Maeve was a little apprehensive. She hadn’t dated for several years and had thought that she’d never have to again but her happily-ever-after relationship had crashed in flames around her and she’d left. Now she needed to build a new emotional life for herself and Tosca, the only friend she had who didn’t know her exes, had introduced Maeve to her brother Orlando. He’d invited her to dinner with his marriage and she wasn’t sure what to expect.
Orlando met her at the restaurant door; tall, fit and impeccably dressed in an expensive suit. He hadn’t seemed so…perfected in the jogging gear he’d been wearing when Tosca had introduced them. He guided her to where the others were waiting and introduced her around. Braum, Rachel and Katinka were all tall, athletic and beautifully dressed as well. They were also beautiful. Maeve began to feel small and dowdy in comparison.
“Tiberius sends his apologies,” added Orlando. “There was an emergency at work and he volunteered to fix it so the rest of us could be here on time. He hopes to be here for dessert.”
They sat her at the table for six between Orlando and Katinka then plied her with food, conversation and a little wine. By the end of the entrée she’d stopped feeling out of place and was enjoying herself; she’d almost forgotten what it was like to have the conversation ripple along and be on the inside instead of just an observer. By the time they were through their mains she was receiving little hand touches of inclusion from both Katinka and Orlando, while Rachel and Braum had both proposed a seat swap so she could sit next to them during dessert.
Maeve didn’t realise that someone else had joined them until he was looming in the space between Katinka and herself. The broad shouldered man, shorter than everyone at the table except Maeve, kissed Katinka on the cheek then turned and kissed Maeve as well. “Tiberius, you can’t kiss her before you’ve been introduced to her,” was Rachel’s affectionately shocked protest.
“Then introduce us,” he smiled back at his dark haired wife.
“Maeve,” Rachel did the honours, “this is the third of our husbands, Tiberius. Tiberius, this is Maeve, Orlando’s sister’s friend.”
Maeve offered Tiberius her hand to shake but he turned it over in a hand that was almost twice the size of hers, said, “It’s a pleasure,” then kissed its back while rubbing her palm with his forefinger. Maeve blushed and he gently let her hand go then walked around behind her to go past Orlando and Rachel, both of whom he kissed in passing, to sit between Rachel and Braum, opposite Maeve. He kissed Braum on the cheek as well then asked, “You are all planning on dessert, aren’t you?”
Maeve piled herself into a cab at the end of the evening happier than she had been in months. Her tiny, single person apartment didn’t seem quite as confining as it normally did nor the single bed quite so lonely. Things didn’t seem quite so rosy in the morning, of course, but then Braum called her that evening after work to ask her to a picnic at the weekend. Maeve’s world view got rosy again and then it didn’t seem strange to run into Orlando and Rachel in their jogging clothes at the coffee shop on the last morning of the working week.
The picnic was lovely. Good weather, fantastic spot, wonderful company and an opulently catered picnic basket. Braum had laughingly admitted, “We can all cook well enough to eat but none of us can cook well enough to impress,” as he’d unpacked the professionally prepared food. They had a walk after lunch and Rachel held hands with her for part of the way. At the end of the day she’d hugged everyone goodbye and Tiberius kissed her on the lips. She left to the sound of his deeper voice cutting under his wives’ admonishments, “What, but we like her!”
More dates followed. They did things together, her and at least two of them at any time. They saw movies, had dinner, went on picnics, terrified her by going abseiling and enchanted her with the opera. She was wined, dined, danced and kissed. She went home happily buzzing in her own head.
After six months she invited them to her place for dinner and they had barely all been able to fit in her small flat’s living/dining room. With that milestone successfully negotiated, they invited her to their apartment for dinner. A warehouse apartment that was at least twice the size she’d expected from the building’s exterior. She’d known from their clothes that their business was going well but this seemed to indicate something more than that. “You have a very nice home,” she said quietly.
Tiberius looked around. “It’s somewhere to live.” He shrugged.
“Actually, we’ve been looking at a place out in Sapbrasen,” put in Katinka.
“It’s big enough for a family and a yard,” elaborated Orlando.
“We thought we might start having children,” added Rachel.
Braum cleared his throat, “If you’re interested.”
Maeve looked around the table hopeful but fearful she’d misunderstood.
“What we’re trying to say,” jumped in Tiberius, putting his large hand over hers, “is will you marry us, please?”