“Hi. You’re in a good mood,” she said noting the excited smile on my face, “was it that much fun sitting in a Temple and taking vows? Even a Xentoran one?”
“I wouldn’t know, I didn’t take them. Will you marry me?” I said so excited it actually came out all in a single casual tone.
“One day, sure, but what do you mean you didn’t take them?” she asked setting me on her lap as she sat down on the odd bit of furniture she had called a ‘Chase Lounge’. “You’ve wanted to be a priestess for … for your whole life, you’ve been studying and working at the Temple for … are you feeling all right?”
“I feel wonderful! I mean, Salandra, will you marry me – like as in will you say ‘yes’? I’m going to be an apothecary and herbalist. I might take a Healer’s vows later, but I don’t know yet. There’s a lot to be said for doing that in a Temple rather than in some consecrated room or something,” I explained.
“How would you know? The only time I know of that you saw a Healer was at the Temple. And, I guess, when we’re older. It’d be kind of silly to get married when neither of us has any money that doesn’t come from an allowance,” Sal said looking rather like she was concerned I’d gone quite mad.
“I do. I’m apprenticed with a very nice apothecary and herbal shoppe. I start tomorrow. I already know a lot, they’ll just be teaching me more of the mediciney bit, and recipes for teas and the like. So, now will you please stop avoiding the question and answer me? Will you marry me or won’t you?” I said with what I know must have been a mischievous gleam in my eyes as I’d long ago realised I wasn’t being perfectly clear in my excitement and was being horribly amused by my beloved’s confusion.
“You …” Sal looked shocked, mildly faint, and finally said, “Are you serious?”
“You’re the silly one, remember?”
“But, but … you, you … when’d you decide to become an Herbalist?”
“At the Temple before I was supposed to take my vows. It dawned on me that that wasn’t what I wanted anymore. That wasn’t the direction my life should take if I want to spend my life with you. No, I wouldn’t be forbidden or even discouraged from marriage, you know that, and I wouldn’t have to live at the Temple, but …” I sighed and looked around the room for inspiration and, finding none, I gazed into the dark pools of her eyes. “Priesthood, to me, shouldn’t seem like a job. I shouldn’t be able to leave it. I don’t think less of priests who have their own homes, and their own lives, but those priests are rare for a reason. I realised I just couldn’t be one of them. I also couldn’t not be your wife.”
I shrugged and raised her hands to my lips, “I want to marry you, and I want to feel that my life and time are my own to give to you. I love growing things, I love plants, and I love to help those who need help. I haven’t the head or the patience for doctoring, but I think I could manage to make sense enough out of medicines and how to use them.”
She stared at me mouthing silence for a moment, and judging by the way her lips were working she wouldn’t have been voicing anything but nonsense for a moment in any case. Finally she stammered out, “S-so, now you’re an apprentice apothecary, and you want to know if I’ll marry you? You mean right now?”
“No, I was thinking … I was thinking when we could work out a date, and however long it takes to corral everyone in your family you think would be important, and I’d have to figure out where a few of my fathers and my dad have got to and I’d like a few of my siblings there too, to say nothing of the whole Xentoran year we’ll need to live as one before we can say our vows.” Softer I said, “Sal, please, I’m serious.”
She looked about to say several things but just as suddenly she just blinked with a tear in her eye and looked very thoughtful for a moment before saying, “Yes.”
We smiled, and kissed and sat there in each other’s arms for several saenead before she finally asked, “So. Want to go tell everyone?”
“Not yet. I like holding you and don’t want to let go yet. Besides — you were so funny when I asked the first time, it might be fun to think of a way to have fun with the announcement”