First Love


On the Mayhew property a young boy was walking past the trees that took up the portions of land closest to the house, whistling and carrying on gayly as any young child would in such wonderful, sunny weather. There was a slight crisp in the air though, so he wore a nice coat and a lovely soft scarf to keep him warm. All in all, today was seeming to be a marvelous day, and Ralph had every reason in the world to believe it would only be getting better, seeing as how he was currently on his way to see his best friend, Ted. Working his way nearer to the lower fields, Ralph couldn't contain his excitement and broke into something rather resembling a trot. And so he trotted along, only changing speed to a full on run when he could spot Ted just down the way.

Ted was just giving a once over the drainage, everything in working order, when he heard a crunch of ground from behind him. Turning he had little time to react before the young sir, Ralph, had pounced his way onto his chest. His reflexes catching the young boy, Ted bundled him close, only to outstretch his arms, lifting Ralph into the sky.

"Haha! And what brings the young sir into this lot o' the woods?" Ted laughed as he set the young boy down.

"I've come to visit you Mister!" Ralph eagerly replied, fairly squeaking in excitement.

"That was very kind of you sir." Ted smiled, then thought a moment, "Why is it you call me Mister? I've told you my name." It wasn't that it bothered Ted that his young friend wouldn't call him by his name, it was just. Something else.

"I know you have, but Father said never to call the help by their first names. And since I don't know your last name all I have left to call you is Mister." Ralph looked almost shy, as if afraid that not calling Ted by his name would somehow put Ralph in the grounds-keeper's bad graces. And the silence that Ted adopted as he thought the situation through did not help Ralph's nervousness in the least, and he was quickly driven to looking to the ground. So intent at looking at the ground was Ralph, that he completely missed the look of sadness that passed over Ted's face.

"Hmmm, how about you call me Mister when your father is around, and Ted when he's not. It could be our little secret." Ted finally spoke up, having weighed the chances. It was never a good idea to go behind your employer's back, but Ted had a feeling this one little thing wouldn't hurt, and it was for Ralph's sake.

"Like a game!" Ralph's attention had quickly snapped back to Ted, and he quickly forgot any heavy thoughts that had been directed to the ground. "Then you should call me Ralph! If I can call you Ted instead of Mister, you should call me Ralph instead of 'young sir'. It makes it sound like I'm my father."

"I wouldn't know about that, young sir." Ted's eyes smiled as Ralph let out a whine.

"No Ted, my name is Ralph!" The boy cried.

"Right, sir." Ted continued on, acting oblivious to his companions cries.