Upon A Star

At this very moment, Olive Snook was fourteen years, two months, one week, thirteen hours, and fifty-nine minutes old. Her huge eyes fell on the most perfect picture frame she'd ever seen. Unable to stop herself from reaching out with an unsteady hand, the girl carefully pushed a few of the other frames aside. Sitting to the back of a shelf full of ornate frames covered in swirling filigree and sparkling stones was one that did not scream out for praise.

Gently pulling the frame down, Olive turned the ornament over in her hands. Running her fingers over the cool silver front and the black velvet back, she felt mesmerized by its beauty. A plain silver rectangle, it was beautiful for its simplicity instead of its decoration. There was nothing exceptional about it. It didn't glitter or sparkle, nor was it pink and covered in decorations. It was simply a silver rectangle holding a picture of what looked like a very happy couple on their wedding day.

Deep down she knew that the couple in the photo were just models who had been paid to pose for the photo. She knew that they most likely didn't know one another, let alone love each other. But still… they looked so perfect. The bride was dressed in a gown drowning in lace and pearls, and the groom was wearing a traditional black tuxedo and looking like the most perfect of gentlemen. With their arms wrapped tightly around one another, the beaming couple looked as if nothing else in the world mattered at that moment. They were happy and in love. And most importantly, they were now one another's family.

Captivated by the black and white image of wedded bliss, the young girl purchased the silver frame without bothering to check the price or whether she even had enough money with her. Thankfully, she managed to pay for the item with three cents to spare. Walking home, the young woman began to dream about the day her own newly wedded face would shine happily out of the frame as she began down the same path as the photo couple.

The facts were these… Olive Snook would spend much of her free time, and some times not so free, thinking about her own wedding. While the details such as cake flavor and style of the bride's maid's dresses changed often, there was one thing that remained the same. No matter the theme or style of the wedding, the groom was always as totally and completely in love with her as the groom in the black and white photo. She would settle for nothing less than true, unyielding love lighting up the silver frame.

Twenty-six years, six months, two weeks, four hours, and twenty-six minutes later, Olive was just getting ready to go to bed. Wearing her favorite purple pansy pajama set with the flower-shaped buttons, she sat huddled near the tree-printed headboard of her bed. Fluffing the matching comforter, the woman pulled the small brocade pillow towards her in an attempt to as warm and comfortable as possible. Content in the nest she'd built around herself, she turned her gaze to the sky beyond her window.

With the lace curtains pulled back, the blonde found herself lost in the darkness that seemed to stretch until the end of time. The darkness that had taken the place of the beating sun was an inky blanket of velvety black save for one twinkling star that seemed to be shining for her alone.

Scrunching her chilly toes together, Olive pulled her socked feet closer to her body as she clutched her 'Horse lovers are stable people' pillow to her chest. In the gentle glow of the moon, the woman noticed a tiny glint of silver coming from her bedside table.

In the light of the dimly lit room, Olive could just make out her beloved snapshot couple beaming at her happily. Though the photo was now slightly tattered around the edges, it was still the same picture that the frame had come with when she'd bought it. In the years since she'd purchased the frame, the blonde had never once thought about putting something other than a wedding photo in the frame. Until she'd met the pie-maker, the groom could have been anyone. But the moment her eyes met his, the blonde knew that his was the only face worthy of her frame.

So desperate was the waitress to see herself and Ned smiling out of the frame that she'd decided to take matters into her own hands. Stopping on a jewelry ad in her favorite magazine, Olive scowled down at a glossy couple looking as if they'd just been pronounced man and wife. In the photo, the newly weds smiled perfectly and showed off a ridiculously huge wedding ring that sparkled so much it was reflected in their eyes.

Pulling the offending picture from the magazine, the waitress had every intention of balling up the glossy paper before stomping on it and then setting it on fire. As the sound of ripping paper filled her bedroom, Olive caught sight of a few pictures sitting on her bedside table. They were of her and Ned but not of her and Ned. They were just a few random pictures that had been taken when the man wasn't suspecting it. She happened to be in them, because she'd managed to turn the camera around in order to catch a glimpse of herself in the same photo as the pie-maker.

A devious smile came over the petite blonde's face as she reached for the small pile of photos she'd taken at the Pie Hole. Thumbing through them as quickly as possible, the woman didn't stop till she'd found the one she'd been looking for. It was the only one in the bunch that showed Ned smiling his sweet smile in the direction on the camera.

Grabbing a pair of scissors and a jar of paste from the drawer in the bedside table, Olive carefully cut out Ned's face and then her own. Using a few tiny drops of glue, the waitress stuck their tiny smiling faces over the glossy bride and grooms. After the paste had dried, she lovingly placed the photo in her frame and smiled quite happily at the effect.

Until the truth hit her that was.

As quickly as she'd fallen in love with the shy pie-maker, the joyous smile fell from her face. The 'photo' now nestled in her frame, her perfect wedding frame, was all wrong. Picture Ned was too short and picture Olive was too tall. The man was barely holding onto his new wife as she showed off her ring as if it were the most important thing in the world. And that was to say nothing of how the glue, though used sparingly, had wrinkled the real pictures making her and Ned look all wavy.

