A partridge in a pear tree

Anasylvi’s literary tag (which will be published tomorrow) reminded me that I have a few writing challenges with the Twelve Days of Christmas. Here is the first one:
The newlyweds’ fruity nest

Andrea had talked with Honey, with Maribel, who knew people and places around in Basse Terre, and with Carmen, who had enough people in her store in order to spread the word, about his desire to invest his shares of the Spanish treasure into a little house on the sea shore. But when the deal presented itself, it was Carmen and Baptiste who told him about it. One of their neighbour’s father-in-law died, and the man, who didn’t have any heirs left, intended to sell the in-laws’ home.

It was rather on the smaller side, but exactly how he had dreamt it to be: a two-story house made of wood, on a raised basement, with a gabled roof, with three rooms with no hallways on the ground floor, the two, squarish, front ones opening on the porch with doors having many small panes of glass. There was a sort of wide attic room under the roof, at the first floor. If they were to have children, he thought, the attic could be divided with timber walls in three, even four rooms. The kitchen was behind the house, as well as a roomy yard which ended in an orchard. The orchard wasn’t big, only seven mango trees and nine orange trees. And if Honey wanted, there was room in the yard for growing flowers or a few vegetables.

It was a bargain Andrea couldn’t miss, and a good surprise to present his fiancee, together with a discussion meant to fix the wedding date and to see what else was there to accomplish for each of them meanwhile.

„We finally are houseowners, legally established in Basse Terre!” he told Honey, fluttering the purchase contract.

„I want to see our house!” she said with enthusiasm.

Yes, she wanted to sail with him when he’d give up piracy and they would have their own ship, as Andrea was dreaming. But until then, she could get the comfort of owning a house, of being the one who decides how to run it…

The enthusiasm waned when she saw that the house came with a too big yard, in her opinion, and an orchard. Not each orchard – she hated mangos and she wasn’t especially fond of oranges either. At least those were acceptable… but on the table, not in her own yard.

„Andrea, what have you been thinking in buying this orchard for us – which means, for me to take care of it while you are at sea? Besides the fact that I never eat mangos, I don;t know how to take care of an orchard. Nobody of my immediate family had ever owned any piece of land!” she said, deeply concerned.

Of course nobody of hers had ever owned any piece of land, since Honey was born in a house of ill repute… but she wasn’t sure that her fiance knew this detail of her childhood.

„Besides the fact that the house with all the surroundings came at a good price, I thought exactly that an orchard is easier to manage than an agricultural field. Be it for crops or vegetables, it would have needed more knowledge than any of us two has. We can learn from the neighbours what to do with the orchard, how to take care of it. And when the fruits are ready to be harvested, who asks you to eat mango if you don’t like it? They can be sold for a profit, as such or processed in confiture, syrup and things like this. Maribel can become one of your customers. For oranges, Carmen can sell some to the ship captains, to have them at sea. When we’ll have our own ship, Honey, we’ll save money if I load supplies from our own orchard…”

These were good points she hadn’t considered. All being said, if she thought better, she could get accustomed to owning a home with an orchard. Maybe Carmen would teach her about reviving the yard with some flowers… And some time later, when they’d have children, maybe she’d get accustomed to grow a few chicken and a milk goat… But these were dreams she wasn’t sure would ever get accomplished.

„All right, you convinced me. What’s following then, a partridge in a pear tree?” she laughed, hugging him.

„Where have you seen pear trees in Tortuga? A partridge in an orange tree!”

Not that he’d know how a partridge looked like either, or if they lived in the West Indies.


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