I know, I know, I probably shouldn't start a new fic, especially when I have others I should be working on, but I only have a week of university left so I will soon have plenty of time to write again!
I'm still in the process of playing ToTT (I've just reached Winter and Cam has pink flowers!). I decided to call the main farmer girl Violet in this story, for obvious reasons lol. Oh and the italic parts are flashbacks.
Who Am I To Say
The town was abuzz with rumours that a new person was coming to stay in Bluebell.
All morning, Ash wondered about their new neighbour. It wasn't everyday that they had visitor and it was even rarer to have someone move here permanently. He couldn't wait to meet them; he'd overheard his mother tell Grady that the person was a boy the same age as him.
There weren't many other kids to play with in Bluebell, just Georgia and Laney, and they were nice and all but they were girls. Laney liked the colour pink and pretty things, and she thought chasing after bugs and playing in the dirt was gross – so boring! Georgia, on the other hand, was more fun; together, they explored the mountainside, climbing trees, and when it rained they splashed through the puddles, looking for frogs to catch. Still, Ash knew she secretly enjoyed it when Laney brought her dolls over for dress ups and tea parties.
What would the new kid be like? And more importantly, would they even be friends? But before he could find out, Ash had to do his chores around the farm – Mum got irritated quickly these days; she was four months pregnant with his baby brother or sister – so he fed the chickens and collected the eggs, and gave fresh hay to the cows and sheep. Once everything was done, Ash called out a hasty goodbye to his mother and jumped the fence, making his way up the stairs and across the plaza towards the few buildings that dotted the outskirts of town. From what Mum had said, the new kid would be staying with Howard and Laney. He was the son of a friend or a really distant relative, but why he had to come to Bluebell was still unclear.
Ash caught the scent of Howard's Café before he even reached the top of the steps. It always smelled of delicious foods; every year on Ash's birthday, Howard made him his favourite doria dish. His stomach grumbled as he approached the café – would Mum be mad if he had a little snack before lunch? – but his hunger was soon forgotten when he spotted the boy crouched down beneath the windows.
It was him. The new kid.
He seemed to be fixated on the bed of flowers that grew underneath the windowsills, a sea of petals that were every colour of the rainbow. There were always flowers abloom in Bluebell; Rose, the mayor's wife, cared for all the flowers and made sure the town looked welcoming to any newcomer.
The new kid slowly turned his head at the sound of Ash's footsteps. His shaggy light brown hair fell into his eyes, which were green and downcast.
"Hi!" Ash said brightly. With a toothy grin, he stuck out his hand, "My name is Ash."
The new kid stared at the gesture, like he didn't understand or something.
So Ash tried again. "What's your name?" He asked, waving his arm a little.
The other boy continued to stare. His eyebrows furrowed slightly. Without saying a word, he turned back to the flowers. It was as if Ash wasn't even there.
The new kid did understand. He just didn't care.
News travelled fast in Bluebell. It was understandable; the town didn't see much excitement very often.
The minute there was word of an accident Mayor Rutger had rushed out of the Town Hall and towards the mountain; he soon returned with a young woman in toe, who was shaken but mostly unharmed. Within the hour, everyone in town knew her name: Violet. She was an aspiring rancher, looking for the chance to live out her dream.
The rumours started just as quickly. The farmer Violet was on everyone's lips, what brought her here, what kind of person would she be – her name alone suggested someone quiet and meek. At Howard's Café, the gossip flew faster, phrases like 'runaway bride' and 'tragic past' darting back and forth across the room, the overexcited townspeople letting their imaginations get the best of them.
Even Ash couldn't resist joining in the speculation. It was his day off, a sunny Wednesday, and as usual, he found himself at his best friend Cam's floristry stall. The other man was stooped over his work table, where he had a bundle of freshly picked carnations sitting next to him. Ash watched the precise way he measured the length of the stem, always cutting off the same amount every time.
"The new girl came by the farm yesterday, to introduce herself," Ash mentioned casually.
"You haven't met her yet, have you?"
He replied with a silent shake of his head. Typical Cam; he had always been more a listener than a talker.
"My mum delivered a cow and a chicken to her farm – Rutger paid for everything y'know, like a welcome gift. She seems nice, friendly." Though Ash neglected to add that his mother Jessica had also been quick to point out that Violet was also, "Quite pretty." After all, what did that have to do with anything?
Cam hummed absently as he snipped off another stem. Maybe he wasn't that interested. Then again, when it came to flowers, work always came first.
Nevertheless, Ash continued talking, "I wonder why she came out here. I mean, this place is so tiny and out of the way! Not that there's anything bad in that, but I heard she's from the city. It's gotta be a shock to the system."
"Maybe… she just needed a break?" Cam offered.
As Cam finished preparing the last of his flowers, Ash pondered his friend's words. Perhaps her reasoning was as simple as wanting a change of scenery. He had to admit, since the age of eighteen, he'd sometimes entertain the idea of leaving Bluebell – not that he ever would. He had family and friends here, what more could he need? It was a similar story for Cam; he made weekly trips to the city each Monday, but Ash knew he was happiest when he returned home the next day.
