Down in the glen, dear Elizabeth, with her mouth all red, we rolled in the bushes, prickled by nettles in our bodice and fruits of the mouth, of the skin, of the warm summery day. "Tell me you love me, dear Laura," she said, and what else could I say but yes, and yes and I will, and I love for forever, dear Lizziebeth. Fire-bright like the peaches kindling on branches, like the tinkers and gypsies pouring down the road into the village and a thousand suns to ride the edge of the hill.

Golden, down in the hollow, all our stays pulled and bodices laced back up. Distracted from tucking grass-stained folds together by the red raspberry of her mouth and the moon-sweet touch of her skin against my own sunburnt brown. "Dear Laura," she said, holding me close, "Promise to stay with me forever," and the promises we made in those sunbeams were all of summer and hope and sweetness and nothing for the keeping.

Dear Lizzie, dear Lizzie, yes, and yes, and yes.

And all over the tinkers come marching in with their dark eyes and their fruit and wagons painted bright, but there is no gypsy's ribbon so bright as beautiful Elizabeth with her mouth all red and her bodice half-laced beneath me in the grass of the hollow.



First chapter of a gift for snarl: a maundering of stories inspired by Goblin Market.

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