|A Million Moments
Author: So-So-Spacecase PM
Winnie drank from the spring, but always wondered if Jesse would come back. Finally, on what would've been her 21st birthday, Jesse returns, and he's ready to fulfill his promise. And they had forever to do it. Movie-based.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Adventure - Words: 1,621 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 10 - Published: 02-08-12 - id: 7817707
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Why, you don't look a day over seventeen!"
"What's your secret?"
"You look so beautiful, so youthful."
At these comments, all Winnie Foster could do was just smile feebly and nod. That seemed to be the only thing she did for the past four years- give a weak smile with averted eyes. Anytime she was ever asked that question, she simply answered that time was being nice on her. Oh, but how it was so cruel. The wheels of life kept on turning, and it had left her behind, a girl immortally stuck at seventeen.
She wondered if she had made the right choice, drinking the water so she could be with Jesse. She had been young- she still was- and she never made the best decisions, but this one seemed right. It was her chance to be free, even if it meant watching her family grow old, and her life go on without her. She felt happy with her decision, but there was still a little voice at the back of her head that kept wondering if Jesse would keep his promise.
Today, June eighteenth, was what was supposed to be Winnie's twenty-first birthday. Summer was always a pleasant time for Winnie, since it was summer when she met the Tucks, and she felt fortunate to have a birthday in that season. Not to mention it was going to be her twenty-first. To her, being twenty-one would mean liberation, emancipation from her life. Maybe now, her parents would let her roam on her own. It would be the easiest choice, too, since her parents would grow suspicious if their daughter didn't seem to age.
Winnie smiled, and took a deep breath of the warm summer air. It was early morning, and the dew was still fresh on the grass. Most of the people in the house were still sleeping, but not Winnie. Ever since her meeting the Tucks, Winnie came to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as an early morning sunrise. Her small hands gripped the wrought iron fence tightly, as if it were the only thing keeping her stable.
Oh, how she wished to run past the fence that jailed her when she was but fifteen. Had Winnie never left the safe confines of the fence, she would've never met the Tucks, never found her first love, and never have made the choice that haunted and blessed her today.
Winnie turned around when she heard the front door to her house slam. There on the porch stood her mother, in all of her pristine glory. In the past years following Winnie's "kidnapping," Helen Foster decided that she had to much control over her daughter. So, she loosened the reins on Winnie, but only slightly. She still wanted Winnie to understand the different between gracefulness and barbarianism, and graceful ladies did not sneak out of the house at sunrise in their nightgowns and bare feet.
"Winifred," Helen called lightly. "Do come inside soon, you're getting your nightgown wet."
Winnie sighed, and released her hold on the fence. She gently trekked through the grass in the early morning light, only stopping once for her toad to hop by. Her feet felt cold and awkward walking up the wooden porch steps, and she averted her eyes to avoid looking at her mother.
Just as Winnie was about to walk through the door, Helen's hand on her shoulder stopped. Gently, Winnie turned around, and lifted her sweet brown eyes to her mother's. She was expecting a scolding, but was rather surprised when Helen brought her into a warm, endearing hug which Winnie gladly returned.
"Happy birthday, Winnie," Helen whispered sweetly. "I love you so much, dear."
"I love you too."
Helen released the hug, and took a step back to examine Winnie. "Why, you still look like you're seventeen. I guess when I got my wish when I asked for you to never grow up."
Winnie smiled, but a pang shot at her heart. She was never going to grow up, ever. While Helen would be an old lady one day, Winnie would forever be seventeen. She had stopped the wheel, but her mother was still turning on hers. However, she could not reverse time, nor could she speed it or pause it. She was simply a little flaw in the patchwork of time.
"Let's go inside now, Winifred," Helen said. "What do you want for your birthday breakfast?"
"Flapjacks," Winnie said simply, remembering her first dinner with the Tucks. "And lots of them."
Helen looked appalled. Never in her life had she expected Winnie to like such a poor people's food. This was the girl who had grown up with bacon, eggs, and fresh fruit everyday for breakfast. Flapjacks were simply not on the Foster's menu.
