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And If I Asked?

 
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Mark Low
Gypsy King
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 25 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: And If I Asked? Reply with quote

Inside the tent was a cozy sorta place, kinda made him feel like he was a kid again under a colorful fort made o’ sheets. Mark had thought about tha fer a minute, mostly about how he weren’t nah kid anymore and how different thin's was but that it wasn’t a bad thin’. When you were little you had this idea about bein’ an adult tha never really measured up tah the real thing. In some ways, whut was imagined was sah much bettah than reality. In other ways, there was things and situations a young mind couldn’t really grab hold o’ that was amazing and unique and made a lot o’ whut you went through worth it.

Lot o’ days, tho, there was jist Grace. He got friends and family, and all tha others, but it was jist known she was ingrained in him. He coulda tried tah deny it and then they woulda rolled their eyes at him and she woulda jist laughed at him like he was sayin’ some kinda weak joke. But tha’s how it been since they met, they was two peas in a pod. Mark weren’t nah pristine snowflake or nothin’, but he didn’t bring around many women as bein’ his girl and Grace, bein’ little and fierce, decided plain and simple tha he was it.

When they first met he was achin’ ovah bein’ used and she were achin’ ovah bein’ abused. They was worshipped and spit upon by who come before and that weren’t easy tah set aside fer someone new. It took some bein’ creative, but mostly, it took bein’ painfully honest.

Sah it were, in that Beltane tent after having a tender go at one another, tha he kissed her ovah the heart and asked her iffin she could handle tha idea o’ him bein it. O’ them being something fer more then jist a year and a day, and fer more than jist good times and laughs. Mehbe she would have a kid or eight by him and mehbe they jist figure out the rest as they go along. Whut she did then was laugh like Christmas bells. Whut she did then was tell him o’ course.

Was by that moment that Grace went and took it upon herself tah be his wife, which she was all smiles about. Mark got nothing but joy and relief in his heart, like tha worst nightmare he ever had was finally defeated and there could be something like brutal joy roamin’ his bones. They had sah many other problems ahead of them, with family, with politics and jist with life in general, but at least fer tha night they got a kinda private joy at knowin’ they was truly belonging tah one another.

It was on tha next day, in jeans, shirtless but with his jacket on, that he woke up by tha glen with her head weighing down his right arm to where it was making it tingle and be asleep. The Fae wine left a terrific hangovah in his head, but it weren’t unbearable. He reached over, shifting tah his side tah wrap his arm around her and he realized, in that little moment, it was tha first full day o’ evah holdin’ his wife.

It started with the soft music of a spring morning. The gentle hum of crickets giving way by degrees to the excited chirping of birds. The quiet lapping sound of the lake, stirred up by a teasing breeze that also ruffled the trees. The slow greying silver of dawn. Distant sounds of other couples rousing slowly, some staggering out of the woods with dazed smiles plastered on their faces. The warm, heavy weight of Mark’s arm closing around her, pulling her snuggly back against his chest.

Grace opened her eyes slowly, wanting to savor every creeping moment of slowly waking consciousness. Somewhere lurking deep in her skull was the dull, throbbing edge of a terrific headache, but she could hold it off just a little bit longer by pretending it wasn’t there. The scent of starlight was still all around her, enveloping the tiny Gypsy Queen in a soothing blanket of sex and smoke, bonfire, and Mark, and just at its edges the sweet, sharp tingle of thawing morning dew. She took a deep breath and even the air tasted different, somehow better, driving a drowsy, happy smile into the corners of her full lips.

“Mmm,” she mumbled, wriggling in his grasp as she rolled over onto her other side, all the better to burrow into his warmth. Her Gypsy King was shirtless because his Queen was wearing his shirt, her gossamer dress in its soft prismatic pastels still discarded in a heap at the edge of the little firepit. Her voice had an uncharacteristically deep graveled edge to it, her little fingers creeping their way around his ribs to wrap him up tightly. “Morning, Mister.”

“Morning,” it sounded lazy and sedate, but that were jist a bit misleading. About two seconds after he spoke he rolled atop of her, comfortably claimin’ a spot in between her legs and given her a kiss tah tha neck. Naht every man in tha world liked mornings but jist about every single one was affectionate first thin’. He got reason tah be, on top of tha fact. There was a sleepy kinda hangover and then the sorta buzz of excitement in knowin’ tha it weren’t ah dream he had off on his own.

