed up with lying to me about not being gay.” She shot him a challenging glare but he seemed to understand that this wasn’t something to joke about.
“Oh. Well… by the way, the flowers are great.” Subaru motioned towards a flower arrangement, a wordless olive branch of peace.
“Thank you. Haruka Utsunomiya made them.” She could tell by his expression that he actually was impressed, at least for second.
“What? Did you sleep with him, too? Isn’t he a bit young for you?” A very short second indeed.
“With whom I sleep or not shouldn’t concern you, but no. He’s an old friend of Kunihiko.” Jazz looked back at Miho and Goto who looked happy and relaxed, something that had been rare lately, while they chatted with Ishigami and Liana.
“Thank you. For taking care of her,” Jazz quietly said. It wasn’t easy for her to say something nice to Subaru but she was really grateful that he had made sure that Miho was safe. He tilted his head slightly and accepted her thanks graciously.
“Couldn’t let him lose another one,” he muttered and downed his champagne.
“Hello, everyone! Welcome here today! Who would have thought that we would ever celebrate the wedding of Ishigami one day?” a cheerful voice suddenly boomed through the speakers.
“Oh god, who gave that fool a mic?” Subaru muttered and Jazz jumped into action, ready to give the sound guy a sign to cut Kurosawa off if necessary.
“But I hardly know anyone who deserves this as much as Ishigami-san. He is a very dedicated boss and seeing him happy like this since he met Liana gave me hope that I, too, will one day find the love of my life.”
That earned some giggles and “awww”s alike. For now Jazz simply let Kurosawa talk, it was rather cute after all.
“But I guess I’m talking for everyone here today when I wish the bridal couple all the luck and love in the world. And demand a repeat performance of the wedding kiss!”
The crowd cheered, the call for a kiss quickly wandering from mouth to mouth. “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”
Jazz rolled her eyes and gave the soundman a sign to take the mic back.
Ishigami frowned slightly but when he looked at his bride – no, his wife – a small smile played on his lips. He leaned in a bit and placed a soft kiss on her forehead just for Liana to pull him down again when he pulled back, pressing her lips against his. The guests cheered loudly and Jazz laughed with them. It was cute to see Ishigami blush lightly and Liana grin happily.
She excused herself to Subaru and made another round through the venue, making sure that everything was alright. The cake should be next and after that, the first dance. Later dinner and the party. Her job would be done when bride and groom left for the honeymoon.
She was deep in thought when she thought she saw a familiar face. For a second she froze but then relaxed. No, that couldn’t be. One of the caterer’s staff demanded her attention and Jazz forgot what she had been thinking about.
The cake was a huge success. Of course there was no childish smearing of cake into each other’s faces with Ishigami but Jazz noticed the way his eyes lit up when he got a first taste of it. Obviously Liana had picked the right flavor.
It was strange, although there wasn’t the usual exuberant display of love at a wedding there was a very touching, deep, almost serene connection between bride and groom that made not only Jazz a bit jealous, but only for a moment. After all she was happy in love, too.
When it was time for the speeches Jazz looked for Goto. Hadn’t he been here a minute or five ago? With Miho? A strange sense of foreboding washed over her. Miho wouldn’t actually do that, would she? Drag him off at the wedding of his superior to make out somewhere? Maybe even more? Hell yeah, she would.
She needed help to track them down and she knew it. Jazz looked for Subaru, hoping he had seen them sneak out or at least would help her, maybe check the men’s restroom.
She found him chatting with a group of men and politely cleared her throat to get his attention. Subaru turned to face her and she just wanted to ask him to help her search for Miho and Goto when she noticed one of the men standing there with Subaru.
Suddenly Jazz had the attention of all of those men, the short blonde one, the one that looked slightly familiar, a dark haired one. And of course of Subaru and Daichi.
“’Daichi’?” the smaller one asked but Jazz didn’t even react.
“Uhm, sorry, I am… I can’t find Goto, his speech is next,” she stammered, slightly taken aback by this sudden reunion with an old flame. This was awkward.
“We can help you look for them,” Subaru offered but Jazz quickly shook her head.
“Knowing Miho it would be better if not ALL of us went, if you catch my drift.” She made a face and Subaru snorted a laugh.
“Yeah, I get it. Okay. I check the groom’s room and the men’s restroom.” Subaru nodded and Jazz smiled slightly at him. At least he was getting what she wanted from him without her having to actually ask. She would check the women’s restroom and the whole staff area. With a quick smile she apologized to the other men and shot Katsuragi an apologetic look before she rushed off, hoping she wouldn’t find Miho and Goto in a situation that would scar her for life. Again.
