Warning: NSFW, sex, nudity
When Seth asked me to marry him, I couldn't have been more shocked and thrilled at the same time. Pulling back to gaze into his eyes, I rubbed his scratchy beard and whispered, "Yes, baby. Yes!" And then I was overcome by emotion of the monumental event and couldn't say anything more. My eyes welled just gazing at my future husband.
I was in heaven.
In that instant, Seth pulled me closer to him and landed his lips hard on my mouth. Our bodies fit together like they were made for each other. Like he was created just for me. My fiancee. Together forever.
That sounded so perfect to me.
He was perfect.
For the rest of the night, we made love by the light of a fire and under the Pongan full moon.
It was something I'd never forget.
The following night, I met all three of Seth's brothers. Together, they made a formidable wave of testosterone. I felt very outnumbered. Seth's mother was right. I had to watch out for them. They were very cheeky monkeys.
His brother, Roman asked as we sat down by the fire, "Why do you waste time with a loser like Seth when Roman is here for you, my sweet lady? I can take you places Seth would never know how to find. He left way too soon to be a good lover. Pongan men are known for their way with women."
Arching an eyebrow, I countered, "But I already have a Pongan man. Isn't Seth one?"
Simon cut in, "Don't listen to this brat, sweet lady. He knows nothing. Now it is I, Simon the Sexy, who knows how to treat a lady. I will sweep you off your feet and dazzle you on the dance floor. Try this out." He waved his hands up and down his body. "You won't be sorry."
Seth said from behind me, "So, who will it be, Siobhan? You have two of my brothers pleading their case for you."
I giggled. "You know my answer."
Simon put his hand on his heart. "I think I might swoon, dear lady. I accept with gratitude."
"Stuff it, Simon," Seth said with a laugh. "Siobhan is all mine. And once we get back to the states, I'll put a ring on her finger so there won't be any question."
Roman waved his hands in the air. "Ah! I take it Lover's Drift did the trick then! Congratulations!"
Seth's mother clapped her hands and asked, "When is the wedding? I hope you will have it here!"
Wedding? Goodness, I hadn't even thought that far in advanced. I was just getting used to the idea of being engaged. I hadn't even texted my friends about it nor told my grandfathers, brothers, and aunt.
"What do you think, kitten?" Seth asked. "This time next year? You will have graduated then."
I felt a little funny deciding this in front of all of his family. But maybe Pongans were open about things like this. I did know they shared everything together, and I loved how close they all were. So different from my shattered nuclear family. So instead of pulling back, I decided to jump right in. "That sounds great to me. Maybe next summer."
With a nervous edge to her voice, Seth's mother said, "S-So it is decided? Next summer the wedding will be here. You will make a pretty Pongan bride, Siobhan. It will be a traditional ceremony. Leave it to me."
The flurry of the details of a wedding, Pongan or not, flashed in my mind, almost squeezing my lungs at the thought of it all. I'd vowed never to have a traditional wedding. I'd always thought I'd elope. My mother had a huge, traditional wedding that cost a fortune at a church. And the marriage was over in eight years. I didn't want that. When I got married, it would be forever.
But a Pongan wedding would be different, surely. Probably out in the open. Maybe by the ocean. What harm could it be to let my future mother-in-law have her way?
I heard myself say, "Sure. Whatever you wish, Mrs. Gallegher."
"Please, Siobhan, call me Moama."
Smiling, I said, "All right. Thank you, Moama."
And then worry tumbled over Moama's face--it was stricken, like she'd seen a ghost. "Oh, my spirits, no."
"Moama, are you okay?" I asked.
Almost mechanical, Moama said, "Siobhan...I need to speak with you privately."
Her face sent shivers down my back. Something was definitely wrong. What could it be?
When I heard that voice behind me, my body stiffened as I jumped, ready for a fight.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
She hadn't changed in all these years. As tall as me with gorgeous light blue eyes, full lips, and a body that wouldn't quit, she was the epitome of a Pongan woman. But she wasn't attractive to me in the least. Just looking at her face took me back to high school when we were together. I thought I had everything all figured out back then. I was valedictorian of my class (which wasn't hard. It was Pongo High School with a student body of 130.) I was going to the states for college then med school. Then I'd come back here to wed Io and be the local doc in our village. Simple. Neat. Just the way I liked it.
I wasn't in love with Io, but it was tradition, and I wanted to take care of my family. Something my brothers neglected to do. And it made my mother extremely happy.
