To say it was raining would be an understatement. The rain came down in pouring sheets of icy rain as it had been for the last 2 days. On the first day they had tried to work horses in the newly built indoor arena. However that had proved futile when the wind blew the rain in soaking both horse and rider to the bone. All the horses were tucked into their stables while Lightning, Callen, Glorfindel and Kayla sat inside the house. For people who were always so active, they had slowly begun running out of things to keep themselves occupied.
Callen and Glorfindel had amused themselves on the X-Box for a grand total of 4 hours before they got bored. Kayla was shopping for new boots on her laptop which eventually led to her slamming the laptop shut in frustration. Lightning was trying to read a book but she couldn't concentrate. She'd skim over paragraphs and then have to go back and reread entire pages because she couldn't keep track of what was going on in the story. She eventually followed Kayla's suit and slammed the book shut and wandered into her room.
Fox was snoring on the bed. The little dog didn't even so much as twitch an ear on her as she sat down on the bed with a sigh. The rain wasn't the only thing bothering her. Hannah's wedding was in 2 days and it was meant to be an outdoor ceremony. There had been a panicked text from Hannah this morning about her going to check out her venue. Yet Lightning had heard nothing back from her yet. Glancing at the emerald green bridesmaid dress that hung on the door on her cupboard Lightning felt a pang on envy. Hannah's wedding had been a year and a half planning and with Hannah's parents paying for it she hadn't had to work on a strict budget. Hannah's father was a brain surgeon and her mother a top class criminal lawyer. Hannah was their only child and she had the luxury of being able to ask her parents for everything. Despite this she still worked extremely hard at her hairdressing business and was successful on her own.
Lightning's own wedding had been a quiet and very modest affair. She had found a second hand dress in her tiny budget that she tolerated. There was a celebrant in her parents garden and just a small BBQ afterwards. There had been no money for a honeymoon so they were both back at work on Monday. It was a bitter memory now. Lightning had always dreamed of a huge fairy tale white wedding. It was about the only girly thing she had ever wanted in her life. Yet she couldn't even get that. But part of her was also glad for the fact she didn't go all out on a wedding for a marriage that didn't last long.
"Whatcha doing?" Glorfindel asked as he quietly entered the room closing the door behind him.
"Trying not to go crazy from boredom" Lightning smiled wryly "And hoping Hannah's venue isn't going to get rained out."
Glorfindel sat on the bed next to her and Lightning put her head on his shoulder. She idly drew patterns on his thigh tracing the material of his jeans.
"If you go any higher with those hands we could kill at least an hour of time" Glorfindel placed his hand over hers.
"Only an hour? Are you getting too old to keep up with me" Lightning grinned. Her tracing fingers now turned to her hands sliding up his leg. Before she could blink Glorfindel had her pinned on back with her hands trapped above her head.
"I don't even need an hour to have you squirming underneath me gasping my name, give me 5 minutes" Glorfindel had a lazy smile stretched across his face. Lightning tried to scowl at him but it failed miserably as a laugh bubbled up through her lips.
"You don't play fair" Lightning stuck her tongue out. Glorfindel said nothing in response but dipped his head and kissed her. Lightning moaned against him, arching her body into him as his tongue found hers teasingly. Lightning's phone vibrated on the bedside table before ringing with Hannah's ringtone. Lightning groaned in frustration as Glorfindel broke the kiss. Fumbling on the table she found the phone.
"How'd it go?" Lightning asked without any greeting. She cringed as Hannah wailed in her ear.
"The entire thing is flooded out, there isn't even anyway of getting in for the wet weather option."
"Oh shit" Lightning frowned. She gave Glorfindel a gentle push to get off her so she could sit up.
"Later" Glorfindel whispered in her ear. Lightning's body tightened in response to that promised whisper. She nodded and turned her attention back to Hannah.
"But if it stops raining won't it be ok for the wet weather option?" Lightning tried to soothe Hannah but she wasn't having any of it.
"No the bridge into the place is completely washed out!" Hannah then burst into tears.
"Its ok Han, we'll work it out" Lightning tried to soothe her sobbing friend which only made her cry harder.
"Where am I going to find somewhere for 200 guests on such short notice?" Hannah said between her sobs "It's Thursday."
Lightning bit her lip and had no idea how to respond. Hannah decided for a winter wedding because of her outdoor wedding. Being in Queensland winter was usually very dry and there was little to no chance of rain. The downpour they were currently experienced was completely unseasonal. Lightning sighed and looked to Glorfindel for some kind of suggestion. He just shrugged with a thoughtful frown crossing his face. Without a word of warning he grabbed the phone off Lightning.
