ever after

Jan. 31st, 2014 06:12 pm
[identity profile] fairy-fiona.livejournal.com
[In a fairy mound]

"You'll be safe here," said Dana.

And we were.

The second the fairy mound closed over us, the sound of the thunderstorm stopped. We couldn't even hear the rain pounding on the roof anymore.

I'm glad Dana was here to help, and I'm even more glad that Daddy was inside with us when it happened.

Dana and I had fun decorating the rooms - changing the color of the furniture, making things sparkle, adding new pictures on the walls. Horses and cats. And then horses and cats with wings!

Daddy mostly watched.

We could leave any time we want, Dana said - we had little wooden charms that acted as keys. "And by the time we come out, it will all be over. Long over.".

"Wait, what?"

Of course. Fairy time. Dana's explained it to me over and over - time runs differently in Fae. You spend an evening there and come out ten years later, or you spend ten years there and come out an hour later. There's no telling which way it will go.

So we might come out ten years later. Or a hundred years later.

And maybe it would be better if we did? We'd be safe then, and so what if everyone we knew was gone? We could just go live in Fae instead, and I could learn even more about my powers, and learn magic from even more experts, and meet my mother. Dana keeps saying that she wants to take me there, to learn more about that side of my family, and that side of my nature. And I wanted to, but now that it's here…I don't.

I've loved learning real magic, and maybe I never got the wings that I wanted when I was little, but it's amazing to be able to shape the world and see the true forms of things around me. I want to learn more about that. Dana is amazing and I'm so glad I got to know her.

And I want to meet my mother. I always have. Desperately.

But if I went to Fae I'd never see anyone else I knew, ever again. Not Miao or anyone from the Boy, not anyone from school. Ever.

And what about Daddy? I guess he could still work if we went to Fae, but it would be really different for him.

So I talked to Daddy for a long time. Talked and talked and talked, almost all night, and the morning, we went to Dana and said we were leaving.

We'll wait three days to give the storm a chance to blow over - or end, or…whatever is happening. And then we'll go out.

Dana was scared, and we didn't blame her, and we promised that if things were really bad we'd come back, because here we are safe. But if things are all right outside, then we're going to stay. If there's anything of Excolo left, we want to be there with it.

I want to see what the world is like! I want to see if Daniel will ever ask me to a dance - or if maybe I'll ask him. I want to see if I can ever write for the newspaper - or if there isn't a newspaper anymore, if I can make a new one. I want to see what will happen, and I want to be there to do things in the world. The human world.

Maybe I won't ever fit, but I don't think I'll ever fit in Fae, either. In Excolo, at least I know the rules, and the rules I don't like I can try to change.

So three days later, we say goodbye.

I hug Dana tight, and I tell her she's done a good job watching over me.

We stand where the door would be, if a fairy mound had a door. I feel the magic running through the key as I hold it in my hand. Then I take hold of Daddy's hand, and we turn our keys, and we step out into the world.
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Tuesday, the 23rd of September
The Dormouse, Late morning


The sky is grey and the air is damp; it's going to rain at some point today. Good. It should rain today. The world and the heavens and all the people below it should weep. As much as Lucien would have hated it. Tonight we shall drink, and we shall laugh, and we shall surely weep; and then tomorrow we will all continue to live and laugh and love and cry without him.

It is only right that the sky open up today, for him.

I gave Romana the day off; I wanted to keep busy until tonight and waiting tables is just the right type of normalcy my life needs so badly right now. War gods in the basement, dreams come walking in the spare room, a daughter that can create with a thought and the devil in the details... my life may never be normal again but tea is a soothing constant.

With a sigh, I pin up my hair and smooth out my grey dress. I'll put on colors later tonight, I still have Lucien's turquoise shirt, that will do. I sit down at the window table with my tea and stare out the window at nothing in particular as the few tables of customers I have provide a pleasing drone of noise in the background.

