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Chapter 3

        "Hi, honey," Morgan's voice answered, finally easing Logan of the excruciating pain of the elevator music piped over the phone lines while holding.

"Jesus Christ, Morgan, why don't you tell the people you work for to get some decent music on their phone system? If we have to hold for a half hour we should at least be somewhat entertained, not tortured!" he answered hysterically.

Morgan broke into a full laugh. "Oh, Logan, chill out. Not everyone thinks Led Zeppelin is soothing music. What's up?"

"Sorry, it just felt like I was waiting on the phone for an hour." Logan paused, continuing in a different frame of mind. "I had and idea." he began again, this time more excitedly. 'Since this is my last full weekend before I go back to work, I wanted to do something special. Something. . . uh, something different."

Morgan's attention was suddenly piqued. "Like what?" she prodded.

Logan was silent for a few seconds. "You'll see," he finally responded with a chuckle. "Just bring yourself home on time tonight. And, oh, if you don't mind, stop somewhere and get a bottle of good red wine. It's got to be red, not rosé or White Zinfandel or anything like that. It has to be a dark red." He chuckled again, drawing even more of Morgan's curiosity. Logan could almost feel his girlfriend's attention suck through the phone lines. Boy, was she going to be in for a surprise!

"I feel like I'm being hopelessly coerced," Morgan responded, trying desperately to coax an answer from Logan.

"Aye, but 'tis such a sweet coercion," the blarney Irishman answered in his best Irish accent. Logan laughed to himself. He kissed Morgan through the phone, hanging up with a sweet "hurry home!"

Something lately must have opened some part of his imagination to the point where new ideas flowed through him like wind through the trees. He also felt an odd self confidence, giving him the courage to proceed with his newly-inspired plan. This was something he'd never attempted before. Hell, he'd never even thought of a plan like this before. The idea seemed to spring out of the wind itself and felt just so perfect. Logan had somehow found a new part of himself, a part that had been begging to be heard but never listened to. A true essence of a deeper self, romantically linked to the adventurer that he lived everyday. The young man had to share this experience with Morgan, it would be a travesty of his own humanity if he didn't!

"Morgan might think I'm a loon, but, damn the torpedoes, I'm going all the way," the determined Irishman thought as the last vestiges of fear and doubt about his undertaking surfaced briefly after hanging up the telephone. A squeaky little voice in the back of his head kept telling him that he was a whack-o, Morgan would think he had flipped and never want to see him again. After all, she was raised in a strict fundamental Christian household. How would she react to performing some ancient rite from an obscure Pagan religion? Even if she had read books about it!

"What the hell! This will be so much fun that she'll at least have to enjoy herself this evening. Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. Tonight we find a different world!

"Oh, shit, candles," Logan reminded himself aloud. "I need more candles and something special to wear. Shit, I've got to dash!"

The apartment was growing dim as the last vestiges of sunlight faded into the evening. The fireman grabbed his jacket, rushing out of his door. "Good thing there's a mall around the corner," he told himself, running to his vehicle.

I don't think I should tell the guys at the fire station about this, he thought with a smile, driving away from his apartment complex. I'd never hear the end of it. He laughed hardily at the thought of his new-found freedom.

Logan heard keys rattling in the lock of his door, prompting him to look at his watch, "Is it that time already?" he asked himself. "Just a minute, don't come in yet! Give me just two more minutes."

"Jesus Christ, Logan, what are you doing in there? I don't want to stand out here all night, it's cold and I'm dying of curiosity. Hurry up!" Morgan whined through the door.

He finished lighting the last few candles, quickly making his way to the door. "Close your eyes," Logan instructed Morgan, opening the door just enough to peek through and see the exasperated look on her face. He wore a smile that just wouldn't disappear.

"What?" the exasperated Morgan responded, losing a little patience with him now.

"Come on, just close your eyes until you get inside. I'll help you in."

