I swear, I should just call it Storytime Saturday or something. *laughs* Yesterday was busy and toxic and the blog never even crossed my mind. I do have something I want to share with you this week. A couple of somethings.
First, is a paragraph from Anna and Liam’s wedding rehearsal. They’d just run through the procession for the second time and…well, here, just read it. 😉
Conaire smiled at the bride and groom as they stood before him a second time at the end of the rehearsal. “Are you sure you don’t want me to marry you right now?”
Anna and Liam smiled at each other for a long moment before looking at Conaire again. It was Liam who spoke, his voice a little rough with emotion. “I want to see her in all her bridal finery. I want to give her what she deserves – all the romance and pomp and circumstance that goes with who and what she is.”
I absolutely adore Liam. He’s so tough and gruff, hard and all business. Except when it comes to his Anna. She is his sun and moon, his life blood, the marrow in his bones.
Just as he is for her.
The thing I most want to share is Anna’s parents and the rehearsal dinner. However, I can’t share the entire thing (the dinner that is) because it’s two chapters long. As dinner comes to an end, Cain and Janelle give their wedding gift to their daughter and her husband-to-be. A little about the dinner: Fourteen people sit around the large square table and three of them are Vampires. Their diet is what you’d expect and they are informed at the beginning of the meal that the castle staff all donated blood. This is an important point, trust me. 😀
I shall be setting up my new computer today and finishing that project that was supposed to be the subject of last week’s announcement (so that maybe I can announce it tomorrow), and wishing I could be at my daughter’s competition today. It’s 2 hours away and I can barely walk; there’s no way I can make the drive. It’s going to crush her. 😦 It breaks my heart. I missed her dance yesterday and I can’t go to her last competition next week either.
*sigh* These are the realities of my life buy they still suck.
On Monday I will have a new thing for you. A new weekly blog experiment.
Have a great day!
Anna smiled at her father as he watched her take a final bite of the cake. She swallowed then asked, “Was everything alright, Father?”
Cain nodded. “It was indeed. These Highlanders have a lovely flavour.” He winked at her and her giggles filled the room over the sudden stillness.
“I think you should be complimented, Conaire.” Anna said mischievously. “You grow a fine people here.”
Conaire burst out laughing. “I do indeed.” He turned to Cain, “I am pleased that you all were able to enjoy the meal. Unfortunately, we do not have a enough people here to donate as much as is needed for tomorrow; at least, not by Prince Andre’s estimations. We have had some vintages flown in for the Vampire side of tomorrow night’s celebrations.”
Cain nodded. “That is acceptable, thank you.” He rose, his heavy goblet in hand. “I would like to say something.” He waited until everyone picked up their glasses. “My daughter is more than seven hundred years old and yet –” he broke off as everyone’s head whipped around to stare at Anna, everyone except Liam, who merely took her hand in his. Cain cleared his throat. “And yet,” he said again, “you would never know by looking at her. She is a gorgeous creature; loving, charming, absolutely brilliant and completely devoted to whomever she has given her heart.
“She has chosen to give it to Liam here and to the Wolves he rules over.” Cain nodded to Liam. “Now, I don’t know Liam very well, even though I’ve had him thoroughly investigated.” He gave Liam a hard look, and only Liam saw the amusement in his eyes. “We need to discuss that Norfolk thing, boy.”
Liam’s eyes widened. “No, no,” he said hastily, “we don’t.” He glowered at Marcus as he smirked. He was the only one who knew that Liam had worked undercover as a drag queen to catch a rogue shifter.
Cain grinned again. “As I was saying, with or without the Norfolk thing, Liam is as fine a person as I have ever met. Regardless of what you are…” scowls ringed the table and Janelle pinched him, “I will be pleased to call you son-in-law. Hey,” he said in response to the scowls, “I am old –”
“Ancient,” Anna chimed in.
Cain scowled at her and finished his sentence. “I am old and I am set in my ways. The war between Therianthrope and Vampire is almost as old as I am.” He lifted his glass. “Here’s to Liam and Anna, may you live a long, happy life filled with so much joy that a smile never leaves your face. I’d add ‘and enough strife to make you appreciate it’ but you’ve had enough trouble in the last few weeks to last you two lifetimes. To Anna and Liam!” He tipped his glass at the pair and sipped as everyone echoed his toast and sipped.
