On a normal day, the farmer had no problem with Clint.
He was a fine enough blacksmith, always reliable when she needed a tool upgraded or some geodes cracked. She rarely had cause to talk to him except when she needed something, which she had no problem with. She knew, of course, how he’d felt about Emily once, but she assumed he’d gotten over his feelings after she and Emily had been married over a year ago.
It was the farmer’s third year in the valley and her favorite season had arrived, blanketing the valley in snow. The farmer thought this was when the valley was at its most peaceful, its most beautiful. She relished the crunch of snow underneath her boots as she walked into Cindersap Forest, the feeling of Emily’s hand in hers, and in the cooing of her just-adopted daughter who rode in the carrier strapped to the farmer’s chest. Harvey had told them that it’s encouraged to take babies out on short walks every day, so long as they are bundled up when it’s cold outside. It was the day of the Festival of Ice, and they’d thought it would be nice for the townsfolk to meet their daughter when they would all be in one place. Haley had first privileges as the baby’s aunt and had met her shortly after she’d arrived the day before, and of course Doctor Harvey had checked her out, but they knew the other citizens of the valley would be eager to meet her.
On arrival they didn’t attract the attention of too many villagers since many of them were preoccupied with building their snowmen or setting up the fishing contest. Starting to make the rounds, the farmer and Emily approached Clint. Emily had skipped a little ways ahead of the farmer to talk to Clint while the farmer caught up, since she considered Clint a good friend. By the time the farmer made it to him a few paces behind her wife, Emily had begun to help Clint with his sub-par snowman. Clint noted the farmer’s presence and, leaning over to whisper to her, said “Emily came over and helped me with my snowman without me even asking. Do you think that means anything?”
The farmer, usually an even-tempered woman, immediately felt anger rise hot from her stomach up through her chest, tinting her ears and swirling through her arms. She turned and walked away, searching for anyone else in town to talk to. Emily noticed and, concerned, followed.
The farmer stopped when a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder. Turning her head, she met Emily’s eyes.
“What’s the matter, dear?” Emily asked, brows knit together.
The farmer cooled instantly, unable to stay angry when met with the vibrancy of Emily, bright blue and red splashing against the white backdrop of the forest and the sounds of her daughter giggling at the slow snowfall and the slight bounce of her carrier with the farmer’s every step playing in the background.
“Clint. He still has feelings for you. Still thinks there’s a possibility there.” The farmer heaved a sigh. “I just... he knows we’re married, Emily. He was at our wedding! And we show up, brand new baby in tow, and he thinks he can say something like that? He really has some brass balls, I have to give that to him.” Remembering her impressionable daughter riding on her chest, the farmer looked down quickly, pointed a finger at the baby and said “Hey, don’t say that.” She leaned down and placed the quickest of kisses on the top of the baby’s hat-covered head.
Emily continued looking into the farmer’s eyes and her grip tightened on her shoulder. Her free hand went down towards the farmer’s chest, index finger extended, where their daughter latched onto it with her hand and began to tug at it.
“You know I only have eyes for you, right?”
“I know, I know. But Clint! Who does he think he is?” The farmer threw her hands up on the last few words, causing the baby to once again bob up and down, cuing even more giggles as she tried to draw Emily’s finger into her mouth.
“Clint is my friend! Romantic feelings are hard to overcome. But I never saw a future with him. As soon as you moved in, I knew you and I had a connection. It came through in my dreams days after we met. Clint is holding onto hope, but it doesn’t matter, my only future is with you.”
“You’re right, I know. And I can’t blame him for feeling that way, since you’re so irresistible.” The comment made Emily giggle. “Thank you for talking to me. I would’ve just stewed in the annoyance for a while if you hadn’t.”
Emily cracked a smile, the same big and relentlessly sincere grin that the farmer had fallen for years ago when she first arrived in the valley, and squeezed the farmer’s shoulder where her hand rested. Emily animatedly pecked her wife on the cheek, sliding her hand downwards to grip the farmer’s own hang where it hung at her side.
“Let’s get out there and finish the introductions, okay?”
The farmer smiled back and, together, they found their way to Lewis, focused on the holes cut into the ice for the fishing contest, and showed off their little girl.