“How yah feel, love? Thinkin’ about a swim?” His eyes moved from her face and landed on the near-quiet surface o’ tha water naht but a few yards away. Tha was one way tah wake up in the mornin’, fer sure. Tah show he weren’t really pushing the idea, he smiled down at her and then nudged her cheek with a kiss.

“Ack--” Her exclamation of surprise was cut off by a pretty giggle, sounding low in her throat and an octave lower than normal, but clear as daybreak all the same. Grace fell back easily, her shoulder blades pressing into the rich damp earth underneath their blanket even as her thighs split to accommodate him. Her bent legs hugging tightly to his hips, she peered up at him with an affectionate shake of her head.

Wide, wildly green eyes with just a hint of gold pixie dust in their centers were soft, every bit as full of starshine and love for him as they had been the night before, under the influence of the wine. Her smile came easily, her lips seemed loathe to come together, to relax out of it. Nope, it seemed the grin had become permanent. She freed one hand, reaching up to push her fingers through his thick, choppy chocolate waves, ostensibly pushing his hair back from his eyes though her nails would end up taking the long way back as they wandered lightly over his scalp.

“Your first act as a married man is t’go jump in a lake, huh?” It seemed impossible that her grin could grow any deeper, but it did. “Alright, Barlow, let’s go jump in a lake, then.”

“Nah, mah first act is tah kiss yah, again,” tah which he pressed in, put his lips tah hers and din broke tha contact sah he could speak again, “and then gah jump in a lake with my woman.” He weren’t tha type o’ man tha woulda dun well with too modern and easily offended o’ a woman. He still spoke tha old tongue, tha habits o’ tha previous generation still heavy in him and in tha camp. If one was tah ask him if she was ‘owned’ by him he woulda scoffed at tha silly question-- whilst naht battin’ an eye tah referring to her as “his.”

His hands gripped clumps o’ grass at tha gound by her sides before he showed up like he was doin’ a push-up. Once on his feet he hung his jacket on tha nearest peg or tree branch, which woulda accommodated him. Aftah tha, his hands was offered down, ready tah catch hers and give her a tug tah rise her from tha dead.
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Grace Low
Gypsy Queen
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 18 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grace’s giggle was cut off prematurely by his kiss, the sound morphing from muffled laughter to partial moan to halfhearted whine as he kissed her and then pulled away again. “Not enough kissing,” she complained, a pout tugging at the edge of her smile, threatening its permanent residence at last.

She rubbed childishly at one eye, clearing the little crystals from its corner. A yawn was stifled against the balling of that same little fist, and she arched her back in a luxuriously feline stretch, raising her arms up over her head. Her giggle returned belatedly, held off by the arch in her back that hollowed out her diaphragm while she reached for the edges of the tent wall behind her. Grace considered herself fairly progressive, particularly for a Gypsy woman, what with her career and her divorce and all, but even so there was something about the way Mark called her ‘my woman’ that touched a place long walled off in her heart, made it go all soft and runny.

The woman who’d once sworn she’d never belong to another man thrilled at the prospect of being really and truly, officially his. She thrilled, too, at the certain knowledge that he was hers.

Raising her arms again, Grace snagged his outstretched hands, twining her fingers in his, and let Mark pull her to her feet. Her limbs spoke of boneless apathy, a languid reluctance to be upright and moving, but it was largely for show. The latent excitement of the evening’s events was stealing over her again, and she freed one hand to hook her little fingers through one of the belt loops of his jeans. “Kay. Lessgo.”

“It’ll rejuvenate yah,” it were the best he could promise her in terms of why there might need tah be some pep in her step and whut naht. That weren’t tah say her hand hookin’ in his belt loops and tha easy goin’ smile, coupled with the half-echoin headache in his brain weren’t something tah give pause fer. He coulda easily walled himself up in tha bedroom with her, but his heart really were set on tha swim. Beltane got a whole cleansin’ aspect tah it with fire and mehbe now, jist mehbe, he was introducing his own Barlow brand o’ cleansin. Water had a way o’ doin tha, even iffin it was the water in tha glen.

