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Sigrid has invited Moira to a wedding but whilst she is attracted to her, she still feels somewhat restricted by her own personal ethics and history. However as the wedding draws nearer it becomes apparent that Moira is very much the kind of person who makes the rules up as she goes. In lieu of the fact I mixed up Maggie and Frankie I decided to modify the back story slightly and make them two different women as you’ll see.

The Swedish word for wedding is bröllop, which comes from the Old Norse word brúåhleup, but despite the different words for wedding, it’s always about the dress and that goes for gay weddings as well as straight weddings. While the biggest fuss is made over the bride’s dress, the rest of us are just as keen to show off our dresses as well, bearing in mind that we shouldn’t try to steal the show from the main attraction. It’s a faux pas in any culture and while I needed to buy a new dress I was also mindful of the fact that I had to modify the dress I was loaning to Moira.

One of our most noticeable traditions is having the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, rather than having the bride’s father walk his daughter to the altar. We Swedes find the idea of a woman being given to one man by another man a little, alien? Of course with this particular wedding we had two women so it would have looked even stranger.

Another custom involves kissing the bride and groom, everyone gets their turn usually when the other partner goes for a toilet break or outside for a cigarette. The groom will come back to find a row of men lining up to do the honours. In some countries that would involve physical violence and probably an annulled wedding!

Sticking with that custom, there are two chairs opposite the bride and groom at the reception that are always kept empty so as anyone can join the happy couple for a few minutes, just don’t stay too long because everyone wants their turn too.

Another custom involves speeches, and not just from the immediate family and friends, it can be acquaintances or just people plucked at random by the toastmaster or in the case of Mina and Agnetha, the toastmistress.

The dress I loaned to Moira is burgundy with straps that are fastened at the back of the neck and a zipper down the side, but the flared skirt fell well past her knees because my legs are longer than hers. Thus with barely twenty four hours before the wedding I had to swallow my pride and visit an old girlfriend in Östermalm, she actually lives in Bromma to the west but her dressmaking supplies shop is in Östermalm. Katarina came from Poland as a child and while she can speak some Polish she only speaks it when she goes home to her mother in Uppsala. Her father relocated to Copenhagen for work and has little to do with his first family.

Katarina is highly educated and very successful, she could turn her hand to just about anything and do it well. She and I were lovers for about three months although we weren’t exclusive to each other so it wasn’t a relationship in the traditional sense. I think the English term is fuck buddies because that’s what we did whenever we went out for a night. There might be dinner or a few drinks but sooner rather than later we’d end up at her place in Bromma for a sweaty session between the sheets. Katarina can fuck in just about any position and indeed she only really comes alive when she’s fucking. Thus when I turned up out of the blue with the burgundy dress she just assumed that we would be fucking that night.

“Nej,” I laid the dress on the counter, “I need this taken up two inches, it’s for a friend.”

“Okay,” she eyed me and then glanced at Sofia, “the last time I saw her she was in your belly.”

“She would not fit in there these days,” I managed a half smile, “there is a tight timetable for this dress, the wedding is tomorrow.”

Katarina didn’t reply as she turned the dress inside out to examine it.

“Ja, I can do this,” her eyes flickered to me, “and this friend, are you?”

“Fucking?” I managed a smirk, “I am not so sure but she is intriguing.”

“In what way?”

“She is curious,” I replied a moment later, “she wants to go to a gay wedding and she talked me into going to see the Vasa and the Palace.”

“I have been seeing someone from the Palace,” she replied, “she works as a chef, she has a half sister who is single right now.”

“What is she like? The half sister?”

“I have not met her but the pictures tell a thousand words. Maybe once I have finished with Melody I will play a melody with her half sister.”

“One of these days you will meet your match,” I winced, “not even I would try that.”

“You are a long time dead and the devil is a shitty landlord,” she shrugged.

My phone beeped before I could reply and I read the text from Moira.

Moira: I’ve been thinking about this wedding, maybe I should back out.

“Excuse me,” I tapped the icon and moved away.

Moira answered on the first ring.

“Hej,” she sounded out of breath.

