During that week Cahil got better and began to walk around the village not only looking for the lost enemy but also providing the things needed for his wedding. Both him and Keira had been very occupied seeing each other in glances when passing by each other crossing a street. She didn’t look like an excited bride that was about to jump in the married world, instead there was some sadness in her semblance that saddened him too. Marriage was so important, it was the union of two souls in life, the join of forces that would make them stronger. A sacred vow for Celtics and Cahil was living each moment with the excitement of jumping into that life.
“Keira chose the cypress for the place of the ceremony.” Cahil said to the king who was walking around with him looking for the perfect branch they would jump from. Celtics celebrated the entry on the new life by jumping from a branch.
“She loves that place so it doesn’t surprise me.” Egan told him.
“It’s the place where you and her mother got married too isn’t it?”
“It is.” Egan affirmed.
“So that is probably why she has chosen it.”
“I thought she was going to choose somewhere around the river. She loves it there.” Egan continued. “It doesn’t matter where, it matters that it’s blessed by mother nature and She is everywhere.” The king said.
Keira stood still while Amanda perfected the dress. Keira chose a white one as it was her favorite color and Amanda was working long hours making the tunic as perfect as ever.
“Have you chosen the flowers for the crown?” Amanda asked.
“Yes…my sister is making it. “ Keira said without looking at the woman.
“Because they must be resistant to hold the veil.” Amanda explained.
“I know…” Keira said almost absently. “I’ve chosen wild flowers, just any wild flower as long as it’s white.”
“And the rope to tie the hands?” The other asked. Celtics performed the wedding ceremony with the bride and groom with their hands tied.
“The same my father and my mother used.”
Amanda looked up and then stared at the white tunic. The woman smiled happy with her work and then looked at Keira’s face. The smile got lost.
“What’s the matter Keira?” Amanda asked her. “You don’t look like a bride to be and to be married to Cahil nonetheless!”
“I am just feeling tired that’s all.” Keira excused herself.
“I’ve never seen a bride so serious as you are Keira. Usually they are here smiling and giggling…”
“None of them with the weight I have on my shoulders though. I am the heir remember? I have to provide descendents…I have to reign one day…”
“That’s a fact indeed.” Amanda agreed. “But I am sure you and Cahil will have beautiful children and strong!” She laughed in the end.
“Aye!” She said but just to say something. The real point was…she still didn’t want to marry Cahil despite all the respect and brotherly love she felt for him.
“You can go now.” Amanda said taking the tunic from her with all the arrangements marked.
“See you later Amanda.” Keira said leaving the woman’s chamber.
Her eyes filled with water while walking down the street. Though she was trying to accept her fate it was hard for her to do so. She had spent the last days wondering why she was fighting this so much when she always knew this day would arrive. With the back or her hand she cleaned both her eyes refusing to cry and still that was all she wanted to do. It was her father’s figure that forbidden her to do so that very second and instead she forced a smile as the king approached her.
“My daughter…” He smiled back and descending from the horse. Egan kissed Keira’s forehead and she bowed before kissing his hand.
“I thought you were with Cahil.” She said acknowledging he was alone.
“I was with him but our duty is done and he decided to take a walk by the river.”
Keira knew he was still determined to find the enemy he saw fleeing from battle. “Sometimes I worry about him.” She said.
“You don’t have to. Cahil is very brave.”
“But hate can blind us and betray us.” Keira stated. “I know he wants to revenge his brother and he has all the right…” Keira suddenly shut up. She was going to say he had all the right to kill that man but that man was Colin for all she knew and no…she didn’t want Cahil to kill him and that’s why she helped him. “I have to go father…” Keira said then and bowed.
“Keira.” Egan called and she looked back without saying a word. “Are you happy?”
“Aye!” She simply said but Egan knew her better than she knew.
“I have been noticing you don’t look that happy Keira.”
“I am just tired father and nervous.”
“You don’t have anything to worry about. Cahil is going to be a great husband.”
“I don’t doubt that.” She said.
“Then what is disquieting you?” Egan insisted.
“Nothing is disquieting me father. I have to go now. I need to go look for new herbs.”
“Don’t you like Cahil?” Egan still asked. Keira almost shook.
“I like him very much.”
“As a man?” Egan insisted. Keira remained silent unable to answer properly to that question. “I think I made the best choice for you. Love will come with time. It was the same with your mother and I. Time is the key Keira.”
