Chapter 3 Over Dinner...
"You could say my life has gone to hell in a handbasket." Adam sighed, gathering his thoughts before launching into the story, or at least that was the original intent as he opened his mouth, but then he realized something, "Do you know what my name is?" He asked, looking at her, she simply shook her head, a slightly embarrassed look to her face. "My name is Adam, Adam Taylor," He said and paused looking like she was mulling the name over in her mind. "I have a bachelors degree in accounting, I work for a firm that manages accounts and some vast amounts of money," He said, continuing his explanation for her.
"I do not know what a Bachelors's degree is, nor have I ever heard of this accounting, but if I get the meaning then your position is something like our master of coins." She said looking at him, "Which is a position of great importance that requires many years of learning."
"Yeah, I had to go through the standard schooling and then an additional four years of college just to qualify for the position." he laughed, her brows shot up at this.
"Four additional years?" she breathed out looking at him skeptically, "How many years of original schooling did you do?"
"I did the standard twelve years of education and then the four years of college," he said with a shrug.
"Sixteen years?!" she practically shouted, "Sixteen years of education? How many days per week? How many hours per day?" she stood in her seat and started asking rapid-fire questions so Adam raised a hand to slow her.
"Five out of seven days a week, and each day we were there for eight hours a day." Her eyes almost boggled out of her sockets at this.
"When did you begin this education?" she whispered.
"Average age is five or six years old." He said and she sat back into her chair with a bewildered look on her face.
"You said the first twelve years were standard, what do you mean by that?" she asked, her voice hushed.
"Exactly what I said, everyone is required to go to these classes."
"Every one of the nobles?" she asked.
"No, everyone, peasant and noble alike." He said with a smile liking the feel of being able to surprise this otherworldly dark-skinned elf queen.
"How, how is this paid for?"
"Taxes," He shrugged, and before they could get into it deeper he once again held up a hand to stop her question. "I will explain it later, let me at least finish my story." Adam said, and she nodded her agreement waving a hand to tell him to continue. "Anyway, there was an issue with funding, I don't really know what, but the company had to get rid of a few employees so it could continue its business, I imagine someone stuffed to much money in there own pockets and it fucked the rest of us over, but it doesn't matter, I was let go of and so I went home." He took a deep breath, this was hard to talk about, even after all these months, Adam had truly loved Amy, closing his eyes for a moment he composed himself and forged on ahead. "I came home to find my wife being unfaithful to me." He forced the words out through gritted teeth.
"She was having sex with someone other than me, in my culture men and woman marry and are supposed to be faithful to there spouses, they are not to engage in any sexual activity outside of the marriage."
"I keep forgetting you don't have the same issue as our world," she laughed, "here there are so few men that the thought of a woman bedding more than one man is just absurd." She laughed again, before noticing that he was not smiling, she sobered up and to her credit blushed at her own actions.
"Well then reveal in the amount of absurdity of this, she was not with one other man, but with three at the same time." She gasped in surprise and shock.
"Three?" she squeaked out, her golden eyes widening in shock as he told her.
"Three," he confirmed.
"All at the same time?" she asked in horror.
"All at the same time," He confirmed again.
"I had heard that fitting one man hurt, I can't imagine what it must feel like to fit three at once," she glanced down at her lap, and Adam froze, before bursting out laughing, it felt good, it was perhaps the first time he had laughed, actually laughed in over a month. It felt like he was about to break apart with the force of it, by the time he stopped his sides hurt.
"No, no not like that," he answered coughing back more laughter and wiping a tear from his eyes. "I'll explain later," he told her when she looked confused. "Back on track however, after I found this we separated, and unfortunately the judge who sat over the divorce decided to believe her sob story about me and gave her everything, the house, the car, everything leaving me with nothing, I have spent the past few months with no job, no house, and no damn plan, living in a motel." She looked at him softly, and he looked away, not liking the pity he saw in her golden eyes.
"Adam, that sounds awful, it sounds like the closest I can parallel this to my people is that you are a fallen noble."
"I guess, something like that." he nodded.
"So will you become the royal consort?" she asked softly, "I can swear that neither I nor my sisters will touch another man while you live." She said, and he was about to respond to her when her words sunk in, well one in particular.
"Wait, you and your sisters?" Adam asked his throat suddenly going dry.
"Yes, you have to understand, because of the curse we don't have the same number of males they are therefore held and cherished and protected, a group of sisters will take a husband and he will be all of the sister's husband, we cannot afford for a single woman to have a husband to herself, it is simply impossible." She looked at him. "If you agree then you will be married to myself and my four sisters."
"Five? There are five of you?" he croaked.
"Yes, we are a smaller family, it is not uncommon for a single man to be married to a band of twenty or more sisters," she said calmly.
"Jesus Christ," He said, running a hand through his hair. Five women, he would be expected to marry five women, it was damned near impossible to handle one, but five? He might die.
No, there was no might about it.
he would die.
"Please, take your time, I know I ask a lot of you, to leave behind anything and everything you hold dear and have ever known, but please think about it." She pleaded.