After Goto finally had held his speech – still a bit flushed and slightly disheveled – Jazz wanted to yell at Miho and laugh at the same time. She had to admit, it had been funny. At least a bit. And she liked seeing Miho happy and as long as no one else had noticed she didn’t care that her best friend had a quickie with her fiancé at the wedding of his superior.
Jazz sighed. She could use a drink but she was still on the clock. And somewhere in the crowd was a man that had broken her heart once.
Jazz was relieved when the band started playing the song for the first dance of the bridal couple. After a long discussion they had agreed on “The look of love” by Diana Krall. It was a very good song, slow and with wonderful lyrics.
Liana beamed at Ishigami when he led her to the dance floor; they just couldn’t take their eyes off each other. They swayed in each other’s arms, completely enthralled and in their own world.
“Jazz?” She knew who it was before she even raised her gaze.
“Daichi.” She simply acknowledged him with a small nod.
“Can we – talk?”
She took a deep breath.
“I am working, Daichi. I’m sure you know what that means.” She knew she was being childish but she couldn’t help it. He had hurt her back then, had cancelled their dates too often, had left whenever a call came. She had spent too many nights alone although he had promised her he would be there. All for his work.
“Then maybe when you’re finished?” There was hope in his voice but she wanted to shoot him down on the spot.
“No. When I’m finished here I will go home – to my husband.” She directly looked at him. “I wanted to talk after your trip to Moscow. I waited for you for almost eight hours. And when you finally came? What did you say?”
The guilt in his face wrenched her heart but she couldn’t back down now. “What did you say, Daichi?”
“Not now, I’m too tired to talk,” he repeated his words from back then.
“I have waited eight hours in a fucking coffee shop!” she hissed at him. “And instead of calling me and sending me home you kept sending me texts that you would be there soon. Eight fucking hours, Daichi.” With a last glare she turned back around to watch the last few seconds of the dance.
The guests clapped politely and so did Jazz, a strained smile on her face. The band started the next song and Jazz weaved through the forming couples that crowded the dance floor now that the bridal couple had their moment in the spotlight. She knew he was following her but she didn’t care, she was too angry. Still. She was still too angry and that angered her even more. She had thought she was over him, hell, she had thought she was over him when she met Ai some time later. Funny, but without Daichi treating her like a backup plan of sorts she would never have fallen for Ai. Now she could see that, of course, but back then she thought that Ai was really the perfect match for her. Just because he actually called when he promised. She had pretty low standards back then. Pathetic.
Jazz quickly gave some orders to the barkeepers and the waiting staff, rushed off towards the kitchen to check everything there and when she came back to the party 15 minutes later Daichi was nowhere to be seen. Good. She had no time for that now.
Dinner went well and afterwards there was more music, more drinking. The bride and groom left for their honeymoon but the guests stayed and celebrated on without them. Who needed a bridal couple at a wedding anyway?
But Jazz didn’t care, she was happy that the wedding has been a success. That Ishigami and Liana enjoyed this day and would remember it fondly their whole life.
And now was the time she actually considered getting a drink. But of course Subaru had to come between her and her hard earned champagne; he actually asked her for a dance. Reluctantly Jazz agreed, mostly because she loved to dance and Subaru actually looked as if he knew what he was doing.
“So, you and Katsuragi, huh?” he asked after the first few steps.
“Just. Stop. Okay? I really don’t want to talk about it.” It had been a long day, lots of little catastrophes she had to take care of without anyone noticing, plus meeting her former lover – that was just too much.
“Hey, I’m just curious. I mean, he’s my boss and I didn’t even know he was dating someone.” Subaru twirled her once and pulled her back close. He was really a good dancer.
“And that’s part of the problem,” she admitted, so tired of all this that she actually considered resting her forehead against his shoulder. But this was Subaru and she wouldn’t show any weakness in front of him.
“What do you mean?” She could hear the frown more than she could actually see it from her angle.
“Well, we were dating back then, but we – he wasn’t really committed. Only called when it crossed his mind. Always put work first. I know that his job – your job – is important and dangerous, that you have to be dedicated and ready to do whatever is necessary to protect your client. It’s a hard job and not everyone could do it. I understand that.” She exhaled and bit her lip briefly.
“But I am not the kind of woman who is happy on the backseat,” she muttered.
“No? I would have bet you enjoy a backseat every now and then,” Subaru quipped just for Jazz to slap his arm once.
“You know what I mean. I’m not a stopgap, I’m not only second best. And that’s exactly what he made me feel.”
“Huh. Wouldn’t have guessed he’s like that,” Subaru muttered and Jazz shrugged.
“Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. If he meets the right one I’m sure he would make it work somehow.” But she could still be sad that she hadn’t been the one after all.
“Mind if I cut in?” Katsuragi suddenly ask, standing next to them.
“No,” Subaru answered the same moment Jazz said: “Yes.” There was a brief moment of confusion but in the end Katsuragi gave Subaru a stern look that weighed more than Jazz’s glare. He was Subaru’s boss after all.
“You are looking stunning,” he awkwardly said and took Jazz hand. She only tensed for a split second before she gave in and let him pull her closer, one hand in the small of her back.
“I know.” She couldn’t help being miffed, there was nothing he could say to make things right again.
“You never took my calls.”
“There was nothing left to say after all. I thought I’d save us both the time and the embarrassment.” She couldn’t look at him. She still remembered how she had rushed out of that stupid coffee shop, how she had gone home and packed the few things he had left at her place and sent them back to him, adding a note with a list of her stuff and the instructions how to send them back to her. She didn’t even want to talk to him again.
“I tried to explain,” he defended his actions but Jazz only snorted once.
“You did, but that didn’t change anything. You stood me up too many times, you ditched me too many times. Just saying there was a problem at work doesn’t change that.”
They had never really fit together, it was mostly a physical attraction. Jazz had to admit, the spark was still there. He really was a hunk after all, tall and with broad shoulders. That had attracted Jazz back then. She had felt safe in his arms.
And now? Her body betrayed her, molded perfectly against his, remembered every touch.
“We have danced to this song before,” he suddenly muttered and Jazz felt like crying.
“I remember.” She really did.
Daichi had taken her out to dinner. It was some kind of celebration, Jazz had successfully finished a very important event and he wanted to spoil her a bit for it. And apologize because he had to cancel the last two or three dates they had planned. But this night they had dressed up a bit and he took her to a wonderful, very intimate restaurant. Champagne, dinner, dancing.
It was a perfect date, a perfect night. Jazz had just the right level of tipsiness to feel both bold and relaxed with him. They were dating for a couple of weeks already and the sex was – unf, it was just incredible. Although he was so strong, with these big hands, and Jazz was rather small he always treated her gently, carefully, until she ordered him to be rougher. Sometimes she was afraid they would break the bed.
But he held her as if she was made of glass when they danced.
They were already kissing and touching on the way back to her place, building the passion and desire, and Jazz just knew this was one of those nights when they wouldn’t even make it back to the bedroom. When the door was closed behind them Daichi pushed her against it, dress hiked up so he could grab her thigh and wrap it around his waist, pinning her against the wooden surface with his body.
“I missed you so much while I was in Singapore,” he muttered and Jazz was already fumbling with the buttons of his shirt. She loved his chest, loved to run her fingers over the firm planes of it, the bit of chest hair and old scars. So manly. So sexy.
“Missed you, too,” she breathed against his skin, moaning when he pushed his hips against hers, letting her feel his state of arousal.
“Dammit, Daichi! Stop talking, get naked already!”
They both knew they wouldn’t even manage to undress completely, just tugging and pushing at clothes until they were bare enough. Lips and fingertips greedily explored every bit of naked skin in reach, Jazz’s hands quickly opened his belt and pants. She pushed one hand under the waistband of his boxer briefs, curled her fingers around his cock, reveling in its hardness and girth. Good thing everything was proportional to his huge build.
When he impatiently pushed two fingers into her core she yelped and tightened her grip only for him to groan and buck his hips. With her free hand she managed to reach into the inside pocket of his jacket and grabbed the condom she knew he had there. He always had one when they met.
She ripped the foil open with her teeth and he only stopped circling her clit with his thumb for long enough so she could get the condom in place before he hoisted her up a bit – showing off his strength, knowing it turned her on like hell – and held her place with one hand under her ass, the other guiding his cock into her.
With a low hiss Jazz welcomed the slight burn, the stretch, urged him on to move with an impatient roll of her hips. Daichi needed a moment to shift, to find foothold before he could grab both her hips and slowly pull back just to slam back into her, making her cry out. Jazz clung to him, arms wrapped around his shoulders, face buried in the crook of his neck, biting down to muffle her moans.
It was rough, it was quick, it was loud and oh so satisfying. Her back hurt, her head spun, she had lost her shoes and was fairly certain that her dress was ripped, but she didn’t care. Jazz loved it when he was like this, demanding, taking, using his height and strength to keep her in place while he fucked her mercilessly. Later there would be cuddles and kisses, he would examine every mark, every little bruise he had caused on her body and kiss them all better, but now all she wanted was this. Raw desire.