“Moira, güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri you cannot back out now,” I glanced over my shoulder, “I just got the dress altered for you, so please don’t change your mind.”

“You’ve had it altered, already?”

“It was a bit long on you,” I reminded her.

She didn’t reply for a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity before she spoke.

“I didn’t realise that, but I’ve just got a message from the airline, they’ve moved my return flight from the evening to the morning, I’m really fucked off about it. I swear I nearly cancelled it and booked a new flight from here but I need to watch my pennies.”

“Then how about I cover the cost,” I replied a split second later, “and if you need to stay at my apartment then that is okay with me.”

I held my breath, suddenly conscious that I’d gone much further than I intended. I hadn’t been that bold since I’d been with Maggie and that was so long ago.

“I don’t know,” she replied, “I’d feel bad.”

“Don’t feel bad, I can afford it, unless you’ve got to be back on a certain day.”

“All right, all right, I’ll do it but on one condition.”

“What is your condition?”

“I’m going to demand they return my money after fucking me around so badly and when I get the money back I’ll give it to you and you can’t refuse it.”

I stared at the bus dawdling along the road and blinked as I came back to the real world.

“Okay, that was unexpected but if they can’t refund the money then that is okay too and we will not worry about the money.”

“All right,” she replied, “it’s a deal, what are you doing right now?”

“Booking a flight back to Glasgow for you.”

“Wait a couple of hours,” she replied, “I’ve got a bit of sightseeing to do and I’ll meet you at that place,” she paused, “what’s it called again? The place with that big red phallic symbol?”

“Sergel’s Torg.”

“That’s the place, I’ll be either in the visitor centre or just outside, I’ll text you when I’m there and we’ll find ourselves a café. We can book the ticket then.”

“Okay, I will see you in two hours.”

“No problem, and thanks for your offer, I’m really touched.”

I didn’t know what to say to that and I ended the call and turned around to find Katarina looking at me with a sly smile on her face.

“Was that the friend who is going to wear this dress?”

“Ja,” I nodded.

“I should like to meet this woman,” she ran her hand over the dress, “I haven’t seen you act like that in a long time.”

I winced and she looked past me.

“If you get me a coffee and something to eat I will do this now.”

“Tack,” I replied, “so soon?”

“It is a matter of life or death,” she chuckled, “you don’t even get that emotional with me.”

Was I emotional?

The question begged an answer as I made my way back to the shop some time later with a coffee and a salad roll but I was still tossing things over in my mind. Katarina had a point, I studiously avoided anything that would tie me down. I’d had two solid relationships, both with older women, Maggie and Frankie and both of them had left me feeling lonely and anxious. Maggie had been the one who drew me from bisexuality to being out and out gay, Frankie was merely the woman who solidified that choice. Comparing the two women was like chalk and cheese, Maggie was quieter and more studious, Frankie was outgoing and gregarious but both women had been the dominant ones in the relationship due to the fact they were older than me.

Because of that I’d always been careful to limit the amount of control I had in relationships, not that you could call my encounters relationships. We met, we fucked and we parted company. I kept them on a long leash that could be released without too much trouble and yet in a heartbeat I’d agreed to do something that would tie me to Moira even if it was only for money. What had happened to me? Had I become that kind of dominatrix? This was something both Maggie and Frankie would do without thinking and it had sometimes led to arguments although that wasn’t the reason I broke up with either of them.

I was still ruminating over it some two hours later as I made my way up the rain slicked footpath to Sergel’s Torg. It has a gigantic tower in the centre, a curious mish mash of lighted panels that glow with a bright red at night. At this time of the day they weren’t lit up yet. Moira was inside the tourist information centre when I arrived and I took a moment to observe her from outside.

She was wearing a black blouse under a jumper, the blouse matched the black jeans and then she suddenly straightened up and looked at me. It took me a moment to raise my hand in greeting but in that instant I felt as if I’d left my body to meet her. She met me at the door.

“Come on, I found a place with free wi-fi.”

Some fifteen minutes later we were sitting in a café and after I booked a return flight from Arlanda to Edinburgh she shifted in her güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri seat and offered me up a sly smile.

“I have another condition.”

“Another one?” I stared at her, “your first condition was quite generous.”

