A Beautiful Lie

Page 18

Parker watched it happen like a train wreck. She could feel him getting anxious next to her, his leg bouncing nervously under the table and bumping into her leg every so often. She tried calming him by placing her hand on his knee, but that only seemed to make it worse.

Garrett and Parker had spoke briefly on the ride over about what to expect during dinner. Parker told him as many details about Fernandez's personality as she could in the short drive. Obviously he hadn't listened to the one about how he did not like to discuss business during dinner.

The last course was finally over and cleared and waiters began wandering around serving coffee to those who wanted it.

Garrett wondered if he should try again, but Parker sensed what he was thinking and shot him dirty look and shook her head no.

Before Garrett could decide if he wanted to defy her and just go with his gut, his thoughts were interrupted by Fernandez.

"So, Mr. Miller," he spoke loudly enough for their end of the table to hear and quiet down. "Tell us, how long have you and the lovely Mrs. Miller been married?"

Garrett tore his gaze from Parker's and looked across the table at Fernandez.

They had only discussed this briefly on the way over and had decided to just stick to the truth as much as possible. The idea of that was funny to Garrett. He could sit right here next to Parker and spill all of his secrets and nothing he said would be taken seriously by her.

"We've been married for about six months," Garrett told him.

Parker cleared her throat next to him, a little surprised that he had gone by the date that her and Milo were supposed to be married. She did tell him to use as much of the truth as possible though so they wouldn't get tripped up. He probably assumed it would be easier for her to remember. Even though the date was something she'd rather forget.

"Ahhhhh, newlyweds," Fernandez said with a smile while those seated closest to Garrett and Parker nodded their heads and smiled in happiness for them. All of a sudden, all eyes on their half of the table were on them.

"When did you know you were in love with your beautiful wife?" Fernandez asked.

Garrett looked at Parker when he answered.

"The first moment I laid eyes on her eight years ago," he replied honestly. Garrett's tone of voice immediately softened as he spoke.

Parker searched his eyes and swallowed past the lump in her throat. She so desperately wanted to believe what he said was true and not just some act. Parker knew it was impossible though.

Fernandez reached over and took his wife's hand, placing it on the table and clasping her fingers with his in a show of affection.

"Love is a blessing which one can only hope for. I can see that the two of you have been tremendously blessed. I've watched you during dinner. I've noticed the way you look at one another. It brings me joy to see such a young couple so much in love."

Parker could feel her face heating up with the President's words. She felt stripped bare and like everyone at the table, including Garrett, could see right through her. Garrett finally broke from her stare when Fernandez spoke again.

"It's a shame you have to work when you should be on a whirlwind honeymoon, enjoying the love of one another."

Garrett mirrored the President's previous action and reached for Parker's hand, placing it on the table in between them and squeezing it gently to calm her nerves. It seemed as though his earlier anxiousness had transferred into her.

"It's quite alright, Mr. President. My wife and I enjoy our work and are just grateful we are permitted to spend time together when we do it," Garrett told him with a smile.

There were murmurs of approval all around them and more delighted smiles aimed in their direction.

"Is it not an American tradition to clink a piece of silverware against a glass signifying the husband and wife should kiss?" the Vice President's wife asked excitedly.

Her question was met with sounds of approval and laughs of pleasure from those around her.

Parker and Garrett sat stoically at the table while news traveled down to the other end. Neither one of them wanted to let on that their nerves were threatening to eat them alive at the mention of the word kiss.

Before Parker could excuse herself to the ladies' room or Garrett could change the subject, a gentle tinkling sound began at the opposite end of the table. Pretty soon, all forty guests joined in, including the President, as they picked up whatever piece of silverware was closest and began tapping them against crystal goblets, Champagne glasses, and coffee cups.

The noise became deafening in the cathedral-ceilinged room as everyone smiled and laughed in Garrett and Parker's direction while they continued clanging their glasses.

Parker took a deep breath and turned to face Garrett, realizing they were going to have to do it. They were husband and wife after all; it should be no big deal to give him a little kiss.

Garrett and Parker had kissed in a friendly manner on several occasions, usually in greeting, congratulations, or something similar. A quick peck on the cheek or a light brush of the lips. This would be the same thing, only it would be happening in front of forty strangers.

Garrett tried to keep the look of fear off of his face as soon as the clanging started. He'd always wanted to kiss Parker; he'd dreamed about kissing Parker. The few chaste, friendly kisses they'd shared over the years were never enough for him. But the idea of doing this in front of all these people was not good. He wanted to be alone when he kissed her. Preferably in a bed, naked.

Without giving it a second thought, Parker leaned over and placed a quick kiss against Garrett's lips and then pulled away, smiling around the table. Garrett was grateful Parker took the initiative because he probably would have sat there all night thinking about being in bed with her.

Unfortunately, the clanging didn't stop and the cheering grew louder.

"Come now, show all of us old, married couples how the newlyweds do it!" Fernandez encouraged loudly over the noise with a raise of his hands, indicating the crowd should cheer louder.

They couldn't act shy or like they'd never done it before. They needed to act quickly or it would start to look suspicious. Parker felt like a fool for making such a big deal about this. She was CIA . She'd had to kiss a few men over the years and pretend they were involved and it was always no big deal.

Garrett and Parker turned back to face each other at the same time. Garrett stared at her lips and felt his heart speed up. He took his hand and slid it around to the back of her neck and pulled her forward until they were a breath apart.

The noise around them disappeared and all Parker could see, feel, and hear, was Garrett.

He angled his head and closed the gap, connecting his lips to Parker's. Garrett slid his tongue against her lips, wordlessly asking for entrance. She immediately opened for him to deepen the kiss. His tongue pushed gently into her mouth, sliding against her own and sucking softly on it at the same time .

