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Michael and I went to San Myshuno for our honeymoon. Originally I wanted to go to Windenburg but San Myshuno seemed to be a better fit for Michael and me since we both loved art and food and the city plenty of both. Last time I went to San Myshuno, I didn’t get to do much exploring so I definitely intended on doing just that…right after we completed our requisite time holed up in our suite like true honeymooners.

The penthouse suite at a five-star hotel in Uptown was so luxurious. We already stayed at that hotel for Kaleb and Penny’s wedding but this was our first time staying in that suite which was known as the honeymoon suite. The floor to ceiling windows gave way to a gorgeous view of the city’s skyline. It was so romantic, especially at night, but even better during the early hours of the morning. Our room faced the western part of town so we never had a perfect view of sunrise but the soothing glow of dawn coming through those windows perfectly added to the romantic aura in the room.

I’ll admit that doing it in that room with all of those tall windows made the woohoo all the more amazing than usual. It’s like I could pretend the whole city was watching us without having that actually be the case. The windows were tinted and reflective on the outside so there was no way for anyone to see us in the room, that and because we were so high off the ground there weren’t a lot of neighbouring buildings tall enough to be on our level.

As always and he never failed to please me in all ways imaginable. I honestly didn’t think it could get better than this. Being married to each other must have amped up our desire for one another.

I couldn’t get enough of him, I was practically insatiable! I think he had enough of me though. When it was over he rolled off of me and without another word, curled up with his pillow and felt fast to sleep, while I laid there feeling like I wanted more.

He was so exhausted trying to keep up with me. Who would have thought he would be the one who couldn’t keep up instead of me? I slipped out of bed and back into my undies as I watched him sleep, snoring and everything. He snored only when he was exhausted. I must have worn the poor guy out!

I decided to leave him alone since he was well deserving of the break. I walked over to the other side of the room and took a look out at the city. I could clearly see the Fashion District, a few buildings over. The billboard in the distance looked just like the one behind Kaleb and Penny’s apartment building that I used to see when Lyra lived there. The last time I was in San Myshuno we didn’t do much exploring since we were only there for two nights. Michael and I decided we weren’t going to spend the entire time in the hotel. We would explore San Myshuno as much as we could. Well…as soon as he woke up.

Eventually, I did have to wake him since he was about to sleep the entire day away.

After brunch, we hung out by the pool for a while and sipped on some cocktails before diving in. It wasn’t as nice as the one I had back home but at least this pool had a nice view of the city and the water was warm because of the good weather that day. And it was clean! Ugh, I hate using public pools because you never know when was the last time they decided to drain and scrub the pool.

We also took advantage of the hotel’s spa amenities by getting massages and facials before deciding to try the sauna. There was a sign on the door that said clients were strictly forbidden from getting intimate in the sauna room. I guess they had a problem with people getting it on in there. I could understand that. Some people probably left a big mess for the employees to clean up. After seeing the sign Michael and I decided we would be on our best behaviour.

But when no one else was around and the steam started to expand throughout the room, Michael gave me that look and I knew he wanted to break the rules. I was hesitant at first since it was a public sauna and there must have been people around outside. What if someone walked in? It would be so embarrassing! Naturally, I refused him. Of course, I could never truly say no to Michael. He was irresistible. The man could get me to do anything!

The Romance Festival was in town so that evening Michael and I got dressed up and ventured out of the hotel for the first time since we arrived. I was happy to get to finally wear something from my suitcase other than my underwear or a bathrobe. Michael kept complimenting how good I looked in my dress. To think, I chose that dress because I figured it wasn’t too revealing and it probably wouldn’t put him in the mood. I guess he’s always in the mood around me regardless of what I wear. And I thought he would be tired after going at it all night and then once more in the sauna.

To think, I chose that dress because I figured it wasn’t too revealing and it probably wouldn’t put him in the mood. I guess he’s always in the mood around me regardless of what I wear. And I thought he would be tired after going at it all night and then once more in the sauna.

Michael left my side only once for a bathroom break so I decided to check out what kind of beverages they were serving. There was a fountain that had some sort of sparkling pink punch that smelled like sweet cherries and rosewater. It was interesting how they managed to keep it so bubbly even though it was open to the night air.

