She smiled and hugged him. "I'll see you bright and early." She reassured and smiled at him. "Thanks for having dinner with me and hanging out. I really missed you and being here." She said and smiled. "Drive safe?"
[b "Don't give him too much credit,"] Henry warned. [b "I've seen him eat pinecones, he's not exactly picky when it comes to food. Isn't that right, Linus?"]
Dinner turned out much more pleasant than he'd been anticipating. By the time they finished the dishes, he was actually disappointed he'd have to leave. [b "I hope you don't mind but I'll be here quite early tomorrow. I start around 5:30 every morning. I won't run the tractors until a decent hour though, so don't worry about that,"] he reached to pull his cap back on.
she laughed slightly and said. "hey at least he's eating a healthy snack. some dog treats aren't exactly good for them..." she looked up at him and smiled.
[b "This idiot would rather eat all of their carrots instead of Milkbones,"] he laughed. [b "I caught him napping in the hay more than once. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's one of the horses."]
The silence was more comfortable than it had been before. Henry was put at ease with how quickly they were able to fall into a rhythm of conversation like they hadn't been separated the last few years.
she listened and laughed slightly. "seriously?" she asked and smiled at him. she pet linus and scratched behind his ears.
[b "He's a doll,"] Henry agreed. [b "Trying to separate Bucephalus and Mowgli is next to impossible. It's funny to watch the little guy try to keep up with him, but your boy isn't even bothered by it. Linus, on the other hand,"] he glances at the dog. [b "Needs to learn to stay out of the horses pens. He tries to steal their treats."]
She smiled and said. "Knowing dad he was likely telling him about me." She snickered and smiled. "Bucephalus is pretty patient with others for the most part, except his escape attempts. But you can introduce me to them in the morning." She gave him a plate so they could get their food and relax more.
Henry grinned. [b "As if your dad would ever part with him. I swear I used to catch him talking to that horse late at night when I would pack up the barn. Linus runs circles around him in the pastures but I'm pretty sure he annoys the poor horse more than anything. He's in the same stall, whenever you wanna go see him."]
He mentioned a couple new faces, courtesy of locals boarding their own stallions and mares at the farm. [b "Lucille and Dorothy are the duo to look out for. They like to gnaw on hair. Maestro does his own thing, he's not one for socialising. Mowgli is the one you'll love; he's the little Shetland pony we took in a couple months back. Thinks he's a damn Clydesdale."]
She nodded and turned the stove off. "Probably the horses... We still have bucephalus?"
Linus, sensing the change in atmosphere in the room, wiggled his way between the two to lick at her hands. Henry tried not to dwell on the fact that she hadn't come back in the last few years, looking away from her to the stove. [b "We'd better eat before it burns,"] he changed the subject.
Grabbing two plates from the cupboard, he handed her one before prepping his own dinner. [b "What do you think you'll be up to tomorrow? Going to visit anyone?"]
She blushed a little bit and looked up at him. "I did miss being here though... I missed dad... I missed you... I just wish i could have come home sooner and more often."
Dear god, it would have hurt less if she'd been angry. Henry's eyes closed and he savoured the feeling of her in his arms again before remembering he was holding her while discussing his wedding to another woman.
[b "You don't have to apologize,"] he stepped back, forcing himself to release her. [b "You were destined for great things, Abigail. More than what this town could offer you. I'm just sorry you had to come back under these circumstances. Your dad was so proud of what you were accomplishing."]
She looked up at him and listened. "We could have it here." She said and smiled gently. "Henry, i.... Just because we used to be together back then, that doesn't mean i don't want you to be happy. I would still do anything for you.... Including helping with the wedding and anything else you need, okay?" She explained and hugged him again. "I still care.... And I'm sorry i was gone so long..."
Henry felt nothing but guilt as he wrapped his arms around her in return. [i Oh, he'd missed how this felt.] Clenching his jaw, he released her and forced a smile. [b "Thank you, we're looking forward to it. She moved to town not long after -"]
[i After you left me,] was what he wanted to say but wouldn't. He wasn't going to throw that in her face like a petulant child. [b "I should probably bring this up now, while we still have time to change plans."]
Henry paused. [b "Your dad and I were talking, around the time of the engagement. Claire and I had planned for a fall wedding, and she's obsessed with all things rustic so when it came down to choosing a venue...she asked if we could have it here."]
As expected, there was a long, uncomfortable silence and Henry became desperate to fill it. [b "But I'm seeing now that it is entirely inappropriate, and I apologise. I'll tell Claire that we're going to make other arrangements. Maybe Gus will let us use his place. I'm sure we can relocate his cattle for that day."]
she swallowed and quickly composed herself before he could see the heartbreak she now felt. she went over and hugged him. "that's wonderful. congratulations!" she said and smiled genuinely. even though knowing he was with someone else hurt her, she was still happy for him and wanted the best for him.
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