"I cannot give you an answer like this," he said and her eyes widened she parted her lips like she was about to protest when Adam spoke again. "Amaruq, that is how you say your name correct?" he asked, and she nodded. "If we were dating for a while it would make this an easier thing to answer, as it is…"
"I do not know what this dating is but if it would make you feel better than I am willing to try it." She said without hesitation. At the look of skepticism on his face she sighed. "Look, my mother and father were a love match, as was my father and my aunts, I and all of my sisters want nothing more than that, and while I realize that is a rare event I wish to try to get us all as happy as possible. As it stands I have three choices if we do not count you, of the three options there is no good option, each is allied with a different sub-faction in my country at the moment, you see we are currently in a period of civil unrest, and how we should proceed is currently being contested, if I was to marry one of those men then the other factions would see it as a mark of support, and that could tear my country apart, this is important to me, my people have suffered enough and I cannot abide them suffering more on my behalf." She sighed, "So tell me what this dating is so we can do that, please."
"And like that we have started dating, all it is is spending time with someone to see if you can live a life with them, to see if the two of you work together, basically we will meet for meals and go do things one or the other of us find fun, to see how compatible we are with one another." he said, and found the tension leaving her shoulders to be a mesmerizing sight.
"Ah, I see it is like a prime courtship," she nodded, speaking more to herself than to him. Adam had no idea what a prime courtship was, but if that was the equivalent that she had come to then it would work for him...
"With that said, I think this is enough for today, I would appreciate it if you sent me back so I can wrap some things up," He paused as I saw her bite her lower lip, a sinking feeling in his stomach. "You can send me back right?" Adam asked the trepidation that he was feeling creeping into my voice ever so slightly.
"Well, yes, we do indeed have the resources gathered to send you back, though I cannot send you back tonight, I don't have power for that, I will have to rest tonight and will send you back in the morning and well, I can do that three times, if we allow a recuperation period I should be able to do it once a month for the next three. There are some prerequisites, resources that need to be gathered. Constellations need to be aligned, and a few other things" she looked at him, "everything will be provided for you tonight, and you will be given a guest room in the western wing, where you can rest for the evening and in the morning I will send you back, is this an acceptable arrangement?".
He nodded at that, "I agree, we have a deal, one more question, what am I allowed to bring with me?" he asked.
"Anything you can carry, so if you wish to bring it with you simply carry it, or pack it in a bag and carry it, if it is with you it will come through as well," she saw the look of trepidation on his face, "I know I am asking you to leave everything behind, but I will make sure you want for naught while here, please, only bring the things you cannot live without, sentimental things that cannot be replaced, everything else, from food to clothes they will all be taken care of here for you," she looked at the leather coat he was wearing and considered it, "I believe we can even make clothes like the ones you are wearing," she said "May I see that garment?" she asked, and without a word he undid the belt around the waist and the brass buttons that held the coat closed and handed it over to her. She held it at arm's length turning it around in her hands before looking up at him, "May I try it on?" she asked, her voice sounding in his ears even after her lips stopped moving, Adam simply nodded to her. Helping her slip her arms into the jacket and button the thing up, it came down to mid thigh for her, and the belt around her waist was much to loose hanging there even on the smallest hole. "This is quite comfortable," she fingered the buttons and the belt. "Yes, we can make something like this, I don't know what kind of leather this is, it is so soft and supple, no animal of ours is that soft, but we can make something similar." She stripped off the jacket, and as he put it back on he caught the smell of something sweet and warm.
It was a warm musky scent, not like Amy's. Or any other woman he had smelled, it was a more natural and clean smell, mixed with the smoky smell of fire. As he put it on he breathed deeply. She smelled really really good. To take his head off of the scent he asked another question of her... "I have to be honest with you here I am still wrapping my head around this whole multiple sisters marring one man thing, what if your sisters don't like me? What if they want some other man?"
"I am the eldest, so I choose the husband, that is how it is," she stated simply, "But I am not heartless, I have taken there wants into consideration, in fact it is due to my youngest sister Uki that I am perusing you, she is not made for political situations, and her heart is full of romance, I do not think she could shield herself from the man she would marry, I cannot stand the thought of someone using this love to manipulate her, so I need a husband that has no political affiliations." She looked deep in Adam's eyes, "I know this is different for you, it is also for me, please keep an open mind, and think on it."
"I will." he nodded, and with that she led him out and back to the original building he had shown up in this world.
"I look forward to our next date Adam," she smiled, "If you follow me I will take you to your accommodations for the night, I ask that you please don't leave the room and to bar the entrance to everyone besides myself and my advisors, this is due to the sensitive nature of our discussions... and for your own safety" she said standing to her full height, which was significantly smaller than Adam's own...
Bar the door? What was a group of women going to bust into his room in the night and kidnap him? He was about to laugh at the image in his head but then the reality of the situation stopped that notion. One man born for every twenty women, which meant 50 men for 1000 women.
Some of these women might never get the chance to marry…
Women were crazy…
He shivered at the thought, and wondered if he should request a chain to make sure the door was extra secure tonight...