She wanted to face her father and tell him she had had the time to love him or for that love to happen. She had known him her whole life and that love was there but not as a man and a woman but as a brother and a sister.
“I have to go father.” She said then and Egan nodded giving her permission to go.
She hurried for she had another place to go. Ever since Colin was in the cavern that she visited him only once a day to take care of his wound and to leave him some food. It was more difficult for she had to take larger amounts so he could feed properly but there was a time of the day when no one was in the common kitchen and it was on that exact time that she had the chance to steal food for him. She grabbed three apples, a piece of fresh made bread, and two pieces of dry meat and put it all in the sac she used to catch herbs in the forest. Then she left.
Cahil had asked Egan to stay near the river for a little while. After finding the perfect branch from where he would jump together with Keira into their new life, he wanted to be alone. A sudden sadness invaded him. A sadness he could not explain from where it had came from, so he pretended he was going to look for his enemy when in fact he just wanted to sit alone with mother nature and think. It was right when his mind was beginning to clear when he saw Cathleen’s figure approaching the other bank of the river.
Cahil was about to shout at her a greeting when he saw her pulling her cape down her feet and realized she was going to bathe. He knew it was wrong not to say anything for Cathleen thought she was alone but the man in him grew stronger than any kind gesture he could have that moment. As silent as he could be, he dragged himself behind a bush and from there he could visualize what he always had just imagined secretly in his disquieted mind.
Oblivious to what was happening, Cathleen lost all her clothes and entered the water just a little above her waist. Cahil felt his manhood grew instantly hard at the sight of her perfect round firm breasts. She was perfectly shaped just as he had always imagined and that moment more than ever he desired her. Cathleen’s beauty disquieted him more and more, all he wanted to do that moment was to go there and possess her. To fight the lust he walked away but completely disturbed with the wonderful sight he had just had. He walked fast, as fast as he could, trying to erase Cathleen’s image from his head. He blamed himself for doing such thing and he was so blind he didn’t see Keira right in front of him.
“Cahil!” She yelled noticing he was going to run over her.
Cahil raised his eyes from the ground and looked up. He stared at her for a few seconds just trying to process the fact that Keira was right in front of him and trying even faster, again, to erase Cathleen from his mind.
“What are you doing here?” He asked her.
“I’m looking for herbs.” She said. That was the lie she had learned to tell and it seemed so natural now like it was part of her. “Are you alright? I mean…you look scared…”
“I am fine.”
“Are you sure Cahil?” Keira curled an eyebrow and stared into his deep blue eyes.
Cahil stared back disturbed by lust. In an impulse he took his hands to Keira’s shoulder and pulled her to him abruptly. His lips caught hers and he kissed her fiercely. Keira protested by groaning and trying to push him away but his grip was firm. When she clenched her fists and tapped them on his shoulders he let her go and his cheeks rubberized ashamed with his behavior. Keira didn’t say anything; she just stared at him waiting for an explanation.
“I am sorry Keira.” He finally said.
“What was that for?” Keira asked. “You never grabbed me like that! It was…” She shook her head. “It was abrupt…”
“Don’t you have any desire…lust?” He asked.
“Cahil!” She reprimanded him.
“We are going to be husband and wife in a couple of days. I think delicate subjects like this can already be discussed.”
“I told you to be patient.” She hissed.
“I’m tired of being patient Keira! I am a man!”
“I think you are too nervous right now.” Keira told him.
“Keira!” A voice was heard and Cahil looked back.
Cathleen approached them. Her hair still wet and Cahil felt his heart racing so much he was afraid it showed over his chest.
“You went to the river?” Keira smiled.
“To bathe. The water is so cold already!” Cathleen laughed. Cahil tried to become blind and deaf, even the sound of her laughter was driving him insane.
“Hello Cahil.” Cathleen greeted smiling at him.
“Hello.” He told her sounding confident but that girl was probably his weakest link.
“If you are going to the village you can keep Cath company.” Keira said.
Cahil shook his head. “No…I am not.”
“Am I too boring?” Cathleen laughed amused.
“Not at all.” Cahil told her. “I still have things to do.”
“Looking for the enemy…” Keira stated. “…I think you should rest now.”
“You will find him.” Cathleen said. “You are a brave man Cahil.” She added rubbing his arm.
