By Web Bard (copyright 12/00)
Reese opened her eyes and looked at the sleeping beauty beside her. Studying the features of her lover's face, she reached out to brush a lock of hair away from Beth's forehead. Stirring at the touch, the young woman slowly opened her eyes.
"Merry Christmas," said Reese as she leaned in for a soft kiss.
"Merry Christmas to you, too, sweetheart."
Beth yawned and stretched her arms over her head. As she stretched, Reese took advantage of her friend's position and slid her long arms around her partner's waist.
"You most certainly do," said Beth, as she let her arms fall and wrap around the woman she loved. "Now, what are you going to do with me?"
"Don't tempt me."
"But that's my job," said the young blonde with an evil twinkle in her eye.
"Did I ever tell you how good you are at that job?" Reese leaned forward and nibbled on her partner's earlobe.
A sudden knock on the door startled the two women. "Reese? Beth? Breakfast is ready. Come now, it's Christmas morning!"
"Yes, Mamme," said Reese. "We'll be right down."
"I almost had a heart attack," chuckled Beth as she relaxed again in her friend's arms.
"At least she didn't just walk in and see us in our birthday suits," said Reese with a smile. "I mean, she's seen me naked before, but not in the arms of a beautiful woman."
"She's wonderful, Reese. Mamme is everything you said she'd be. I can see you in her eyes. It's kind of spooky, really."
"I know," said Reese softly. "There is such a primal connection there. I'm much closer to her than my own mother. We've been kindred spirits for as long as I can remember."
Taking her lover's hand in her own, Beth lifted it slowly to her lips and kissed the slender fingers of the taller woman. "We have that connection, too, don't we?"
"Yes, we do. Only, more intense. It's hard to describe in words, isn't it?"
Beth kissed her partner, and then slowly pulled herself into a sitting position. "Let's not keep Mamme and Pappos waiting. I'm starving."
Mamme pulled Beth into a hug when she reached the bottom of the stairs. "Merry Christmas, honey. We're so happy you're spending the holidays with us."
"Me, too." The young blonde smiled and kissed her on the cheek.
"Mamme," said Reese. "We have something to tell you."
"I can see it in your eyes, my sweet," said the petite grandmother. "Beth is going to be a part of our family, yes?"
"Yes, she is." Reese reached for Beth's hand and squeezed it.
"I told you she would say yes, didn't I?"
The taller woman reached out to her grandmother and pulled her into an embrace. "I love you, Mamme."
"Good morning," said Beth as she looked at Reese's grandfather who was quietly watching the women.
He rose to his feet and joined them. Pappos kissed his wife, his granddaughter and then Beth. "Welcome, little one. You will be well loved and taken care of in this family. My Reese will make sure of that."
"I know," said Beth as a lump rose in her throat. "I'm a very lucky girl."
She lowered her eyes for a minute and thought about her own family. They had been estranged for years. After the incident in college, Beth closed an emotional door to them. No one in her family would ever have the chance to hurt her again. Having little or no contact with her parents was better than leaving herself open to pain. Only Reese had been able to penetrate the thick, protective walls she built around her heart. And now, her grandparents were part of her family, too.
"You okay?" Reese tipped the tear-filled green eyes up to hers.
"It's just been so long since I've been a part of a family," said Beth as she tried to regain her composure.
"You are a part of our family now," said Mamme taking Beth by the hand and leading her to the table. "Now, please come and eat something. You are too thin."
Smiling through her tears, Beth sat at the table and gazed with affection at her partner. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," said Reese. Just when she thought she had helped erase some of Beth's demons from her past, another monster crawled out from under the bed. Even though she was closer to her grandparents, she was still very much in contact with her parents and enjoyed an open relationship with them. She cringed at the thought that Beth probably spent many Christmases alone. Without anyone. That would never happen again. Reese reached over and placed her hand on her partner's leg and let it rest there.
"Let's eat," said Pappos. "Then, presents for everyone!"
