Candle Eight

04.14.12 Mark will be down in a minute, but I need to take a breath and write this down in case I forget next year.

Spending time with my Mark is the most important thing. Whether it’s been hours, days, or months since we’ve seen each other, sharing moments like early this morning are what life should be.


Luke laid his pen aside and frowned down at his journal. Like this morning. I need to put a reminder in here. He closed his eyes, drew his magic into himself for a moment as he formed a mental picture, and touched the page. An image, crisper than a digital photograph, appeared below his final sentence. Mark stood at their bedroom door, managing to balance a breakfast tray in each hand. Panic tightened his features because one of the glasses of juice had started to slide.

The genie chuckled. “There. I won’t forget now.” He closed his journal.

:What are you smirking at?” Mark slouched in the doorway to the living room. “Is there something I need to know?”

Luke poofed his last gift into his hands. “Yes. Two things. One: today was perfect. Two: I love you.”

Mark shook his head, but a faint blush colored his cheeks as he crossed to the menorah and began lighting the candles. “I love you too. Are you going first or am I?”

“My turn was supposed to be yesterday, so…” Luke waited until Mark shook out the match. “Besides, I have to show you part of the gift before I can give it.” He sat on the floor, pulling Mark down with him. Gently, he encouraged his lover to draw his knees to his chest.

“You asked me about signs of my faith,” he murmured when he had Mark nestled in the cradle of his arms.

Mark relaxed, resting his head against Luke’s shoulder and closing his eyes. “I remember. Does this mean you rest in the arms of the One-Who-Decides?”

“Not quite. When I think of how much you trust me to hold and support you, not just to protect you but to do you no harm when you’re in this vulnerable position, that’s become a sign of faith.”

Mark opened his beautiful blue eyes. “You’re kidding. Luke, I can’t help how being in your arms makes me feel.”

“Does that change your faith in me?”

The dragon shook his head. “No.” He smiled slightly. “Not at all.”

Luke held up the figurine he’d made. “I wanted you to have the symbol of my faith in us.” He felt himself turning scarlet. “I don’t mean to sound like a cliché, but — ”

“But sometimes clichés are around for a reason.” Mark kissed him. “Now let me up. This will go perfectly with my gift. You’ll have to give me a minute, though.” When he was on his feet, he took Luke’s newest gift and disappeared into the kitchen. “Stay there. If you peek, I’ll roast you.”


Great. Now I have to unwrap and re-wrap this thing. Sighing, Mark stripped off the flawless wrapping job Jodie had accomplished, tucked Luke’s final gift into an excellent place, and tried to put the wrapping back together.

Hopeless. I must have ripped it in just the wrong way. He cursed silently as he fumbled for tape and snagged that morning’s newspaper off the counter. When he was done, the deformed shape looked like a nuclear accident instead of a box. At least Luke won’t be able to tell what it is before opening it.

Mark walked back into the living room. Luke was smirking again. “Quit that.”


“I’ll give you issues.”

Luke waggled his eyebrows. “I can’t wait. But let’s have this… um… whatever it is first.”

“Be very careful with it. It’s fragile. Well, the stuff it’s holding is fragile.” Stop talking before you give it away, Tavery!

Luke tugged at the paper slowly. “It’s thin and long. Is it a picture frame?”

“Your free guessing period ended last night.”

“So that’s not a ‘no.’”

“No, it’s not a picture frame.”

“Is it a picture of us, or just of my beautiful lover, in a picture frame?”

“No fair guessing two things at once!”

Luke tore off a long strip near one edge. “It’s looking more and more like a frame, Mark.”

“It’s not a frame.” Or is that what you call something that holds little pieces of artwork?

Luke freed a top corner and, with that bit of paper still in hand, managed to tear away the paper covering the front of the gift. He didn’t move.

Is he disappointed? Mark bit his lip. “It’s… I wanted to show you how much your presents mean to me. How much you mean to me. I didn’t want them to get damaged. So I found this… this…”

“Yeah… That.”

“Oh Mark. It’s beautiful. It’s going to show anyone and everyone who walks into our home just how much you love me.” Luke set the gift on the coffee table.

It’s called a shadowbox. And he loves it. Mark grinned.

“More than that,” Luke said, “it’s…” He laughed and pulled Mark in for a deep kiss. “It’s from you, so it’s perfect.”



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