Open to Mab, Fiona and Dana
[identity profile] danashee.livejournal.com
Wednesday September 17,  morning
Somewhere between Fiona's home and school




There is a feeling of danger to the air this morning so I am sticking closer than usual to my goddaughter. The town feels a bit too much like the border between the Seelie and Unseelie lands. Those shifting lands where nothing stays the same except for the danger. It is not quite the same, for not everything shifts here, though there is that sense that nothing is quite as fixed as it usually is.



Perhaps that is why my glamour slipped. I was trying to keep an eye out for the danger I sensed as well as keep track of one little girl and keep myself close to her  And unseen. That last task proved too much for me it seems.



As the little girl twirls around and I see her eyes widen and know that she has seen me.



[Open to Fiona]
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday, June 5th
The Dormouse, just after the lunch rush


Rose gurgles and coo's happily in her basket, entertaining herself with my wedding necklace dangling just above her little hands.  The diamonds catch the sunlight, and rainbows dance across the walls everytime it spins.  When that fails to amuse her, there is always her own toes.  Or Flopsy, which is a perfect match for the dress Dorian sent over just the other day.  I have to admit it's a perfect coour on her, and maybe I should take her over later today so he can see it on her.

Later though.  Romana has off today, and I can't blame her.  It's a beautiful Saturday, and if I were young and lovely and single, I wouldn't want to be stuck at work either.  At least it's slowed down now, and only one table lingers, chatting over tea.  I have most of the dishes done, so there's nothing to do but wait to see if they need anything else, talk to Rose, and keep reading my library book about Green Mythology.  The task ahead is daunting to say the least, and I don't want to rush into it without as much information as I can possibly have.

I flip the page and take a sip of strawberry tea as Rose giggles as the jewel spins at her touch.  "Very pretty, Sweetling."  I murmur, reaching in to tickle her toes.

(Open)
[identity profile] mistresswanda.livejournal.com
Saturday, June 5th
The Dormouse, just after the lunch rush


Rose gurgles and coo's happily in her basket, entertaining herself with my wedding necklace dangling just above her little hands.  The diamonds catch the sunlight, and rainbows dance across the walls everytime it spins.  When that fails to amuse her, there is always her own toes.  Or Flopsy, which is a perfect match for the dress Dorian sent over just the other day.  I have to admit it's a perfect coour on her, and maybe I should take her over later today so he can see it on her.

Later though.  Romana has off today, and I can't blame her.  It's a beautiful Saturday, and if I were young and lovely and single, I wouldn't want to be stuck at work either.  At least it's slowed down now, and only one table lingers, chatting over tea.  I have most of the dishes done, so there's nothing to do but wait to see if they need anything else, talk to Rose, and keep reading my library book about Green Mythology.  The task ahead is daunting to say the least, and I don't want to rush into it without as much information as I can possibly have.

I flip the page and take a sip of strawberry tea as Rose giggles as the jewel spins at her touch.  "Very pretty, Sweetling."  I murmur, reaching in to tickle her toes.

(Open)
[identity profile] fairy-fiona.livejournal.com
Thursday, May 6th, late afternoon
Main Street

School was okay today because Trina wasn't there. And Daniel was back from being sick and he moved his seat so he was right next to me so I could look at him the whole day! But I'm still glad it's over so I can go outside again.

But now I'm bored! Daddy's working and so is Miao and just about everybody, and Kitty's out wandering or hunting or something, and I don't want to do homework yet.

Where should I go?

Maybe I'll go visit Miss Wanda at the tea shop? I don't know. It's fun to visit, but I kind of don't want to talk to Miss Wanda right now 'cause I don't want to make her feel bad even though I have to tell her sometime that there's something wrong with the baby. It's sad because the baby is really cute and I like playing with her! And Miss Wanda was so nice to help out with my birthday party, too! She had enough fairy wings for everyone to wear.

No! I'll go visit Sparkle instead! I know I can't ride her without someone to watch me, but I can talk to her and braid her mane. I think I have some ribbons in my schoolbag left over from the last time I visited. I hope they let me visit her...

