The large Group of Sunflowers turned in unison. Their many flowered discs always hungry for the sun, always looking forward, always wanting more.
What came before meant little to the tall proud stalks, impervious to why they were clustered together by the thousands; all in concise neat rows, all nearly the same height and same size.
All that is, except one. This little sunflower was not as tall, not as big and not as stiff as his brethren. The multitude of flowers he held protectively in in his disc were – special. Different. Smaller yes, but instead of greedily eating up the light to strengthen his position in the Group, he reflected the light back to aid his brothers and sisters in their growth.
When the sun moved across the sky from morning to night, the littlest sunflower took great delight reading the shadows left behind, the histories, the stories of what was and how they had come to be. Naturally, the rest of the Group made fun of him. They taunted him with unkind words, name-calling and general guffaws at his lack of commitment at being a true Sunflower.
The little Sunflower just smiled, knowing in his heart that sharing light was much better than hoarding it.
It so happened that Summer was coming to an end. The Group all faced away from the huge farmhouse and the massive harvesting machine driven by the farmer. They did not see it coming, they could not. All except one, was so intent on filling their own light coffers, they had no warning at all.
Except for the little voice of the smallest Sunflower who called out as loud as he could,
“Umm Guys! Guys duck!”
Of course they couldn’t duck, they couldn’t bend, they couldn’t so much as turn their heads back to see what was coming.
The flexible little Sunflower could duck and that’s just what he did. The heavy machine passed right over him with clanks, bangs and squeaks. When he looked up, the Group was all but gone, leaving him standing alone in an empty field. Or, was that another tiny Sunflower lifting it’s happy leaves to wave at him across the barren landscape?
She had to get to the Chapel, it was the only place that might offer her refuge. She could not, absolutely not marry some decrepit ogre from another county she had never met.
Yes, at 18 and not married, she’d be too old for marrying soon. None of the suitors her uncle had brought forth previously had, well, suited her.
This time, she’d not been given a choice. The marriage license had been drawn up by her uncle and her intended’s man, whatever that meant. Well, she was having none of it. Not one single bit of it.
She was here to see Father Kilpatrick about joining the Sisters Order. She would become a nun before she let some stinky curmudgeon touch her, anywhere. No one could stop her, no one would.
Fiadh jerked hard on the chapel door handle, it didn’t budge. Using both hands she tugged the ancient door hard, it burst open, tossing her to the ground. She landed amid a sea of her colorful skirts, right on top of the newly turned flower bed.
A man dressed in colors generally reserved for the Royalty, let out a very manly-type expletive before he spied Fiadh sitting and stewing he surmised, in the middle of the moist soil of the chapels garden.
“Look at the state o’you!” he exclaimed, reaching a hand out to help Fiadh right herself.
Her face reddened with embarrassment, turning the skin over her high cheekbones to the most lovely rose color the gentleman had ever seen.
Fiadh released his hand immediately upon gaining her balance, turned to shake off the soil clinging to her skirts and looked up into the face of the most comely man she had ever laid eyes on.
“‘Ere let me help you, Lass.” He held his breath, waiting for a rebuke to his assumption, hope, that she remained unmarried.
“Thank you,” she replied softly, mesmerized by the aqua color of his eyes. “You are most beautiful,” she said quite honestly.
“Your beauty outshines that of any other Lady or Lass in this entire land,” he answered, smiling at her innocent forthrightness.
Fiadh blushed harder, the rose deepening upon her cheeks. They both began speaking, stopped then started again in unison. Once their laughter subsided, the young man introduced himself.
“If I may, my name is Braedyn Farlyn and ‘tis very nice to meet you!” He said, reaching to pick a bit of dirt from her hair.
A thunderous noise engulfed them, from the East to the West. Horses pounded the cold ground in an effort to heed their Master’s wishes.
“Oh no, my uncle,” she was barely able to whisper through her panic.
“My father,” he groaned softly.
They looked at each other questioning, “What?” Simultaneously, which brought answering smiles again.
“Go head, please but hurry Fiadh,” the sound of her name rolling off his tongue in the most lovely tone sounding like fee-a.
“My uncle is trying to marry me off to some old codger to give him sons, but I can’t, I just can’t!”
Her unshed tears were his undoing. What a Lass she was, beautiful aye, but he could see through to her heart and she was a treasure, his treasure. The thought startled him.
“Marry me,” he said. “Say yes quickly Fiadh before my father and his men get here to carry me away to marry some old spinster from a farm near here,” his words stringing together in a mad rush of explanation.
“Yes, yes please Lord Farlyn,” she answered quickly.
“Braedyn,” he said.
“Yes, Braedyn,” she began but her hushed response was cut short when he pressed his lips to hers, sealing their commitment for both contingencies to witness.
Braedyn‘s father arrived only a moment before Fiadh’s uncle galloped up on his prized stud, pulling cruelly on the reigns to halt his charge.
The two older men looked at the couple embracing each other on the chapels threshold. Both let out belly-rolling guffaws before addressing their younger kin.
Braedyn’s father spoke first, “I see the two of you have met and yer both agreeable to the match?” He said.
“Finally!” Groaned Fiadh’s uncle but not unkindly. In fact, he looked quite pleased.
The young couple pulled away from each other, their eyes full of disbelief and wonder.
“You?” Fiadh asked.
“You?” Braedyn asked.
“Well, get on with it then,” stated Fiadh’s uncle, “We ‘aven’t all day to dilly dally ‘ere!”
The young couple glanced around at the multitude of smiling faces surrounding them, before looking back at each other. Their smiles matching their kins, they stepped into the cool refuge of the chapel. Their hearts now full of joy and hope for the future, their future cocooned in blossoming love.
It was late, hours past midnight. I woke from a sound sleep up with a start, turned on my nightstand light, and couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t catch my breath. His weight on my chest prevented inhalation. I tried pushing him off but he was strong, so very strong. I tried not to panic when his tongue swiped up my neck to my face and he started nibbling on my lip.
“Get off,” I huffed out. This seemed to inspire not deter him. Again another saliva filled lick and nip at my face, his drool ran down my reddening cheeks.
He moved slightly, I took a big breath and heaved. He rolled slightly to the side. I took the opening and ticked his stomach to keep his attention off of me. It worked! The big beast was insanely ticklish.
After a moment he rolled over, lifting his head, a gigantic grin on his face.
“You big lug, I was trying to sleep,” I admonished my two-hundred twenty-five pound English Mastiff, Thor. We curled up, spooning like an old married couple, and slept.