Do not reproduce without permission from author. (c) February 1998

A Night of Life Giving Love
by Lee Ann Monat

Finally, there were two. She lay in the semi-darkness amazed by the feelings that were washing over her. The feeling that she was safe and loved, but most of all, the feeling of his body lying close beside her. She recalled another night when she had slept close to him, just prior to their engagement when he was suffering from a terrible headache. This time however, was exceptionally different. Now they were lying in a beautiful bed, carved for her by his strong hands---the same hands that now lovingly stroked her bare arm. Finally, Sully and Michaela were joined together by the bonds of marriage. She was in awe.

Just then Michaela felt Sully's lips travel from her neck to her ear, where he whispered, "I love you so much."

Feelings of nervousness mingled with her overwhelming love for him.

"Michaela, relax. I told you not to worry...that we would take it ever so easy. Do you trust me?" whispered Sully.

"I do." She replied without hesitation.

"Just keep sayin' that." He said as he ever so gently removed the rest of her gown, which was quickly joined by his own wedding attire.

And so the two soul mates took the first step of their first night together as husband and wife.

They were both at a loss for words, but for different reasons. Sully couldn't believe how perfect and beautiful she was. He stood stone still while thinking how lucky he was to have a wife that wasn't only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. This was why he loved her so.

Michaela was silent because she had no idea of what to do or where to look, and was overwhelmed with shyness once again. She stood stone still while thinking .. He's just standing there .... staring .... Is something wrong? Is he disappointed with what stands before him?

As if Sully could read these thoughts as they flashed across her down turned face, he whispered, "You're so beautiful." He wanted her so much, but more than that, he wanted to put her at ease. She came first on this first night.

Michaela blushed. Sully gently took her hand in his, kissed it, and drew her into a light embrace, as if to shield her body, which he could tell was trembling.

"Are you cold?" he softly asked his nervous bride.

"A bit," she bashfully answered to his chest.

Sully took their "Double Wedding Ring" quilt, wrapped it around her, then picked her up and carried her to sit with him on the bed.

"I'm a bit chilly myself ... mind if I join ya?" He asked this while gently stroking her hand, and watching her face.

"Of .... Of course." She stammered, as she slowly opened the quilt to him.

He slid over, just as slowly, until their skin touched.

"Are you warm now?" He asked in a heavy tone.

"Very," she replied - a hint of shyness still present.

One strong arm tenderly enveloped her while Sully wrapped the blanket tightly around them with the other. He comforted her with yet another sweet embrace, rocking her gently, letting her get used to this new closeness. Then he lowered his head to kiss her, slowly at first, but then the heat growing in both of them overtook their mouths and their bodies. The quilt was thrown down, and forgotten. She lost all thought control as her need, and love for him overtook her senses...she was lost. She only made out the words "I love you." Michaela wasn't sure who had said them; perhaps it was their thoughts. Their minds both raced and screamed I love you over and over.

It was now fully dark, except for the light burning next to their bed. Their bed! They were lying face to face, limbs entwined, their damp skins warmly clinging. It was all so new and amazing. Michaela's mother had called this her "Wifely Duty." How could this act of love be considered a duty? She thought of it as a joy, and privilege to lie with this man whom she loved so completely.

Just then she was aware of Sully's soft lips on her forehead, moving down to her closed eyes and finally to her parted lips. He stayed, their breaths mingling along with their souls.

"Michaela?" he whispered tenderly.

"Hmm?" came her soft reply.

"How are ya feelin'?" he asked cautiously, hopefully.

" your wife..."

He smiled.

"My wife." He sighed."I've always loved you, cherished you...thought you were...are beautiful." He paused to touch her face. "But now I can fully show you how much."

"And I can do the same." She sighed."My husband."

"Yes, you can ... My wife." He sighed again.

She kissed him with all the emotion and love she felt in her heart. He gathered her close, his breath beating faster on her forehead, his pulse racing.

"I love the feeling of you beside me, not only in here but out there as make me feel're my strength." Michaela said this as she placed her head beneath his chin, and hugged him tightly.

"I'm not so strong. Every time I see you and realize you're actually mine, when I see those rings on your finger, I feel weak...I'm amazed every time I touch you..." He cupped the side of her face with a strong, gentle hand. "You take my breath away," Sully said, trying to put his indescribable feelings into words.

"I have never known a sweeter soul. You have such a beautiful heart," said Michaela, in awe of this wonderful man once more.

"It's yours," he answered simply.

"I still can't believe it," said a very moved Michaela.

"It's been yours since the first time I saw ya. I knew I loved you, even before I realized it," Sully said into her eyes.

"I knew you did, even before you told me," replied Michaela.