Pappos passed out the gifts to his family. The grandparents opened their presents first. Beth and Reese had given them antique wine goblets with a lion's head emblem engraved on them. They also received a goodie box of their favorite American food. Reese looked at Beth and nudged the rug-wrapped gift toward her.
"Okay," said Beth as she untied the long tassel from around the rug. As it unraveled, a wooden box was displayed. She ran her fingers over the delicate carving. "It's beautiful."
The box was opened very carefully. A dozen quills and several glass vials of ink rested on a velvet lining. She picked up one of the quills, which suddenly felt very familiar to her. "Reese, I love it. I've never used a quill before, but I will now."
Mammos shot her husband a surprised look. Quills? She had never told Reese about the history of quills in their family. How did her granddaughter know?
"You have another one there," said Reese as she handed a smaller package to her friend.
A ribbon was quickly discarded as Beth began to tear the paper. A long marble jewelry case emerged. She opened the box and gasped. Hundreds of tiny feathers adorned a beautiful gold chain. "Oh my gosh, Reese. This is so beautiful. And earrings, too."
"Let me help you put it on."
After attaching the clasp behind her lover's neck, Reese leaned forward and kissed her cheek. "It looks as pretty as I thought it would."
Beth fingered the small feathers around her neck. She smiled and then pointed to the large fur that was around the gift in front of her partner. "Your turn."
Reese reached for the heavy fur and began to search for the contents of her gift.
She rolled out the fur and laid it out in front of her. Nestled in the middle of the fur were a large sword and a shiny circular object. Reese reached for the sword and pulled it out of its scabbard. A shiver went down her spine as she held the weapon in her hand. She shook off the strange feeling and put the sword back down on the fur. She then reached for the circular object. "Beth, the sword is incredible. You know how much I love these things. But sweetie, what is this?"
The young blond smiled at her friend. "It's an ancient weapon. I think the man told me that it was called a chakram. He told me something else, too."
"He said that there is a legend that tells the story of a warrior woman who was the only person who was ever able to use it."
Mamme sat back in her chair and placed her hand over her heart. First the sword, then the chakram. How did Beth know? She could understand how Reese might possibly make a connection with the quills. She was blood family. But Beth? There was no way she could have guessed about the meaning of the sword and chakram. If there was any doubt about her granddaughter's choice of a partner, it was now erased. She took a deep breath and looked again at Pappos. He, too, had a knowing smile on his face.
Reese picked up the chakram and held it in her hand. Another shiver went down her spine and she felt goose bumps rise on her arms. What is this thing? And why is it making me feel so funny?
"Thank you, honey," said Reese as she leaned in for another kiss. "I'll treasure them."
Beth pushed the other gift to her friend. It seemed that they had both visited the same shop in Athens.
The tall beauty tore the paper off the gift and started to giggle. "We shopped at the same place, didn't we?"
"Apparently, I shopped there right after you did."
The marble box was opened. Inside was the gold necklace with the ancient replicas of dinar coins and the blue sapphires that dangled from them. Matching earrings were placed next to the necklace in the box. "Beth, these are stunning."
"I thought they would match your ring and your baby blue eyes," said Beth as she reached for the necklace to place around her partner's neck. She kissed the top of Reese's head after attaching the clasp.
Turning around so she could see the necklace on her friend, Beth smiled and placed her hand on her lover's face. "You are so gorgeous."
"You are too, love."
Mamme walked over to the two women gazing at each other in front of the fireplace. "I have two more gifts for you."
Beth and Reese unwrapped the gifts together and pulled out matching wool sweaters.
"Mamme, they are beautiful," said her granddaughter. "Did you knit these yourself?"
"Yes, I did," said Mamme. "You said Beth was my size, so I just made one to fit me. And you, I can knit a sweater for in my sleep."
Both women reached for the petite grandmother at the same time and pulled her into a hug. "Thank you, so much," said Beth. "I will think of you every time I wear it."
Surrounded by their gifts, the small family looked at one another. Another connection was made today, thought Mamme. One that would ensure the magical bond that had survived for generations. A mysterious love that only the ancient gods could explain. She hoped her granddaughter was prepared for what awaited her.
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