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Author Topic: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland  (Read 287 times)

Description: Attn: All of Emma's Court, Jorie is planning a Winsol party and you're all invited!

Offline Jorie Hardy

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      Lene

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Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« on: Dec 31, 17, 11:40:52 PM »
Jorie hummed happily to herself as she hung another garland of greenery and began wrapping the length of it along the trim of the fireplace in the great hall.  Winsol was always a favorite season of hers, in spite of everything that had occured.  She was the blessed mother of two precocious and precious year old children, who had recently discovered the joys of having their feet beneath them and took every opportunity to rush around testing the limits of those legs and their ability to stop before colliding into solid objects and people. 

Most of the staff adored them and had become quite adapt at maneuvering around their teetering runs without tripping or being delayed in their own dealings.  Not that Jorie gave the twins much of a chance to get in anyone's way, but here in the Great Hall, there was room enough for staff and children to accomplish both of their tasks without too much in their way.  The twins adored the flickering candles that lit up the chandelier, and the new task of “helping” with the setting of the greenery all around the residence.  Of course, Morgan decided to see if it was edible, as he was at the age where everything had to be tested in his mouth for flavor, while Rowen liked to touch everything, running her hands over for texture and feel.  It was amazing to watch the way their little minds puzzled and worked through every new thing their minds encountered.

Jorie had volunteered to help the staff in setting up the greenery around the residence, enjoying the fresh scent of the pine as it filled the halls.  It wasn’t something that took time away from her duties, on the contrary she saw it as part of her duty as High Priestess, seeing to the blessing of the Greens as they were laid about, as decoration and as a reminder of the gifts of the past season and the hope of a brighter and greener next year. 

A giggling squeal of happiness caught her attention and she turned to see Morgan and Rowen toppled over in the middle of the floor, Morgan’s arms around Rowen’s middle as he apparently had pulled her down to the floor with him, her daughter enjoying the play in a very loud loud voice.  Rowen had certainly grown into her own sound, often overshooting her peels of excitement over Morgan, and as her son had a healthy set of lungs himself, that achievement was noteworthy.

Over all, she could not be happier.  Her children were healthy and loving and happy.  Her Queen was honorable and solid and good, with hopes and dreams for the rest of Cymrea and her commitment to working with her court and the people of her district into making long hoped for dreams into reality.   There was just one thing….

That one thing walked into the Great Hall, arms full of more boughs of greenery to be hung.  She had told him he didn’t need to help her with this, but of course, he had insisted.  Rowen let out a shreek of excitement at the sight of him, as if she hadn’t just seen him a few minutes before and struggled to pull free of her brother’s grip to run to her favorite person in the whole world and Jorie could admit that with a mother’s resignment that Simon had indeed shadowed her in her daughter’s affections.  Not that she could honestly blame Rowen.  He was a good man, with a golden heart, and while she might not vocally echo her daughter’s sentiments, there was something inside her that let out the same excited cry when he came within her sight.

If only she could just take Emma’s advice and do something about it.

Offline Godfrey Craig

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #1 on: Jan 01, 18, 04:23:01 PM »
Winsol.  The most wonderful time of the year, as far as he was concerned.  The time when the old was celebrated, and then laid to rest, so that the new could be reborn of the ashes.  He had spent most of the day searching out the perfect tree to serve as the sacrificial log, the representation of the year's accomplishments and heartaches.

An old family tradition, and not one that every family followed.  Still - this was his tradition, and so he was going to follow it.  It had taken hours to find the perfect tree - one that was in the process of dying but had not quite made it yet.  He'd assisted it, chopping with physical strength and axe alone.

That had taken a few hours as well.  It was a fine, solid piece of wood.  Then he'd gone about chopping it down to what he'd needed for the log, and cut the rest of it into serviceable pieces for the Court's use.  He'd spent most of that afternoon delivering those pieces to the Servants so that they could spread them throughout the Court as they saw fit, and then.. then he'd returned to his prize to bring it to the main hall himself.

Which was how he appeared, a large man with a bit of snow clinging to his hair and beard while he hefted a large log over his shoulder.  Like some myth of their people come to life.  IT took him a moment to realize the small dashing and wobblign shadows were children, and it had him laughing as they came tumbling closer.

