A Woven Attachment
Mother’s croissants taste best on weathery days. Emaline mused on the texture of her croissant, munching happily, while carrying a wicker basket near bursting with radiant spools of thread and ribbon. Though approaching 25 years of age, her radiant smile, honey-blond hair, and inordinate enjoyment of her afternoon snack, might prompt a passerby to think her several years younger. Though in Falworth, there was nary a person who wasn’t aware of the young Yarn Spinstress, for her amber-hued eyes turned heads wherever her whims took her.
“What brilliant colors I’ve concocted this time…” Emmy whispered excitedly to her threads. “I’m sure this will do.”
Tromping but a few more feet, Emmy paused again to admire the bountiful spools in her basket, her amber eyes dancing at her handiwork. As Falworth’s Yarn Spinstress, her homemade threads surpassed all others and shimmered with just a touch of magic.
“Perhaps I’ll use them in my royal commission… A peridot color would look fetching on the prince with his silvery hair,” Emmy mumbled on, unaware of the passing villagers. “Though I’ve yet to see him in the flesh.”
As she walked, a single raindrop landed on her hand, glistening like a gem in the afternoon sky. She raised her hand toward the sky and watched the drop slowly roll off her hand, oblivious to the darkening clouds growing increasingly ominous.
“Or perhaps I'll add some reflective opals on his coat to catch the light.”
Another drop landed on her hand, and thunder rolled above her, snapping her out of her pleasant reverie. Clacking heels and swishes of fabric scurried by as the people of Falworth rushed away from the town square. In their small kingdom, when it rained, it deluged.
“Oh no, my threads. Drat!” she wailed, looking for refuge. “Good thing I have my—” Emmy raised her left hand to discover naught but a fist of bread, “Umbrella?”
The gazebo, though a fair jaunt down the cobblestoned streets, was closer than home—even if it was in the opposite direction. With each step the rain fell harder and harder until it transcended into a heavenly symphony.
“Why must the rain always interrupt my walks?” While demanding an answer from the wind and the rain, she couldn’t help but remember her mother’s warning to stay inside. But who would want to stay inside when the world awaits outdoors?
Emmy strategically darted under trees as she ran with haste toward the gazebo, her head turned down to avoid the rain. Clopping up the one, two, three stairs to the covered platform, her face made contact with something—something tall, solid, and wet.
“Eep!” The unexpected object turned around to reveal shimmering peridot eyes, deep chestnut hair, and a toned build. She had, to her horror, firmly planted her face into a total stranger’s back. The stranger, however, showed no sign of surprise and simply brushed his damp hair away from his face and gazed right through her.
Heavenly bread bowl!
“Pardon me, miss,” the man said, taking off his hat. “Are you all right?”
“Quite, thank you. I apologize for not watching where I was going.”
His eyes softened though his mouth didn’t move; she was mortified. A few moments of uncomfortable silence passed as Emmy shifted her weight, unsure what to say. Who was this man with such radiant eyes, as bright as her newly spun thread? And, more importantly, why wasn’t he saying anything either? He didn’t appear offended, but she couldn’t read a single thing from his stony countenance.
“Here.” She stretched out her slender arm toward him, her hand clutching a brown paper bag. “A peace offering.”
Blinking rapidly as though surprised, he hesitantly reached out to take it. Who would offer something so freely, to someone without the slightest connection to them? Yet, her merry eyes all but danced with good-intent, allowing him to assuage his doubts.
“It’s my mother’s cherry danish, my brother’s favorite actually. I’m afraid a love for food runs in the family.”
Emmy broke into a grin as a blush creeped on his face. He’s human after all. Though he appeared quite stiff, one unfiltered word was enough to humanize this brawny man. Resisting her impulse to tease him, as she would her brother, she set her basket on the dry ground by her feet. She then turned her attention to nature’s performance, leaning her weight against the wooden slatted fence that encircled the raised gazebo. The taciturn companion subconsciously followed suit.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before. Are you—” Emmy stopped mid sentence, as her eyes fell on wet shoulders and significantly more wet pant legs. “You’re soaked!”
He raised his hand to his mouth before scratching the back of his head boyishly. He was, indeed, soaked, as if he was targeted by rain, personally.
“Yes, well the eastern side of the gazebo tends to collect water quite quickly… and I wasn’t…” he trailed off, as if embarrassed.
A stream of sunlight emerged from the clouds and cast their glow upon them, providing a reprieve from his discomfort. As the rain dissipated, Emmy popped her head over the fence and surveyed the sky, as if it would provide a greater vantage point. Her pink lips scrunched up as she concocted a plan.
With two bouncy steps, she retrieved her cherished basket and informed her taciturn companion that she would make a “mad dash” for it. It could be her one chance; after all Falworth showers come quickly, but dissipate slowly. Instead of leaving, she turned toward him, appearing uncharacteristically shy.
