Disclaimer: Everything belongs to the wonderful Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett. Cudos to her! And also to the 1993 movie, which this is partially based off of.
In Her Garden
Mary lay next to a tree in her garden, staring up at the leaves, watching little beams of light fight their way through the fluttering branches. Though it was a beautiful sight, she did not notice it. In fact, there were many things much lovelier than that in her garden… like the hundreds of blushing roses that wove their way through the trees and across the garden wall… Or like the small sparkling lily pond, where the scales of fish reflected light the color of rainbows. And yet, she did not notice them.
Her mind was so entirely preoccupied, that it would've taken much more than the tranquility of the garden to distract her. In fact, a foghorn blasting in her face would probably be about the only thing to snap her out of it.
Mary was thinking. Hard. Harder, perhaps, than she ever thought before. Harder than any 14-year-old should really do willingly, actually.
Considering the fact that in this society that the idea of women thinking is frowned upon, she didn't care. Mary usually didn't. She quite liked to be contrary to the ideals of others. It actually came quite natural to her, as she often hardly knew when she was doing it.
The subject of such hard pondering really wasn't something she could make sense of, however.
And he was tall, broad, rosy-cheeked, and possibly the most wonderful, beautiful boy she ever did meet.
He also happened to be Dickon.
Mary groaned slightly and shifted herself so that she was resting her chin in her hand, staring moodily at the ground. Soft, upturned ground that had been dug up only the day before by a small shovel that she knew belonged to… him.
Everywhere she turned, she was reminded of him! She just couldn't fathom it anymore! He had gone and made Mary a simpering fool over him, and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.
And did the slobbering, moronic young man even notice her agony? No, he just went on smiling that smile, humming those tunes, speaking that Yorkshire, and tilling that earth, overall making her fall even more deeply.
All. His. Fault. That's all there was to it, she decided.
Mary closed her eyes and heaved a great sigh. What was she to do with him? He was frightfully ignorant to her plight, no matter how obvious she was about it. Even her Uncle had commented on her flustered manner when Dickon was near.
Colin was another matter entirely. Mary pursed her lips, and thought sourly about her aggravating cousin. He had known almost the instant she had started throwing extra glances in Dickon's direction, and had been making not-so-subtle hints whenever Dickon and Mary had been within the fifty foot radius of each other.
Yet, through everything, Dickon remained oblivious to it all.
Mary inhaled deeply, enjoying the scent of healthy plants and vegetables and the sweet perfume of all the flowers that she, Colin and Dickon had planted.
She groaned again, knowing exactly what that earthy smell had reminded her of. She rolled onto her back and covered her eyes with the back of her wrist. Fool! she chided herself, even as she thought of his warm, sure touch, and his beautiful hands that practically enchanted seeds into growing into the luxurious plants that surrounded her. His sweet, knowing smile, and those blue eyes that had captivated her the first moment she had seen them. His lean, stout body that had shot up to the skies some two years ago.
Her face grew hot as she continued to number off the things that had made her think him so perfect. An angel, even. Yes, she concluded warily. She had loved him before she had even begun to like boys.
And it made her absolutely furious. Mary Lennox, sour, horrid, stiff Mary Lennox, who she had used to be, and still had a small part of, was in love.
She just wouldn't have it.
It was when she was thinking these angry, frustrating thoughts when Dickon himself strolled into the garden. Unfortunetly for her, Mary did not notice him at all, as her arm was still covering her eyes and her thoughts were so loud inside her head that she heard nothing beyond herself.
Though Dickon had noticed her straight away. The 16-year-old smiled an odd, crooked sort of smile when he saw her sprawled on the garden floor, her long auburn hair fanned haphazardly around her. He strode purposefully toward her, hoping to make a little noise so she would look up and notice him. She didn't even stir, not even when he was standing right above her.
"Miss Mary?" He said tentatively.
He saw her tense and remove her wrist slowly, revealing her dark eyes.
She looked up at him fearfully, almost afraid that he had heard her thoughts from only moments before. But that was ridiculous, she thought nervously. But why, then, had he been looking at her so strangely?
He held out a puzzled hand, and she took it after a few moments deliberation. He pulled her up easily, and she almost swayed on the spot, but then she caught herself. Erasing any dazed look she might've had on her face, she looked up at him. She couldn't stop a slight blush from spreading on her cheeks, though, as his blue eyes bore into hers.
"What're tha' doing on the ground, Miss Mary?" he asked, confusion written plainly on his face.
"Well, I—," Mary started, embarrassed, "I—I must've dozed off, I suppose," she finished lamely.
Stuttering. Stuttering and blushing was what she was reduced to around him. She grimaced.
He scrutinized her for a few seconds, but knew better than to press her. "'Right, then, Miss Mary," he said slowly, keeping a puzzled eye on her as he hesitantly turned away to begin his usual routine of pruning and planting.
Mary sank back against the tree she had been lying next to earlier in relief. And fright. And frustration. She groaned, then plastered a smile on her face when Dickon glanced over his shoulder in concern. After she halfway succeeded in reassuring him, and he turned away, she knocked her head against the trunk of the tree a few times.