Her eyes set on his and for a few moments he was like hypnotized with her dark glare. Then he pulled away fearing something would show. Her smiled made him dizzy. His insides were yelling and screaming for her.
“I really have to go.” He said preparing to leave but Keira grabbed his arm firmly. His head turned to look at her.
“Go back to the village.” She said. “It’s enough for today.”
He liked that she cared, even if just a little. Her plead softened his heart but still Keira was far from knowing what her sister inflicted on him and he could not tell her. Fighting his will to say no he ended up nodding and he left with Cathleen towards the village.
“You really think that man is near?” Cathleen asked him.
“That’s what I am trying to find out.”
“You are very brave.” Cathleen told him again. “I wish my father choose someone like you to marry me.”
Cahil’s head turned to look at her. “I’m sure he will.” He simply said though he had never perceived the fact that Cathleen admired his way of being.
“Are you happy with the marriage?” Cathleen continued.
“Keira is very lucky. One day she will understand that.”
“I hope so.” He mumbled.
“You don’t sound very confident.” Cathleen said. He looked at her.
Her puffed lips, her dark gaze, the glitter in her eyes, all combined to make him crave for her. His head yelled that was so wrong but his body he could not command. He rubbed the back of his hand on his eyes to make the thoughts go away and when they opened she was still looking at him with a perfect smile on her lips.
“You know very well she doesn’t love me.” He said continuing the conversation. Cathleen was Keira’s confident for all he knew so he was sure she knew everything about her feelings.
“She does…in her own way she does.”
“As a brother.” He added.
“Give her time.”
Keira observed them walking away and then she continued towards the cavern. She had to make him go otherwise she’d have the risk of being followed or even Cahil wanting to stay with her.
“You took long today.” Colin said when he saw her.
“I met Cahil and my sister in the woods. I could not risk coming here with them near.” She explained.
As usual she began by cleaning his wound. Somehow that had become the favorite part of Colin’s day for he had her so close. More and more he was acknowledging her beauty and loved to feel her trembling hands working on his wounded skin.
“It’s looking better every day.” She said and he looked up meeting her green eyes. Keira felt her heart beating fast. “Soon you can leave.”
“You look sad every day.” He stated.
“The marriage is near…I…” She pulled away from him and sat on a stone in front of him.
Colin looked at her marveled with her traces. When she’d leave he would picture her time and time again with his eyes closed. “My offer still stands Keira.” He said.
“It would be dangerous.” She said.
“You are afraid.”
“Of course I am…Cahil is very proud…my father would never let me go without trying to find me and if they’d find you they’d kill you.”
“You don’t have to worry about me.” He told her.
“But I…” She stopped. She was going to say she worried about him but was afraid her words would be misunderstood. “I cannot put you in danger. That’s not fair not now that you don’t call me a witch anymore.” She ended up laughing making him laugh too.
He went sitting by her side and stared at her. Keira did the same without saying anything. Her hair was ruffled and a strand was sticking out from her braid and falling down her face, still she looked so perfect and beautiful. He grabbed the strand of her hair and pulled it behind her ear. He had never touched her and that little and respectful touch made her jump. Her heart took off running like never before and her legs trembled a bit. Keira got up fast.
“You cannot touch me.” She said and Colin put both hands up in a peace gesture.
“I was not disrespectful.” He said.
He hadn’t been but she thought of him at night before going to sleep. She’d see his face and hear the sound of his laughter and that was killing her inside.
“You have food in my sac. I’ll empty it and then I have to go.” Keira crouched and began to pull the food out of it. Colin grabbed her hand and she looked at him.
“Don’t go just yet.” He asked her.
“Let my hand go.” She whispered.
Their eyes locked in a long stare and then he let her go. For the first time in her life she felt the will to kiss someone and it was that moment, right there. Frightened, she got up and ran away but Colin went after her.
“I didn’t mean to disrespect you or hurt you.” He said.
“None of what you did was disrespectful.” Keira told him. “I just need to go.”
“Keira…” He asked looking in her eyes.
“If you insist you know I’ll stay but please let me go. I need to go now.”
Colin nodded.. “Alright.” He said. “I just want you to know I didn’t mean at all to offend you.”
“I know that.”
“My offer still stands. I’ll help you.” He said before she goes.
“I cannot run away with you.” She said with no further explanation.