Rock of Ages Past--

Part 9

Copyright©(1999-2000) Elaine L. Becker

All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER: This story is an original creation and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, real or fictional are unintentional. Any words to any songs or any poetry used in this story are attributed to their original artists in the story itself. Television and/or radio programs that are referred to in the story are not to my knowledge, real program content, but created by me solely for use in this story.

This story is about two women in love and may contain language or sexual scenes unsuitable for children or others who are easily offended by material of this nature. This is a story about same gender relationships. If you have a problem with same gender relationships, you should probably see your therapist. Hate is an illness that love can cure.

Comments or suggestions should be sent to:

"Finian Delaney, this is John Macintosh, from Northern Community College. I would like to talk to you about a teaching position that we have available for the up-coming summer session. You may reach me at 617-772-9041, extension 353. I look forward to hearing from you."

Finian quickly scribbled the name and number down on the notepad. She turned around to see how closely the coffee was to being drinkable. She felt as if she had endured a very busy night. But at the moment, she couldn't recall any specific dreams that she had had.

Yesterday she had spent the day working for a change. She had several small pieces to write for 'vacation teasers' for a few travel magazines. She wrote the historical pieces for those vacations that appealed to archaeologist wanna-bes and others who were interested in visiting historical and classical sites. Finian always tried to write from a nostalgic point of view, believing that if you could reach people's inner memories and past connections, you had them hooked.

Despite feeling that she had run races all night long, she realized that she felt pretty good. She felt an inner calm and understanding that she hadn't possessed a few days earlier. She knew that she had worked out some of the answers to the myriad of questions that had been inundating her. There were still many more to be answered, but she at least felt that she had a start.

As Finian reached for the coffeepot to pour herself a cup of the freshly brewed stimulant, she glanced down and noticed the name and phone number written on the pad. 'A good diversion for a few weeks,' she thought. 'I wonder if they have a pre-selected course or if they are going to want me to design the course to their specs?' Her favorite courses to teach in the past had been those in which the school offered her loose guidelines and let her choose the direct course material and then allowed her to present it in her own style. Finian's style often included a field trip to the area of study if within a feasible distance.

The tall, dark-haired woman placed her empty cup on the countertop and headed for the shower. She would call Mr. Macintosh after she washed the remnants of sleep away and gave the caffeine time to kick in. As she walked across the apartment, she thought about what she might choose to teach if the job offer were presented to her in that way. In the past, she had taught summer courses on some local historical sites such as the Isle of Shoals and The House of Seven Gables. Which, on both occasions, she had been able to get school administrators to allow her take the students on day trips to the sites.

Finian pulled her over-sized T-shirt up over her head and let it drop to the floor. She reached into the tub and turned on the water, adjusting it to just the right temperature and turned the shower on, letting the cold water in the pipe turn warm before she stepped in.

She stepped into the tub and turned her face to the spray of water coming out of the wall, letting the warm droplets wet her face and dampen her hair. As the droplets rained down on her upturned face, Finian had an image of Caer, sitting in the dark, the rain splashing down upon her face. The rain, at first, gave the impression of tears upon the blond woman's cheeks. Then the image intensified, became clearer. There seemed to be a look of distress, fear, almost panic upon the face that Finian held in her mind's eye. Then it was gone.

Finian started to examine the feeling she was experiencing. The pit of her stomach felt heavy, sick. She thought about the look of panic upon the rain and tear stained face. She suddenly realized that Caer's fear was the same as her own. That she would not understand in time, what she would have to do, when to do it and how. Although she felt that some of it was starting to make sense, she still didn't know how she was suppose to travel back in time. She was pretty sure she knew when she was suppose to go, where it was she was going to and where to leave from, but she still hadn't figured out how. And what if she wanted to get back. Would it work the same way from the other side? She hadn't considered that aspect of this situation. It sent little butterflies through her stomach, where the lead ball had been a few moments earlier.

Finian stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a large towel. She wrapped her long, dark hair up with another towel in a twist on top of her head. She walked into her bedroom and took a pair of faded blue jeans and a white, T-shirt from her closet. As she laid them out on the bed, she noticed her notebook lying on the table. Suddenly bits and pieces of a dream she had had a few nights ago began to filter through her consciousness. She had been so intent on unraveling the puzzling events and their meanings, including the dreams, she had forgotten the latest dream she had had.

