Over a dinner of lamb-and-leek pie, I shared an enthusiastic, yet carefully edited version of the afternoon with my grandmother. She listened with tolerant amusement until I mentioned we'd talked about sleeping in the stone circle. At that, she raised her eyebrows and said, smiling, "Careful not to let Mr. Jones catch you at it, Kate. There are odd stories about the Joneses and that circle, a woman who disappeared from there and was never seen again."
"Have they had the police in?" I couldn't help but be shocked; Anglesey was no utopia, but it was relatively free from violent crimes.
"Lord, no. This was back in the Middle Ages, and they say it was Jones the Sheep's great-great-however-many-greats grandfather who was behind it." Gran leaned forward on the table, her eyes lighting up with the fire of a good tale, and I echoed her posture. "Didn't I ever tell you this one, Kate? Our family was involved, too. Jones the Sheep's ancestor fancied a girl who worked for our family, then called her a witch when she turned him down. Something happened at that stone circle one night. Of course that was hundreds of years ago, but the story says Jones came back from it gibbering mad, and one of our people was never the same--they say the stones stole her joy--and the girl disappeared. The story goes she's buried somewhere in the stone circle. Of course she may have just run off."
As I helped Gran clear the table, she added, "If you're interested, they may have something about it at the library. Someone wrote a little pamphlet about it a few years back. It might be fun to have a look."
Just what I need, I thought, something else to research, and put it from my mind.
That night I dreamed again of the woman in archaic clothing, and this time, despite the pale, shadowed light of a cloud-veiled full moon, I could see it was Annie. We were in the center of the stone circle on Jones' farm. As it often happens in dreams, I was not exactly myself. I felt older than my waking self, shorter and stockier, and I looked out through the eyes of this body and realized I was sharing it with someone else, someone who did not know why her thighs trembled and her breath caught in her throat as she looked at Annie. Or rather, she attributed only to fear what I recognized as fear-heightened desire. "This is madness, cousin," my alter ego said. "You should be halfway to Bangor by now. I've held Jones off this long, but people are starting to listen to his wild tales. It's not safe for you here anymore."
"I had to see you again, Elen, to thank you." She hesitated an instant, then added, "To touch you." She opened her arms and we, my alter ego and I, walked into them. Her mouth felt cool and soft against mine and I thought as my alter ego, so simple, and now it must last me the rest of my life without her. We fell to the damp grass, hands already reaching under the many layers of clothing we wore. My mouth sought her breast as she lifted my long skirts and began to stroke me. Two fingers pumping into me, the other hand caressing me relentlessly and I came as hard as I ever had in my waking life-and for the first time as the dream-self.
Dazed, panting for breath, I rearranged myself to taste her still-hidden sex. As I sat up briefly, I saw the torch weaving its wake down the hill. "Go!" I said, but it was already too late.
Then I woke up, as one often does at the crucial moment of a dream. My thighs were wet, proof of just how real it had felt, but I could rationalize it easily enough. Desire for Annie, my experiences at the stone circle, and Gran's story had all woven together to create a dream of unusual vividness and intensity. I didn't think it meant anything beyond that.
However, the memory of the dream lingered the next morning, leaving me restless and eager to see Annie. I had no way of finding her, so I tried to ignore it, but no matter how hard I tried to concentrate on my work I would be distracted by images from the dream, or memories of her hand in mine, the lilt of her voice, those soul-staggering kisses. Finally in the early afternoon I gave it up as a bad cause and headed to the library in Beaumarais.
Legends of Anglesey was a slim paperback that had the cheap look of something privately published and of dubious authority. As I began to thumb through it, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Someone had done a nice job of collecting the oral history of the island and filling in with what written evidence was available.
It didn't take too long to hit the jackpot. In the fifteenth century, one Owen Jones, a prosperous sheep farmer, began to spread tales that the servant on a neighboring farm had enchanted him to fall in love with her. No one took the accusations too seriously, but the parish priest made note of them in the parish record, adding that he felt the only devilry involved in the case was Owen's own unrequited lechery. "She is a comely woman and has red hair, which makes men blame her rather than themselves for their lust," the priest had written. "Yet she is of good repute and has turned down men who would have wed her in order to stay with her widowed cousin and help care for her daughters." The young widow Elen Rhys appeared in records as the holder of a farm that, according to the author, was still said to be in the hands of her family to this day. I did a mental calculation--yes, Gran was her direct descendent. And the name resonated from my dream.
