Chapter four-Rainbow balloons and Stargazers

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It was now around seven in the evening. Alex and Ivy had been out since four o'clock and so far they were thouroughly enjoying themselves. As they were about to leave the park Ivy excitedly pointed out a man who was selling coloured balloons. Upon Ivy's childish glee, Alex couldn't help but agree to get some and they made their way over to the cart.

"Oh crap!"Alex exclaimed after searching his pockets and not being able to find his wallet or any loose money

"I don't have money" he told Ivy sadly. She just grinned.

"Good, I'll pay."

Alex started to protest but Ivy cut his words off "Men are usually supposed to pay for things when giving them to women, but that is old fashioned and I, am a very modern woman, thank you very much"

After that Alex was silent as Ivy paid for two balloons; one red and one blue.

"Which one?" she asked him after she had turned around. "wait, let me guess"

She studied him thoughtfully for a moment "you strike me as more of a blue person to tell the truth" Alex just laughed and accepted his blue balloon

They walked along the path and began exiting the park, wandering aimlessly beside the road. Alex remembered something and turned his head to face Ivy as they walked slowly, balloons in hands.

"How old are you Ivy?" he asked curiously.

"I'm sixteen..." she began but hesitated.

"Tomorrow" she finished eventually.

"Your birthday is tomorrow?" Alex half-asked, half-exclaimed. Ivy simply nodded, avoiding eye contact. "Is there a reason why you didn't want to tell me?" he asked gently.

"I don't want people to make a big fuss over it" she told him seriously "I'm just a year older, no big deal. It happens to every single person, every single year, so why is it such a big thing?"

Alex pondered this question for a while trying to find the right words. "I think it's because it's a time to celebrate you. The day you were born and to mark the beginning of another year, specifically for you. It's a very personalised thing, you see? "

Ivy nodded slowly "I suppose that makes sense."

"In that case..." Alex began cautiously, "could I do something for you tommorrow?"

"Okay" Ivy said, "Just nothing to extravagant. Extravagant people need extravagant things, and I do not usually consider myself very extravagant. Although sometimes it's nice to pretend to be extravagant, do you know what I mean?"

At this point, Alex could no longer contain himself. This girl was far beyond any measurement of extraordinary he'd ever imagined it was possible for a human to be. Her childlike joyand innocence, her ability to make him smile like no one else had, her kindness and her funny, intelligent way of speaking.

He burst out laughing and didn't stop for a very long time. Ivy watched him and began to giggle herself, which just made him laugh harder.

By the time they stopped the sun had begun to set and they had reached the part of town where the really rich people lived. The huge houses and spacious front lawns were beautiful and the array of flowers and plants more colourful than the sunset in front of them.

"What do you want to do with our balloons?" Alex asked.

"Ooh I know!" Ivy exclaimed and pulled a permanent marker out of her jacket pocket.

"What kind of stuff do you keep in there" Alex asked, no longer able to hold back his curiousity.

"Oh everything" Ivy replied casually "stationary, snacks, tissues, sheep, you name it"

"Sheep?" he questioned and Ivy pulled a miniture stuffed toy sheep out of one of her pockets and handed it to Alex. "Real sheep fleece" she told him as he inspected it "It was my brother's"

He glanced at her, "does he live in Canada too?"

"No" Ivy bit her lip and looked away. "He lives in heaven"

"Oh Ivy" Alex breathed and as he watched her lip quiver and her eyes fill with tears, he pulled her into a tight hug. For a few seconds she froze and didn't move but then she put head onto his shoulder and let the tears slip out silently. Alex guessed she wasn't used to hugs.

After almost a minute Ivy let go and took the sheep back from Alex who offered it back to her. And she quietly wiped her tears away. She was not ashamed to show her face, nor would she deny the fact that she'd been crying.

"Real people don't hide real feelings" Ivy said, voicing Alex's thoughts.

"Anyway, the balloons" She reminded herself more than him, and pulled the balloon that was tied to her wrist back down to her level.

"Write one thing you're afraid of on your balloon and then we'll let them go" she instructed him and then handed him the marker.

"scorpions" Alex wrote and Ivy giggled, remembering when she had introduced him to the ferrets.

he handed the marker back to Ivy and she scribbled down her fear

"unrequited love"

That's wise Alex thought "I wish I'd thought of that" he told Ivy, pretending to be dissapointed.

"Most humans fear it, although there are practical fears, such as scorpions, heights or sharks, the things that threaten your life, there are fears of things that threaten your soul, loosing a loved one, unrequited love or isolation. I believe it is better to fear for your soul than to fear for your life." She told him quietly

This girl has the brain of an ancient philosopher Alex thought.

"You are very clever to think that" He told Ivy and she smiled at him and as the sky around them began to dim, they set their fears free and watched as the colourful balloons sailed high in the air, caught in the evening summer breeze.

*  *  *  *  *  *

The sun had set fully when Ivy and Alex had reached their houses and the blue sky had dissolved into velveteen blackness dotted with stars. Alex walked Ivy to her house but instead of going in the door she walked onto her grassy lawn and lay down, gazing at the stars.

Alex watched her for a few moments and hesitated before going over and laying half a meter away from her, also looking at the stars.

"I do this every night." Her voice was soft and barely audible but not quite a whisper.

"I sleep out here sometimes too" Ivy continued. She slowly began inching towards him until their hands were inches away from each other. Alex closed the gap and held her hand. He hadn't known this girl for very long, yet she was facinating And he felt quite attracted to her.

It's probably nothing but a stupid infatuation. He tried to tell himself and I'm sure she would never feel the same way.

But as Ivy's fingers curled around his, he could be nothing but content.

After a few minutes he sat up and looked at Ivy. She was fast asleep her golden hair splayed around her face and her hand still tightly gripping his. He pried her fingers off and picked her up suprised at how light she was and carried her into the house, which he had found a key for in her ever-so-filled pockets. He lay her gently on the couch and she smiled in her sleep as Alex brushed his fingers against her cheek, pushing away a strand of her hair.

He left the house, quitely shutting the door behind him and trudging back to his own house. Yet again wondering about the life Ivy had left behind.

♥♡Hey people, this story is getting exciting for me, I don't even know what's going to happen. I got another vote on this story and 26 reads. Thank y'all so much, I think I'll wait until I get a comment or two before I upload again,  I just want to know what people think of this story so if you could tell me anything (what you like/don't like, any plot ideas, songs describing this story or even questions about myself) that would make my day. Thank you!

xoxoxo yours truly, Bec♡♥

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