Their wedding was a private affair. It seemed appropriate that ‘Wiley wouldn’t be around for the wedding. Although, Herr Rolf’s scars had long since healed Fiona was sure it would be a day of mixed emotions. The preacher arrived at the farmhouse and the Emerald Inn would have to do without her services because she was going to enjoy the few days until and beyond the ceremony. Willow and Henry would stand up for the couple in witness to their vows.
Fiona had cooked and baked for the reception also being held at the farmhouse. She laughed wiping the sweat from her brow thinking she was having some time off from the Inn, but doing exactly what she did there, but this truly was different. She was serving her handful of guests who came to wish them well.
She had packed all her belongings and Willow’s and was ready to leave the small apartment they had called home for so long.
“Mother, what are we going to do with Wiley’s clothes? He hasn’t worn them in so long they won’t fit him, any clothing that fits would be at the farmhouse or in the stable,” she said as she dragged another valise to the front of the house.
“We’re tossing everything that is left, there’s no room. We’re moving in with Herr Rolf and not forcing him out the back door because of all our belongings,” she said. Perhaps some of Wiley’s old clothing could go the the church on second thought, as long as there are no holes.”
Rolf stepped into the kitchen and finding Fiona alone amongst the varieties of breads and pastries coaxed her into the pantry and closed the door. He embraced her and gave her a sampling of what was to come starting the next day and forever after.
Today, Fiona stood next to the very handsome and unbelievably kind Herr Rolf Boer in front of the pastor. She was dressed in a simple ivory gown with a lace veil and small white flowers Willow found peaking out from under a thin blanket of snow. Her red well-coiffured hair was scented with lemon and sage and Rolf breathed in the spectacular scent.
He had never married before and was beginning to think he never would until this woman walked into his life by serving him stew after a weary trip in which he had no desire to fire up the hearth and fill his own empty stomach. He liked the way she approached him and seemed to know his dilemma, placing items on the table he didn’t ask for–wanted but never verbalized.
“Why haven’t I seen you here before? Care to follow me home? I could get used to this.” after he said it he realized how terrible it must have sounded and wasn’t surprised that he didn’t see her for the rest of the meal. He left a note on the table, a kind of apology, and left.
He was embarking on his third year at the farmhouse working for the Baron managing the stable and the large expanse of land.
He was lured to Russia as many foreigner’s had for the opportunity to share their knowledge and earn a good living. Germany was a hard country to leave, but he could return and he needed a change.
Fiona was upset to see the man had left without taking leave. She approached the table and haphazardly started to clean when she noticed the note. She hadn’t taken offense to his offer for she thought it was kind of endearing.
Her own marriage had ended when her husband of fifteen years left to go back to Germany–alone. He had contacted her for a divorce so he could marry another. She never told her children, she wasn’t sure if it was a wise decision, but thought the possibility of his return would keep him in their hearts.
She stood holding the note smiling until she was reminded to finish clearing. The note went into her pocket and remained there for some time.
Today, she looked into the eyes of the beautiful man who held her hand so gently in front of the onlookers repeating the words the pastor read.
She had followed Jan Breuder from her home in Ireland when he had sailed there as a young man on a merchant ship, they fell in love immediately and she found herself with child. She often took a huge piece of her hair into her fist to explaining the reason for such a crazy notion and impetuous decision.
They did well together but he liked to drink. After relocating to Foreign Town the heat was gone. However, Willow was born and for ten years she worked and the children grew. Jan and Fiona grew further apart. She had no romantic illusions and raised her children by working hard and accepting some help from Jan who still lived at home until he met a woman who didn’t mind the smell of whiskey or a man who was there but truly wasn’t.
The man standing with her today somehow reached her and now she was promising her devotion to him.
Henry and Willow shared smirks and sideways glances with each other and some of the guests who lined the porch of the farmhouse. Emerson the owner of the Emerald Inn and his wife. Henry’s parents and James. A few of the girls from the Inn and William Vanhandle and his Aunt Gertrude, representing the faction that couldn’t attend without causing a stir up at the Manor House.
The food was devoured and the whiskey and ale managed to last long enough until the last guests took their leave.
Willow was tucked away in her room made just for her on the first level while Fiona and Rolf were finally alone to be in each others arms as man and wife.
“I would still like to see you again,” Rolf said to her as she recalled the note he left for her on the table so long ago.
She broke from his embrace, ran over to her dresser, and removed the Bible. He raised an eyebrow in anticipation. When she returned leaving the Bible on the dresser he made an audible gasp.
“I thought you were going to have me read from Solomon,” he laughed and she flat-handed his chest.
She produced the note.