Morgan decided to play the game, doing as he instructed. Logan took her by the hand, leading her carefully through the doorway into his small living room. "Okay, you can open them now."

Morgan opened her eyes and gasped. His living room had been transformed. The sparse furniture was all moved tightly against the walls or out of the room altogether, being replaced by a glowing ring of white candles spaced evenly, just inches apart, in a large, careful circle on the floor. The glow of the many candles gave the room a golden hue, washing the walls in a fiery light that danced in brightness and shadow with a mysterious awe.

In the center of the shining circle he had placed two woolen fleeces, one on each side of a small, low bench that had several articles placed on it; three more unlit candles, a tall red one in the center of two shorter white ones, two small bowls, a silver goblet and a red velvet ribbon carefully folded and placed on the far end of the bench. The perimeter of the circle had four objects placed in opposing unison in the quadrants; nearest them was a small, black cast iron pot on three stubby legs, a large stone to their left, a standing sword across the circle from them and a tall staff of dark polished wood on their right. Lying at their feet were two small folded piles of dark green cloth.

"What is all of this?" the enticed woman asked breathlessly. "I've never seen anything like it. It's. . . it's beautiful. But what's it for?"

The candlelight flickering on Morgan's face was intoxicating to Logan. The entranced young man stared into her mesmerizing emerald eyes, unable to answer, feeling his passion well up from deep within him. She sparkled like a newborn star. The golden light showering his lover's cascading red hair highlighted her glowing cheeks like a goddess from the wellspring of eternity. Logan's heart leapt as he softly touched the cheek of his enchantress with a quivering hand. He wanted to feast on the passion that poured from those eyes and drown in the love that radiated from her wondrous face. He had never felt more alive.

Slowly, Logan took the bottle of wine from Morgan's tight grasp, setting it on the floor at their feet. "What do you think?" he asked with joyous eyes twinkling full of pride and anticipation.

"I'm stunned," Morgan answered truthfully. "This is one thing I never expected. Everything feels so romantic. No one has ever done anything like this for me before."

Logan smiled shyly, taking Morgan's hand in his. "I've never done anything like this before. I just hope you don't think I'm crazy when I explain the ritual we're about to do." A small lump of concern rose into his throat as the tiny, doubting voice in the back of his head said, 'hey, stupid, she's really going to think you're weird. There's still time to back out of this gracefully and tell her the candles are just for a romantic mood and the rest of the stuff you just wanted to show her. Get real, this whole idea is just a waste of time and energy.'

Silently, the Irishman struggled for several minutes. Unable to form the words that he wanted to say, he just looked at Morgan, gently brushing his hand through her thick hair. He could swear that sparkles of starlight ran between the strands of her beautiful tress.

Morgan seemed to sense his struggle and spoke to comfort him, "Logan, thank you for setting all this up for me. I'm really excited, tell me what all the candles and stuff mean and what they are for. You know, I feel a really deep connection between us, I have from the beginning. I want to know everything about you, experience you like no one else ever has." Her eyes glowed with a passion that tugged at Logan's heart, giving him the courage to open up to her.

Encouraged, words began to flow smoothly from his relaxing throat. "I want to create a ceremony with you. It's just another way of exploring ourselves and bonding our relationship to a deeper level. You know I've been fascinated with ancient religious rites and ideas, especially old Celtic rites and rituals. Well, I want to share that experience with you," he stated shakily, taking a defensive stance for the space he had just opened. "Would you like to join me? You don't have to if you feel uncomfortable. His stomach was feeling queasy and that weasely little voice was now yelling at him.

Morgan looked lovingly into Logan's eyes and smiled. "Honey, this is the sweetest, most loving thing anyone has ever done for me," she kissed him gently on the cheek. "I wouldn't miss the opportunity to share this with you if life itself was coming to an end. I've not had the time as of yet to read much about this kind of stuff, so you'll have to lead me through the steps. Okay?"