Sah it was that she got another kiss from him fer tha cute posturing and then he turned from her, workin’ on undoin’ his pants and pausin’ jist long enough tah measure her with his gaze. Weren’t hard tah know he got a soft spot fer her, and even in that moment the kindness o’ his gaze was still there, still visible, when he gave her a look, “Yah ever figure in your head all this woulda been a thin’ aftah tha first kiss?”

It was pretty much always hard to want to get out of bed and do things when there was nothing specific on the schedule and a half dressed (or completely undressed) Mark to snuggle up to instead. This morning was even harder, considering the fading remnants of Beltane magic in the air and so much celebrating to do. Grace caught the way he was looking at her and knew he was thinking about changing his mind, but she also knew how important the swimming was for him, and anyway there was an undercurrent of giddy excitement singing in her veins now that the prospect had even been raised. Bedrooms (and kitchens and anywhere else they could think of) would have to wait.

And there was something poetic about it that spoke to her story-teller soul. Cleansed in fire. Married. Bathed in the waters that lapped at their own doorstep.

She accepted his kiss with a warm smile and then watched him work at his pants. All she was wearing was his t-shirt, and the air still had a nip of frost to it, so Grace was holding off on removing it until right before they jumped in together. Or trying to, anyway. He asked his question and she thought about it, reflecting for a moment on how one might say she’d been in this position before.

“I...there was a time in my life I thought for sure I’d never marry again,” said the little stylist with a wistful shake of her head. “I thought I’d blown my chance at real happiness, you know? But then I met you and…” Trailing off, her shoulders rose and fell in a helpless shrug. “...And yeah,” she continued. “Yeah, I think I knew I was yours from the first time you asked me whether I would let you kiss me.” Thinking about it now, Grace shook her head with a smile that was both amused and affectionate, and then elbowed him gently in the side. “You and your… asking about things without actually doing them.”

“Oi, yeah well it had all tha looks o’ a suitor bein’ about. Askin’ and not assuming be tha thin’ tah do when you start feelin’ sweet on a woman who maybe is preoccupied.” His voice didn’t hint at tha hurt he got, tha one he carried, at his girlfriend before bein’ far, far tah preoccupied with another man. Mark sometimes figured a woman jist would never really realize, or wanna realize, what sorta blow that could be tah someone’s heart. Was seeming like a far off thin’ when tha happened tah think naht all women jumped tha first time the grass was lookin’ greener.

Naht tah say that thins was always perfect, jist that there was somethin’ tah naht jist giving intah the easier, quickest impulse. Tah knowin’ yah got somethin’ special, special enough that it got a chance tah fight befer bein’ killed. Mark were fairly sure tha losing Grace out tah some otha guy woulda been a heart wrenching thing tah know. Was the sorta thing he nevah wanted tah know, and he liked the calm solace of whut it was like tah smell her skin on the bedsheets and know tha the worst she evah was up to was a little bit o’ flirtin’. He got a past with far more shade and she never made him feel suspect for it.

Sah it was the inked up gypsy king were undressed. Literal and metaphorical. She got one more embrace from him before he went and helped tha shirt offa her frame, “Come on, then, befer I change mah mind.”

Grace had to fight the impulse to roll her eyes. Her man had been very upfront about the hurt spots he had - or used to have, hopefully - and the petite stylist tried really hard to keep from making him feel bad about it, but she still didn’t understand how it came to be that half the camp thought there was something going on with her and Mason. Sure, they were opposite genders and of legal age, but her best friend was in love with his deceased wife and very clearly sweet on someone else altogether. She and the famous boxing legend had grown up together and they were family. She would never deny him and say that they weren’t very close, but it was close like cousins.

Lips pursing for a moment, Grace shook her head and then offered him her smile. “I was preoccupied with you, ya’ big dummy,” she said it gently, moving into his embrace and then raising her arms so he could peel the shirt from her body for her. Once the fabric was off and what was left of the elaborate braid she’d done the night before had spilled back down over her shoulders, she lifted her hands to his chest, her thumbs tracing his ribs where he had the two tattoos. “Ready when you are,” she grinned, and then suddenly, “...we should get tattoos.”

It was a lot tah do with naht jist her but others. Levi got his ear about it along with a few othas and he jist weren't about tah go and have history prove itself. At tha end o the day, though, there was just deciding if the threat of another pain were worth it. Mark weren't tah much of a hopeless romantic, but he weren't ready tah throw in the towel.

