I slowly roll over in bed, taking weight off a shoulder that has grown numb in these early morning hours. A heavy falling snow greets my gaze as I open my eyes and look out of the rippled glass windowpane. There must be three feet of new snow outside, covering the landscape in a gentle white blanket. A wispy smile crosses my face; I'll have to shovel a path to the woodshed, and the angel sleeping next to me will grumble at that. She's never really understood that I like the feeling of a new snow, and clearing the stone path somehow makes me feel good.
I slip out of bed, carefully and quietly so as not to wake my soulmate. She sleeps soundly now, blankets pulled up around her nose; her body is cocooned in warmth. I don heavy slippers, but nothing else. The room is warm enough for me, but the wooden floor this time of year is piercingly cold. I pad over to the fireplace, and retrieve a large hackberry log from the woodbin. The fire still burns brightly, but with another large log it will burn well into midmorning. I watch as the heavy log slowly catches fire, crackling and popping in the flames.
With a sudden thought, I step into the great room. It's cooler here. The large fireplace has burned low, but with a few more logs, it will again warm our home for many hours. Suddenly I shiver, and I'm uncertain if it's from cold or warmth. Though I'm no longer sleepy, I feel a need to return to our bed. Just being at the side of my soulmate and watching her sleep is a time I always savor.
I soundlessly return to our bedroom, stopping at the doorway when I see half a dozen candles lit around the room. My eyes find my lover, still in bed with only her bright, lively eyes peeking out at me from under the blankets. With a flick of her arm she pulls the blankets back from my side of the bed. A wide smile forms on my face and with a few running steps I launch myself onto the bed. It only takes the briefest moment, and I'm in her arms again.
"Hi there," I murmur.
"Hi there, you cold thing." She takes on a look of mock disapproval, "And what where you doing prancing around the house like that? It freezing in here!"
"Warm me up?" I ask playfully.
"Don't I always?" She pulls me closer. "You're an ice-cube!"
"But you're not?especially here."
"But most of all?"
"You wouldn't dare?"
"You evil thing!"
"Lover, I'm getting warmer."
"I'll just bet you are!"
We both laugh at the playful ritual. I stop my wandering hands, and snuggle in for a kiss, then a second, and finally a third. My tongue traces a path over my lover's lips and I savor the taste of?chocolate?
I pull back slightly and see her impish grin. "And what have you been eating?" I ask, flicking my tongue over her lips a second time.
"Mmmm?just something yummy. I thought you might like some hot cocoa when you came back to bed?and maybe a cranberry scone as well."
My stomach gave a small growl at the mention of food. We both look down at the sound, and I can't help but giggle. She knows me so well.
Without another word she sits up, drawing the blankets up around her. As if by magic they stay in place, keeping her body covered against the cool air. I quickly sit up next to her, but someone can't manage the same feat with the blankets.
Arrayed on the nightstand next to her are two cups of dark steaming chocolate, and platter of large buttery cranberry scones.
"Hmm?I suppose you got the cat to deliver all of this?" I ask with a wink.
"Oh, I would have, had I been able to wake him."
She hands me a cup, and the aromas of dark chocolate and cinnamon reach my senses. I'm about the take a sip when she stops me.
"I almost forgot something." She passes her hand over the cup and a dollop of heavy whipped cream forms on the top of the cocoa. She grins, "I wanted it to be perfect."
I reach out and trace my finger over the top of her delicately pointed right ear. In response she shivers in delight, and confides, "I didn't think you'd mind a bit of magic this morning."
"I never mind." I whisper, but she already knows the real truth of that, and for a moment my mind focuses on that truth. I've learned to live with her using tiny, harmless amounts of fairy elf magic. As a human it's the not-so-harmless aspects of her magic that scare me. She avoids using magic at all around me now, but?it was not always so. She's gentle, kind, and loving in the tenderest way to me, but she is also a warrior for her people. Of course she is not just any elf, but one who as a young woman had great power bestowed upon her by her Goddess. She has fought, and used that power when others called upon her to do so. She tells me it has always been for a just and honorable cause, and I believe her, but as one of a chosen few, she is always the first to be called as well. She never talks about it, and I really don't mind that she doesn't. My ears are open though, and I've heard others speak of her with admiration, respect, and awe. I know that she commands others, and they call her sorceress, or the most frightening of all to me, demigoddess. I've never asked her about it, and I'm not certain that I want to know the truth. Do I share my bed, my heart, and my life with a?a?demigoddess? It's not the first time that I wished she where just human. I want us to be the same, but I've never been able to bring myself to wish that I were like her.
