It was nearly three months later, after almost non-stop applications, travel and interviews that they had chosen a small college town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They had combined their honeymoon with their travels, which had led to their staying in many beautiful old inns and bed and breakfasts.
It was on the day that Connor was finishing the paperwork at the college and Lindsay was doing some small things around their room that he suddenly burst in, almost ecstatic!
Lindsay jumped and whirled around. "Connor! You scared me half to death!"
"Sorry darling, but come with me. Better bundle up, though. They say it looks like snow."
"Well, where are we going?" she asked as she hurried to comply.
"Youíll see! Youíll see!" was all he would say.
They hurried down to the car and he headed out toward the edge of town.
Lindsayís questions fell on deaf ears, and finally she threw up her hands, leaned back, and crossed her arms over her chest. She heard her husband laugh, and commented: "Donít think youíve won!"
"Well, what do you call it?"
She tried to suppress and answering laugh, and couldnít.
"Come on, honey, close them." He came around to her side of the car and led her a few steps forward. "All right. You can open them now."
Lindsay looked at the sight before her and drew in her breath. Before her was a lovely little English cottage built of stone, with a low-hanging slate roof, and a little stone bridge over a shallow brook, now half-filled with ice.
"Well? What do you think?"
"Oh!" she gasped and flashed him a look, her eyes alight and eager. "Please! Tell me itís for sale!"
"Um--well, not any more. I just put down a deposit on it."
She squealed and gave a leap that nearly knocked him off his feet. They both laughed and she thanked him with her eyes and kisses.
"Come on. Letís go inside. There are more surprises yet to come."
They walked up the flagstone path to the heavy wooden door with its black iron hinges and handle, and walked into the great room with its huge stone fireplace and hardwood floor.
"Oh, Connor! It's lovely. Just lovely," she sighed.
"You havenít seen the best part yet."
He led her out into the kitchen, which exactly matched the dimensions of the great room. The fireplace served both kitchen and great room. There was no dining room, just a large round table with four carved, bench-like chairs. She looked up at the open-beam ceiling and down at the stone floor. She noticed, thankfully, that the appliances were modern.
"Oh, darling, itís just beautiful!"
"Come on; I havenít shown you the best surprise of all."
She looked at him cautiously. "Oh, I donít think I can take any more!"
"Donít give up on me yet," he smiled. "Just one more surprise," and he led her over to the sinks and indicated the window.
"Connor! Oh, Connor! I canít believe it!" There, in the middle distance, flanked by huge trees, was a covered bridge!
"The real estate lady says the river it spans curves around and runs under our bridge."
She looked at him in puzzlement. "But how did you come by this?"
"Well, the part-time notary is also a part-time real estate agent. She asked if we had found a place, I told her we were looking, she brought me out here--." His magnificent eyes were mischevous. "Well, was the surprise worth it?"
For answer, she laced her fingers behind his head and kissed him.
"Oh. I said there was one more surprise, but I forgot. The master bedroom is right over this one, and it has a large window facing the bridge, too. Weíll be able to see it all the time."
Then he added: "Thereís--also another room up there, just right for a nursery. What do you say, darling? How would you like a Ďgoil Doyle?"
She laughed. "Oh, darling! Thatís terrible! But--I uh--have to have a little help."
"Yeah, I thought we could get a part-time gardener, and a part-time housekeeper--"
"Well, thatís fine," she laughed, "just as long as you donít want a part-time wife."
The look he gave her was intense. "Um-mm. That job is already taken, and itís a 24/7, 365-day-a-year job for as many years as possible, with unbreakable tenure."
"Sounds like a wonderful job." Her look matched his. "And thatís not the kind of help I was talking about."
They stood there in their kitchen, holding each other and making plans, and as they crossed the stone bridge back to the car, the snow began to fall in huge, soft flakes, gently touching their faces.