Hello my sweet dears who are kind enough to follow this blog. I'm ready to write another build-a-story, but this time I'm going to post the request for story elements here.
So I'll take the first three thrown at me in comments on this post. Then I will edit this post to put the story in when it is done.
I take it as a very good sign for my mental state that I able to write so much, I may be getting back to my books soon... which is good... and bad. Good because I need to finish them, my few select readers really want to read them, and I miss my characters, but bad because I don't usually write build-a-story stories when I'm working on a book.
Anyhoo, next story is up to you!
Okay here it is! I was so excited I wrote the whole thing already. I'll have to get started on character out lines for a new book now, bwahahaha!
Build-a-story 10, 11/23 through 11/25/11
Blog Follower submitted elements:
A unique wedding ring
An enchanted building
A bird of paradise flower
The Husband and His Bride
The first time he saw it he thought it was some trick of the light or a butterfly flitting among the bird of paradise flowers. What he saw was no butterfly, but Nathan Roe wouldn’t know that for weeks. He would never have suspected what he saw the night he had to go back for his notes was nothing of this world. No, guys like Nathan Roe didn’t even read about magic; much less allow themselves to believe in it.
That is where a lot of people go wrong these days.
Thus it was that the second time he caught the plants watching him he thought it was the first time he had ever seen a plant move so quickly, with the exception of a Venus fly trap, everyone knows they move quickly. Petunias though, petunias aren’t supposed to move hardly at all and yet he could have sworn he saw one shudder as he turned away.
Odd, so very odd, he thought, as there was no wind here in University Greenhouse 7; no wind, hardly any insects, certainly no rodents, just soil, plants, fertilizer, equipment and the occasional person. Perhaps the bloom had been caught and suddenly became unstuck as it moved to follow the fading summer light. Yes that had to be it, he decided, without allowing himself to see that nothing was close enough to the bloom for it to have been stuck upon.
Sometimes people are just too reasonable. Perhaps if Nathan Roe had been a bit less reasonable he would not have become entangled in such a sad situation as he found himself in. Perhaps if he had been an art major, or less analytical of mind, certain unpleasantness could have been avoided. However, he being who he is, anyone can see how his own nature was the real root of his soon to be problem.
He left University Greenhouse 7 that evening and walked towards the main campus, intent on a light supper and a few hours with his notes. There was hardly anyone about, as it was summer session and those who did remain at school for the summer usually found other things to do with their Friday evenings. Nathan Roe was just not that kind of guy though, and so he was alone on the path, all except a pretty young blonde who was coming the opposite direction with some urgency in her step.
“Oh I am so glad I caught you,” she said, doing just that to Nathan Roe’s arm. He looked up in surprise, not having noticed her presence among so many pressing horticultural thoughts.
“Can I help you?” he asked automatically as he tried to place the somewhat familiar face. Classes had just resumed for the summer, and Nathan Roe, graduate student and favorite of the department, had three classes of names and faces to match up before he graded finals. She must be one of my students, he decided.
In truth she was, she had been in class with him just today, and she revealed the matter that was so pressing as to bring her to this remote section of campus on such a beautiful summer evening. “I think I left my notebook in 7 today,” she said. “I simply can’t do my assignment without it, can I bother you to let me back in for a moment?”
“Certainly I can, eh…” he paused in his reply as his hand searched his pocket for the keys.
“Ann, Ann Wilson,” she supplied with a relieved look on her face. Ann Wilson was under the impression that such an important person would have plans for his evening, and that she was possibly delaying him from meeting a girlfriend, though of course she was entirely wrong on that count. Nathan Roe didn’t have girlfriends, he hardly had friends, and all of the friends he did have had other titles attached to their names, like Dean, and Professor, and such. He had a few acquaintances with whom he got along well, but unlike Nathan Roe, they had things they did with people on Friday evening.
Being exactly the kind of person he was Nathan Roe didn’t offer up much conversation as they walked the short distance back to University Greenhouse 7, and this left poor Ann Wilson feeling a bit censured for being so forgetful. Contrary to her own self-incriminations, her mind had been quite worthily engaged at the moment she forgot her notebook. It wasn’t focused on the notebook, but it had been engaged in other things, like wondering why the sunflower seemed to be tilted a little bit in towards the class instead of fully facing the sun, and why the bird of paradise flowers were twisted so on their stalk when it would be more natural for them to face another way. You see, Ann Wilson, though a sophomore, was a bit more observant than the much lauded graduate student who taught the class she attended on Friday afternoons. She just wasn’t the most observant when it came to the location of her things.
“I’m terribly sorry to have bothered you,” she said timidly as they approached the bit of sidewalk that led off the main walk and to the door of University Greenhouse 7.
