Flower

The wind serenaded them as they walked, a soft, ever-present whistling through the landscape, blowing her hair about in all directions.

She stopped abruptly, closing her eyes, enjoying the play of the breeze on her face, the sweet scent of the flowers that covered the hillside and the meadow.

When she opened her eyes again, one of the many wildflowers she'd been thinking about was a foot away, seemingly suspended in thin air. Five small, indigo petals greeted her, circling a tiny supply of whitish pollen and color bursting outwards to form the shape of a star.

Delighted, she took the delicate thing from Erik's grasp. "This is a nice change," she said, bringing the flower to her face, inhaling the intoxicating scent. At his puzzled glance, she elaborated, "You usually give me roses."

"Well, you can't find very many roses out here, Christine. Unless you would prefer…?"

"Nonsense," she said immediately, regretting bringing it up; he took everything so seriously. "I shall cherish it forever," she proclaimed, pressing it gently to her heart.

Pleased, he took the bloom from her and proceeded to place it in her hair so that it brushed lightly against her right temple. "They're called Blue Curls," he explained as he pinned the flower securely in place. He smiled wryly, running his thin fingers through her straight blonde hair before backing away and continuing, "You'll forgive me the irony of putting it here."

Feigning offense, she stuck her tongue out at him, but laughed a moment later. "Thank you," she said, bringing her fingertips to caress the petals; they felt like silk. "But I've never pegged you as the wildflower type."

He looked away from her. "You've never pegged me as much of anything, Christine."

"That's not true," she breathed, approaching him. Hesitant, frightened of his reaction, she brought a few fingers to the dark material of his mask before quickly slipping her hand beneath it to touch his cheek.

He snapped his gaze of golden fire back on her, but she unflinchingly held her ground. "That's not true," she said again, more confident this time. "And if it was, well…you hide from me, Erik…" Holding his gaze, she undid the ties and gently pulled the mask away.

"There," she said, stepping back, satisfied. "That's much better."

Overwhelmed yet unable to say anything, he took her hand in his own, and, together, they continued their walk.