Was a good thing he didn't. Especially seeing her there like she was, pretty teal hair and doll frame cuddled up near tah his own. He felt her thumb skim his ribs and then heard whut she had in mind, “Oi, yea? Dun they all say iffin you do that you curse your relationship? Whut do you think we should get?” He was a touch superstitious, but his eyes still got a smile in them.

“I’m pretty sure the rule is that you can’t get someone’s name tattooed on you,” Grace giggled, her thumb sweeping the gentle arc of his rib where the musical notes to a song that just so happened to have her name in it were inscribed. Lifting her gaze back to his face, she gave him a little smile, her shoulders rising and falling in a shrug. “I don’t know yet, I only just thought of it. The only tattoo I have is to honor the saddest moment of my life, though…” The small stylist trailed off, indicating the teddy bear on her hip. “I think I would like to have something that honors the happiest moment I’ve had so far.”

Her smile spread into a grin, her body pressing ever closer into his, naked as they were. “And anyway, y’got tattoos with other people, seems to me I should be one of those people, too, yeah?” Her tone was playful as she turned from him at last, going to the tent’s door to peer out. “Looks like we’re the only ones up right now. Shall we?” The lake was calling.

“I got nah problem with a little more ink, yah can get addicted tah tha pain o’ it and all.” Hell, he got one on his calf for Tabasco Sauce so tah say there wouldn’t be space fer her woulda been weird, hurtful, or a sign o’ somethin’ bad. She went and peered out tha tent and he nodded.

Mark had about naht one reservation on being nude. It weren’t because he was some model-lookin’ fella or anything. Nah. He was good lookin’ enough, but he didn’t have chiseled abs and a perfectly maintained body. Usually there were that five o’clock shadow he was lucky came intah fashion. He was fit enough from all tha odd end stuff he did, but his tendency towards beer and late nights lounging by the bonfire was enough tah keep him out o’ the realm of the type of men that weighed their food and took measurements o’ their body. What he had was ink and confidence, and tha seemed tah go way further than a set o’ abs any day of the week.

Sah it were that he strolled out, not cuppin’ his genitals bashfully with one hand whilst holding hers. He jist let tha free hand dangle at his side whilst tha other wove itself up intah Grace’s. Most cautious thin’ he did was take a look around. With Beltane an all there was a lotta strangers, more din normal, hangin’ around where they lived. He spoke tah her as he walked and kept an eye out, “Sah whut do you think be a good symbol for our happiness?”

As a default setting, Grace tended to be a little more self conscious, ingrained as it was in her upbringing that modesty was essential. It was that very deep rooted training, though, that had the tiny dancer squaring her shoulders and lifting her chin, resolved to walk every bit as nonchalantly beside him no matter who might see.

She tangled her fingers in his, squeezing lightly. A pleasant shiver rolled down her back when a sudden spring breeze set the trees to whispering, the loose tendrils of her braid skittering ticklish over her shoulder blade. Grace grinned, drawing herself ever closer to his side, seeking warmth or proximity or both. The earth was warm and soft underneath her feet, and the thrill of it all made her smile. “Um… I don’t know. Maybe crowns?”

Was always a difficult thin’, swimming in water which got a bite tah it. He paused at the edge and took one step in, suckin’ in a breath which said tha though the Spring had come along, it hadn’t shaken off all tha chill Winter got. His eyes jumped tah her face and he smiled, “Tha might tempt fate a little bit,” He got his back pointed to tha water and he was facin’ her. One, two, three steps backward. Feeling the dirt and kinda algae on some rocks at his feet, his smile broke fer her. His hand with hers was now a means tah coax her in with him. Grace was probably feelin’ a tug from him then.

“Mehbe make tha crowns like two rings hooked tahgether, yeah?” Sorta like an infinity symbol, jist naht so readily apparent. Technically, he always got a crown with him but his happiest moment weren’t about tha at all. His Da dyin and leavin’ camp and all other thin’s tah him had been a stressful thin’ come tah him tah soon. Weren’t until there was another person helpin’ him, and usually her helpin’ him naht get too inside his own head, that he had known he was happy. Someone he was sure jist really liked him and was wantin’ tah be with him. Sah tah Mark, it was more than jist the one crown, weren’t it tha two?

