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Friendship Happy Romance

My heart raced as the cool breeze swept through my hair. The season was changing—summer heat subsiding, slipping into autumn chills. It was the best time for sweet Williams to thrive. Just the thought of their stems reaching and stretching to the sky made me giddy as I ran to your house.

I was glad to have the sweet Williams to look forward to. At least, they were much more promising than our initial summer project. We had spent most of June in the field, surrounded by wildflowers, trying to search for fairies.

Literally hunting for fairies.

It was my idea, though greatly inspired by Han Christian Anderson’s tale of Thumbelina. Every summer, I came up with a plan, getting us in all sorts of crazy stuff—and trouble. Before the past summer officially began, I had reread some of my favorite fairy tales just to reminisce about how magical everything used to be. I thought it would be nice to believe in fairies just one more time. We were sixteen, after all. We would never get any younger even if we tried.

But summer fluttered away quicker than fairy wings escaping our sight.

It was still worth it, though.

***

I didn't wait to catch my breath as I knocked on your door with one hand and with the other behind my back, feet shifting with excitement.

“Whittany!” You beamed as you opened the door for me. “I didn’t know you were coming so early! Are you cold?”

You didn’t wait for a reply as you pulled me in, closing the door behind me. It was five-thirty in the morning, although judging by how you already changed into your grey hoodie and light blue jeans, you were just as excited to begin the day as I was.

“It’s your big day, Becka,” I said matter-of-factly, one hand still behind my back. “I just couldn't wait to see you!”

“It’s our big day, Sweet Whittany!” I blushed at the nickname you gave me earlier that summer, and my cheeks heated even more as you continued: “Are you ready to see our lil’ ones?”

Our lil’ ones.

“Am I?!” My lips spread into the widest smile. “Of course I am, Becka!”

You giggled and gestured for me to follow you inside. But I didn’t. I continued to stand in the doorway, grinning.

“What?” You chuckled nervously and tucked a strand of dark hair behind your ear.

“Flowers,” I said in a false British accent before whipping out a bouquet I had kept hidden behind my back. “For Miss Becka, princess of the fairies!”

“Whittany!” You gasped, “They’re beautiful.”

(Not as beautiful as you.)

“Wildflowers for the girl whose wild imagination and creativity rule all the lands! ” I continued artlessly. You laughed and squealed for me to stop my silly accent. “Well, whatever the birthday girl wants,” I grinned, handing you the bouquet.

I watched as you took the flowers with care. Vibrant colors danced in your eyes as you studied the blossoms. Your face lit up when you recognized the same rainbow freckles that painted the field. ‘You made this for me?’ Whispered the gleam in your pretty brown eyes. I only smiled back, remembering my solo journey to the field, handpicking solely the most delicate blooms for you.

“Happy Birthday, Becka,” I breathed. “I know you don’t like black-eyed Susan much, but considering she’s brought us such joy this summer I think she deserves to be in your birthday bouquet.”

You didn’t exactly say it, but I saw how your brows furrowed at the yellow flower back in June, and I knew you weren’t a fan. I considered leaving out the black-eyed Susan as I arranged the lavenders into a spiral. However, the golden petals kept calling me, pulling and tugging me in—the same way you did my heart. So, I added one black-eyed Susan as a last-minute thought, hoping that it would be for the best.

“Out of all the flowers that bloom in summer, she’s your favorite, I know, Whittany,” you smiled, repeating what I had said earlier that summer. Your eyes trailed back to the sole Susan as you went on: “I think I’ve actually grown to like black-eyed Susan. She’s a beautiful flower… in her own way.”

“I’m glad, Becka.”

“And I’m glad that she’s finally going to meet her sweet William!” You squealed, excitement painting all over your voice. “Let me put these flowers in a vase, grab the lil' ones, and let's go.”

Six weeks had passed since we started planting the sweet Williams. For six weeks they were our babies, nursed in your room, sprouting green and joy with every passing day. We had decided to keep them indoors to ensure their safety, but the autumn breeze came kissing their leaves, calling for sweet Williams to root on earth—alongside the black-eyed Susans as they were supposed to.

And what better day to take them home than your birthday?

***

The sun was yet to come out as we made our way to the field—with me carrying a shovel and watering can, and with you cradling our six-week-old sweet Williams as a mother would her baby. Having ventured the field a million times the past summer, we got there in a heartbeat. And it took us no time to locate the spots that we had dug up beforehand, even with so little sunlight.