My eyes suddenly focus on a hand being waved in front of my face. "Hello? You faded away there for a second," she quips playfully.
I try to cover my thoughts with a smile, but as always she sees through the attempt. Her smile fades, and she lets out a barely perceptible sigh.
"Should?should I have not done this?" she asks helplessly gesturing the food and drink.
Trust me to ruin a wonderful moment. "I'm sorry." How many times do my sentences start with that? I let out a deep sigh, and repeat, "I'm sorry, I was just thinking too much." I shrug weakly, "Well, you know me."
She takes my cup and sets it back on the nightstand, before wrapping her arms around me and leaning her forehead against mine. "Yes, I do. Very well in fact, and I should have known better than to use my magic. It wasn't needed, and I shouldn't have done it."
I close my eyes. Why does she always do that? Why does she take the blame when it's really all my fault? "Don't apologize," I whisper. "You did something sweet and I ruined it. It was my fault."
She kisses me lightly on the forehead. "Could you tell me what's really bothering you? You usually don't react this way when I use a little magic."
I sit there in silence. How can I explain to her that I'm afraid hearing the truth will change our relationship? I would give anything for her to be human so we wouldn't have to deal with this. No?that's not fair. It's that I don't want to deal with this. She is being so understanding and I'm the one with the problem. "Can't we just enjoy the morning?" I plead. "I was just letting my mind wander, that's all."
I expect her to smile and nod; she always does when I want to avoid this topic, but today is different. She sits back and shakes her head. "No, not until you tell me, really tell me what's bothering you."
I knew this would happen someday, I just hadn't wanted it to be today. She'd insist, and I'd have to tell her. I look into her eyes, and see only love and concern. She loves me so much, how can I be afraid of her?
"You're afraid, aren't you?" she asked softly, searching my face. "I can see it in your eyes." I nod, but still can't bring myself to speak. She bites her lip, before continuing, "It's me, isn't it? You're afraid of me. It's not just my magic that makes you nervous. Why? Have?have I done something to make you afraid of me? Have I hurt you in some way?"
I look into her eyes and realize that she's searching for something that she has done. Something that makes me fear her. She's always so mindful of me, so sensitive of my feelings. I loathe myself for having these fears, but I can't make them go away.
I finally summon the courage to speak. "It's?it's not anything you've done to me. You're always so loving, and so quick to take the blame for all of my fears, but you are not to blame. I shouldn't be afraid, but I am, and?I want?no, I need for you to tell me something. I?I don't even know how to put this into words." I close my eyes and whisper, "What?what are you, really? What did?your goddess do to you?"
I'm greeted by silence, and after several moments I open my eyes. She has a far off look, and I wait for several more long moments, unsure if she's even going to answer.
"It?it is difficult for me to tell you. I was chosen, if you will, to help the Goddess, for a time to serve as her aide, and to be able to help protect the elves with my magic."
I nodded, "I knew that. Well, I guessed most of it anyway."
"My Love, I didn't have a choice in this. Events transpired and I had to help, and in the end I was glad for it. The elves needed people like me, and I willingly served my Goddess."
"There's more though, isn't there?"
"Yes," she answered softly. "I was?changed?as a result of what happened to me. My Love, there is no easy way to tell you this. I died, and she brought my soul back into this world. In doing so, I gained an enormous power, I'm not sure if the Goddess even knows how that happened. I swore my life to her service."
I blinked hard. She had died and was brought back from the dead? Is it possible? This was?I shook my head realizing that I really had no idea what the scope of all this was. "You never told me any of this."
"Did you want to know?" she asked gently.
"No. Not for a long time, but now I needed to know. I've heard you?called?umm?"
"A demigoddess?" she finished for me. I nodded and dropped my gaze. "I am one," she whispered so softly I almost could not hear her.
"Does that mean?"
"That I'm immortal? Yes. That I have great power? Yes."
Now I knew, and now I wish I would've just kept my big mouth shut. I felt I was losing her, with no real idea how to prevent it.
