Tea Leaves and Red Silk

White Ash

Match Three: White Ash:

While Florence slept in her bed, Alfred stepped out on the back porch and made a quick phone call.

"Hello?" Arthur asked on the other line.

"Art, old pal!" the American man perked up. "Just the person I wanted to talk to."

"Why?" the English man asked. "This better not be a prank call!"

"No, no! I just have a question for you!"

"Okay…"

"I mean it."

"So spit it out!"

Alfred's eyes shifted left and right before speaking. "Is it possible to have a relationship with a tree spirit?"

Arthur paused over the phone. "What?!"

"I want to know if I can have a tree spirit or not."

"Why?"

Alfred shrugged on his end of the line. "I was just curious."

"Why would you be curious about that?"

"Well, is it possible?"

Arthur sighed on his line. "Yes, it is possible."

"So… how would I woo her? This is just a what-if type thing, of course."

"Just like a normal woman, I guess."

The American man narrowed his eyes. "That's all it takes?"

"Yeah. Tell me, this wouldn't have anything to do with Florence, would it?"

"No! Why would you think that?" Alfred's face turn red as he said that. His tone did little to convince the English man on the other line too.

"Right…" Arthur said.

"I'm not!" the American man shouted into the phone.

"Okay, I believe you. Still, I have to tell you something."

"What?"

"If you do form a relationship with her, it won't last long."

Alfred raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"

"I have the sense that Florence might not live long. It wouldn't be in your best interest to get close to her."

Usually, Alfred would tease Arthur about his occult powers and brush him off. This time, something in the English man's tone told him this wasn't the time for that. The American man didn't even have the right response for this warning. Instead, he pressed his lips together and nodded.

"Thanks, Dude," he said.

"I could be wrong, but please, for your sake, tread lightly with Florence," Arthur said. "I just couldn't stand to see you all broken up if she died and you were so close to her."

"Okay."

"Anything else?"

"No, nothing at all. Bye." Alfred hung up, uncertain of Arthur's words. He turned his attention to Florence and Lydia's house. Somehow, he had the feeling that this wouldn't end with one phone call for advice.

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