Nathan was topless and wearing a pair of shorts and flip-flops.
He and the others were currently on a beach called Sampolan on a small uninhabited island that was 40 minutes away from Banya city via speedboat.
Luckily, the sky was cloudy so it wasn't hot.
Earlier, around 8:00 am, they went to the harbor where they docked their speedboat.
But before boarding the speedboat, they bought some supplies and clothes before heading to the place they were currently at.
Nathan and Maaz were roasting pork and cooking rice.
Omar and Baar took the speedboat and went fishing.
Meanwhile, Khalid was sleeping on a corner because he had a crazy hangover.
Last night, aside from drinking, he pumped up too many drugs on his system.
In fact, he even vomited a few times since last night.
It was a miracle that he was still alive but no one seemed to mind.
It was like they were used to hear such stories.
As for the Lena and the others, they were relaxing near the shores with their swimsuits on.
'I guess there are people who refuse to conform to what their society dictates and expects,' Nathan thought as he looked over at the women.
Of course, it's not about cooking or about being a housewife.
It was about he experienced since last night.
The drugs, the sex and this sight.
He had always thought south Muwinian women always needed to act proper.
Yet here he was with these people who broke away the stereotypes about south Muwinians -- well, almost all.
Fatima noticed Nathan looking at them so she waved with a smile on her face.
Nathan smiled and waved back.
'Before this party is over, I'm going to ask for her number.'
"You seem to be really happy," Maaz said.
"Aw… Haha. Was it that obvious?" Nathan said.
"Yeah. Just don't get too attached though."
"Just don't get attached."
"What are you saying? Aren't you happy with Lena?"
"She's a cool girl," Maaz said nonchalantly as he checked the rice.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Come on, isn't she your girlfriend? Don't tell me it's 'gay shit' to admit that you love a woman?"
"Girlfriend?" Maaz said with a surprised look on his face.
"Wait… You thought these women were our girlfriends?" Maaz said and chuckled.
Seeing Maaz's reaction, Nathan had a confused look on his face and he tried to recall everything that has happened so far.
"Last night you said they're not prostitutes."
"Yeah, they aren't. But I never said they were our girlfriends."
Nathan suddenly felt like his heart became heavy.
"Hold on. So they're like your friends with benefits?"
"Well, yeah, something like that. We invite them over and show them a good time, but we never force them to have sex with us. That depends on them."
"How is that no different from prostitution?!"
"Look, you're missing the main point -- we never force them to have sex with us. That decision solely depends on them. But drugs really help a lot because they're no different from junkies in some way."
"So we're drugging them?!"
"No, look. We never force them to do anything against their will. We just present things in front of them. Whatever they do with it, that's their own decision. And if you really think about it, we're the ones that's really on the disadvantage here."
Nathan was speechless. His mind was trying to make sense of what he just heard.
Khalid, who was sleeping on the corner, suddenly woke up.
"What are you guys talking about?"
"I was just telling him Lena isn't my girlfriend."
"Well, she does act like your girlfriend sometimes. And although she's a cool chick and all, I really don't understand what she sees in you. I mean, it's obvious that I'm more good-looking than you."
"She wants real men like me."
"Yeah, right," Khalid said and then flashed a lewd smile at Nathan. "So how was Fatima? Her skills are really great, right? Too bad she isn't as thin as Lena and the others -- I prefer thin women. But hey, at least she knows many cool tricks that could blow a man's mind."
Khalid looked over at Maaz. "At the next party, let me have Lena. I miss fucking her."
"You should ask her. She's the one who keeps chasing me," Maaz said.
Nathan's eyes were wide as saucers from what he was hearing.
'They're passing around sexual partners?!'
His chest felt like it was being squeezed.
"Cousin? What's wrong?" Maaz said.
"Nathan bro, you looked like you've seen a ghost," Khalid said.
"Huh? It's nothing."
"Well, as I said, just don't get too attached. By the way, Zainab is interested in you because of last night's fight. Back in the hotel before you guys came, she really wanted to fuck your brains out but backed out. Fatima pointed out that she gets to fuck you first because she's the one you talked to the most at the bar," Maaz said.
"Well, you can fuck Zainab right now around the corner. We'll take care of this cooking in the meantime," Maaz said and threw a pebble on Khalid.
"Hey, I'm still sick…" Khalid said and pretended to be weak.
"Get up and help me here, you faggot!" Maaz threw another pebble but it was bigger.
"Ouch! You're the faggot! You're bullying a sick person, forcing him to work despite his condition! Ouch! Ouch!"
Maaz threw more pebbles on Khalid.
Nathan looked over at Fatima and then at Zainab.
Among the women, Zainab was the thinnest and she had long curly hair.
Her skin was fair and she was no doubt more beautiful than Fatima, but not more than Lena who was the hottest among them.
However, that wasn't the point.
'What the fuck was I even thinking?'
His grandfather's voice echoed inside his head, 'Are you seriously going to treasure something that was discarded by others?'