“Well, this is it, Becka,” I sighed, dropping the shovel and watering can to help you with the sweet Williams.

However, instead of handing the pot to me, you held it closer to your chest like a small girl unwilling to let go of her precious dolly. Your features blurred in the dim light, but I knew you were pouting.

“Is it weird that I’ve grown an attachment to them?” You asked.

I realized that for six weeks they were all we talked about. We had unconsciously suspended our fairy hunting quest because how could we not? There was nothing more fascinating than how tiny seedlings—sprinkled with water, light, and love—could sprout so fast, so prettily.

The sweet Williams started small, but even the great oak tree could once fit into a babe's palm. And at six weeks our lil' ones were not so little anymore—healthy and thriving green.

“Gosh, we’re acting as if we’re an old married couple not letting the kids move out,” you chuckled.

We both went silent for a moment, trying to figure out what this all meant. The field started to wake, with birds singing and rekindling everything to life. Your shoulder nudged against mine, and I became aware of how close we were standing next to each other.

“It’s not goodbye though. We’ll still come to see them every day,” I finally said.

“Yeah. But it won't be the same," you sighed, still cradling the sweet Williams. "It’s not summer break anymore, Whittany. We have school and everything.”

I knew you were right, and if I could stop time to stay here with you forever, I would. But the world was ever moving. So, should I have to grow, I hoped to do it with you—always.

“Well, at least our sweet Williams will be with these beautiful black-eyed Susan,” I gestured to the yellow flowers. "It's a comforting thought right, Becka?"

I could see your face lit up, your smile growing by the second. After a moment, you nodded furiously.

"You're right, Sweet Whittany. Let's give our lil' ones a nice home."

And so we did.

The sun greeted the earth with its golden hue, breaking the blues, tinting the flowers with the most vibrant colors. I smiled at our carefully planted sweet Williams. They were only six weeks old, yet to blossom. Anyone passing by would think that they're just baby black-eyed Susans, and would be surprised once the buds yield pink instead of yellow. Only we would know what they truly were.

It was Becka and Whittany's little secret.

"Can I ask you something, Whittany?" You said as we sat side by side, contemplating our work.

"Anything for the birthday girl," I smiled.

(Anything for you, actually.)

"Why do you like black-eyed Susans so much? I know you read John Gay's poem, and they're pioneer flowers, but what really makes them so special?"

Your brown eyes shined as you stared at me, and everything about you seemed to glow under the morning sun—the same way black-eyed Susan did when she wanted to place your bouquet.

"Black-eyed Susan reminds me of you, Becka. Both the flower and the woman in Gay's poem," I said truthfully. "Strong and bright. Plus, I like to think that she's named after you."

"But Susan–"

"Rudbeckia hirta," I grinned. "It's science, sweetheart."

You buried your face into your hands like a little flower bud, unprepared to show her true colors. I smiled at you because how could I not?

After a while, you asked if I still believed in fairies, and I told you that I think so. It didn't matter that we failed our fairy quest. I didn't regret it one bit. Of course, I would love to believe that there was hidden fairy tale magic somewhere, but, in truth, I had already seen magic—and she was right there with me the whole summer.

"Well, we really should get to school, Miss Birthday Girl," I teased, nudging your shoulder but still unwilling to get up myself.

"Do me one favor for my birthday, Sweet Sweet Whittany?"

"Okay. I assume that you're not going to make me do something too crazy. That's my job," I joked.

"Skip school and look for fairies with me?" You asked tentatively.

(I would skip school and look for fairies with you any day, Becka.)

As daylight claimed her throne Autumn gilded the leaves—sprinkling red, orange, and golden throughout the field. I closed my eyes, letting you take my hand and pull me towards the blossoms. For the last time, I forgot that I was sixteen and you, seventeen. We were just two kids in this field, skidding into the sunlight like it was summer all over again.

June 25, 2021 10:29

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1 comment

Kathleen `Woods
04:32 Jun 06, 2022

There are actually two things that I thought to mention first, but I think I'll just go with praise on your at the time early reuse of character's and their relative consistency with their original appearance and characterization. The youthful character, and the perspective choice were still very present which made the work overall recognizable even if you'd gone and cut names or title out as direct reference points. Which should be useful if you ever plan to write anything sequential. The other was a sadly unfitting 'same prompt' cause I...

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