I was a faithful and attentive boyfriend to Io, too. Always planned to be even when we were going to be separated. But it wasn't enough for her, I guess. Maybe she couldn't hack the thought of being away from me for so long. Who knew?
On the night before I left for the states, I found Io fucking some asshole who I didn't even know. After I pounded the guy unconscious with Io screaming at me, I left her and tradition there on the sand of my island. Never to return.
Bracing myself for whatever might come out of her mouth, she leaped at me, crushing me in a hug.
"What?" I asked, shocked.
"Oh, Seth, I missed you so much."
I saw some huge goddess of a woman hugging Seth as Moama stopped me from going up to them.
"No, Siobhan. Leave them be."
"What?" I cried. "Why?"
"You do not understand our ways."
Blinking in horror, my throat seemed to close up as I watched almost in slow motion, this woman kissing Seth. I gasped.
"The spirits have spoken, Siobhan. Lover's Drift did nothing to separate them. Even you and your pretty ways cannot tear them apart. I tried to go along with this plan for my son's sake, but you cannot fool destiny. It will always find a way no matter what your hopes and dreams may be." With a finality and confidence in her voice, she announced, "It is done. Seth and Io will be married by this time next year. It will not be you. I'm very sorry it has to be this way."
Hearing these words crushed my spirits. I didn't believe for one second what she said was true but my eyes saw something even I couldn't refute. Seth and Io seemed to belong together. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach.
But I didn't want to believe it.
Time seemed to stop as Io pulled back and inched her face closer to mine. It was as if I was in high school all over again. So many memories came rushing back. Her sweet smell. The sexy curves of her body. Her full lips.
My heart hammered in my chest as her soft lips landed on mine.
What the hell was I doing?
Pushing her away, I roared, "NO! Get away from me!"
But it was too late. Siobhan saw my hesitation and ran from us.
"Siobhan, wait! I can explain." I hoped I could explain. Why did I hesitate? Why did I let Io kiss me even if it was only for a second?
God I wanted that moment back. What a fuck up. How could I do that to Siobhan?
Pulling my girl to me, I tried my best to explain. "Hey...listen, I-I don't know what just happened back there, but I was just as surprised as you. I'm sorry if it upset you. She means nothing to me."
Sniffing, Siobhan asked, "Are you sure?"
"God, of course I'm sure. I love you, kitten. Come on, let's get out of here." I needed to take her back to our hotel room and talk to her, away from my family and especially away from Io.
Once we got to our room, I knelt down on one knee and said, "Siobhan, I love you with all my heart. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I don't want to be with anyone else. Ever. I want to marry you and only you. I want to spend the rest of our lives together. Hell, I want eight kids with you...well, if you'd like that."
She lifted the side of her mouth and gave a light chuckle at my joke. Then her face grew serious. "She's very pretty."
Drawing a line on her jaw with my finger, I said, "Not near as pretty as you. You're...breathtaking."
I closed the space between us, pressing my lips urgently on hers. Before I knew it, we were undressed and I sank into her, breathless and on fire.
Afterwards, buzzed from our time together, we cuddled lazily on the bed.
"Why did you break up with Io?" Siobhan asked, stroking my head soothingly.
I wished she'd forget about Io, but I couldn't blame her. I had to do clean up for the mess I'd made with that one fucked up kiss. "You know I never loved her. I was only with her because my parents are best friends with her parents and they'd made that betrothal. They made betrothals for all of us and not one of those ever came to be. Io and I weren't meant to be together."
Siobhan didn't say anything. She just threaded her fingers through my hair. I could tell she was worried.
Snuggling into her belly, I said, "You know when I first met you and you looked like you wanted to kill me, remember? That's when I fell in love with you. I even got your number. Remember that?"
Her cute lips curved into a smile. "Yes, but you never called me."
"You had that British bastard boyfriend. I knew I'd get rejected. I wasn't stupid."
Twirling my hair in her fingers she said, "You could have at least tried. I would have liked it. But you're right. I would have rejected you."
Caressing her soft skin, I said, "You know, you've got nothing to worry about with Io. I love you. I'll always love you. Do you believe me?"
She nodded and gave me a weak smile.
That's all I could hope for from her at the moment. I couldn't wait to get out of Pongo and back to our lives in San Myshuno. Then we'd forget about betrothals, tradition, and exes.
But for some reason there was a cloud hanging heavy over me. A sinking feeling I couldn't get rid of. And I had no fucking clue why.