"Hold little ones.. let me find a good place to set this aside first."  He grinned, deftly stepping around them to find a place near the hearth where he could lay the log before turning and scooping one precocious monster up into the air.  "And how are we this fine day, little Princeling?  Hrm?"  He grinned, looking around for the boy's sister.  Ah, over near Rowen.  He hadn't had time to get to know the male too well.. or most of the Court, for that matter. Oh, he knew their faces and their names - but Emma had kept him fairly busy with property acquisition and... scheming.

And bedding.  Which he did not mind one bit.

Mostly so that they wouldn't crawl all over the log, which he hadn't sanded yet.  He'd feel terrible if they got splinters.  "You are the Lady Hardy's little monster, aren't you?  Now where is your mother?  All little Princely Monsters deserve a cookie for being so observant of impressive sights."

Offline Simon Owens

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #2 on: Feb 04, 18, 10:20:38 AM »
Simon spotted the toddler coming just in time to find somewhere to set down his armload of greenery and reach to scoop the little girl up instead, getting a delighted giggle and a couple of enthusiastic kisses on his cheeks as she threw her own arms around his neck to secure her perch- or, perhaps, to stake her claim before Morgan got here. The warlord looked around –for where one twin was, the other was surely close by- and relaxed to find that Prince Craig had already corralled the little Prince. He didn’t know the other male well –Prince Craig often about on Triangle business for Lady Emma, whereas he escorted Jorie- but it was pleasant to see more of the Court gathered to celebrate the old traditions unheard of in the rest of the Territory. He nodded in friendly, passing acknowledgement of the other male before looking for the more pleasant sight of a happy Priestess knee-deep in decorating duties.

Simon beamed over at Jorie with unabashed happiness, still cradling Rowen close as he started toward her. He’d thought he’d made his interest plain last Winsol; that he adored the brilliant, kind and beautiful High Priestess with everything in him, and she would come to him when she felt ready. When the twins had grown a little and no longer wore their poor mother out with an infant’s constant demands. Instead, he and Jorie had settled into a holding pattern, more than friends, but not quite lovers and co-parenting Morgan and Rowan. It had the cozy feel of a real family, one he longed for with all his heart. But it wasn’t, not really. Not until Jorie chose him as he’d chosen her, chosen Rowen and Morgan too.

“How are you on greenery?” He asked the Priestess. “I would have had another load for you, but a little Cuddle Monster attacked me.” Simon tickled the little girl in his arms gently, “I fought valiantly, my lady, but lost the greenery somewhere across the Hall.” He hung his head as though deeply ashamed, though a quick glance back up at Jorie revealed the mischievous glint in the warlord’s eyes and a telltale tug at the corners of his mouth. “Tell me, what Price do you require in recompense for this failure? A Winsol kiss, perhaps?”

It wasn’t quite what he wanted, but even that small taste would sate some of the longing that had ravaged the warlord for the last year or more. Perhaps it was the long wait, or the sense that this was the time for new beginnings, but Simon suddenly found himself weary of this dance they’d been doing and willing to go for what he wanted. “Or, if that doesn’t suit, name another favor I might grant. I’ve only myself to offer, but that you may have, and gladly. Heart, body and soul.” Though he was peripherally aware of the girl he still held securely, his focus was all for the Priestess before him. The humor had faded from his eyes, replaced by the entirety of his heart. He’d laugh it off if she chose to, but Simon was making his bid for that something more.

Offline Jorie Hardy

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #3 on: Feb 04, 18, 12:12:52 PM »
Jorie peeled her eyes away from Simon as she watched him drop his load and scoop up her daughter with a look that made her heart hurt.  Rowen of course was completely enamored of him and clung to his face, little fingers grasping at his beard.  She looked around quickly for Morgan, ready to rescue Simon from being teamed up by the two little ones when she saw a large figure coming in from a side entrance, covered in snow and Morgan staring up at him with awe.  The little chubby boy had followed him over towards the hearth and was watching him as he set down a very impressive and large log before picking up the little boy.

