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Hook, Line And Sinker
Cowgirl Nymph
I wrote this to a Thimbleful Thursday prompt.  It comes in at 549 words.

Bella had managed to get her sister Enni’s partners together in private and without Enni. “Thank you all for coming,” she began professionally. “The thing you don’t know about Enni, and need to, is that she’s a Facilitator. Now your relationship is established, you need to find her replacement so she can withdraw and move on to her next task.” She added gently, “It’s time.” Bella liked to help.

Four months later, Enni was taking a break from painting the rooms of their new house when her partners, all five of them, came to see her. It was Baleran who said, “Enni, we thought you should know as soon as possible. We’ve found someone, she’s called Sula, to replace you.” Nothing else anyone said registered as Enni put down her paintbrush, gathered her things and left.

Four years later she was painting the nursery in the house she and her new partners had just bought. “Enni?” It was Aneurin speaking, the dramatic one with his silver hair and its one black streak, and being deadly serious. “We’ve made the decision I’m sure you’ve been waiting on,” he reached around the corner and pulled a corn-silk haired girl into view. “Plarabel has agreed to be our cowife when you leave.”

“When I leave?” Enni could hear the world falling apart around her and nothing else. She remembered walking past everyone to leave but nothing else for some time later.

Another four years later and Enni was humming to herself as she climbed the ladder to start painting. She had exciting news to share when the others arrived and could barely contain herself when she heard the first car. As it happened, they’d all arrived together and when they came into the room, they were six. Enni began to feel an impending dread but said brightly, “Good, you’re all here! I’ve got wonderful news.”

“Our turn first,” said Malk, the third man in the relationship, and he looked at Genef who was definitely the dominant one.

“Yes,” and Genef smiled. “This is Tenasel,” he introduced the plump red head Enni didn’t know, “and she’s agreed to be our third wife.”

“She has?” The others didn’t notice that the world was freezing.

“Now you’ve finished with us.” Genef smiled encouragingly. “So, what’s your news?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Enni replied, climbing down the ladder and putting down the paintbrush. “You’ve decided I’m not part of your life anymore.” She looked around, added, “I’ll need you to pay me back my share of the deposit, I can’t afford to start again with nothing,” and left.

Three months later, Enni was talking to her new therapist, her hand resting on her swelling belly, “So, as I said last time, I’ve no idea what I’m doing wrong, whether it’s the people I pick or something else. Whatever’s going on, I know I need help.”

“It might be differing expectations,” the therapist told her seriously. “During this last week, I was helping another client find a Facilitator, and you were recommended as excellent and available.”

“But I’m not a Facilitator! I’ve never been-.”

“But your ex-partners thinking you were would explain almost everything,” pointed out her therapist.

Enni was bewildered, “But who’d say that and why?”

“I don’t know.” Her therapist added, “Perhaps we can find out.”

This is now followed by Fallout.

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Bella, I mean. What in the nine hells is she up to?!

(And what's a Facilitator?)

Bella, I'm sad to say, really does think she's helping. More intelligence than wisdom, probably.

A Facilitator in this setting is someone who helps arrange the relationships that lead to marriage. Their marriages are typically of a six person group and that's most usually three males and three females, so there is scope for needing help getting it all together. A Facilitator may well operate by being part of the original relationship but they withdraw from it and are replaced by someone else before things really get formal.

Edited at 2015-02-07 09:26 am (UTC)

THREE families of 5 people each. Fifteen people, and EVERY SINGLE ONE just swallowed the lie and kicked the sixth partner out? Not a single one of them ASKED Ennie why she didn't tell them at the start of the relationship; not a single one felt betrayed that someone they thought would be a permanent part of the family would just up and leave and confronted her?
That makes no sense whatsoever to me.

Yes, it is a stretch.

In story I'm putting it down to a combination of cultural factors and Bella being very convincing.

I think it does make sense, if that is the norm, but for people like us we'd start to wonder. However, if you were in that situation and it was normal for you, you probably wouldn't question it if your partner's sister told you she was a Facilitator - especially if that is how someone could be told that.

Personally I would question things and I think Enni definitely should have done, but people don't always react sensibly when it comes to emotions. The other thing is it seems like her other partners have dealt with those emotions together, without going to her, in order to make the whole thing simpler for her, due to what she is.

At least that's what I get from it. :)

I'm very hesitant to blame Enni. Yes, if she had asked "but why are you suddenly throwing me out?", or even after some time to recover "why DID you do that?" she probably would have found out her sister was sabotaging her life.

But having the floor be smashed out from under her like that is a shock, and given that the therapist she talks to at the end isn't the first, she may have even started out with mental health issues. I may be projecting here, but she might be someone with low self-esteem and/or social anxiety who on some level was always afraid of, always expecting to be rejected, so being thrown out, casually, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, again and again, would just confirm her fears of just not being worthy of being loved.

Contacting her former partners might be just too painful.

I definitely agree with your paragraphs one and three plus parts of two. She wasn't just dumped, she was replaced.

Do you consider being replaced worse than being dumped?

I consider it to be a nastier form of dumping.

Enni doesn't necessarily react in ways that are entirely in her best interests when the world shifts under her.

Oh, poor Ennie. Can I slap Bella?


At least Enni has *heard* this BS now to try to squish it.

Not if Ennie gets there first.

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