I filled a cup of some of the strange beverage. After all, I saw so many people come back for refills so I figured if it was poisonous someone would be frothing at the mouth already. A small jasmine flower sank to the bottom of the plastic cup when I poured some of the beverage in. It was a cute touch. Perhaps that was why the drink was so aromatic. I took a small sip feeling the bursts of flavour and bubbles dance in my mouth.

“You should be careful with that.” A woman who stood next to me said as she went in for a cup. “It’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. That might get you into some trouble.”

“It’s okay. I’m here with my husband.” My husband. That phrase gave me tingles whenever I said it, in a good way.

“Then you’ll definitely be in some trouble. Trust me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Last time I had this love juice I got pregnant with my daughter. My husband and I weren’t even trying. I found out later that it’s supposed to be some sort of fertility treatment as well. It puts you in the mood and makes it easy to conceive.”

“Seriously?” I looked down at my half empty cup wondering why the hell I drank so much of the damn thing without even knowing what it was.

“Don’t worry. Just make sure you and your husband don’t woohoo tonight and you won’t get knocked up.”

“Thanks but why are you drinking so much of it?” I asked when it occurred to me that she was on her second cup.

“We’re working on baby number two. Wish me luck girl,” She winked as she walked away, disappearing into the crowd. She was so nice I wish I asked for her name.

I stared at my cup of this “love juice” and wondered if she was right about it being some sort of fertility treatment and then I started thinking about what it would be like to be pregnant with Michael’s baby. Having kids was definitely in the playbook and I know how much he wants to be a father but I didn’t think either one of us was ready for such a huge step. We just got married and we were both still sorting out our career plans.

I just closed the deal on the restaurant I bought and Michael had a few commissioned jobs lined up for a dealer in Newcrest. We were both far too busy to entertain the idea of having a baby right now. And yet, instead of putting the cup down I finished it.

It did taste pretty good. It would have been a shame to let it waste. Plus Michael had already returned while I was standing there lost in my thoughts and he too took a cup.

“Mmm, this is nice!” He said after a big gulp. “What’s in this?”

Now that he had some I wondered if the fertility enhancement part of the drink would double our chances of conceiving. I guess I wouldn’t get to find out since he and I agreed not to sleep together tonight. Tonight would be a rest night since we’d been going at it like bunnies since our wedding night. The plan was to go back to the hotel and watch episodes of Knifed on the complimentary cable TV.

So I took another sip.

And another.

And a few more.

What happened next was a blur. I guess the aphrodisiac part was true. We were both so amorous, like way more romantic with each other than we usually were.

I don’t even know where I got that book of poetry from but I remembered Michael being so giddy when I recited some of the poems to him. I can’t even remember any of the lines. They were probably super cheesy and clichéd for all I know.

I do remember having this insane desire to be romantic with him. More like a compulsion. It was uncontrollable, and I couldn’t remember much other than us kissing and touching and hugging one another.

Well, I do remember the food. The food! I had the best sushi I had ever eaten from the Japanese food stall while Michael has really tasty looking dango.

The nori was fresh. The cod was succulent and seasoned. And the sauce was spicy with just the right amount of sweet to balance the flavour. It was all so, so good!

I had never been drunk before but I imagined it would be something like what happened that night. I was on such a high that I didn’t even notice anyone else but him. I even remembered seeing a pink glow around his face too. Like he was this mystical love creature and I full heartedly adored him! And he was looking back at me with this stupid grin on his face the whole time which made me wonder what kind of look I had on my face.

Still, in the back of my mind, I knew enough to refuse his advances. This love juice or whatever it was would get us pregnant if we went too far and I didn’t want that to happen.

“I love you, Maia.” He said as we were leaving the festival.

“I love you too!” I cheerfully replied.

I think the juice was wearing off on him because he looked so serious while I still felt lightheaded. Plus, the pink glow disappeared from his face. “There’s something I need to tell you…”

“I…know what you’re…gonna say and it’s not…happening buddy! Nope!”

 “What?”

“That’s right! You get none of this…none of this tonight…! Off limits husband!”

“Oh.” He sighed disappointedly. “You’re still drunk.”

“I’m not…drunk! I’m in love…but no baby…!”

“I don’t understand you at all!” He chuckled.

“You can’t have…me…”

“Oh, I can’t huh?”

“Nope! Well…maybe…a little…”

He got this gleam in his eye that I easily recognised even in my stupor. He saw a challenge. Before I knew it, I was a goner.