[Open to Dana, Cece, and Mab]
[identity profile] fairy-fiona.livejournal.com
Thursday, May 6th, late afternoon
Main Street

School was okay today because Trina wasn't there. And Daniel was back from being sick and he moved his seat so he was right next to me so I could look at him the whole day! But I'm still glad it's over so I can go outside again.

But now I'm bored! Daddy's working and so is Miao and just about everybody, and Kitty's out wandering or hunting or something, and I don't want to do homework yet.

Where should I go?

Maybe I'll go visit Miss Wanda at the tea shop? I don't know. It's fun to visit, but I kind of don't want to talk to Miss Wanda right now 'cause I don't want to make her feel bad even though I have to tell her sometime that there's something wrong with the baby. It's sad because the baby is really cute and I like playing with her! And Miss Wanda was so nice to help out with my birthday party, too! She had enough fairy wings for everyone to wear.

No! I'll go visit Sparkle instead! I know I can't ride her without someone to watch me, but I can talk to her and braid her mane. I think I have some ribbons in my schoolbag left over from the last time I visited. I hope they let me visit her...

[Open to Dana, Cece, and Mab]
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Wednesday, sometime, somewhere in Dream

Once upon time there was a beautiful princess. Her hair was the colour of jet and her skin was the colour of nutmeg, and each of her teeth were like pearls. Flowers grew where she walked, so that the fields around the tower that was her home was carpeted in blooms as white as snow. The princess was very happy, all save for one thing: her fear that one day the thorn of one of the flowers would prick her. Her servants combed the field for thorns every day, trimming the stems so that it would be safe for her to walk. But still the princess was afraid, and she neglected to notice that each month the forest encroached closer on her home, until one day, standing in her field of flowers, she looked up to see the trees looming around her, undergrowth thick with thorns. Frightened, she fled inside, and as she ran she began her first bleeding, and the blood that trickled down her thigh fell to the earth and stained the roses around the tower a deep and brilliant red.

Inside the tower the princess was afraid that she was dying, for her father had always insisted that royal blood was the most precious of all things and must never be spilled. Weeping, she showed the blood to her old nurse, who laughed and kissed her cheek and told her this was the secret gift of women, and now she was blessed. So the princess wiped her eyes, and was no longer afraid of bleeding. But the thorns of the forest came for her all the same.
[identity profile] goddessnanshe.livejournal.com
Wednesday, sometime, somewhere in Dream

Once upon time there was a beautiful princess. Her hair was the colour of jet and her skin was the colour of nutmeg, and each of her teeth were like pearls. Flowers grew where she walked, so that the fields around the tower that was her home was carpeted in blooms as white as snow. The princess was very happy, all save for one thing: her fear that one day the thorn of one of the flowers would prick her. Her servants combed the field for thorns every day, trimming the stems so that it would be safe for her to walk. But still the princess was afraid, and she neglected to notice that each month the forest encroached closer on her home, until one day, standing in her field of flowers, she looked up to see the trees looming around her, undergrowth thick with thorns. Frightened, she fled inside, and as she ran she began her first bleeding, and the blood that trickled down her thigh fell to the earth and stained the roses around the tower a deep and brilliant red.

Inside the tower the princess was afraid that she was dying, for her father had always insisted that royal blood was the most precious of all things and must never be spilled. Weeping, she showed the blood to her old nurse, who laughed and kissed her cheek and told her this was the secret gift of women, and now she was blessed. So the princess wiped her eyes, and was no longer afraid of bleeding. But the thorns of the forest came for her all the same.
[identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
Saturday afternoon
The scrubby grassland behind the school


I smile down at Alice as I lead Sparkle from the post office to the field behind the school house. The land here is quite clear and even, and it's a nice enough area that Adonis won't fret about bringing Fiona here.