"Hannah it's Guy" he said soothingly "What about having it at Lightning's parents place?"
Lightning perked up at the suggestion. Seemingly Hannah did too as she stopped sobbing on the phone.
"Where?" Lightning and Hannah both asked together. Lightning knew the answer as soon as the words were out of her mouth.
At her parents stable there was a massive indoor complex they called the Bullring. It was essentially a fully inclosed 400m racetrack without a rail. In horrible weather like they were having now the horses that couldn't just go on the walker could still comfortably work at slow pace inside. Bill had gone to massive lengths to ensure it would be usable even in cyclonic weather. The surface was as specific type of low dust sand and with the overhead sprinklers the entire thing could be watered down to eliminate any dust.
"And then you can just get ready at Mum and Dad's house" Lightning spoke up into the phone so Hannah could hear her "Everything up there is all weather, and then you're sorted."
Hannah broke into fresh tears causing Lightning to cringe. She knew it wasn't what Hannah wanted. The venue she had picked out was in the middle of a vineyard. The entire thing was specifically done just for weddings. The venue had even managed to create a podium that was grape vines shaped around the small house. All the seats were natural timber from the property. To put it simply it was everything you needed for an outdoor wedding. Lightning knew Hannah had her heart set on the place ever since high school. It would have been breaking her heart to even have to consider something else. Especially something as second rate as an indoor racetrack.
"Hannah?" Lightning asked warily as she pried the phone from Glorfindel.
"Its perfect" Hannah whispered.
And so began the next day and a half of completely rearranging Hannah's wedding. Lightning was the only bridesmaid so the rain was a welcome distraction of not having to work horses. First came the headache of trying to arrange so many chairs on such short notice. Lightning felt as if she had rang the entire phone book before one hire place grudgingly accepted the job. Friday morning thankfully dawned clear but with a chill in the wind. It was enough to dry the ground out near the Bullring so the hire truck didn't get bogged as it dropped the chairs off. By mid morning Lightning's back was aching from rearranging all the chairs twice and fitting the covers and ribbons on them. Then came the finding carpet so Hannah's wedding dress train wouldn't be dragging through the sand. No one had anything on such short notice. Out of desperation Lightning had gone to a carpet store and simply brought what was needed. The price of it made her gulp but she dutifully handed over Hannah's own credit card and got it anyway. Thankfully those people already booked like the caterers and florist to decorate the area were all accommodating about the change of venue. It was 3pm friday afternoon when Lightning took Hannah out on a quad bike to try and find some suitable places for photos.
The paddocks that might have been good photo opportunities were a swamp. Twice the girls had to get off the quad bike and push it out when it became bogged. The second time once it was free both of them collapsed into the mud thoroughly puffed. Fox sat on the front of the quad already covered in mud from going for a roll. His red fur was caked with black sticky mud and he wore a happy dog grin.
"We need a bottle of scotch" Lightning grunted as she tried to catch her breath. Fox jumped down onto her lap and Lightning sighed with disgust. Her jeans would never be the same again. The little dog completely oblivious to her disgust curled up on her legs and gazed adoringly at her.
"The way this week is going a bottle of tequila would be better" Hannah huffed "Honestly I don't ever remember this much fuss going into your wedding."
"Thats because my wedding sucked" Lightning said dryly. Although she tried to squash it down the look of hurt flashed on her face.
"Oh I'm sorry Lightning" Hannah reached over to hug her "I know it wasn't what you wanted and now I'm doing the bridezilla thing because things aren't perfect,"
"Its fine Hannah don't stress over it" Lightning returned the hug and smiled genuinely "Besides who'd want to waste $35,000 on a wedding that only lasted a few months?"
"Well when you and Guy get married I'm sure it'll be even more expensive" Hannah said slyly peeking up at Lightning with a mischievous look on her face. Lightning couldn't help but snort before laughing shortly.
"I think you're getting ahead of yourself a bit there."
"So he hasn't told you he loves you yet?" Hannah seemed to completely ignore Lightning's response.
"No" Lightning said hoping she'd drop the subject as she started to play with Fox's ears.
"And you haven't told him?" Hannah kept probing.
"Do you love him?" Hannah persisted with pursed lips.
