To start at the beginning, use this link: Link to chapters 1-25.
The rest of the day was spent in wedding preparations. After getting all of the food ready, the women retired to the locker room to put on their dresses and do their makeup and hair. Katherine and Anna went into the men’s side of the locker room to help Allen and Fernando with their dresses and hair. Since the two current wives were not getting married, they had peach-colored dresses with a simpler pattern to wear. Once everyone was done getting ready, they all rode their wheelchairs down to the lobby of the aquarium. Dave and Janice were waiting for them, along with a tall woman in a black dress with a white collar.
“This is Reverend Mays.” Janice said. “She’ll be the one performing the wedding ceremony.”
“I’m pleased to meet you.” Said Allen. “Thank you for agreeing to our unusual request.”
“When Katherine explained the situation to me, I felt I had to.” She said. “I have always wondered why God would allow Moses and Jacob to have four wives, and yet restrict modern families to one. And I understand that these women actually get physically sick unless they are close to you. So why should I deny them the opportunity to marry the person they depend on?”
The rest of the mermaids were introduced to the minister, after which they proceeded directly to the ceremony. It was relatively traditional, except that they exchanged vows multiple times. Allen married Audra first, and the reverend used the words “wedded in the eyes of God” instead of “lawfully wedded.” Once Allen had married each of the English-speaking mermaids, Fernando married the Spanish speakers, and Reverend Mays switched to flawless Spanish as she performed the ceremony. No rings were exchanged, but Allen and Fernando enthusiastically kissed the bride at the end of each set of vows. When the ceremony was done, Reverent Mays left and the rest of the group proceeded to the practice pool. Dave and Janice changed into swimming suits, but Katherine instructed the rest of the group to get directly into the pool.
“I made sure to order dresses that wouldn’t be damaged by the water.” She told them. “It seems a shame to take them off again so soon.”
Although the fabric may not have been damaged by the water, the long skirts definitely hampered the mermaid’s swimming, so they proceeded to the cafeteria a little more slowly than usual. The tables were set up with glasses of champagne and an assortment of treats. There were two cakes – one for Allen and one for Fernando. Katherine and Anna organized a cake-cutting ceremony with each group of mermaids. The cakes were on turntables, and there were lines in the icing indicating where to cut the cake. Each mermaid was allowed to turn the turntable and cut a slice for herself, with Allen, Fernando, and their two guests getting pieces from the center.
“Why do we have to cut in these exact places?” Daphne asked.
“You’ll see.” Katherine answered. “Have you ever been to a quinceañera?”
Maria instantly understood. “So we need to eat carefully? There might be something inside each piece?” She asked.
Katherine only nodded. Then each of the mermaids sat down with their cake and ate it. They each encountered something hard inside, and when they extracted the item from the cake they found small plastic numbers from 1 to 6 or 7.
“What are these for?” Maria asked, holding up her number 3.
“We needed to find a way to decide who gets to be with each male first.” Katherine explained. “Who has the number 1?”
Gretchen looked up from her plate, sheepishly holding up a small plastic number 1.
“That means you get to be with Allen tonight.” Katherine said.
“But what about our mer-milk?” Daphne asked, holding up her number 6. “I can’t wait 6 days for my share.”
“We’ll hold to our normal schedule for the milk. The numbers are only for the honeymoon nights. We thought you would each like to have Allen or Fernando to yourself for a whole night to get to know them a little better. After that we can change things around depending on how we all feel.”
Katherine ran her fingers down Allen’s arm. “What we do after that may depend on how much stamina the boys have.”
The party continued for a while, until it was time for the first mer-milk feeding of the evening. Allen and Fernando went to their rooms, followed by two mermaids each. Dave and Janice left the mermaid facility for their homes on land, and the rest of the mermaids spent the time talking and playing games. Gretchen tried to play with the others, but all she could think about was the evening ahead. Although she was probably the most sexually experienced person present, she found herself feeling nervous. What did Allen really feel for her? Did he just marry her out of kindness, so she wouldn’t get sick? Maybe she should have gone with Dr. Hansen and gotten her tail removed.
Finally, all of the other mermaids had received their dose of mer-milk for the day and Allen swam up beside Gretchen.
“Are you ready?” He asked her.
She just nodded her head and took his hand. They swam off to his room and pulled the curtain closed at the entrance. Although she had been in the room many times before, Gretchen felt like an intruder – this was Katherine’s domain. She pulled away from Allen and lowered her head.
“You don’t have to do this.” She told him.
“I know it feels a little strange.” Allen answered. “But with the way the mer-milk works, I think this is the way it needs to be.”
“But you don’t really love me.”
Allen swam around behind her and began unzipping her sopping wet dress. “I don’t love you the same way I love Katherine. That is true. But I think we can find enough love to share nonetheless. The movies and TV would have you believe that all marriages are based on nothing but romance and stars in your eyes every day of your life. But even in my short time with Katherine I have found that marriage has a lot more to do with mutual respect, honesty, and putting the other person’s needs first. You need the mer-milk, and from her experience Katherine knew what it does to your desires. She knew that sooner or later we wouldn’t be able to hold back any longer. This way we can act on those feelings without being dishonest with her or with each other. And if we work at it, I think real love will develop over time.”
Gretchen could feel her body reacting to Allen’s presence. “But I don’t deserve a man like you. I treated you horribly, and I enjoyed it!”
Gretchen’s dress fell away to the floor of the pool, and Allen began removing her bra. “Everyone deserves to be loved.” He told her.
Then Allen took off his swimsuit top and Gretchen’s lips automatically sought out the mer-milk. This time, there was no holding back as they both allowed their bodies to do what the pheromones were telling them to do. When morning came, Gretchen discovered that she had neglected to bring a swimsuit with her, so she put her bra back on and collected her dress from the bottom of the pool.
“Do you feel better now?” Allen asked her.
“Much better, though I’m going to be tired today.”
“I think we both might want to take a nap. Come on, let’s get some breakfast.”
Allen reached out for her hand and they swam to the cafeteria pool together. They found Katherine and Audra just starting on some pancakes. Allen sat down beside Katherine and put his arm around her, giving her a kiss. Gretchen started to pull away, but Allen held firmly to her hand. He pulled her onto the bench beside him and slipped his other arm around her, giving her a kiss as well.
“How did it go last night?” Katherine asked.
“Very well.” Allen answered. “Don’t you agree, Gretchen?”
Gretchen just nodded, still a little stunned at being included.
“Don’t I get a kiss too?” Audra asked.
“Of course.” Allen said. Then he rolled backwards off of the bench, leaving Katherine and Gretchen behind so that he could swim to the other side of the table and give Audra a kiss.
“You look rather smug.” Katherine told him.
“Who wouldn’t be? I have 6 beautiful women vying for my attention- and I get to be with all of them! Are you jealous?”
“I suppose I should be, but we’ve already been through so much together. For some reason it just makes me feel happy that we are all going to be a family.”
Some of the other mermaids started to join them in the cafeteria, and Allen made sure to kiss each of his new wives as they came into the room. Fernando came in as well, followed by Tania, who had drawn the #1 from his cake. The two mermaid families mingled over breakfast, basking in the glow of their newly wedded state. They all felt more comfortable showing their affection physically, and hugs and kisses were shared between wives as well as with the two male mermaids.