Elen joined in the row, defending her cousin, and for a while the whole village was in an uproar. Then Owen Jones was found wandering in the fields near his own stone circle, barking mad. Elen Rhys became melancholic, and though she lived another eight years, "she never again seemed full of life's joy." And Angharad Davies, the red-haired cousin, the witch who preferred her female cousin to her suitors, was gone without a trace.
I stared at pages that appeared to swim before my eyes. Red-haired Angharad Davies--a fifteenth-century purported witch, a friend of my gran's in the 1940s, a woman who enthralled me at the turn of a new century? Was that possible?
No, I told myself firmly. It had to be a coincidence. Davies was a common enough name in Wales, and besides, Annie was adopted. Angharad was a very old-fashioned Welsh name, not common anymore. Then again, so were Devi, Myfanwy, and Madog, and I had cousins in their twenties suffering from those names. And Annie was certainly not a ghost. Definitely a coincidence, but one I would have to tease her about when I saw her again.
When I got home, though, she was waiting in the lane and all thoughts of teasing her--at least in that way--fled my mind. It was raining and she was wearing the awful hat again and she looked so forlorn huddled next to the hedgerow that I whisked her inside and fed her a cup of tea and some soup. Gran laughed and offered her a towel to dry her hair and I wished there was some courteous way of telling Gran to leave. There wasn't, of course, and I could tell Annie was uncomfortable with her scrutiny and with the stream of questions she asked. I noticed Annie dodged most of them, or answered so vaguely that it could have meant anything at all. Finally, though, Gran asked a question I was actually dying to know the answer to. "Are you married?"
This time, Annie answered without hesitation, "I'm still looking for the right person. I'd almost given up hope, but lately a few things have happened that made me think I was wrong." The look she gave me after she finished was lightning quick, but I didn't think I imagined it. I haven't often felt my nipples harden, my cunt tighten, and my heart leap with joy at the same time. I did as I met those amazing golden eyes.
I was desperately trying to find an excuse to run her off into the dark, rainy night when she looked at the mantel clock and said, "Oh dear! I have to be going. Thank you for everything." She wouldn't allow us to protest, but I followed her out the door anyway, hoping to give her a ride wherever she was going.
She shook her head. "It's best if I walk. I don't have very far to go." She took my hands in hers and drew me close. "Be patient, Kate," she whispered. "Just for a little while. The full moon is in two nights. Come to the stone circle that night and we'll see if we can win ourselves our hearts' desires, eh?" Then she gave me another one of those knee-buckling kisses.
Heedless of my grandmother, who might be peering out the window wondering what I was up to in the rain, I clung to her, ran my hands up under her sweater. She wasn't wearing anything underneath, and her breasts molded to my hands as if she and I had been created to fit together. She ground against my thigh and whimpered, and my own pussy throbbed in response, open and wet as I'd ever felt it. I wanted to take her to some warm, wonderful place where we could talk for hours and drink wine before falling into a king-size waterbed. Failing that, I wanted to take her off into the shadows and make love to her standing up against the barn wall, make her come with my hands and bury her cries in my shoulder. I think I would have tried, too, rain and all, if she had not pulled away. "No," she said. "Not yet. Not in this." She gestured vaguely at the rain. "Tomorrow I will be busy, but I'll meet you at the stone circle the night after, as the moon is rising." She clasped her hands together in an almost prayerful gesture. "My life upon it, Kate."
Still reeling from the rush of lust and tenderness, I could only say, "I'll bring a picnic and sleeping bags."
I dreamed about her again that night, but it was a much quieter dream. We were crossing the footbridge over the Charles River from Cambridge to Boston, holding hands. It was early fall, and the sun was setting. We stopped in the middle of the bridge and watched the small boats on the sunset-streaked Charles and kissed once, deeply and serenely, as though we were secure in the knowledge of a comfortable bed at home. When I woke, the marmalade cat was curled up on my pillow, purring. One of my windows was cracked open--the cottage was always hot, no matter what the weather--but I was surprised at the cat's initiative. It was still pouring, so I stayed inside to transcribe my notes and answer email. The cat stayed with me.
It was a bit of luck that Devi was both outdoorsy and optimistic. Although he'd yet to find a girlfriend who'd go camping with him, he had two sleeping bags that zipped together to form one. Annie and I might decide not to use that feature just yet, but I liked having the option available.
