Over the Christmas holidays, Ross and I had a fantastic time. It was a rare moment when we weren't together, not laughing at something that wasn't particularly funny or not delighting in each other's company. I took my driving theory test and passed but wasn't quite successful with the practical exam. It didn't matter, though. Nothing could ever get me down with my kingfisher around.
Ross invited Leanne over for Christmas and expressed that he wished to forgive her. She asked him to come over to live at home with herself, his dad and his adopted sister. He politely declined, saying he didn't want to disrupt anything where Hannah was concerned and saying that the Smiths were like a second family to him.
It was the evening of Christmas Day. Ross took me out into the garden. He looked magnificent, as he always did at night, with his supernaturally good looks but that didn't matter really. What mattered was that he was beautiful inside and that he cared about me.
I shivered slightly as we stepped into the frosty air. Ross turned to face me, frowning slightly.
"Are you cold, darling?"
"I'll turn into a wolf."
Ross seemed to stretch upwards slightly and fur began sprouting up everywhere, on his face, on his hands. His jumper ripped off to become more fur, as did his trousers, but there was no sign of any other clothes as he transformed into the gorgeous wolf I'd not seen since the day I'd met his mother. He went down onto four paws and walked over to lie upon the decking in our garden. I went to sit by him and snuggled up to his glorious pelt which was warm and soft but slightly rough.
I looked up at the sky and sighed at the sight of all those stars. I rested my back against Ross.
"I could fall asleep here and be transported to another world. The night sky is so inspiring."
‘Do you need another world, my darling? Do you want to move away?'
"Of course not. I was just saying."
‘Wouldn't it be great if there was a place just you and I could go, far away from everyone else where only we are important?'
"I thought that's where we went when our minds connected, to be honest. And you can always make me forget the real world."
‘Hm. I suppose so. Is it enough, though?'
"Ross, if I didn't consider you enough, I'd be ridiculously stupid or have impossible dreams. My love for you is at the centre of my universe and is what keeps everything ticking over."
‘That's good because my love for you does the same thing.'
"I couldn't live without you. You are my life."
‘My adoration for you is a rainbow in the sky. The most beautiful thing but insignificant to all but the beholder. And you, as the sun in my world, see it and make it stronger as you smile upon it in all your wonderful glory.'
"I can't believe how lucky I am. I mean, how is this even real? I'm lying on a wolf who's a witch but also my destiny and he's talking to me in my mind. He plays the gentle melody that flows like a river through my deepest thoughts and creates an undercurrent to all my emotions meaning that there'll always be love in my mind regardless of whether I'm thinking of it or not."
‘Oh, Rosa,' Ross sighed. ‘I could listen to the poetry of your words all day. I can't top what you've said. Just know that I love you and everything in my life will have meaning. Just acknowledge my affection and all else will fall into place. All you have to do to get satisfaction out of me (and it's so much more than that when I'm gratified by something you've done or said) is to speak the message of my soul: "My love for my rose-dove is recognised and cherished by her."'
"Your love for your rose-dove is recognised and cherished by her," I repeated, smiling.
‘Oh wow.' Ross's mental sigh was quieter this time but I felt the massive impact the simple words had on him. There was such ... satisfaction, but it was so much stronger than even that. It was like... euphoria without excitement, bliss without the overpowering sweetness: a resounding feeling in Ross's mind that life was perfect. It was like the feeling Buddhists must get when they reach nirvana. Ross was in harmony with the world.
"Could you... could you say mine?"
‘Sure. Hm. Let's think. It's going to be something very deep and profound. ... I can start by saying something similar to what you said to me.'
I smiled as he murmured in our minds, ‘Your love for your kingfisher is recognised and cherished by him.'
I felt a great wave of calm roll through me. It was quite pleasant, though not quite the same as what Ross had felt.
‘The river on its winding path has taken you to a world where only love exists in which you'll reside with your kingfisher in total bliss until you're crowned as queen from which point you'll feel a deeper love and greater happiness than anything previously conceived.'
"Oh... oh my. That's beautiful. Say more. Enchant me, capture my heart and never ever let go."
‘You're quite difficult to please. You say you want a simple life, but you're always yearning for more, striving for something just beyond your reach... Ah-ha!'
I felt a thrill of pleasure as I eagerly anticipated Ross's next attempt to completely melt my heart and bring me that desirable inner peace he felt.
‘You've touched the next star, the burning, blazing fire from another solar system, but you're not burnt. Instead, you're enveloped by the incredible light ... and there it is: what you've been searching for your entire life. The story behind the fairy tale, the reality behind the fantasy, the open space beyond the sky - it's me. And as I take you in my arms and make all your dreams come true, you know you'll never ever be this happy again. You've been branded by the star as the special one to live with your destiny and you know, in your heart of hearts that I was the one you were waiting for all along. My darling rose-dove ... you've found me.'
I was overwhelmed by the force of my own emotion. I felt such incredible love for Ross that it was an ache. It was trying to tear out of my heart and launch itself into him. I also felt tranquillity flood my mind as deeper understanding flowed through my veins. I wasn't entirely sure what I understood, but I knew that it was powerful and important. Everything seemed brighter, clearer now, but softer. I had accepted the world and it had accepted me. I felt great respect for the living, breathing dragon sleeping under the Earth's crust. I feared the days it got angry and ripped at the outside world by causing volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis, but it was a great creature. I saw the world as flawed and imperfect, but could accept that things were rarely perfect and there wasn't much that could be done about it.
‘Um, thanks Ross,' I murmured with my thoughts, quite unable to talk physically.
‘That's okay, Rosa. I love you.'
‘I love you too.'
I never asked for any of this. But I sure would have done if I'd known it would come to this.