It was a late July afternoon, school had been out for the afternoon hours ago and soon it would be out for good as the holidays were coming around soon. The buzz of summer was already being felt by everyone.
Two people, who were already nearing the height of the summer mood at the moment, were perched up in the tree of the Sammler/Manning back garden. School couldn't be any further from their minds as they relaxed enjoying each others company and watching the world go about its business.
Katie was absorbed in carving her initials into the bark of the tree, whilst Jessie was just content watching her.
"Watcha doing?" Jessie softly spoke, tilting her head forward to engage Katie in conversation.
"Just marking our territory, ya'know, letting everybody see that this is Jessie and Katie's getaway: not to be used by anyone else, that sorta thing."
Jessie gave out a comforting giggle, and moved from her position up against the trunk to crawl over to where Katie was crouching. "Yes, strictly no snooping step-sisters or prying parents."
"My thoughts exactly" Katie replied finishing off the last curve of her 'S' she'd been working on. Leaning back into Jessie to admire her work, she reread what she had carved, and Jessie narrated her words out loud. "J. S + K.S, the short and simple approach, I like it."
"That's it. You like it, c'mon at least give me some appreciation of the fancy font I used to make it look pretty." Katie feigned a disgruntled look which Jessie couldn't help succumbing to.
Trying again, Jessie announced "Katie, it was once a rough, old, mossy tree and now you've transformed it into a magnificent art piece!"
"Mmm better, but a bit of an overstatement, wouldn't you say Jess, for something I spent the last ten minutes on." She turned to face Jessie. "If you're complementing me, at least keep it real."
"Well that's the last complement that I'll be sending your way," cheekily Jessie replied sticking out her tongue. Katie's eyes flickered momentarily to look at Jessie's pink tongue tormenting her and halting her comeback.
What Katie had been recently been feeling towards Jessie failed to come under the description of friendship. It was more than that and she knew it. Although their friendship could be described by Jessie and anyone who was close to the girls, as cherished and contented; the two girls became almost inseparable the more time they spent with each other. Ever since they had met, an instant bond had been formed and one that even Jessie had to admit she had never felt before with another person, let alone friend. Jessie played a regular leading role in Katie's dreams at night, and during the waking hours she would crave more than friendship from Jessie, a friendship which could transform the two best friends into lovers. She had even once written a letter to the girl, deeply explaining her feelings, but never had the courage to hand it to Jessie, believing it would ruin the amazing relationship they shared already. So Jessie had remained blissfully unaware of the romantic feelings Katie desired for the blonde girl, and the letter continued to dwell in between the pages of her copy of the bible, buried deep under her book case. A place no one, not even herself, would care to delve into.
Instead of responding to Katie's abrupt silence, Jessie lent over to her and drew her hand towards Katie's head, which was right now glistening in the evening sun. Katie froze, not sure what to make of this gesture, until Jessie pulled back, facing Katie and holding a fairy cotton flower which she had pulled from Katie's golden hair.
To say Katie was relieved would have been a lie, and she tried to cover up her momentary lapse of pretence by wiping off that familiar glazed-over look that had appears on her face whenever Jessie enters her personal bubble.
"What you got there Jess? I call dibs seeing as it was occupying my hair!"
"Fine, I was going to give it to you as a present, but now it seems you'd rather receive it through force and threats. Go ahead, make a wish."
Caught a little off guard on hearing that Jessie was about to present it to her as a gift, she managed to reply, "Oh, okay, thanks." Taking the fairy plant and cupping it in her hands, Katie whispered into it, as was the traditional way to cast your wish, childhood knowledge told her this. After finishing her desired wish, Katie released it from her clasp, and it momentarily floated in front of her. A joint effort from both the girls, they gently blew on the flower and it drifted off over the garden, carrying Katie's wish with it.
Katie turned her gaze from the flower back to Jessie, only to find Jessie had turned also, catching Katie staring at her. They shared a moment's gaze, Katie too dazzled by the outline of Jessie's face highlighted by the sun's rays, to realize she had let her guard down. Instances like this had been happening more often, but if Jessie had minded, she never said anything. In fact, she would act as if the previous moments had gone unnoticed, and would strike up another conversation with Katie, which perplexed Katie by no end. Didn't Jessie understand how much Katie was in turmoil here, she almost couldn't take the teasing of romance in the air. 'Does Jessie like me more than she lets on?', was the question that she had been pondering for the last couple of weeks now, ever since an encounter between the two of them in Jessie's room, bunking off school one day.
"You know you can't tell anybody what you've wished for, else it won't work and those fairies won't grant your wish!" Jessie said in a knowing tone. "Not even me, your best friend in the whole wide world. So do not fear, I won't nag you to tell me, and you know I keep my word."
"Always, I want to make sure this one actually comes true." Katie was speaking the truth, but said it in tone that suggested she wasn't at all serious. She had tried every other silent action to win over Jessie, even praying to the God she doesn't believe in, so it wouldn't hurt for her to make her wish on a fairy too.
"Ooh Katie Singer is getting all mystical with me, almost makes me want to go back on my promise and tickle the answer out of you." Suddenly her hands were upon Katie's sides, the beginnings of one of her infamous tickle fights starting. Reluctantly Katie put a stop to this, usually relishing in Jessie's sudden urges to tickle her. However circumstances told her a tickle fight wasn't appropriate when sitting in a tree, the falling distance marking a reasonable excuse to call paxies on the situation, especially as she was prone to a lot of squirming once these tickle fights were underway.
"Ahh you spoil sport, don't worry I'll be getting you when we get back down to earth."
"Not if I get you first" Katie playfully threatened, thinking to herself that she was never securely on earth when she was around Jessie.
Pushing Katie, meaning to give her a friendly shove, Jessie's strength surprised her and Katie toppled over and onto the opposite side of their tree seat. Taking up the position between the branches where Katie had drawn their initials, Jessie proceeded to carve an 'X' underneath, before Katie could recover and object.
"Kiddos!! Dinner!" Rick bellowed from the kitchen window out into the garden, later that hour.
"Coming!" Both Jess and Katie replied in unison. As they scurried down and into the house, Katie took a moment to appreciate really how lucky she was. She didn't need Jessie's love to make her happy, she was already experiencing true delight just hanging out with her and feeling part of the Sammler family. Deep down she knew part of this was untruthful; Jessie loving her back would take her to the next level of happiness. It tore her apart lying to Jessie.