"Do you like ponies, Alice?" I ask. Sparkle is an excellent example of a pony, really - perfectly neat and sweet tempered, with a luxuriant tail and long lashed eyes. I'm not surprised Fiona fell in love with her. I am a little surprised Adonis got her a pony, but he is quite an indulgent father. I'm sure if Fiona was my daughter I'd have bought her one years ago. But I should really stop thinking about having children... Honestly, having Alice at the inn is making me ridiculously broody. She's just such a sweet child. I shouldn't think of her as a child, really; she must be thirteen or fourteen. But she seems much younger, poor thing, and it's tempting to just spoil her the way little girls enjoy, with cakes and frilly dresses. I bought her a couple more dresses at the market this morning, though Hermia sensibly ensured that Alice got some practical things, like socks and shoes... It makes me think about how it would have been lovely to have been able to buy pretty things for Marie. She always loved pretty clothes, but she never got to have any. Alice, I think, has had a hard a life as my sister did - maybe harder - and so I think she deserves to be spoiled a little.

"Here's a good spot," I say. "I'm going to teach my friend Fiona how to ride Sparkle," I explain, "and maybe you can try too." I'm sure Fiona wouldn't mind Alice taking a ride on her pony; she's such a dear, generous child. Sparkle grazes on the grass peacefully as we wait for Fiona to arrive. It would be good for Alice to have a friend near her own age; if she's recovered enough to start wandering about like she did last night, she must be getting bored on her own, and I'd rather she got worn out playing with friends during the day than roaming the streets at night. I shudder to think what could have happened if Johnny Thiess hadn't found her.

[open to Fiona & Alice]
[identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
Saturday afternoon
The scrubby grassland behind the school


I smile down at Alice as I lead Sparkle from the post office to the field behind the school house. The land here is quite clear and even, and it's a nice enough area that Adonis won't fret about bringing Fiona here.

"Do you like ponies, Alice?" I ask. Sparkle is an excellent example of a pony, really - perfectly neat and sweet tempered, with a luxuriant tail and long lashed eyes. I'm not surprised Fiona fell in love with her. I am a little surprised Adonis got her a pony, but he is quite an indulgent father. I'm sure if Fiona was my daughter I'd have bought her one years ago. But I should really stop thinking about having children... Honestly, having Alice at the inn is making me ridiculously broody. She's just such a sweet child. I shouldn't think of her as a child, really; she must be thirteen or fourteen. But she seems much younger, poor thing, and it's tempting to just spoil her the way little girls enjoy, with cakes and frilly dresses. I bought her a couple more dresses at the market this morning, though Hermia sensibly ensured that Alice got some practical things, like socks and shoes... It makes me think about how it would have been lovely to have been able to buy pretty things for Marie. She always loved pretty clothes, but she never got to have any. Alice, I think, has had a hard a life as my sister did - maybe harder - and so I think she deserves to be spoiled a little.

"Here's a good spot," I say. "I'm going to teach my friend Fiona how to ride Sparkle," I explain, "and maybe you can try too." I'm sure Fiona wouldn't mind Alice taking a ride on her pony; she's such a dear, generous child. Sparkle grazes on the grass peacefully as we wait for Fiona to arrive. It would be good for Alice to have a friend near her own age; if she's recovered enough to start wandering about like she did last night, she must be getting bored on her own, and I'd rather she got worn out playing with friends during the day than roaming the streets at night. I shudder to think what could have happened if Johnny Thiess hadn't found her.

[open to Fiona & Alice]
[identity profile] fairy-fiona.livejournal.com
Friday, October 16, mid-afternoon
Outside the stables


It was a weird week.

Somebody gave me a PONY and I don't know who and Daddy got all grumbly 'cause he didn't know who and he was worried that it might have been somebody mean or another bad-wish pony but it wasn't it was real and it was MINE!

Her name is Sparkle and she doesn't have shoes yet so I can't ride her but that means that I can spend as much time with her as I want without having to worry about the iron making me feel itchy and I can hug her and brush her as long as somebody is watching and I don't squeeze too hard.

