The door whispered on its hinges as her fingers gently pushed it open, her stomach leaping as the light from the window washed over the scene inside the room.
Tiptoeing as not to disturb the scene, Nyla eased forward. She pressed her eyes close, pushing away the tears that had misted over her vision. Cale, her young landlord, lay across her bed, his eyes racing back and forward behind closed lids, his lips framed with touches of a sandy blond beard, just slightly open.
He was sound asleep with Nyla’s baby boy snuggled against his chest, nestled within Cale’s large hands.
Nyla hadn’t been gone away that long, maybe an hour or two. She had to make the rush to the market before the sun dipped below the horizon. They were fresh out of flour and salt, and Nyla needed that in order to get supper ready.
That was part of her living agreement,she could stay on at Cale’s farm, as long as she kept the house clean, took care of the lighter chores in the morning, and kept hot meals on the table for when he came in from the fields.
It was a more than generous arrangement for Nyla and the baby. No one else was willing to give home to a woman and her fatherless child in exchange for a few small chores and meals. It was nothing short of a blessing for them even though she could tell it was very hard on Cale.
She had only been in the small town for a few short hours when the local gossip let it slip that Cale was a young widower who had lost his wife and son during child birth in the winter of the previous year. The way that Cale had looked at her and Asher with such pained eyes made it clear he was making a big sacrifice by not only opening up his home to a stranger, but opening up old wounds that had hardly had a chance to heal.
Asher was only three weeks old when they came to live on with Cale. Nyla’s Ma and Pa had put them both out without even looking back, told Nyla she and shamed the family for the last time and had done a fine job of it by her 20th year.
They let her stay at home until she was fit enough to move out, and become nothing more than a bad memory for them to think about every now and again. All of it had made Nyla so miserably sad that she couldn’t help but name her babe Asher; Happy and Blessed. Nyla was determined that no matter what, she and her boy were going to be happy and blessed.
Looking at him now, chubby six month old cheeks flushed with the warmth of sleep, and mouth parted open like Cale’s, made Nyla happy in a way she wasn’t quite sure she had the right to be.
Cale was not hers after all. He had made it clear his heart was not interested in opening, and for the first few months Nyla could do nothing short of agree. Yes, she had determined to be happy with Asher, but that happiness did not involve a man.
Now, she just didn’t know what to think.
That wasn’t completely true. She was thinking, and at that moment the one thing that occupied her mind was the curiosity of how soft Cale’s lips might be, and how they would taste should she still a kiss from them.
Throwing precaution to the wind, reasoning that he would never know even though she was certain she would blush beet red every time she looked at him afterward, Nyla leaned forward and gently kissed his lips.
She would have ended the kiss just as quickly as she had started it had Cale’s hand not gently cupped the back of her head and deepened it sweetly. He calmly let her go, sliding his hand down the inner part of her arm, his emerald green eyes gazing curiously and contentedly up at her.
Nyla touched her lips with her finger’s Cale laced his fingers with hers and smiled.
Love is obviously back in the air here. But it took five minutes past the 20 minute mark to make its statement. As always, I had a great time writing this. It gave me warm fuzzies!