Unwinding a long, lace table runner, she removed layers of tissue paper. As the last of the wrappings fell away, she choked back tears and stared at the face of her farmer, a face she had known all her life.
The small, framed drawing was one of the few things of value she possessed. Faded and fragile, it was a bona fide and precious antique, handed down through her father’s family for generations, placed in her keeping by her grandfather. It had hung in the great room of the farmhouse. She’d stood looking up at it so often that Gramps had finally moved it to her room. She couldn’t have been more than eight years old.
After that, she’d shared every sadness, every disappointment, and every joy with her farmer. She gazed at the beloved face.
No one knew who he was, but he’d been the impetus for her chosen career, the very reason she’d wanted to study medieval history. In her studies, she’d come across drawings of medieval farmers guiding their teams of oxen, but hers stood alone, strong and sure, facing the artist.
She touched the glass, tracing him with her finger, feeling that, somehow, he reached through the centuries to comfort her.
“I wish you were here,” she whispered.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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