"I don't mind at all, honey. The ceremony is all pretty simple and individualistic. I'm sure you'll quickly get the hang of it and follow along in a very natural way." Logan was starting to feel his confidence returning. He was even getting a hold on the little nuisance of a voice that had been plaguing him. "I was worried that you'd think I was out of my gourd," Logan admitted sheepishly. "Or that we would be struck down by lightening for doing witchcraft or something."

"I think you're wonderful!"

"Then let's get started," he answered, taking a deep, relieved breath. "An old Irish religion, called Witta, involved lots of ceremony and tradition. I've kind of taken liberty with one of the traditions called Handfasting, adapting the specifics to something you and I can use to bond our relationship to a higher degree." Logan was still hesitant to commit himself completely to her, even though his feelings were more natural and ran deeper than any he had ever felt before. The depth of connection that bonded his heart to her still confounded him. However, a small remnant of fear lingered in his mind, cautioning him to hold his ground, take a step, not a leap. After all, don't the cautious live to tell about their adventures? But, do they ever reach the stars, he wondered?

"Handfasting," Logan continued in a more serious vein, "In the traditional form was when a man and a woman formally committed themselves to each other, before their village, for a period of nine years. Of course, like I said, I've kind of modified it so that we don't have to make a nine year commitment tonight." Logan squirmed a little, feeling a bit uncomfortable about what he was saying. Morgan looked at him compassionately, sensing the uneasiness in his voice.

"Anyway," he continued after a short pause, "that's what I'd like to do if you're game."

Morgan smiled brightly, "I'm looking forward to playing with you in every realm, Logan Keohane, even ancient ones. I will commit myself to you. You are for me! Am I for you? I already sense a connection with you like nothing I've ever felt before. I just want you to know this because I love you and I want to share this experience with you."

Logan was stunned. Where did he go now? His mouth opened, yet, nothing came out. In a second attempt his voice cracked, stammering, "You," and fell silent, able only to take Morgan tenderly into his arms. Looking deeply into her eyes he found the same feelings that had been experienced in the hospital the night of his accident. It was time to speak from his soul, not his intellect. "You are for me, Morgan O'Malley, and I am for you! I love you and I will commit to you this night with the gods as my witness!" Some distant part of him screamed in his head, causing a sudden chill down his spine. With a brief shiver, his fear passed, freeing him from a weight that seemed to lift off of his shoulders. Logan kissed Morgan tenderly. "I really mean it."

"I know you do!" She could feel his love as long pent-up emotions poured freely from Logan's opening heart. Looking softly into his eyes, Morgan repeated, "I know you do."

Logan closed his eyes momentarily, took another deep breath then continued from where he had left off. "Okay, there's one more thing to know about this. The ancient Celts believed in reincarnation, in a little different sense than we generally have heard of it. They believed not only that the soul of a deceased person would be reborn, but that it would return into the same family that it had left. Also they believed that the genetic memory of their whole lineage would be passed on through their children, generation after generation, and could be accessed through certain rituals and processes. I don't know if that's all really true, but, if you have any strange experiences you may be just accessing ancient collected genetic memories. Like I said, I've never done this before, I've just read about it." A last remnant of fear streaked through his consciousness, scolding him, she was going to think he was completely off his rocker!

Unafraid and with complete trust, Morgan smiled up at him with eyes like a green fire. It didn't take a psychic to see the passion burning in her face and feel the anticipation flowing in her veins, leaving traces of sparkling currents of electrical ecstasy in the deep, flaming emerald pools. "I'm ready," his trusting lover prompted. "I'm excited! What do we do first?"

Logan felt a wave of relief flood through him with her eagerness to continue. "Slip into this robe," he directed, picking up one of the piles of cloth from the floor and handing it to her. "This will be more fun if we are in ceremonial clothing. Take off everything but the robe.