As she sat down on the edge of the waterbed and reached for the book, she realized that it had been a couple of nights since she had remembered having a dream. 'Too damned mentally exhausted from trying to figure it all out,' she thought a little angrily. Then her eyes fell upon the hand-written pages. Her hand went to her lips. She felt her cheeks begin to warm. She closed her eyes. The dream came back to her upon the distant strains of a harp playing softly in the back of her mind. The notebook fell to the floor, unnoticed and forgotten.

She remembered Caer's touch on her skin. The ethereal, green-eyed woman's fingertips caressed her skin as a harpist caresses the strings of her instrument. Gently enticing, not forcing the music forth. She felt herself melting into the touch and felt her body slowly moving forward. Finian suddenly caught herself before she toppled face first onto the floor.

She opened her eyes quickly and saw the notebook lying at her feet. 'How could I have forgotten that?' She thought as she reached for the book on the floor. Finian placed the notebook back on the nightstand and slipped into the jeans and T-shirt that she had placed on the bed. She shook her long, dark hair out of the towel atop her head as she walked back toward the bathroom.

She picked up the hairbrush and began pulling the tangles out of her slightly damp hair. She watched herself in the mirror as she did so. She looked into the deep, blue eyes that stared back at her. The depths of which held mysteries, which, until now had been kept even from her.

Who was she? She suddenly realized that she really did not know who she was. She had never allowed herself to look at all of the parts of her. Especially her sexuality. She had always tried so hard not to have one. It was safer; it kept life uncomplicated.

She had known from a very young age that she was different. But on the playground at school and on the television and radio, she learned that being different was not always good. In fact, more often than not, it was hurtful. It set you apart; you were rejected and called names.

She had even faked an interest in a couple of boys in school to keep the rumors at bay. But, even so, in the eighth grade, one of the boys in her class made a reference to her lips that had sent her into hiding from herself. He said she had lesbian lips. That comment had made her blood run cold. For that split second in time, she knew that it was true. But she wouldn't allow it to be true. If she did, her friends would reject her. She had quickly looked around at the group of girls she was standing with when the comment was made. She immediately noticed the look of discomfort that just the mention of the 'L' word had caused in all of their faces. That's when she realized that it was not safe to admit to herself or anyone else that liked girls instead of boys and had decided that not having a sexuality was the safest way to go.

Of course, all of her friends took up for her and they all started hurling insults and some books back at the boys. Before he was finished, Roddie had also managed to hurl some 'fat' insults at Belinda, who was a rather large girl. Finian laughed to herself as she thought back and saw Roddie's face. His lips were actually fuller and more defined than hers were. Oh the insults she could throw now.

Fantasizing about what she would say to Roddie if he said those things to her today and being surprised at the feelings that the memory still conjured up, finally brought her out of her trance-like state. She placed the hairbrush on the countertop and shut the light off behind her.

Back in the kitchen, she filled her cup with hot coffee and sat on the barstool closest to the wall. She glanced down at the telephone and then to the pad of paper next to it. 'Not yet,' she thought, 'I can't deal with that yet.' She leaned back against the wall and stretched her denim-covered legs across the other two stools, crossing her bare feet at the ankles.

She stared at her feet and thought about all the crushes she had had when she was a kid. The two boys that she had had crushes on when she was very young, she realized now, were very effeminate. All of the crushes she had as she got older were on girls. In fact, if she were being completely honest with herself, at the time of Roddie's comment, she had quite a crush on her best friend of the moment, Patty.

She and Patty had become very close, even somewhat intimate. When one of them would spend the night at the other's house, they would often lie in bed rubbing each other's backs, sometimes they would lie facing each other, talking, their legs wrapped around one another. She remembered one night when they were lying on the bed; Patty had her hand under Finian's pajama top and was rubbing her back when her grandfather walked into the room, unannounced. The two young girls had jumped and moved quickly away from each other. She remembered, even now, eighteen years later, the look of disapproval that had flashed across her grandfather's face and how her cheeks had reddened and how guilty she had felt. She had felt like she had been caught doing something wrong.

She had never even told Michelle about Patty. Michelle knew that she and Patty had been friends; she just didn't know how close. For a few years during high school, Michelle and Finian had chosen different groups of friends to hang out with. They were still friends, they just didn't spend as much time with each other as they had when they were younger.

Not long after being caught with Patty in her bedroom, Finian had started dating a guy. Over time, she managed to distance herself from Patty. Patty was jealous and angry that Finian had replaced her with a guy. It had hurt to see the hurt and longing in Patty's eyes on those few occasions when they would end up in the same place at the same time. Finian, it seemed had always been the first to break eye contact whenever it happened. She couldn't bear the pain that she saw in those slate blue eyes. And she felt guilty; guilty because she knew she was lying and hiding.

