Tea Leaves and White Pearls


Match Two: Cherry:

Alfred hadn't seen Florence or Lydia since last summer. He didn't know anyone else close to them to ask how they were doing. Alfred hadn't been by the hospital since Kiku left last year. The American man found himself too lazy to write them a letter. Over the months, Alfred came to notice that life without his girls had become rather boring. He even invited them out to his Christmas party, but they didn't show up. Other than that, he had been too busy to see about them.

Today that was going to change. Alfred walked over to the house that the girls lived in. He knocked on the door. A look of disappointment flooded his face when there was no answer.

Hm, no answer, he thought. It donned on him that he didn't even get their phone numbers. They probably were at the hospital at the moment, but he just couldn't go there and look for them. That would possibly make him look too desperate. Best to wait until they came back. Alfred sat on the wicker chair on the front porch and waited. In the minutes increasing minutes, Alfred slowly began to nod off. He fought to keep his eyes open, but in the end sleep defeated him.

He dreamt that he saw a cherry tree hopping towards him. The petals of the pink blossoms left a small trail behind it as it moved closer with its roots dangling below it. A loud beeping noise came from the tree as it hopped.

Meep! Meep! Meep! Meep! Meep! Meep!

The beeping changed into an actual human voice.

"Alfred!" "Alfred!" "Alfred!"

The American man awoke to see Florence and Lydia staring at him. He blinked and straightened up his glasses.

"Girls?" he asked. "When do you get back?"

"Just a few minutes ago," Florence answered. "Have you been out here waiting for us this whole time?"

"I guess I have, dude," he said. "What time is it?"

"About noon," Lydia replied.

"Oh crap!" Alfred said aloud. His stomach began to growl.

"Oh," Florence said. "I suppose that you are staying for lunch with us, are you not?" Alfred perked up at those words. Again, he knew that there was going to be no meat, yet she could make it bearable for him to eat. He found it much easier to eat veggie-only meals when he was with these girls.

"Can I?" he asked like a hyper child. Florence giggled.

"Of course," he said. Alfred grabbed her by the hands.

Sweet! Thanks!" he cheered. Lydia stood by, watching them. She still couldn't understand the developing relationship between this man and her sister. Even after she told him that Florence was tree spirit, he still tried to hang around with them. On top of all of that, he still didn't know his own motive for pursing them both. Despite slowly warming up to him, Lydia still had her doubts on him.

"Oh, I almost forgot," Alfred spoke up, "I brought you a gift. Hang on." He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small jar. Florence took it from his hand and looked at the yellowish fluid inside.

"Thank you, Alfred," she said. "What is it?"

"Sunflower oil," he said. "I picked it up this morning from this health store. Figure it could help you in some way or another."

"Thank you," she said again. Alfred's face perked up.

"Dude! I'm so glad you like it!" he said. The tree woman only smiled back at him. Lydia lowered her shoulder and tried to smile. Well, at least he tries to make her happy, he thought. Alfred straightened up his glasses.

"Say, Florence," he spoke up.

"Yes, Alfred?" she asked. He shuffled his feet as he tried to look rather cute.

"If you don't mind, could I have your phone number? You know, to keep in touch with you and stuff," he said. Florence's warmth reflected in her eyes and smile.

"Of course," she said, opening the relationship a little bit further.

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