By Web Bard (copyright 12/2000)
After promising her grandmother that they would discuss the ceremony in the morning, Reese led Beth by the hand to their bedroom in the inn. After entering the room, the taller woman grabbed a few pillows from the bed and placed them in front of the fireplace. "Cmere, love," as she offered her hand to Beth. "You look exhausted."
"I am tired," said the young blonde. "Do you know of a nice soft spot I can rest my head?"
Reese gently pulled her lover down on the pillows with her. She placed her hand on the back of her friends head and nestled the smaller woman into her shoulder. Beth took a deep breath and sighed.
"We need to make some decisions about the ceremony," said Reese as she kissed the top of the blonde head. "What would you like to do?"
Beth pulled up slightly and balanced herself on one elbow. Green eyes met blue and she leaned in for a soft kiss. "Can we do something very simple? Just your grandparents and the two of us? All I want to do is to tell you and your family why I want to make this commitment to you."
"Thats all I want, too."
"Do you think your grandmother would be upset if we had the ceremony tomorrow? Maybe at sunset?" Beth began to trace the outline of her lovers face with the tips of her fingers.
"She probably wants to make a big deal of this," said Reese with a smile. "But Ill make a compromise and let her throw us a reception before we leave. Is that okay with you?"
Beth nodded and dropped her head back to her favorite place on her friends shoulder.
"Id like to take you to see a few of the Greek Islands," said Reese wrapping her arms around the smaller woman. "We can rent a boat from Potidaea tomorrow night and
travel for a couple of days. That would give Mamme two days to put together a reception for us. How does that sound?"
"Perfect," yawned Beth as she completely relaxed in the warm arms of the woman she loved.
"Sweetheart, do you want to move to the bed?"
"Just fine here," murmured Beth who was nearly asleep.
The taller woman stretched her arm to reach a quilt draped over the chair next to her. Moving very slowly, she pulled the soft fabric over the two of them. The flokati wool rug underneath them provided the lovers a nice cushion of support. Between the fireplace, quilt and the natural heat from the closeness of their bodies, Reese determined that this was as comfortable as any bed she had ever slept on. She listened to the steady breathing of her beloved soulmate and soon joined her friend in the land of dreams.
"Good morning my little lovebirds," said Mamme as the two young women walked into the dining room. "How did you sleep?"
"Like bricks," answered her granddaughter. Reese affectionately rubbed her friends back as they sat down at the table.
"Mamme," said Beth. "Wed like to talk to you about the ceremony. Reese and I discussed it last night and we would like to have you and Pappos join us this afternoon at the cliffs."
"This afternoon!" Mamme was not prepared for the announcement of a ceremony that very afternoon. "But I wanted to help you have a big, beautiful wedding."
"I know," said Reese. "But Beth and I want to have something very simple and very intimate. Just the two of us and you and Pappos. We have a request, though. Could you have a party for us before we leave? Greek dancers, music, food, the whole works?"
The old womans face broke into a big smile. "Oh, yes! A party I can do. Now, how long do I have to plan this get together?"
"Im taking Beth to see some of the Greek islands after the ceremony this afternoon," answered Reese. "Well be back in two days. Is that long enough?"
"Yes, my love," said her grandmother. "I will plan a reception that you will never forget. But, Reese, you have to make me a promise."
"Before you leave Amphipolis this weekend, I insist that you and Beth visit the family tombs at the ancient ruins," said Mamme with a serious look on her face.
"Yes, Mamme, I promise." Without looking, Reese reached under the table for Beths hand. "Well go, wont we, honey?"
The younger woman squeezed her partners hand in quiet reassurance. Of course, well go. Just like everything else on this trip, a return trip to the tombs seemed to be predestined.
"Pappos, can you help me find a boat I can rent from Potidaea?" Reese looked over at her quiet grandfather.
"Of course I can," said the old man. "Anything for you and Beth."
"Dont tell me that you can captain a sea vessel, too," teased Beth. "Another one of your many skills?"
"Well, I can handle a boat, but I think Ill try to find one that comes equipped with a captain." Reese smiled at her lover and sipped hot coffee from the mug in front of her.
"What will you wear?" Mamme passed the plate of food around the table.
"We can dress up for the reception," answered her granddaughter. "But, I think wed like to be informal today. Plus, its a little chilly next to the cliffs."
"Id like to wear the matching sweaters you knitted us," said Beth. "What about blue jeans and sweaters?"
"Perfect," said Reese. "After breakfast, Pappos and I will make arrangements for our trip and you and Mamme can plan our little ceremony, okay?"
"We have a lot to talk about, little one," said Mamme. "Hurry and finish your breakfast!"
Beth spent most of the morning talking with Reeses grandmother. The ceremony would be very simple. Mamme and Pappos would stand with them at the cliffs and witness their vows to one another. Beth let the older woman talk her into adding one addition to the ceremony. A Greek musician would also join them and play music softly as they expressed their feelings for one another. The musician was a family friend and Mamme took little time in persuading the young man to accompany them. With the arrangements made, Beth went upstairs to the bedroom to write her portion of the ceremony.
Beth reached for the box of quills and ink that Reece had given her for Christmas. She carefully unrolled a scroll of parchment and began to write a promise of love to her soulmate.
Reese and her grandfather contacted a sailboat company on the coast. The arrangements were made for the large sailboat, complete with a captain, to meet the women near the cliffs after the ceremony. Pappos made sure that the large boat was stocked with food and wine for their journey. He also paid for the rental fee for the sailboat without his granddaughters knowledge. Ensuring a wonderful honeymoon with her life partner was the least he could do for his beloved granddaughter.
