I laughed until I was wrung out and limp, lying on Gan who was just as limp. The girls were leaning back against the walls of the gently rocking platform.
Fluffy grumbled and Bella had her big, fat, block head on my gut. It actually didn’t hurt. It was as if she pressed the hurt out of my stomach muscles and growled at it if it tried to creep back.
“You know, Minis, Gan, Ky… this just points out to me that we are thinking really well together. I’m not sure its enough but I think it’s a good start,” Fara said. She was trying to keep it solemn but then giggled, setting all of us off again. I lay on my back on the gently rocking platform, my lips relaxed and grinning hopelessly foolishly.
Bella still had her nose on me, and then groaned and shifted off, curling up next to us. All was well as far as she was concerned. My head was on Gan’s stomach, who lay with his head on Fara’s feet. She and Ky had their arms along the back wall of the platform, wound around each other, their heads together, watching us.
“I have to present the idea of a four to Assembly,” I said as firmly as I could with my gut sore from laughing. “I don’t want any of my partners seen as lesser partners.”
“They might not like it.” Gan said. “It may be too Yeoli, or foreign, to them.”
“I am all right with being your alesinas’s wife,” Fara said.
“That’s hardly fair. You should be an Imperatrix co-equal with Ky. Though they wouldn’t want any heirs from us.”
She laughed. “No dark-skinned Imperators or Imperatrixes.”
“You don’t mind?”
“Shen, no!” She turned to kiss Ky’s inner arm where she could reach. “I am looking forward to curly haired lighter skinned babies with this one.” She tweaked Gan’s hair as he sat up and we wiggled into a closer knot as he sat up more and my head ended up on his lap.
“This is complicated.” I was suddenly so relieved, my fear was gone and my whole body hurt with relaxation. “We don’t need to be afraid.”
“No…” that was so close from the others it was like a single word. The fact that all of us had gotten rings… creating a new tradition… growing out of the Arkan traditions… all four of us had chosen rings for everyone.
“I’m perfectly happy to have the Empire see me as your alesinas, “ Ganara said. “Fara as my wife and Ky as your wife. What happens behind our closed doors is none of their business, as long as we give them the heirs they want… and as long as we are clear on what we are doing. After a certain point, everyone else’s opinion can go hang off the Rim.”
Ky nodded decisively. “We are very like a four rather than two couples… but we work both ways. And are all strong by ourselves. We can trust each other to not fail…”
“I wouldn’t call it failure, as long as we keep everything honest… and we’re willing to talk… like the way Tanifas says the pack works,” I said. “Though dogs don’t talk. They just know.”
“I’m not sniffing your butt to find out how you’re feeling, love,” Gan said.
I grinned up at them all and poked him in the side with my thumb. “I’m not asking you to. Have I said in the last half tenth, Kyriala, that you’re beautiful? My affianced wife.”
“Why, no, my betrothed husband. You have been remiss and must make it up to me.”
“Oh, of course. Kyriala you are one of the most beautiful creatures on the Earthsphere and I am so privileged you accepted my suit. Now I don’t need to get skanking jealous of almost every male my age in your presence.”
“Why thank you, Minis. You are one of the most beautiful young men… even if you are not third threshold you are a young man… it is my privileged to accept. I needn’t be terrified you’ll fall in love with some other blond aitza flow-head.”
“As if!” Fara snorted. “The two of you throw words back and forth like a whipped faib disk. My neck gets sore snapping back and forth between you!”
“Hardly,” Gan said and she reached to kiss him. When he caught his breath he continued. “You’re smart as a whipcrack and keep me from going off half-reefed, my dear.”
I stretched and my head rubbed up against Gan enough to make him twitch. “Let’s face it… none of us are stupid… but us boys have a specific deficit in that department.” That got everyone laughing. Ky reached to hold a rock-tail piece over my face.
“You were so worked up, before, that you didn’t eat a single full bite. Will you now?”
Now that she mentioned it, I was starving. I popped my mouth open and she put the morsel into it. And that was the cue for us to all start feeding each other. By the time Fluffy had made her careful walk twice all the way around the wood, we’d made a little mess.
A few days later I recieved a very noisy air parcel, yelling in multiple languages.
The note was attached to a squawking, shaking parrot basket.
Thank you for the return of Kvas Venga Doof Fili, Doof for short, as there was much consternation among my household once it was discovered that she'd gone missing.
However, once she was back and we knew her whereabouts, we had a heartfelt family conversation about it, and decided that if she had such deep affection for you as she showed during your visit, and strength of will as to make such a journey to be with you, she really ought to be with you permanently.
So we present her to you as a gift and hope you and she may enjoy many happy years together.
Best wishes for your impending betrothal, if it is still impending, and much love from all of us,