Now his thoughts were getting the better of him, much too deep. Ash shook the heaviness away and looked for a distraction, gazing out across the Town Plaza. He saw Eileen the carpenter lugging a cart of lumber, all by herself, over to Grady's shop. Nearing the entrance were Mayor Rutger and his wife Rose, walking hand in hand, the eternal lovebirds. And heading towards the town bulletin board was the new farmer girl, Violet.
Ash nudged Cam in the side – the florist frowned slightly at having his concentration broken. "Look, there she is!" He exclaimed, trying and failing to discreetly point in her direction.
If his friend shared his excitement, he didn't show it. Ash, on the other hand, threw up an arm and waved vigorously, "Hey Violet!"
Violet immediately turned at the sound of her name. Her face brightened and she mimicked the gesture, calling back, "Hey yourself!"
For a few days, it seemed Violet had vanished; understandably, she needed time to settle into her home and recover from the ordeal of her crash. And after just a couple of days, she had taken to her new hometown like a duck to water, jumping enthusiastically into animal rearing and she'd even managed to lend a helping hand to a few people along the way.
Violet approached the florist stand with a smile. "It's Ash, right?" She asked.
He gave her a grin, "Bingo."
Her eyes flicked to the man beside him, "And I don't think I've met your friend before…"
Cam instinctively moved backward and bumped into the table behind him. He was never good around new people – well, people in general, actually.
"Violet, this is Cam," Ash stepped in, "Cam, Violet."
"It's nice to meet you, Cam!"
Cam remained quiet for a moment, before he glanced up, his green eyes meeting hers. "Violet… modesty, faithfulness, love…" The florist murmured.
Violet's eyebrows came together. She looked to Ash. "U-Um…?"
"Don't mind him, he's a bit weird." Ash clapped his friend on the shoulder, "Remember Cam, you gotta use normal people words."
"S-Sorry." Cam played with the rim of his hat, pulling it lower, "It's just, every flower has its own meaning, and your name..."
"Ohhh! I get it." Violet's smile returned in full force, "That's really interesting."
"Yeah, Cam knows tons about flowers. If you ever need any help, you should totally ask him," Ash chimed in.
"I definitely will." Her gaze swept over the display of bouquets and blossoms in front of her, "These flowers are so beautiful. Did you grow them yourself?"
Cam nodded stiffly. Ash had to suppress a grin – was his best friend actually turning a little red?
"Now that's very impressive. I've killed every pot plant I've ever owned…" Violet chuckled, then suddenly covered her mouth with her hand, "Oh no, that makes me sound like some kind of plant murderer. I swear I'm not!"
"It's not that difficult." A small smile touched his lips, "All it takes is love and a gentle touch…"
This time Violet blushed. It was hard for Ash not to laugh; Cam was such a smooth talker sometimes, not that he ever realised it.
After a short pause, Violet cleared her throat, "Well… I should probably get back to work. It was nice talking to you again, Ash."
"Don't be a stranger!"
"And it was nice meeting you, Cam."
"You too…" He said softly.
Violet raised a hand, "See you around!" And with a spin of her skirt, she was making her way back across the town square.
"So what did you think of her? Friendly, right?" Ash asked when Violet was out of earshot.
Cam made a noncommittal noise in reply and quickly busied himself with his flowers. But this was all just an act, pretending to be disinterested.
Ash knew that, the moment Cam thought the coast was clear, he would gaze out across the town plaza again, hoping for another glimpse of the new farmer girl.
The new kid was weird.
It wasn't as if he ever acted mean towards anyone, though. When they had school at the Town Hall, he sat by himself in the corner, never looking anywhere else but his desk. On the weekends, he never joined in with their fun, despite Georgia's efforts to include him. Even when he was at home with Howard and Laney, he mostly stayed in his room, never making a sound, like a ghost.
Ash tried to be nice, more than anyone else, but it was tiring to be ignored over and over. Then again, Mum always said, "Never judge a book by its cover!"
Maybe he was quiet. Maybe he was shy. But more than anything, he just seemed so sad.
One day, a few weeks after the new kid moved to town, Ash saw him crouched down outside of Howard's store again, staring at the flowers. He didn't know what compelled him to turn the wrong way – he was supposed to be headed to the Town Hall to deliver some yarn to Rose – but he did.
Ash's feet scuffed loudly against the pavement, but the new kid didn't look up.
"Hi," Ash said.
As usual, the new kid said nothing. Now that he was up closer, Ash saw that the other boy had plucked a flower from the flower bed – a red carnation – and was twirling the stem between his fingers.
"I like your flower."
The new kid stopped twirling the flower. Attention caught.
"It's really…" Ash paused and searched for the right word, "Pretty."
Slowly, the other boy's head turned. His eyes lifted, green and still forlorn but this time with something more. He extended his arm, holding out the flower.
It was Ash's turn to stare. Did this mean he wanted to be friends?
With nothing to lose, he hesitantly reached out and accepted it.
"Th…thanks," He murmured.
And for the first time since he arrived in Bluebell, the new kid named Cam smiled.