We met at the Jones' kissing gate at dusk on a soft day that seemed determined to make up for the nastiness of the two before. Her hands were free, so she took the picnic basket, then set it down and solemnly kissed me. I gestured toward the Jones' house. "Are you sure this is all right with them?"
"Didn't you hear? Jones ran his car into a ditch and he's in hospital in Holyhead."
"Poor bastard. Is he all right?"
"He got a bit of a concussion, nothing too serious, but they want to keep him overnight. His wife's staying out there with friends." She stifled a giggle.
"What's so funny?"
"He ditched himself to miss hitting a cat! Most crotchety man in the village and he risks killing himself for an animal."
I smiled and took her arm. "I guess he's not all bad. We'll have a drink to his love of cats."
I expected her to laugh, but she didn't.
She made up for it during the course of the evening. We greeted the moonrise with quiet meditation. As the evening and the wine went on, though, we relaxed and joked, although I at least always felt the presence of the stones and the earth powers too strongly to get really silly, and the power throbbing around me seemed to make it impossible to get drunk. And of course we kissed and cuddled. The serene beauty of the night sky, the magical feeling in the air, made me feel at least as tender as lustful. I made some sappy comment about the romance of the moment, then blurted out, "I don't think I've ever felt romantic with a woman before. Lustful, yes. Romantic and lustful, no."
"So I am first in one way, at least," she said, a curious mixture of joy and wistfulness in her voice, then proceeded to nibble on my ear in a way that made it impossible to think clearly.
Finally even the heady rush wasn't enough to keep us awake anymore. We zipped the sleeping bags together and stripped out of our dew-damp clothes. Her body was beautiful in the moonlight, full and muscular, with the round breasts, commanding hips and slim waist of an Indian temple statue. I reached for her, brushed her nipple with my hand. It sprung to attention under my touch, but she said, again, "Not yet. I want it too, Kate, but there will be the morning. I want to see you properly."
I'll use Braille, I thought, but I wasn't going to push.
"Besides," she added, curling up with her red-gold head on my shoulder, "if we want to find out if sleeping here will grant us our heart's desire, we actually need to sleep."
"On the other hand," I suggested about thirty seconds later, "if we wear ourselves out now, we'll sleep soundly later." I meant it mostly as a tease, but of course I hoped she could respond.
And she did, with a vengeance. She rolled on top of me and raked her nails over my breasts. "If you'd be loved here, of all places, and beneath a full moon," she whispered fiercely, "then by the moon you'll be loved, so you remember me always this time."
I wanted to ask what she meant by "this time," but she claimed my mouth and I couldn't think.
Her mouth tasted wild, tinged with sea air and bracken and the faint metallic power of the ancient sites. Her nipples were already erect from the cool air, but they grew under my hands and tongue and she moaned and thrust herself against me. I squirmed to align myself to her for maximum contact.
She was very wet already, and softly furred. I thought she'd noticed that I shaved--an old habit I kept up even in celibacy--but the way her eyes widened when our pussies touched, it hadn't really sunk in until then. "I thought I'd be leading the way," she gasped.
"Not this time," I replied. "This time we share." My conscious mind meant that later we might try other games, but our first night had to be mutual seduction. But as I said the words, I remembered the dream and realized, as surely as I realized the beauty and power of this woman and of the moon-bathed night, that in some sense we had been here before, when I had been the inexperienced woman of the dream. This time, though, I was no medieval innocent.
I wiggled down in the sleeping bag so I could take her breasts in my mouth. I pushed them together so I could claim both raspberry buds at once, and she made a sound like a cat's mewl. I felt her hands tangle in my hair, urging me on--as if I could bring myself to stop. My own breasts pressed against her soft, rounded belly, and I could feel her pubic hair just below. I restrained myself from diving down there straight away, because I wanted this experience to be a lasting, exquisite one, not rushed and frantic.
Annie wasn't making it easy for me to uphold that plan. She somehow managed to work a knee between my legs and was encouraging me to rub against it. I could feel myself sliding on her, feel myself almost impossibly wet, almost impossibly aroused. I let her breasts fall away from each other and nuzzled between them, lapping at the salty warmth there, trying to catch my breath.
Annie took one of my hands and began nipping and licking the tip of my index finger, an unspoken promise of what she would do to my clit when she got her face between my legs. I groaned, my bud pulsing with blood and desperate hunger.
It had been a long time since I'd made love with a woman, and I was amazed at how right it felt. Equal partners in pleasure and pleasuring, in sharing and giving and taking. The hardest part, my lust-fuzzed mind thought, was deciding who gets to go first?
