At the ceremony, Kazinsky, Harmony and Fiddlestix are awarded ranks in the Shine Clan Militia. Not only that, Fiddlestix is formally adopted by the Clan. Oh—and Deacon proposed.
Deacon extended his hand. When Fiddlestix took it, he drew her to him and kissed her passionately in front of the entire assembly. He held her close, whispering in her ear. “One day, Hannah, you’ll stand here as my wife.”
Fiddlestix didn’t know what to say. She was stunned by her reception by this clannish, secluded people. They treated her like family, called her friend, and extended the warmth and comfort of their hearts and home to her. Even among her own people, she had never been so well accepted. Tears threatened to fall. To hide them, she took Deacon’s head in her hands, bringing his mouth down to hers once more. They kissed hungrily as the crowd went crazy.
Someone in the audience started yelling, “Speech! Speech!”
Everyone took up the chant. There was nothing for it, she would have to say something. Deacon led her to the center of the stage and the crowd grew quiet before being asked.
“I’m not good at giving speeches,” Fiddlestix grinned rather nervously. “But I do want to thank you all for your kindness and generosity, as well as your bravery and sacrifice. Everyone here lost someone they care about. Therefore, I honor your dead by swearing to you that I will always do my best, no matter what, to protect the Shine Clan. You are my family now. Thank you!”
She stepped back by Deacon, trying to lose herself behind his massive body. He took her hand, leading her forward once more. To loud, joyous applause, he took a bow, encouraging her to bow as well.
Blushing furiously, she backed up to hide in the ranks of her soldiers. They parted enough to let her into the front row, but refused to let her go any further. They were proud of her and they thought she deserved all the praise she was getting.
After the ceremony, a huge dinner was set up. The Shine Clan women prided themselves on being able to feed a man until he could eat no more. They pressed food on Fiddlestix’ men, practically force feeding them. After eating, the tables were pushed out of the way and musicians clamored onto an improvised stage at one end of the room. They struck up a traditional square dance and Frank Lord got up to call it.
Fiddlestix had no idea what she was doing, so she refused to dance. Deacon and Jasper tried to persuade her, but she kept refusing. Finally, in desperation, Deacon spoke to the musicians and asked for a different tune. Because it was for Fiddlestix, they heartily agreed. The square dance tune ended and the couples left the floor. The band struck up a slow dance, an old tune from the 1970’s.
It wasn’t something Fiddlestix remembered hearing before, but it was so sweetly compelling, she agreed to dance with Deacon. The melody carried her away and she lost herself in his embrace. As they danced, he sang to her, his voice a smooth, melodic tenor. The lyrics brought tears to her eyes as they danced.
“I wanna rock your gypsy soul, just like way back in the days of old. And magnificently we will go into the mystic.”
It wasn’t a long song, but the band enjoyed watching Deacon and Fiddlestix dance so much, they improvised, each instrument taking a solo. She didn’t even notice that she and Deacon were the only ones dancing until the music stopped. Her heart was so full, she wanted to cry. Tears welled in her blue eyes, dripping out the corners and down her cheeks. Deacon leaned forward, kissing her gently. Quiet applause surrounded them as they walked off the dance floor. Instead of stopping for the congratulations and well wishes, Deacon took her back to his quarters.
“Won’t everyone wonder where we’ve gone?”
Deacon got his elbow stuck in his sleeve and nearly ripped his shirt trying to get it free. “I don’t give a good damn. Let ’em wonder.”
“As their leader, don’t you have to put in an appearance?”
“Did that all ready. Hush now, woman, and kiss me.”
They made love long into the night, finally falling into an exhausted sleep once more. It seemed no time later that Jasper was again banging on the door. This time, he woke them to let Fiddlestix know that her people were ready to go. Their job done, it was time to go back to General McLain and make their report.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes