"Beau, I'm not seeing a third option here." Lenore said with a sigh. She and Beau were in the truck coming back from her new studio. It wasn't ready to be open yet, but they were close.
They'd been engaged for about three months but it seemed like they had already had this conversation a hundred times.
"We can live with your parents, which I'm fine with, or we can move somewhere else. It's up to you. I don't mind either way, but if we have to find our own place then it's just gonna make it harder on you when you have to drive back and forth to the farm everyday. It makes sense to stay in the farmhouse. We can turn the whole upstairs into an apartment. It's practically like that already anyway. Your mom never goes upstairs anymore. It's too hard on her hip."
But Beau was already shaking his head. He made the turn onto the road leading to the farmhouse before he spoke.
"No." He said firmly. "I love mom and dad, I do, But I can't live with them when we get married"
"You already live with them!" She pointed out exasperatedly, "What's the difference?"
"You mean besides the obvious one of us being married?" They pulled into the driveway.
Lenore laughed. "Okay, then we'll have to find our own place."
Beau opened her door for her and they headed inside the house planning to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", her favorite halloween movie.
"We'll start looking tomorrow." He replied as they came in the front door.
"Looking for what?" James was sitting in his favorite recliner while Ruth sat crocheting on the couch.
Lenore rolled her eyes and pointed at Beau.
"Your son is stubborn and is insisting that we need our own place when we get married."
"I agree." James said, causing both Lenore and Beau to give him stunned looks. "I actually wanted to talk to you about this, son."
"You want me to move out, dad?" He asked. He didn't mean to look so hurt, but moving out seemed a lot easier to handle when it was his idea.
Ruth smiled. "Oh, no, honey. We were thinking more along the lines of we would move out."
"What? Why?" Lenore could tell that Beau didn't seem particularly fond of this idea either.
"Because," James started, "Lenore's right, it makes more sense for the two of you to stay closer to the farm. Especially since you're the one running it now."
"You help." Beau interjected.
"Beau, you know good and well that I don't do much anymore, and anything I do, you could easily take care of."
"I don't want you guys to leave the house that you've been in for nearly forty years." He stated as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall. Lenore sat down, knowing this would be another long conversation.
"Why not?" James asked. "It'll be yours one day when we're gone anyway."
"Yeah," Beau replied quickly, "One day. One day a long time from now. Like how it was when Grandpa passed and you and mom moved back in. Not now when everything's still fine. Ya'll live here, and we come back home for holidays or when Wesley's in the doghouse with Anna and needs to camp out in his old room. The grandkids come here and rummage through the kitchen or spend the night. That's how it works. You're not moving out."
"Beau-" Ruth started but Beau cut her off with a shake of his head.
"No, mom. We'll get our own place." And with that, he turned, walked out the front door and got into the truck before driving off.
James sat back down with a sigh.
"That's not the reaction I expected." He said. "I don't understand what the big deal is."
"I think I do," said Ruth. Lenore and James turned to her questioningly. "Beau has always hated change. And right now, everything's changing. He's getting married, planning for his future. He's resigned that he's going to move out, but if we more, everything will get turned around." She looked over at James. "Do you remember when Tommy went off to summer camp? And then when Wesley joined the Marines and deployed?"
James nodded. Both of those times had been hard on his youngest.
"He locked himself in his room for two days when Tommy left for camp. He was only nine. When Wesley deployed when he was thirteen, he sneaked into his room and stole his ID card out of his wallet so that he wouldn't be able to leave. He hid it in the barn and then when Wesley couldn't find it, he pretended he knew nothing about it. It wasn't until Wesley, knowing it was him the whole time, promised to stay safe and send him letters every week, that he finally gave it back to him.
Ruth smiled, but it was a little sad. Probably thinking about how Wesley hadn't stayed completely safe.
"Then what are we supposed to do?" Lenore asked, breaking into her thoughts. "We have to live somewhere."
James looked at his future daughter-in-law and thought, not for the first time, about how blessed they were that God had chosen her for Beau. Her kind spirit and understanding went along way with him, but during his sons more headstrong and stubborn moments, Lenore could hold her own.
"Just be patient. He'll figure it out."
Beau had driven out towards the old barn. He found himself coming here more and more often. He parked the truck and got out, looking around at the seemingly endless fields. The dirt road that led to the barn itself had wheat fields on either side, enclosed in a black, wooden fence. Behind the barn was just grass where they sometimes brought the herd to graze. Past that lay a path that wound back around, through the woods to where they had gone camping over the summer. When he'd realized just how much he was falling for Lenore.
