This is just a small story to let you know I'm still alive. I've been doing my GCSE exams, that's why I haven't bee here for a long, long while, School comes first. The reason the story is called "Day Lily" is because if 1.) refers to the flower shop and 2.) is the flower of twenty years.



After twenty-years of marriage, people thought that they could survive anything bumps their marriage came to. Twenty-years ago, everyone thought it was doomed to fail on both sides of the family. Yes, twenty-years ago, Howl was a rogue wizard who ate the hearts of young girls, sucked out their souls, or rather jilted them once he became bored. All waited and feared for the day when he would grow tired of Sophie and jilted her too. Yet, he never did. As the years went on, people stopped waiting, until they accepted them as a family.

Children came along, apprentices came and went, and the children grew older and learnt magic themselves. Morgan had left school and worked with his father; Wendy would be leaving school soon and working with her mother; and the two younger daughters were twins and still far too young to leave school. They were studying hard and waiting for the day they too would become witches. Sophie always told them not to hurry into things and take it easy. To enjoy school while it was still there; telling them how upset she was when she was forced to leave school when her father died.

Daily routine never changed either. Twenty years or so ago, after Sophie's spell was broken, there was Sophie, who always got up first cooking away on Calcifer. Michael, who still lived with them, and Howl would come down, spend a while in the bathroom and they'd all eat breakfast together. It never changed even now. This morning, the children had dragged themselves out of bed because their mother had run the bell, making sure the girls got to school and Morgan didn't sleep in too late to see to customers; it was his turn to run the flower shop this morning.

Howl recalled how he, the girls and Morgan all squabbled over who went in the bathroom first. It was getting so much that Sophie made a timetable so that each person used the bathroom first on one day. Howl remembered his day was Monday, and he made sure to get up late on Saturday as he was the last. Sunday he made Sophie get him up because there was no system on Sunday—the day of rest was first come, first served. Friday he had woken up early because it had been Sophie's day first in the bathroom which normally meant he could go in too, since she didn't mind having both prepare in front of the mirror. The children said it was unfair, but she always retorted that the girls should go in pairs if they wanted it done faster.

Yes, when Howl thought about his daily life, he never once thought that it would be with a family—children fighting over the cereals that he had brought from Wales and then scolding Morgan because he was using all the milk. And then the twins argue because they demand an equal amount of milk forcing his wife and their mother, Sophie, to lean over and measure it out for them.

It was ridiculous!

And how happy and comfortable he felt in this life style, opening the shop, seeing Sophie bring in the flowers, Morgan sitting at the counter attempting to do a spell while working, and seeing Wendy off as she went off to take the twins to school. Howl loved it all, a lot more than he thought he would. Twenty years ago the idea of marriage and children was out of the question and not only because of the Witch's curse. Howl never quite believed that, if he had stuck around the girls long enough to build a relationship with them, the girls would tolerate him long enough to marry him and have a family with him; to live with him and die with him and be everything with him. Yes, it was quite surprising when Howl's little mouse Sophie stayed and married him. He thought her mad—but he didn't worry long enough to say she was—he just loved her and wanted to marry her. He was worried anything he'd say would damage his chances.

Everyone in his family thought he'd ruin his chances too, at the beginning. As time went along, his sister even came round to accepting Sophie—even if they still argued. Last year at Mari's wedding, some of the family were still surprised that Howl had stayed honest to his wife and the children. Watching his family then, Howl was amazed. They had all quizzed Neil, asking him when he was going to get married. Sophie had joked with him, suggesting that he marry one of those girls he was forever moving in with. For the children, going between one world and another had become second nature, but Sophie was a girl who came from another world. He was amazed at how well she had adapted to it all.

But Howl knew one thing: there was nothing anyone could say or think about Howl that Sophie didn't say or think first. She knew he was a cad, selfish, cowardly and was as slithering as a snake. She said all those names in her moments of anger and had been annoyed when his faults caused trouble.

Yet, despite the warnings and the knowing, Sophie Hatter loved him.

And he loved her.

There was no reason, no purpose and no action, nothing that forced them to fall in love. She had found herself overwhelmed with his charms, even in her old woman mask, and naturally fell for him, and his qualities for what they were. For Howl, it was a very strange thing. On May Day, twenty years or so ago, he had been looking for the next woman to be courting. So many women finely dressed, so many beauties dancing about in the Market Square, and yet, as if struck by lightening, of all the young ladies he chose to give the little grey mouse with ginger hair his attentions. When he saw her an unspoken destiny called him to her. A secret longing cried out for her after she ran away.

Yes, for Howl, he had loved her on sight, and he loved her when he looked at her everyday she has spent with him. Although he'd never say it, it was love at first sight, at last sight and every sight. Coming home from the bakery with Morgan after been ordered by his busy-body-wife to get some more bred, he had met the girls coming home from school, and they walked back to the flower shop together. At the counter was Sophie.

Thinking of the last twenty years, he looked and looked at her as the children rushed up to greet her. And he knew, as surely as he'd ever known anything in this world or his: that he loved her more than anything he'd ever seen or imagined could be possible. She was a merely shadow of the adorable eighteen-year-old mouse he had first fallen for from twenty-years-ago. But he loved her, this Sophie who had aged-away the better years of her life with him as she played the housewife, companion, friend, and mother of his children. Her sharp tongue could cut though him like a blade and he would still smile. In fact, she could wither away like she would have twenty-years ago when she had been cursed by the Witch of the Waste. And even then, Howl knew he would still melt with love and tenderness at that familiar smile on her face. Or the familiar scowl on her brow.

They would live together, die together and be everything together. That was a comforting thought. It had already been twenty years of marriage, and they were still in love.