The anticipatory lad felt a bit apprehensive at first, but soon was pulling off his clothes, tossing them carelessly onto the floor wherever they landed. His odd feeling at disrobing in full sight of Morgan faded, being replaced with carefree, confident passion. Removing his underwear, he pulled the dark green robe over his head, tying it snugly around his waist. Butterflies formed once more in his stomach and his head began to spin. This was going to be some kind of experience. But, what if he forgot something?

He watched intently as Morgan slipped out of her tight jeans and dark sweater. The gorgeous redhead looked up at him with just a hint of cute shyness, tossing them absently to the side. She slipped her bra from her delicately tanned shoulders, exposing her firm breasts. With a glance away from him, his partner slipped the lace panties over her round hips, allowing them to drop to her feet. Gracefully, Morgan slid the flowing robe over her head, kicking the panties aside. Logan stood silently, admiring her exquisite form, while the folds of soft, green cloth slid silkily over her full, bare hips. He burned to feel her against him. His heart shuddered and his knees grew weak.

"Are you ready?" Logan asked quietly.

"I can hardly wait!"

Logan took Morgan by the hand, stepping carefully through the little opening that he had left between the glowing candles. Guiding his partner to one side of the little bench, he prompted her to kneel onto the fleece spread out before it. Logan left her side, closed the gap in the candles and took a position in front of the shining sword at the edge of the circle. He picked up the blade, directing the tip toward the base of the candles, extending his arms to make a parallel line between him and the handle.

"I'm striking a circle of protection," he explained to Morgan, "to separate us from any negative or subversive energies. Once the circle has been stricken, you mustn't cross the line until the circle has been reopened, Okay?"

Morgan's eyes flamed as she looked up at Logan. "Okay," she answered, still under his spell.

Logan continued his ritual, walking to each of the four quadrants, asking blessings of the Spirits of each direction. His strength and confidence grew with each step and action. The ritual now felt like a quintessential part of life to him. All of his anxiety had vanished, leaving behind a confidence bred of total conviction and fed on the strength of passion. Energy streamed through his veins with a fire possessed of generations of warriors, yet tempered by the light of love. He completed his circle and replaced the sword to its position on the edge of the ring.

The room glowed golden in the light of the flaming shafts as Logan sat before Morgan on the opposite side of the alter. The Irishman looked into his lover's eyes with a passion that flowed directly from his heart. His eyes glittered brightly in the heat of circumstance while his rusty hair was ringed with a halo of timeless light. "Before us is the new life," Logan spoke with a confident, richly deep voice unfamiliar to Morgan. "Symbols of the old and the new come together to form a pattern interwoven with two lives." He struck a match and lit the white candle on his right, prompting Morgan to do the same.

"Together we light the fire of eternity." Logan intoned, motioning Morgan to pick up the candle that she had lit. Together, the enjoining lovers ignited the central red candle. "Together we create the bond of future generations. Passing the flame from past to present to future. The lives we live and the lives we create shall, from this day forward, know of the passion shared on this night to commit the abundance of love toward a common goal." The impassioned Irishman took a small pinch of salt from one of the small bowls on the alter, sprinkling it lightly into the flickering candle's flame. "As the elements combine to form one new substance, so shall two souls combine to form one new spirit. Breath of love breathe through us on this glorious night in the shadow of silver fire with the spirits of the heavens and Earth in attendance." He lifted his head and hands toward the heavens, his voice becoming even deeper. 'Bless this union in the spirit of eternity under the endless stars with silver Brigid smiling warmly upon us. Cosmic union that binds two souls to form one new spirit and fly hand in hand to the edges of eternity. Fly with me, share my soul. Take me into your loving womb to share a love, impassioned and true."

Logan looked deeply into the eyes of Morgan, so deeply that he felt the soul beyond her physical body. "Follow your instincts," the rusty haired lad instructed simply. "Let your soul rise to the surface. It will guide you to places never before imagined. Don't fear the unknown, just allow the deepest part of yourself to speak freely."

