Hello! It`s time for Tuesday Tales.
Today we have the final chapter of Wind in White Birch. Since this is the last chapter of Dana and Jonah`s romance, my gracious fellow Tuesday Tales authors have given this issue a special pass on the 300 word limit that usually accompanies our picture prompts. You gals are the best! *Hugs*
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For this final issue, I wanted to include a link to the Seneca- Allegheny Nations Veterans Pow Wow for you to listen to as you read. If you recall, Jonah mentioned he participated in the drums earlier in the story. This link adds a great feel to this last chapter as well as shows some of the native culture of our leading man. If you've never been to a pow wow you're in for a treat when you listen to the drumming and song in the video below! But, feel free to wait until you are done reading if you wish.
The summer sun was brutal. I had found a nice cool tent to relax in. It had been a long, glorious July day. One that Rhett and I would never forget. I sucked on a bottle of raspberry water while peeking at the ceremonial dances now taking place. Rhett had been thrilled beyond words to be allowed to dance with Jonah`s nieces and nephews. Granted, his costume was rather lacking compared to the stunning ones that we saw among the seasoned participants, but Rhett didn`t mind his hastily thrown together ensemble.
I glanced at my watch, rather anxious to find Jonah and perhaps do some shopping. I had promised I would send gifts down with Rhick for the Clairton Corp when he returned to Pittsburgh. It would have to suffice until we got down at Christmas. I would have to take roses and chocolates to my grandmother as well as holiday presents when we visited. She was quite distraught over losing her baby boy and I.
Rhick and Jonah had kept themselves at a peaceable distance today, and while the two of them would never be bestest buddies, they were keeping civil tongues for the sake of the boy they both loved dearly.
I was swishing some ice-cold water over my tongue when some fool grabbed both my butt cheeks. Water spewed over the side of the tent and a pretty gold and blue blanket. I spun around and slugged Jonah as hard as I could in his arm. The owner of the tent was not amused and I apologized profusely to the elderly Native American woman. Jonah quickly purchased the blanket that I had spit on, told the woman we`d be back for it, and then led me out the back of the tent.
“I should keep an eye on Rhett,” I said, glancing over my shoulder at my child.
“He`s with his dad, he`ll be fine.”
I didn`t have time to argue. Soon we were behind the bleachers that were packed with people. The gathering was always a huge draw with dancers and drummers coming in from all over the United States. Jonah had opted not to dance, but he had entered the drum competition, which was still going on. I followed behind the man in the white tee, leather vest, and worn jeans. His wrists were covered with beaded bracelets his sister and nieces had gifted him with. Feathers dangled from his plaited hair. His grip on my wrist was tight but not painful. The sounds and smells of the gathering began to wane slightly as we slid into the woods. The air was delightfully cooler under the pines. We stopped after walking for another five minutes or so.
I padded around a small area letting the pine-scented air move through my cotton top. Jonah was leaning against a huge white pine, one moccasin-clad foot resting on the trunk, the other on the ground, his arms folded over his chest. I lowered my eyes from the boughs and quirked an eyebrow at him.
“What?” I asked, wondering if I had globbered something on my yellow blouse or denim skirt. I wouldn`t be surprised. I had eaten enough here to sink the Lusitania.
“You know you`re the most beautiful woman at this pow-wow?" I fluttered my lashes at him, but he didn`t smile or wink, he just continued to stare. I stopped playing as the serious mood he seemed to be in now overtook the tiny space in the woods we occupied.
“Is there something wrong?” I inquired. I began ticking off things mentally. I had gotten June`s books done and sent to the CPA. Payroll was done. We had two guides now: Jonah and a highly skilled man by the name of David Crow Wing. The reservations for the rest of the month were in, booked, and confirmed. That we had this weekend to play was amazing. Not that we didn`t want White Birch Lodge booked all year round, but a day off was greatly appreciated, let me tell you.
His hand coming to rest on my shoulder shook me from my list of potential problems.
“Did I forget something?” I asked. He shook his head slowly, keeping those dark, dark eyes of his glued to my face.
“No, you didn`t forget anything. You`re the best bookkeeper, reservation person, personal assistant, and runner of my life I could have asked for. I just was wondering if you`d like to move up on the employee scale?”
I made a face. “What did you have in mind? I don`t know if I can take on any more mantles to be honest. I`m still trying to find us a cook and then there`s all that paperwork with the state game commission that will have to be done. And don`t forget we have to apply for specialty tags for the guys booking for fall hunts and . . .”
“I was thinking something more along the lines of co-owner of White Birch Lodge." My mouth dropped open for a second.
“I don`t have that kind of money,” I muttered, a very odd feeling settling deep inside of me.
“I`m not looking for a business partner, Dana, I`m looking for a life partner,” Jonah whispered while holding a small velvet box out to me. “Marry me.”
It felt as if the world slowed down. I glanced down at the tiny blue box, my hands beginning to shake violently. Then I looked into his eyes. That was all it took. My whole world – my future – was right there in those obsidian eyes of his.
“Are you sure you want to wed a cougar?” I asked, tears welling up despite my resolve not to cry. Jonah smiled and flicked the box open with his thumb. The round diamond sparkled in the late afternoon rays of sun that snuck through the boughs. The glittering gem was set in silver and the band was inlaid with turquoise.
“I`ve never been more sure of anything in my life,” the man said earnestly.
“If you`re sure, then yes, I`ll marry you.”
He slid the ring on my finger and then kissed me until we were both short of breath.
“Take us home,” I whispered, clinging to Jonah tightly. “This is wonderful, but it can`t compare to the wind moving through our white birch.”
“Our white birch . . . I love hearing you say that.”
I planned on saying that to him until the day the wind ceased blowing and the trees stopped singing their plaintive lover`s song.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
Thank you so much for reading along. This serial has become one of my favorite stories for so many reasons. I hope you grew to love Dana, Jonah, and the supporting cast as much as I did. We may return to White Birch Lodge sometime in the future, as there is a new romance that might blossom given time.
Next we`ll be doing something a little different but just as romantic. I`ll be taking you back in time for an M/M romance set in nineteen forty-five. World War 2 has just ended when Jon Porter gets a telegram that will change his life forever. Western Union`s friendly service doesn`t soften the blow of finding out that his estranged sister has died leaving him to care for a nephew Jon never knew existed.
Jon returns to the small rural town of Hannity Hills, Pennsylvania, fully prepared to do what he must to set up a quick adoption for his nephew, Andy. Once he`s back home though, things go awry for the artist. First on the derailment of John`s neat plans is four year old Andrew himself. Secondly, he meets Ross Coleman, a local woodworking artisan, and the flames of attraction flare up instantly.
How can a man leave when he`s finding so much to stay for? How can he stay when his livelihood is screaming for him to go? There are no easy answers in my M/M romance Dear Jon, debuting next week.
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See you next week!