Her first step into the water drew a sharp gasp from her, as steadily as Mark was gently tugging her forward, so she was tugging him back out again, just barely. The girl’s exposed skin instantly rippled into goosebumps, a more pronounced shiver snaking its way down her back. “Spring may be in the air, but winter’s still in the water,” pronounced Grace, catching the inside of her cheek in her teeth as she forced herself to take another couple of steps forward.

“Yeah, something like that sounds good. I was kinda just kidding about the crown, Mister Not-King, but… I like that idea, and I don’t wanna do anything too cliche like puzzle pieces. Something that means we’re a team.” She smiled and then gasped again as she took another tentative step forward. “Oh, I don’t know if I can do this slowly,” she said, trying not to let her teeth chatter. “Maybe we should run.”

Mehbe it were a cruel thin’ tah do, but it was tha thin’ tah do. He got the goosebumps just the same as she and he thought the boys were gonna hop up and try to crawl back inside him. Mark sucked in a breath and without warnin’ or even a count, yanked her backward with him.

Tha water was about four feet deep where they fell sah their legs could catch them easily enough and they could be on knees and be fully submerged, still. But on his back like that the water gave a cold smack and din relented seconds later. His arms was around Grace fer more than jist makin’ sure tha he pulled her along, he also was hopin’ once she was done swearin’ at him they would be one another’s only hope tah be warm.

Whut did tired Beltane minds do? Ferget thin’s like towels. And tho tha water was cold, it would only be fer a few minutes until they adjusted. Then it’d seem like the air was colder and they’d keep themselves as submerged as possible. That little moment was such that the conversation were suspended.

Technically, Grace had asked for this. She didn’t quite get what it was that he was doing when he gave that sudden yank that pulled her all the way into him, was too startled to comprehend the action until half a second before they made impact.

Mark hit the water first, Grace immediately after him. The shock of the temperature drop drew a high pitched outcry from her lips, not quite a scream in volume but certainly shrill. Blinking water from her eyes as she resurfaced, she had a death grip on his body with one hand as she wiped at her face with the other. “W-well,” she said through teeth that were definitely chattering now, “Th-tha-that’s one way to d-do it…”

Grace was far more gentle than he figured she’d be. Naht that she was tha slappin’ sort, but a dirty look or maybe a pinch wouldn’t have been tah much o’ a surprise from her, considering the situation. She still got hold on him and when he recovered, he was kinda on one knee and tuggin’ her back ovah and intah him. Somewhere a minnow or something brushed along tha outside of his arm, across his Betty Page tattoo. There was a few frogs that were up to singin’ about spring and now that the sun got a few minutes to climb tha day was beginnin’ tah be brighter. None o’ that would save them from tha water temperature, tho. Took too long tah be affected, it was jist that the world was starting to wake up around them.

His dark brown hair was in messy locks that rolled off tah one side, a few petulant pieces stickin’ forward since he hadn’t given them any taming with his hand. Clearing his throat he smiled, “See? Naht sah bad.” The initial shock o’ tha cold was finally startin’ tah wear off.

Grace had had enough of violence and harsh language for several lifetimes -- even at her most startled, she was a gentle thing. One more reason the girl was occasionally dismissed and overlooked, perpetually underestimated. The worst she did was make a face at him, going so far as to stick her tongue out, but she let him reel her in against him all the same.

Taking a perch against his hip, Grace half sat and half leaned against him, keeping as much of her body underwater as she could. As her skin acclimated to the water’s temperature, so the ambient air temperature began to feel that much colder, that spring breeze plucking at her nose and ears. “This is … certainly brisk,” she conceded, her delicate fingers winding their way around his body until she was latched to him like a small animal.

What little revenge she’d claim came then, in the way she suddenly angled her head, her mouth clamping down on his shoulder as she bit him playfully.


“S’good tho, yeah?” Mark liked tha water and it were one o’ the few thin’s he didn’t like about the road. Was hard to tote a pool around with yah wherever you went. Sah weather and situation allowing? He always had a mind tah swim. Somethin’ about it relaxed him, suited him, and he figured it probably had somethin’ tah do with his Da havin’ him and Billie do a lot when they was kids. A creek was an easy way tah entertain kids without havin’ tah worry too much. Besides that, unless you were needing a fancy pool it was free or pretty cheap tah go do.