But Helen relented. "Strange choice, but I'll make sure Annie cooks some up. Would you like maple syrup with it too."
Helen nodded, then briskly walked through the door. Winnie followed suit and smiled. Maybe today wouldn't be as bad as she thought.
Winnie got dressed into her day clothes, and had breakfast. Annie's flapjacks weren't nearly as good as the Tuck's, but Winnie still ate them up with fervor. As for her parents, they had their usual bacon and eggs, not wanting to eat a commoner's food.
Now the plates have been cleared, and Winnie was about to get up and go when her father stopped her.
"Winifred, aren't you forgetting something?" he asked, a playful hint in his voice.
"No," Winnie said, confused.
"We have presents for you, darling!" Helen said happily.
Winnie smiled, and immediately sat back down at the table. Being rich had its perks. Even though Winnie didn't like being rich, she still had the usual fascination with material goods.
Three boxes were brought to the table, and Winnie couldn't wait to open them. She glanced at the parents, and they gave her the go-ahead. Winnie began tearing at the first present, wondering what was inside.
In the end, Winnie ended up getting a new suitcase, a bottle of perfume, and her favorite, a brand new dress. It was a white summer gown, with mid-length sleeves, and lace and tiny bows covering the whole thing. It was quite a wedding dress, but it was as beautiful as one.
"Oh, thank you Mother, thank you Father!" Winnie said joyfully, hugging the dress to herself. "I must say, this has been one of the best birthdays ever!"
The only thing that would've made it the best would be if Jesse was here, Winnie thought.
Helen and Robert smiled. "We're glad you like them," Helen said. "The suitcase is made of the finest cow leather, and the perfume was imported directly from Paris."
"Paris?" Winnie exclaimed. She took a whiff of the bottle, hoping to get the sense of her dream city.
"It's the best place for high fashion!" Helen said. "And your dress was handmade in Austria, by the same tailor who outfits some of the archduchesses!"
"It's beautiful," Winnie said. And it truly was.
"Oh, I forgot!" Robert said. "You have one more present!"
Robert reached into his coat pocket and retrieved an envelope addressed in fancy cursive to Winnie. He handed it to his daughter, and winked at her, smiling.
Winnie opened it to find five one-hundred dollar bills in it.
"Your mother and I have decided to give you a small portion of your inheritance for your birthday," Robert explained. "You may do with it as you wish, but believe me, when we're gone, they're will be much more than five hundred dollars!"
"Oh thank, Father! Such a thoughtful gift!" Winnie said. "I might save it for a rainy day, or maybe use it to go traveling."
"Whatever you please, dear," Helen said.
It was early evening before Winnie left the house again. The fireflies were beginning to show off in the sunset. The sun was slowing drifting below the trees, leaving a glorious twilight. Winnie knew she would have a little time before it completely dark, but it was all she needed.
This time, she did not hesitate at the gates. She simply kept walking through them, and into the woods. Every day, in a tradition almost like her sunrise, she would visit the spring just before night fell. She didn't care how many mosquito bites she got, or if her dress snagged on a thorn. Precious memories were held in the spring under the T-marked tree, and nasty bugs and thorns could never stop her.
Winnie walked quietly through the woods, the dim peaks of light just barely shining through. It almost seemed ethereal, like a dream. Winnie smiled, taking in the forest air and the sounds of the frogs and crickets. This was her home. It was her past, her present, and future. It was here that her life changed for better or worse.
Soon, Winnie came upon the clearing that she knew like the back of her hand. It was just behind the veil of vines and branches- all she had to do was take a few more steps and she would be in her paradise, her dreamland. Smiling, she parted the curtain of nature, only to find someone sitting at the base of the tree.
She gasped, and the person looked up. Winnie couldn't believe her eyes when the stranger's hair parted, and she was looking into the familiar pair of eyes that she always saw in her dreams.
Jesse Tuck was back.