Tea Leaves and White Pearls

Sycamore

Match Eight: Sycamore:

Alfred is going to learn how to cook today. Florence already waited for him in the kitchen.

"Ready to begin?" she asked. The American man nodded at her, knowing there was no meat included in today's menu. He gotten used to this with her, partly because he pigs out on burgers to make up for the lunches at her house. He could understand Florence going the healthy route, but Lydia amazed him on how she was able to keep up with her older sister.

"Hey Florence," Alfred spoke up as she rinsed the vegetables in the sink.

"Yes?" she asked.

"What exactly is Lydia?" he asked next to her. Florence rinsed off a cabbage before sitting it aside.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Is she… like you?" the American man asked.

"A vegetarian?" the tree spirit suggested.

"No," Alfred said, "Is she a tree spirit?" Florence finished rinsing the carrots and set them with the cabbage.

"No, she's a human girl," she replied. Alfred almost squeezed a tomato when he heard that revelation.

"Careful!" Florence cried, "You'll bruise it!" Alfred looked down at the tomato in his fist.

"Oh, sorry about that," he said.

"Give it here," she told him. The woman took the tomato out of his hand, rinsed it off, and set it aside.

"So, Lydia's not really your sister?" Alfred asked.

"She's more like a guardian, so to speak," Florence replied. He looked at her hands as she started rinsing the potatoes.

"Where is her family?" he asked.

"I don't really remember what happened to her mother," the woman replied when she finished up the remaining vegetables, "She was dead before I met her."

"So her father originally watched over you?" Alfred asked.

"That is correct," Florence replied, "Come over here. I'll show you how to cut up the vegetables for the stew."

"Okay," Alfred said. The pair moved to the counter. Florence picked up the sharpest knife out of the block. Her male friend couldn't help but notice her hands.

"You've been using that sunflower oil I gave you?" he asked.

"Why yes," she said, "It really clears up my skin and gives me more energy. It even gives me more of an appetite." Alfred gave her a little smile.

"I'm so happy to hear that," he said.

"Come and look how I'm cutting the carrots," she told him. The woman took the knife and began cutting them gentle and firmly in a diagonal. "The trick is to keep them as small as possible." Alfred nodded as he looked at her tiny hand wrapped around the big knife.

"Get it now?" she asked. It took Alfred a little while to return back to earth at her question.

"Yeah," he replied. The American man picked up a knife and helped her cut up the carrots as well.

"We'll roast the potatoes last as a side dish," Florence told him as she moved onto the next carrot on the chopping board.

"Sounds good to me," Alfred said as he finished up with his own carrot.

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