It was a hot, lazy, summer's day on Garland Drive. The kind of day where all you want to do is curl up in front of a great big fan and rest. Drink a cold soda, maybe, or eat some ice cream. The sun beat down on the street ferociously, and no refreshing breeze hit the air. The once beautiful lawns were now a pale brown color, as it was far too hot for the gardeners to work. The identical white houses looked deserted. No children played outside. No adults looked over their hedges, talking and laughing with the neighbors. The yards were empty, deprived of people to tread on the grass. Save for one.
A young girl sat quietly on the porch of Number Seven. She was perched carefully on the edge of a large rocking chair, a large book sitting in her lap. The girl had beautiful, thick red hair that curled softly around her round face. She had pale white skin, with a sprinkling of freckles across her nose. Dark lashes framed her piercing emerald-green eyes. She was slender, but not too skinny, and relatively short. If any neighbors were to walk out of their house, they would have wondered what this young, pretty girl was doing sitting out in the heat, reading.
The truth was, the girl and her twin sister hadn't been getting along lately. They had been fighting more and more, and about stupid, insignificant things. Their last fight had been about who got to watch the one telly in the house. The girl's sister wanted to watch those barely funny, have-no-real-point sitcoms. The little girl, however, wanted to watch a scientific documentary her teacher had mentioned at the end of term. The documentary was supposed to be very interesting, about the communication of animals, but the girl had lost the fight. She liked reading better, anyways.
"Lily Marie Evans!" A sharp, high-pitched voice broke the silence of the street. The girl turned around so fast that she fell out of the chair. Her book fell to the ground, sliding of the porch and into the dirt-filled flowerbed. Her sister, Petunia, stood in the front door. Her blonde hair stuck up due to the humidity, and her piercing blue eyes were now focused sharply on her sister.
If a complete stranger had stumbled upon the scene, they never would have guessed the two were sisters. Lily had her long, silky, soft red hair; Petunia's was short, choppy, frizzy (on hot days), and blonde. You could look into Lily's green eyes, and see wisdom, sincerity, kindness, and politeness. Petunia's eyes were a common shade of blue, nothing special or extraordinary about them. Lily was slender and petite; Petunia was rather chubby and tall. In short: Lily was beautiful, Petunia was not.
"Lily!" Petunia cried again. "Get inside! It's supper time!" She threw one last hate-filled glare at her twin, and stomped off, slamming the screen door behind her.
Lily stood up slowly and shakily, brushing a tear from her eye. They had once been the best of friends, her and Petunia. They had done everything together: Shopping, dancing, singing, playing, reading. They told each other everything! They had confided secrets, discussed their parents worsening fights, and giggled about the boys in their class. It was on their eleventh birthday that Lily had first noticed the change. April 23rd. Lily had accidentally spilled pink lemonade on Petunia's dress. Petunia had jumped up, screaming in shock and embarrassment. Lily honestly didn't think it had been that big of a deal. The dress was pink, the lemonade was pink, so nobody would have noticed if Petunia hadn't started crying.
Lily shook her head. No point in dwelling on old memories. What's done is done, and that's that. But whatever happened to us? she thought. She wiped her eyes, smoothed her skirt, brushed the dust of her arms, and went inside. She didn't pick up her book. If she had, if she had only stayed a moment longer, she might have noticed the peculiar man standing at the edge of the drive.
The man was tall. He had a long, auburn beard, a crooked nose, and half-moon shaped spectacles. He walked slowly, and with a strange grace that seemed almost inhuman. He stopped in front of number seven and looked up at the small house.
"You grew up." He whispered, answering the question Lily had asked herself moment before. He stooped; picked up the book Lily had left on the ground, and slid a thick envelope into the pages. He stepped onto the porch and laid the book carefully on a table. Nobody noticed him standing on the porch; nobody noticed him walking away. And nobody noticed him glancing one last time up at the house, and whispering to himself, "You both did."