He kissed her softly while whispering, "I'm glad I finally came to my senses."

They lay quietly, her face at his throat, his face buried in her fragrant hair. Exhaustion had come upon them, (from the long wedding day, to the expression of their vows when they were finally alone). Yet, when she kissed his Adam's apple, she stirred his love for her once again.

"Michaela, remember I said that we were going to take it easy...remember?" he said with a smile, feeling her lips at his throat.

"Do you trust me?" she said with a smile to match his.

"I do."

The night stretched out and the moon played over their tangled bodies. Both could not even imagine what their lives alone had been like. Neither could remember the nights when they had slept solitaire, or when they had wondered if they would ever love again. They loved enough now to make up for all those past years.

Michaela, wrapped in her loving husband's arms, stared at the burning flame on the wall beside the bed, which paled in comparison to the passion that had been burning next to it.

"Sully?" she murmured.

"Hmm?" he answered sleepily into his wife's hair.

"I'm going to get up to turn off the lantern."

"Let it burn out...don't leave the bed, you feel so good next to me."

"I'll only be gone a second."

"Promise?" he whispered.

"I promise." She sealed the vow by kissing his hand.

He reluctantly released her as she flipped back the quilt, which they had gathered around them once again. She lowered the flame, turned, and was struck again by how amazing this all was. There, waiting for her in their bed, was her husband. This handsome, gentle, man who was her friend as well as her love.

Sully seemed to be sharing her thoughts, as he pulled back the quilt even more. She quickly crossed the room to rejoin him, and as she climbed in, he gathered her close once more. They lay in happy silence for awhile until Michaela heard Sully's voice vibrate above her head.

"I know that after tonight', I should realize that we're really here, but when you turned from that lamp to come back to me, I was struck by the fact that you, Michaela Quinn, are my wife. My beautiful wife who will always be coming to join me in our bed."

He said this with so much emotion that her heart ached with love for him.

"Always," she said through happy tears.

He then gently rolled her onto her back and gave her a long, adoring kiss. A kiss that said he was overjoyed and honored to be her husband. A kiss that conveyed the fact that he loved that she was finally sharing his bed, along with every other part of his life.

They fell asleep the way the kiss had ended. She on her back, him with his head sharing her pillow, and a hand on her stomach. They slept soundly, more soundly than they had ever slept when they were apart. They awoke the same way they had slept, Sully first.

He thought, the previous night a dream. However, when he felt Michaela's weight on his arm, and his hand rising and falling with her every breath, he knew it had been real. He sighed in happiness as her eyes slowly opened and focused on his face.

Michaela awoke to see her love's beautiful blue eyes fixed on her. They both smiled and shifted to cling together in a sweet embrace on this, their first morning together. They were in heaven. The previous night had been heaven. Her shyness seeming like a dream forgotten. She knew him as he knew her. They both felt strong and complete as a wave of love washed over them.

Michaela had brought a beautiful nightdress her mother had given her. Sully had likewise brought along a nightshirt, thinking Michaela would appreciate it. Both garments lay forgotten, still folded in their bags. Neither husband nor wife were in need of, or even remembered the nightclothes. They wanted nothing to separate them for the rest of their lives. God knows enough had tried to during their courtship.

"I never thought a love like this was possible." Michaela spoke after a time.

"I never thought a woman like you was possible," he replied as he stroked her cheek. "I've dreamt of this for as long as I can remember. It seems like I've always been on a quest to find the rest of me. I thought I had with Abagail. I knew the second I saw you that my life had been leading me to Colorado so I would be there when you..." He paused a moment remembering the first time he saw her. "...when you tripped and fell in the mud." He softly laughed and looked down at her, but she knew he was completely serious.

"And my life led me to that mud puddle," she said, also with a soft smile.

Then, remembering a talk she had had with her mother, she continued, " I grew up seeing couple's who were good matches, even my own parents. My mother said she was taught that a good match was more enduring than love." Michaela paused to look into his eyes. "After knowing you, being loved and loving you, I know that there is no more enduring a match than one made by love. To be here with anyone else would be a lie." She touched his face. "I am so proud and honored to be your wife. My love for you will continue to grow until I no longer draw breath."

"I would suffocate without you." Sully could barely speak after her beautiful, and unexpected words."You are my life's breath. I know that as surely as I know that I am completely lost within you."

"You are me," she breathed.

"And you are me," he whispered against her lips.

Two sets of love filled eyes spilled over and held each other, just as their arms held each other. They then shared yet another pure, salty kiss filled with love, appreciation, gratitude, honor, and life.

"Oh night that was my guide!
Oh darkness dearer than the morning's pride,
Oh night that joined the lover to the beloved bride
Transfiguring them into the other."

---St. John of the Cross

The End