The sun beamed down on all of us hard as we pulled weeds, went looking for fresh water, picked out good-looking food, cut the grass, and did every job imaginable on a farm. Sweat rolled down our faces. Dirt getting all over us. This was my life and you know, I couldn’t love it more.
“Celine quit slackin’! Money ain’t gonna grow from these fields!” My mother yelled as she came walking out of the house in her apron pointing her spatula at me.
“I am working, woman,” I retorted, throwing some weeds her way.
Smiling at her, she shakes her head and walks back in getting back her dinner cooking which I am very grateful for. None of her foods ever go wrong unless you put me in there helping. That’s when we have to be worried that the fire force is going to head down to Primrose for a little visit.
“Celine!” My dad shouts to get my attention. “Do you want to go with me to Daffodil to bring the food for the huge merchant sale this weekend?”
I had forgotten today was Friday and this next week was the choosing of the nine ladies that get to try to fall in love with the prince. Ew, gross. Find love for yourself, buddy.
“Yes, sir I will!” I cheerfully answered, throwing my gloves down to the ground, and sticking out my tongue to my brother who was shaking his head at me.
Skipping, I open the back door. “Mama, I am going with daddy to Daffodil.”
“Honey! You need to clean up yourself. What about if you meet a handsome boy and fall in love? You could move on up and get us more money,” my mom started to ramble.
“Mom, I look fine.” Looking down at myself, I was wearing jean shorts, and a blue shirt that was tied up in the front, and I had my tennis on. Yes, they were muddy but people shouldn’t be looking at my feet. My hair was pulled into a ponytail with pieces falling out.
“Oh, you!” She grabbed a washcloth and started heading over to me probably seeing dirt on my face.
My eyes widened as I started to run around the table in the kitchen when dad walked in, stopping at the door and looking at us. “Honey, she looks fine. Let’s go, Celine.”
Smiling in triumph, I kiss my mom on the cheek. “And a win for Celine Sonny.”
She laughs as I ruffle Blaire’s hair who was walking into the kitchen. She is only four years younger than me and she is my light and joy. We are always together like two peas in a pod. My whole family looks alike, but I think Blaire is the true beauty of the family. However, she thinks I am.
Dad doesn’t talk much in the truck heading over there. We only have one vehicle and it’s this one. A run-down beat-up red truck with only two seats so that’s why it’s only him and I going to the merchants. Will Merica was our merchant. He sells anything we grow and we only get 5% of the money. Not the greatest deal but it was the best one when my family was choosing.
“You carry the carrots. There are only three buckets of them, and I will get the tomatoes.”
Nodding, I hop out of the truck in the crowded square of Daffodil. People were running around at all the open stores. Girls giggled about getting new dresses for the Choosing. Boys were either looking at the girls or trying to sell things. The merchants were low, but in all of reality, they were actually fine. They were comfortable.
“Oh great!” Will excitedly clapped his hands when he saw us carrying buckets to his store. “Just dump them into the bins where their name is placed. We are running low on apples, peaches, grapes, and potatoes.”
Ignoring Will talking because he is just annoying to me, I poured the carrots down in there as people were looking at me. Most likely judging me because of what rank I am. In my opinion, rank shouldn’t matter. If you were an elite or a farmer what’s the difference? But hey, that’s just a farmer’s opinion.
Finishing up, I grabbed my buckets to see my dad still talking to him and putting up things, so I headed back out to the truck.
I turned around to see where the voice was coming from and there was Rylee Cruise. Him and all of his glory running towards me.
“Cruise!” I shouted, dropping my buckets, I ran towards him wrapping my arms around him.
I have liked Rylee for three years now. He is the cutest maid in their whole town of Clovers. His blonde curly hair was perfect and his eyes have a charm that rails you in. Every girl in Clover and Primrose has a crush on him. Blaire and I gush over him for days while Mom squats at us for going somewhere so low.
His arms hugged me tight as I did the same back. He doesn’t understand how much I just want him to get on one knee and ask me to marry him right then and there. I don’t care if he is only a rank above me and I would have to clean for the rest of my life. I just want to be in his arms forever, and kiss him and only him.
“We’re still on for tonight?” He whispers in my ear.
Nodding with a shy blush starting to form, I look into his eyes as he does mine. Why can’t he just be mine already? Letting go of him, I look down and then back up at him sticking my hand out. “It was very nice to see you, Rylee.”