And then a couple days ago I woke up and looked out the window and there were extra-sparkly raindrops in the yard like I was still dreaming but they were real till they went away. And then Miss Kaeli got sick and then later I heard there was a big fire and Miss Anushka died and so did the big loud man that worked at the butcher's. I was sad but Miss Anushka was always sad too. It made me think of all of her mothers and grandmothers and she didn't have a daughter that looks like her to do what she did.

I had bad dreams that night too. They're getting better but I still have them sometimes. And I still miss Aunt Vicky and I still need to tell her that I'm sorry but she's always busy when I go to visit.

I go to the stables every day after school and somebody always helps me take Sparkle outside so I can brush her and braid her hair. Today I brought ribbons! Yellow and blue and pink. I think she likes the pink ones best.

[Open to Chester and others]
[identity profile] fairy-fiona.livejournal.com
Friday, October 16, mid-afternoon
Outside the stables


It was a weird week.

Somebody gave me a PONY and I don't know who and Daddy got all grumbly 'cause he didn't know who and he was worried that it might have been somebody mean or another bad-wish pony but it wasn't it was real and it was MINE!

Her name is Sparkle and she doesn't have shoes yet so I can't ride her but that means that I can spend as much time with her as I want without having to worry about the iron making me feel itchy and I can hug her and brush her as long as somebody is watching and I don't squeeze too hard.

And then a couple days ago I woke up and looked out the window and there were extra-sparkly raindrops in the yard like I was still dreaming but they were real till they went away. And then Miss Kaeli got sick and then later I heard there was a big fire and Miss Anushka died and so did the big loud man that worked at the butcher's. I was sad but Miss Anushka was always sad too. It made me think of all of her mothers and grandmothers and she didn't have a daughter that looks like her to do what she did.

I had bad dreams that night too. They're getting better but I still have them sometimes. And I still miss Aunt Vicky and I still need to tell her that I'm sorry but she's always busy when I go to visit.

I go to the stables every day after school and somebody always helps me take Sparkle outside so I can brush her and braid her hair. Today I brought ribbons! Yellow and blue and pink. I think she likes the pink ones best.

[Open to Chester and others]
[identity profile] docconstantine.livejournal.com
(Friday, October 2nd, late morning)
(The Follow Me Boy)

I sit at a table in the garden, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes like they will be obsolete tomorrow.  Found one of those 'oh so wonderful' notes at my office, requesting my presence at the 'Boy this morning.  Not that I would not come if Miao requested it, but my attendance was requested by Glass, who if I recall correctly, is less than pleased with me, and Sheriff Devarn. 

This should go over swimmingly well. 

I'll most likely have to explain how so many people that should have died in Excolo happen to be living.
I would bet good money that I'll be explaining why I did not report a murder, nor a Djinn to the sheriff.
May as well admit to my fiancee's rape last night while I'm at it.  *wonder if she'll ever trust me again?*
At least Marbas has the decency to be all but dormant within me at the moment.  Hiding and quietly gloating, no doubt.

And somehow, we're all going to have a civil and calm conversation with a ten year old that find me terrifying.
Curse under my breath and light another cigarette, and wait for the firing squad to arrive.

(Open to Miao, Fiona, Mab and Glass)

[identity profile] docconstantine.livejournal.com
(Friday, October 2nd, late morning)
(The Follow Me Boy)

I sit at a table in the garden, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes like they will be obsolete tomorrow.  Found one of those 'oh so wonderful' notes at my office, requesting my presence at the 'Boy this morning.  Not that I would not come if Miao requested it, but my attendance was requested by Glass, who if I recall correctly, is less than pleased with me, and Sheriff Devarn. 

This should go over swimmingly well. 

I'll most likely have to explain how so many people that should have died in Excolo happen to be living.
I would bet good money that I'll be explaining why I did not report a murder, nor a Djinn to the sheriff.
May as well admit to my fiancee's rape last night while I'm at it.  *wonder if she'll ever trust me again?*
At least Marbas has the decency to be all but dormant within me at the moment.  Hiding and quietly gloating, no doubt.

