Love's Conquest

Chapter Eleven: Dancing with the Moon

Hanna woke to a bright light; she was outside but she didn't recognize where she was. The house she recognized as "Pelican House" stood behind her but there was another house, she lay between the two houses. Swish Swish…Swish Swish she heard the sound before she saw the woman appear.

"I hope I didn't frighten you this time. I thought this would be better" the woman spoke first. "Do you like my home?"

"This time? Have we met? Your home?" Hanna rubbed her forehead as she rose, smoothing her skirt; trying to come to terms with what was happening.

"No, we have not met. And yes, my home. You live in Live Oak as it is; this is Live Oak as it was, when I lived here with my family. Your young man and your friends are worried about you. I feel he loves you very much, I promise I wont keep you long. I want to ask a favor…"

For the second time she awoke; she was lying on the sofa with Tommy rubbing her hand. "She's coming too. Are you okay, how do you feel?"

She rose, smoothing her skirt for a second time, "I'm okay…just felt dizzy there for a moment…I'm feeling fine now…would everyone excuse Tommy and me…I just need some fresh air?" Everyone looked concerned but granted her wish.

They held hands, walking along the surf until she stopped, taking both of his hands in hers, "Tommy, would you be angry with me if I asked you not to use that secret passage to my room tonight? I asked you why you love me and you said describing your love would be like describing the taste of water. Water is odorless and tasteless but if you're thirsty, nothing tastes better. I want our love to be like that…filled with the scents and tastes of our life together. If you came to my room tonight; you would be welcome, but sooner or later, resentment would set in, ruining everything we worked for. Please understand and don't be angry with me."

Tommy started to laugh softly; building till he could hold it in no longer.
"My dear dumb conch, how can I be angry when I've been looking for a time and place to ask you the same thing! True love doesn't need a secret passage! I think you'll let me know when it's right, when you're comfortable. Love doesn't conquer, love endures." He knelt on one knee, pulling the ring from his pocket, "Hanna Love, will you accept this ring as a token of my enduring love for you. Will you be my wife?"

"YES!"

They returned to concerned friends and family. All concern dissipated when they saw the wide smiles on their faces, and the ring on Hanna's finger. "Congratulations" and "best wishes" were shared with hugs. A more relaxed party continued with a late lunch and a Scooby Snack cake for a very happy Great Dane.

"I'm sorry to break up the party but Velma and I need to get on the road" Shaggy announced.

"It's late, why not stay and get an early start in the morning?" Mr. McDuff offered.

"Thank you, but I'm missing Jason more than I thought I would" Velma agreed with Shaggy.

"I can fully understand that" Mari added, hugging Sam.

Daphne gave a hug to Kaleigh, "Thank you so much, the food was delicious." She caught just the quickest glance toward Joseph McDuff. 'Caughtcha!' Daphne thought. 'The food isn't the only thing hot in this house.'

"And we will have to follow as a safety net" Fred laughed, "In case that Highboy breaks down."

"I just can't get away from some sort of net!" Shaggy laughed at the jab about his old car.

---------Xxxxxx

Within the hour, both vehicles had departed. Hanna had changed from her party skirt and blouse to more comfortable shorts and a T-shirt with Pelicans flying in a 'V' formation.

She had come outside, standing in the surf; she heard the door close just loud enough to let her know that Tommy was looking for her and didn't want to startle her. She smiled.

Tommy came up behind her, wrapping her in his arms, "You okay now…you had me worried?" he nuzzled her neck and she reached up to pull her long black hair to one side; giving him full access to her bare neck and ear.

"Yes…I'm fine now…I'm where I should be…in your arms" she replied, feeling the warm tingles race along her spine.

"I wanted to tell you something Daphne told me before they left" Tommy said.

"She talks a lot…what did she say this time?" Hanna sighed at his touch.

"She said that when she was sixteen, she had a party. There was an old oak tree right outside her bedroom window; there was a certain boy at the party, and she made sure he got the hint that if he was brave enough to climb that oak, he would find the window to her bedroom unlocked." Tommy turned her around to face him. "She said the next morning she was disappointed yet relieved that he hadn't taken her hint; that many years later, when they did get together, they had grown up, knowing more of what they wanted. This made it so much more exciting than if he had climbed that tree."

"Fred…she was speaking of Fred?" Hanna asked in a whisper; half question, half statement.

"She never said his name…but I'd guess so" Tommy answered.

"Thank you" she whispered in his ear. "You asked me why I love you but I never told you. Do you remember our first "date"?"

"Western movie with friends" Tommy answered.

"Do you know what you did and didn't do that made me say 'yes' when you asked me out for our second date?" Hanna asked.

"I remember squeezing your hand and you squeezed my hand."

"Did you know that I wanted you to kiss me then, I was too young but I wanted you to kiss me like the cowboy…but you didn't, instead you ran your fingertips up and down my arm?...that meant more to me than a kiss."

"I remember you smiled; I fell in love with that smile."

"Tommy, when I fainted, I had a vision. I went back in time to Live Oak as it was. I met Nakisaie; she asked if we could do her a favor. She was buried in an unmarked grave for some unknown reason; she wants us to locate the grave and place a marker, she showed me where to look. She also gave me a peek at our future…Tommy, our first child will be a boy; I'd like to name him Joseph, after granddad…If it's okay with you."

The moon was rising; it would be time to go back in soon. The moonlight shimmered across the water as he took her in his arms; they began to dance to a slow rhythm only they heard.

A Pelican, silhouetted against the moon, folded its wings and dove…while they danced with the moon.