Janelle leaned over and whispered in his ear. Cain nodded, chagrined. “One more thing,” he said. He raised his voice. “Come!”
Immediately, the door to the main hall opened and another Vampire walked in. He was carrying a large chest covered by a red velvet cloth. He set it down on the table between Anna and Liam, who hastily moved their dishes. It made a heavy thunk on the thick wooden table top. The chest measured fifteen inches wide by ten wide and nine from table to where the curve of the lid began. Anna, always eager to unwrap a gift, reached for the cloth.
“Hold.” Cain’s voice was soft but commanding. Anna stopped and reluctantly tucked her fingers in her lap, under the table. He smiled at her and held his hand to Janelle, who took it and rose to stand beside him. Cain continued, “I know that the Four Claw Pack has the ability and means to look after themselves but we are parents and we wish nothing but the best for our daughter. We want to know that her future, the future of her husband and children and all those she cares about is secure.”
Janelle wrapped an arm around Cain and smiled at Anna and Liam. “It’s true. We love you both dearly,” she was pinching Cain to keep him from inserting his usual derogatory remark about Wolves. She needn’t have been. Cain could clearly see how happy and well loved his daughter was and was coming around to feeling affection for this particular group of Wolves. “We want to make sure that whatever comes up, whatever happens, you will always be safe.”
“You may lift the cloth, Daughter.”
Together, Anna and Liam pulled the red cloth from the chest. Everyone at the table gasped as Anna set the cloth to one side. The base chest was made of several solid slabs of mahogany, the lid of several thinner strips nailed to solid curved pieces at each end. Every join of wood was covered with Damascus steel, the hinges on the back and the latch for the padlock on the front. Tied to the padlock with a black silk ribbon was the key.
Liam looked from the chest to Cain. “The construction is astounding. Is that really Damascus steel?”
“It is. I know some people.” Cain looked smug. He’d known the Wolf would like the box itself but he couldn’t wait to see what they thought of the contents. “Open it.”
Anna untied the key but left it to Liam to open and remove the lock. Together they lift the lid. Immediately they gasped and half rose to their feet. Simultaneously, they looked at her parents. Anna waved a hand at chest. “This is… is…” her voice was tremulous.
“…too much!” Liam said, his voice thick with emotion.
Cain shook his head as Janelle moved around to wrap an arm around her daughter’s shoulder. “Given your longevity and hers, it may not be enough.”
Marcus and Conaire both leaned to the side trying to see into the chest but they couldn’t really see anything. Anna and Liam gazed back down again. Across the top of the chest were rolls of hundred pound notes three inches wide. The chest held five rolls across and three up from front to back. Underneath that, they could see a hint of gold.
Together they took out the rolls, setting them on their ends on the table, making sure to hide the exact count from everyone. There were gasps from the others. Under the pound notes was a pile of gold and roughly cut jewels; rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds were the most easily identified.
Almost as one, Anna and Liam dropped heavily into their chairs. “Momma, Da… this is too much.” Anna repeated.
“Nonsense,” Janelle said briskly. She began putting rolls back in the box. “You will need all of this at some point in your lives. Just think of the babies. You have three to put through college.”
“There are ways of doing these things, Janelle, and I have wealth of my own.” Liam protested feebly as he helped her repack the chest.
She gave them a hard look through her lashes that indicated the pair were not being very gracious. Immediately, they both blushed. Anna hugged her mother tightly, making the older woman squeak. Knowing where Anna was heading next, Janelle used one arm to anchor her in place, scooped up the lock with the other, pulled out the key and deftly tucking it into Anna’s cleavage. “You’re welcome,” she whispered in her daughter’s ear. “Keep that key safe.”
Anna nodded then flew around the table to throw herself at her father. She giggled when Cain caught her awkwardly and hugged her almost as stiffly as she was being enthusiastic.
“Thank you, Father. We will invest it wisely.”
Cain hugged his daughter and frowned. “It’s not meant to be invested. It’s meant to be housed and used as needed.” He dipped his head and whispered in her ear. “Your mother insists that two of those rolls of bills are to be used on your pregnancy, the babies, their nursery and for something nice to be done for you after you deliver.”
“Yes, Father.” Behind her she heard the lock snap shut. She turned to smile at the man who would be her husband in less than twenty-four hours. He smiled back like he knew what she was thinking and held out his hand to her.