And somehow, we're all going to have a civil and calm conversation with a ten year old that find me terrifying.
Curse under my breath and light another cigarette, and wait for the firing squad to arrive.

(Open to Miao, Fiona, Mab and Glass)

[identity profile] lei-miao-shan.livejournal.com
[Morning, Thursday September 17, Day 109]
[Miao's workroom, Follow Me Boy]


My first feeling upon waking is a sort of mild disorientation. This is not my bedroom, and there is someone with me who is not Lucien...but it is nothing more than I have grown used to over the years of serving as an escort. It takes me only moments to reorient myself; I am in my workroom, with Dorian. It is a lovely beginning to the day.

Dorian has rolled away from me during the night, and so I quietly sit up. There is a robe hanging on the door. I can slip downstairs and tell Mrs. Danvers to expect an extra person for breakfast. I am sure that Dorian would like to stay...I hope so, anyway. At this moment, my only concern is that my feet are numb...perhaps Dorian laid on them at some point during the night. No matter. Before, it would have caused me pain all through the day. Now, a dose of Lucien's tonic and I shall be fine. I smile just at the thought.

Dorian is still asleep. I glance over my shoulder and smile at him. Spending the morning with him will be most pleasant, I think.

I swing my legs out of bed....and then I begin to scream.


[OPEN to any at Follow Me Boy and Lucien]
[identity profile] lei-miao-shan.livejournal.com
[Morning, Thursday September 17, Day 109]
[Miao's workroom, Follow Me Boy]


My first feeling upon waking is a sort of mild disorientation. This is not my bedroom, and there is someone with me who is not Lucien...but it is nothing more than I have grown used to over the years of serving as an escort. It takes me only moments to reorient myself; I am in my workroom, with Dorian. It is a lovely beginning to the day.

Dorian has rolled away from me during the night, and so I quietly sit up. There is a robe hanging on the door. I can slip downstairs and tell Mrs. Danvers to expect an extra person for breakfast. I am sure that Dorian would like to stay...I hope so, anyway. At this moment, my only concern is that my feet are numb...perhaps Dorian laid on them at some point during the night. No matter. Before, it would have caused me pain all through the day. Now, a dose of Lucien's tonic and I shall be fine. I smile just at the thought.

Dorian is still asleep. I glance over my shoulder and smile at him. Spending the morning with him will be most pleasant, I think.

I swing my legs out of bed....and then I begin to scream.


[OPEN to any at Follow Me Boy and Lucien]
[identity profile] lilith-qliphah.livejournal.com
Saturday, September 12th
Day 104
Dusk


Staring down at the burning remains of what was once a human girl, my brows knit and I sigh in disappointment as I watch her skinless body whither then turn to ash. She seemed so promising too. Young, naïve, and some might have even said smart. However, not smart enough to ask for the correct thing for her third wish. Pathetically arrogant creatures to believe his only desire is to grant their greedy little requests. Though, I do enjoy seeing how he interprets them and the look on their face when they get exactly what they wished for.

I brush ashes from my dress and with a wave of my hand the wind gusts, extinguishing the fire, scattering ashes and charred dirt across the yard of the farm. The pendant on my breast burns and hums in agitation and I cover it with my hand and smile, “Don’t worry my darling, we’ll find another,” I murmur as I turn, choosing to walk the short distance back to town. We just have to find the right one and we’ll keep playing until we do.

Reaching town, I look around and note several possible options, all easily picked by the sickening smell of compassion I do so hate. But then, I hear a child’s laugh ringing in the air like nails on a chalk board, and my eyes narrow as I turn and see a little girl playing with her toys in the grass behind a house. Ooh how I loath human children, I’ve never found much use for the horrid little things aside from teaching their parents a lesson or two. But this one is different and not entirely human, this one is half fae.

I think we’ll play with this one next. A bright smile lights my face as I quietly walk up to the little one, smoothing my dress as I crouch beside her. “Hi,” I say cheerfully. “My name is Lily, what’s yours?”