“Tell me about the happy couple.”

“The happy couple?”

“The women getting married? I assume they’re happy because if not it’s a bad start.”

“Of course,” I started stirring my coffee, “Mina is a few years younger than me but I haven’t met her partner, Agnetha until last month when we went out with my sister.”

“So, you and Mina, were you?”

“Mina?” I rolled my eyes, “I had my fantasies but she worked for another law practice, so we only met up when we were sitting on opposite sides of the table. Outside of working hours we drank in the same club but while we talked about it once we never took it to the next step,” I stopped talking as Moira leaned back and locked her hands behind her head.

“Now that’s different,” she smirked, “so, you actually talked about it?”

“I did more than her,” I admitted, “but I was very drunk and Mina was very tolerant. I remember she grabbed my chin like this,” I grabbed her chin between thumb and forefinger.

“And she said I admire you, I might even love you but I will never sleep with you,” I let go of her chin, “she paid for the taxi and when I saw her a few weeks later at a meeting it was as if nothing had happened between us at all. Mina is very principled, she never mixes business with pleasure, and she has had some good offers from both women and men but we have stayed good friends ever since.”

“So, here’s a curly question,” she propped on her palms, “what if she had a secret crush on you?”

“Mina?” I smiled crookedly, “well it would have to be a well kept secret because she has never given any signs that we are anything other than just good friends, but I would be hesitant to get involved with her anyway. With Mina I have what we call, lagom.”

“What is lagom? I keep hearing one of the women who works at the hostel saying it.”

“It means it is sufficient,” I paused, “not too much and not too little, we say lagom är bäst, which is translated as, enough is as good as a feast,” I let my eyes play over her for a moment.

“You could use lagom in any situation, you have enough money to buy food and pay bills, and some to put away for those little extras but when I say I have lagom with Mina it means I don’t want to take it further and I don’t want to cut off contact. What I have with her is just enough for me, the Danes have their hygge, and we have our lagom,” I finished suddenly.

“I could use some of that back home,” she sighed, “with Mark it’s never good enough, he’s always out chasing rainbows and magical unicorns. He could win the Euro millions tomorrow and still complain that he had to pay tax on his millions, me, I’d be out celebrating and buying stuff for all my pals.”

“So, he is tight fisted?”

“Let’s just say he hates going for a shit because it’s like he’s giving something away for nothing.”

The laughter that erupted from me startled a couple sitting nearby and Moira managed a crooked grin as I recovered myself.

“I must remember that one.”

“I’ll meme it to you,” she looked past me, “so, what are we doing for the rest of the day?”

“I have to pick up a few things from the supermarket and seeing as the wedding is tomorrow you should come for dinner and to try on the dress.”

“Deal,” she stared at Sofia, “Kan jag komma till din hus?”

Sofia stared at her and I grinned.

“You almost got it right, it’s not din hus it’s ditt hus.”

“Okay,” she looked confused and that led to a discussion about en words and ett words, which can be confusing to anyone trying to learn Swedish. However, by the time we got back to my home I had the feeling she was getting it.

“I’m starting to get it,” she balanced Sofia on her hip, “it’s just trying get the word order right.”

“That comes with practice,” I replied, “but we don’t always make it easy because we get lazy and drop certain words.”

“Aye, we have the same problem back home, and if you go to Scotland it’s like a foreign country where how means why and ken means know. I’m always in awe of someone who actually manages to learn English as a second language.”

“Mandarin is harder,” I took the dress out of the bag, “I tried learning it when I was in college, not because I had the desire to learn Mandarin but I had my eye on this cute Chinese woman who was flirting with me for a while.”

“Ah, so you were trying to impress her.”

“Something like that,” I held the dress up, “okay, now the test, how will this dress look on you?”

That exercise stretched out over the next few hours, punctuated by dinner, and when my sister came over there were drinks and we of course had to school her in Swedish wedding customs. For now however I have to leave off this and pick up Sofia from the day care centre but I’ll güvenilir bahis şirketleri write more when I get back.

