READ FROM THE BEGINNING: The First Page
Branch had always liked him, he had always held an air that exuded a readiness to find you what you most wanted. Storack sought to find the most absolutely perfect beverage for each of his customers’ taste buds, to send their sensating tongues into a frolic. Some called it, ‘an overbearing delight in succulence.’ Others called it ‘the pestilence of all other beverages’, as once you went there you’d never appreciate the flavors of anything else quite as much.
“It’s been ten years, not…!” The words died in his mouth. Branch was further surprised when the person in front of him turned, it was Estelle.
Sometimes in life, everything just falls into place, it works and winds and fits, pulling or pushing, thrashing or leaning into the most preciously perfect spot. It fits like a river to its bed. Sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily for Branch, this was one of those moments. It floated into existence, as though in a dream it formed, and shifted into life.
Branch laughed. It was a good-hearted loud one, that resonated through the room. Storack followed suite, good man. He wasn’t afraid of the unfettered release of enjoyment. Branch however, did manage to find the courtesy to flush a little, when the entire building full of people turned to locate the producer of the disrupting and engaging laugh. Soon enough, as it is the way it goes -especially when in line at Storack’s, everyone returned to their waiting and forgot Branch.
He looked at Estelle, who was watching him with an amused look that struck itself into her features, she tried to tuck away a smile that couldn’t help but reveal itself. It broke out into a real and true smile. Every now and then, the right words find their way.
“What is such a beautiful woman like you doing in a place like this! To think of what your parents would say! You…do…know what they do here…” It took a great deal of effort to keep his face straight.
“Branch!” She laughed, it was sweeter than Storack’s finest.
They had known each other for ten years now, ever since he had moved from Clarity, and the tutoring with Trent, to Terrace. She was the one who had shown him the grove, where the Magic Sprouting was, where the plant he had first learned to grow thrived. He had fallen hopelessly for her, from the beginning, but knowing the ways of magic better than love had not gotten him much further than playful conversation.
Maybe, when he learned the Growth, it opened up some understanding in him, to see the truth of the moments, or a piece of it. That was the thing with truth, it was never really a thing. It just seemed that way. But well, no one could go on constantly thinking that nothing is true, then everything would fall apart, like a misused Growth.