Hildreth stayed on the front porch and watched her leave. He put his hands on the railing. “Els—” He startled as something pricked the side of his hands.
He looked down. Rose vines spidered and crawled over the railing, twirling and twining. The rose buds burst into bloom, releasing the scent of cinnamon and cardamom.
Hildreth reeled back, nearly falling on his bottom. “Whoa! What the heck?” He checked his hands to make sure the vines weren’t growing on him as well.
Trumpets blared overhead in a joyous melody.
Hildreth ran down the porch steps and looked up. Just as two adult dragons soared past – their long bodies mere silhouettes in the day sky.
The world was beautiful so far below – an old quilt of colored squares with the occasional blue or black raggedy line. Pastels and grays – an old world. Yet, with Deliosa at Sammy’s side, it all looked bright and new.
Sammy closed his eyes and relished the air’s balmy touch over his crest, over his wings, and down his back. The sun warmed his scales.
And Deliosa was flying beside him.
Joy lived inside him. It thrummed through his bones. It moved his wings. It traveled to every organ through every blood vessel.
He couldn’t keep such joy contained. He couldn’t crush it down. He needed to give it a voice. He needed to speak it. He needed to sing it.
So, he sang it.
And she sang it too.
It wasn’t a traditional dragon duet. It was an ebullient statement of love and desire and longing…and joy. So much joy. Her voice followed his in sparkling arpeggios, shimmering crescendos and glimmering decrescendos. There were no words to it. There was no need for words. They both understood what the music said.
They soared as high as they dared — right to that point where their ears wanted to pop. He gave her a look before diving back down. He skipped notes —- from high to low to everywhere in between.
She swooshed around him, singing a counterpoint staccato.
He craned his neck to watch her movement.
As soon as she came close enough, she tapped his tail tip with her own and flew away hard and fast.
He chased her all the way back to the familiar brown and gray, green and blue ground pattern of Pinkerlee.
They landed light and easy in his backyard. Her sunrise-colored dragon transformed into her human form. The gold tips of her pale blue hair shined in the sunlight.
He stretched his head towards her. If a dragon’s mouth were capable of smiling, he would have smiled. Lee.
She petted his silver head crest. “It’s been an amazing day.”
Sammy bumped his head against her hand in the standard Don’t Stop gesture. He closed his eyes and purred as her hand kept moving.
“I’m glad we’ve had it all to ourselves.”
He bumped her again. The day isn’t over yet.
Her tone of voice caught his ear. He opened his eyes and transformed into his human form. “What’s wrong?”
“Just worried about tomorrow.”
I want to tell her that it will turn out all right. But…she has no kaandelinao and she is haavnresh. Would mother see those as marks against Lee? I want to say no, but I don’t know. So, what can I tell her?
Deliosa’s pale blue hair ruffled in the breeze. Her hair tips were brilliant in the sun. Her eyes – clear amber yet troubled.
He took a deep breath.
Puppies and kittens on a fleece blanket. Baskets of soft yarn. Jars of tourmalines and emeralds. Opals lit by a sunset. Warm air. Freedom. Flying. Flying with Deliosa. Deliosa. Being with Deliosa.
He exhaled and nothing exploded. “It will be okay, Lee.”
“Do you really mean that?”
A nearby potted plant trembled conspicuously.
“Yes.” As soon as he said it, he realized that it was true. “Yes.”
The plant went still.
“We’ll be fine, Lee. You’ll see. We’ll be fine.”
She pressed her forehead against his chest.
He embraced her.
Red tulips sprouted all around them.
“We’ll be fine, Lee.”