At three o’clock that afternoon, Ahohako put on the suit that was hanging in Ahio’s closet, and slipped his feet into Ahio’s polished shoes. Then he caught a taxi to the wedding location. As he approached the crowd of guests, his heart flipped and flopped like fish on the shore. It was his wedding day. Yes, he had stolen this wedding day from the real Ahio, who was probably underwater somewhere. Nevertheless, it was now his wedding day, and he planned to enjoy every moment of it.
“Ahio!” a woman cried, flinging herself into his arms. “Ahio, my son. You look so dashing!” Ah, the woman was Ahio’s mother. His mother. She stood back to look at him. “Are you ready to change your life?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Ahohako hoped that his smile hid his feelings of panic. Could he really pull this off? Or would everyone realize right away that he was an imposter? Despite the warm weather, his hands felt like ice. He helped himself to a glass of champagne to soothe his nerves, then took his place at the wedding arch. It was time.
The music began, crooning soft and sweet as Puaura glided up the aisle toward him. Ahohako’s breath caught in his throat. Although he did not know Puaura well, he was struck by her beauty. He was marrying an island rose – a gorgeous tropical princess whose dark eyes shone like stars as she gazed at him. As they exchanged vows, Ahohako tried not to flinch as Puaura said Ahio’s name. It was Ahio whom she loved – not him. But it was he who slipped the ring on her finger, and he who kissed the bride.
It was done. And for the rest of the evening, Ahohako and Puaura danced together, laughing, happy together, although Ahohako’s happiness had a strong undercurrent of guilt.
As the moon rose higher in the sky, Puaura leaned forward and whispered in Ahohako’s ear, “Maybe it’s time we escape this scene?” Ahohako blushed hot from the tips of his ears to his toes. He had never been with a woman – had never even kissed one before. But tonight was their wedding night, and he did not want to disappoint his bride.
“Just be Ahio,” he coached himself as Puaura readied herself in the bathroom. “You can do this.” And as Puaura emerged, he took her in his arms, feeling her soft, round curves against his body. And as his lips met hers, his nervousness melted away. Stranger or no stranger, he was ready to make love to his wife.