Peering up at his eyes she asked, “Do you mind if I help you out a bit?”
“Help me out?”
The young man looked at her blankly. He couldn’t recall the last time he met a stranger, but he was certain no one, beside his deceased mother and a dear friend, had offered anything to him so freely. First, the danish, and now a second gesture? What else could she possibly offer to a stranger such as him?
Emaline stacked one hand on top of the other and extended them toward him, rounded her lips and offered a gentle blow of wind his way. Stunned, he gazed upon his attire. There was no trace of the rainstorm upon his clothes. He was, in fact, completely dry.
“Wait, did you?” Such magic abilities only manifested within noble blood, barring a few exceptions. Who was this dainty woman with a pocketful of magic up her sleeve?
“Quite handy, huh? Unfortunately, it only works after you’re wet,” she explained, though no one had asked. “Well, I’m gonna make a run for it. Safe travels!”
“Miss–” He watched her go with a hint of humor in his eyes. Despite her petite frame she was indeed making a “mad dash” to wherever home was, cradling her spools as a mother would her baby. Inspecting the paper bag in his hand he read through the smeared ink, “Falworth Baking.”
* * *
The following day, Emmy spied her friend, Miss Abigail Albright, sitting at their favorite table in the bay window of her parents' bakery. As she stepped inside, the Falworth Bakery sign swayed slightly in the wind, showing no signs of wear from the previous day’s torrent.
“There’s our daughter!” A deep voice rang out from Emmy’s father’s lips, as the bear of a man swooped in for a hug. “Glad to see you got home in one piece yesterday since you didn’t heed your mother’s warning. She has a sixth sense when it comes to the weather.”
“I just live a block away,” Emmy replied with feigned indignation as her mind wandered. Her father’s stature reminded her of the young man from the prior day. She stifled a laugh as she recalled his drenched pants. I wonder if he made it home without any further, well, incidents.
“Can never be too safe in a thunderstorm, my girl. Why don’t you take your seat with Miss Abigail.” With a conspiratorial grin, he added, “I’ll bring over your favorites.”
With a snort, Emmy patted his arm and sat next to her dear friend. Miss Abigail, despite turning 70 that year, was spry, mischievous, and just a tiny, little, smidge—of a gossip. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, she was dearly loved by all, but most especially by Emmy. Their unique connection was undoubtedly the foundation for their deep friendship.
As the former Yarn Spinstress, Miss Abigail taught Emmy all she knew and the two shared a love for all things fashion, thread, and gem.
“Miss Abigail, I’ve arrived at a decision.”
“Would this be regarding your commission for the royal family? You’re working on the Crown Prince’s clothes now, aren’t you?”
“Yes, and I’ve decided to adorn him in peacock silk. Something iridescent with rich blue undertones. It’ll look gorgeous, I’m sure.”
“Well the prince is gorgeous.”
Startled, Emmy inhaled tea, nearly choking at Abigail’s addition. With her voracious interest in all things royal, Abigail could have found employment at the local gossip rag if she had the inclination. She could be easily found at every public appearance of the royal family, and then all about town chatting about it after.
“Don’t go looking so shocked. You’ve seen him before haven’t you?”
Emmy shrugged sheepishly, “Only from afar. I haven’t been invited to the palace yet, only given measurements and sent my merry away upon delivery.”
Abigail looked appalled. Though opportunities to see the prince in the flesh were seldom, she surely should pick up a newspaper from time to time. After a brief monologue on the importance of being well informed of the news, rumors and otherwise, Abigail moved on.
“Well don’t you worry, I’m sure the peacock will complement his blue eyes. Dear Albert himself reported to me how striking his eyes are.”
“Please tell me you’re not asking your Sir Albert to report these things to you.”
Abigail shrugged non-committedly. Emmy knew the duo was as thick as thieves, each one only encouraging the other in their schemes. Picking up her teapcup, Emmy attempted to choke down a laugh with tea. Only Abigail would ask her romantic partner for details of the another man, even if he was a prince.
“I made the most divine shade of peridot yesterday.” Emmy clutched Abigail’s hand in excitement. “I’m dying to give it a go.”
Abigail patted her hand in consolation. “You’re just partial to the color. Perhaps make him an ascot or handkerchief in the color and see if it’s to his liking. You don’t want to get too carried away on a royal commission, dearie.”
Emmy sighed deeply before a chipper smile reappeared. “Perhaps I’ll have the chance to meet him if I can outdo myself. Wouldn’t that be a laugh.”
“Mmhm...” Abigail sipped her tea with an impish smile. While Emmy inhaled the plate of sweets her father brought over, Abigail's mind was ticking.