Maybe that lady at the festival was just exaggerating. That juice couldn’t possibly be so potent that it would get us pregnant in spite of using protection.

At least I hope so.

Thankfully, the next day I didn’t wake up with a hangover so we went down to the Arts Quarter as planned. There was currently an exhibit from a renowned abstract artist named Pablo Di Ricci and Michael was a big fan of his work.

“You see the colour choices he made, the red, the blue and the yellow? The red symbolises passion and excitement while the yellow is optimism and hope and the blue is strength and understanding. Di Ricci painted this with the intent of it being his ideas of what a utopic society should be but many people think it’s about rebellion.”

“You have a really good eye sweetie.” I said.

“Well, I just read his autobiography. That’s how I know.”

I laughed. “And here I thought you were so insightful!”

“I’m not that deep. My paintings are pretty but they can never be anything like this.”

“I think you sell yourself too short. Your paintings have just the same amount of depth and passion in them as any renowned artist.”

He shrugged. “You really think so?”

“Definitely! Pretty soon your work is gonna be in Art Centres and Galleries all around the world. Just you wait and see.”

A little encouragement went a long way for him. I don’t know why he feels like his work is not good enough. He still acts like he got lucky that a few people like his paintings but it’s more than just a few. Everyone who sees his stuff tells him how talented he is. He practically has his own little fan club at the Art Gallery back home.

I think it has a lot to do with him not having anyone else to encourage him. His mother died while he was still a teenager and he was on his own ever since. He doesn’t even have any family left. All he has now is me so I know I have to step up my game as his number one fan especially since he’s designated himself as mine.

When we went back to the Uptown District we discovered this cute little cupcake stall close to our hotel. The both of us were suckers for sweet treats so ordering a couple of cupcakes from the vendor was a must.

The taste was nice – pretty generic in my opinion. I wasn’t impressed and neither was Michael.

“Yours are way better! You know, you should put them on your menu.” He said with a mouth full of cake.

“It won’t make sense with the theme.”

“Why not? Your menu could use more desert items and who doesn’t love cupcakes?”

“It’s fine dining, no one’s gonna come all dressed up to a restaurant and order cupcakes.”

“They will in Oasis Springs since there’s no other place that sells that kind of stuff. You said so yourself that your family used to order them from a bakery in Newcrest because nowhere in town sold cupcakes or cannolis or any kind of pastry deserts.”

“I guess I could put a couple cupcake options under the desert section. I’m still finalising the menu so it won’t be a problem to add it in.”

“Oh and while you’re at it, you should also add your apple pie too”

“Now that for sure won’t go with the theme. It’s too home-style, not trendy bistro. I want my menu to make sense with the image of the restaurant.”

“But the location Maia…there are two restaurants along that street. You’re gonna have a lot of competition. Maybe you should offer some kinds of comfort food. It’ll be the thing that sets your restaurant apart from the rest.”

“Yeah but…” Then suddenly, a great idea popped into my head. “You know something…you’re right. I will have a lot of competition. Why didn’t I consider this before?” I was so busy being excited about starting my dream restaurant that I never considered what would be the best thing business-wise.

He smiled proudly with just a hint of sarcasm. “Good thing you have me. See, I’m not all looks and artistic talent.”

“Don’t forget your other talents!” I winked. “But seriously, I think I need to re-evaluate my business plan. I’ve got a much better idea in mind now.”

“What is it?” He asked.

“Later. I need to work out the kinks in my head first before I say. Thank you, I know I can always count on you.”

“No problem, babe. You know I’d do anything for you.”

I would do anything for him as well. “To think I almost let you slip out of my fingers a few years ago.” I try not to think about those days but there were times when it crept up on me. That whole situation with Lyra getting pregnant, the breakup, the jealousy and the accusations that followed was just one big mess that I often wish never happened. It was a pretty dark time for me but I learned a lot from it. One of those things was to not take him for granted. “You’ve always been so patient with me. Sometimes I feel like I trust you more than I trust myself. I am so happy to have you in my life, Michael.”

I leaned in and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek. He just smiled back at me seeming so touched by what I said that I swore I saw his eyes well up with tears. I meant every word I said then, and every word I said during our wedding vows. Michael was indeed the love of my life, my best friend, my advisor, my supporter…my everything!

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