"Do you want me give up this power and responsibly?"
I looked up sharply with a flash of hope. "Would?would the goddess let you? Was it possible?"
She responded slowly. "I think she would let me. And I think she could make me mortal, if I asked her to."
My spirits soared. "You would be mortal? You'd be?like me?"
Her eyes were steady as she slowly nodded, "If that's what it takes for us to be together, I'll do it."
Her words brought my thoughts into sharp focus, and realized what I was asking, and what she was willing to do. In a heartbeat I knew I could never ask her to do it. It was unfair in the worst sort of way. I shook my head, "I?I can't ask you to do that."
"You aren't. It's my choice. I've served the Goddess for many years; someone else can do it now."
I sighed, "Is there anyone else? Honestly, is there?"
She tried to smile, and failed. "There?there are others."
"But your goddess wants you," I finished for her.
"She would let me step aside, especially if she knew why I was asking."
I took a deep breath. I couldn't let her do it. "She needs you, doesn't she? And not someone else?"
"Well," she began, "There is a trust between us, and a bond. She is my Goddess, but also she and I share a very close friendship. She trusts me completely, and I don't know how many other's she trusts like that."
"My Love, I'm sorry. It would be horribly wrong for me to ask you to give that up. What you do," I sighed, "Actually I have little idea what you do, but it must be very, very important. Do you know I've wished so very long that you were?more like me? Human, I mean. Now that I have a chance to make that so, I couldn't imagine myself doing it. I can't live without you though. You are my world, and my purpose for being. Will you be patient with me, when I'm afraid? I'll try very hard not to be, but?it's going to happen again. I'm just a simple human, and you rub elbows with a goddess?and now I guess you are a goddess as well."
She blinked, and suddenly tears were streaming down her cheeks. "You are NOT just a simple anything. You are the one I love, and you're more important to me than anyone or anything. You're the reason I can do the hard things that I sometimes have to do. I hold onto your love, and it grounds me, and keeps me from losing myself. You are the source of my joy, and you give me far more then you know."
"I?I'm not sure I want to know what those hard things are."
She reached out and caressed my face. "I will not speak of them now, nor do I need to. I love you. If you need more then those words, I will do whatever it takes to calm your doubts and fears."
I didn't know what to say to that. She was offering to give up everything for me. The fears I felt shrunk into the deep recesses of my mind in the face of so much love. Amid my tears a gentle smile appeared. "Don't change; I love you as you are. And if you help, maybe I'll be able to be less afraid of the?the parts that you try so hard to keep hidden from me."
Suddenly she was in my arms, and our tears became mingled with whispered promises, and gentle kisses. When we finally parted, our faces were red, but our smiles were bright. For a long time, we sat just looking at each other. How could I have ever doubted or feared this woman? She loves me, and that's enough.
My stomach growling interrupted our silent gaze. She looked down, then back up at me. She raised an eyebrow and finally her delightful impish grin returned. Without a word she gave me back my cup.
I took a sip, but the cocoa was long cooled. I stared at it for a moment, before holding it out to her. "It's cold," I revealed. "Would you mind?"
She looked at me, and hesitated for an instant, before passing her hand over the cup. I felt the tingle of her magic and the instant warmth from the cup. A scone quickly followed the cup, and we ate in silence.
Soon my stomach was quiet, and we were sinking back under the blankets. The sky had lightened, but neither of us felt ready to leave the warmth of our bed.
A pleasant sigh escaped my soulmate. "I love this time of the morning."
"Mmmm?me too," I murmured, and reaching over to stroke the tip of her left ear. In response she closed her eyes, a fixed smile on her lips. I moved slightly to kiss her slightly upturned lips. She yielded to my touch, parting, inviting me to deepen the kiss. My body was already responding to her, with love, passion, and desire. I moved up and captured the tip of her ear between my lips, nipping lightly with my teeth. Her moans sent shivers of delight through me, and we were only just starting.
Our bodies became an extension of our love and passion, no words were needed now, and none were offered. We only stopped when we were both, by unspoken consent, too exhausted to continue. I was again wrapped in the warmth of her love; the morning's tears were a distant memory.
I now know that she's a goddess, but in the bond of our love, she had always been and always will be, my goddess.