She didn't have the courage at fourteen to admit what she felt and she had spent the next several years dating occasionally but mostly just hanging out with groups of friends. In college, she had thrown herself into school and didn't allow herself time to date. If she didn't date, she didn't have to think about her sexuality.

When Michelle came out to her, it had frightened her more than Michelle had ever known. It had been only been a few weeks since she had heard that Patty had killed herself. Finian had experienced days, if not weeks of guilt when she heard of Patty's death. When Michelle came out, Finian shrank even further into the closet. Somehow, in her mind, she felt responsible for Patty's death. A part of her felt that if she had been more courageous and not so afraid to love Patty, Patty might still be alive. Some part of her, she realized had felt a need to pay homage to Patty, by suffering the loss intimacy that she should have embraced.

Finian wondered for a moment if maybe a part of Patty's soul or spirit had found its way backward in time. She smiled at the thought. Her smile got wider as her thoughts turned to Caer. She only knew one thing at this moment in time. It didn't matter. None of it mattered. She had found the woman she wanted to spend lifetimes with.

Finian swung her legs down off the high stools and went to refill her coffee cup, placing it on the counter while she went to her small office and turned on her computer. She then returned to the kitchen to make the telephone call to John Macintosh.

Several minutes later, Finian placed the telephone back in its cradle. She had a meeting with Mr. Macintosh on Thursday morning at ten. They were looking for someone to teach a six-week class on local history. She had until Thursday to decide what she wanted to teach and to put a class syllabus together for Mr. Macintosh's approval. Today was Tuesday. She had a little bit of time. She poured the last of the coffee into her cup and headed for her office.

This was good, she thought. She really felt like she needed some time alone and this was a good excuse. It wasn't really an excuse. It was the truth. She had a lot of work to do and a short time to do it in. And she felt that Michelle and Bobbi, but especially Michelle, needed some time to think about all the things that Finian had talked to them about. And Finian really didn't feel that she could deal with all the questions that Mich wanted answered, when she didn't yet have the answers herself. So, the timing was perfect. She reached for the portable phone.

Finian hesitated before she dialed the number of the insurance office where Michelle worked. Should she tell her the one thing she had become sure of since she had last talked to her? Finian thought about all the questions that would lead to and decided against it. She would savor her coming out to herself first. She smiled.

She thought about Patty and she thought about Caer. Her fear and her guilt were gone. When she thought about losing Caer, in the same way and for the same reasons that she had for so long believed she had lost Patty, she knew that she would not repeat that mistake again. She would never again hide whom she loved. She had survived her own dishonesty about her sexuality. Patty had taken her own life because she could not be honest about hers. She finally let Patty be responsible for herself and picked up the phone.

Michelle answered, as Finian knew she would. "Hey, Mich, it's me. I just called to see how you guys are doing. It's been a couple of days since I talked with you."

"We're doing okay," Michelle paused, "Bobbi and I have been talking a lot about the stuff you told us. Bobbi has done a lot of reading, a lot more than me," she chuckled.

Finian knew about Michelle's aversion to reading. "Yeah, I'm sure. I couldn't even get you to read "RubyFruit Jungle" and it was hysterical and I know you like a good laugh."

"Yeah, well, Fin, I won't lie to you and tell you I understand what is going on with you, but I will tell you that I am trying. That we're trying. So any time you want to talk about it, I promise that I won't go flying off on some tangent again. Okay?"

Finian could tell by the tone of Michelle's voice that she was sincere and apologetic and was really trying to be there and to understand. "It's okay, Michelle, I'm really doing okay with everything. It will all sort itself out in time." 'There's that word again,' she thought as she continue. "And I got a call from the community college this morning. They want me to teach a summer session on local history. I've got a meeting with the head of curriculum on Thursday. So, I have to choose a topic of local history and put together a syllabus and lesson plan to take in to him for approval."

"That's great, Fin. You did that last year and you had a ball taking those kids to the House of Seven Gables." Michelle's voice had picked up a little energy.

"Yeah, so I've got to come up with something really interesting and educational," she chuckled into the telephone. "And hopefully something I remember enough about to teach a six week course on."

Finian heard Michelle laugh. For a moment, it felt almost like old times, like it had before all of this had started. There was a slight strangeness between her and Michelle that she had never felt before. Michelle wasn't quite sure of who or where her friend was right now. And for that, there was no cure right now.