He growled against her neck and sucked a mark into her skin and Jazz gasped, grabbed the hair at the back of his head and yanked him back, just enough so she could kiss him. She lightly bit down on his bottom lip and giggled when he hissed but her laughter turned into moans when he slammed into her harder, punishing her for her teasing.
“You’re… a little… minx…” he grunted between thrusts and Jazz only laughed, spurred him on to be even rougher. Her legs around his waist were already trembling, the tension in her body almost too much to take but she just wasn’t quite there yet. So she carefully slid one hand from his back between their bodies, making him groan when he realized what she was doing. It took only a bit of pressure, one, two circles of her fingertips around her clit to send her over the edge, to make her cry out and cling to him, shuddering in his arms. When she came down from her high he kissed her gently, still panting, and with a short start he hoisted her up, holding her whole weight now to carry her over to her bed. This time they undressed properly and he took his time, lots of kisses and touches and whispered words of affection while he made love to her now.
And in the end Jazz fell asleep in his arm, really hoping this could work out.
It didn’t. The next morning Jazz woke up to a note on the pillow next to her, simply saying: “Work emergency.”
Lust and physical attraction simply weren’t enough to build a relationship on it and Jazz had to accept that Daichi would always pick his work over her. She had to put an end to whatever they were having before she fell even further for him. And after that coffee shop disaster it was surprisingly easy.
“You are divorced.” Daichi’s words pulled her from her thoughts. “I asked Subaru about it.”
“I am.” There was no use in denying or hiding the truth.
“You said you were married,” he pointed out.
“Again, I am. I got divorced and now I’m married to someone else. Subaru doesn’t know everything about me.” Jazz started feeling uncomfortable in his arms, a place she used to love. She looked around, feeling a bit guilty that her mind had flashed back to this particular memory.
“I thought you had left the country by now.”
Was that it? The reason he had held back? Had he been hesitating because he knew she would leave eventually? They had never talked about it, but they had never talked much at all.
“As you can see I’m still here.”
“Working as a wedding planner?” He readjusted his grip on her hand a bit, his big hand enveloping hers.
“It’s not that far from event planning and actually I enjoy it very much.” Just not this moment.
“And you’re doing a great job. Ishigami was full of praise.”
It was so much harder not to cry when he was sweet like this. Jazz shouldn’t feel like this, she shouldn’t be sorry for this lost chance when she was happy with Kunihiko. She shouldn’t wonder how things could have been when her life now was so wonderful.
“Mind if I cut in?”
Daichi was a bit puzzled when Miho suddenly stood next to them.
“You want to dance with me?” The crease between his brows showed his confusion and Jazz had to laugh.
“No, I want to dance with her. If you excuse us,” Miho boldly said and grabbed Jazz’s hand, pulled her closer and started to dance.
“Lemme guess, you want to lead?” Jazz asked, somewhere between laughing and crying.
“Shut up, I have to focus here,” Miho snapped back, but Jazz knew that Miho came to rescue her.
“But don’t even think you can drag me off somewhere like Goto. You have to get me a drink first.” Jazz was really grateful for having friends, especially in situations like these. She rested her forehead against Miho’s shoulder and giggled.
“You sound as if you’re already drunk,” Miho grumbled. “So, you’re going to tell me the story about you and that hunk?”
“Later maybe. Now I just want to enjoy this dance.” She earned herself a slap on the ass from Miho but kept giggling.
“Huh. Now that’s quite a sight,” Subaru muttered and grabbed his phone, trying to take a picture of Miho and Jazz on the dance floor. Goto’s simply reached out and took the phone, shook his head and sighed.
“I think we’ve had quiet enough photos, don’t you?”
“Come on, don’t tell me this isn’t hot. Hey, you think they ever…?” Subaru raised an eyebrow and motioned towards the dancing women.
“No.” Goto’s face gave nothing away until the corners of his mouth twitched lightly. He didn’t have to think. He knew.
It was way after midnight when Jazz silently sneaked into the bedroom, tired but over all pretty satisfied with her work that day. She carefully slid under the covers only to feel an arm wrapping around her.
“Hey,” Kunihiko greeted her sleepily.
“Hey. Go back to sleep.” She snuggled closer and sighed in contentment. These were the arms she belonged in.
“How was the wedding?” He nuzzled her neck and a wave of love for him washed over her.
“Chaotic. Hectic. Beautiful. The bridal couple was very happy in the end and that’s all that matters.”
“Good… I knew you would make it a success…” He was already drifting off but Jazz wouldn’t want it any other way. He needed his sleep, after all he had a busy and tiring job, too. And she was more than ready to close her eyes, too.
“Good night. I love you.”
“Love you, too…” he mumbled and was asleep again.
Yes, this was where she belonged. This was home.