Morgan’s shout of happiness at being lofted up to such a height made her giggle.  Her son certainly enjoyed being picked up, if only because it allowed him the ability to reach the things his little arms still couldn’t get to as he began to exhibit by leaning from Prince Godfrey’s arms towards the mantle of the hearth, his chubby little hands attempting to grasp some of the objects that shimmered in the firelight.

“Thank you Prince,” she said warmly, looking down at the log.  “That is a mighty fine log for the fire, it will be a lovely addition to the festivities!”  She hadn’t missed the mention of a cookie and apparently neither had her son who had begun mimicing putting something in his mouth and making a low cooing “oooo” sound.    Words were still a new concept.  They had just begun mastering the “maaaaa” sound in reference to her, though they also sometimes said it around Lady Morgan, which made her wonder if perhaps ma was just recognition of any older woman.  Ooo was also new, but it was Morgan’s unique attempt and she was pretty sure it was his way to sound out food, just without any of the harder sounds.  Yep, Mother and Food, her child was certainly singular in his focus. His sound for his sister sounded nothing like her name, but she recognized it and responded in that same strange language that had developed between the two of them.

She stepped a little closer, calling in a clean rag that was very useful with two small children who were still mastering eating semi-solid food and lifted her hand, “Um, if I might?”  She carefully brushed some of the snow off his head and beard, laughing faintly when Morgan reached up and grabbed some of that snow before shoving his chubby hand in his mouth.  She wondered if perhaps the cold would hurt him, but he smiled brightly, melting snow dribbling from his mouth.  He had been sporting a hard nub that would probably turn into another tooth soon, she imagined the snow helped the ache.

“A cookie would be fine, but as plain as is available.  Nothing chocolate or glazed.  And he can have water, not milk with that.  Just one cookie,” she said, looking between both princes, before using the same rag to wipe the mess from Morgan’s face.  “One young man, and no giving that begging puppy look to get a second one.”  She leaned in and gave him a smacking kiss on the cheek and held her head close enough for the young boy to turn his own head and place a wide open mouthed “kiss” to her as well, leaving a wet spot on her skin.  Laughing, she wiped her own face and turned to see Rowen and Simon walking towards her.

The room narrowed to the two of them, the comforting and fitting sight of Rowen, curled up against him, her fingers playing in his hair as she hugged him close.  Her daughter loved her escort with the ferocity of both a little girl with a father and a little Queen with a man who belonged to her.  Not that Simon was Hers….but she felt that someday, Rowen might ask him to serve in her own court.  Jorie stepped away from Prince Godfrey and her son, knowing the two of them would be fine without her attentions, especially if Morgan was going to be offered food and moved towards the opposite side of the room, back towards the staging table she had set up to place all the different decorations as she decided on how to place them.

The look on Simon’s face when he looked at her, looked right into her eyes, made her heart melt with a feeling that she hadn’t ever thought to really know and for a moment when he finally reached her side, she felt breathless and nervous and all together at a loss for words.

“I think…” she said softly, looking down at the table and around the room quickly, “I think that last load you brought in will be enough to finish what I want.  I didn’t want to overwhelm everything, not with the large tree that Lady Morgan told me she was having harvested to place the gifts under.”  She pointed to the empty opposite corner of the room.  “That will be arriving tomorrow.”  She looked at Rowen who seemed amazingly happy at being in Simon’s embrace and grinned.  “Oh no, not the cuddle monster!  What a ferocious beast.  I hope she didn’t wound you too terribly,” she said with a grin as she leaned in for her own little tickling attack that made Rowen squeal and squirm with delight.  Jorie reached for her and her daughter let go of Simon to embrace her mother with her strong little arms.  “Hey witchling, why don’t you go over to Prince Godfrey and your brother.  They are going to go have a cookie!”  At the familiar word, Rowen squirmed and wiggled to be put down which Jorie obliged.

*If you don’t mind Prince escorting both of them to the kitchen?  I have something to discuss with Lord Owen* she sent to the Prince on a private thread.  His nod of assent from the other side of the room had her releasing Rowen’s hand so the little girl could stumble run her way to the other man who held out his hand to her.   That settled, she looked back at Simon, the bright smile of a mother replaced with the warm smile of a woman.  She felt settled.  The discussion with Emma so many months ago had been weighing on her since then and she felt….she felt ready.