***

Okay, I am back, Sofia drew a picture of her two mothers, Moira and myself. Considering that we’ve not been together that long I’m impressed that she’s already calling her bonus mamma, which is a typically Swedish way of referring to a family you’ve married into. We have bonusbarn, (step children) bonus pappa (stepfather) and bonus mamma I’ve already mentioned.

My sister. Elin came for dinner that night and it felt a little strange having Elin and Moira at the same table. I’ve always used Elin as a barometer, if she doesn’t trust someone I’m involved with then she’ll let me know in her own way. It was an entertaining night, due to the fact we had to see what Moira looked like in the modified dress, it certainly looked better on her than me! Moira was not the only one to try on a dress, Elin was staying the night at my place and had brought her dress with her so part of the night was spent checking out dresses. I’d had my eye on one particular dress but Moira took over and talked me into wearing a pinafore dress that I hadn’t worn for quite some time over a white blouse. I felt somewhat strange posing in front of Moira but it was only a couple of hours later, when Moira had gone back to the hostel that Elin finally let it out.

“I think she likes you.”

“What do you mean?” I hung the dress on its hanger.

“I saw the way she looked at you, are you sure she is straight?”

“She says she is straight,” I hung the dress back on the hanger, “but even if she is not, I cannot take advantage of her.”

“Why not?” Elin ran a hand through Sofia’s hair, “you are both adults.”

“And she is staying here tomorrow night, perhaps you are right but I would not feel right.”

“Well there is no need to be so principled,” she picked Sofia up, “I am just saying what you are thinking.”

In that she was correct. I had been thinking about it but was hesitant about taking things further, it felt almost as if I was crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed. My sleep that night was fitful, I woke twice, the first time to answer a call of nature and the second time I just woke up suddenly and found myself thinking about that dress. Moira might have chosen it because it appealed to her but it had very particular memories for me. The last time I wore that dress was when I was dating Gina, a British expatriate who I flirted with for three long weeks before she finally agreed to meet me for dinner.

However, even agreeing to dinner wasn’t a sign that Gina was thinking of taking things further, she was merely at a loose end one night and I happened to be the only other option to a night alone in front of the computer. I wore that dress along with a white blouse and a black tie to simulate a schoolgirl look. At the time I thought it cheeky and a little childish but it certainly caught her eye. We went back to her apartment that night and fucked like there was no tomorrow and that continued for the next six weeks until fate stepped in and Gina had to return to Manchester to attend her mother’s funeral. That temporary stay became much longer when she had to stay because the estate was in dispute. She had three sisters and two brothers, and their family feud would have made interesting reading. Suffice it to say that took precedence and by the time she finally returned to Stockholm we’d both moved on.

Perhaps that was why I’d only worn that dress a couple of times since, I very nearly added it to the charity bag when I was six months into my pregnancy, but a need to hang onto old memories saw me return it to the wardrobe. Now it was being worn again, for another date.

And now onto the wedding. There’s a common romantic tradition that people either meet their partners at weddings or couples who aren’t officially married decide to take the plunge and Mina and Agnetha’s wedding was no different except that this time Cupid had his bow trained on me and now let me tell you how it happened.

The day started off fairly quietly, I was encouraged by the blue sky but because it was January I elected to dress Sofia in warmer clothes and while Elin made herself comfortable with her niece I found time to take a bath. I’m one of those women who lives for a good scented bath, lavender candles, scented soap and a favourite playlist. I was so engrossed in this that I didn’t realise Moira had come over almost an hour earlier, having checked out of the hostel early. The first I knew about it was when Elin opened the bathroom door and ushered her inside.

“She’s taking a bath, consider this your introduction to Swedish bathroom etiquette.”

“Tack,” Moira turned and seeing me, smiled, “sorry, I’ve been dying to go since I left the hostel, you don’t mind, do you?”

“Not at all,” I flicked at the bubbles, “this is Sweden, nudity is almost a national pastime but I agree that some bodies should never be seen naked.”

Moira didn’t reply until she was sitting on the toilet seat.

“How would you go about moving here?”

“You are thinking of moving here?” I blinked, “you like it that much?”

“I do, but I’m not the only thinking of moving. Mark just called me from Glasgow, he wants to move to Australia,” she paused for a moment.

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