Dandelion Crowns and Paper Butterflies


Josiah looks up when he hears that the door opens. He had been fidgeting with the sleeves of his white shirt – Rolled up or not? Rolled up or not? – and he has ended up having one rolled up sleeve and one not-rolled up sleeve. He quickly rolls that other sleeve up, too, because it would look ridiculous if he wouldn't do that.

With a "Hey, Tim" already ready for use, he watches the person step into the room... only to discover that it isn't Tim.

It's a girl, the Greenie.

He doesn't remember her name, but he surely has heard about her. The whole Glade had been surprised and confused; why sending up another girl? How is that useful?

He doesn't know, and he actually doesn't care. Boys or girls, no difference. As long as they act nicely.

He swallows the "Tim" in "Hey, Tim" and greets the girl with a friendly "Hey."

"Hey," the girl replies, smiling. She seems to think a moment before she asks: "You're Josiah, right?"

Josiah nods, surprised that she knows his name; she has only been there for a day, and he doesn't think that they have seen each other yet.

"Yep. And your name is..?" he asks, letting his voice trail off so that she can fill it in herself.

"Flore," the girl says, tucking a curl behind her ear. "So, eh... I-I just came to see if you're all right."

That surprises Josiah, and he is silent for a moment before he finds his voice again. Why would she be interested in how he feels?

"Eh, yeah, I'm fine," he says, stuttering a little and hating himself for it. "I'm alive, I'm breathing, I don't have much pain, so I'm actually feeling fine."

That third thing isn't true. Of course he has pain – it would be crazy if that wasn't the case, for he has been stabbed in the side and nearly died of the blood loss –, he can just handle it much better than most of the other Gladers.

"Oh," Flore says, seeming unsure what to say. "Okay."

It is awkwardly silent for a while, and then the door behind her opens.

Tim steps into the room, making something of happiness jump up inside Josiah's chest.

"Hey, Josiah," Tim greets him, cheerful as always. "I am... Oh."

It is then that he realizes that Flore is there, too, and the look on his face is so funny that Josiah has to bite his lip to not laugh.

"Hi, Flore," Tim says to her, his head turning the colour of a ripe tomato.

The girl folds her arms, her eyes flicking from Josiah to Tim and back. An amused smile spreads over her lips, though Josiah doesn't understand what is so funny here.

"I think that I should go," she says, putting her hands in her pockets. "You guys surely need some privacy."

With that, she walks out of the room, leaving Josiah frowning and Tim with a possibly even redder face.

"What was that about?" Josiah wonders out loud.

Tim shrugs. "I don't know. And I'm not sure if I even want to know."

He sits down on the edge of the bed, and while they both try to stop snickering, he asks with the usual humour in his voice: "So, how about a game of tic-tac-toe?"

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