For skjam‘s prompt.
“HENRY JOHN CHRISTCHURCH, YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO RECEIVE A BRIDE!”
It was not the e-mail Hank was expecting to see in his inbox. Any other day, he would have deleted it as SPAM, but there had been that contest he’d entered a few months back. He hadn’t thought it was for a wife, but, well, there’s been a long list of prizes (he’d been interested in the IPad more than anything). So he clicked.
The e-mail, once read, looked surprisingly legitimate, especially considering the all-caps hysteria of its subject line. Go to this place, present ID proving that he was, indeed Henry John Christchurch, collect mail-order bride.
There had to be a catch, of course, but the attached photos were of a very lovely woman, dark-haired, exotic looking. From some country up in the frozen north, he was sure, and, more than anything, he was curious how they’d pull off the swap. Present him with some ugly girl and say she’d had a hard time since she left her homeland? Tell him that the picture was only representative?
Mika, it said her name was. Curious to see who he’d really meet, Hank packed an overnight bag and drove to the location, a couple hours outside his hometown.
The sleek businessman who greeted him at the door confirmed all of Hank’s suspicions. This was some sort of scam, some sort of time-share-thing. Wife-share? no, that was something else. Hank let the suit lead him into a posh conference room, and sat to wait.
The girl who came to meet him didn’t look like the photos; if anything, she looked prettier. Beautiful. Stunning.
“My husband,” she murmured, in accented but comprehendible English. “Will you take your bride?” Indeed, she was even dressed in a white dress, the sort of beaded confection Hank’s female co-workers drooled over.
Yes, yes was the appropriate answer. She was gorgeous. She was perfect. Hank hoped she could cook; he’d never gotten beyond burning beans-in-a-can himself.
So married they were – the sleek suit provided a priest – and Hank took his Mika home. She could cook. She could clean, although she did better directing a cleaning service. She could also, it appeared, work, and had US citizenship, and soon had a job which kept her out late and meant they were back to eating burned beans and take-out. And she could, much to Hank’s surprise, fuck like a demon, like a wild thing, and no matter what late hours she kept or how much pizza they ate, Hank remained deliriously happy. No matter how much more she earned then him, or how the house slowly became hers, not his, he stayed happy. No matter how tired and worn-out he seemed to feel, and how she seemed to grow more and more lively, Hank stayed happy.
And died happy, a smile on his face at the funeral and his lovely wife radiant, sniffing gently into her handkerchief.
Mika missed this one. He’d been sweeter than the most, though the papers had suggested he wouldn’t be. She waited a month before she called her broker, the slick man in the suit, and murmured to him, quietly, in Sweedish, “it is time to begin the Gift Delivery again.”
She’d always found it appropriate that, in Swedish, “gift” meant “poison…” and “wife.”
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