It was a perfect autumn day in Lark Rise; the sun was out, and the air was crisp and cool. Minnie would be coming over around three o'clock for a walk. Alf and the girls were just home from church. After the Arlesses changed out of their church clothes they went out to play. Alf sat down with Patience in his lap. He hummed a soft tune absently as he watched people go by on the road. Then he saw a girl he recognized from his days in school, her name was Hillary. When she noticed him, she veered off the pathway toward him.
"Well! If it isn't old Alf Arless! I haven't seen you in ages. You look just as handsome as ever." She seemed almost too friendly. Alf smiled, just a bit uncomfortable. He stood up.
"Hello, Hillary. Nice to see you again. Been a few years, has it?" She nodded, her long sandy colored hair blowing in her face. She squinted in the sun.
"Who's this?" she asked, tickling under Patience's chin. The baby giggled. "She yours?" Hillary said with a smirk.
"Oh, no. Patience is my baby sister."
"So why do you have her? Where's your mar?"
Alf looked to the side. "She's—away."
"Oh! Well don't you need someone to help look after the girls, then?" she said slyly with a wink. Alf was feeling quite uneasy.
At that very moment, Minnie was coming up the road. She saw a girl put her hand on Alfie's shoulder. Minnie got angry fast. Who was this girl and what did she want with her Alfie? Minnie ducked behind the side of a nearby cottage and peered out, straining to hear what they were saying.
The girl said, "We should... sometime..."
He said, "Great... but maybe..."
She said "...alright... I'm sure..."
Minnie was shocked and hurt. By then, she'd heard enough to know she didn't like the girl or the way she spoke to Alfie. But she wasn't going to say anything, not yet. She didn't know how long these two had been flirting, and Minnie wanted to see where this was going.
Minnie acted like everything was as left last time she's met with her boy. She stepped inconspicuously out from behind the cottage and resumed skipping down the path, a perhaps overenthusiastic smile on her face. "Hello!" she cried as she waved her arm widely over her head.
"There she is now," Alf said. "Hi, Minnie!" he called back to her. When she was by his side, he said, "Minnie, this is Hillary, an old acquaintance from the schoolhouse. Hillary, this is Minnie, my girl."
"Nice to meet you," Hillary greeted her, holding out her hand. Minnie shook it.
"Pleasure." she replied with a small grin. "Well, Alfie, we'd best be on our way. Bye, Hillary." Minnie said this with purpose, trying to hint to Hillary that she should go.
"So long." Hillary said.
Alf bid her farewell, and she promptly turned on her heel and walked away, but glanced back over her shoulder, smiling deviously at Minnie, who, in return, glared pointedly at Hillary.
"Come on, Lizzie, Sally, we'll just leave you with Queenie while we go walking."
The young Arless sisters answered agreeably with a "Yay!" Then Minnie and the Arlesses were on their way.