I’m Orange County bound with all my worldly possessions crammed into five suitcases and an agreement to marry one of four complete strangers.
I just don’t know which one of the four men it’s going to be.
No need to panic.
I have a whole month to make my decision. Who would do such a thing? No sane woman that’s for sure, but then with a name like Seraphim, I was never going to normal.
Hi, you can call me Finn.
“Stay, Finn…please,” she mutters, her fat lip wobbling. She’s killing me. “I can’t, Hope” I shake my head and the heaviness in my heart, the sadness I feel is a fraction of the sorrow I have endured and she knows this. “I wasted ten years of my life with a man who had no intention of marrying me H, and he even took delight in humiliating me about that fact in front of all my friends. He made me feel utterly worthless and now…” I stutter and draw in a fortifying breath, “I have these men and one of them promised to marry me. I get to choose…me, I—” I clamp my mouth shut at my apocalyptic fuck-up.
“Men?” she snaps.
“Man, I meant man.” I wave my hand to dismiss my seemingly silly mistake,
“You said men,” Hope corrects and then gasps. “Finn you didn’t answer that advert?” Her hands fly to her mouth, eyes like saucers and we both suck in a shocked breath.
“I…I…—” I can’t construct a sentence. She steps up to me and interrupts so I don’t have to. I wish she didn’t.
“That’s who you’ve been talking to so secretively these last three months every spare minute. That’s what all this gym shit you’ve been dragging me to morning, noon, and night for the last three months has been all about. It’s because you need to be fit enough to take on four guys?” She stares at me and her mouth is open so wide it’s comical, but I’m not laughing. I’m waiting for the scream, the howl of judgement to rain down on my slutty arse. I draw in a breath and brace.
“Yes.” I tip my chin and time comes to a halt…and continues to halt I frown at my friend, the statue. Her wide emerald eyes are fixed and focused, though I’m not sure on what. I wave my hand in from of her face but she doesn’t flinch. Is it possible to be catatonic standing up?
“Hope? Are you okay? You’re kind of freaking me out.” I look around to see if anyone else is observing my friend’s weird behaviour, but no one is paying us any attention. Well, other than the parking officer who is scowling between Dolly and the No Waiting sign. “Hope!” I hiss a little loud, and she blinks and gives a full body shudder, regaining her senses.
“Four guys?” she asks with a degree of aw in her tone.
I hesitate but answer.
“At one time?” She arches a brow and her lips begin to curl into a wicked smirk.
“Not necessarily. We haven’t actually gone over the logistics,” I reply, a little straight-laced given the topic, but we’re hardly in a secret-sharing environment.
“But they wanted a twenty year old?”
Her incredulous face pisses me off and I place my hands on my hips and tip my chin, my tone is a little on the defensive side.
“Well, they got a mid-to-late twenty-year-old, that has worked her arse to knock the last several years off her clock…literally.” I straighten my back and subtly tighten my tummy in lieu of drawing in an obvious slimming breath.
“Oh babe, you do. You look smoking hot don’t worry about that.” She pats my arms and flashes her best friend reassuring smile. “No. You need to worry more about the fact that you don’t have enough holes, because babe, that’s something you can’t fix at the gym.” She bites her lip to hold in her trademark filthy laugh, but I crack first and she’s quick to follow. She throws back her head, full on belly aching, dirty laughter falling from her lips, eyes streaming, shaking her head. “Oh my God, you’re going to be kept busy around the cock.” She doubles over at her own joke and waves me down because I think she has another. “They’re in the Forces right? They’re going to want everything to run like cockwork.”
“Okaaaay then, are we finished?” I pat her back as she attempts to regain her composure.
“Sorry. So sorry…too tempting, but you’re right, you have a flight to catch…the cock is ticking. No time to be dicking around now.” She snorts out another laugh.
“Hope.” I sigh.
“Look, Finn. I still think you’re batshit insane, but if you have to go crazy at least you’ll have lots of nuts to keep you company.” She pulls me in for a final hug, but I can see she’s genuinely smiling, and her face is a little wet from her tears, but her expression doesn’t hold any anxiousness or tension. There’s a little worry, but that’s understandable. Maybe I should’ve told her sooner. “I just want you to promise to do one thing for me.” She clears her throat and her tone is soft but serious.
“What’s that?” I ask and wait with bated breath for her to tell me what she’ll need from me to ease her mind, and if it’s anything within my power. She hesitates a moment before her shoulders start to shake.
“Pictures…I want lots of pictures.” She snickers some more.
“I’m gone. I’ll call you when I land.” I turn on my heel and start to push the half-tonne trolley away from my best, but annoying friend.
“With pictures!” she calls after me.
“Sure, with pictures.” I turn my back to the trolley, so I’m facing her but pushing the beast up the ramp, away from the cars.