Prompt: May 13, 2012 - Marriage http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage?s=t. . . . . The village of Hanglington-on-the-Rocks in the Headlands of Gilneas wasn't actually marked as such on the maps. In fact, it wasn't marked at all. Some forty or so adults and children hardly made up enough of a settlement to warrant notice from the cartographers of the nation. Hanglington-on-the-Rocks had but two claims to fame: it was a half-hour's ride from Gilneas City proper if you crossed the bridge, and there were a fair amount of potatoes there.
. . . . . Mister Derian Baxter, a middle-aged man with sun-leathered skin and work-roughened hands, was just returning home from a visit to the big city on his chestnut mare, Fairflight. His modest home on his modest farm had a barn just big enough for Fairflight and the plow horse, Whomper. It was just short of three bells past midnight, and he rather imagined the missus - Goody Matilda Baxter - hadn't waited up for him to return home. That was fine by him, meant the bedclothes would be nice and warm and he could wake her up gently with snuggling. It also meant, at this hour, that his blessed little scoundrel of a son, Ryule, was also abed.
. . . . . After tending to Fairflight and locking up the barn, Mister Baxter thought fondly of his evening with his favorite gal. She looked right fantastic with all that tumbling and flipping and backbends. He had to adjust the fit of his britches as he crept quietly into the house. After all, the type of mood he was in, the last thing he needed was to wake the little scoundrel and have him wanting to crawl into bed with his parents because he was afraid of harpies on his bedposts again. Like a mouse on farmer's feet, Mister Baxter crept into his own bedroom and peeled off his market-day clothes, carefully hanging them up lest the missus get irate with him in the morning.
. . . . . A bit of moonlight from the window fell on Matilda's round face. Dark brown hair curled across her cheek and her pillow both, and one hand was curled up under her chin. Mister Baxter smiled like a lovestruck fool at his wife. Then again, he rather reckoned he still was, even six years into marriage. Her chair was at the foot of the bed, and he took care to avoid knocking into it as he rounded the bed and climbed in as lightly as possible on his side. Despite the chill on his body from being outside the warm blankets, she mumbled sleepily and snuggled back against him, pressing her back to him. Knowing she'd appreciate it, he curled a hand over one of her thighs and pulled her backwards until her legs pressed against his too. She couldn't feel it, of course, but he could and he knew she'd appreciate the cuddling in the morning.
. . . . . Contented and warm, Mister Baxter smiled as he closed his eyes. In his dreams, his Matilda was laughing and carefree again, without the pain creasing her brow when she was awake. She did cartwheels in the grass and balanced on fence rails like they were broad walls. In his dreams, his Mattie was free again to tumble and play, no longer confined to the wheeled chair at the foot of the bed. His visits to watch Miss Treelily's tumbling girl always helped him keep the memories of how Matilda's body used to move fresh. Watching some other girl do the acrobatics his Mattie used to cheered him up, reminded him of how much he loved his wife - even if she couldn't feel her legs anymore.