The sound of Michelle's voice pulled her back from her wanderings. "Oh, you'll come up with something and someplace interesting. You know all of the neat stuff that ever happened around here."

"Yeah, I'll come up with something, I just need some time to think about it." She hesitated. "So, I wanted to call you and let you know that if you don't hear from me for a few days or so, that's why. I am wracking my brain trying to remember the local history," she laughed lightly.

"Oh, sure, yeah, I know how you are when you're working." Finian heard the forced acceptance in Michelle's voice and after a slight hesitation, she heard it lighten. "But, Fin, don't forget to come up for air every now and then, okay? You really can hermitize when you're working."

"I won't," Finian answered, "If I get a minute or two, I'll give you two a call and maybe we can get together for coffee, okay?"

Finian finished saying goodbye and hung up the phone. 'That was easier than I thought it would be,' she thought at the same time that she realized that she was holding her breath. She exhaled and then drew in a deep, cleansing breath. She really had thought that Michelle would just bombard her with questions. She was glad that the teaching job had bought her some time.

She sat staring at the picture of Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher on her computer screen. She had seen them on a few interviews together before and after the birth of their children. Their openness and their honesty had touched her. She displayed their picture on her desktop as a silent tribute to all brave, warrior women who dared take that step forward and be themselves, unashamedly and openly and defend the way for others to follow.

For a moment she allowed herself to feel regret that it had taken her eighteen years to admit to herself that she was a lesbian. Eighteen years wasted on loneliness and fear when she had been certain at the age of fourteen. She quickly pushed the thought out of her head.

This was her path. She couldn't change any part of it. If she had done things any other way or taken another path in life, it may not have led her to where she was right now. She could not regret any part of her past. It was all a part of the person she had become. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.

She thought of Patty, again. Then of Diane. She felt one eyebrow raise, involuntarily. Her friendship with Diane had been similar to her relationship with Patty, but more cautious. They both maintained boyfriends throughout their friendship. Their attraction was unspoken and mostly unphysical, except for those few occasions when they knew they were completely alone and would give one another a backrub; sometimes even daring to remove their tops, though always keeping their breasts hidden from one another's eyes.

Finian shook her head. She tried to remember how she had felt; what she had thought. She had been older when she was with Diane, sixteen and seventeen and Diane had been a little older than she had. She remembered how strong the attraction had been for her friend. She also remembered how strongly she fought it, believing that if she didn't go past a certain point, she wouldn't have to claim the title. The lucky thing that time was that Diane had fought it as hard as she had, ending up marrying the guy she had been dating and having a son. The marriage hadn't lasted long. She had raised her son alone, her ex-husband choosing to move to Texas and start a new life. Finian knew, she had not had the courage to come out, either, and had spent a scared, lonely life, living with her parents and becoming old much before her time. Finian didn't see her anymore, but heard of her from time to time through mutual acquaintances.

Finian opened her eyes. She sat staring at the screen. 'Love is stronger than fear,' she thought. When she had first seen those green eyes, the love that she had felt washed away all of her fears. There was absolutely no way to deny how she felt and what she had finally come to understand and accept about herself.

Finian smirked and nodded her head, 'Not to say that this realization hasn't created a whole other set of fears.' She began thinking about the things that she had put together and thought she understood about the journey she was to make to reach Caer.

She really had to fight at times, with her rational mind. It kept trying to convince her that time travel was not possible. It was a myth, legend, and something that scientists and lay people had been studying and trying to reproduce for years. There were fables of men traveling backward and forward in time using great time machines that they had built. But so far, man had not been able to make time travel a reality. She kept hearing that rational part of her brain asking her how she thought she was going to achieve something that no one, in recorded history had ever been able to do, and with absolutely no means to achieve it except a big rock. She didn't have the answers. Yet. But she knew in her soul that she would find them.

Finian stood, picked up her empty coffee cup, and headed for the kitchen. She hadn't eaten any breakfast and her empty stomach was not so quietly reminding her. She looked at the clock on the coffee maker as she made her way to the refrigerator. 'Well, I've managed to do absolutely nothing today except make a couple of phone calls and daydream the day away.' She opened the refrigerator and found the fixings for a ham and cheese sandwich, which she quickly put together. She added a pile of potato chips to her plate and grabbed a Pepsi.

