So, I watched the movie the other day and remembered how much I absolutely love the book. For some reason, the muse descended and some drabbles appeared on my screen. There's no elongated, connected plot here, really. Thanks for reading. :)

Disclaimer: Own nothing, see profile.


The night after Lily went to her first movie, she didn't sleep. In another life, for another girl, it would've been because she just went on her first "date" with a boy. Other girls wouldn't be able to sleep because of how wonderful everything was. For Lily Owens it was because the boy she went with had been taken and was probably being beaten for being with her. Whenever something wonderful seemed to happen to her, something ten times worse followed right after.

Every part of her ached. Her head where she'd been shoved to the ground. Her feet where she'd paced up and down the driveway since Neil and Mr. Forrest had left to find him. Her hands where they'd been wringing each other. Her eyes where tears hurt but weren't there to shed. Her conscience that told her it was her fault. And mostly her heart where it screamed to Mary not to let the one boy who had ever been nice to her die.

Why couldn't anything ever go right?

She lay there in the honey house, staring into the darkness at the ceiling she couldn't make out but knew was there…like Zach. She knew he was out there in the darkness somewhere, she just had the horrible lack of knowledge about how exactly. Rosaleen lay in the cot next to hers, snoring in her deep sleep. Lily rolled over onto her side, trying in vain to get comfortable. She could've been in the biggest feather bed in the world and not been able to get a wink of sleep.

That's when she caught sight of it in the moonlight. Gleaming with a blue hue were the candy apple red and brisk white of Zach's Fairlane. It sat parked right where he'd left it that morning. It sat there like a loyal dog waiting for its owner's return, content to wait without complaint until it was summoned.

The sudden thought that Zach might never come to start it up punched Lily in the stomach. Soundlessly taking her blanket despite the heat, Lily swung her legs over the side of the cot. She found herself opening the passenger side door of the car and crawling in.

She'd never been in Zach's car before. She'd ridden with him in the honey truck often enough. She loved watching him drive, especially when he'd look over at her and smile. He always steered with only one hand, resting his other arm on the back of the seat. It showed off his muscles in his white t-shirts. She liked imagining that perhaps, just once, that arm would stretch out and lay right behind her head. She'd be able to lean back and feel it warm against her neck.

Zach wasn't there to smile at her that night. As she curled up against the driver's side door, sitting up and leaning her head against the headrest, she suddenly wished she'd taken May up on her offer of 7-up cake. The tears that had refused to come that day poured out in a sudden flood as that thought and the smell of Zach surrounded her.

Lily's tears still hadn't dried up when the sun peeked over the trees. She stayed there, oblivious to everything except the ache in her heart, until August opened the passenger side door. "Lily, honey, May has breakfast on the table. Do…" Her question dried up as she took in the girl before her. Sighing, she asked, "Lily, how long have you been in here?"

Lily shook her head, she didn't know. Heaving back a sob, she looked up at the woman, "Miss August, it's all my fault."

Wrapping her arms around the girl, August shook her head, "Oh, honey, something tells me that Zach doesn't see it that way."

Sniffing back tears, knowing she'd have to act normal for Miss May soon, Lily asked, "Do you think he'll be all right?"

"I pray he will."


Lily found herself crawling into the front seat of the Fairlane the next night, too. She couldn't stay in the house with June, August, and Rosaleen as they mourned Miss May. She felt like an intruder. She cursed her white skin. If she'd been black then none of this would've happened. Being with Zach wouldn't be so forbidden, he wouldn't have been taken, and Miss May wouldn't have just killed herself to escape the pain.

She curled up and cried for Miss May and Zach and her mother and August and June and Rosaleen. And somewhere in there, just maybe, she cried for herself as she asked Mary why everything had to be so hard.

Lily couldn't contain the pure joy that surfaced when she saw Neil's car pull up in the driveway and Zach crawl out of the back seat. Her first glance of him stopped her from running forward like she wanted to. Guilt washed over her as she took in the black eye, swollen lip, and lack of bright light in his eyes.

Wanting nothing more than to just cry and say how sorry she was, Lily was silent as she was the last to come over and gently hug Zach. Her conscience and heart ached as he gave her the barest of hugs back. It was all her fault…

line

"Coretta, it's August. I need to talk to Zach." August sighed as the line went quiet as she assumed Zach was summoned to the receiver. She glanced out the window to see absolutely nothing in the darkness of the honey house. She could only hear Lily's guilty cries and screams. From the sound of it, she was going to be short a few jars of honey.

She didn't think she'd do Lily any good at this point. Lily had been living with the guilt of her mother for so long now, she took on any new guilt that came her way. She was like May in a way, except instead of taking in sorrow, she took in guilt. The poor girl thought that everything horrible that had happened this last week was all her fault: May, Zach, everything. That was clear enough when she'd come across her in Zach's car.

The girl was heartbroken, just realizing how she felt and unable to do a thing about it because she wasn't supposed to like the boy of that color. August had watched the two long enough to know it probably wouldn't matter what the rest of the world thought. Right now, however, what mattered was what Lily thought.

May wasn't around anymore to tell Lily it wasn't her fault, neither was Deborah. Zach was the only one left. It might mean confronting some feelings he didn't want to yet, but it would be good for both of them.

Despite it being after ten, Zach didn't sound sleepy. He sounded tired, exhausted really, but not sleepy. "Miss August?"

"Zach, I'm sorry to wake you but I need your help in the honey house, tonight."

He was pulling into the driveway all of maybe ten minutes later. No, he hadn't been sleeping. August met him on the porch. Seeing her in her pajamas, Zach frowned, about to ask what was going on. August beat him to it, "Zach, honey, I need to tell you something about Lily's momma."

He stood, listening to the whole story in rapt attention. When August got to the part about Lily calling herself unlovable, she noticed he seemed to instinctively take a step toward the honey house. Now that he was listening for them, he noticed the sound of her sobs.

"Zach, Lily thinks that everything that happened is her fault. Nothing I can say can convince her otherwise. In fact, if I do she'll just believe it more. You're the only one that can let her know you don't blame her for what happened. She was feeling it before May did what she did, too. She slept out in that car when you were gone," she nodded toward the red and white vehicle. "I found her in the morning like she hadn't slept a wink. Honey, I know you don't want to think about what happened to you but, please, just let her know it's not her fault. It was because of hate and she's got nothing but love for you, Zach."

She didn't need to say a word more. Once she nodded that she was done, he was gone like a shot. She sat down on the porch steps, listening to see how it panned out. As soon as the door banged closed behind Zach, the sobbing intensified. She heard Lily profess how sorry she was for a good five minutes before Zach found a way to quiet her. The low mumble of his voice told her he was probably telling her how not her fault it was.

A small smile upon her lips, August nodded when the sobs had disappeared altogether. Lily would be all right.


Lily woke up to find herself still sitting on the floor of the honey house, her head against Zach's neck and his arms around her. They'd fallen asleep like that the night before. He'd told her he didn't blame her. It wasn't her fault. He wasn't mad at her. She could be sorry all she wanted but there was still nothing for her to be sorry about.

She'd only half believed him about that. The fact that he wasn't mad at her and didn't blame her made the ache in her chest lift away, however.

Now as she relaxed back into an embrace she would probably never get to be in again, the ache spread all over her. The way the world looked now, she'd never be allowed to actually be with Zach. She'd spend her whole life aching like this.

As one of his arms tightened around her in his sleep, she decided she was okay with that…if only she could feel what it was like to be kissed…

She did later that day when she and Zach promised that they wouldn't become mean like the rest of the world. She took his dog tag and held it close to her heart with every minute of the day.