Lightning sighed and looked out over the paddock they were sitting in. It was a beautiful spot when it wasn't covered in 3 inches of rain. The paddock was divided by a shallow creek bed the snaked it way through the massive 100 acres. Weeping willows lined the trees and in them hosted dozens of different bird life. In the afternoons you can see the birds all scrabbling for their roosts. The parrots cawing out loudly and magpies warbled their beautiful songs. Yearlings kicked up their heels and ran amok scattering the small herd of wallabies that lived there. In the summer months the occasional platypus could be seen in the roots of trees lining the creek. The afternoon light filtered through the trees giving the entire paddock an ethereal glow. Lightning was sure if there was heaven on earth it'd be right here in this paddock. She wanted to bring Glorfindel down here one afternoon for a picnic but just hadn't got around to asking him. In her mind it seemed like the perfect spot to utter those few words she was so terrified of saying.
"Maybe" Lightning muttered quietly dragging her eyes away from the landscape before her.
"Maybe?" Hannah probed.
"Maybe" Lightning confirmed with a firm nod of her head "I don't know Hannah it's so soon and it's been such a whirlwind. I don't want to say something and have it all blow up later."
"What if it doesn't blow up later?" Hannah shook her head slowly "What if he's really meant to be the one for you?"
"Then I'll have amazing sex for the rest of my life and I'll never have to use budget accommodation again?" Lightning couldn't help but inject some humour into the situation.
"If he announced to a room full of people he'd ask to marry you if he knew you'd say yes then I'd say you're pretty safe" Hannah ignored her attempt at humour.
"I haven't found the right moment yet" Lightning blew out a breath of air and started to pick at the grass, dropping the blades into Fox's muddy coat. She knew she was acting silly. It had been less than a week since the reunion. Things had been fine between them and nothing further said about his comment. But she'd had a dream on the night of the reunion that he told her that he loved her. Ever since then she had to keep catching herself out of the daydream that he would actually say it. Everything had changed since that night. It was something unspoken but everything seemed more intense. The look he gave her in the mornings waking her up with a kiss melted her heart and wanted to make her blurt out things she never would. He had started talking about things much further on down the track and it was always as we. The subtle hints about moving to Europe with him were now not so subtle. He kept urging her to make a decision about where she wanted to base herself for London Olympics instead of leaving it until the last minute. Lightning just kept pointing out to him regardless of her position in Kentucky there was no guarantee she'd make London.
"Chicken" Hannah muttered in good nature.
Lightning responded by throwing a handful of mud at her. Hannah shrieked in response and within a heartbeat the two of them had a mud slinging match going on. Fox was on his feet in an instant and barking loudly at the pair.
Glorfindel nervously opened the sliding door to the twins parents place. With Hannah's wedding the next day he and Callen had opted to stay with Lightning and Hannah to help with anything that needed doing in the morning. Lightning and Hannah were still out on the quad bike looking for photo places. Callen had already gone in and locked the door to the music room to get one last bit of practice in. The song he and Lightning would be singing was a duet. Lightning on the piano and Callen on the guitar. Though he tried to hide it Callen seemed nervous about it. Glorfindel had heard Lightning practice her bit on the piano many times over the last weeks, though she would always kick him out when it came time to practice her vocal part. Truthfully he just enjoyed the peace and tranquility of her playing the piano in the soundproof room. The door locked from the inside so there was no chance of distractions.
"Is that you Guy?" Linda called from within the kitchen.
"Yes it is" Glorfindel didn't know why he felt so nervous coming into the house. He had been here countless times with Lightning.
"Bill is in the TV room" Linda didn't emerge from the kitchen.
Glorfindel made his way to the TV room. It was more like a cinema room, about the only thing that was extravagant in the house. Lightning referred to it as the 'Man Cave' always with a roll of her eyes. The room has reclining lounge chairs with cup holders in front of a ridiculous large television screen. All in HD with the latest surround system. The entire room was enclosed so no sunlight would interfere with the TV. The whole outfit was completed with a small bar fridge between two of the chairs.
In front of it sat Bill McKenzie with a beer in his hand, his eyes glued to the racing channel. Without a word Glorfindel sat next to him and helped himself to a beer from the fridge. He had quickly learnt that there was no talking to the man while there was a horse race on. Greyhounds and commercial breaks were the only time to get his attention. As soon as the race was over he hit the mute button.
"One of the horses I bred, not a bad run" he offered as an explanation.
"I imagine it would be hard not to find at least one of your horses you bred running somewhere at any given time" Glorfindel chuckled. He had learnt from Lightning early on the extent of her parents breeding empire. With 15 stallions standing at stud they easily bred 300 foals a year for themselves. A good percentage of them were sold at young horse sales, but they kept the majority of them to race themselves. Those that were too slow were re-homed through Lightning and Callen or a small network of trainers they knew. Any horse that had a long career with them retired to a life of luxury.
"You'd be surprised" Bill chuckled back "Are those girls back yet?"