Simon’s playful jest about failing in his duties and the Price she would require made her face flush with excitement.  His declaration of his willingness to meet anything she asked of him warmed other parts of herself to a fire temperature.  Stepping forward, feeling shy and brazen all in the same moment, she cast her eyes upwards, one hand lifting to point above them.  Hanging from one of the chandeliers was a neat little bundle of greenery and small white balls.  When his eyes lifted to see what she was gesturing at, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing to him.

She was so much more aware of the heat from his body, the strong form that she had been noting for over a year, the faint scent of the soap he prefered and how it excited and comforted her in the same motion.

“I don’t want a Price, Simon” she said softly waiting for his gaze to return to her face.  His eyes, she loved the color of his eyes and the way he looked at her and made all those butterflies erupt in her stomach.  “But I will take that kiss.  After all, we are standing beneath mistletoe.”  She rose up on her toes and placed her lips to his in a slow soft kiss.  After a moment, she pulled back her head to look at him.

“I…” she whispered, “I’ve been gathering the courage to do that since last Winsol but...but I was afraid.  I’m not afraid anymore Simon, and….I want you in my life.  Not as my escort, but as something much much more.”  She swallowed nervously as she waited for his reply.

Offline Emma Morgan

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      Gavin

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #4 on: Feb 04, 18, 02:39:53 PM »
Emma loved Winsol. She loved the decorations. She loved the celebrations and the cold weather. She did not love sneezing, but cold weather made that happen. Even the bitter cold of the earth beneath her feet was enjoyable, though it drove Bevan and Godfrey insane when she went outside in the cold without shoes. Briefly, she thought about doing so just to irk them. She decided against it because she’d already made the concession about wearing shoes outside, despite how it irritated her. Perhaps she was also motivated to wear shoes by Godfrey’s promises to rub her feet at the end of the day.

Perhaps, but she would never tell.

A Hearth Witch stopped by her office, popping in to announce that people were gathering downstairs for decorating. Emma looked over the mountain of paperwork on her desk. Edward had needed to return to Coventry to properly settle his remaining accounts before taking over in full as the Steward of Westwood. Emma was happy to grant him the time, but she missed him already. That said, he’d be cross with her for attempting to clear his desk while he was gone. Her newest male had already established himself as the Court workhorse, possessing a work ethic that outstripped even her Godfrey. She knew Godfrey’s sleep schedule.

She had not yet seen Edward even close his eyes.

Thank you, I’ll be down shortly.” Emma said to the woman, who departed immediately. She sneezed again, annoyed at all of the damned dust in the manor. How often were the servants dusting? Her eyes went once more to the stack of forms on the desk. She could finish two more and them go downstairs. Two more and that was it. Edward could handle the rest when he returned and no one need to be groused at or reminded of their duties.

Fifteen forms later, Emma made headed downstairs to the great hall, telling herself that Edward would completely understand her doing the due diligence of reading each of the forms carefully, followed by making notes with any questions or concerns that came to mind. After all, Father always said it was a great idea to know twice as much as her people knew, so Emma would surprise Edward and Godfrey with how well-versed she was regarding the Court’s appointments and assignments. Yes, he would be thrilled.

She kept telling herself that as she walked into the hall. She raised an arm to cover mouth as she sneezed again, stopping only to gather a tissue and clean her face before disposing of it in a trash bin.

She smoothed out her dark blue skirt and then touched her bumblebee pin to calm her nerves. The scene in the great hall brought a smile to her face. There were tables laden with decorations that a few people worked over slowly. In another corner, Godfrey was guiding Rowen and Morgan toward the kitchens, likely for a snack. He loved children and had taken taken especially well to Jorie’s upon his return to Court. The night of their birth remained firmly etched in Emma’s memory, along with the vow she’d made to their mother.

Speaking of their mother....

She found Simon and Jorie staring into each other’s eyes.

Go for it, girl!

