Bee Stings

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Amali held the torn beekeeper suit in her hands and let out a cry of disbelief as she slumped backwards onto her bed. Of course she'd forgotten to unhook the suit fully before yanking it out of the closet, it had been over a year since she'd needed to wear it, and she was excited to see if it would fit Erica. Hoping that the sound she heard hadn't been indicative of a large tear, she held her breath as she turned it over in her hands. To her horror, nearly the entire back of the suit had been torn open, from the elbow of one sleeve down to the waist by the back zipper.

Any other time, Amali would've just shrugged this off and resolved to get it fixed later. But Erica was going to be here tomorrow, and she NEEDED the suit. She had a deadly bee allergy, and without the suit, there was no way she'd be able to visit Amali's apiary like they'd been planning for weeks. It was an incredible stroke of luck that Erica's schedule had opened up enough to make this work, probably the only chance they'd get for the next month. This was it.

They met for the first time nearly a year ago, while Amali was in town running her weekly honey stall at a local market. Things were calm, and Amali was taking advantage of the down time by going over her planner when she caught a glimpse of a woman down at the other end of the market. She finished writing in her planner and kept a casual eye on the woman as she went from stall to stall. The woman was wearing a cutoff jean jacket covered in colorful patches that looked hand sewn, a tote bag with a design she didn't recognize, and khaki cargo shorts with a rainbow hem. She had shoulder length curly brown hair, half pulled up in a ponytail, and round gold framed glasses. The market was decently large, and from how far away Amali was, she couldn't tell which stalls the woman was visiting except for the soap stall, whose owner she was friends with.

As she got closer, Amali realized that she would probably come by her stall too. She began frantically making sure her stall was as presentable and tidy as it could be, even though it was never messy. She restacked the mason jars into a different shape, making sure all of the labels were facing forwards. Was that too aggressive? She turned a few to be facing the wrong direction and moved on to organizing the bottles, leaving open spots to imply that some had been bought already. Maybe she should take the top few jars off too. After quickly putting some jars under the table while she was sure the woman was looking the other way, she started on the beeswax candles, stacking them in order of tallest to shortest. She continued to make small adjustments here and there, moving things around and trying to get everything to be perfect, when someone called her name.

"Hello!" she yelped, dropping the candle she'd been fiddling with, there was too much wax hanging off the side. "How do you know my name?"

It was the woman she'd been watching, "It says it on the banner... 'Amali's Apiary'?" She gave Amali a light smile.

"Oh, y-yeah, sorry. What did you need?" Amali asked, hoping she didn't sound rude.

"Well, I'm still browsing," the woman said as she inspected a bottle of honey, "but I was just asking if you do all this yourself." This close, the woman was even prettier than Amali thought before. Had she been thinking that this whole time?

"Uh, yeah, I do all of the beekeeping stuff..." She couldn't take her eyes off the woman, "myself."

"Wow, I've got a serious allergy, I could never be near so many bees. Nearly died from one when I was a kid," the woman said, putting the bottle down and examining the candles, "It does seem really interesting though." She leaned forwards to get a better look, and as she did Amali saw that the design on her bag was a band logo. She didn't know of the band at the time, but it ended up being the only band Amali listened to for the next week.

"It's really fun, my passion really," Amali tried to force herself to stop looking at the woman for just a moment. "I've been doing it for maybe three years now."

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⏰ Last updated: Feb 18, 2023 ⏰

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