The thought of her writhing and shuddering through an orgasm of my creation spurred me on, despite my own raging desire and need for release. I slid farther down in the now-hot sleeping bag, kissing the curve of her waist and the jut of her hipbone, nibbling just above her pubic hair until she squirmed and I heard her delighted laughter.
Annie smelled spicy and sweet, like the earth itself. I felt the energy of the land all around and through me, and vaguely equated mother earth with this magnificent woman, but could put none of it into words, only feelings. I ran my hands up along her strong smooth thighs, teasingly sliding my thumbs along the edge of her mound. Her legs parted and I was rewarded with a rush of the sultry scent of her passion.
In the darkness of the sleeping bag I could only act on touch and smell, but I had a pretty good idea of where I was. I teasingly ran my tongue along the joining at the inside of her thigh, and heard her half-mewl, half-moan. Her hips shifted in frustration as I put my lips close to her and blew softly, not quite touching. Then, ever so gently, I touched the tip of my tongue to her clit.
Maybe it was the energies coursing through us, or how long it had been since she'd had sex, or a combination of those things plus others I didn't have time to consider. All I knew was that Annie nearly shot into the air at the contact, and I couldn't contain myself or tease her any longer. I pressed my tongue against her, licking firmly, tasting her sweetness, and slid two fingers into her wet, scorching cunt.
I reemerged from the sleeping bag a few minutes later, sweaty and rumpled and feeling incredibly pleased with myself.
Annie had her eyes open and was smiling at the moon. When I curled next to her, she turned her head and bestowed that brilliant smile on me. Then she kissed me, licking, kitten-like, her own juices from my face.
She didn't stop there. She traveled down my body, treating various bits of exposed flesh to nibbles and licks and butterfly-kisses, until I felt there was nowhere she hadn't touched. My skin, my whole being was alive with fire and air and water and earth. The world was spinning and I spun with it, the frosted moon my center point.
Annie's mouth found my physical center point, and her tonguing settled into a steady rhythm, driving me closer and closer to orgasm. My whole body tensed, my feet scrabbling for purchase against the slick down-puffed sleeping bag. It was never easy for me to come this way, and sometimes I worried that I would take too long. But not with Annie. She seemed to have already read my mind and body. Without moving her mouth from my cunt and clit, she reached up and pinched my nipples, hard.
Far away, I heard someone howling at the moon. But all I really knew was the red haze in my vision that washed the moon crimson, the spinning of my body, the waves of ecstasy tumbling over me, and the mouth of the woman who brought me to that moment.
What is my heart's desire? I wondered later as I lay there, acutely aware of the warm, soft woman by my side. I remembered Richard saying in our last fight, "Do you really know what you want--or who?" and I realized he was more right than I knew then. I always assumed that I would marry some day, and have children, and leave women to fantasy. But was that what I wanted, or what I thought was safest? My heart's desire, I prayed to the moon, is to know my heart's desire.
I woke into the realm of the recurring dream. This time I realized I was Elen Rhys, Angharad Davies' employer and second cousin, and that as I fell into Angharad's arms I was touching a woman sexually for the first time, that I had not even really known it was possible. My/Elen's body exploded under her touch in the first orgasm another person had ever given me, but when I moved to reciprocate--half-afraid, but wanting to touch and caress her soft body--I saw the torch bobbing its way down the hill.
"Go!" I told Angharad, then scooted back behind one of the stones. "Go!" But it was too late. Caught in the tangle of her skirts, she tripped, and landed at the feet of the man carrying the torch--a man who bore a family resemblance to the current Jones the Sheep.
"Look at you, half-naked up here under the moon!" He shoved the end of the torch into the ground, then grabbed her wrist and dragged her roughly to her feet. "You turn me down again and again, and get everyone on your side with your proper ways, but yet you cat around even now, when I could have the bishop's men after you in a heartbeat. Who were you with, whore? Or were you waiting for the Devil himself up here?"
"You're the only devil around here, Jones, and I'm not waiting for you." She stood proud in the moonlight, pale face illuminated, hair a wild tangle of reddish curls. "Who was with me is no business of yours."
"The church might find it their business. The associates of a witch may be witches themselves."
"And you as much as any. If I am a witch, what are you whom I met here wishing for luck at the stones?"
He stepped closer to her. "Damn you, Angharad Davies! I don't want to see you burn. I just want you in my bed. Lie with me, Annie, and I'll get you out of this, say it was all a mistake."