He was ah-sah-innocently taking a survey o’ tha banks of tha glen, on tha verge o sayin’ something that woulda been sweet and heartwarming (surely) until he felt tha two half-moon impressions of her teeth in his shoulder, “Oi! You best behave or I’ll see tah you bein’ sorry.” She gave him a playful bite and he? Well, a playful pinch of her chilled nipple came tah follow.

Grace had come to appreciate the water because Mark did -- splashing into the ocean together or sneaking into the hot springs at night on their mini ‘vacations’. Mark and the waterways had become twin phenomena to her, each reminded her of the other. So it was hard not to like it in that context, even if they were naked in frigid waters in the first hours after dawn with who knows how many people around.

Cold as it was, those nipples made for easy targets, the skin pulled taut and almost painfully erect. The tweak of his thumb and finger brought another sharp squeak that was muffled against his shoulder, Grace bit down even harder. She let go a moment later, struggling to twist out of his grasp. “Hey! No fair.”

“Oi,” he gave a surprised laugh as tha pressure increased, thinkin’ she woulda jist let go right away instead o’ holdin’ on like she were. When the sharp impression of her smile finally let him go he looked once at his shoulder and din tah her, “Fair? Yah know whut I think about fair,” if she got tha movie quote from him one more time she might jist start rollin’ her eyes. There was a temporary, blushing red reminder of her mouth, tha bite mark given in play doin’ its best tah puff up and look serious jist before disappearing.

She was tryin’ tah twist away and like kids, his hands did tha best they could tah keep up with her and keep her right where she was, ultimately tugging her tah where she was pressed flush tah his chest and his arms was wrapped around her. Tah keep his balance in all tha he had tah drop his bent knees sah that both his knees was on the bed o’ tha glen.

Once he’d released his hold on that most tender of areas, Grace quit fighting so ‘hard’ to get away from him, not that she was ‘fighting’ all that hard to begin with. All the struggle went out of her as Mark gathered her against his chest, because it suited her just fine since he couldn’t pinch her again that way. She wrapped her little legs around his hips as soon as the second knee planted in the soft lakebed, hooking her ankles together somewhere behind his back to anchor herself to his body.

Winding her arms around his shoulders next, the tiny dancer clung to him in that fashion, managing to keep herself fully submerged from the neck down. Her sloppy braid was a many-legged sea serpent undulating in the water behind her, the ripples from their horseplay sending it slithering side to side as it floated behind her. She made a face up at him, like she was thinking about arguing ‘fair’ or maybe just getting ready to roll her eyes at that quote that seemed on the tip of his tongue, but ultimately she couldn’t hold it, couldn’t even pretend to stay mad at him on this of all mornings. Instead she shook her head, pressed her face into his chest to lay a light kiss there before nestling her cheek in against him. “You’re silly,” pronounced the Queen.

“Thought I was weird,” when he spoke he weren’t soundin’ like he was sayin’ a joke, he sounded like he were speaking tah her gently one kind of confession or another. His arms were a loose wrap around her, lettin’ her wiggle tah one side or another but nevah givin’ any other impression tah her but that he were holding her close. And tha tattoos? Tha idea would come to him, he figured. Mehbe one night when they was layin’ tahgether or after a few drinks when a wild, impulsive urge hit ‘em both and needed to be sated.

“We should head back,” she couldn’t see tha his eyes were ahead, that he had noticed tha pick-up o’ life and foot traffic. There were plenty of faces tha was familiar enough. Jenny had climbed outta her home and squinted tah see who were in the water and then smiled, with a salty grin, at recognizing tha two o’ them. Folks could spot them a mile away thanks tah Grace’s hair.

“Got an announcement tah make, aftah all.” He grinned down tah her face, nudging her cheek with his lips and then exhaling. He couldn’t feel tha discomfort o’ the glen’s wet floor on his knees and naht much of the water’s chill could shake him. There was a bigger moment, last night, a weird hangovah and then reliving, realizing, tha things had come tah be as they ought to. With those sorta thoughts in mind, none o’ tha other things had much weight. Mark cleared his throat and smiled down at her, “You owe me one helluva breakfast, anyway.”
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