Status: In Progress.

Cheating Across the Pond

The Dress

“Did you guys bother Rob this much? Or just me?” I looked up from my work to see Owen poking through one of the closets.

“Nope just you,” Owen quipped, “What's this for?” He held up a weight that was tied to a long string, which was tied to a bar.

“To strengthen your wrist,” I got up from my desk to show him how to use it. “Roll up the string forward and then backwards and then switch to an undergrip and do the same. Do three each way; one is rolling up the string and then unrolling it.”

“Do I have to do it, too?” Rio whined.

“You're here. You might as well. This way you won't need me to tape your wrists all the time.”

“What about me, doc?” Cristiano was sitting on one of the treatment tables.

“Ankle, right?”

He nodded.

I pulled a soft foam square, “Balance on it with your weaker ankle.”

“That's it?”

“Trust me, it's not as easy as it looks,” I smirked as Cristiano had trouble balancing himself on the foam pad.

“So Alyssa is there anyway I can be a groomsman at your wedding?” Rio asked.

“That's not really my call. Stephen's an only child, so who knows,” I shrugged.

“Can I be part of your entourage?” Rio implored.

“What would you be called? Bridesman?”

“Duh,” Rio threw up his arms, with the weight in hand, as if “Bridesman” was the most obvious thing in the world.

“I haven't actually thought about it,” I trailed off, “I'll think about it.”

“You've been engaged for 10 months and you haven't thought about your entourage?” Rio questioned.

“Don't forget that she hasn't set a date either,” Owen pointed out.

“We've both been really-”

“Busy, we know,” The trio chorused.

“Well, we're both young and not in a rush to get married. We're just taking our time. Nothing wrong with that,” I threw my hands up in surrender.

“We're not trying to give you a hard time about it, Aly. But you don't find it a little concerning to be 11 months- close to 12- engaged but haven't planned anything at all. You don't even have a dress or a theme or a color scheme or a location for God's sake!” Rio explained.

“Rio chill, man you really must want to be part of this wedding,” Owen teased as he finished the exercise and rolled his wrists, trying to alleviate the soreness.

“I like weddings,” Rio grumbled.

“Look I appreciate the concern, really. I guess that I've just been so busy trying to settle in here that I just haven't really had time to sit down and plan a wedding. Maybe I should hire a plan-”

“Don't you dare hire a planner,” Rio interjected, “Are you free Saturday?”

“Are you free Saturday?” I countered, “We have a road trip.”

“Oh right, what would I do without you? Thursday, then. We have a day off on Thursday.”

“I'm completely free on Thursday.”

“Okay good, then we're going wedding dress shopping.”


“Us four. You, of course, me, Owen and Ronny.”

“Stacy and Ryan too?”

“No honey, you don't want your entourage too big. Too many differing opinions. Maybe Stacey but Ryan is a no. His fashion sense is old fashioned. He's going to make you wear a nun's habit.”

“Damn right, I will,” Ryan's deep voice and sudden appearance at the door shocking all of us in the room. “Come on guys, we need to get going. Training is more than just sitting here and harassing my lovely niece.” Ryan seemed to relish the grumbles and groans from the three supposedly grown men as they followed him out of the room. “By the way, I don't care what Rio says about my fashion sense. Stacey and I are going to be there on Thursday.”


The week blew by and before I knew it, it was that dreaded day. Thursday. Wedding dress shopping. Rio had booked an appointment at Pronuptia, which of course caters to VIP customers and boasts the largest bridal inventory in all of Britain. If you can't find it at Pronuptia, you might as well take paper and pencil and design a dress yourself, which any of their onsite seamstresses would be more than happy to make for you.

Many would agree that the wedding dress is the most important part of the wedding- I would beg to argue that the groom is the most important part but that is neither here nor there. The dress is not just a dress but an extension of the bride's personality. Is she the princess-y type? The daddy's girl who dreamed of her Cinderella wedding since she was a little girl. Is she the Grecian goddess type? Easy going and relaxed and most likely to be found running into the beach after saying “I do.” Or is she the sexy, bombshell type? The glamorous girl who believes no neckline is too low or slit too high. Or perhaps, perhaps she's like me. With no freaking clue.