Once she was settled on the cool, black leather sofa, and had given her loud stomach a taste of what was to come, she pushed the power button on the remote. Her quiet was suddenly replaced with woman's voice talking about stones and their related attributes. At first, she thought it was a show about precious gems, but as she listened, and watched, she realized that the woman was discussing the ancient beliefs associated with many of the stones that today are considered gemstones and used in jewelry.

Finian had run across references to the supposed mystical and healing properties and subtle psychic qualities of stones in her historical studies, but had never delved any further into their study.

The woman was holding a large piece of clear, quartz crystal in the palm of her hand. The crystal was actually two. The two crystals grew together at the bottom and angled out away from one another as they grew, forming a 'V'. The twin crystals, thrusting up from the base, were like twin souls emanating out from a singular element.

The woman was talking about the legendary uses for clear, quartz crystal. Because of its clarity and its ability to conduct and store energy, quartz was used as a focus to bring clarity. Once clarity was gained, the clear stone was used as a conductor to send energy to a specific place or point. Hence, moving ones will toward a predetermined outcome. As such, the stones were used in healing practices and for other magical uses through the ages. In recent years quartz crystal and many other stones had gained a resurgence in interest and use.

The woman on the television began talking about the different types of crystals, beginning with the twin crystal in her hands. It was believed that different shapes and different sizes of crystals gave them slightly different attributes along with the attributes that they had in common. Referring to the twin crystal in her hand, the woman related stories and myths about some of the beliefs associated with twin crystals. One of the beliefs associated with the twin crystals was that if you wanted to locate your soulmate and you wanted your soulmate to find you, then you should have a twin crystal by your bedside to create a vehicle for communication.

The woman then went on to touch quickly on some of the techniques that were used to cleanse and bless the crystals and to infuse them with your own energy. She continued talking about other stones, but Finian's mind was heading elsewhere. She was remembering how the quartz pieces embedded in the stone at Mystery Hill had made the large stone appear to shimmering, had made it almost translucent when the sun hit it.

She tried to remember what her fingers had felt like when she had tried to touch the shimmering stone and her fingertips had slipped into a crack in time. For that's what she now thought had happened that day. She suddenly knew that the sprig of apple blossoms she had found on the ground by the large stone had come through that same crack. She concentrated harder on remembering what her fingers had felt. She wiggled them slowly, coaxing them to remember.

Her biggest memory, the one that was in the way at the moment, keeping her from the others, was of sheer surprise. The result that she had expected when she reached out her hand to touch the stone had not been realized. What had happened, her mind had no explanation for, and had placed it in the realm of imagination for the time being. With much coaxing and will, Finian began to bring the memory into focus. She saw her hand approaching the stone and then forced her mind into her fingertips. She slowed the process down in her memory and felt slight resistance at her fingertips. Along with the resistance, she remembered little tinglings all over her fingertips, almost like electrical sparks bouncing off her fingers. She also remembered a slight pressure that felt almost as if it were forcing her hand back out of the crack. She got the quick impression that whatever kind of gate or doorway the Beltaine stone was, it was one way.

She thought about the sprig of apple blossoms again. It had come to her through the stone; she was sure of that now. 'The Beltaine stone was the connection from past to present,' she thought as she stood and picked up her empty plate and Pepsi can and headed for the kitchen. If she were to come back to the present time, after having met Caer, she thought that she would most likely end up at the stone where this had all started. 'That's a comforting thought,' Finian brightened a little as she placed her plate in the dishwasher. Somehow, the thought of possibly being able to come back if she wanted to gave her more conviction to try this crazy experiment.

Finian shut the television off on her way to her office. She sat down and opened Word. She had decided what she was going to teach, if her syllabus were accepted. She was going to write a class outline on Ancient Megaliths of New England, with Mystery Hill being the focal point of the class.

Finian sat back smugly, when she had finished the rough draft of her outline. She would kill two birds with one stone. She would learn as she taught. So much more of its history had been uncovered since she had last brushed up on the local history. Also, being a teacher had its benefits. When you took a group of students to an historical site, usually there were specialized tours that covered things about the area that the general public didn't get to see.

It had been several years since Finian had done anything more than tour the site as a regular tourist, albeit taking a little more time than the average tourist did. She had gone there herself on a field trip, when she was in college. She remembered seeing what she now recalled as quartz, embedded in the walls of some of the underground chambers that they had been taken into. She suddenly saw herself as a child; sneaking onto the site after hours and many times before.

There were many mornings that the young Finian had sat on the mound overlooking the site and watched the sun come up. Her grandparents still fast asleep in the warmth of their bedroom. She came here often during her teens.