[Open to Fiona and Djinn]
[identity profile] lilith-qliphah.livejournal.com
Saturday, September 12th
Day 104
Dusk


Staring down at the burning remains of what was once a human girl, my brows knit and I sigh in disappointment as I watch her skinless body whither then turn to ash. She seemed so promising too. Young, naïve, and some might have even said smart. However, not smart enough to ask for the correct thing for her third wish. Pathetically arrogant creatures to believe his only desire is to grant their greedy little requests. Though, I do enjoy seeing how he interprets them and the look on their face when they get exactly what they wished for.

I brush ashes from my dress and with a wave of my hand the wind gusts, extinguishing the fire, scattering ashes and charred dirt across the yard of the farm. The pendant on my breast burns and hums in agitation and I cover it with my hand and smile, “Don’t worry my darling, we’ll find another,” I murmur as I turn, choosing to walk the short distance back to town. We just have to find the right one and we’ll keep playing until we do.

Reaching town, I look around and note several possible options, all easily picked by the sickening smell of compassion I do so hate. But then, I hear a child’s laugh ringing in the air like nails on a chalk board, and my eyes narrow as I turn and see a little girl playing with her toys in the grass behind a house. Ooh how I loath human children, I’ve never found much use for the horrid little things aside from teaching their parents a lesson or two. But this one is different and not entirely human, this one is half fae.

I think we’ll play with this one next. A bright smile lights my face as I quietly walk up to the little one, smoothing my dress as I crouch beside her. “Hi,” I say cheerfully. “My name is Lily, what’s yours?”


[Open to Fiona and Djinn]
[identity profile] kateohara.livejournal.com
Day 100, Tuesday September 8th, lunchtime

I look out of the window and smile at how bright the sunshine is. What a beautiful day! I am so glad the school has a nice day for this event. I go back to the oven and take out the raisin bread I have made, giving it time to cool. I am so pleased Amanda volunteered to work today. I would not have asked - it seemed unfair to ask her to work an extra day simply so I can go to a picnic - but she very sweetly said last week "I know you like the town events, Kate, and besides it's Ma's birthday soon and I could use a little extra money to buy her a good present", and so it was agreed.

I pack up the picnic basket whilst the bread cools. The bread is for sale at the snack stall, but the picnic is for me - and anyone who would like to join me. I am hoping Laurence will take time off from the smithy to come along. I am sure he will. He's always very indulgent of the things I want to do. I smile thinking about him. We seem to have settled into a nice pattern of spending an evening or two every week together. Part of me knows that really, if this is to become a real relationship, we're going to have to address some of the issues that came up on that rainy afternoon. Is that why I have not tried to spend more time with him? Perhaps. Or maybe I am just so used to being alone that even this seems like a lot of time to spend with someone. I push the thoughts away. Oh, life would be easier, it seems, if people weren't worried about sex... I know that intimacy of that sort is meant to be a beautiful thing between married people, and of course we'd have no babies if no one bothered with it, but it seems to do such horrible things to people, too. Look at poor Kora, and poor Karina, and so many other women who have had bad things happen because of sex and jealousy and cruelty...

Enough. I wrap the still-warm bread up in a piece of muslin and pop it on the top of the basket. Then I head towards the park. One of the school children - Katie, I think she's called - smiles at me with a front-tooth-missing smile and takes my money at the gate and puts it in a pail decorated with paper flowers. It's sweet.

Inside the park some stalls have been set up, and I can hear fiddles being tuned. I wonder if anyone will dance. I feel a sudden, unexpected pang of homesickness. There's so much I am glad to have left behind me, but I remember the weddings and baptisms that were celebrated with picnics and barn dances and the like, and I miss it. Hopefully this afternoon will make up for that.

Bunting flutters in a soft breeze, and I hand over the raisin bread. Then I find myself a nice spot in the sunshine, and opening my basket take out a thin blanket and spread it out on the grass. There's certainly room on it for more people.

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January 2014

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