Chapter Twenty: In Which the Farmer and His Wife Live Happily

"Will? Will you braid my hair?"

I grin at my wife as she tosses me her hairbrush. After all these years, this is still the first part of our going-to-bed ritual. Her hair reaches down past her hips and I do so enjoy running my fingers through it at the end of every day. "Of course," I answer, unwinding it from the coiled braids she wears atop her head for daytime.

The year is 1900 and my Mattie and I run what used to be the Ross Farm. It is now the LaBoeuf Farm and we are doing quite well. Mattie's robe over her nightgown has French lace inserts – I had it made for her last Christmas. She pulls it on after I tie off her braid with white ribbon and we take a lantern to check on the children.

Our eldest and youngest share a bedroom. They are our sons, Billy and Little Frank. Little Frank used to be the name Mattie called her younger brother, but these days, Frank Ross lives in Pennsylvania, having met and married a young lady whose family signed over part of their farm to her upon her marriage.

Not a bad arrangement at all.

Billy is twelve and he sleeps there, nearest the window to better protect his little brother, he says. I say he is just like his old man and Mattie just shakes her head and smiles. Billy looks just like her. Little Frank looks like me, with wild hair and a laugh that shakes the roof. He is four years old.

They are both sleeping, now, so we move on.

"How's Carrie's burn?" I ask Mattie in a hushed whisper as we carefully open the door to our daughter's room. Caroline Victoria LaBoeuf has my sister's golden hair and Mattie's serious demeanor. My mother dotes on her. Carrie – who is nine – burned her hand pulling the biscuits out of the oven a mite too early that morning.

"Fine. Mama said the flour would help and it did."

I shake my head. Mrs. Ross had, while nursing Reuben Cogburn, discovered a latent nursing streak in her and she read everything she could on how to make people feel better.

Mattie's hand in mine, we go to the porch, which I have screened in. Reuben Cogburn had married Mrs. Ross and we see their home not too far from ours. Cogburn's gift of stretching the truth has found an audience at last, and he makes real money writing down his stories – real and imagined – and selling them.

"Strange, what people pay for lies," Mattie said upon first reading his first story collection.

I had to agree. Still, he is a fine storyteller.

Just now, she and I settle in on the swing, rocking back and forth as the quiet night sounds filter through the air around us. "This is a fine night," she says.

"It is," I answer, pulling her onto my lap. She wraps her arm around me and presses her lips to mine. Our kiss is slow, but the fires are stoked between us and I am fairly certain her robe will find its way to the bedroom floor before we sleep tonight.

As always, as we make our way back to our bed, she taps the ornament that is hung next to our doorframe. A slight jingling sound is created and it makes her smile a little, as always.

"You sure do like those spurs, Mrs. LaBoeuf," I say, as I do most nights.

"I love the man that gave them to me," she responds, as she does most nights.

"You do, do you?"

"I do."

It is a fine life.

The End

Thank you so much for reading! I have enjoyed writing this!

If you're one of my "regulars," it's been GREAT to share from a new fandom.

If you're brand new to my page, I am so glad you gave this story a try.

Thanks again. ~ LJ