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A Summer Afternoon Adventure
Reading on the Stream Bank...
When you woke up this morning, you certainly didn’t expect your day to go like this.
Papère had headed into work at the precinct, and Papa was out of the house soon after for a series of meetings at the factory. Not one to sit around in the empty house doing nothing, you had stopped in the kitchen for a cup of tea and a chat with Toussaint about the grocery list, then headed out to market. You’ve always loved walking through busy places alone, people-watching is just so irresistible! After a morning of purchases, you took the scenic route home when you heard someone call your name. Two someones – Jehan and Montparnasse, walking arm in arm behind you. Embraces and eager conversation followed, and it turned out none of your trio had plans for the afternoon. “Come back to the house with us!” Jehan had exclaimed. “We can sit outside on the lawns and enjoy the beautiful sunshine.”
Parnasse had grinned. “Definitely a finchling – you always find the sunniest spot to roost!” Jehan hadn't contested this assessment in the least, and with the plan agreed upon, Jehan hailed a fiacre and you squeezed into its single seat. Dropping the groceries off at No. 55, you had continued on to the precinct to leave a note with the desk sergeant informing Papère of your plans, then to the factory to do the same for Papa. Notifications completed, it was finally off to Jehan’s.
The fiacre had pulled up the drive into a world that seemed to be made entirely of colorful, delicious-smelling flowers. Joining the fray to ferry the flowers indoors to the kitchen, you and Parnasse grabbed newly unloaded buckets while Jehan brought up the rear with a basket of ferns, explaining how their mamas had just returned from a trip to a flower market, where they had been hunting down new blooms for their work as florists and owners a café.
“Bienvenue, ma petite! We’ve missed you!” Marie had cried when she emerged from behind an impromptu wall of potted roses. Marie and Louise, Jehan’s mamas, have been practically your second set of parents since you first met Jehan.
Once all the flowers were tidied away, the five of you had sat down for an informal luncheon at the kitchen table. Over madeleines after the meal, Louise had inventoried the morning’s haul and discovered she had bought a few more bouquets than planned. Her cry of, “Oh, no! What shall we do?” had been met by Parnasse sweeping the extras off the table and hiding them behind his back, asking, “What extras?” with a deadpan expression. Marie took this as the cue to shoo you out of the kitchen.
“Alright, you silly people, out!” She had laughed and made shooing gestures towards the door. Shoes and stockings were quickly abandoned, and after assembling a picnic basket full of tea things, nibbly bits, and books, you headed outside. Parnasse had traded the bouquets for the picnic basket, foisting the flowers on you as the three of you made your way across the long, green lawns to the bank of a happy stream at a distance from the house. A grove of aspens grew along the banks to offer shade, and the grass makes a soft living carpet beneath your bare toes.
Now, your threesome is contentedly ensconced in the little stand of trees. Books adorn the lawn in piles, the flat top of the picnic basket has been repurposed as an impromptu tea table, and the trees are perfect backrests to lean against while you read. Parnasse has taken a seat against one of the aspens, facing the laughing little stream, while Jehan takes advantage of their beloved’s position to pillow their head on his thigh. Parnasse seems equally taken with this position, book in one hand and Jehan’s hair carefully entangled in the fingers of the other. Care is a necessity on account of the flower crowns – Jehan had insisted on turning the extra bouquets into accessories to match your location, and you had eagerly agreed, overriding Parnasse’s mock grumbles with cries of, “It’ll be fun! Let’s!” Considering the results, Parnasse’s grumbles couldn’t have been that severe – he wears his crown of black-eyed Susans like a prince, carefully chosen to match his black and gold paisley waistcoat. Jehan looks angelic in their crown of daisies, and your own braided tiara of purple sweet peas and wild roses (“A tiara, not a crown” Jehan had insisted, “so it’ll work better with your hair, and the leaves can go with the green stripes on your dress”) leaves a trail of delightful scent in your wake. You’ve imitated Parnasse’s position with your back against a tree, knees drawn up to make a book-rest. The boys are down to waistcoats and trousers, and the spirit of barefoot adventurers has pervaded the lovely, wild spot. Nibbling absently on a leftover Madelaine as you sit on the sun-dappled grass engrossed in your book, putting it aside to listen when Jehan decides to read aloud, laughing with horrified glee when Parnasse decides to tell a story… You may not have expected your day to go like this, but now, you wouldn’t want it to go any other way.
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License details for "Reading on the Stream Bank..."
Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
List of audio files used:
- River by Adam_N from http://freesound.org +)
- Bird Song by By Reinsamba - www.freesound.org +)
- Page Flip by Flag2 +)
- Windy Aspen Trees by https://freesound.org/people/juskiddink/sounds/78955/ +)
- Cardinals Singing by kvgarlic from http://freesound.org +)
- grasshoppers-- by miklovan from http://freesound.org +)
- Pouring tea by Paul Sutryan from http://freesound.org +)
- forest birds by thearxx08 at freesound.org +)