fifty six

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Sophie woke up ready to see Fitz and finally tell him exactly how she felt about him. She knew Keefe would be bringing by the letter she had written but it didn't matter, she had spent the past couple of days rewriting it on nice stationary and making sure every word was perfect. She had carefully put it in box and wrapped it up, tying it with a red bow. It wasn't a flashy gift by any means but it was 100% heartfelt and she hoped Fitz would like it. They had agreed to meet for lunch and Sophie jumped out of bed to get ready, taking an extra second to pick out a red tunic with a little sparkle and asking Vertina for help with her hair so she would look nice for Fitz. Without thinking Sophie left her room leaving her gloves near her sink in the bathroom. She wanted to finish her chores with plenty of time before Fitz would arrive. She raced down to the kitchen hoping to catch Edaline before she and Grady left for the day.

“Edaline I'm glad your still here, did you get a chance to talk with the gnomes about the picnic for Fitz and I today?” Sophie asked trying to keep the excitement out of her voice.

“Yes they were so happy to help, they suggested out by the panakes tree and I agreed. I wasn't sure what you would want so I made a mixture of your favorite and some I know Fitz will love.” Edaline answered while looking around the kitchen. Smiling she snapped her fingers and a plate of blitzenberry muffins appeared. “Breakfast is served!”

Sophie grabbed two muffins to eat before heading out the door. Turning she called out, “remember tonight is Keefe's beach party. Not sure how long it will be, when we talked a couple weeks ago he said something about an aurenflare and maybe asking Wylie to do some light show so it might be late, is that ok?”

“Absolutely!” Edaline exclaimed. “You have been working so hard, you deserve to have a night of fun.”

“Thank you, I will be sure to get all my chores done. Where are you and Grady going today anyway?”

“We have a meeting at the sanctuary and then meeting Kesler and Juline for dinner in mysterium so we may not see you before you go to Keefe's party.” Edaline said still searching the room for something Sophie couldn't see.

Without another thought Sophie set out to feed Verdi, the verminion and the other collections of animals that Sophie tended to. She was surprised to see Rina in the distance already in with the verminion and there was someone else in the pen with her.

“Sophie!” Rina yelled as soon as she saw her. “I hope it is ok I already fed the verminion. My brother said I needed to wait but I knew what to do and look none of them escaped!”

“It's fine.” Sophie said her brain trying to locate how it was she knew the boy with Rina.

“See Taron I told you Sophie would be ok with it. She is really nice, we can spend all day here and I can show you all the animals and what I can do with them.” Rina said grinning up at her brother.

A wave of trepidation pulsed through Sophie remembering what Fitz had said about Taron and his reputation.

“I know she is nice. We met once.” Taron said looking at Sophie a grin on his face.

Sophie gulped. This was not what she thought today would be like. She had planned her whole afternoon with Fitz and how they would have their picnic and she would give him the letter. What was she going to do now? Plus Keefe was supposed to come by any second to return the original letter, how would that affect everything, he was already skeptical of her spending time with Rina. Sophie was lost in her thoughts when she heard, “Sophie it's ok isn't it?”

Startled she turned to Rina who had just asked her something but Sophie wasn't paying attention and had no clue how to respond.

“I'm sorry I was thinking about something else, what did you ask?” Sophie said acknowledging Rina.

“Oh I asked if after we finish with the animals out here if I could show Taron Iggy.” Rina replied with a grin so wide Sophie couldn't help but smile.

“Yes that's fine I am sure he will be happy to see you.” Sophie replied. Her mind was racing with Rina and Taron helping with the chores they would get done 3 times as fast and then she would have plenty of time to make sure the picnic she had planned for Fitz was set up. This was going to work out perfectly.

The rest of the morning was spent doing chores and Taron was friendly as ever but never inappropriate. He was excited to see the animals and questioned the produce the gnomes grew to feed them. He really enjoyed plants and Sophie began to question what Fitz was worried about with Taron. He seemed like the perfect older brother, often praising Rina and watching out for her. The sun rose higher in the sky Sophie started to worry. She hadn't seen Keefe or heard from Fitz all day which was odd. Finally when the last assignment was done the trio made their way back to the house so Taron could check out Iggy.

“Wait here and I will go grab him.” Sophie said motioning for Rina and Taron to have a seat on the back patio. When Sophie reached her room she saw her imparter had a message on it.

Sorry got caught up getting stuff ready for the party tonight. I will still try come by but I will probably give you the letter back later.

Well that was a relief. Sophie quickly messaged him back letting him know she was excited for the party. Now to find Iggy, he had gotten out of his cage and from the mess on the floor near her bathroom he would be in there somewhere.

A little while later she shoved a very unhappy imp back in his cage. Sophie ran back down the stairs hopefully she could finish this up fast and get ready for Fitz. When she arrived on the patio she was surprised to see Taron and Rina in the distance almost to the pankes tree.

Dropping Iggy's cage on the grass she raced towards them. She arrived a few minutes after they did, completely out of breath.

“Why. . .did. . .you. . .come. . .up. . .here?” Sophie asked between breaths, taking in the beautiful picnic that the gnomes had set up for her. It was better than she could have even imagined.

“One of the gnomes came and told us that your surprise was set up and to head up to the panakes tree. Sophie this is incredible.” Rina said in awe digging into one of the plates of delicious food.

“Yes it is very special.” Taron chimed in, his voice changing subtly from his earlier tone.

“But where is Iggy? I thought you were grabbing him?” Rina asked looking at Sophie's empty hands.

Still trying to catch her breath and figure out what exactly was happening and how to fix things before Fitz got there Sophie let out a that she dropped him by the patio.

“Well you are all out of breath, let me go back and grab him and you can grab a drink and start eating.” Rina said as she jumped up and started running back to the house before Sophie could stop her.

“This is a really incredible surprise Sophie,” Taron said his tone whispering of something she couldn't place. “Almost like you set it up with someone special in mind.”

Sophie was frozen as he made he way over to her and pulled her down to sit on the blanket his hand still holding hers. She could not believe this was happening but in her mind she knew something was off. Taron reached over Sophie for one of the most delicious looking pastries on a tray by her side.

“You really should eat, I'm sure you are starving.” Taron said lifting it to Sophie's mouth commanding her to take a bite. Before she knew what was happening she heard a very familiar voice.

“Sophie, what is happening? Why is he here?”

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