Chapter One

It's as if his footsteps were what woke me that morning. Each step was like an earthquake that had me one moment closer to cold, brutal,&fiercely real consciousness. My dreams of flowering, plentiful orchards had already drifted away to a distant land far beyond my reach. My feet found their way out of their entanglement in the cotton sheets&onto the floor. Today was an off day, so I had slept in for a significant amount of time. The plants still required more time to grow, so next to nothing could be harvested. Very few worked on off days&holidays. Those were the people who scratched around for extra work because they desperately needed tesserae to keep their families alive&healthy. Walking towards the mirror across the small room filled with my things, I tried to match my footsteps with the beating of my heart. Was he really going to come back? He wasn't the shy, timid boy I had met all those years ago. He had grown&become just the opposite-- tall&brave. You would never suspect a small, nearly noticeable girl like me to ever even DREAM of someone like him. But I was completely head-over-heels crazy for him. Standing in front of the pint-sized mirror, I looked at my reflection in the glass. My eyes were radiant. They were as blue as I had ever seen them. They matched the cloudless, morning sky that I had woken to outside my window. I slipped on my favorite woven cotton dress. The one my grandmother had made with tiny yellow daisies on it. Almost too soon, there was a knock on the front door.

Chapter Two

My younger sister, Jessamine, answered the door because my mother was asleep&Jess probably thought that I was too. When I heard his deep&thunderous voice, my heart shattered into millions of pieces. I scrambled to collect them&peeked out of a small slit that separated the door from the doorway. "Thresh!" my sister piped excitedly. He swept her off the ground&spun her around in circles. When he put her down, it took a moment or two for her to regain her balance. "So," he said, "any chance Murraya is around?" "Ray!" Jessamine said in a sing-song voice. She knocked lightly on the door. "Ray," she repeated. I took a deep breath&opened the door to see my sister grinning up at me. "SOMEONE is here to see you!" she teased with a wink, gesturing at the front door. I smoothed out my dress, running my hands over the tiny stitched daisies,&made my way towards the open door. Thresh smiled at me with his perfect white teeth. I nearly fainted. What was I supposed to say? Here, standing in front of me was the boy who had always been my friend. The same boy who had grown to eighteen so fast,&in time, had become someone I truly had feelings for. Afraid of making a fool of myself, I just smiled. "Well today IS an off day, so I was just wondering if you wanted to do something." He sounded so sure, so confident. Now I couldn't do anything BUT smile. "Yeah," I replied, "That sounds nice." After making promises to Jessamine for not being home too late, Thresh&I set off. As we walked along the unpaved path, I tried to keep my cool. However, that plan was quickly abandoned after my foot caught a stone&I tripped. Embarrassment filled my heart&pink conquered the natural color of my cheeks. I was caught completely off-guard when Thresh lifted my onto his back. "Close your eyes," he told me, "Where we're going is a secret." Soon, the sun&sky were overcome by the darkness brought by my eyelids.

Chapter Three

Within a few minutes, we had stopped. "Don't open your eyes yet," he ordered, "I'm going to put you down." He crouched down&i blindly stood on my own feet. Tall grass swept my shins. I felt his hands over my eyes. His voice was right in my ear now. "Sit," he told me, "Relax." I did what he told me. When I was settled, he told me that I could open my eyes&he took his hands away. I was astonished at what I saw. I looked in every direction, but there was nothing but a huge field of tall grass&blooming flowers of every color. I had never seen something like this. "It's beautiful," I gasped. "Just like you," he whispered in my ear. I felt his warm breath gently sweep the back of my neck. I smiled a non-existent smile. Was this real? He took a small lock of my strawberry blonde hair&twirled it around his pointer finger. I laughed lightheartedly. Suddenly, his fingers were intertwined with mine. His dark skin made the paleness of my own skin look almost over-exaggerated. I lifted my head&met his gaze. He smiled softly, the left side of his mouth slightly lifting up. For a few hours, we lay in the painted meadow silently. He still had my hand locked in the tenderness of his palm. Neither of us knew what to say. I was relieved when he spoke first. "I'm glad that you came with me today." "So am I," I replied, smiling. He smiled back. I rested my head on his shoulder&closed my eyes. I half expected to open them again&see the walls of my room surrounding me. But instead, I saw the flowers. Except now, they were closing to rest under the sky-- which was now a navy blue dotted with sparkling stars&a crescent moon. Thresh looked over at me when I removed my head from its previous resting place. "Hello there, sleepy," he remarked with another smile following. He ticked the tip of my nose with the petals of a flower he had picked. I laughed&rubbed my nose to make the silly feeling disappear. Even though it left my nose, something similar remained in my heart.

Murraya's StoryRead this story for FREE!