Herb propped his feet on the coffee table without taking off his shoes because there were no wives around to nag him.

Wife, not wives.

He reached out an arm to ask his husband to hand him the extra pillow that their wives kept moving back to the fancy-chair-no-one-sits-in, but Raj wasn’t there.

One wife. One husband. How old fashioned. How Earth-like.

Allora wasn’t home, or if she was, she was being quiet somewhere. He didn’t know, and largely didn’t care.

It’s not like she’d seek out my company…

“Herb?” he turned to see Allora in the doorway. Her arms were crossed over her chest, her eyes were red and puffy.

Wait… what does that mean? I think she’s… sad. Of course she’s sad. It’s only been a few months, but… what does she want from me?

“Yes?” He sat up in his chair and twisted around to see her.

He didn’t get up.

Allora glanced around the room. What she was looking for, he had no idea.

Yes I do. She’s looking for someone who knows what’s going on in her head without her having to say it out loud. Someone who died three months ago.

“I was just wondering… were you going to bed soon?” she asked quietly.

That sounds like an easy question. It must be a trick… a trap… Allora never really says what she means. I’ve gone to bed at nine every night of our marriage. Twenty years of habit, and she doesn’t know that?

Herb glanced at the clock. “I’ll be going up in about a half hour.” He hesitated to add one last word but something in his wife’s eyes made him want to at least try to figure out what was wrong with her. “Why?”

“I was just wondering… we probably don’t need two beds anymore.”

This was written for the Write On Edge prompt to write from a man’s POV. I regularly switch back and forth from male to female as I write, but it is true that I’m more comfortable with the female POV. We only had 300 words.

The story of Allora and Herb is one I began several months ago and never finished. At 300 words, this is really is just a scene, not a story. I’d like to finish it someday. Writing about a world where group marriage is common opens up all kinds of interesting scenarios… in this case, Allora and Herb lose their “better half” in an accident, and realize that over the twenty-some years they’ve been married, the two of them have grown apart. The two spouses who died were the two that kept the union going. Now that it’s just Herb and Allora, they have to figure out how to get along when it’s just the two of them.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-jW