On many of her solitary adventures, when she was younger, Finian would take to the woods with her backpack and inevitably end up in one of the underground rooms, eating the lunch she would always pack. The underground chambers were protected from all kinds of weather. In the winter, they were warm and dry, in the summer they were kept dry from the rain seeping in with drains that had been carved throughout the site by ancient hands.

She found as a child they were a great place to play, and in the mid seventies there wasn't that much activity around the place, so she could go there just about any time she wanted to. There were minor restorations going on, but it was occasional and so sporadic, that it never seemed to interfere with her adventures. The site had not really caught on as a tourist attraction yet.

Finian saved the rough outline of her syllabus and shut down her computer. She really needed some fresh air and exercise, but didn't feel like going outside for a walk. She walked through her bedroom, around the foot of the bed, to the sliding glass doors on the west side of the room and opened them. She stepped out onto the balcony and looked around as she felt the air. 'This will do,' she said to herself as she picked up the lightweight chair and placed it just inside the glass door. She did the same with the small table that sat in the corner. When she was satisfied that she was alone, Finian went inside and changed her clothes.

She padded quietly across the carpet and stepped outside. She stood and waited until she felt acceptance. She bowed slightly and walked to the middle of the small, porch-like enclosure. For several moments, the tall, dark haired woman stood perfectly still, her eyes closed, her breathing deep and even.

Slowly, with her eyes still closed, she started to move, letting her ki extend outward to become an extension of herself. Her movements were slow and focused. As she moved, she felt her ki become more fluid, flowing in and around her. The movements she performed were similar to tai chi, but if you watched closely, you could see the blocking and stopping techniques of her arms and hands and the slow motion hooks and kicks of her long legs.

Finian slowed down her movements and drew her ki back to her physical body to end in the same position she had started, standing perfectly still, her eyes closed. When she once more felt grounded and centered, she bowed slightly, and walked inside. After returning the small table and chair to the balcony, Finian closed the glass door and headed for the shower.

*****Finian sat on the edge of her bed, toweling her wet hair. She picked up the brush that she had carried with her from the bathroom and began brushing the tangles out of her long, dark hair. As she brushed her almost dry tresses, her eyes came to rest on the small vase that still held the small branch of apple wood. Though the last of the white blossoms that had adorned the branch when she found it and for several days later, had turned brown and fallen away a few days ago, she had not been able to bring herself to throw it away.

Finian dropped the hairbrush onto the bed beside her and reached to pick up the small vase. She couldn't believe her eyes when she grasped the small twig in her fingers and brought it closer to her face. She saw little green buds starting to protrude from the bark. She rubbed her finger gently over the new little nubs, a puzzled look crossing her face as she did so.

'This is just not possible,' she thought as she got up and went to the bathroom to refill the small vase with clean water. It had been about three weeks since she had first found the small twig lying on the ground behind the large stone at Mystery Hill. Finian had remembered the sadness she felt as she brushed the dead petals into her hand and reluctantly, let them fall into the small trash can beside her bed, thinking as she did that she should also throw the dead twig in with them, but as she started to reach for the twig, something had stopped her.

Finian returned to the bedroom and placed the vase with the newly budding twig back on the nightstand. She suddenly remembered reading somewhere, when she had first found the twig, that in Celtic lore, the apple tree symbolized immortality, the eternal life of the soul.

She remembered her dream in which Caer had appeared for the first time. She remembered the feeling that she had experienced when she had first seen those sea green eyes staring back at her from the crystal clear surface of the lake. The connection she had felt to Caer had felt familiar and timeless. She remembered now, feeling as if she had found something that had been missing; a part of herself, from some place deep inside.

Finian glanced at the clock beside the bed. It was after eleven. She shook her head as if trying to clear it, her dark hair brushing across her bare shoulders as she did so. It was then that she realized that she was still wrapped in the large bath towel.

Finian picked up the hairbrush that was sitting on the bed beside her and went into the bathroom. As she was hanging the towel on the towel bar, she caught a glimpse of her naked body in the full-length mirror. She turned so that she was facing the mirror. She stared into the cerulean eyes that stared out at her from the looking glass. She saw, in the blue eyes that looked out at her, a depth that she had never noticed before. She realized, as she stood staring into her own eyes that she had never allowed even herself to see beyond the surface. She suddenly remembered an old saying that said something about the eyes being the windows to the soul. She nodded slightly in recognition and re-connection and broke eye contact.

Continued in Part 10

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