Cassie finished up and hit the road. With no difficulty, she found the rental office that held the lease for Quincy farm. There was a sign outside a small farmhouse that pointed to a door on the side. She knocked.
“Come on in. I’m in the kitchen,” called a female voice.
Cassie entered a charming home painted bright colors. The smell of bread baking beckoned her to the kitchen. She stuck her head in.
“That’s me. You are?”
“Cassie Newsome. I called about leasing the Quincy Farm?”
“Oh, sure, sure. Come on in. I’ve just put up a pot of tea.” The woman gestured to a round oak table in the center of a generous kitchen. “You like bread?”
Cassie nodded, her mouth already watering at the tempting aroma.
“I got some here, fresh baked. One loaf is cooled enough.” The woman sliced off two slabs and put them on plates. A half stick of butter rested in an old fashioned dish. Cassie spread and watched it melt.
“Lemon or milk?” The woman asked.
“Milk, please, Mrs. Rogers.”
“Everyone calls me Ellie. Nice to meet ya,” she said, sitting down across from Cassie. “So tell me, what do you need a farm for?”
“It’s only for four months.”
“Oh, that’s okay. We’ll pay for six months. No problem.”
“How come you’re renting out the farm, instead of living there? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Have you tried to make a living off a farm?”
Cassie shook her head.
“Yeah, well, we didn’t do too good. It’s Joe’s mom’s place. She passed five years ago. We gave it a go for as long as we could. Then moved back here. Joe’s got a job at the garden supply store. I sell bread to the coffee shop in town. We make out okay.”
“Many people want to rent a farm?” Cassie’s curiosity overcame her shyness.
“You’d be surprised. If you only need it for four months, we’d like to have it back for Christmas. We have a family that always comes up here for the holidays. City folk. They bring their kids. They say they’re looking for an old fashioned experience.”
Cassie smiled, then cast her gaze to the floor. She remembered one great Christmas. It was before her dad deserted them, when he still loved her mother. She must have been four or five. The little house had been filled with tantalizing smells of gingerbread and cinnamon, of apples cooking and meat roasting.
By the summertime, her father had had a huge fight with her mother, knocked her around a bit and taken off. No matter how hard her mother tried, Christmas was never the same. When she left, Cassie stopped even acknowledging the holiday.
“I see you’re not married, right? So what do you want with a big ole farmhouse?”
“Actually, it’s for a television program.”
“You gonna film a show there?”
“If the network picks up the show, we might be back again.”
“Want to see the place?”
“Can we go now?”
“Can we go now?”
“Of course. Finish up. I’ll get the key.”
Ellie left the room. Cassie finished her bread. She’d never eaten anything so delicious in her life. She drained her cup and wiped her lips. Ellie chattered about the farm all the way down the street.
When Cassie stepped out of the car, she sighed. The word “perfect” came to mind.
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