Tea Leaves and Red Silk

Irish Yew

Match Twenty-Three: Irish Yew:

-Present Day-

The spring is back and Florence started looking healthy again. The more Alfred watched her, the more had couldn't help but wonder about a possible relationship with her. Could a human and a tree spirit be that close?

"Hey, Florence," he said as she was planting her garden again.

"Hm?" she asked. Alfred hadn't thought out his question fully. His brash way of getting information wouldn't come out when he really wanted it to. Florence turned around with the trowel in her hand.

"Yes?" she asked.

"Have you ever had a boyfriend?" Alfred asked. Florence tilted her head.

"A boyfriend?" she asked.

He shrugged. "You know, a lover? Someone that you cuddle with and kiss."


"Have you ever had a crush on anyone?"

"A crush?"

"Have you even liked anyone— like really liked someone?"


The American man frowned. "Really?"

"That's right. It's just been Lydia and I."

"Damn." It almost felt criminal to try and make a move. Maybe I can ease inti it? "Can you date anyone?"


"I'm just wondering. I mean you're a tree spirit and I am a country. Is it even possible?"

Florence thought about his question. "I guess it could be possible. I never tried it myself."

"Why not?"

"I never really thought about it myself."

"Well, do you find anyone attractive?"

"I haven't really noticed."

"Do you like men or women?"

"Men, I suppose."

Alfred grinned and pumped his fist. Yes! "What type of guy would you like?"

"What type of guy would I like?"


Florence rose to her feet. "Hm, let me see…"

"What are you two talking about?" a girl's voice asked. Alfred and Florence looked up to see Lydia leaning against the gate. She held two full bags of groceries in her arms.

"We were talking about what type of guy that I liked," her sister said. Alfred whipped his head around with big eyes. Lydia pressed her hand to her forehead.

"Al, what are you up to now?" she asked. Alfred gave her a strange look.

"Al?" he asked. "Since when do you call me that?"

"Never mind that," the teenaged girl said. "Why are you trying to hit on my sister?" The American man pretended to look hurt by such a question.

"I don't know what you are talking about," he lied. "I was just asking her some harmless questions to get to know her better." The younger sister glared at him, frowning.

"If you're trying to pull something here, I'll…"

Alfred raised an eyebrow. "You'll do what?"

Lydia clutched the brown paper bags in her arms. "I will make you pay for it!"

He put his hands on his hips. "How?"

"I just will!"

"Guys," Florence cut in, waving her trowel in the air. "Please don't fight, it's a nice day."

"We're not fighting," Alfred said.

"Yeah, nobody's fighting," Lydia said. Her sister turned her attention to their friend.

"Are you staying with us for dinner?" she asked.

"Sure," Alfred said. "I don't mind." Lydia puffed up her cheeks and frowned. By now, the American man had gotten used to eating vegetable-only type of meals with the girls at their house.

Alfred still didn't have his answer for how a relationship between him and Florence would work out. Not to worry. There was still dinner to try again. Sure, Lydia would be at the table to shut him up, but he would try to talk over her, anyway. Even if he didn't get an answer today, Alfred would get probably of times to try and pursue a relationship with Florence. After all, they weren't playing beat the clock, right?

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