Monday, March 14, 2011
An Irish Love Story
Like shamrocks and leprechauns, the Claddagh ring is a symbol of Irish heritage. In my novel, Nothing but Trouble after Midnight, the ring plays an integral part in the storyline. Enjoy the excerpt, and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I took a deep breath as I opened the box, finding an intricately designed golden ring. Two tiny hands held a heart, and on top of the heart was a crown. I couldn’t remember the name of the ring, but I had seen it before in family photos and on the hands of his relatives.
“I like it,” I said.
“Do you know what it is?”
“A ring?” I asked, not intending to play the sarcastic card.
“Yeah, but it’s called a Claddagh ring.” He slid it onto my right ring finger, facing the crown outward. “And when it’s worn like this, it means a girl is available.”
“Should I wear it this way?”
“No,” he chided playfully and turned the ring so that the crown faced inward. “Now, it means,” he started slowly, finding my eyes, “that you have given your heart to me.”
“Oh,” I breathed out, and he continued, holding my hand lightly in his. “And not only that, each picture is a symbol. The hands represent friendship whereas the heart stands for love, and Chloe, we have been blessed to have known both in our lives.” He looked directly into my eyes as he continued, “You were my first friend as well as the first girl I ever loved.”
He leaned in, his nose brushing mine a few times, and then he settled in for a soft kiss, warm and buttery. He pulled back slowly and smiled.
“And what about the crown?” I wondered.
“It stands for loyalty.”
“Like a promise for next year?”
He nodded. “Or longer.”
I took a deep breath, since our impending separation caused sadness to spread in my heart. I didn’t want to think about it and changed the subject. “What does it mean if I wear the ring on my left hand?”
“Uh, we’re not ready for that.”
I didn’t heed his warning and slid it onto my left hand anyway. I looked at him, awaiting his response. “Now, we’re engaged.” I thought about my earlier musings, and then turned it around so that the crown faced inward, thinking I knew the significance of the ring’s last position. “And now?” I bit down on my lip.
“And now,” he repeated, shaking his head. “We’re married.”
“Well, if we’re married, then it’s okay to—”
“Chloe,” he started, laying a gentle finger on my lips. “I love you.” It was one of those really sweet ones that comes out all breathy and shaky, and I felt the words enter my heart and knew they would remain with me forever. “And because I love you so much, I want us to wait. It won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”
“I know,” I conceded softly, falling into his open arms. He wrapped me up tightly, and I spoke into the crook of his neck, “I love you too.”