Nathan shook his head mentally.
'It's still too early to jump to conclusions. First of all, I don't know anything about her, only a handful of things. Secondly, nobody is perfect. I need to ask her some questions first.'
"So, Nathan bro, so are you going to fuck her now or later?" Khalid said.
Nathan looked over at Khalid.
"Well, if you don't feel like fucking her, you can fuck any of them if they're willing, though I doubt they would reject you," Maaz said.
"Nathan bro, you should try Lena," Khalid said and winked at him.
"Yeah, you should."
"Hey, we should invite Araya and her girlfriends next time."
Araya and her girlfriends was another group of women that Maaz and his crew were also associated with.
"You're gonna like them because they're younger -- late teens," Khalid said to Nathan and then looked at Maaz. "Have you heard about what happened to Hajinn's crew? Araya and her girlfriends bled them dry without giving anything, even just a hug!"
"Hajinn and his crew were broke-ass faggots anyway. It was pretty much expected. Anyway, we have Nathan, the unstoppable mowing machine!" Maaz said.
Both Maaz and Khalid laughed.
"So, cousin, what's your decision?"
"I'm tired. I'll pass," said Nathan and thought. 'I need to talk to Fatima first. Alone.'
"Okay. But the next time we go partying, we'll invite Araya and her girlfriends."
"Well, since Nathan passed, I'm going over to the ladies," Khalid said.
"This guy… really…." Maaz said.
Maaz and Nathan were left cooking.
Nathan was silent.
"Cousin, take a look at this. Don't tell my parents or anyone in our family about this because I want to surprise them."
Maaz pulled out his phone and showed him a picture of a very beautiful woman in her early late teens.
"This is Vexa, the woman I'm going to marry one day."
"Marry?" Nathan raised an eyebrow.
He wasn't expecting this.
"You're aware of the customs here in the South, right? The groom has to offer a dowry to the bride's parents."
"Our family thinks I'm just wasting all my money. They don't know that I've been working so hard to save up to marry this woman. I've already saved around 600k in my bank account."
Nathan's eyes widened.
He only had 10k on his bank account.
"What the fuck?! 600k?! How much do you fucking need?! My God!"
"Hey, that amount took me years to save. And trust me, it wasn't easy. I only need 400k more and I'll be able to ask her hand in marriage and marry her right after she graduates from college."
"I'm sorry, but is her vagina made up of gold or something that you need to pay 1 million to marry her?"
"LOL… Be thankful you're my cousin. If you weren't I would've already put a bullet inside your head just for saying that. Well, the truth is, she's from a very rich and influential family. I work for her uncle who is this powerful man and he gave me his blessing."
"Oh, but do you two know each other? Like on a personal level?"
Although Nathan technically has South Muwinian blood on him and his parents' union was an arranged marriage, he grew up in an environment where the influence of the North Muwinian culture was stronger. With that, he couldn't help but feel weirded out about arranged marriages.
"Yeah, we've been communicating for 4 years now. But I have yet to even hold her hand. Her family is so strict."
"Wow… So she's like those sheltered flowers, huh."
"Yeah, but it's worth it."
"So you chose her because she comes from a rich and influential family and she's very beautiful?"
"Come on, do I look like someone like that? Even I have my own pride as a man. Like I said, we've been communicating for 4 years and we formed a real bond in those 4 years. In fact, she also wants to marry me. She even offered to foot the bill but I declined."
"Anyway, the important thing here is that we're both in love with each other and I will make her my wife with my pride as a man intact."
"Wait… You said that her uncle gave you his blessing. With the kind of beauty and background she has, how is it possible that no one else attempted to ask her hand in marriage by offering a larger sum of dowry?"
"Well, that issue did cross my mind."
"The deadline given to me was the day of her graduation which is about 2 years from now. If I don't have the money by then, her uncle won't support our marriage."
"So you're betting it all on this powerful uncle of hers that you work for? What if he backs out from his word?"
Maaz was about to tell Nathan what Vexa's uncle actually do, but remembered that this cousin of his was just a civilian. "Well, if that happens, we could always elope. The 1 million -- no, even just the 500k would be enough for us to run away from here to some other place and start a new life."
In the South Muwinian Iklasian culture, because of the arrange marriage custom, lovers eloping was a common thing.
"Well, okay. If you say so."
"But don't tell anyone in our family about this. I want to surprise them and show them I'm not wasting my life."
"Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. And good luck in getting the money."
"Thanks, but I'm confident that I have the money way before the deadline."
Nathan looked over at Lena.
'I wonder if she knows… Or perhaps she just doesn't care and just want to have fun?'
Suddenly, they heard the sound of a speedboat coming.
It was Baar and Omar.
They caught a couple of fishes and some seashells.
"Hey, Khalid! Come back here and help prepare the fish and seashells!" Maaz said.
Some of the fishes were roasted, while the rest and the seashells were dipped in vinegar mixed with spices to be eaten raw.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for reading!
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