"No, last I saw of them Lightning was tearing down one of the back paddocks with Hannah clinging onto her for dear life" Glorfindel frowned slightly. Although he trusted Lightning impeccably he'd hate for her or Hannah to have an accident the night before the wedding.
"It's either no fear or no brains" Bill shook his head "I don't know how many times as a kid Lightning would flip that bloody quad bike tearing around on it."
Before Glorfindel could reply the races came back on. Without a word Bill flicked it off mute and stared at the screen intently. Glorfindel lent back in his chair and savoured a long sip of beer enjoying the peaceful moment. He took a good long look at Bill out of the corner of his eye.
It was maddening to look at a face that had bare traces of familiarity. There were times he could almost put his finger on it. Then the man would do an expression with his face that would swat all thoughts away. Sometimes there would be the carefree yet stubborn look of a Rohirrim warrior and just something else that he could not place. It wasn't surprising to even think this man look a bit Rohirrim, His natural affinity with horses was enough to confirm that. Yet the rest still remained a mystery. Trying not to huff a sigh of annoyance Glorfindel tried to pay attention to the race. This time it was a harness race in New Zealand. The starting mobile hadn't even started when a shriek of indigence broke through the house.
"Lightning Ella McKenzie and Hannah Monica Longdon get out of this house this instant!" Linda's voice could be heard clear as day to Glorfindel. Even Bill winced at the sound of it.
Both Elf and Man got up to look at the disturbance. Even from down the hallway the sound of uncontrollable laughter could be heard. Glorfindel was the first to reach the back sliding door and he burst into laughter the second he saw the scene.
Lightning and Hannah were both covered from head to toe in mud laughing hysterically. Fox was jumping up and down on the tiles sending drops of mud everywhere. The mud was coated on the pair so thickly it was sliding off their clothes in places. Fox looked like a mud ball with only his face being somewhat clean.
"Guy my darling boyfriend" Lightning said with a grin on his face. She opened her arms for a hug but Glorfindel side stepped around her instantly.
"No way, go jump in the pool first" Glorfindel held up his arms as if to shield himself while still laughing.
"Good idea" Hannah said. She grabbed Lightning's arm and the pair ran out to the pool still laughing hysterically. Shrieks could be heard as they dove into the freezing water. It left Fox sitting on the tiles wagging his tail with his tongue hanging out looking at Glorfindel. With perfect timing he managed to rub himself against his legs and leave dirty paw prints all over his socks. He left a streak of black mud and red fur all over his jeans.
"Thank you Fox, you can go from a swim with your mum" Glorfindel grumbled as he picked up the small dog. Holding him at arms length he walked out to the pool where Lightning and Hannah were having a water fight.
"Give your dog a bath as well" Glorfindel said. Fox didn't need any encouragement, as soon as he was close enough to the pool he wriggled out of Glorfindel's arms and jumped into the water. He swam over to Lightning who had her arms open for him.
Dinner was a quiet affair when Callen finally emerged from the music room. A glass of wine later Hannah decided to get an early night. Linda and Bill both went to bed straight after Hannah and Callen took a phone call which led him to the privacy of his room. Lightning couldn't help but try and eavesdrop on who her twin was talking to but she had no luck. Fox decided to follow Callen into his room, leaving Glorfindel and Lightning alone. As soon as all the respective doors were shut Lightning jumped to her feet.
"I have an idea" she grinned pulling Glorfindel up "Lets grab a picnic blanket first and another bottle of wine."
Glorfindel grabbed the wine from the fridge while Lightning dug around in the cupboard for the picnic blanket. When they emerged with both Lightning grabbed Glorfindel's hand and led him out into the night. It was cold, yet neither of them felt it. A new moon was out giving the property an ethereal glow. At 9pm at night everything was silent. The horses were fed and bedded down hours ago. The workers that lived on the property would all either be asleep or at the pub drinking away their pay checks. Lightning took his hand and led him through the lane ways down to one of the back paddocks. It was a good 10 minute walk and there was a comfortable silence as they went.
Finally Lightning opened the gate to the paddock her and Hannah had started their mud fight in.
"This was one of my favourite spots when I was younger to escape from everything" Lightning smiled at the memories floating in her head "I wanted to show you it for awhile now but we've just been too busy. And it's so clear tonight after all the rain."
She led him to a spot just above the creek bed and laid the blanket out. A frost had already started to settle on the ground so the blanket provided them with enough protection. Lightning lay back with her head resting on her arms staring up at the stars. Glorfindel did the same and couldn't help but let a sad smile rest on his lips for the briefest moment.
How he suddenly ached to be able to tell Lightning everything. To point out the stars that were once known by other names. To show her the beauty of Imlardris and all that her true heritage held.