She seemed to waver for a minute. "It would beat burning, but not by much." More gently, she added. "We were friends once. We learned things together, you and me and Elen. Why must you ruin it?"
"Friends!" He spat the word. "Yes, I tried to be friends with the likes of you, bastard daughter of a tinker from Ireland! Tried to woo you like a lady, even though I'd seen you up here on full moon nights, leaving milk and bread for the little people. You taught me all about that, all that heathen nonsense about the powers in the land--and if I can't have you, I'll make sure the bishop himself knows all about it. And about Elen Rhys dancing around the stones with you."
He grabbed at her. She kneed him in the groin and tried to run, but despite his obvious pain, Owen Jones caught her by the hair. "That's it! You are cold and cruel as a cat, Angharad Davies, and by the power of these stones, the power you taught me about yourself, I curse you!"
The moon reached its zenith and peered through the clouds, and the stones began to hum with power. Angharad stood paralyzed.
Cowering in shadow behind one of the standing stones, my dream self longed to intervene and didn't dare. As Elen, I yearned to do more, but I was frozen with fear, unable to let Owen Jones see my half-nakedness, know the way I cared for Angharad. As Elen, I believed I was wrong to feel so for another woman--but as Kate I was watching Elen's inaction, unable to make her move and frustrated beyond belief.
"I curse you!" Owen repeated. "To death, woman, and may the Devil himself take you!"
That slapped the fear from Elen as surely as a hand across her cheek. Gathering her clothes around her, she stepped out from her hiding place. Her voice was strident as she cried,
"No! Not death, Owen Jones. You haven't the power to ask for that and I have the power to stop it. I cannot stop the curse--" at that she turned to Angharad, and I felt her eyes fill with tears because they were my own eyes as well "--but I can make it less. He called you a cat, but he called cats cruel and cold, and they are nothing like that. You are much like a cat, sensuous and loving, and so that is the best I can do. A cat you shall be, Angharad. A cat you shall be until you find someone who loves you as I do, but has no fear of that love."
And the world seemed to give a great shrug and grimace and when it was still again, a marmalade cat had taken Angharad's place.
Owen Jones took one look at the cat and started to scream. And at his scream, I ceased to be Elen Rhys and became Kate Williams, naked in a sleeping bag beneath the standing stones and drenched with fearsweat despite the chill in the air.
And quite alone except for the marmalade-colored cat curled up next to my head.
The cat, as I haplessly stroked her, awoke and looked at me with eyes that, although still a cat's, were somehow my lover's eyes. "Annie?" I asked, and the cat looked at me with such intelligence I couldn't not believe. My heart pounded in my chest, and I took it for my feelings for her. "I--I love you, and I'll find a way to break the spell."
Even as I spoke, I realized I wasn't sure I would have been able to use the L word if she had been in human form. Somehow, Annie-cat knew it, too. With a hiss and a puff, she leapt up and bolted, disappearing into the long grass outside the stones.
I knew it was true. I loved Angharad Davies, even if she was five centuries' old and a part-time cat. But apparently love alone wasn't strong enough to break the magic. Still, it was the only prayer I had of saving her, because this was magic beyond anything I'd ever imagined to be real.
In the cold dark just before dawn, I found myself crying again.
I didn't know what time it was, but I knew it was still early; the sun didn't have the energy yet to warm the strands of mists that whispered around me as I opened the wooden gate to Gran's yard. To my surprise, she was up already--and to my concern, she didn't look happy.
Did she know where I'd been, what I'd been doing? I felt like a teenager caught shoplifting. I didn't want to hide my bisexuality, but I didn't know if Gran would understand. It was easier to say nothing than to try and explain, than to risk being shut out by a relative I loved.
"That friend of yours has been calling since all hours," she said, her grey brows furrowed enough to make her usually pleasant face into a scowl. I'd never seen that expression on her before.
"My friend?" I asked, my heart both leaping and falling. If Annie were calling, then she must be in human form. But it was obvious Gran suddenly didn't approve of her.
"That man you told me you were through with. The one who hurt you."
Not Annie after all. I'd told Gran that Richard and I had broken off our engagement, but hadn't told her why and had tried to be nonchalant about it. Apparently I'd failed.
"He obviously doesn't know the difference in time here," she added, pursing her lips as if she'd eaten a lemon. "Rude, that's all he is. I hope you're not thinking of taking him back."