The thought of Lenore brought a smile to his face. He'd do anything for her. Even if that meant living in the farmhouse, but he wasn't about to have his parents leave their home.
He walked through the big barn doors. They never used this one anymore except for storing equipment and sometimes hay. He leaned against one of the old horse stalls. The air was musty but he'd always loved it in here.
Beau looked up at the beams running across the top to the loft. He could see the sun shining through the loft window, dust dancing in the light. Suddenly, he was struck with an idea.
He went back to the truck and climbed in, taking his cell phone out of his front jeans pocket.
Lenore answered on the third ring. "Hey, where are you?" She asked.
"On my way back. How 'bout meeting me outside in five minutes. I wanna show you something."
Beau pulled back into the driveway and Lenore stepped off the porch and headed to the truck.
"Where are we going?" She asked once they were on their way.
"You'll see." He answered simply.
Beau's favorite country station played softly in the background as he once again, turned the truck down the road leading to the barn.
"I think I found a third option." He said when he parked and they got out.
Lenore raised an eyebrow. "What is it?"
"This." Beau replied, pointing to the barn.
"You want to live in the barn?" She asked, frowning.
"Yes. No!" He quickly amended. "Just come look."
Lenore followed her fiance into the barn.
"We could turn the barn into our house." He motioned towards the front. "We could make his part a living room. Put up some walls, have a kitchen, a dining room, a bathroom, a laundry room towards the back. It's big enough that we could make it however you want."
"What about bedrooms, Beau? Those are kind of important." She said with a laugh. His excitement was infectious.
Beau pointed up towards the loft.
"We'll add in a ceiling, making it a complete two story. Come on, I'll show you."
He led her to a staircase. "Dad took out the ladder that used to be here when the barn was first built. He said it wasn't safe with us kids around, so they added in a set of stairs. We could add in a second set to lead up here from the kitchen or something."
They climbed the stairs and looked around the loft.
"There's enough room up here to have a master bedroom and bathroom, and maybe two more bedrooms and another bathroom. Three rooms if their slightly smaller, maybe. What do you think?"
Lenore looked at the space and could imagine how it would all come together.
"I think you've put a lot of thought into this. Could it be done before the wedding?"
Beau smiled her favorite smile, his dimples standing out.
"I think so. It's still technically on the farm. It would take some work obviously, but the foundations good. We've got plenty of people who I know would help. If you're up for it, that is?"
Lenore pretended she was thinking really hard about it and Beau took her hand.
"Let me show you my favorite part."
He led her to the loft window and they looked out. "You can see for miles from up here. Practically the whole farm. Our farm. This could be the master bedroom. You could have this view every night."
She smiled up at him. "I rather like the view in front of me." She stood on tiptoes and kissed him softly.
"Is that a yes?" He asked.
"I want real front yard."
"We'll cut the fields back some." He said with a grin. "Heck, we'll cut the fields out all together and you can have the biggest front yard in the whole town!"
That earned him a glare. "You are not taking away my fields, Beau Anderson." She said sternly.
He laughed. "I'll build you a big, wrap around porch. We'll put a swing on it and a table with chairs so you can sit outside and drink your coffee or we can have breakfast together when I come back from chores."
"What makes you think I won't be there helping you with the chores?" She asked. "I'm a strong, independent woman after all."
He laughed again and picked her up and swung her around, making her laugh as well.
"Yes, you are. So we'll do chores together, then come back and I'll cook us both breakfast. Then you'll leave for your studio and I'll go back to the farm. When we come home that night, we'll have supper before going to the living room to sit in front of the fireplace-"
"There has to be a piano down there," she interrupted, " so you can play for me every night. Right before bed, you'll play and I'll sit and listen while I drink coffee."
"Coffee before bed?"
They sat down on the floor, against the wall, and he pulled her close to him as they looked out again at the barn that would be their home. He spoke quietly and she could feel the vibrations of his words from his chest.
"One day we'll have kids who'll play in the yard, maybe a couple of boys-"
"Or a boy and a girl."
"And after school they'll do their homework at the dining room table that I'll build. We'll have family dinners there and at night, together we'll tuck them in and tell them good night."
"Our daughter will have you wrapped around her finger from the very first instant. She'll look up at you and beg for just one more story and you'll cave."
"I could be tough and say no."
"That's doubtful. I'll probably end up coming in thirty minutes later to find you both asleep on her bed, with ten books laying around you."
Beau grinned. "I actually see nothing wrong with this plan."
The two of them sat in the loft for a long time talking about the plans for their future home. Lenore wrapped in his arms listening as he described how they could build this or that, thinking to herself that, she also, saw nothing wrong with this plan.