Check out the beginning of this story here.
Mische’s phone buzzed on the counter top
“Hey what are you doing tonight?” Glenn’s voice sounded calm on the phone, but there was something in his voice.
Mische smiled, fingers twiddling with a napkin, “Um, well, nothing at the moment.”
“Good.” There was mischief in Glenn’s voice as he said, “Want to go stripping tonight?”
Mische’s ears rang in the sudden vacuum of sound.
She tucked a strand of hair behind an ear, “I-I’m sorry what?”
“Stripping.” Glenn said with enthusiasm, ” Stripping in my family’s garden.”
Mische opened her mouth, waiting for a response, but nothing was forthcoming. Her cheeks burned as she found herself pacing the floor as thoughts raced round her head.
Glenn, after a moment, caught on that something more was going on behind the silence spoke, “Mische, are you still there? Hello?”
“I-I’m still here, don’t worry. Um . . .”
Realizing his mistake Glenn cut in, “Mische, I’m joking, come up to my house, my parents have a whole ton of lavender to strip.”
Relief brought color back into her face and a laugh escaped her. “Okay I’ll be there soon.”
Mische pulled up to a lantern lit garden. Evening grew in the sky above, blending the world into a canvas of darkness. Figures moved between illuminated plants, arms full of foliage. One figure stopped, dropping a large pile of plants round its feet and waved at her.
“Okay, I’ve got this. Act . . . nonchalant.” Tossing a glance into the rear view mirror she took in her curly brown hair, dark eyebrows and wide grey eyes. “I’ve got this.”
A stone path wound its way between garden beds, leading Mische up the gently sloping front lawn. Glenn was already half way down, leaping over manicured bushes and wispy grasses. Beyond sat a comfortable ranch style house. Candles flickered in windows as the gentle summer breeze blew through open windows.
“Mische! Mische! You made it!” Hardly containing his excitement Glenn swept Mische into a warm hug, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around. He smelt like the outdoors, fresh grass and earth. She felt herself melt into his arms.
“Are you ready for this?”
Mische pulled away with a laugh, “What, stripping with your family? You betcha.”
Glenn threw his head back with a laugh, “Exactly! Come on, let’s go. The lavender is ready.”
Together they jumped from stone to stone, hands linked together. Mische couldn’t ignore the way her fingers fit so well, weaved between Glenn’s fingers. She found her eyes following up the young man’s arm and broad shoulders. His light hair caught the reflected light from lanterns as they passed. It was as if his face held the warmth from each flame, both eyes glittering with excitement and wonder.
I could stare at those eyes forever. Mische thought to herself, a silent wish drawing her closer to Glenn’s presence. It was all she could do to not pull him to a stop and take his face in her hands. I could kiss him forever.
Glenn slowed his pace as they passed a rustling wisteria bush. “Were almost there, just by the front porch.”
The two found themselves on a stone paved path at the edge of the farm house’s broad front porch. Mounds of green and yellow thyme grew between each paver, softening the walk. Stars shown one by one in the sky as a wind chime caught a breeze.
“Here we are!” Glenn said with pride. A small circular wood table sat to one side, laden with piles and piles of green stems and purple flowers. An aroma of calm pervaded the space, sweetening the air. To one side a handful of lanterns glowed, illuminating the space. Baskets lay all around, waiting.
“What is this?” Mische asked with a smile, looking at Glenn.
“This,” He said with a wave of his hand, “is where we get to strip . . . lavender.”
They sat there, in a corner of serenity. Around both Mische and Glenn the world slowed, the light of evening lingering as stars sat frozen in the sky. Hands moving as in a dream, Glenn showed his companion how to pull the fragrant lavender flowers off their stalks and into a waiting basket.
Mische felt her body relax in the smooth wooden chair. Bees hummed in the bushes around, and through the mounds of cut lavender. She looked up from the stalk she was stripping to find Glenn watching her, a half-smile touching his lips.
“What is it?” She blushed, knowing he’d been looking at her, watching her twist off stems. For a moment their eyes held one another, emotions rising within.
It was Glenn’s turn to blush as he leaned towards her. “Can I kiss you?”
Something unwound itself around the young woman’s heart and she felt her body reverberated with energy.
“Yes.” She whispered as the world stopped, and their lips met.