Jaclyn found a spot at the tables near the performance area, where Cathy was playing Irish ballads on an old guitar. She waited for Davion to finish his stint at the grill and join her.
She caught the whiff of tubers sprinkled with calendula pollen.
“My favorite,” she said, moving to sit beside her boyfriend.
They’d gotten together so quickly, all those years before. She’d known, the instant she saw this twinkly-eyed gnome that they were bound to be together. The same rune had pulled them both.
She hadn’t wanted more than what they had–kisses snuck in when no one looked; cheerful banter; an unspoken promise. Separate homes suited her just fine, especially when his perched on the island across the bay.
As a wee girl, she’d never nursed dreams of husband, home, and family. Her dreams were always of the wide oak and meadow. Sometimes, she bristled at the closeness–she loved the feel of freedom more. But still, once or twice a moon, she and Davion came together, and it felt as right as kin.
Tonight, Davion’s presence carried strength. If it was true, as she was beginning to suspect, that she’d been pulled here for this campaign that she and Sugar were about to marshal, then maybe Davion had come for that same reason. She could use a Sargent at Arms by her side.
He would make a fine husband, this jovial, hale fellow. She would feel strengthened, to be able to call him mate.
“Will you spend the day with me tomorrow?” she asked before returning home.
“Sure as the dew on the meadow!” he replied.
The next morning, she waited in the garden, staking the hollyhocks. She greeted him with a kiss, and one led to another, and soon they stumbled into a bush, and by the time they emerged, Jaclyn had made up her mind. She would ask him.
But not right at that moment.
For at that moment, it was time for elevenses, and after elevenses, time for a pot of Darjeeling tea, and after tea, time for scones and more tea, followed by scones with strawberries and Devon cream, followed by strawberries with coffee and chocolate, and soon, Jaclyn remembered that she had promised Sugar to run up the hill to see if it was true what Sugar suspected about Cathy Tea and Brennan Stuckey’s youngest son, Rocket, so it looked like afternoon tea–and any possible question that might or might not be popped–would have to wait.
“Come with me, eh?” she asked Davion. “I need your keen eyes, too.”
When they arrived at Cathy Tea’s, they found Rocket first, dancing with a wild look in his eyes.
“Aye, he’s got the rune,” Davion whispered. “This one. He’ll do!”
She would call Sugar later. For now, they soaked in the good feelings of this bustling family.
Cathy invited them to stay for afternoon tea, and Davion and Jaclyn joined the family on the patio for green tea with veggie wraps.
Towards evening, Jaclyn and Davi found themselves upstairs, alone.
“I like the kinnish smile here,” Davion said.
“Yeah, it feels like home,” said Jaclyn.
She wanted to keep that homey warmth.
“Davion,” she whispered, as she kissed him on the cheek.
“Oak in the meadow
Acorn on the tree.
“Ring on the collared dove,
She pulled a fairy quartz ring from her pocket and handed it to Davion.
“It fits,” he said. “I never thought and yet I always dreamt that I would have a bonny elvish bess!”
“I’m hobbit, too,” she said, as she kissed him full on the lips.
“What will our bairn be?” he laughed. “Elvish-hobbit gnomish bae!”
She giggled. “I hadn’t thought of that!”
The sun was about to set, and Jaclyn wanted to catch its last rays on this day of promise.
As she walked though the living room, on her way to the edge of the hill, she heard the laughter of Sparkroot and Flor, and the songs and coos of Cathy and Rocket. She knew what wish she would make as the sun’s gold faded: the warmth of kin would bolster any heart, no matter what trials waited in the nights to come.