"One last gift *mi hermana..."
He moves behind his wife's chair to lay his hands on Pandora's bared shoulders. Ob kisses the top of her head, inhaling the floral/herb scent of her upswept tresses. Stoney follows suit, stroking a large hand through the straight silken sheet of Alise' new style. Ike finishes the stanza and begins it again. This time the men's voices blend in harmony.
Tannr's arms slip around Tori's slender waist, pulling her tight against him. Other couples lean together as they listen, still others simply hold hands. The words speak of knowing someone for a long time, and just realizing how much that person means to you. As the song drifts onward, tears gather in the eyes of some, remembering those already gone.
Keon holds his sleepy daughter, rocking her gently as he thinks of her mother. A slender hand touches his arm and he looks down into Eite's sad eyes. She steps aside to let Summer take her place. The woman slides the mask up and Keon lets the tears slip down his cheeks. Mera blinks her eyes and looks up at her father.
The woman leans close and kisses Mera's cheek. Keon smiles and eases an arm around the woman posing as Summer. His voice is soft, murrmurred only for the two females in his embrace. "Aye moonchild. Now you know from where you get your beauty."
Spring slips from table Erik to Raina, then moves to the edge of the crowd to stand next to Winter. The two women wait patiently for the song to end. Autumn stands quietly beside Star as the woman and her husband hold each other, and their son, lost in the song. The first to notice her is Ruarc. The little boy watches her with wide eyes, then reaches out a hand to her. The woman lifts her mask slightly to kiss his palm. He giggles, drawing Star's attention. She stifles a gasp and reaches out for the woman's hand.
The voice is softly accented, and softly spoken. "We are here for but a little longer. I wanted to meet my grandson, and tell you I am proud of you."
The song winds its way to its end. Tori is blinking back tears by the time the men sing the last stanza.
For the first time.
Such a long time ago,
I had given up on finding this emotion,
But you're here with me now,
Yes I found you somehow,
And I've never been so sure.
For the first time, I am looking in your eyes,
For the first time, I'm seeing who you are,
Can't believe how much I see,
When you're looking back at me.
Now I understand what love is...
For the first time.
For the first time
There is silence, then a smattering of applause that turns into more. The men bow in acknowledgement before moving to hug their sister and her husband. Ob leans close to Tori as Stoney leans close to Tannr, both send tightly sheilded, identical messages.
Someone is waiting in the Pavilion for you both.
The couple say the last of their goodbyes as they hurry to the green striped tent. Herne holds open the flap and nods as the pair slip inside. A globe of fae light illuminates the inside space. Spring and Winter take off their masks, smiling. Grace embraces the couple, wishing them all the happiness the world holds. Tara eyes Tori skeptically, finally nodding.
"Raina says you can bench press a bus. Is this true?"
The slim redhead grins. "More than a bus."
The Viking nods slowly. Her words are conversational, but there is a twinkle of mischief in her blue eyes. "My brother loves you. That is unmistakable. But he is a man, and like all the men in my family are prone to being... ^skítur höfuð."
Tannr's jaw drops at his sister's choice of words. "Tara,"
She holds up her hand imperiously and Tori hides a grin. "If he acts like one, drop a bus on him?"
"Of course, but I could just lift him up a few stories and drop him." The girl grins. "That would work also."
Tori holds out her hand to Tara and they shake. Tara turns to hug her brother. "I like her. Don't screw it up, ^skítur höfuð."
Tannr opens his mouth to scold and Tara stands on tiptoes to kiss her brother's cheek. "Shut up. Be good to her. I'll be checking in. And remember... I have a direct link to the ancestors."
Grace laughs. She hands Tori a box and the pair slip outside. The couple look out the flap, intending to call them back, but all they see is the shadows of the night and an empty path. Back inside they open the box. Tannr pulls out a bottle of wine, a box of chocolate covered strawberries, a feather duster, and a bit of folded fabric. The fabric unfolds into a nightgown of sheerest pale green silk, trimmed in cream lace.
The attached card reads.
Congratulations, and enjoy! The Four Seasons
Outside, Raina awaits the couple. Nick leans against a tree, waiting. "Okay, Nick and I just wanted to see you both off." She hugs her brother as Nick leans forward for Tori to kiss cheeks. Under cover of the diversion, Raina slips the key to their place in Tannr's pocket.
Heading for Tori's Jeep, Tannr pulls Tori close for a kiss. As they break for air Tannr asks, "So... Red... what's with the feather duster?"
The redhead grins. "Doesn't every man have a fantasy about doing the maid?"