“Sheridan does not exist. She is a lie!”
When she abruptly rose and strode away from him, he followed. Standing beside her, he studied his wife as she drew the cape tightly about her and stared out to sea. A somber sense of satisfaction grew within him to see her anger erupt—that steel wall was beginning to crumble. Yet her sorrow, her grief, was palatable and it coiled tightly about him. Picking a yellow thread from her shoulder, he twirled it across his fingers and then slid it across his lips. “Sheridan of Vali Island exists as surely as this yellow thread does.” He released the snippet to the wind but it quickly fluttered back and landed on her hand.
Sheridan swiped it away. “Nay! A made-up life.”
A thread of fear twisted about Caol. Such a declaration threatened her existence and those who loved her dearly. He took a step to stand in front of Sheridan and looked into her eyes. The golden specks that had danced there for as long as he could remember had dimmed below her furrowed brow. “But how? How has it been made-up? Have you not lived your life fully, Sheridan of Vali Island, feeling each part, believing in each moment? Never did you speak or walk falsely. Twas a true life.”
She shook her head and waved her hands as if to dismiss these ideas. “I am not Sheridan of Vali Island. I am not your wife!”
Twas like an arrow piercing him again, to hear those words pass her lips. Caol placed his hands on his belt and widened his stance. He could not lose her. He would not!
“When we stood before the priest and you stated your marriage vows to me, did you pretend while you spoke, Sheridan? Was your commitment made-up? And when we make love and you whisper my name, tis like a tonic that is poured over me. Tell me, now, is that sweet whisper false, or do you feel it, live it, as deeply as I?” Again she stepped away and again he followed to stand before her, forcing her to look at him. He would not surrender this battle. I will fight for you, Sheridan.
“Sheridan of Vali Island, you named our union splendid. That dear word danced across your lips and twirled into my heart, locked there forever. Tell me now. Did you speak a falsehood, pretend it to be, or did you speak true?”
Sheridan turned her head from him, clenching her lower lip in her teeth and placed her fisted knuckles against her mouth.
She was a formidable opponent, this wife of his. Caol lifted his hand and tenderly caressed Sheridan’s face along her brow, brushing away a tear that spilled down her cheek. There was only one strategy left, in this battle. Was he brave enough to use it, to say it? Caol calmed his breathing, and allowed his pulse to slow, its pounding subsiding in his ears. Twas a sacred moment. God in heaven, help him. “Sheridan of Vali Island, I love you.”
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