Once Again: A Modern Fairy Tale - Book One - Ch. 2A Chapter by M. Kari
Mara’s first photos were simple: the flag stretched out by the wind, students brushing hair out of their eyes, a sea gull seemingly hovering in place on a warm current of air. Eventually she went down to the docks to see what the wind was doing. Fortunately, it was a blustery afternoon, so she was able to get some beautiful shots of sails puffed out, including white caps. Back towards the city, she managed to spy a particularly artful arrangement of windswept trash, where it lay up against a chain link fence.
“Edgy--definitely edgy,” she mused in satisfaction. Finally, her wandering brought her back to her own side of town and she was once again standing in front of, “The Craftsman’s Majick.”
Mara dithered a moment, “Well are you going in or not?” she questioned softly. As the wind caused the chimes to sound, she smiled at the memory it brought forth and replied, “Of course you are.”
Inside, the musty Laundromat was transformed, seemingly to Mara, by magic. It was bright and cheery with swaths of jewel toned silk billowing down the walls. Mara noted the shelves were neatly stacked with enough beads and baubles to delight any jewelry maker, on another row were paints, canvas and paper. So thrilling! Eventually Mara was delighted to find that they did indeed have photography supplies, not many craft stores carried them, with abandon she purchased several items needed to restock her darkroom, and even some she did not. Being a new store, it surprised her when she had to stand in line to make her purchase.
“So he doesn’t work the counter after all,” she sighed.
Looking about, she saw a tiny red-haired teen, straightening items on the shelves. Up at the register was an efficient looking woman with sandy brown hair and warm eyes.
“I see you have got an armful,” remarked the woman whose nametag said, “Button.”
Not able to stop herself Mara blurted, “Your name is Button?” Her face sported an incredulous smile.
Button replied, “Why yes it is, and a finer name I’ve never had.”
Someone behind Mara sniggered. Blushing prettily, Mara pulled out her debit card and quietly completed her transaction. On her way out the door she muttered, “That didn’t go so well.”
“What didn’t go so well?” asked a decidedly smooth voice.
Turning back Mara blushed furiously when she saw him. He was standing there, next to the wooden wind chimes as the wind once again ruffled his hair, as the soft mellow chimes sounded rich and clear.
Catching her breath she stammered, “Oh, ah" I" I think I offended your boss.”
“Never you mind, Button is an old family" friend and a sweeter lady you will never meet.” He had paused after family; realizing servant would not go over too well.
Noting her arms were full with a nod, Aerrvin offered, “Would you like help with your packages? I do believe I am going your way.”
“You are? Sure, I guess I did go overboard, I was just so excited to see all the supplies I needed, and couldn’t help myself.” Mara handed over the larger of the two bags, shifted her backpack to a more comfortable position, and headed up the block. They crossed the street in silence. Mara could feel his eyes on her from time to time, which made her feel a bit shy.
Aerrvin could not help but be attracted to her. She was taller than Jaera and slim as any proper Fairy would be, he longed to touch the billowing dark curls, which she kept trying to keep behind her ears. Her blue eyes were hard to see as she averted her gaze often.
“I am somewhat afraid to tell you my name, if you go about offending people for having unusual names…” he started.
Interrupting, Mara injected, “Oh, no whatever name, my name is Mara, Mara Jamis.”
“…and my name is Aerrvin ap Rosewin,” he finished with a half turn, extinguishing the impulse to bow; he merely flourished his free hand without notice. Facing her to see her reaction, he waited, both eyebrows raised, and a slight smile tickling his lips. Her blush was so delightful.
Coloring Mara replied, “That is a name I have never heard before, but it suits you. I did just notice your accent. Where are you from?”
“My friends and I moved here from Ireland some time back. We’ve a place out on the peninsula, but I wanted to try my hand as a businessman, so I opened up the craft store just to see how things would go.”
Covering her face with one hand, Mara did not think she could be more embarrassed, the store was his!
“So" Button works for you?” She cringed.