Had anyone told Emma Morgan that she was staring just then, she’d have denied it and told the person in question to have their eyes checked. Surely, Lady Raynerson would make an appointment for them. But it had been a year of longing looks and near-misses for the two of them. It was clear that Simon wanted to be with her. It was clear that she wanted to be with Simon. But if the two of them waited any longer act on their feelings, Morgan and Rowen would be undergoing their Offerings in the morning. Emma pushed aside the thought of getting old and prayed that her High Priestess was about to--

Jorie kissed Simon.

Emma cheered so loudly that it echoed off in the rafters of the great hall! And then she sneezed.

Everyone stared at Emma and then averted their eyes, starting to bow. Emma waved them all off.

Sorry! Just a sneeze. Was outside without my shoes again. Carry on, everyone! Nothing to see here!” Emma said.

Godfrey would never let her live this down.


Offline Godfrey Craig

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #5 on: Feb 07, 18, 09:12:46 PM »
Jorie had said they could have one cookie.  Only one.  He was happily forgetting that as he fed them three.  Each.

He couldn't help it.  Their chubby little cheeks with smatterings of cookie across their precious faces.. the little fingers happily peeling cookies into bits to shove them into greedy mouths.. it had him bursting into laughter.

Sheer joy, really.  Children were a blessing from the Night itself, and he hoped someday to be lucky enough to have one of his own to dote on.  In the mean while, doting on Jorie's little monsters was no hardship. 

He grinned, plopping two large cups of milk down before his charges.  "Here.  The best treat to go with cookies.  I assure you."

His head cocked to the side, hearing Emma's cheer.  Only one thing that could mean.  Jorie had finally made a move.  Thank the Darkness.  He'd been half tempted to make moves on the Priestess himself just to provoke Simon into action.  Fortunately, that hadn't become necessary if his Queen's jubilance was anything to go on. 

He winked, plucking both munchkins up and delighting in their happy squeals before stalking back out into the hall with them.  "Alright, little monsters.  You can go play with Simon now.  I've a Queen to check on."

He turned his head, dark eyes heating up as he locked gazes on Emma.  Locked gazes, and lifted an eyebrow, and smiled in that way that she knew would mean delightful things later.  "My Queen." 

He rarely spoke so possessively about her.  They both knew she was his, and he was hers, and that was always enough.  But sometimes... sometimes he liked to remind her.  He liked to see those words settle into her ears, her heart.  He liked watching the warm mischief it would cause.

"I brought you the best Winsol log I could find."  He grinned, stalking closer to her.  "And as it seems you have 'gone shoeless' again..."  Such a bald-faced lie to attempt to downplay her own exuberance.  He purred it as he drew closer, lifting her hand to his lips.  "Allow me.. to take care of you." 

She was right.  He would never let her live this day down.

Offline Angharad Maddox

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #6 on: Feb 28, 18, 11:48:18 PM »
Winsol was one of Angharad’s favorite times of year. She was excited to celebrate it in her villages this year, though she was just starting to feel like she’d begun to settle in a bit.  Some, were still leery of this young Queen just past her Offering.  But those who’d seen the work she’d done on Teagwen’s behalf knew better.  And while they let her fight her own battles as she tried to show the villagers the kind of Queen she wanted to be for them, their support meant everything to her.  With just two villages, Ange only had a First Circle, with little need for anything more than that. Ellis, of course, was in her Triangle, and the Court didn’t much stand on formality, which suited her just fine. She was proud of the work they’d done in the amount of time they had. 

Even so, she was glad to find time to slip away to spend part of Winsol at the District Court.  While she still wasn’t sure if she could count the older Queen as a friend, per se, she did look up to Emma, and was glad that she’d been able to finish out her training under her.  Most of the correspondence between the two had been more in the mode of a subordinate Queen to her ruling Queen, with reports, carefully worded questions, and the like.  She couldn’t wait to see Jorie’s twins, and wondered how much they’d grown since she’d been gone.

She arrived while things were still being set up form the looks of things, and decided to stop just inside the great  hall to take it all in.Seeing her people celebrate as they should, openly and joyfully, brought a smile to her face.  Hopefully soon Cymrea would be able to openly celebrate at higher levels than the Westwood District. But that was a thought for another time.  For now, she’d live in the moment.  And it looked like she’d arrived just in time to see Jorie finally make her move, and to see Emma’s excited cheer.  She couldn’t help but chuckle as the Westwood Queen redirect attention away from herself, even as Ellis gave her a sharp elbow in her side. 