He looks over at his shoulder to see my dad walking out of the store then shakes my hand. “And you too, Miss Sonny.”
“C'mon Celine, we have to head home for the news report. Have a good day, Mr. Cruise.”
“You too, Mr. Sonny.”
We were all sitting in the living room the best we could. I was sitting on the ground with Blaire sitting next to me laying her head on my shoulder, Dad was sitting in his chair like always, and Mom, Jeremy, and Daphne were all on the couch together with our little tv in front of us. The country requires everyone to have a tv and this is the free one they give the poor folks and it only turns on when the news is on. Usually, Jermey, Blaire, and I all sit on the floor together and whisper our remarks together but ever since he and Daphne got married they sit together on the couch with mom. Daphne also needs to sit up there because she is pregnant with their first child. Her parents disowned her when she wanted to marry a farmer when she was a merchant already and had plans to marry a guard who was three ranks above her. We love her so much she is the sweetest person and knows how to make great pastries.
“Hello, citizens of Amora!” Grandly announces as his face comes across the screen.
Mom starts gushing, Blaire starts clapping and Daphne starts hooting and hollering. Grandly has always done the news reports for as long as I can remember and he is the country’s amazing reporter.
“As we all know, next week we will be going to each town and choosing one girl from each rank to try and win the heart of our beloved prince.” Prince Lucas came out waving his hand to the camera and sitting down in a royal blue chair. “Thank you for joining us today, your highness. So, tell me, what are you looking for?”
Prince Lucas smiles looking down. “To be honest with you, Grandly. I don’t know. I know every girl is going to be unique in their way and one will soon be the queen of Amora so I have to find the perfect one.”
Mom, Daphne, and Blaire all start gushing over the prince while I roll my eyes. Who would want to fall in love with someone so snobby?
Once night came upon us and we finished the news report learning that the Nation of Berki was going to start helping fund us, attacks in the country have gone down, and the choosing ceremony starts tomorrow in Geraniums, who are the pearls of the country. They are the richie riches. They don’t even know what doing work themself is. I had just finished combing through my raven black hair which I was very fond of. Blair and I share it in common together. It’s one of the reasons why people say we are almost exactly alike, but she is the prettier one.
The clock was five past ten as I grabbed my hoodie, my brother found it for me, and I very slowly opened my window and climbed out of it. Now, I know this doesn’t sound good of me to sneak out but I have been doing it for three years now and I am not stopping now. Running down the dirt road behind trees so no one could see me, I turned around to look at my house fading in the distance. It was just this small shack of wood but it was home. It was all I ever needed.
The night wasn’t cold because it was only the beginning of September. It was like the perfect night with stars in the sky and a full moon. It was the perfect night to meet up with Rylee Cruise. He was perfect. Then there he was standing under our tree, not Amora's or the world’s, our tree. We have been meeting up in this spot for three years. He was looking down but when I accidentally stepped on a twig, he looked up at me, ran over to me wrapped his arms around me, picked me up, and twirled me around. I loved being in his arms. If I could give up everything to just always be in this moment forever, I would in a heartbeat.
“How is my girl doing?” He whispers into my ear which sends shivers down my spine.
Smiling, I answer, “I am fine, how is my Cruise doing?”
He smiles, kissing me on my cheek. “Always doing better when you’re around.”
Cruise and I have been in a relationship together for the past three years now, but we can’t make it public until he proposes because my mom would have a flip. She has her heart set on her daughters marrying higher than the people who are struggling. So basically merchants and up. That’s why she always makes me look good every time I have to go somewhere higher even though we are the lowest of the bunch.
Our hands lock together as he guides me over to under a tree where we sit.
“What’s going to happen with the choosing this week, well starting tomorrow?” I ask.
“It’s a thought that’s been running through my mind today. It’s like a 5% chance your name would get chosen.” He rubs over my fingers lightly. He does this a lot when we talk about essential things and that’s how I know I am getting his honest opinions.
“But let’s just say I do?”
“Then you would tell them no because I am going to marry you,” he giggles as he touches my nose and kisses it gently.
He then puts a hand on my face and rubs it lightly, “I am going to kiss you now, ok.”
Feeling at home as our lips touch, I smile as I know someday I am going to be his wife and we can work through anything life throws at us.