Walter Wesley Williams swam through grey fog. He could feel his arms moving slowly, life beginning to return. He yawned, wiped the mist from his eyes, and opened them. Blinking against the sunlight that streamed in through his window, WW rolled to his other side and shoved his face in the pillow. The grey fog materialized into his pale yellow sheets. They were warm, and he pulled them closer, hiding against the breeze brought by his fan. Until the warmth registered in his waking limbs as too hot. With a groan he threw the blankets aside and sat up. He could hear faint, rhythmic thumping against the wall where his desk was. How am I an only child? He wondered as he glanced around his room.
The yellow curtains that matched his sheets were useless against the sunlight that streamed directly through them, into his room, illuminating the dark wooden floors, the orange shag rug WW had next to his bed, and all the way over to his messy white desk. It felt as if it burned everything it touched, including WW. The fan did very little to combat the summer heat. He growled as he kicked the blankets all the way off his bed. He pulled on some soft green pyjama pants before opening his door and heading down the narrow stairs, past all of the family photos from their beach trips, and his parents’ wedding, and… he shuddered every time someone looked at them... their family Christmas pictures. He always averted his eyes from that section of the wall as he padded down the wooden steps. His house was small, but they had a massive back yard, and it was home. His parents had inherited the house from his grandmother, whose own father had built it. There were pictures in every room, old ones, yellowed and faded, as well as more recent ones of the three of them, as well as WW’s aunts, uncles, and cousins… His mother was the only one among her siblings who had stopped at one kid. Everyone understood, though, since WW himself had already been so expensive to have. He was thankful to be the only child, though. He had no idea how his grandparents and great grandparents had fit so many children into that house.
He stopped in his tracks when he looked into the kitchen. “MoooOOOOOMMMMM!!!” He called upstairs, his feet taking him heavily toward the counter. “I THOUGHT WE ALL AGREED THE PLANTS STAYED OUTSIDE!”
He heard a faint groan, then footsteps and a door creaked open upstairs. “IF YOU WANT THEM OUTSIDE YOU CAN TAKE THEM! THEY’RE GOING TO GO IN THE WEST GARDEN!” His mother called back. He heard the door beginning to close, but then she continued, “A-AND CAN YOU WATER THE EAST SECTION PLEASE?!”
“YEAH, SURE! HAVE A NICE ROMP!” WW snickered to himself as he did his best to shove the plants that completely covered the counter aside. Where did these even come from? He wondered.
“Uh-- Th-THANKS?!” His mom called back before the door shut again.
WW smiled, ever so faintly, as he fingered the leaves on one of the plants. There were five pots, two with yellow peonies, and three with daylilies. “Pretty…” He mumbled, stepping around the counter to their new fridge. For the hundredth time in five days, WW reached for the wrong side and grumbled before successfully opening the fridge.
When he poured himself his cereal bowl, he sat next to way too many flowers to eat. He was used to being surrounded by flowers. His parents, and his grandmother before them, were florists. He’d been working with his parents and his cousin in the florist shop since he was twelve. Their backyard had been a lush paradise of plants of all shapes and sizes since long before he was born. It was why his great grandfather had built a sunroom on the side of the house, so that his dear wife could look out on her beloved garden while she had her afternoon tea, even on the days it was too chilly to take it outside.
The sunroom was where WW had taken his first steps, and spent many afternoons sitting on the floor, staring out at the paradise behind their house and drawing. It was the place where their family gathered, when they couldn't gather outdoors. It was the most important room inside their house.
WW startled out of his thoughts when his mother kissed the top of his head. “Good morning!” She chirped, walking over to the fridge, her hips swaying. She repeated WW’s wrong-side blunder and gave the fridge a little kick.
“Don't break the fridge… Again.” WW smirked slightly as he slurped the last of his milk.
“Always do that? The noise is disgusting!” WW finished her sentence as he went to the sink to clean his dish. “Yes, I must… The milk’s gross, but the best part of eating cereal… And if you want to talk about disgusting noises…” He winked as his father finally came downstairs, too. His dad grimaced when he reached the bottom step, stumbling a little. His blond curls were a frantic mess on the top of his head. He limped slightly as he made his way into the kitchen. WW rolled his eyes. He blamed his parents’ sex life for his sparse number of friends. Or, rather, he blamed the fact that it didn’t faze him anymore.
“Are you going to water the east garden?” His dad asked, yawning.
“Good morning to you, too, dad.” WW kissed his father’s cheek. “Yeah, I was just eating first. Where in the west garden are these going?” He scooped two of the pots into his arms, walking backward toward the sliding glass door.
“Northwest.” His dad mumbled as his mom handed him his tea.
“Careful, it’s hot. I just made it.” She grinned.
“I burn my mouth one time…” His father grumbled.
WW didn’t stick around to watch his mother lean against his dad, teasing him about the time he took a gulp of freshly poured tea and couldn’t taste anything for a week. Instead, he strolled into the garden, ducking under the archway, beneath the Clematis, which were still blooming bright and gorgeous. He brushed past shrubs, his smile barely disturbing his lips from their resting expression as the smell of the garden washed over him. He loved the garden, he really did. It made the heat bearable, or, at least, he thought it did. He just had what many those days had come to call ‘resting bitch face’.
He took the long way to where he was meant to drop off his charge, passing by the willow tree where he liked to hide from the sun- He would probably find himself under there within an hour, if he could get out of going to the shop- the swing seat with blue moon wisteria growing up the trellis on the sides, and over the little bridge that crossed the stream his father had added when WW had been nine. He could still remember splashing around in the man-made stream while his father placed the rocks. He was sure there were still pictures of it in some photo album in the living room…
After he had brought all the flowers to their new home in the western part of the garden, where, he had to admit, they would fit in nicely, he went over to the eastern side, grabbing a watering can from one of the mini sheds along the way.
As he was rounding a corner, though, he saw something strange. It looked like a… Paw? He froze as soon as he saw it sticking out from behind a hydrangea bush. Did an animal get in here? The paw had no fur. It looked almost like a foot, but padded, with only three big ‘toes’. “What the fuck?” He muttered, inching closer. The house was nearby, he could probably make a run for it if need be. He stepped slowly down the cobbled path, peeking around the hydrangeas. The paw led to a rather human looking leg. Two of them, actually, one bent up toward the man’s torso. He was wearing green shorts and a beige top that looked like they could have been home-made. His arms were wrapped around a flowerpot that was brimming with pansies, and whatever wasn’t hidden of his face by the way he had it turned toward the ground was hidden by his startlingly green hair. From under the hem of his shirt stuck a… Well, it looked like a vine, with little leaves growing here and there. WW couldn’t even think of why there might be a vine there. Was it tied around the man’s waist? “What the fuck?” He muttered again, a little louder this time. He tilted his head as he studied the stranger. His arms looked toned. Athletic. Not stick-thin like WW’s arms, but not like a body-builder, either. Am I checking out the weird stranger in my garden? He asked himself. Then, hesitantly, admitted, yes…
Aside from the paw-feet-things, he looked normal. He looked… attractive. I wonder what his face looks like… WW thought, crouching next to the man. Very carefully, he brushed some of the green hair aside. The man’s eyebrows and eyelashes were green, too. He was tan, with a soft, pretty face and high cheekbones. His lips had the faintest tint of green, but WW attributed that to the faint smell of alcohol.
“Huh…” WW mumbled. Then he stood and started walking back to the house. He waited until he’d opened the door to, very loudly, proclaim, “Mom, dad! There’s a hot guy with weird feet hugging the pansies!”