Offline Emma Morgan

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    • Granddaughter of the Cymreans you failed to kill.

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #7 on: Mar 11, 18, 03:02:33 PM »
Emma would never get used to the way that Godfrey looked at her. He turned simple, innocent glances into invitations, almost dares, to set aside her responsibilities just this once to engage in some illicit fun. Emma didn’t take him upon his offers all of the time. She didn’t even take him up on them most of the time. She enjoyed her First Escort’s company (and little more besides) whenever the stresses of her position grew too heavy to bear. Emma rarely indulged in the idea that reviving Cyrmea was a too great a task for one Queen in one lifetime, but she wasn’t arrogant enough to think she’d succeeded in a year, or ten years, or even thirty. She could die without seeing any success, leaving the job to a younger Queen to see it through.

But Emma had no intention of doing so.

Perhaps I’ll indulge  you later, Frey, once all the decorations are up. Right now, I want to watch my people enjoy Winsol. I’ve been looking forward to it all year.” Emma said. Frey already knew that Winsol was her favorite time of the year. She loved the feel of the cold earth beneath her feet, even if it increased her chances of getting sick. There was a magic, a...something in the air that made it easy to shed the burdens and mistakes of the previous year and look forward to the next.

She noted Angharad’s arrival out of the corner of her eye, though she sneezed again before she could acknowledge the younger Queen. She turned to Godfrey. “Not a word. I am not ill. It’s just...allergies of some kind.” she said.

We should greet Lady Maddox. I want to her to join us for dinner in the near future to talk about Tormaa and everything she’s learning about the place.” Emma said.

She waited for Godfrey to offer his arm and lead her over to Angharad.

Lady Maddox, it’s good to see you here.” Emma said, acknowledging the young Queen with a nod.

You’ve found my court decorating for the holidays. How are things in Tormaa?” she asked.


Offline Simon Owens

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Re: Walking in a Cymrean Wonderland
« Reply #8 on: Mar 25, 18, 06:03:13 PM »
It was a good thing Jorie had handed the kids off to Prince Godfrey. When the Priestess slipped close, his heart quickened with hope and anticipation. He willingly drew her into the shelter of his arms as she linked hers around his neck, bending slightly to make it easier on her.  When she actually kissed him, the rest of the world fell away, as in a scene from the soppiest of romance novels (they’d been his mother’s, sometimes Escort duty had gotten boring, shut up). It was hardly the most carnal of kisses- warm and sweet and in full view of the Court, but it was certainly one of the best experiences of Simon’s life. It tasted of affection and intent, blending with the pleasant-yet-not-urgent arousal beginning to hum with the proximity of her body to his.

“If mistletoe is what it takes to get you to kiss me like that, I’ll make sure it’s hung everywhere we go from now on.” He breathed, staring intensely into her eyes. “Spend every last coin I have on it, and count it worth it.” The warlord was dimly aware of Lady Morgan’s vocal enthusiasm shouting something behind them, but he couldn’t have said what it was if anyone’s life had depended upon it. In the heart of the Cymrean Court, nothing could be more urgent for him right now than assuring Jorie Hardy her sentiments were gratefully accepted, and joyfully returned.

“I’m glad you found that courage.” He cracked a smile. “I’ve been waiting since last Winsol too. Since you let me into your life, shared the privilege of your presence and the love of your children. But I didn’t want to push with the twins so young, and, well, love of your life or not, a lover’s defection always hurts. You deserved the time to take things slowly.” And if she had still been afraid to act, he had perhaps been right to do so.

“You will always have my Escort, should you require it, but I want you in my life as more also. My light, my lover, my partner in the eyes of the world howsoever you see fit to let me carol it the streets. Winsol is a time for new beginnings- I can’t think of a better one than a relationship with you.” Simon finally gave quit talking to capture her lips himself this time, savoring the contact just a bit more languorously than their first.