∴ A Bittersweet Thrill ∴
You kick absently at the grey slate wall, as anxious and impatient and full of desire as you ever are when you wait here. It is the furthest border of her father’s lands – the nearest you dare go, or at least the nearest she’ll have you. Sometimes she is already here when you arrive, impatient and impassioned. Other times you wait for hours before trailing forlornly home in the dark.
Over the course of the summer you’ve grown achingly familiar with the slick grey of the stone, the heart-shaped leaves and five-petalled blooms of the woody nightshade that climbs it. Bittersweet, your mother always called it, and warned you not to be tempted by its pretty red fruit.
You look down again at the sword and venture a little smile. You’ve been saving for months, and at last here it is, steely and sturdy and yours, emblazoned with the familiar five petals of the passion-hued bloom whose bower became your heaven. You asked for that especially, so that every duel would be won in her honour. So that nobody would know but the two of you. You can’t wait to show her when she comes. If she comes.
You sigh, and the little purple flowers nod in the breeze.