Parker felt a jolt of desire shoot through her body when their tongues collided. Garrett pushed and pulled, slid and swirled his tongue through her mouth, until she had to reach up and clutch the hair on the back of his head to steady herself. She knew kissing Garrett would be the breaking point for her, but she had no idea it would affect her like this. She wanted to crawl onto his lap and mold her body against his, feel every part of him sliding between her legs until she came. Parker didn't care who was at the table or where she was. His kiss was lighting her on fire, and she couldn't stop the moan that she breathed into Garrett's mouth.

Garrett heard and felt the moan that escaped from Parker, the sound making him increase the pressure of his hand on the back of Parker's neck and pulled her harder against his mouth. He wanted to consume her. Her lips were like silk and her tongue was the perfect combination of soft and firm as it glided against his. Garrett plunged his tongue slowly in and out of her mouth, wishing more than anything that he could mirror that same movement inside of her. He was grateful for the table covering his lap because Parker's lips and tongue were threatening to make him lose control.

Neither one knew how much time had passed; they were too lost in the kiss to realize something in the atmosphere had suddenly changed while they sucked, licked, nibbled, and devoured each other.

The cheers from the guests and the clanging of silverware against crystal had been replaced by silence.

Garrett slowed the kiss, leaving one last light press of his lips against Parker's before pulling away and glancing around.

Everyone was staring at them with smiles on their faces, the encouraging shouts abandoned some time ago.

"And that is how it's done, my friends!" Fernandez said jovially. "Let us make our way into the Red Room to finish our coffee and discussions.

Everyone began scooting away from their table and talking again.

Garrett realized as everyone left that his hand was still wrapped around Parker's neck and her fingers still grasped the hair on the back of his head.

He turned to face her as the last of the guests filed out of the room and the sound of their laughter echoed and faded out in the hallway.

Parker had never acted so unprofessional in her entire career. She'd forgotten everything around her when she kissed Garrett. She'd always prided herself on being diligently aware of her surroundings. Garrett made her throw all of her training out the window.

Even as he looked at her and realized she'd been staring at him all along, all she wanted to do was kiss him again.

Garrett removed his hand and reached back to pull Parker's hand out of his hair.

He reminded himself to just put the wall back in place and everything would be fine.

He pushed his chair back from the table and tossed the napkin from his lap onto the table.

"Nice work there, Park. That was sufficiently believable. You're pretty good at your job."

Parker sat in the Red Room next to Garrett as he chatted with the Vice President's wife wondering how he could be so unaffected by that kiss. Her skin felt like it was on fire, and she wanted to take him into the nearest empty room and do it again. She'd practically clung to him like a leech after he ended the kiss, and Garrett just stood up and tossed out a comment about her job like it was no big thing that just happened between them.

"You're pretty good at your job," Parker muttered angrily to herself under her breath as she brought the coffee cup towards her lips. "I'll show you good at my job, asshole, when I take you out in the woods and leave you for dead."

"Did you say something?" Garrett asked as he leaned his head towards Parker on the love-seat they shared.

Parker gave him a bright smile that threatened to crack her face.

"No, honey. You must be hearing things."

Garrett cringed at the overly sweet sound of Parker's voice. She had been pissed at him since they sat down in here. He knew he'd taken it a little far with that kiss, but it's not like she'd stopped him. Once his mouth was against hers, Garrett forgot all about the guilt he should have been feeling about kissing his friend and just reacted.

Garrett looked at his watch and wondered how much longer they would have to wait for a minute alone with Fernandez when the man in question walked over to where Garrett and Parker sat.

"Mr. and Mrs. Miller, come, walk with me."

He turned on his heels and walked towards the door leading to the hall.

Parker and Garrett looked at each other in shock and jumped up off the couch. Parker set her cup down on the closest table, and the two walked quickly out in the hall to Fernandez.

They found him standing in the hallway staring up at a painting. Garrett and Parker walked up to his right side and looked at the picture with him.

"This was my mother. My father had this painting commissioned on their honeymoon," Fernandez explained.

"She's very beautiful, sir," Parker told him.

"In their time, marriages were contractual agreements. The parents of the bride searched high and low for a suitable partner for their beloved daughter. They found the perfect man for her a few towns over. He was a local business man and quite wealthy."

"Your father, I presume?" Garrett asked.

Fernandez laughed.

"Not quite. My mother was rather enamored with a young man that worked on their farm. They grew up together, playing in the fields since his parents had a small home on the edge her family's land. He was her best friend and the love of her life."

Fernandez turned and began walking slowly down the hall, hands clasped behind his back, Garrett and Parker walking with him.

"It turned out they were both in love with the other, but were afraid to admit their feelings. So time went on and my mother found herself being dressed for her wedding to the businessman. She was left alone before the ceremony when her friend, the farm-hand burst through the door. He professed his love for her, and they sneaked away and ran off to be married."

Parker slipped her hand around the inside of Garrett's elbow as they walked and she tried not to let the story seep into her heart and squeeze it too hard.

"My father often told me he fell even more in love with my mother than he ever thought possible on their honeymoon," Fernandez finished as they got to the end of the hallway near the elevator.

Garrett wondered irritably what the point of this story was.

"That's a wonderful story, Mr. President. Shall we find somewhere quiet where we can sit down and begin the interview?" Garrett asked as politely as he could.

Fernandez threw his head back and laughed, bringing his hand up to pat Garrett on the back.

"Oh, Mr. Miller, how you amuse me!" he said with a smile.

"Tell me, Mrs. Miller, does your husband keep you in stitches every day?"

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