Like A Prayer

an excerpt

The sound of his heels hitting the stone hallway rang out as Kieran stamped angrily towards his study. He clenched and unclenched his hands in counterpoint to his footfalls, and his deep sigh echoed in the emptiness. Tonight will be long and lonely.

The sigh was a mix of anger, sorrow, and frustration, Kieran turned and, with a change of mind, headed out to walk along the curtain wall. He trailed his fingers along the parapet. He stopped and stared out over the forest.

He'd had the small castle brought over from Ireland and rebuilt brick-by-brick. The nearby townsfolk were more than happy with him for having created a tourist attraction, even though that hadn't been his intention. But it paid to keep the locals happy. He even allowed visitors onto his grounds when he was absent from the castle. The beautiful forest nearby was the delight of the man he loved, and the reason Kieran had chosen the location.

The man who was absent on their anniversary.

He banged his hand down hard against the stone. The fault wasn't due to his beautiful Lucas. His beloved had been devastated to get the call from his father to attend a family party. But they both knew that relations between father and son would only deteriorate further if Lucas chose Kieran over him. When I get back, we'll go away together, somewhere you want, just the two of us. I love you, Kieran. Never doubt that.

Kieran turned his gaze upward. He didn't doubt it. Despite Mark's barbs and whispers behind his back of how his son had been in some way forced, tricked or coerced into their relationship, Kieran knew they had married because they both wanted to, and because Lucas was his true soul mate. However Mark hated that while Kieran was a shifter, he wasn't a fox, not even one of your graceful feline shifters either. No, I have to be a bear. Big, lumbering, and clumsy in my shifted form, but Lucas loves me just as I am.

He reached into the pocket of the shirt he wore and drew out a small box. Today was their fifth wedding anniversary, and he'd had something very special made. He opened the box and gazed at the charm inside. Made to his specifications lay a silver harp, with cornflower-blue tanzanite stones channel-set into the side. Perfect, just like Lucas. I give thanks every day for the blessing of his love and support.

He closed the box, and returned it to his pocket. He closed his eyes, picturing the way he would present Lucas with the token of his love. Cold-nosed nudges to his palms caused him to glance down. His two Irish wolfhounds wagged their tails and whined softly. Both dogs were silver-grey, and had been his anniversary present from Lucas for their third anniversary. He patted them, and they wagged harder.

Kieran shook his head. Five years already. I remember it as if it was yesterday.