Barn Dance
Allen McGill

"Oh, I'll have you, my girl," said Edwin, stable boy of the Golden Pheasant Inn, as he grabbed for Lucina's skirt. "Even if I have to marry you."

Lucina laughed and whirled out of his reach, her hip cocked flirtatiously at him. "You're not old enough to talk of marriage," she said.

"I'm the same age you are," Edwin said indignantly.

"Yes, but I reached the marrying age of twelve last year," Lucina teased. "I don't even need my parents' consent. But you must complete your fourteenth year before you can wed."

"Edwin!" came the booming voice of Lucina's father from the barn's entrance. "Finish cleaning this place and ready some fresh hay. His Majesty's entourage will soon be here to partake of their mid-day meal, and their horses will need feeding, too.

"And Lucina, rid your Archie from the house. He's a hot, dust-bearing dog. Lock him out of sight in the paddock."

"Our beloved King Henry the Sixth," said Edwin, assuming an authoritative tone, "is just shy of his third birthday. Do you really think he'll care if the barn is clean?"

Lucina giggled at Edwin's insolence, surprised at his daring. She scooted out the door before her father began to yell at him.

As eager as she was to see the royals, she was perhaps even more eager now to rendezvous with Edwin in the barn that evening. The time had come, she thought with a grin, for them to begin a new phase of their relationship.

First published: February, 2003