Chapter 1.17: Prelude to a Kiss

Dedicated to Team Shane!

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(For those who missed the explanation in the comments of the last chapter, a handfasting is a wedding.)

 

The day of Daniel and Daniela’s handfasting dawned clear and crisp. Lilith helped Daniela with her dress, then set about arranging her hair.

“I’m so nervous!” Daniela confessed. She turned sideways, smoothing down the weave of her dress. “I wish my pregnancy weren’t so obvious. This is the only dress I could still fit into that’s nice enough!”

Lilith patted Daniela’s baby bump with a smile. “You’ve nothing to be nervous about. You look beautiful, it’s a beautiful day, and soon you will have another beautiful baby with the man you love.”

Daniela turned around at Lilith’s wistful tone. “And soon it will be your turn.”

“Maybe. Things didn’t turn out so well with Maru.”

“Maru isn’t the only man on Ouroboros,” Daniela replied lightly. She hadn’t told Lilith of the scene between Shane and Maru, but she didn’t imagine Shane would have been so upset over how Lilith was treated if he didn’t have some concern in the matter.

“No, I suppose he isn’t,” Lilith conceded. Her mind’s eye flicked to Shane.

 

 

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Daniel helped Lilith set up a wedding arch in the courtyard of the Community Center, while Daniela arranged flower blossoms. A young man in the village volunteered to bring his guitar, and play for the guests after the ceremony.

 

 

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Daniel made preparations at the bar–every wedding should have an open bar, of course.

He was feeling a little nervous himself. This was a big day for any man! Sneaking a drink, he wondered if he needed to cast a calming spell on himself. The lady at the consignment register seemed to laugh at him as he fingered his wand.      

 

 

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Lilith and Daniela joined him for a glass, but Lilith soon made her excuses and headed back to camp.

Shane had promised to come by before the ceremony, and she still had a few preparations to make. She planned to comb her hair out as straight as possible, and also needed to select a good nectar vintage to bring as a wedding gift.

 

 

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Late in the afternoon, Shane arrived as promised.

“Wow, you look. Wow,” he almost stuttered, his eyes widening.

She twirled in her dress. “You like? I got this when I first arrived in Champs les Sims.”

Like is an understatement. You look, Wow!” He attempted a smile, which ended up being a goofy grin. The dress was backless, he could see, the front plunging between her breasts. The color of the fabric so nearly matched her skin, that it was easy to imagine… Don’t go there! …Too late.

“You don’t clean up too bad, either,” she grinned in answer. “I see you found time to shave.”

 

 

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The sun set as they made their way to the Community Center, where several villagers had already gathered for the ceremony. Lilith made her gift of nectar, and Shane brought French fruits and vegetables and some fish for the new couple.

 

 

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The guests crowded around as Daniel and Daniela began their vows.

Shane slipped his arm around Lilith’s waist as they watched. She leaned into him a little, and he glanced down at her, a smile playing on his lips. She felt his thumb make a circle on her bare back.

“I join my hands with yours before these witnesses in solemn vow. I join my life to yours.”
“And I join my heart to yours. Today we came here as two, but we leave as one.”
“May my hands ever hold you fast.”

Lilith blinked back tears as the couple kissed to seal their vows, and the guests began to cheer. Daniel Rivers, the village playboy and eternal bachelor, had finally settled down, and Daniela Haven had finally got her man. Their joined name would be Riverhaven.    (I frequently combine surnames like this)

 

 

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People moved to congratulate Daniel and Daniela, and others headed for the buffet that had been set up. Someone started playing a guitar, and a few people started to dance. Lilith went to sit on a bench off to the side, feeling a bit misty in the powerful emotions of the moment. (If you get emotional at weddings, then you know how Lilith feels right now. It’s just a powerful moment to be a part of.)

“Dance with me?” Lilith looked up into Shane’s eyes reflecting torch lights in the night, his hand stretching out for her. The color of his eyes reminded her of the deep violet of sunset as it sank into night.

Yes, she thought, wordlessly taking his hand.

 

 

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As they joined the other couples dancing, Daniela caught her eye over Daniel’s shoulder and gave her what seemed to be a conspiratorial smile.

 

danced with shaneLilith slid her hand up Shane’s shoulder and he encircled her with one arm, taking her other hand and leading her into the music.

 

 

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Some time later, a heavy, full moon made its appearance in the night sky.

 

 

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Daniel pulled his wife into a kiss in the moonlight. Onlookers hooted as he hefted a squealing Daniela over his shoulder. “If you all will excuse me, I need to get this thing consummated before she changes her mind,” Daniel said, laughing as he disappeared around the corner with her.

 

 

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Some of the crowd returned to dancing or eating, others began to drift homeward.

Lilith felt Shane’s fingers curl against the skin at her side.

“Walk with me,” he said softly.

 

Leona Lewis – I See You (Avatar Soundtrack)

 

 

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“A-ha,” someone murmured behind them as the couple walked to the beach. He took her hand, and Lilith’s fingers laced through his.

 

 

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At the beach, Lilith sat in the sand and turned her face up to the moon. Hesitating half a heartbeat, Shane sat down behind her, placing an arm around her shoulder. She settled back against his chest, and he rested his cheek against her hair. Neither of them broke the silence.

Although it was a chilly night, Lilith felt warm with Shane’s heart beating against her shoulder. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against his neck.

This. This was comfortable, this was secure. His fingers softly stroked the side of her arm, sending tingles through her. Yes, this, she thought.

 

 

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“Shane,” she said. She twisted around to face him, staying inside the circle of his arms.

 

 

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Their faces close, he saw the sea and moonlight in her eyes, as well as tears. Brushing his thumb across her cheek, his mind replayed the moment in Champs les Sims when he fell for her. I have to tell her.

 

 

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Drawing her up out of the sand, he wrapped his arms around her. Shane felt her shiver as she snaked one arm around his neck, fingers clutching in his hair.

Lilith tipped her chin back, and he nuzzled her jaw, feeling the rapid pulse beneath his lips.

 

 

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His own pulse quickened. He could feel her breath on his neck. When her hand reached up to trace his lips, he caught her fingers and kissed them.

 

 

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Air and moonlight shimmered as he leaned her back slightly. “Lilith,” he said huskily.

“Butterflies,” she whispered. “It was you, all along. This is what butterflies feels like.”

“Butterflies,” he agreed. His mouth hovered over hers, their breath mingling. The world around them blurred and shifted.

 

 

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And then, he kissed her.

 

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You’re welcome 😀

SQUEE!

I’ll post some outtakes and backstory on this chapter tomorrow.