Turning up the sidewalk to her townhouse, Mara rang the bell for Jill to open the door, instead of fumbling for her key. Trying to look calm, she turned to face Aerrvin who still had that slight smile on his delightfully handsome face; he nodded graciously and handed over her bags.
As he turned away, he called back, “I’ll see you tonight.”
Just then, Jill opened the door and gushed, “Oh, I see you met the new guy down the street. Isn’t he cute?”
Still mortified, Mara moaned, “He’s coming to the party tonight?”
Jill’s parties were always a big production. Her friends across the way had giant speakers, which were set up on the patio; they were techno geeks so they could turn on the music and forget it. No sitting around wondering, ‘What should we play next?’ They always had a whole evening’s worth of great music programmed in and dancing lights to go with it. Fortunately, the neighborhood was young, so complaints were not a problem.
Jill was a sous chef with intentions of opening her own full scale catering business, so the food was always amazing. The only thing she even allowed Mara to help with was decorating.
“I found inspiration at the craft store for the decorations I am putting up, Jill, I hope you don’t mind. I am hanging these gauzy curtains all around the gazebo. I want to get some great shots of the wind catching the curtains.”
“No problem, kid. Do you want Dougie to set up some of his colored lights to shine on them?” Jill asked, rubbing dough from her fingers into the sink.
“Sure, that would be awesome.”
By 6 p. m. everything looked great. The gazebo already had white Christmas lights spiraling up the columns and around the perimeter of the scrollwork roof. Mara’s Great Aunt Lily had kept a lovely flower garden, and had always had tea parties with her nieces and grand nieces. As a result, Mara had fond memories of the gazebo and always ensured that she kept the yard up.
It was small, but very nice considering they were right in the middle of the ever-growing Seattle-Tacoma-Belleview megalopolis. Of course, Spring in Seattle is not really a time to be having outdoor parties with a great amount of success- what with rain at any given moment, but today had been sunny and the temperature was still seventy-one degrees, not bad at all.
Besides, the patio was covered and the back doors from the house were two oversized French doors. The dining hall was empty because Mara had sold the antique dining set to pay for this year’s tuition. It left a large area for gathering, should it be too cold. Overall, it was large enough to host thirty or so of their closest neighbors and friends. Which Jill would have done weekly if Mara had not put her foot down. Two parties a month maximum.
“Now I’d better get cleaned up,” Mara remarked. “How about you Jill, are you done making all your goodies?”
“Almost, I have one last batch of mini quiches and then I’m done. Just don’t use up all the hot water!” Jill said with a semi scowl. Quickly Mara ran for the stairs to avoid the sponge in Jill’s up-raised hand.
One would think with all the cold showers, they received daily in Seattle, that they would have been fine with cool bath water. Not so, each reveled in using up as much hot water as they could stand, it was really the only contention between them, and even at that they rarely ever ran out.
Aeervin loved designing his own clothes, so it was curious that he was so unsure of himself.
“And what is the dress standard for one of these block parties?” Aerrvin asked Bronwyn, as he looked through his closet.
“Pardon me, Your Highness, it is not as though you have been invited to Princess Victoria’s birthday party,” Bronwyn replied with regret. “It has been sixty years since our last excursion among Humans, and I am sorry to say, party clothes have gone down hill. No formal wear; simple jeans and a silk shirt for appearances sake. This will have to do,” ending with a sniff Bronwyn retrieved an outfit from the closet.
Sorry, but I must interject here. Fairies do not tend to take notice of the trends of Humans. Fortunately, Aerrvin has my family to give service when such Human interactions are needed. Let me explain somewhat about Brownies: We are industrious and careful craftsmen " and craftswomen, Button insists I include.
We dwell underground in most every city and town. When treated with respect, Humans find that their tools are carefully sharpened, oiled, or otherwise cared for. Shoes and clothing tend to last longer for respectful people. Why? Because, we do the repairs and mending necessary.
Mainly all we want is milk and cookies left out where we can easily get to them. We don’t go opening your things, you see. Nevertheless, other tasty morsels will do. In return, we provide the above-mentioned services, as well as keeping homes rodent free. Ach! Rats they are the worst. We hate them, we do!