After they arrived back at the inn, Reese took a tablet of paper and walked over to the stables. She walked over to pet one of the palomino horses in first stall. "Hello, old girl. Do you remember me?"
The horse nudged the tall womans shoulder and gave her a reassuring whinny. "I thought so. If you dont mind, Im going to stay here with you for a few minutes. I need some time with my thoughts."
The cream colored horse nodded in approval and watched as the dark haired woman began to write on the tablet of paper.
Mamme called a florist and then picked up two bouquets of flowers for the ceremony. Music and flowers were not too much to ask. She smiled and opened the drawer of her hutch. The old woman took out the gold bands that she had shown her granddaughter two days earlier. Reese asked her not to tell Beth about the rings so they would be a surprise during the ceremony. This would not be the only surprise today.
One car came to a stop by the side of the road beside the cliffs. Within minutes, another car pulled in behind it and stopped. A handsome young man with a laghouto instrument stepped out of the second car. Pappos walked over to greet the young man and motioned for the women to join him. "This is my granddaughter, Reese, and her friend, Beth. You know Mamme, of course. Ladies, this is our young friend, Solon."
Reese felt a chill run down her spine when her grandfather said the young mans name. Solon? Why would that mean anything to her? She shook off the chill and extended her hand to the young man. Beth shook his hand, as well.
"Were so happy you could be a part of the ceremony," said Beth. "Im looking forward to hearing you play. Is that instrument a lute?"
"Yes it is," answered the young man. "Its called a laghouto."
Reese placed her hand on her partners back. "Are we ready?"
Beth nodded and interlaced her small fingers with the long, slender fingers reaching for hers. They walked in silence toward the edge of the cliffs. Mamme and Pappos moved slightly in front of the couple and turned to face them. The older woman handed her Reese and Beth two small bouquets of flowers and winked at the young blonde. She then patted the pocket of her dress to make sure the velvet pouch holding the rings was still there. Pappos nodded to Solon to begin playing the lute.
The old man began to speak. "It is my honor to be a part of this special day for the two of you. You are standing in the very spot where I proposed to my beloved wife. Now we have two reasons to cherish this special place. I understand that you have written vows for each other. Beth, please take Reeses hand."
Both women handed their flowers to Mamme. With her free hand, the old woman slipped a velvet pouch into her husbands hand.
"Beth and Reese, your Mamme and I would like to give you these special wedding bands that have been in our family for centuries," said Pappos with a smile. He handed the larger ring to Beth and the smaller ring to Reese.
"They are beautiful," said Beth softly as she looked down at the bright gold band in her hand. "You knew about this, didnt you Reese?"
The taller woman smiled and nodded. Somehow in the back of her mind, Reese knew that the rings held a special meaning for just the two of them.
Beth took her lovers hand in her own and gazed into the blue eyes that so often held her captive. She took a deep breath and began to speak. "There is a passage in the Bible that has always spoken to me. Its from the book of Ruth. Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where there diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: The Lord to so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."
Reese felt a lump rise in her throat and she fought to keep her emotions in check.
Beth slipped the gold band onto the ring finger of her partners hand. "You have brought me the truest happiness I have ever known. I will walk down lifes path with you. Ill laugh with you and weep with you and care for you in sickness and in health. Our love extends beyond this earth and is greater than anything weve ever known. It is more powerful than our past and the foundation of our future. I love you beyond measure and I will dedicate the rest of my life to making you happy."
Beth finished her vows and breathed a sigh of relief. I did it. I made it through without forgetting the words and without crying.
Reese took her lovers hand and warmed it in her own before placing the ring on her finger. "Beth, you are my best friend and I love you more than I can possibly express to you. Whatever path we travel down, please know that I will always be by your side. May my heart be your shelter, my arms be your refuge. When your strength alone will not carry you through, my strength will forever be there for you. When you need words of encouragement, I will listen and provide support. When you need solace and comfort, I will understand. I place you in my heart today before all others. Side by side, step by step, may we journey together through eternity."
Beth could no longer hold her feelings in and tears began to stream down her face. Reese reached out to caress her partners face as tears began to fall over the tops of her own eyes and roll down her cheeks. Pappos handed his granddaughter a handkerchief and watched as she gently removed the tears from her partners face and then her own.
"So, Reese," said the old man. When are you going to kiss the girl?"
"Right now, Pappos," said Reese with a smile. She placed her arms around the smaller womans waist and Beth reached up and wrapped her arms around her partners neck. Within seconds, their lips met for a long, loving kiss. As they kissed, the sun came from behind the clouds and cast a brilliant yellow light over the two women. An unexplainable warmth permeated their souls as their bodies connected with one another. With their eyes still closed, the lovers each saw a vision. Two women who looked like them, but were dressed very differently, were holding one other and kissing, just as they were now. Reese abruptly opened her eyes to find a pair of startled green eyes looking right back into hers.
Beth began to tremble. Her arms were still around Reeses neck and she leaned forward to whisper into her ear. "Did you just see what I just saw?"
"Yes, love, I think I did." Reese couldnt shake the image from her conscious mind. A tall, tan, dark haired woman was wearing a willowy white robe with a gold, embroidered vest. At her side was something that looked like a sword and the unmistakable round chakram. The younger blonde in her arms was also wearing a white, free flowing robe, with an embroidered gold sleeveless coat over it. The robe came to the smaller womans knees and then met the top of soft, leather boots. On the side of each boot were small, sword looking objects that fit into laced bindings. Reese shuttered and shook her head in an effort to make the image go away.
Mamme watched as the expressions on the two womens faces changed from absolute devotion to one of anxious surprise. She looked toward the heavens and smiled. The circle was almost complete.
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