Morgan was transfixed. She had never known Logan to be this way, never known him to be so poetically astute or romantically passionate. The deep urges that bubbled forth from the very core of her being completely overcame the amazed young woman. The wisdom of a hundred lifetimes arose, directing her like a shining light in the desert. "Together we light the fire of eternity," she repeated after Logan. "For tonight we fly freely with souls intertwined, to a place far beyond the stars into the evermore. Blissfully, love, we'll climb the night, taking with us the stars of heaven. Together we are one spirit, endless in the fabric of consciousness, blessed by the spirits of Heaven and Earth." The astonished lass was stunned at what just came from her mouth and the passion that bubbled up generously from deep inside of her being. Morgan felt as if some unknown spirit, lying dormant deep inside her soul had just awakened, taking over her actions. Could this be a part of the 'something strange' that Logan had mentioned earlier?

Logan took a pinch of salt from the bowl, sprinkling it gently, a few grains at a time, into the second vial of water. He stirred the liquid carefully, holding the swirling vessel over the central candle. "Earth, water, fire and air formed, each separate, but as one. Breathe in the newness. Anáil as saol, breath of life, to fly into heaven on the wings of the soul." Logan took a deep breath of the vapor and handed it tenderly to Morgan. She took the little cauldron, also breathing deeply of the vapors with her eyes closed and mind relaxed. She handed the vessel back to Logan.

Picking up the silver goblet, Logan poured it half full with the deep red wine that Morgan had provided them. With slow, deliberate ease he raised the chalice between them, to a level just above their heads. "Blood of the union," he continued softly, "symbol of the mother, Brigid, to share her fruitfulness in the joining of life. Smile upon us, Mother. Bless this fusion of hearts and souls as we begin life anew in the womb of eternity!" Logan took a slow sip of the wine with his eyes closed and then offered the cup to Morgan.

The mists of antiquity ran fluidly through her being, directing her every action. The ancient part of herself instinctively took the vessel from him, raised the cup before him and took a drink of the dark liquid. "Mother Brigid," Morgan addressed the ancient goddess, following Logan's lead, "tonight we stand in eternity, calling on your endless wisdom and love. Bind us before your sight in the union of lovers to stand hand in hand in the steadfastness of everlasting bliss." She reverently handed the goblet back to him.

Her lover then held out his left hand to her. She grasped it with her fingers interwoven with his. With his right hand Logan took the crimson ribbon, slowly winding the supple fabric around both of their wrists and hands. "Thus bound, in the eyes of all eternity, we enter into a new phase of life, committed to a common goal with a passion that lights our way and feeds the hungry heart. Time stands still this moment, becoming at once past, present and future. We live in eternity, my love. We are one as we have chosen to be!" Suddenly, the words the intense Irishman was speaking were of a language that she could somehow grasp a broad meaning, but couldn't interpret. They were at the same time strange and familiar, old and new. She could not translate them, yet instinctively she knew exactly what they said. "Tá grá agam duit, a Mhorgan, a chroi!" his soft deep voice exclaimed. "Cad tá I ndán dom? Tusa, a ghrá mo chroi, tusa! Mar sin, ná bíodh ionadh ort, óir thugamar féin an ghrá linn!" Logan lifted his hands to the sky once again proclaiming, "Mura ndénann sé dóchar dein duinne, biobh sé!"

Morgan answered him, her words again originating from a level of herself far beyond her physical consciousness. "I love you also, my love. Our destinies do lie together. We are one, flying freely on the winds of eternity!"

Logan heard her voice, reveling in its sound. It was musical, like a chime playing sweetly on the breeze of a warm spring morning. Chills of awareness coursed through him, up his spine and erupted through his head. The world around him faded, being replaced by a scene familiar to a hidden part of himself. He was surrounded by friendly walls of familiar stone, cool and damp with the smell of antiquity. Morgan was still kneeling before him, but somehow different. Her face had changed, but was still as beautiful as ever. His lover's hair now flowed raven black across linen clad shoulders, highlighting her flaxen complexion like a frame around a masterpiece. He loved this woman like no other.

