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´╗┐Title: Wedding Day
Author: Marks, Winston K.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wedding Day" ***

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                           BY WINSTON MARKS

                              WEDDING DAY

          _Some folks say a good wife is a composite of many
             things. And sometimes a girl finds it tough.
       But with the ratio of the sexes drastically changed...._

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
              Worlds of If Science Fiction, January 1955.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


At breakfast Polly and June had an argument over the coffee. Polly had
brewed it. June thought it was too strong. Doris and Sue stayed out of
the argument at first.

Polly defended, "Sure, it's a little stronger, but men like it strong.
You might as well get used to it."

June said, "See here, he's got to make some concessions. After all, why
should four of us suffer--"

"Suffer? You call being married to Hollis Jamison suffering?"

"Don't be so impressed. He's not doing badly marrying us, either. He
could do a lot worse."

"Why, you vain witch! Just because you play a fair game of chess--"

"Oh, I'm not taking all the credit. You're a fine cook, Doris is witty
and Sue's body would make any man's mouth water--but that's just the
point! Look what he's getting! Why should we have to change all our
habits and tastes to conform with his?"

Now Doris entered the argument. "You know darn well why! It's still
a man's world and a man's choice. Back when there was a man for
practically every woman, it was different. But it's five women to one
man right now--don't ever forget that--five to one, and so far the law
only requires a quadracell. Just be grateful you aren't the one who's
left out. You and your chess-playing! How far would you get attracting
a man, all by yourself?"

"Shhh, now, all of you," Sue broke into the telepathic conversation.
"Let's clear the dishes and get the apartment straightened up. Hollis
did make one concession--moving in with us, instead of making us live
in that dismal bachelor's hole of his. Let's not make him regret it."

They heeded Sue and got busy. Sue was the arbiter. She ruled the
quartet with a gentle but confident mind. All four knew that her lithe,
athletic body with its soft curves and golden hair was the greatest
asset in this transaction of matrimony.

There had been no dissension on this point, nor could there have been.
The bureau would never have allowed them to be together and form a
marriage cell had there been the slightest dispute.

Many differences of opinion were allowable, but the four had been
carefully screened in certain matters of basic tastes. They liked the
same colors, foods, styles of clothing, video programs, sports and
vacation activities. All were carefully schooled ambiverts of roughly
equal education. Instead of conflicting, their differences of skills,
talents and personality traits complemented each other.

Even with all this care in selecting and matching, however, the big
test was the culmination of the marriage, itself--the whole purpose of
this banding together. The unpredictable quality of the most stable
feminine emotions made the choice of a mate most difficult of all.

This awareness was in all their minds this day, and it made them a
little nervous. Even the argument that had started over the coffee had
been faintly alarming to Sue. They were a team, welded together by the
wonderful gift of telepathy, which was only possible through formation
of a marriage cell. The most complete intimacy of thought and feeling
had been nurtured for a whole year before marriage was permissible.
Sympathy, tolerance and sharing a common experience with mutual
enjoyment and happiness was the keystone of the polygamous unions.
Nothing must spoil it now.

The delivery vault thumped, and the signal light flicked on. Sue rushed
to slide up the door.

"Orchids!" they chorused mentally, and Sue noticed with satisfaction
that June's thought was as strong as the others. The lovely flowers
were put in the cooler, the apartment was tidied and they turned to the
exciting task of becoming beautiful for their handsome husband.

The tiff over the coffee was forgotten as they became immersed in
sprays, powders, tints, cosmetics, body ornaments and the precious
nuptial perfume. This latter, issued to them only yesterday when they
signed the register and received the license, was now as traditionally
exclusive to weddings as trousseaus had been centuries ago.

Feminine clothing, of course, had long since been eliminated from the
occasion, along with other redundancies such as waggish and mischievous
guests, old shoes, rice and hectic honeymoon trips.

The official and religious arrangements had been completed yesterday at
the registry and the chapel, the union to become legal and effective
at noon on this day. When Hollis Jamison walked through their door at
twelve o'clock he would bring four gold rings, and the moment the rings
were placed on the proper fingers the ceremony was complete.

Doris said, "Let's steal just a tiny whiff of the perfume. I'm too
curious to wait."

June and Polly were game, but Sue cut them off. "Not on your life! I
used to know a chemist at the hormone labs where they compound this
stuff, and he told me about it. We have things to do, and if what he
told me is true--well, it's very distracting."

Polly backed her up, "I hear it is terribly volatile. I guess we
wouldn't want it to wear off before Hollis came."

"Hollis!" The thought was June's, and it came thin and quavery.
"What--do you suppose it's like to be married?"

No one answered, for there was no experience among them. Each had
her own romantic idea, so cherished, so private that even within the
intimacy of their clique it was too sacred to discuss.

Suddenly June said, "I'm scared."

The thought had come sharply and unexpectedly. It was contagious. Polly
said, "Me, too."

"Of what?" Doris asked, "Of drinking strong coffee the rest of your
lives?"

It was a weak, nervous stab at humor, and Sue knew that Doris was as
jumpy as the rest of them. "Steady, gals," she said sympathetically.
"It'll be worth it. We want a baby, don't we?"

It was the right thought at the right time. Sue felt their minds relax,
and the thought even did her some good. A sweet, little, round, pink
baby--

She let the mental picture flow out to the others, and the little
crisis passed.

The minutes flew, and soon it was five minutes to twelve. "Have we
forgotten anything?" Sue asked.

"The perfume!" Polly and June said together.

"Hurry!" Doris said. "I think he's coming."

The seal on the tiny vial was broken, one drop on each breast, and the
rich, exotic fumes exuded a gentle, warm excitement that was entirely
different from the innocent scents they had known.

The door was unlocked, and now it opened.

Hollis stepped in, bronzed body bared to the waist.

"The flowers!" Polly wailed inwardly. "We forgot the orchids--"

But Hollis Jamison didn't notice the discrepancy. He advanced smiling
from his gray eyes and strong mouth. Sue opened her lips and her fine,
white teeth showed a welcoming smile. She was proud of her lovely body,
and June, Polly and Doris shared in that pride.

Sue held out her left hand with fingers outstretched. Her man came
forward jingling the four rings in his right hand. He paused before
her, drew her left hand to his lips, kissed the little finger and slid
the proper ring on it, then, in order he kissed Sue's other three
fingers and banded them with the remaining rings, symbolic of the four
separate feminine entities who dwelt in this one magnificent body.

And with each ring he said a name: "June, Polly, Doris, Sue--"

He straightened and gazed into the two blue eyes.

"I thee wed," he said simply.





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