Which is probably how ended up getting stuck in Rio's crazy dress up game. Oddly enough they all seemed to reveal too much for Ryan's taste or too little for Rio's taste. Rio had me now in a dress that definitely fit the bombshell type. It was certainly flattering for Rio to think of me in that light but dresses like the one I was squeezed into with its tight corset, see through lace bodice, with a duchess satin and organza tiered skirt was just not me.

I stood on the pedestal in front of my entourage, which somehow grew to include not only Rio's glam squad of himself, Owen and Cristiano, who was running late from a photoshoot, but of course Stacey, Ryan, and Wayne. I scrutinized myself in front of the mirrors, “I don-”

“Skinny bitch,” Stacey teased at my figure, “I think you look good but something's off.”

“It feels like I'm playing dress up in this dress,” I offered, “It doesn't feel like me.”

“Well then, I don't know what's you,” Rio threw up his arms in exasperation. “I put you in glamourous, in sexy, in sweet and innocent, in bedazzled, in plain Jane. Nothing is working!”

“Why are you so emotionally invested in this wedding?” Wayne asked out of the blue.

“Because I have two sons. Who knows when the next time I'll be able to help with a wedding,” Out of nowhere, Rio materialized another dress for me to try on. It seemed more me. “Now this one is simpler. I think you'll like it,” He added slowly and cautiously, knowing to phrase his words carefully, in case he ends up having to take them back later.

I took the white silk and ivory lace gown with me in to the changing room. It fit perfectly. It was a strapless, sweetheart neckline dress with a soft fluted shape to it. It was more me. Whatever that means. I went out in it and took what seemed like my 20th step onto the podium. I looked in to the mirror and I could see the others holding their breaths, waiting for me to comment on it first. “Well, I like it. I think it's pretty. But-” An audible groan echoed through the room. “It's not the dress, you know?”

“It's too simple,” Rio commented, “Not enough 'wow'.”

“It's not sexy enough,” Owen blurted out.

“That too,” Rio agreed. “I think I know what you're looking for...”

It was then that I noticed that Uncle Ryan was missing, “Where's Ryan?” and as if on cue, Ryan appeared holding a dress- well more like the dress. I knew without even trying it on it was perfect.

“Would you try this on for me? An uncle's request.”

“Of course.” The minute I put it on, I knew it was perfect. It was also strapless and had a sweetheart neckline- albeit a little deeper than the last one. The dress was an embroidered, ivory tulle with snuggly fitted elongated bodice that flared into a circular tulle skirt that ended in a chapel hemline. I stepped out on to the podium and I knew it was perfect. “This is the dress.”

“You look like a movie star Aly,” Sarah beamed. “Great choice, honey.”

“Wait,” Ryan had somehow produced a chapel length, lace veil that he pinned into the neat chignon at the nape of my neck. “Now it's perfect.”

“Really, Alyssa that is the dress. And I'm not just saying that to get home,” Wayne commented. I did feel bad for him being dragged here but I guess the guys guilted him into coming, after all they always wait for him after practice to finish up his therapy.

Then the door to our private gallery burst open, with a bustling Cristiano, still dressed in his black Armani tuxedo from the photoshoot, “Sorry I'm late, you know how these things are. They never start on time- Wow.”

Suddenly, the people in my entourage found every excuse they could to leave Cristiano and me alone together. Wayne had to call Colleen. Owen had to go to the bathroom. Rio was getting the make and designer of the dress to get the price of the dress, which of course involves Ryan and Sarah.

“You really look amazing. I haven't seen you in any other dress but that has to be the one,” Cristiano's rich voice seemed to fill the now empty gallery. He strode over to where I was standing by the podium. Even in my heels and on the raised platform, he still had a few inches over me. “We look like the figures on a wedding cake,” He laughed, a goofy smirk on his face.

For some reason, with Cristiano standing next to me, in his suit and me in this dress, tears filled my eyes and blurred the reflection of the handsome footballer in his designer suit and the movie star in her wedding gown. Before I could stop myself, before I could think about the words, I found myself saying, “We look perfect.”

“We do, don't we,” Cristiano said softly, gone was the smirk and the goofy smile. His arm looped through mine and we did look like a wedding topper. No we looked more than that. We looked like a real couple. A real pair.
♠ ♠ ♠
I hope you guys liked this chapter! Please leave a comment, it would really make my day.