"I never paid much attention to the stars when I was in Kentucky" Lightning said almost wishfully "They were so covered by light it made them hard to see, now I wish I could have seen them to see the difference."
"Then you'll have to come home with me for a holiday" Glorfindel turned his head to smile at her "Where I live is so far from anything all you can see if stars."
"After Christmas?" Lightning asked "Mum will kill us if we don't spend Christmas at home and competition season is over then."
Glorfindel couldn't help but chuckle slightly. He could image facing the wrath of Lightning's mother and it would not be pretty. But his heart also leapt at Lightning's casual acceptance.
Silence stretched between them as they both gazed up at the stars. Lightning's breath misted in the air as she blew out a breath. It was bitingly cold yet neither of them felt any discomfort. As she did when she was a child she traced out the constellations with her fingers.
"That's the Milky Way" Lightning murmured her fingers tracing the sky "And the southern cross, Orion's belt."
Lightning voice trailed off as Glorfindel's fingers twined into her own.
"Show me some more, everything is different here" he asked lowly.
Lightning couldn't help but smile as she moved both their hands.
"Venus, beta and alpha Centauri" her fingers traced the night sky. She then dropped their hands with a low chuckle.
"That's about the extent of my knowledge, Callen knows more. When we were little he wanted to be an Astronaut so he learnt all the stars. He was sorely disappointed to find out Australia didn't actually have Astronauts."
"Oh really?" Glorfindel chuckled with her "And what did you want to be when you were little?"
"A jockey of course" Lightning moved to rest her head on Glorfindel's chest "That all got quickly squashed when I hit about 11 years old and shot up 4 inches. What about you?"
"A knight rescuing damels in distress from high towers" Glorfindel said seriously though the question made him frown slightly. It was never a question anyone had asked him. Until Gondolin had been sacked the only responsibility he had was to take a military command. It was excepted of him, he never had a choice in the matter. Not that back then he would have questioned it. Yet things these days were so different. It made him wonder how different things might have been if he were born a mortal man in these times. Free to choose your own path, not bound by duty or family.
"How adorable, did you ride around on a stick horse with a wooden sword?" Lightning giggled.
"Bow and arrow actually" Glorfindel squeezed her shoulders slightly. Lightning casually threw her leg over his and snuggled into him close. Silence stretched out between them for a long while. Glorfindel glanced down to make sure Lightning hadn't fallen asleep. But she hadn't. She was simply staring up at the crystal clear night sky.
"I always felt at peace being out here staring up at the stars" Lightning finally said softly "No matter how stressed out I was about things I felt like my soul was revitalised when I spent time doing this. Does that sound silly?"
Of course it doesn't, you're an Elf. Glorfindel thought but held his tongue.
"No of course it doesn't sound silly, everyone has their own way of getting rid of stress in their lives."
"I'm nervous for Hannah tomorrow" Lightning said suddenly completely changing the subject "She's dreamt of this wedding since we were kids and I'd hate for anything to go wrong."
"It won't" Glorfindel said quickly "No matter what happens she is marrying the man she loves. Everything else is a minor detail."
His words felt like they echoed back to an eternity ago. To a closed door back in Minas Tirith where Arwen was pacing and wringing her hands in nerves. Elladan and Elorhir mirrored her footsteps trying to soothe their sister's distress. Arwen was a nervous wreck over every minor detail to do with her wedding. She was fussing over the flowers that were woven into her hair. Glorfindel had finally grasped both her hands to stop her pacing and said to her the same thing he had just told Lightning. He could still smell the fresh elanor blossoms in her hair. He could still feel the dry heat of the Gondor summer.
"Guy?" Lightning asked breaking him from his thoughts.
"Hmm?" Glorfindel glanced down to meet her eyes. Lightning was looking up at him with a slightly bemused expression.
"Are you going to come back to the present time?"
"Sorry" Glorfindel chuckled "I got lost in a memory."
"I could tell" Lightning said as she snuggled back down into his chest. He automatically tightened his grip on her.
"Are you going to tell me what it was?"
Glorfindel let out a soft sigh. Of course Lightning was going to ask that. He racked his mind quickly for the easiest explanation of what he was just thinking about.
"Dan and Rohin's sisters wedding, I think I said the same thing to her" Glorfindel smiled sadly.
"I didn't know they had a sister" Lightning frowned.
"They did, she died quite young in an accident" Glorfindel corrected her "Along with her husband."
"That's sad" Lightning said softly "I never knew."
"They rarely speak of her, the memory is still painful even though it was a long time ago" Glorfindel said. There was a few moments of silence before Lightning spoke again.
