I went to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving this year. It was nice to see all of the family and friends I don’t usually get to visit, including my two younger cousins – ages 2 and 5 months. The two-year-old was obsessed with my brother, and refused to play with anyone else. My younger brother, not having much experience in dealing with toddlers, was very overwhelmed, but it was pretty cute all the same. So, in honor of my cousins and all awesome cousins, I submit the following tidbits about two unnamed cousins who are the best of friends.
Stone stairs spiraled up, covered by an old, worn carpet. The thin fibers did little to keep the floor warm, but they did muffle the footsteps of the two small children quietly creeping up the levels of the tower. One child was a girl, tan and golden haired, with freckles sprinkled across her cheeks; the other was a boy with shaggy blond hair. They both had the same hazel eyes framed by light lashes, and looked to be about eight years of age.
There were six landings in the tallest tower. As the children reached the fifth one, the boy grabbed his friend’s arm. “Are you sure we should be doing this? Spying on the alchemist, I mean,” the boy asked in a worried whisper.
The girl brushed his hand off and gave him a reassuring grin. “We’ll be fine. Trust me.”
He relaxed immediately. She had said the magic words. Of course he would trust her. She was his best friend, and he would trust her with his life.
It was evening, and the setting sun made everything glow with a hazy orange light. Fireflies had just started to come out for their evening show, adding their own light to the sky’s. A castle stood against the fiery sky, casting its great shadow across the lawn that laid in front of it. The lawn, sparking with the dew of dusk, was surrounded by a wall made of the same shimmery stone as the castle.
Two children stood on a rough patch of dirt situated near the castle, sparring with wooden swords. They were older than before, perhaps by a year or so, but looked much the same. The girl, facing the castle, had her golden brown hair tied back. Her freckled skin shone with bright beads of sweat and her cheeks were streaked with dirt, but she seemed to be enjoying herself. The boy, on the other hand, had his shaggy hair in his eyes and was a panting, sweaty mess. He struggled to block the girl’s swift hits, just barely keeping his ground.
With a well-aimed jab, the girl knocked her opponent off balance. While he flailed his arms, trying to steady himself, the girl poked him in the stomach with the very tip of her practice sword. He fell on his rear with a grunt.
“Very good, very good, Princess.” A man, the sword master, called from across the lawn. “Alright boy, get up. There’s time for one more round before supper.”
The princess stepped forward and offered her hand to the boy. “Are you okay?” He nodded without looking up at her, and took the strong hand. She pulled him upright with a great heave.
When he still refused to look up, the girl crouched down a bit to see under his curtain of blond hair and into his eyes. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s fine if you don’t always win. Plus, you’re better than me in Literature and Mathematics class, so I have to be better than you at something, right?” she joked.
“That’s only because you don’t try hard enough in Literature and Mathematics,” the boy said, tilting his head up to look at his friend. But he was smiling now.
“Another round, then?” the princess asked.
The boy raised his sword, the smile still lingering on his face. “En guarde.”