“No bother,” he said, and though his voice was genuine it was also a little surprised to have been apologized to. After all, leaving a notebook was something that happened often to busy University students, and certainly nothing that needed to be apologized for. After all he had done the same thing about two weeks before. “It happens all the time,” he added, noticing the tenseness around the eyes behind those heavy rimmed glasses.
She smiled, and for the first time Nathan Roe really looked at Ann Wilson. He wasn’t sure if it was the beauty of her smile or the startling hue of her green eyes, but something about her caused an unfamiliar excitement to squeeze his chest. He forgot himself for a moment, standing motionless and smiling back at her when he should have been inserting the key in the lock. He could feel his heart beating in his chest, thumping like he was facing a final he wasn’t prepared for.
Ann Wilson was more cognizant of the passing of the seconds, but unlike Nathan Roe she had just enough fantasy in her soul to enjoy them instead of being confused by them. She enjoyed the lingering gaze of his eyes, which were as dark a brown as rich loam. She liked the hesitancy in his smile, guessing correctly that it wasn’t often shared, and therefore she found it all the more worthy of earning.
Thus favorably employed Ann Wilson let the moments tick by, not breaking the gaze and letting her own heart count out the value of the moment. It was a fifty heartbeat moment. In the more evenly measured human seconds Nathan Roe could not tear his eyes from her face for a full thirty seconds.
When Nathan Roe did finally manage to think well enough to realize he was staring, and smiling, he blushed deeply and turned his attention to sliding the key into the lock. He opened the door silently and they proceeded across the threshold and through the hanging plastic barrier that protected the carefully controlled climate of University Greenhouse 7. As the plastic fell behind them all trace of the color drained from Nathan Roe’s face.
The flurry of motion could not be ignored or excused this time. The branches of the trees snapped upward, when they had been nearly touching the flowers below. The flowers quickly arranged themselves, like children caught playing after the bell. The needles on the cactus quivered as it twisted back into place. The ivy rustled as it climbed back up the wall with alarming speed.
Ann Wilson, as the more imaginative of the two, recovered the use of her joints before Nathan Roe did and turned to him with a gaping mouth. “Did you…” she began slowly.
“… see that?” Nathan finished for her with a bit of a quaver in his voice. He took a step backwards, shock and, indeed, fright growing on his face. “We have to get out of here,” he said taking another step backwards.
“No,” shouted the pine, and the ivy responded to the implied order with lightening speed. It launched off the wall, twisting and twining itself around the two startled humans, lashing them together until they could do not but squirm in an effort to remain upright. “They have seen too much,” the pine said, his needles at attention and moving threateningly as he turned his dark lined face towards the intruding humans.
“Time to make fertilizer out of both of them,” the cactus said, who was known to the entire greenhouse to have a very prickly personality.
“No!” both humans protested in their pronounced distress.
“No,” echoed the birch as she turned gracefully away from the west window. The soft rustling of her leaves drew every eye in the room. “How can we inflict such violence? It is not our way.”
“Besides,” tweeted a bird of paradise flower, “the small one with fair colors is kind.”
“Yes,” the sunflower agreed with his rasping voice. “She turned my pot and pruned that dead leaf that had been itching me all week.”
“I say we prune them both,” the Rosebush said, bitter after years of having her prize flowers hacked away by insensitive lovers.
“No,” whispered the tulips, more forgiving of the frequent cuttings. “The humans have cultivated us, we cannot repay them this way.”
“Sssstill, they have ssseen too much,” the ivy hissed its leave rattling menacingly around the terrified humans.
“We won’t tell!” Nathan Roe managed to squeak out through his pale lips. “No one would believe us anyway.” In truth, that no one would believe them was the thought foremost on Nathan Roe’s mind, he wasn’t sure he even believed it, even while he was living it. If he had possessed the use of his hand he would have pinched himself, or even slapped himself to get out of what he strongly suspected was a terrible dream. Instead his hands were behind Ann Wilson’s back where he had put them in an instinctive effort to protect her as the ivy attacked. Had the situation been less dire he might have been able to enjoy holding her in this way.
“Yes, we will keep your secret,” Ann Wilson agreed. “We mean you no harm.” This also was a thought very much meant, on Ann Wilson’s part. Confronted with a place of such wonder Ann Wilson’s heart felt joy mingled with the fear. Her long love of flora had often made her wish she could understand the needs of plants better, and here, here was an opportunity to learn what no Graduate Student or Professor could ever teach her. This excitement coupled with the warm presence of Nathan Roe’s tall strong body pressed to her and his long arms wrapped around her made this experience significantly less traumatic for her than him.
