Rays of Sunlight
She loved watching the sunrise. Almost every morning, Kel would wake early and go out onto the roof of her and Dom's house in Corus to see it. At first, only a few pinpricks of light. Then the larger rays that crept over the horizon. And finally, the small golden-yellow circle that hung suspended in the sky, casting a soft glow across the dew-soaked grass.
Kel watched it all. Captivated by the simple beauty of the sunrise, she didn't notice the man behind her until he spoke.
"You're up early again," Dom remarked quietly.
She smiled up at him. "To watch the sunrise."
Dom sat beside her, inhaling the cool morning air. Kel sneaked a glance at him. His blue eyes were still hazy from sleep, and his hair was mussed. He saw her glance and grinned, taking her hand in his and kissing her cheek.
They had been lovers for five years. With the love they shared came times of difficulty when Kel and Dom had been forced to question their own motives and each other's, but they had endured those times and embraced their happiness. They were strengthened by one another and the secure love that bound them. Kel wasn't forced to keep the relationship a secret, as she had with Cleon, and she was all the happier for it. It had been a long time since she had felt such bliss.
Their friends supported their relationship. After he had recovered from his shock that Dom was actually capable of being serious about love, Neal had encouraged their relationship. The men of the King's Own found it amusing as well as romantic, and took every opportunity to tease Dom about Kel.
Kel leaned her head against his shoulder, enjoying the warmth. The morning air was cold, but her insides were wonderfully cozy.
Dom chuckled and rested his chin on her head. "Kel?"
"I love you."
She heard a hint of uncertainty in his voice. "I love you too."
He swallowed. "I need to ask you something."
Kel's forehead creased. What did he want?
Dom's hesitated. Kel supposed he was worried, but why? "Would you…"
After a long paues, Kel lifted her head and gazed up into his eyes. "Would I what? Come out with it, Dom."
"I…Gods, Kel, I don't know where to start. I've been waiting for this moment so long, and now I don't know what to say…" He took a deep breath. "I suppose I should begin with what you need to know. I love you more than anything or anyone, Kel. I love you so much, you're necessary to me. I can't imagine being able to live without you." He cleared his throat. "Will—will you marry me?"
A vast assortment of emotions assaulted Kel, causing her mind to reel. Marry? Marry Dom? She loved him, yes, but marriage seemed so far away. It would disrupt her life as a lady knight, it would force Dom to resign from his position in the King's Own…and she wasn't ready!
Or was she?
Kel's mind fluttered, remembering the countless times that she and Dom had exchanged that simple vow of affection. I love you. Three simple words—did they always lead to marriage?
She wanted it…she wanted to settle down with Dom, she wanted to have children and a family…but she wasn't prepared to make such a large commitment. And she didn't want to for him to give up his position in the Own simply to settle down with her.
Kel fought to keep her face Yamani-smooth as she thought. Neal manages to have a family and be a knight, she told herself.
You're not Neal, another part of Kel reminded her.
But if he can do it, why can't I? Kel argued.
Neal is different from you. He wanted to marry. Do you really think this is a good idea?
Yes, she snapped to herself. Yes, yes, yes.
She was frightened, frightened of the commitment that she would have to make. She couldn't simply back out of a marriage; it would be dishonorable. But she wasn't ready! She needed time.
But to say no…
Dom touched her shoulder gently. "Kel? You don't have to say yes."
He was so sweet, she thought. What did I do to deserve him?
Kel sighed. "Dom…I love you. I always will. But…I want you to understand something. I am a knight. I have a duty to the Crown, and if I marry, I don't think that I'll be able to perform that duty as well as if I am single. And I don't want to force you to resign from the King's Own, not when you've been with them so long. Someday, but not now. Dom, I want to marry you. But I'm simply not ready. Will you wait that long for me?"
Dom smiled, but his eyes betrayed his disappointment. "I'll wait, Kel. I'll wait for you always."
She sighed in relief. "I don't deserve you," Kel said absently.
He kissed her warmly. "You most certainly do," Dom informed her seriously. "You're amazing, and wonderful, and extraordinary."
"Oh really?" Kel laughed.
"Yes, really," he said with a grin.
The sun cast a warm glow over their upturned faces. Kel glanced at Dom and saw her joy mirrored in his eyes. She smiled.
"I love you," Dom said softly.
"I love you, too," she replied.