Chapter One: Frustration

It was a Saturday morning towards the end of April, and the town of Market Chipping was positively bustling. The clean brick streets were clogged with people going about their business. Most were rich couples promenading in the cool morning air, shopping greedily for May Day goods.

A particular flower shop near the town's prosperous center was exceptionally busy. Young ladies, old ladies, and wives were clogged at its entrance, shuffling forward into the shop. A group of young girls were gathered outside its front window, peering inside while giggling loudly.

"Oh, I wonder if Mr. Jenkins is in!" one cried.

Inside the shop, a young woman with red-gold hair rolled her eyes before she turned to yet another customer. Those girls, she thought as she listened attentively to the woman's requests, have been here every day this week. And not once has Howl shown himself. You'd think they'd learn.

"Just one sight of him and I'll faint!" exclaimed another of the group. "I've heard his beauty is simply blinding!" This was followed by a chorus of laughter and breathless agreements.

Sophie Pendragon, formerly Hatter, rolled her eyes once more. "Well, that is something I shan't tell Howl. It would inflate his head even further," she muttered under her breath as she led the woman to a display of pink roses.

Sophie nodded as the lady thanked her. She tore her eyes from the giggling girls at the window and located Michael at the counter. He looked stressed and busy as he packaged bouquets and nodded along at a customer's endless commentary.

She stepped up next to him. "We need Howl," she muttered. "I can't help all of these customers by myself."

"He'll just make the place more crowded," Michael replied. "But you're right."

Sophie nodded. "I'll fetch him. I do hope he isn't still asleep."

"Good luck," Michael called as Sophie made her way out of the shop, into the parlor of her home. Her hand brushed the multicolored knob of the moving castle's entrance as she closed the door. The room was entirely silent.

Suspecting the worst, Sophie headed directly up the stairs to the room she and Howl shared. Sure enough, he was still sacked out, his limbs twisted in the sheets. An arm hung over the edge of the bed, and his mouth was wide open in sleep.

Sophie rolled her eyes and stomped over to him. Her side of the bed was neatly made already, as she had woken at the crack of dawn to make time to gather flowers from the vast meadow in the Waste.

"Howl," she said, nudging him gently. He made no response.

"Howl!" she repeated. He remained silent and asleep as ever.

Sophie huffed a sigh of frustration. She gazed upon her slumbering husband, willing him to wake on his own. She absentmindedly brushed a lock of golden hair out of his face, her fingers grazing the soft skin of his face.

At her touch, the man's eyes opened, a dazzling smile spreading across his face.

"Hello, Sophie!" he said brightly, not sounding tired in the least bit.

Sophie, on the other hand, was not in the mood to put up with his cheer. "Have you never given a single thought toward the flower shop? It's nearly May Day and it's positively packed! While you've been sleeping your life away, Michael and I have been working our hats off!"

The sunny grin disappeared from Howl's face. "And?"

Sophie clenched her teeth. "And, Howl, we need you to help out at the shop."

"A wizard like me, selling flowers?" he said haughtily. "Unheard of!"

Sophie rolled her eyes at him. "Why do I even bother…? Anyway, you're coming to work whether you like it or not. I'll see to that, mark my words. I won't have you… "

But Sophie could not finish her statement, Howl having sat up suddenly and captured her lips with his. He pulled away momentarily, smiling once again.

"I'll be right down!" he said, grinning as Sophie stared at him in surprise.

"You had better," she said sternly, though inside she was losing grip on her frustration with Howl after the kiss.

Sophie ducked out of the room, hoping Howl would be true to his word. Behind her, Howl was scrambling for a suit, humming to himself.

Well, thought Sophie, rather grumpily, This is sure to be an eventful day.


Hello, anyone and everyone reading this!

Well, this is (obviously) chapter one for my story, A Not So Ordinary Life.

I DEFINITELY plan on finishing this one, so look forward to more chapters! (Oh, and as much fluff as I can fit in!)

I hope it's not terrible - To phrase that in a different way, I hope you enjoyed it :)

Reviews & such greatly appreciated!