"Pin's Promise"
by
Nancy Moser
     Summerfield, England
     New Years’ Eve 1899


    Penelope Billings yanked the love of her life away from the crowd in the village square.

    Jonathan resisted. “I want to stay and see the fireworks.”

    “We’ll be back in time. I promise.” She squeezed his hand harder and ran through the crowd, dragging him
    with her.

    Her mother saw them. “Pin? Where are you going? The fireworks…”

    Yes, yes, the fireworks. “We’ll be back. I promise.”

    Mama gave her a familiar look that said she didn’t necessarily doubt what Pin said, but she did not agree with
    it. Another sort of mother would have insisted fifteen-year-old Pin remain in the square with the rest of
    Summerfield. After all, it was the eve of a new century. Pin recognized the immensity of the moment. To
    draw in a breath in 1899 and let the same breath out in the new Twentieth Century? She was certain everyone
    in the square would remember this evening, this celebration.

    So would Pin. But not for the same reasons—which would not occur if she didn’t get Jonathan away, and to
    herself.

    She felt him reluctantly give way to her will and hurry alongside. If Jonathan had his way, he would remain in
    the place which he had determined would give them the best view of the fireworks, and be content to
    remain there throughout the festivities. Sometimes she gave into his need for order and planning. But tonight
    she needed to insist on her way. At least for a short time.

    Pin drew him into her father’s carpentry shop, the familiar aroma of sawn wood eliciting a sense of safety and
    encouragement.

    Just what she needed.

    She closed the door against the winter air.

    “We need light. I’ll light a lamp,” Jonathan said.

    She put a hand on his. “Don’t.” The moonlight was enough.

    He grinned and began to put his hands around her waist.

    She took them captive and stepped back. “I have a present for you.”

    “We’ve already had Christmas.”

    She wasn’t surprised he didn’t understand. “It’s a promise present, perfect for the new century.”

    “Meaning?”

    She drew him toward the window and the moonlight it provided. Then she took the present out of her skirt
    pocket. “Here.”

    Jonathan studied it, as though he had never seen a handkerchief before.

    “Unfold it. It’s special.” At least I hope you think it’s special.

    He held it toward the light and read the words Pin had embroidered. “Penelope and Jonathan Forever. 1900.”
    He looked at her. “Who’s Penelope?”

    “That’s me, silly.”

    “You’re Pin.”

    She was stunned. “You thought Pin was my real name?”

    He shrugged. “I had no reason to think otherwise. Even your parents call you that.”

    “They were the ones who gave me the name. I was rambunctious and kept them on ‘pins and needles’. Plus,
    the only thing that would make me sit still and focus was pinning fabric together at the sewing workshop.”

    “So it follows you’re good at sewing.”

    It was her turn to shrug.

    He pinched her chin. “And you’re still rambunctious.”

    “It’s not a bad thing.”

    “It’s not, for you offset my serious nature.”

    Fight against it, most of the time. She pointed at the stitches in green and blue. “Do you like it?”

    He kissed her cheek. “Of course I do. Though it is much too pretty to use.”

    The thought of him actually using it had never entered her mind. “It’s a keepsake.” Did boys understand
    “keepsake”?

    “Speaking of… I have a gift for you, too.”

    She grinned at him. “We’ve already had Christmas.”

    He took up her part. “It’s a promise present, perfect for the new century. Hold out your hand.”

    He pulled something out of his pocket and placed it on her palm.

    It was a carved female figure about three inches tall. Pin held it to the light and saw that it had long hair and
    a pensive smile. “Is this me?”

    “It is.” He took the carving and upended it. The year 1900 was carved in the bottom.

    “This is beautiful,” Pin said.

    “As are you.” (continued)




    Copyright 2018 Nancy Moser
    Barbour Publishing
Excerpt from
Christmas Stitches