Ivy held back a little.
“What’s so important I don’t have time to speak to my own parent’s but you could? I thought something serious had happened. You never call out for lunch. You scared me.”
“You should have gotten here sooner.” Lillie-Rose pulled her friend a little further, releasing her arm when they were nearer the bridge to their favorite spot, Dreamtree.
“Sooner?” Ivy screeched in indignation. “I dropped everything when you called and rushed out here. Scared something had happened to you or my parents.”
“Sorry about that.” Lillie-Rose stopped in the middle of the bridge, pulled a petal from one of the many buckets of Daisies, dropped it into the pond and moved to the other side of the bridge. As she followed the petals journey through the flow of water she apologized to Ivy. “I didn’t mean to frighten you, but you are a little dramatic.” She looked over her shoulder as her friend joined her in their ritual.
“You know you only tossed in one petal, Lillie-Rose.” Ever observant, Ivy stood with her hands on her hips and a small smile on her lips.
“You’re delusional, Ivy.” Lillie-Rose laughed. “The other one is coming. See, it’s just slow. You must….”
“No,” Ivy cut off the rest of her sentence. “That one is mine. You know we always through in two. Love me, love me not. Got something to tell us?”
“You’ll just have to wait and see.”
Lillie-Rose skipped off the bridge with Ivy quickly following behind. Immediately age was forgotten as they laughed and giggled down the path and through the professionally designed and landscaped fairy filled fantasy forest. The purposely left tall ferns and plots of wildflowers brushed their legs, leaving pollen stains in their wake. They played hide and seek and tag among the life sized, colorful statues of animals and varied positioned winged people. Their cold marble flesh providing them the perfect hiding places from each other and the bees trying to stay out of their way.
Running through a flutter of butterflies and batting away the tickle the soft wings caused across their cheeks, they stopped short at the sight of Carmella lying on the huge wrought iron bench. That smile on her face, a sure sign of having lovely thoughts. The outright giggle, a definite affirmative the woman was in a good mood.
"What's so funny Carmella?"
Lillie-Rose poked Carmella's shoulder with her pointer finger.
"Not a thing." Carmella sat up in surprise and looked into the eyes of her friends. She hadn't heard them approaching.
"She’s probably thinking about Franklin, who else?"
Ivy flopped down in the middle of the flowers at the base of the tree house and began weeding. Lillie-Rose studied the bemused smile on Carmella's face and the twinkle in her eyes before sitting on the heavy iron bench next to her.
"Yup Ivy, by the look in her eyes, I think you're right. Got something you want to share, Carmella?"
Carmella stood, straightened her clothes before removing her sandals and stepping on to the low retaining wall surrounding the statue of the fallen prince. Slowly, walking with her arms spread wide she tried to keep her balance as she moved from the toes of the prince to his chest. Swinging her right leg over to straddle it, she sat on his stomach before answering.
"Don't worry about me Lillie-Rose we're here because of you. What's on your mind?"
"That's what I'm wondering." Ivy moved closer to her friends, dropped to the ground and immediately dug her fingers into the soil. "It's not like she ever wants to hang with us anymore. Rarely calls, never comes out to play." She laughed.
Shifting her position to lay on the bench, the coolness of the metal seeping through the thin material of her blouse and making her shiver slightly. Lillie Rose watched her friends giggling and slapping at each other like little kids unable to hold the secret they have on one another. She wiggled her fingers in Ivy’s direction before closing her eyes.
"Maybe it's because you always want to play in the dirt, little Miss Ivy Gardiner."
"Ha, maybe it’s because you have a new playmate and you don't have any time for us."
"Ha, or maybe it’s because you have a new playmate that plays different kinds of games.”
Ivy and Carmella scoffed and laughed loudly before stating their own opinions between giggles.
“And they aren’t the kind of games you can play with us."
Reaching down to grab a handful of four leaf clovers, Lillie-Rose threw them in her friends’ direction the gentle breeze swirling and floating the petals over and releasing them on their heads, Ivy and Carmella laughed delightedly.
"You aren't funny. Besides," Lillie-Rose closed her eyes again. "I was just with you in Beaumont.'
"You noticed she didn't deny having a new playmate."
"Oh, I noticed alright."
Lillie-Rose opened one eye at Ivy's tone. The other woman smiled smugly, the hint of the knowledge of a secret, evident in her tones.