The impassioned lad shoved aside the table that sat between them, taking his desirous mate heatedly into his waiting arms. Kissing her passionately, he gently slipped the gown from Morgan's trembling shoulders. The material silently flowed to the floor around her feet, leaving her body uncovered. Logan looked at her unabashedly, marveling at the gracious curves of the finely hewn beauty standing before him. He drank her in like fine wine.

Morgan then loosed the tie around his waist, pulling the supple robe over his head. Logan stood nude before her, engulfed by`his paramour's impassioned gaze. She reached out and touched his chest, stroking him gently, watching the sparks fire where her fingers touched his skin. Pulling her to him, Logan felt the softness of her skin press softly against his. His senses were alive with excitement. He could feel every part of her body at once, touching him like the breath of an angel. He wanted to revel in the delights of her love.

Logan could feel the room around him. Everything was a part of him. He couldn't tell where his being stopped and his lover began. They just were. The enflamed lad stroked her back with the gentleness of a feather on a cool breeze, feeling every inch of her with a sensitivity unimagined. Kissing down the side of her neck, Morgan trembled. He knew her excitement. Morgan's breasts heaved as her lover proceeded with the gentleness of a lamb, but the passion of a lion. He kissed them firmly and wetly, licking softly around the darkened edges.

Morgan gasped as he proceeded down her flat belly. Again she shivered and her breathing quickened. Logan, kneeling before her, kissed the insides of her thighs, slowly working his way up, to her delight. Sweetly, he kissed her, then ran his tongue between her wet lips until she screamed with pleasure. The ecstatic woman opened herself to him without shame or regret.

"Now let me pleasure you, lad," she whispered from the same inner source as before. Morgan pulled him back into a standing position in front of her. "I want to taste you then feel you inside me." Logan's lover followed suit, kissing down his rippled stomach until she reached his manhood, softly caressing and pleasuring him until his knees felt too weak to stand. "God, I want you," he said, positioning himself on the woollen rug on the hard stone floor. Morgan moved herself on top of him, directing his body with a naturalness that only familiar lovers share. She writhed sensuously on his erectness, stirred with passion like a flame engulfing a dried twig. Logan's senses erupted, he was everywhere. Nothing was apart from him as he celebrated the heat of impassioned love. His senses expanded, allowing him to feel being a part of everything, all at once. All burning as one consuming fire, fueled by the very core of existence.

He exploded in sensual ecstasy. Light flowed like water across his sight. Colors swirled in rainbows as the sounds of passion caressed his ears. Morgan was moaning with joy and fulfillment as her body convulsed time and again around him. The world stopped, allowing him a glimpse of eternity. Life was forever changed.

Morgan laid herself tenderly across his body as he still pulsed deeply inside of her. He could hear his love's ragged breathing, feel her heart pounding in her chest. Both of their bodies ran with sweat. The smell of their love was heavy in his nostrils. He was alive, like never before. His senses were keener than he ever thought possible. Logan was so weak his eyes wouldn't open, yet, so strong that the world was in his hand. With his eyes still closed, he seemed to feel the damp coolness of ancient stone walls once again surrounding him, lulling him into an existence long forgotten but completely real.

Morgan stirred on top of him, trying to get even closer. "Promise me you'll stay with me forever!," she whimpered softly. "Please tell me you'll always love me and be here with me."

"I shan't ever leave you, lass," the fulfilled Irishman answered her in a voice that flowed from the ages. "I'll be with you throughout eternity!"

Shocked at their last conversation, Logan opened his eyes, looking around him. They were in his apartment laying on the fleece, surrounded by a ring of half burned candles. "My God," he asked breathlessly, "Did you just experience the same thing I did?" "I don't know what you experienced, but what I felt was pretty strange. There's no way I can really describe the sensation, I just know I feel wonderful," Morgan answered with a sigh, trembling softly once again. "And what was it you were saying earlier? I

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