(Gallery link here. Thank you so much to the Spring Collab crew for the invite and the amazing chat and company over the last couple of months. Hearts all around!)

Rain let out a sigh before setting a marble in the center of the kitchen floor. He watched with no surprise as the marble wobbled, then rolled eastward toward the gap beneath the fridge. His shoulders sagged, then hunched as warm arms encircled his waist from behind.

“I didn’t marry you for your level floors and right angles,” Juniper said, and Rain’s shoulders eased slightly at the warmth in her tone.

“Good thing,” he muttered, then sighed again.

“Need me to say it?” she asked. A kiss brushed against his shoulder blade. One of the kids crashed through the room and out into the chilly spring morning. He half-expected Juniper to rush out after her, but his wife’s embrace remained firm. When he nodded, he felt her smile against his bare back.

She launched into the reassuring speech they’d worked out together. “We’re fine. The kids are fine. The crops are fine, the farmhouse is fine, the bees and fish and trees are fine. We’re fine.”

Some days, the words lacked power, but not today. He let them wash over him like sunshine, and patted her hands where they rested over his stomach. “Right,” he said. “We’re fine.”