Now I was stunned into confusion. I thought I'd gotten over Richard, but now I could fondly remember his laugh, the adorable way he fed me Chinese noodles, the wonderfully astonished look on his face when he came.
But now, too, there was Annie.
The phone shrilled its British double-ring, and so help me, I jumped.
Gran answered, grunted in a truly impolite way I'd never imagined hearing from her, and handed the old black receiver to me.
"Katie-Kate!" Richard's transatlantic voice sounded surprisingly clear. For a horrified moment I wondered if he were here, maybe already in Caernarfon or Bangor or even closer, but then I remembered Gran saying he hadn't budgeted for the time difference.
"Darling, I've called to apologize. I've been an idiot--well, obviously, you knew that," he continued with a rueful laugh. "You surprised me, and I reacted badly. I want to discuss things, try to work it out. I know we can, Katie-Kate."
My brain whirled with a thousand suggestions of things to say. What did I want? Did I want to try and work it out? What I ended up saying wasn't what I intended. It was, simply, the truth.
"I've--well, I've found someone else."
"Is it serious?"
Well, maybe if she can stop turning into a cat on a regular basis. I choked back hysterical laughter. "I don't know. Maybe."
More silence. For once I didn't feel the need to fill it. Then,
"Is it a woman?"
"Does it matter?" I asked.
"Of course it matters!" Richard exploded. "Is it serious or isn't it?"
"Richard," I said with a calmness I didn't feel, "are you implying that I can't have a serious relationship with a woman? Because if you are, then I don't think we can work things out."
Richard sputtered. I interrupted his wordless tirade.
"Yes, it's a woman, and yes, it's serious. Good-bye, Richard. Once and for all, good-bye." I hung up the phone firmly, trying to choke down tears and confusion and a growing sense of--of what? Determination?
I realized Gran was staring at me. Well, the cat was out of the bag about my sexuality now. I started to laugh at the pun, and pressed the back of my hand against my lips to stifle it before it turned into hysteria.
Gran's next words astonished me.
"Go to her, Katie," she said. "I didn't have the courage. In my day, it wasn't as accepted." She shook her head, her eyes filling with tears. "I was too afraid. And my fear cursed her to live like that for another fifty years."
I put my arms around her, feeling the frailty beneath her plumpness, the sadness beneath her veil of cheeriness.
Gran took a deep breath and pulled away from me. "If you love her, Katie, go to her. You have the courage, I know you do."
Did I? I wondered. Did I have the courage to say, "Yes, this is the one for me"? Or was Richard right--maybe I didn't know who or what I wanted. Maybe this would turn out to be another fling. I'd been willing to try and settle down with Richard, hadn't I? And look what a mistake that had been. Maybe this was just lust and--
No. A weird calm came over me, as if I'd just grounded and centered and connected with the world. It wasn't just lust. It went far, far deeper than that. As far and as deep as my connection with the earth, as my belief in the Goddess and the God.
I was, undeniably, utterly and completely, in love with Annie.
"Thank you," I said to Gran, to the spirits, to the world, and I ran out the door.
I didn't stop running until I was back at the circle, and it took the last of my strength to drag myself up the henge. I plunged down toward the stones, headlong, my body moving faster than my feet until I finally fell, tumbling the last few meters through the entrance stones into the center.
The energy inside made my hair crackle. It was much stronger than before, and I swore I could see blue lightning streaking between the stones, connecting them into a complete circle.
I grounded frantically as I struggled to my feet. When I got the energy under control, flowing out of me at the same rate as it flowed in, I felt exultant, alive. Had sleeping within the stones made me mad? Part of me felt insane, but it was a joyous insanity. I spread my arms wide and shouted for anyone and everyone to hear,
"I love you, Angharad Davies! I love you to pieces!"
My words seemed to hang in the air, and as they faded I heard the exuberant yowl of a cat. The Annie-cat shot through the air at me, and suddenly everything slowed. It was almost as if she froze in mid-air--and then, she wasn't Annie-cat, she was Annie the woman. Upon which everything went back to normal speed and she tumbled into my arms.
I stumbled backwards, caught my balance, let my love flow through her on the currents of energy. She was crying and laughing, and so was I. All I could do was plant kisses on her cheeks and gasp, "I love you. I love you! Truly, utterly, completely."
Her laughter took control of her, and we both shuddered through the joy. Finally, she gasped her way toward words.
"Well, it's obvious it didn't make you a poet."
"Fine, then," I said, cradling her face in my hands. "I still found my
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