~The Market~ pg 11

Demil guided them all to the corridor opening. “I have one more thing to get while I’m here. I’ll be right back.” When he returned he had a bouquet of daisies in hand and they headed back to the Inn. 

As soon as they opened the door, a red faced Vera greeted them. “You lied to me!” she accused aiming a slap at Demil’s face. He dropped his daisies to catch her wrist before it struck and frowned as she kept yelling at him. “Oh, everyone who comes out of that door is all abuzz with how Demil’s got a fifth wife! A fifth wife!! I’m a part of this family, too, and I never agreed to this!” It didn’t seem to matter to her that Fiora was the one who'd actually made the claim.

Trina, small as she was, stepped forward with a surprising boldness. “He didn’ lie! She’s not stayin'!” 

Vera looked as surprised as Fiora was. “But everyone’s been saying-“ 

“You know how fast rumors spread down there,” Sherry chided. “We just let them assume so the other men would quit leering at her.” 

Vera’s anger deflated at their words and her eyes found Fiora’s when she spoke. “I’m sorry it upset you, ma’am. You do have a lovely family and I would be honored to be a part of it, but honestly I never intended to stay.”

Demil still had a hold of Vera’s hand as she dropped her arm. He held it tenderly and brought it to his lips for a kiss. He whispered her name as he left a trail of kisses up her arm and neck and finally made it to her mouth. Vera seemed to melt into him. “Yer the first woman I ever saved, Vera, and the first I ever loved… but if yer not happy here, with our family, I’m not going to make you stay. I’ve never taken a woman who didn’t fully choose me, and I won’t keep one who chooses to leave.”

There were tears in her eyes and she seemed to see only him. “And where would I find another man with a heart so big that he would still love me when I get jealous or try to slap him or accuse him of dishonesty? If you let me choose, you will never be rid of me.” He grinned wide and nodded to the rest of his wives who all surrounded Vera in a group hug. Fiora felt self-conscious at being witness to such a personal display and was startled when Sherry pulled her in to join them. They all hugged her, even Vera. 

“I would've liked 'aving you as part of the family,” Trina whispered. 

“Me too,” Melinda agreed and Sherry nodded. 

“I would have grown to love you eventually,” Vera admitted. “It’s hard not to love who my husband loves. That’s why I was worried when you first rode up. I could tell he was already fancying you.” 

Demil’s neck grew a deeper hue and he rubbed the back of it with one hand. “Aye, but the lady doesn’t fancy me.”

The End

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