“I, Brody Gilchrist, do solemnly swear to have and hold you to dinner under these gorgeous stars this evening.”
Bryna brushed her braided locks off of her shoulder as she let out a hearty chuckle toward her husband.
“We’ve been married for 10 years and I never grow tired of hearing the joy in your voice when you want to spend time with me!” Bryna said with a smile.
“How could it not bring me joy? You want to be around this crabby old man and that does my heart good.” Brody said as he wrapped his arms around her and drew her body close to his. “The children will be retiring soon, let’s send them to bed a little early so we can be alone with each other.” He said as he stroked her hair and pulled on the braid slightly to tilt her head and pressed his lips against her exposed neck.
She allowed his lips to touch her for a moment before she removed his hand from her waist.
“Why Mr. Gilchrist, I do believe you need to remember your manners.” She said with a grin.
“I can’t help it.” He said as he reached for her braid again. “Your confined hair causes me to think of so many devilish things I’d like to do to you.”
“Brody! The children are still awake upstairs and the walls are thin!” She whispered in a slight hiss.
“They can’t hear us. I promise!”
“Let me climb up there and make sure they are getting themselves ready for bed before you try to ravage me again. Please?”
“Very well. I’ll get our plates ready and take them outside by the rock.”
Bryna headed for the loft to see if her children were readying themselves for bed and to her surprise all four were already fast asleep. She quietly stepped down from the ladder and went outside to meet with Brody.
He was pouring her some mead as she stepped outside.
“Mead? What is the occasion?”
“To celebrate you, dear! I love you and want to celebrate this day with you. I even intend to enjoy how the stars are playing off of your skin tonight.”
“How many times do I need to tell you that a girl can get used to this?”
“Bryna, I love you.” He said as he stroked her cheek. “And nothing will ever change that.”
“Yes, you do, but promise me something?”
“Promise me that we will love each other throughout eternity.”
“My love, I promised you that the day I said I do.”
Bryna smiled and palmed Brody’s cheek.
“Yes, darling, it’s just these townsfolk worry me. You’ve seen them stare and whisper in church and now with Hedria telling us she overheard Arwood has been accusing you of being a witch, I’m frightened that they will bring you to the dungeon, or worse! They can have you hanged!”
“We know that I left that life back in Ireland. I promised I would not practice even so much as herbal medicines here. No one is the wiser about the things we did in Ireland. And you know as well as I do we did what we had to survive The Burning Times. Since I’ve given up the practice, they can’t call me a cottage witch, my love, so you have nothing to worry about.”
“I know but things are so different here. People are as cold as this weather we had last winter in Ireland.” Bryna bit her words to give them more emphasis. “Even Hedria is stern, and she’s one of the few that have been kind. I’ve never seen such jealous spite spewed from people in all my years. They think just because we have land that the apple trees love to grow on that they can accuse us of such things? Their jealousy doesn’t give them any right to take what we worked so hard for.”
“It is because we are Catholic and we have different harvesting practices in our mother country. That makes them seem standoffish. Once we share our crop with the rest of the town, they will think of us differently. You will see.”
“Well, we won’t be giving it away either. Promise me you will set a fair price. Our family shouldn’t go hungry because of their jealousy.”