“I just know she’s talking him into moving somewhere far away,” Mika complained. “I don’t know what he sees in her.”
Sienna sipped her tea. Where they sat at the picnic table gave them a perfect view of Jakob and Ella talking beneath a big weeping willow. Jakob was tall, an inch or two above six feet, and just as handsome as she recalled him being from high school. She was two years his junior. Her family had just moved to Greenville so she’d known Jakob only a year before he left for college. She hadn’t seen him much since he’d graduated from college but she’d talked to him occasionally when he’d called the bakery to talk to Mika.
She swung her gaze to Ella. She was a delicate, pale brunette with big green eyes. “She’s very pretty,” Sienna said.
Mika snorted. “She’s a snooty, condescending bitch. I’ve been praying that they aren’t matched by Bioexpa.”
Sienna felt a twinge of alarm at the thought of them being matched also. She silently chastised herself for being ridiculous. As a silly teen, she’d had a crush on Jakob. All the girls did. He was gorgeous with big, deep brown eyes that just made you want to cuddle him and thick curls that made a woman’s fingers itch to caress them. But Jakob was more than just a cute boy. He was also kind. Yet she never had a chance with him. He was older and she hadn’t wanted to jeopardize her friendship with Mika.
She thought back to how he’d touched her face in the grocery store. It had been nothing but an absentminded gesture on his part, but she’d wanted to lean into the stroke of his thumb. She’d wanted him to touch her lips, her neck, and lower. Such simple contact shouldn’t have affected her so deeply.
“Mika, maybe if you get to know her better, you’ll like her.”
“Humph!” She leaned in to whisper. “Mom and Dad don’t like her either.”
“You’re exaggerating. Your parents have been very polite.”
Mika rolled her eyes. “When aren’t they? It’s called hospitality. It doesn’t mean they like her. She—” Mika broke off with a strangled sound, her eyes widening. Mutely, she pointed a finger at the middle of the yard.
Not one, but two Bioexpa drones were circling overhead in a figure eight dance and gradually descending to crowd level. The drones emitted a series of chimes that were strangely similar to a wedding march. Everyone froze in a state of nervous anticipation.
“No, no, no,” Mika chanted as one of the drones broke free and headed straight for where Jakob stood beneath the willow. As they watched he extended his hand and a blue beam of light shot out of the bottom of the circular silver disk. “Oh, no,” Mika moaned. “This can’t be happening.”
Ella watched the process with rapt attention. The drone was saying something in its electronic voice but, despite the fact that everyone had gone whisper quiet, they couldn’t discern the words from their location.
They hadn’t noticed it, but the second drone had advanced and lowered near their table. Both women jumped when it spoke. “Sienna Nicole Bloom, please place your left hand into the beam of light.” A line of light about twelve inches wide shot out of the bottom of the floating saucer.
Sienna squeaked. Her hand was trembling so hard she could barely extend it into the sliver thin beam of light. A tone sounded and the light passed back and forth over her palm.
“Identification verified. Sienna Nicole Bloom, you are hereby married to Jakob Christopher House.” Her heart jumped into her throat. Mika began screaming and calling over the parents and the next few words of the drone were lost in the ensuing commotion. “Please make arrangements to meet and begin your probationary cohabitation period.” There was a brief pause. “Please do not move as you are fitted for your wedding band. You will feel a slight warming sensation.”
Her eyes sought out Jakob’s as the ray of light narrowed and concentrated on her ring finger. He stared back at her. A warm silver band appeared. It was about a half an inch wide. A thin pink stripe of light circled the center of its entire circumference.
“You may withdraw your hand. For questions or further information, please visit the Bioexpa Data Match website.”