Candle Three

Candle Three

04.09.12 After sunset last night, Mark decided to light the menorah his sister sent him. I’ll quote what he said. It made me smile, and gave me the idea for the gift for the seventh day of Hanukkah.

“Technically,” Mark told me as he lit the first two candles, “I should have lit one of these last night too. And we’re not supposed to be giving our presents until after the sun sets. I just haven’t practiced any of these signs of faith since I was forced to.” That’s when my lover glanced at me and asked, “Do you have signs of your faith? Totems of being a Listener?” When I told him no, he asked what I use to show faith. The perfect clay figurine popped into my mind.

I know exactly what I’m giving him on the seventh day of the Festival of Lights. The problem is, it’s noon on the third day, we’ve decided to alternate days of giving, the sun sets in less than eight hours, and I have no idea what to give him TODAY.

 

Luke slipped his journal onto the bookshelf in their bedroom. He strode into the bathroom and crouched beside the bathtub. “I’ll be back soon. I need some… inspiration.”

Mostly submerged in his second oatmeal bath of the day, Mark nevertheless managed to smirk. “You’re having the same trouble I was yesterday?” He ruined the teasing tone by itching his cheek and muttering a curse when a row of scales dropped off into his hand. “I’m grateful this second shedding is going so much better than the first, but it’s been less than three months since the first one ended. Can’t a dragon catch a break?”

Luke stood, leaned over the tub, and kissed his lover’s dark hair. “Maybe Hanukkah won’t fall during the first two weeks of December next year. And I know one thing. Next year, I’m planning well in advance.”

His lover grinned. “I hear you. No more burned rice for me.”

“Does that mean you’ll be taking a cooking class?”

“Sure. With all my copious amounts of free time.” He snorted. “You’d think I would have picked up something after my two weeks in Japan last month.”

“You did. You can count to ten, say hello and good-bye, apologize, and introduce yourself.” He retreated to the bathroom door. “Sayonara, my Mark. I’ll be back soon.” He magicked himself from the company house into a narrow gap between two of the stores on Beach Boulevard.

“Please,” he murmured to the One-Who-Decides, “guide my eye and my hand. I want to touch my lover’s heart and make him smile.” He scanned the shop windows, skipping over a bookstore and a restaurant offering gift cards for the holiday season. He would have passed the post office cum knick-knack store but for the painting in the window.

“But it’s not from me,” he argued even as he opened the door and set the bells jangling.

“Welcome to Jodie’s Antiques. Are you looking for anything special?” Then the woman’s polite smile morphed to a true one. “Howdy there, Luke. Never thought I’d see you in here.”

He ducked his head a little. “I don’t have much in the way of family to mail to, and since I’ve been away at school…”

She laughed. “So what brings you in here today? Did Mark bribe you?” Her eyes shone. “If he did, what exactly did he bribe you with?”

Luke chuckled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” He gestured toward the painting in the front window. “How much is the canvas of the night sky?”

Her smile disappeared. “It’s already been sold. That happens with many of our local artists.”

“Oh.”

She picked up a stack of cards on the counter. “We have smaller reproductions of it, but…” She held out one of the cards, promptly knocking over a precariously stacked tower of miniature Play-DohTM containers.

Luke scooped up several of the bouncing escapees before they could vanish under any of the shelves. “That’s okay, I’ll — ” Wait. He stared down at the emerald and sapphire colors he’d caught in his right hand. “I didn’t know they were making colors like this.”

“All kinds these days,” she said as she began stacking everything up again. “The kids who come in here go wild when they see the rainbow. Here, I’ll take those.”

“Actually, I think I’ll buy both of these and one of the cards.” Mark loves flying. This is perfect.

And, as he was leaving the store five minutes later, he murmured to his god, “Thank you. You were right.”

 

“Be careful with it,” he said once they were sitting on the couch with the first three candles of the menorah lit. “The contents are squishable.”

Mark’s Gulf blue eyes flickered to the yellow-green of his dragon nature and he snickered, pressing a hand over his mouth like a teenager. “Is that even a word?”

“It is now.”

His lover tore the paper away in strips to reveal the miniature water dragon Luke had crafted out of the Play-DohTM. The image of the night sky, beautiful with a scattering of stars and a sliver of moon, sat beneath the dragon.

“I can all but feel my wings,” Mark breathed. He closed his eyes for a moment and rested his fingers on the coffee table beside the picture. “I can almost feel the wind and hear all the night sounds.”

Luke settled back against the couch cushions, closing his eyes for a moment too.

Mark’s fingers crept onto his thigh. “If we don’t watch it, making love immediately after we surprise each other with amazing presents like this is also going to become a Hanukkah tradition.”

The genie opened his eyes. “I wouldn’t have a problem with that.” Without moving from his comfortable position against the back of the couch, he offered Mark his arm. “Shall I transport us upstairs, Mawster?”

His lover’s hungry gaze was answer enough.

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