Ripping the pasted photo out of her precious frame, Olive grumbled to a mildly interested Digby that if she were the woman in the photo, she wouldn't need the ring. All she would need to be happy was Ned's arms wrapped tightly and lovingly around her. Because…

Love wasn't about jewelry.

And family wasn't about awkward poses.

It just wasn't. No matter what the jewelry companies tried to tell you.

Dropping the crumpled up magazine ad on the floor, Olive carefully picked up the photo the frame had originally come with and placed the thin sheet back into the frame. Looking at the black and white couple, she couldn't help but think that at least they looked genuinely happy to be together. Unlike the super posed couple in the glossy magazine advertisement. Putting the frame back in its place on the bedside table, the blonde didn't notice as Digby picked up the balled paper and dropped it in the little trashcan by her bed.

Listening to Digby walking around in her kitchen, Olive inhaled the scent of shampoo lingering on her pillow. Laying her cheek on the brocade fabric, the blonde pressed her eyes tightly shut. Even though the pillow smelled of strawberries, the waitress could only smell the wonderful mixture of flour and soap that was undeniably Ned. It was a scent that she'd come to know on her first day at the Pie Hole, and it was a scent that she'd cherished every day after.

Happily letting images of the pie-maker fill her thoughts, the single bright star in the deep night sky began to wink down at her encouragingly. It was as if the glowing speck in the sky understood her plight. Understood the frustration of loving a man that never seemed to notice you.

Ever since she'd met Ned, Olive had wished that he would look at her as something more than his waitress. In the years since she'd known Ned, she'd tried everything from dropping coins in wishing wells to consulting a love doctor. Unfortunately, all of her attempts had only ended in heartache. The one thing she hadn't tried, however, was wishing on a star.

The facts were these… as a young girl, Olive Snook had often tried wishing upon stars. Every night before bed, she would stand before her bedroom window and wish for all of the things that little girls wished for. Ponies and castles. Princes and rides into the sun set. But as the hopes and dreams she'd entrusted to the stars never seemed to come true, Olive had given up the habit when she was twelve years, four months, two weeks, twenty hours, and one minute old.

But now, with the arrival of the girl named Chuck, it seemed as if the blonde's only hope was the glowing diamond currently shining down through her bedroom window. Inhaling Ned's phantom scent from her pillow once again, Olive thought about her picture frame and how it would never be complete without the pie-maker's sweet face smiling happily out of it.

Slowly exhaling the breath that had filled her lungs, Olive reached out and wrapped her hand around the cool metal. Some day that would be Ned. It just had to be. Taking one last look at the twinkling star, the blonde could only see the pie-makers handsome face. Tightly closing her eyes, she ran her finger over the face of the groom as she whispered softly into the night. "Wish I may. Wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight…"

Opening her eyes, Olive placed the silver wedding frame back in its place on the bedside table. Like most people, the blonde occasionally rearranged her furniture, but the picture frame always stood in the same place on her bedside table. Next to her horse lamp, the woman always had a perfect view of the silvery ornament and its beaming couple. Turning back to the twinkling jewel that was waiting for her wish, the blonde felt her heart beat a little quicker as the pie-maker's face filled her mind. "Oh please, just let Ned…"

She couldn't do it.

As her heart sank to her knees, Olive realized she wanted the pie-maker to love her for her. Not because of some silly wish she'd made on a star. And not because of some plan that she'd concocted during a restless night.

The thing about working at the Pie Hole was that she had come to learn a great deal about the pie-maker. One of the many things she'd learned about Ned was that he hated to be pushed and was slow to adapt to new things. If it were meant to happen, it would. She just needed to be patient. Someday there would be a photo of herself and the pie-maker smiling happily in the frame. She just needed to give the shy man time.

Some day she and Ned would be a happy family.

But for now, she would just have to be content with the picture perfect couple that was currently occupying the silver frame. Deciding that it was best to leave thoughts of Ned till the next day, Olive snuggled down into the plush tree-printed covers of her full bed. Tomorrow she would awake with a brand new outlook on the situation. She would flirt and drop hints about her feelings in hopes that Ned would finally get the message. Perhaps she'd even ask if he would pose for a real picture with her. But for now, she was happy to at least have the pie-maker's dog with her. It was the next best thing to actually having Ned to share a good night kiss with.

Pulling the covers up around her shoulders as Digby came trotting into the room, Olive patted the place next to her. The sleepy blonde had already reached out to pull the golden retriever close just as he jumped into the bed. Running her fingers through his soft fur, the dog gave her nose a friendly lick. It wasn't Ned. But it would do.

Feeling herself begin to drift off, the blonde's fingers twisted softly through the soft fur as she muttered into her pillow, 'Don't worry, Digby. Some day we'll be a family."

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes

- This was originally written for Challenge #5 at "pdfichallenge" on lj. (Theme: Family)

- Katie – My beta. My goddess extraordinaire. Thank you sooo much for believing in this fic and pushing me to make it better. I appreciate it so much. :duck: