LOVE & MAGIC

Chapter Fourteen: Time Went By

Approximately Five Years after the beginning of Love& Magic...

Marco Lhite took the throne of the Lhite Country six months after his sister Emily's wedding; he did not lose anytime and promptly cleaned his court from his father's friends and set to fix the former king's misdoings. That same year he married Carla Windam, with the full blessing of his majesty King Christopher of the Windam Valley- who was all too happy about getting rid of his nutcase cousin. Though he never objected the marriage, Chris did ask Marco if he was crazy for wanting to marry Carla.

"I love my cousin," Chris said, "but I rather take her in small doses."

Marco only laughed... leaving the question about his sanity unanswered. Marco and Carla's union produced a couple of twin girls, one crazier than the other but both equally loved by their parents. Marco is still to name his heir among his two daughters –and the other children that might still come – deciding to wait for them to grow up to see which one was more apt to be in charge.

After months of fighting and bickering, Emily and Adam settled for friendship, though it was always clear that Emily was the one wearing the trousers in their relationship. They never fell in love – with one another – but they did manage to learn to love each other.

"I care for Adam, but I do not love him the way you love Christopher." Emily declared. "I learned to love him, I never fell in love."

"What's the difference between learning to love and falling in love?" Kaze asked.

"Falling in love is surprise, desire, feelings beyond lust or friendship... something that just is, you can't fight it, and you can't deny it. Falling in love comes out of the very essence of romantic love, something that takes your breath away and then gives it back. Learning to love is different, is more quiet and calm, you never feel like you can't breathe when your near the object of your 'affection' because is just that: Affection, is not an all consuming fire that leaves you astonished, amazed and – most of all – alive. Learning to love comes out from friendship, sometimes gratitude, but is all about resignation."

"Sounds sad,"

"Sounds real." Emily said quietly. "But I don't feel sorry for myself, Kaze, and you shouldn't feel sorry for me."

Four years after their marriage, Emily finally got pregnant; she'll be mother for the first time in the fall.

Deep down, Adam always lived with regret. Each time he saw Kaze he felt like dying, but he also figured that was what he deserved for being such a coward.

As for Kaze and Chris...

It was the day before the King's festival, a day Chris always took off from king-duty, it was a tradition he had... he always took his family for a picnic by the river side on that particular day. The day before he had celebrated the fourth anniversary of his wedding to Kaze, that day was all about his wife, today was all about his family as a whole.

"Chris!" Kaze yelled from good 30 feet away.

Chris looked up from the blanket he was spreading on the grass, but then looked down as he felt something run by his side, in a blur he saw little bare feet running down towards the river. Chris started in that direction and caught his son in the shallow part of the river just before he fell into one of the deep parts.

"Alexander!" Chris called in his king-voice, picking up his soon-to-be-four-years-old son until they were at eye level. "What have I told you about running away from your mother?" He added, standing in the river, with the water running little above his ankles.

"So-rry," Alec said carefully, he knew that he was in trouble when his dad used his full name. Alec tried to appear sorry, once he saw Chris's scowl disappear from his brow Alec added. "Look!" and then opened his little hand and dropped a little frog into his dad's outstretched palm. "Green!"

"This is a frog,"

"Nuh uh, Green!" Lately, Alec had taken to call things by their color instead of by their name even when he knew it.

"Frog,"

"Green,"

"Frog,"

"Green,"

"Green,"

"Frog!" Alec yelled happily.

"Okay, you win." Chris said while walking out of the river.

"Is he okay?" Kaze asked worriedly as she shifted their baby daughter from her left arm to her right.

"Yeah, Alec just found a new friend," Chris said while putting the frog right in front of Kaze's face.

Kaze jumped, "Don't do that. Cherith is afraid of them."

Cherith – or Cherry as her brother had dubbed her since he could not pronounce her name and Cherry was the only other world he could remember at the time that started with 'Che' – was Chris's and Kaze's daughter, only seven months old.

"No, you're the one who is afraid of them." Chris said and to prove his point he put the little green frog in front of his daughter; who reached for it, poked it with her little finger and giggled. "See?"

"Okay," Kaze admitted, frogs were one of her secret fears, "Now, put it away."

"No, mommy, he is mine!" Alec wailed, still in Chris's arms.

"Let him have it," Chris said to Kaze, "he will lose it soon, anyway."

Kaze stared at her son's pitiful face – Alec had retrieved the frog from his dad and was holding it in his hands – and it was too much for a mom to take, "Fine," she said, "But if he takes it home is all on you, Chris."

Later, Kaze sat on the edge of the river, just dipping in her feet, holding Cherry while Chris taught Alec to swim in one of the deep parts of the river, then they switched kids and Alec sat with his mom while Chris held Cherry in the water –making sure her head and shoulders were always above the surface - as she squealed in delight and happily moved her arms splashing water all over her dad.

After lunch, Alec sat with Cherry in a blanket over the grass, Frog jumping around between them. Alec liked his little sister because, while a girl, she wasn't like his cousins – Marco's twins Jenna and Laura – who cried and wailed half of the time, and if not they blurted words out fast enough to make his head ache. Cherry rarely cried, and she never wailed her head off when their mom or dad put her down a little to pick Alec up and pamper him a bit – he still was a baby, after all - and she liked Alec's frog, which gave her major little-sister-points.

Alec heard his mom singing, she singed often but it was mostly the same song about time and lovers and moonlight, as he turned to see, Alec noticed Chris standing behind Kaze, holding still, just watching and hearing. Alec knew his Dad often did that.

Then Chris walked up to Kaze, dropped to his knees and laid down, his head on Kaze's lap. Kaze started to run her fingers through Chris' still slightly wet, dark hair as she kept singing. Alec saw Chris mumble something and Kaze smiled, leaning down to kiss him.

Alec rolled his eyes. Once his parents started kissing there was no way to stop them. Alec sat there under the early summer sun and considered his options; he could try another dash to the river but that might get his dad mad, and then Chris would take Frog away...

So Alec went for his second option and turned his attention to his sister, deciding that –while their parents kissed – playing with Cherry wasn't such a bad way for time to go by.

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End of Chapter Fourteen.

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End of Love & Magic.