"My parents, well my biological parents were killed in an accident when Callen and I were only a few months old. Mum and Dad were their oldest friends so they adopted us."
Glorfindel couldn't help but start at the comment. He didn't except to hear that comment come from her mouth. Lightning felt his jump of surprise and peeked up through her lashes.
"Didn't you know we were adopted?"
"Yes I knew" Glorfindel swallowed down the line of questions he wanted to throw at her and went for a more simple approach "Dan has a rather unusual habit of doing background checks on anyone he wants to go into business with."
To his relief Lightning snorted with laughter.
"So does my Father."
"Oh?" Glorfindel lifted an eyebrow and glanced down at her.
"He ran one on you" Lightning giggled softly "He told me you were a charmer, a ladies man and I should run away as fast as I can."
"Did he now?" Glorfindel joined in her chuckles "So why are you still here?"
"Isn't it in a daughter's nature to always date the man her parents don't like?"
"Ah and here I was thinking I was sweeping you off your feet in a whirlwind romance, but you are simply with me to annoy your parents" Glorfindel put on a look of fake hurt which made Lightning giggle even more.
"Well it has certainly been a whirlwind" Lightning said as she settled back down into his arms "You have spoilt me quite thoroughly and I have to admit I am getting quite used to it."
Glorfindel felt a rush of happiness at her words. Lightning was rarely this open with her thoughts and feelings. He took a brave step into probing into her past. One he hadn't dared to take until now.
"Do you remember anything about your parents?"
"No" the reply was instant with a shrug of her shoulders "We were too young to have any real memories of them, I had a photo of them but I don't know where I put it. The only thing I can remember is a silly little lullaby Dad used to hum to calm Callen down when we were tiny."
Almost absently Lightning begin to hum to the tune. It was an Elven lullaby, one parents sang to their children. Glorfindel felt his heart ache slightly to hear something from the past living in the memory of this half Elven girl. When Lightning finished she looked up at him almost shyly with a silly smile on her face.
"Just a silly lullaby" Lightning said almost absently.
"A beautiful memory" Glorfindel smiled tenderly down at her "It almost reminds me of the entry music to your freestyle with Beau."
"Oh that's just from a movie that was made from some book" Lightning frowned "Just something pretty and it matches the lightness in his gaits."
Glorfindel could see an expression of doubt cross over her face. One that tugged right down to her inner psyche that something else caused her to choose that certain piece of music. But she couldn't place it at all. As quick as it appeared Lightning smoothed her face over to a neutral expression.
"It's a prayer to old gods" Glorfindel felt the words tumble out before he could stop them. Lying beneath the stars tonight made his heart ache from old memories.
"Oh Elbereth Starkindler, white glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel to glory of the starry host. Having gazed far away from the tree woven lands of Middle Earth to thee, Everwhite, I will sing on this side of the sea, here on this side of the Ocean."
Glorfindel found he had to swallow heavily to stop the emotions that came bubbling to the surface from spilling over. How many centuries had it been since he had uttered that prayer? How many years had it been since he had even thought about the Valar? For an instant he felt the image of Varda herself flash in his mind with a beautiful smile.
"That's much more beautiful than I had imaged it would ever be" Lighting laughed almost breathlessly "I never picked you as the type to remember something like that from a book."
"I have a great love for all old and beautiful things" Glorfindel kissed Lightning's forehead tenderly "When we go for our holiday I will show you my ridiculous collections I have acquired over the years."
"Like?" Lightning asked.
"A 12th century Quran" Glorfindel had to rack his memory for a moment "An Italian plate armour made in 1450, various old weapons, tapestry, pieces of art. I have a silk kimono from the 1800's that would probably fit you perfectly."
"And now you have horses chewing up your bank account" Lightning chuckled.
"And now I have happiness" Glorfindel corrected her "Not meaningless pieces of old relics that gather dust in glass display cabinets."
"Those relics would have made you happy for a time" Lightning pursed his lips suddenly "It makes me wonder how long this will make you happy?"
The words were like a slap across the face for Glorfindel. He frowned deeply and pulled Lightning up so they were sitting across from each other. Without waiting for her to protest he pulled her into his lap and clung to her as if life depended on it. He grasped her face with both hands and stared into her eyes. Lightning swallowed deeply at the look on his face. It seemed to bore into her very soul. She could feel her own heart hammering in her chest. Her mind went completely blank of anything to say.
"You make me happy" Glorfindel said roughly "And if the day comes I no longer continue to make you happy then I will leave, but not until you tell me to do so."