“They can’t be trusssted,” hissed the vine, and it squeezed its captives all the tighter, snaking tendrils up around the human’s necks. At this point Ann Wilson began to share some of Nathan Roe’s trepidation.
“That’s right,” the pine said. “They could come back and spray us all, like they do to the dandelions outside.” The pine tapped the window to remind them all of the horrors they had seen.
“But if we didn’t spray the dandelions they would kill the lawn,” Nathan Roe said out loud, though he had not meant to.
“It is not for humans to interfere in the war between the grass and the dandelions,” the oak said turning her lovely head of leaves toward the humans. “How will the grass become stronger if it is not left to its struggle?”
“You humans,” the cactus bristled. “You are destroying species after species in your quest to make us serve you better.”
“You would be better served,” the bird of paradise flower squawked, “to leave nature as it is.”
“Oh I agree,” Ann Wilson said quickly. “It is appalling the way we humans have shifted the balance of nature. You may not know this, but many of us are trying to change that.”
The birch’s leaves shivered with pleasure and she and the oak exchanged pleased looks. The pine’s eyes were squinted in distrust, but the cactus was raising one cautiously hopeful bottle-brush brow. Some of the flowers rallied to support her. “You see, we told you she was nice! Set them free, set them free!”
“Them free?” The rosebush said her branches stiffening. “Set her free perhaps, but that tall one is not to be trusted. We must protect ourselves.”
“No!” Ann Wilson begged, rather to Nathan Roe’s surprise. “The birch is right, this is not your way. You are plants, you believe in growth and reaching for the light. So does he, he is a teacher. If you spare him, and teach the teacher he can in turn influence the minds of others to respect nature. This is a great opportunity for you!”
The pine and the cactus exchanged long glances, communicating in silence the way plants had done since the dawn of time. In truth, though both had been built to survive harsh conditions and came across quite briskly, they each nursed a soft spot for a particular human, the one whom had enchanted University Greenhouse 7 long ago. While they still held such a regard for a human they could never despise all humans, and therefore Ann Wilson’s pleas did not fall on hardwood hearts, but indeed on souls that longed for light.
“She has spoken wisdom,” the oak said after a stretch of silence in which the humans hardly dared to breathe.
“Such wisdom is familiar,” the cactus said. All the enchanted plants nodded their heads, each thinking with fondness and respect the enchantress from a time long past. Many of them were too young to have known her, but her magic and tale lived on as part of their roots.
“Such wisdom is welcome,” the pine said, and not even the rosebush disagreed.
The following spring, when University Greenhouse 7 was in full bloom a large group of humans crowded in amongst the flora in residence, special guests for a special day. The last to enter was Ann Wilson, dressed in white and carrying a bouquet of roses willingly given by a dear friend.
The guests in attendance thought a breeze must have followed her in, for as soon as she entered the air was filled with petals, showered from the trees. She walked on her father’s arm, making her way slowly up the aisle to where Nathan Roe stood between the oak and the pine. Their favorite Professors filled the official capacity of witnesses, but the bride and groom knew that the most important witnesses were those silently watching, rooted to the spot with anticipation.
Ann Wilson and Nathan Roe had prepared their own vows, and after the Justice of the Peace had welcomed the assembled he allowed them to speak the words upon their hearts.
“Ann Wilson,” Nathan Roe began, his voice thick with emotion. “Since the day we met you have helped me to grow in ways I would never have imagined. You have blessed me with your intrinsic wisdom and I shall never be able to repay you. From this day forward I swear to practice the art of husbandry. To give you all the nourishment and support you need as you grow and change and fill the world with your unique gifts.” A tear rolled down his cheek, and Ann Wilson reached up to wipe it away with a tender smile.
“Nathan Roe,” she said. “I have watched you grow and change, and have loved you through every moment of it. You are sure and constant in your growth and your deep roots are a source of strength to me when the winds blow and the seasons change. Today I swear to always be near you, to cling to you and aid you as you relentlessly reach for the light.”
“The bride and groom will now exchange rings,” the Justice of the Peace said. Each of them turned away and reached into the branches of their favorite tree to remove the rings they had placed there to be blessed by the magic of this place. A jeweler had worked many long hours creating the rings, laying leaf after leaf onto the gold. He had created a set of rings as unique as the couple who had commissioned them, never understanding as he did the special meaning behind the golden leaves of ivy.
“With this vine I bind myself to you,” each said as they exchanged the metal representations of how their souls and lives had become entwined, never to be separated. Nathan Wilson-Roe pulled Ann Wilson-Roe into his arms for a lingering kiss and as the humans assembled clapped and cheered they didn’t even notice the quivering of the leaves.