Then she watched him. What she saw was already engraved into her brain, but she watched nonetheless. She loved to study how he moved… with such grace and sureness. With confidence that she never saw in anyone else. Especially not in herself.
Before she knew it her eyelids were growing heavy... a small breeze blew comfortingly against her face, lulling her into a soft slumber…
A soft, warm pressure kneaded her chin, snapping her immediately awake. But she didn't move. She sighed slightly as the pressure turned into a soft stroke against her cheek, and she shamelessly leaned her face against it. But then the stroking stopped short, frozen against her. Her eyes fluttered open, and she stared, disoriented, into pools of wide blue eyes that held a mixture of emotions that she couldn't quite read.
"Dickon?" She whispered, confused. His face was so close to hers. So close. What was he doing? she thought, her brain still foggy from sleep.
Mary watched dazedly as Dickon's face changed from a quiet contentment to shock as he realized she had awoken.
Mary swallowed nervously as Dickon slowly pulled his hand away, an odd mixture of confusion and comprehension written on his face.
It suddenly hit her that she, Mary, had fallen asleep, and had woken up to find Dickon touching her face. Her mouth nearly dropped open, and she fought the urge to reach out and touch him, if only to make sure she wasn't dreaming. She bit the inside of her cheek instead and tasted blood.
Mary looked up, glassy eyed. No, she most certainly was not dreaming.
"Dickon?" She tried again, almost afraid of what he might say.
"I—," He stumbled, and cleared his throat, "I best be goin' then, Miss Mary, shan't I?" He paused."It's gettin' quite dark."
He dropped his eyes so suddenly that she was taken aback. Like a brick settling into her stomach, the cool air pressed against her heated face. And before she could open her mouth, he stood up and turned away. She watched, as in a trance, him hurriedly pick up his spade and shovel. And without a glance, he began to walk away, as though he was as eager to leave as a mouse under the watchful eye of a hawk.
And what transpired next Mary could never really fully explain, even after years of going over it in her head. It might've been the way Dickon had turned away, as though hesitant, or the reddening of his ears as he had trudged away… but then, it might've not been any of those things.
All that mattered was that Mary had suddenly found herself on her feat, the ground crunching loudly beneath her as she ran after him.
"Dickon!" She called out, and he whirled around, almost as if he expected her to run after him.
"Miss Mary, what—," he began, but he didn't get a chance to get a word out, as it seemed all coherent thought seemed fly straight out of his head. As soon as she reached him, she curled her fingers through the course hair at the nape of his neck and brought his face down to meet hers.
"It's all your fault, you dumb brute," Mary whispered before her eyes shut out of their own accord and she kissed him.
As soon as her lips touched his, he felt as if a jolt of something he couldn't quite name ring throughout his entire being. He stood stock still, astonished, allowing Mary's innocent brush-of-the-lips warm his very toes.
Mary pulled back after a few seconds, but kept her eyes tightly closed. She was completely and absolutely mortified with herself. Not only had she called him a dumb brute, but she had kissed him, too!
Not to mention that she had completely embarrassed herself, but he hadn't kissed her back. He hadn't even moved a muscle.
When she finally did dare open her eyes, she kept them trained on his collarbone, which was her eye-level. Coward, she spat at herself.
"Mary," he breathed. She looked up in surprise and was nearly thrown completely off balance by the look on his face. He stared at her with wide, dawning eyes that she just knew could see right through her. She gulped.
"I—I'm sorry, Dickon—,"
She let out a slight squeak as Dickon abruptly leaned forward and smashed his lips against hers. He wrapped his arms clumsily around her waist, pulling her hot up against him. They were both quite inexperienced (or no experience at all), but that was the last thing on her mind as she clutched the front of his shirt in her fists.
He kissed her tentatively at first, as they didn't know quite what to do, but Mary received a bit of a shock when she felt something moist touch her bottom lip. Mary opened her mouth in surprise and her gasp was lost in his mouth.
Her mind was swirling in and out of focus, hardly daring to believe that yes, Dickon was kissing her. And not shyly, not properly, but totally and completely thoroughly, just exactly how Dickon treated everything he loved. And it was sweet. Possibly the sweetest thing she had ever tasted, and she had tasted a fair many sweet things. He tasted of earth, of home-cooked bread, of a taste that she could only describe as Dickon.
But after a few moments of what she could only describe as blissfulness, he pulled away, and the spell was broken. Reality came crashing down on her, though she did not dare raise her eyes to his.
She felt the heat in her belly rise up to her chest, to her neck, to her face… she knew her face was flaming. And she knew she had to get away from him. Now. She needed to get her thoughts back in check before she threw herself at him again, or… or worse.
"I've—I've got to go!" She stammered,and turned on her heal and fled, her fingers pressed fleetingly against her lips.
Dickon watched her go with a slight grin on his face, and closed his eyes, imagining the soft feel of her lips brushing against his.
He knew now. Did she? he wondered avidly.
Well, he concluded, a sparkle in his eye as he made his own leave and closed the garden door behind him. Tomorrow was another day.