"Guy" Lightning began but Glorfindel put a finger over her lips to silence her.
"I know you have been hurt deeply and if I ever see Craig I'm not sure if I will kill him for hurting you so badly or thank him for being such a fool for throwing a precious gem like you away" Glorfindel kept his finger on her mouth so she wouldn't speak "Tell me what truly happened between you two to cause you such anguish."
It came out more forcefully than Glorfindel intended. He meant it as a question but it came out as a demand. He dropped his finger from her lips and looked into her eyes deeply. What he didn't except was a single tear to slip down Lightning's face unexpectedly. He felt his heart constrict slightly at that tear. He never wanted to cause her any pain. Glorfindel opened his mouth to apologise but Lightning spoke first.
"He was one of Dad's head track riders" Lightning said haltingly before taking a deep breath "Callen had fallen off and fractured his wrist not long before a major competition. He would have been fine to compete but Bobby is very strong to gallop and I couldn't hang onto him. Yarry always needed someone to gallop with otherwise he got bored and lagged along which was terrible for his fitness. I asked Dad if he knew someone we could trust to come and gallop Bobby with me twice a week and he chose Craig. Dad was always very strict with the staff not flirting with me, and probably more strict with me not flirting with the staff. So it had to be someone he trusted to not get involved with me, or me with them."
Glorfindel couldn't help but let out a small chuckle before Lightning continued.
"So Craig was coming to our place in what started with just galloping Bobby, he was an excellent rider and it helped out us immensely. After the first 2 weeks he started to hang back afterwards asking if I needed a hand with anything else. With Cal having a busted wrist I was doing all the heavy work myself and it really was just a blessing in disguise that he'd help me do stables and feeds. He never showed any inclination that there was an interest in me until one afternoon in the stables."
Lightning frowned heavily at the memory but continued.
"He had come into Beau's stable to ask if I wanted anything else done before he left. Beau charged at him unexpectedly and bit him quite hard on the shoulder. Hard enough to draw blood and leave quite a mark behind. After much swearing and me yelling at Beau, I sat Craig down in the tack room to patch it up before he could get it seen to by a doctor. I don't really remember how it happened but he kissed me" Lightning broke off with a pained laugh "It was silly really, but he had broken it off as quickly as it started apologising profusely. After that it was almost alluring and a game to try and get him to do it again. It took a week and I had basically dragged him into our old truck and stripped off naked so he wouldn't say no."
Glorfindel fought back the biting jealousy that was clawing at his soul at the moment. He knew it was ridiculous, their relationship was long over but he hated the idea of another man touching her.
"We kept it a secret for awhile, it was exciting and like nothing I had ever had before, until Callen walked in on us one day. He had disliked Craig from the moment he met him and actually went and told Dad. Who in return was furious at me and ready to kill Craig. But Craig assured him that he had nothing to fear as he'd loved me from the day he first met me. He proposed not long after that and I was smitten. It sounds silly now but he really did treat me like a princess, I thought he was my knight in shining armour coming to sweep me off my feet. We got married quickly and that's when it started to fall apart. He wanted me to stay home from all the competing I was doing. I was so close to being long listed for Kentucky, I had basically laughed in his face."
Lightning took a deep breath, a frown crossing her face.
"We screamed at each other so loudly, Callen had to step in between us to break it up. Looking back now alarm bells should have been going off in my head, but stupid me didn't think anything was wrong. That night Craig had rolled over into me and whispered he was sorry and it was just that he wanted to start a family with me right away and we couldn't with all the time away I was spending. It was then when I told him I didn't want to start a family anytime soon that things started to get worse. We would argue constantly over small things, especially money. He hated how much money I poured into competing and how broke it always left me. He started spending more and more time away from home and I was never suspicious. I was always too busy to even notice to be honest. It wasn't until Callen and I had packed the truck to go to Sydney that I had found his phone laying on the bed unlocked. It was never unlocked and there was an unread message on it, from his girlfriend."
The bitterness in her voice was unmistakable. Glorfindel squeezed her hand tightly as a silent urge to continue.
"The message said 'The test said yes!' and I went through his other messages. There was a lot of them and it wasn't until Callen came to find me that it had actually sunk in. Our entire relationship had been a lie, he was simply using me to try and gain a better foothold at work and waiting out the 6 months of our relationship so he could get a good divorce settlement to set up he and his girlfriend. She had just found out she was pregnant. I cried my heart out all the way to Sydney. I nearly pulled out of the competition but I struggled through it. Strangely enough I won the event with Callen barely half a penalty behind me. What Craig didn't know is Callen had been very suspicious from the first day and had quietly arranged everything in his name. So he was getting nothing, except for Beau and Yarraman. It was a bit of an oversight on both of us forgetting that they were the only ones registered under my name solely as the owner. It was the only thing he could go for and he did. The only saving grace was that after Sydney we had been named on the short list and guaranteed a spot for Kentucky. It was in my rider's contract that neither horse could be sold until then."
