He has a thirty-five-year-old cableknit sweater in a shade of oatmeal-ivory that I can't replicate in order to properly darn the elbows and underarms and when he wears it his hair is virtual fire. Today is definitely a sweater day as he comes in from chopping wood. They take turns, mostly but Lochlan is the one who seems to actually look forward to it. He comes inside with bits of wood hanging off his sleeves and mixed in his curls but he looks energized, puffed up. PJ walks past him and squeezes his arms, letting out a high-pitched squeal and a giggle and then the rest of us begin to laugh because we did not expect that.
He shakes PJ off and comes over to hug me. He smells like cedar and hemlock and salt. I don't think there's a better smell out there for a man and five years ago I would have said something else, perhaps.
Wood's done. I'm not stacking it though.
I don't blame you. You didn't have to do all of it.
We're good until spring.
I pour him a hot cup of coffee. I can hold things again. I can manage a little better each day.
He ignores the coffee and pulls me back in against him. He's a solid wall. I don't know where the muscles came from. He's always been ridiculously strong-armed but it was invisible strength and that's no longer the case. His neck is wider, his shoulders impossibly hard. The sweater is doomed.
We should go back to bed.
Still got some wood to finish up, do we? I swat him with the dish towel and forget there's a row of boys at the island eating breakfast. They are all studying their dishes and trying not to laugh. I blush pink and try and be really busy cleaning up for a few minutes but it's still frustrating, it takes forever.
Everyone's been great, almost better since Asher came and went only he didn't actually go, he's still here, but as a guest and not an employee until I figure out what to do. Batman is patiently waiting for my decisions and I don't actually think Asher has anywhere else to go, honestly so we've been including him at dinner and for movie nights and morning patio lounging though it's cold enough for frost here so the heaters have been on outside. I still go out and so does everyone else. The sunrise is so late so why not?
Hence all of the wood-chopping because it's always so dim and dark here. I could pay extra to have it delivered already split but if the alternative is Lochlan looking like this then I think next time I'll just tell them to bring us the trees whole.