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One Bride for Five Brothers
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Five farm boys, and they all want me.
Is it wrong? It feels right.
What happens when the fun and games end?
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Not like I was waiting for it, but I soon as I hear the sound of her footsteps on the porch, I want to run for the door. Stan rolls his eyes at me and I hold up my hands, telling him to wait.
“Be nice to her!”
“I’m always nice,” Stan grumbles. “Just don’t get your hopes up, Charlie.”
“My hopes aren’t up,” I object. “But doesn’t it all seem kind of perfect? I mean she practically landed in our laps.”
“No, Stan is right,” Hank interrupts. “She’s too young. She’s too sweet. She’s too… nice.”
“Nice is what we wanted!” I remind them. “Nice is perfect. We are nice, too, remember?”
I look around, measuring up my four older brothers, these hulking farm boys in their blue jeans and flannel, stubble and dusty hair, calloused hands and suspicious looks.
If that’s Goldilocks at the front door, can’t say I blame her for being little nervous.
“Okay, okay. But just try, okay? Can’t hurt to try, right?”
Without listening for the response, I dash to the door, flinging it open. Vanessa stands there, swaying back slightly in surprise. Then she rocks forward, managing a nervous but resolute smile.
“Come on in!” I invite her, stepping aside with my hand out.
She glides in with small steps, that pretty cream-colored dress fluttering up behind her. She’s perfect, I know it. Thick around the middle, curvy and yet contained. Restrained. She’s got a quiet strength that flows through the middle of her.
She walks into the dining room, and I see my brothers mellow a little bit in her presence. They’re slightly less intimidating. Maybe even a little more inviting.
“I hope you’re hungry,” Tim challenges her.
She takes a breath before responding and narrows her eyes slightly. “Starved,” she answers, drawing out the word so long it practically sounds like a dare.
Stan catches this interchange and knocks the back of Tim’s head playfully, then tells him to fetch her a drink so he can’t embarrass himself again.
“This looks like Thanksgiving,” she breathes, humming happily to herself. “What did you guys make?”
I pull out her chair for her and she slides into it, those round thighs spilling slightly over the sides.
“Oh, the usual…” I answer. “A couple of chickens, stuffing, mashed potatoes… roasted carrots, green beans, cornbread…”
“The usual?” she repeats, her blue eyes wide. I grab a plate for her and start loading it up with a little bit of everything.
“Oh! You don’t have to serve me!” she objects sweetly.
“Let him,” Stan interrupts. He places his giant paw of a hand over hers protectively. Suddenly he doesn’t seem so convinced that she’s not the girl for him. By his normal standards, he’s practically blushing and stammering like a sixth-grader.
“Let’s have a toast,” I suggest when everybody’s seated. I pour out some wine for everyone and make sure the glasses are all passed out.
“To our fairytale princess,” Stan announces, clearing his throat. “May all her dreams come true.”
She blushes and giggles, but accepts the toast graciously. Throughout dinner, she is sometimes shy and sometimes forceful. She plays my brothers like a fiddle until they’re hanging on her every word. When she laughs, she tosses that thick blonde mane back over her shoulder and I can’t help but watch it, every time.
Finally, dinner is over. The chickens are decimated. The sweet potatoes have been scraped down to the china.
“What should we do now?” she asks innocently.
Stan clears his throat. He looks at each of us to double check. We’re still on the same page, at least in theory. She has to take the lead. It has to be up to her.
“It’s entirely up to you, princess.”
For a long time, she looks at us each in turn as if trying to read our minds. She takes a long time deciding. Finally, she stands, her lips pursed in a haughty dare.
“Come on then, boys,” she purrs as she leaves the room.
We follow, completely under her spell, watching every millimeter of skin as she lets her dress slip from her shoulders. Slowly she walks into the back room, commanding our absolute obedience with every step.
It’s like a dream, watching her captivate all my brothers with just one look. She could ask us to do anything right now, and we would do it.
I sit down in front of her, squinting against the light that haloes her from behind. Her dress slips over her arms to her waist, then falls to the floor. She’s a Venus, tall and luscious, as smooth as alabaster.
“Jesus, you’re beautiful,” I hear myself whisper.
“You’re sweet, Charlie. You want to go first?”
Tim and Tom argue over that immediately but I ignore them. Yes, I do want to go first.
Her eyes captivate me in a sky blue stare. She sways slowly, rolling those round hips, arching her back and sighing.
“I’ve never done this before so…”
“Wait, what?” Stan interrupts.
Tim and Tom gasp while Hank and Stan start with alarm. But I can see it in her eyes — she’s ours. She’s already decided.