"Yet if he had not we wouldn't be sitting here together" Glorfindel broke in gently. He reached up and brushed her cheek tenderly "If I could take away the pain he caused you I would."
"Maybe you can just punch him in the face then" Lighting laughed shakily breaking the somber mood "Though my twin would not confirm it I have a feeling that it was his doing when Craig got bucked off at work and fractured 2 vertebrae. It was just before we left for Kentucky and straight afterwards I got papers from his lawyer trying to hurry the divorce through."
Glorfindel couldn't help but snort in amusement. Lightning shot him a thoughtful look which Glorfindel simply plastered an innocent smile on his face.
"Fuck it all Callen, I knew it!" Lightning grumbled "I suppose I should thank him."
"He only told me as a threat not to hurt you" Glorfindel said "This was back in Kentucky when you had taken Beau back to the stables after he hurt himself."
"Doesn't that feel like a lifetime ago" Lightning said sigh a small sigh "Thing's have changed a lot since then."
"For the better I hope?" Glorfindel asked.
"Much better" Lightning smiled tracing her fingers along his face. Strangely enough she did feel better after talking about Craig. She hadn't ever gone into the detail with anyone else like she had just done. Of course Hannah and Callen both knew the general gist of the story and most parts of it but she had never spoken about it as a whole. Or in such great detail. Suddenly she felt brave, for the first time in a very long time. She switched off her brain and let her heart tumble out words she never would have let go in the first place.
"Guy, the night of the reunion I had a dream" Lightning said softly.
Lightning could feel him stiffen slightly underneath her. Yet he put a beautiful smile on his face and cocked his eyebrow.
"You quite often dream" Glorfindel said lightly "I quite like those dreams where you're moaning my name and then wake up throwing me back on the bed and having your way with me."
Lightning smacked him lightly on the chest but couldn't help but laugh herself. Once their laughter died down Lightning found herself being serious again.
"I dreamt that you said you loved me."
"Hmmm is that so?" Glorfindel said with a lazy smile gracing his handsome face. Although he tried to hide it he could feel his heart pounding in his own chest with those words slipping past her lips. Lightning bit her lip and debated whether to continue or not. Perhaps she was being silly, after all it was only a dream.
"And what if I told you that wasn't a dream?" Glorfindel asked softly.
Lightning felt her heart skip a beat.
"Then I would say we are both crazy" Lightning said just as softly "Crazy fools in love."
"That we are Lightning" Glorfindel felt a grin creep onto his face.
"It still scares the hell out of me" Lightning said softly. She dropped her eyes and began tracing idle patterns on Glorfindel's shirt. Cool fingers reached under her chin and tipped her eyes up to meet Glorfindel's.
"It scares me too" he admitted with a wry grin "Never in my life have I felt this way Lightning, I know it's only been a short time but you make me feel like no other ever has before. You have my heart and my soul."
Lightning let out a shaky breath she didn't realise she had been holding. A great weight finally felt like it had been lifted off her shoulders.
"And you have mine" she said softly. As soon as the words left her mouth she found herself being kissed fiercely. She wrapped her arms around his neck and clung onto him like he was the only thing holding her in this world. When they finally broke the kiss neither of them spoke for a long time. They just sat together in each other's arms under the brightly shining stars.
"We should head back, I think Hannah well be upset with me if I ruin her wedding photos with dark circles under my eyes" Lightning laughed lightly. Truthfully she didn't want anything to break the moment they were having under the stars.
"Of course" Glorfindel kissed her lightly again before untangling himself. He helped Lightning to her feet and embraced her tightly. Lightning sighed into his chest and let the feeling of peace wash over her.
"I do have a question though" Glorfindel asked while stroking her hair gently.
"Of course" Lightning said.
"I haven't been able to find one wedding photo of yours" Glorfindel said as Lightning pulled back to look at him first in confusion, then a wicked smile played over her lips.
"That's because Callen and I burnt them" Lightning chuckled "It was very soothing watching them go up in flames. I did the same with my wedding dress and anything to do with him."
Glorfindel couldn't help but chuckle with her.
Well for once I have updated fairly quickly! I hope everyone liked it. The story is fairly slow moving for a little bit while Glorfindel and Lightning fumble around with their feelings. Lots of drama and anguish to follow on soon. I can promise that!