Anyway, in years long past, we provided the clothing for families who fed us. We are magnificent tailors, and always keep up with fashion trends.
Aerrvin had been living in the woods for decades, so he had been staying in what he slept in, or he put on what we laid out for him. Occasionally he and his companions craft their own creations, more often they pull it from elsewhere. They love and appreciate beauty and simplicity. They expect it, and in nature, it truly is reasonable.
Aerrvin pulled the jeans on and reached for the clean undershirt Bronwyn held out.
“Ah, well these jeans, while not as comfortable as silk, they do tend to grow on you. One week and they are hardly noticeable.” Aerrvin’s voice muffled fuzzily as he pulled on the grey muscle shirt.
While he gracefully slipped his arms into the midnight blue shirt, held out by the Brownie, said Brownie responded with not a little indignation, “Ho! You can thank me little ‘uns for that. Each night they wash ‘em and wear ‘em to soften ‘em up for you. Next time have me wife Button make yer jeans, rather than buying or acquiring them elsewise, then they will be perfect from the start!”
Another interjection, you may be wondering where we get our money from. Well, tis a fine question and one with a simple answer. We Brownies have a bank in every major city. We just find a gem or three on our travels, take them to the bank and they give us the going rate in the currency of our choice. Of course, we brought a satchel full of rubies and diamonds and only needed to trade a handful to get enough to set up the store and rent our home.
Aerrvin studied his reflection a moment and nodded kindly to his servant . “Very good, we are all set. Jaera you look lovely as usual. What kind of shirt is that, Gareth?” Aerrvin exclaimed as he scrutinized Gareth.
“It’s flannel! I’ve seen people all over town wearing it,” he grinned. Then opening it up he proclaimed, “I even got the perfect t-shirt to go with it!” revealing a swamp green T-shirt with the Space Needle on it, he looked smug.
Aerrvin’s eyebrows rose, but he smiled and said, “Superb. Are you sure you do not want to come along Bronwyn?”
“Oh, no ‘tis quite alright. I shall stay home with Button and me lassies and reminisce about the time I did go to Princess Victoria’s birthday party, you were just babes then,” he said with a nod while reachin out to take Button’s hand. “Besides, young Seamus here needs to learn my trade, I am getting old and shall have occasion to pass on the quill eventually.”
Seamus is Bronwyn’s next to youngest child; he was born just one month after Prince Aerrvin. He had been charged with looking after the prince when Bronwyn was not around. The Brownies’ two daughters Calico, the oldest, and Gingham the babe, are each five years away from Seamus in age, Calico though older is still rather shy.
“Now, if you would just shrink him back to his proper five inches, and make him transparent so as not to cause the Humans alarm, Your Highness.”
Again, Bronwyn nodded as the prince complied. He stood proudly watching his transparent, shimmering son climb up to sit upon Aerrvin’s shoulder, using the Fairy’s shoulder length hair to keep from sliding off. Humans cannot see the shimmer unless they are touched with magic.
“Seamus, you might need to braid some of his hair to make a more secure hold for yerself.”
“Aye, Father,” Seamus replied, he deftly wove an intricate braid with a hank of hair from behind Aerrvin’s left ear, tying it up neatly with a strand of gold thread.
The Prince is quite used to one of us hanging from a braid of his locks when he is Human sized. Obviously, his wings are hidden from sight. Not that a Human would be able to see them, being that they too are magical in nature. Aerrvin and I had many adventures touring Europe as Humans before we came across to the New World. Oh, the Prince and I had some great times we did! Now of course the times are changing and we are encouraged to mingle more often without disguise, with the hope of forming trusting relations between our races.
With the ever-present wind blowing his golden hair, Aerrvin and his companions set out to attend their first block party.
© 2011 M. Kari
Once Again: A Modern Fairy Tale - Book One
AboutI love to read and i love to write. I have six novels written in need of good critiques and much editing. I am the mother of eight children and grandma of four. I am a homemaker first and also .. more..