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To Wish for Someone

“Love is allowed. My mother and father love each other and show much affection between them. As a family we display much love between all of us. We loved my brother before he was killed, and then we grieved his loss. Love is a strong emotion, but it too must be controlled. It’s not that we can’t show emotion, but we must keep it in control at all times.”

“Then you don’t give outward signs of love?”

“A kiss is not just a display of love, but of greeting and communication between friends and family. Even our people kiss.”

“But it can be a display of love, of sex.”

“Sex? Yes, but be aware I will not break Euphratorian law.”

“It’s against the law to have sex?”

“It is against the law to consummate a union with anyone but your life-mate.”

If she thought his mouth had gaped before, she could have shoved something between his lips this time. “What’s the penalty? Death?”

“Only for adultery. Banishment and shame is for fornication.”

“Then I guess I would have been banished several times over.”

She stared at him. “Several times? Without a wife?”

“I’ve never been married, Celesta, but...” He gave a low sound like a laugh but mixed with surprise. “I’m certainly not celibate.”

Something about the fact that he’d had several partners in relationships bothered her. It just didn’t seem right. She glanced up at that mouth that had just been on hers. He had touched those lips to other women, some in passion and intimacy beyond what was permitted for her. He did not have the strength of will to keep his affections for his life-mate. “I think you need to go. I am very tired.”



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