Everyone roared their jubilee and Dôdi beamed proudly as his wife panted, making her way over to him. She bent over and planted a kiss on his cheek, sending thrills through his body. Such a public demonstration of their affection was frowned on by some, but she’d proudly displayed her love for him in more scandalous ways than that over the past few days. Each time, just like this one, she’d enticed him, fogging up his mind.
“I love you, my king,” she said, making his heart flutter even more.
“And I love you, my queen,” he replied.
She tugged on his beard playfully. “You’d better make that worthwhile,” she whispered coyly into his ear before standing up. Looking to his friends, she asked, “So, my subjects, how do we do this?”
Yada looked to Akka. “We each take turns?”
Akka nodded. “Works for me. From the ground up?”
Yada shrugged. “Sure. I’ll go first. Let’s see…” He peered at her for a brief moment and said, “Even in sandals, your feet are beautiful, o royal maiden.” It was subtle, but Dôdi actually flinched at his best friend actually playing along with the royalty tradition of wedding celebrations. That was high praise from him, since he hadn’t even permitted it at his own wedding, much to Bat’a’s frustration.
Akka chuckled, oblivious to Yada’s understated concession. “Bah, I don’t know how you keep Bat’a happy with that pedestrian poetry. Allow me to demonstrate, friend.” Turning to Raya, he knelt. “As you turned, your thighs revealed masterful artistry in craftsmanship, tooled perfectly and smoothly. The curve of your hips shone with symmetry and perfection, from their very foundation to their highest reaches.”
“That’s my husband!” Issa called out with pride.
Yada nodded. “Not bad. Allup, it’s your turn,” he added with a barely contained grin and a wink at Dôdi.
Allup exchanged glances with Akka and Yada before studying Raya with the slow perceptiveness that usually only his closest friends got to witness. His eyes began at her feet, and then he nodded. His eyes lifted to her thighs, and he paused, nodding again. A third time, his eyes, lifted, and his recess lasted longer this time. The tips of her labia were barely visible with her standing, but the crowd had been given several clear views of the tender folds as she danced earlier. After a moment, he nodded again, content with his idea. “Her center part a big bowl, always wet with spiced wine,” he said tentatively. Then he smiled and pointed at Dôdi. “And Dôdi drunk.”
Silence. Then uproarious laughter and applause. Neither Dôdi nor Raya could contain themselves, bellowing out great cackles and even a snort or two from Raya. It took a few moments for the party to calm enough to continue.
Rheha gave Allup a congratulatory pat on the back and took his turn. “Of the royal mounds of queenly womb and belly, I note its color resembles flowing fields of pristine wheat, dripping with dew.” Dôdi noted the sweat gleaming under her chemise. That was actually pretty good. He was far more surprised by Rheha’s original thought than Allup’s punch line. Allup was far wittier than people gave him credit for, even if he was somewhat slow about it.
“And near the field of wheat is… flowers!” Yada chided. “Go ahead, Dôdi. Take a turn and tell us about her flowers again.”
Embarrassed by the clumsy phrase he’d said before and feeling the weight of fifty pairs of eyes on him, Dôdi waved him off. “I’ll pass.” He should have never said lilies were his favorite flowers.
“Fine,” Yada answered. “It’s my turn, so I’ll repeat your excellent words for you. ‘Her breasts’, he says, ‘are twins, alike in every way, like fawns grazing in a field.'” He turned to face the crowd. “Not his worst, I assure you, but I’ll spare you all the bit about the lilies. Akka?”
“Her majesty’s neck is noble and regal, flawlessly pale like ivory and rounded like the finest tower,” Akka offered. “Allup.”
Allup’s eyes studied hers a moment, then nodded. “Eyes deep pools, steady in stand, in dance, in fly, in wind.”
Akka looked on to Rheha and turned back to consider Allup’s words. Surprisingly good, Dôdi had to admit.
Rheha cleared his throat. “Your majesty’s nose —”
“We’ve already passed her nose,” Yada observed. “Allup got her eyes.”
“Fine. Your majesty’s face — nose included of course — is white like the limestone towers in the lands to the north,” he huffed.”
“And Akka already used towers. No matter,” Yada muttered. “You hold your head like a queen’s crown, like the earth holds a forested mountain, with authority, bearing, presence, and grace. Akka, want to finish us out?”
Dôdi’s brother nodded. “The hair on your head flows freely like long rivers of shadowy black, reflecting purple lights when the sun strikes it right. The rivers’ waters captivate my brother the king so much he loses his words entirely and needs other men to praise his bride.”
Annoyed at the final jab, Dôdi swelled. “I haven’t ‘lost’ my words, Akka. I’ve —”
“Then prove it, brother,” Akka countered, waving toward Raya. “What do you see?”
Again, all the eyes turned to Dôdi, but this time he felt only the weight of Raya’s, waiting, expectant. Her words earlier echoed in his mind: You’d better make that worthwhile. She deserved something personal from him, something none of his show-off friends could deliver…
“You’re radiantly beautiful, yes, but your lovemaking delights are even more so,” he offered.
Raya scoffed politely. “You’d better come up with something much better than that or tonight might not be so delightful. I’ll not have my king be shown up in front of my own family by a group of his ragamuffin friends.”
So she was focusing on perceptions. Was that a hint at what she was looking for? It was so hard to think straight when her breasts were so plainly staring back at him. “You stand upright and true, carrying yourself with a fierce dignity.”
She put a hand on a hip impatiently and waved at her body under her chemise with the other. “And…? She prompted.
Oh! Her body, of course! That’s easy. He went with his favorite part. “Your breasts are sweet fruit on a tall tree —”
“Of course he starts with her breasts,” Yada murmured none too quietly, and the whole party shared snickers.
“Oh, yeah?” Dôdi asked, raging as he shot to his feet and stood before his wife. “Well, I get to climb that tall tree, and I get to grab that sweet fruit.” With both hands, he caressed her breasts through the sheer cloth for emphasis, eliciting a few gasps from her family and even a widening of Akka’s eyes.
He released her breasts but seized a handful of her raven hair and looked into her eyes. “While your breasts are always sweet for me to taste and your nipples like perfect apples, your kisses are the best wine around.” With that he winked at Allup and faked a drunken stagger.
Raya giggled and tugged on his beard again. “Then have yourself a drink, and drink deeply. All this, after all,” she said, motioning to her body before pressing it against him, “is yours.” She kissed him, her lips parting briefly and planting a slip of her tongue across his, tasting of salt and love. He tried to keep the kiss going, but she backed away, leaving Dôdi kissing the air rather ridiculously. Turning to his friends, she said, “Thank you all for your assistance. I believe I’ve found my king’s tongue, and it seems to be thirsty.” She bent down and collected her clothes, and smiled at him rather slyly. “What say we retire early, your majesty?”