A misty fog covered the world, especially in low-lying areas around the rolling hills of the pasture. The little grove of trees sat in the distance, seeming to hover within the fog rather than sitting rooted to the ground. Ashley sat on the top rung of the fence looking out over the early morning scene and pondering again, as she’d done so many times since the big storm, how her cattle had instinctively stayed safe in that little haven of trees.
It was early enough that she hadn’t felt compelled to spend time in the barn yet to do the chores. She just wanted to enjoy the solitude of the morning. It was early fall and the frost had just recently started coating the ground each night. Harvest season was almost complete and soon it would be time to put away the farm equipment. She wasn’t ready for that, and she didn’t quite know why. She wasn’t the one who spent time up on the tractor; in fact the change in farming routine really wouldn’t alter her life in any way. She was back in class everyday at the university.
Still, it was something about the changing of the season that bothered her. It was another little chapter in her life that reminded her that the really important decisions had yet to be made. Even as her heart was weighed down by her frustrations, she pushed them to the back of her mind to focus on the peace of the morning.
It had been an irresolute few months, getting through the clean-up from the storm and starting the new school year. But today she just wanted to relax in the moment and enjoy the morning.
She wasn’t surprised to hear soft footfall behind her, but she didn’t turn to look at him. Paul’s strong arms wrapped around her waist and she leaned back against him with a content sigh. It felt so good to have him holding her.
Neither of them spoke for a long time. She reached up and rested her hands on his arms, folding them around him in a soft hug. She wasn’t afraid of falling as she released her hands from the fence post, because she felt the security of his embrace. She was reminded again of how comfortable it would be to be his wife. She wouldn’t have to change her life in any way. He was already buying his father’s farm. All they would have to do is build a little house off in one corner of his property, get married, and take that one last step to complete their lives. They would be happy and content. They were in love. They would finally be able to let down the curtain that had been holding them apart all these years. They would be able spend every day together…every night together. The thought made Ashley smile and she sighed again.
She had always tried not to let her physical attraction to Paul dictate her decision. Yet, she knew it was impossible to deny how her body reacted to being in his arms. She wanted to finally be able to let those feelings flow through every part of her life. They always had to be so careful, so controlled. She didn’t want to be controlled anymore. She wanted to be able to let down her guard and just see where it would take them. She wanted to finally tell him that she wanted to marry him.
Even as she thought it, her heart pulled her away again. It wasn’t time. She still wasn’t ready. She knew that there was another man who made her feel the same way. She closed her eyes, trying to push away all feelings for Caleb so that she could focus on Paul. But it wouldn’t work. He was still there…
Check out other exerpts from my novels here.
I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer