James and Effie in the Forest

A Year Later:

Ailsa had been watching this particular human for a long time. Almost since her birth. Humans fascinated her, they were so emotional and so set. Once they made up their minds, there was no changing them.

Ailsa envied the humans that. In year since her birth, she had been unable to stay still. She was always moving, fluttering, trembling. And it wasn't just her, her sisters were also cursed. They seemed more content with it though. None of them ever complained of the permanent restlessness.

But, then again, her sisters were always more wild than she was. They were simply content to live in the forest, and to just be. And Ailsa, the first born, had a burning want, no, a need to see humans.

The particular human that Ailsa was watching was named James. She had heard many people call him that and had been watching him for several months. Today, she skirted along the edge of trees, hiding behind trees as she watched her James stride purposefully down the path. She loved that, his decisiveness.

At first, her sisters had scolded her, warning Ailsa that the humans would surely see her. But, Ailsa had proved them wrong. It was so easy, even in a white gown, to float along in the forest. If she wanted, she could be as silent as the wind and just as invisible.

Ailsa was so caught up in her thoughts that she barely noticed James stopping at a large tree stump and sitting down, back against it. With a gasp, she froze and waited. Was he only taking a break? Or was he just going to sit here?

It appeared he was just sitting, for soon, his head lolled sideways and he fell asleep. Brimming with excitement, Ailsa moved closer, away from the cover of trees. Now, she could feast her eyes on this man, without the intrusion of anyone else.

Lightly, she sat on the stump, watching James intently. She focused on his face, his ruddy skin, his curling brown hair and his eyes. When they were open, they were blue. He did not have the hardened face of a farm worker, but his skin was not as soft as that of a noble lord. He was perfect, and he was Ailsa's.

With a trembling hand, Ailsa reached down towards James' face. She could finally touch him. At long last. For a minute, she paused and thought about their future. She would touch his face, and then, his stunning blue eyes would open. He would see her and then rise, embrace and kiss her. Then, Ailsa would pull him off into the forest, where they would be wed. Her sisters would be their attendants. And then, they could live together in the woods, happy forever.

The thought made a tiny smile come to the sylph's lips. She had been so very lonely before now. And finally, at last, she had her chance. Inhaling, Ailsa leaned in and put her hand inches above his forehead. Instead of a touch, she would kiss him. Yes, that would be much more effective.

A deep breath, and she leaned in, so that her lips were just above his. Just a little closer, Aisla leaned over and suddenly, she was staring into James' blue eyes which had flown open. In an instant, Ailsa's wing had carried her back to the cover of the trees. A blush was forming on her pale cheeks. James sat up and looked around. "Effie?" He called as he stood up.

Aisla frowned. He had been waiting for someone? That wouldn't do. Who was this Effie? Surely not another woman.

But then James turned around and his eyes fixed straight onto Ailsa. She held her ground even though common sense told her to flee. Slowly, he took steps toward her, and Ailsa was soon taking matching steps toward him as well.

"What are you?" His voice was incredulous. "Was that you?"

Ailsa nodded, intoxicated by the sound of his voice. But, she couldn't bring herself to speak to him, not just yet.

"Do you have a name, fairy?" James had stopped advancing. Now, he was just scrutinizing her, eyes taking in her wild hair, her pure dress and her tiny silky wings.

Ailsa nodded again and fluttered around a little, the excitement causing her to levitate the slightest amount. "I'm Ailsa." Her voice was as light as the very air that she breathed.

James nodded and held out a hand, as if taming a bird. "Would you come here?" He stood very still and locked eyes with her.

Ailsa floated forward. "Anything for you, James." She in turn extended her hand.

But at his name, James jumped back, his calm fa├žade broken. "You- how do you know my name?" His eyes widened slightly to indicate his surprise. Then, he heard singing, from farther down the path. "Effie," he breathed. Glancing at Ailsa, he pointed to the forest. "Run, go hide."

She nodded, and floated away as James moved to sit on the stump again. This was a rather annoying complication that she hadn't thought of before. James wasn't supposed to hide her. He was supposed to kiss her. But, then again, maybe he was just waiting to shoo this Effie away. Then he would call for her and they could be together.

Now, she focused her attention on the blonde girl who was strolling down the path, flowers all around her. Braided into her golden curls, tied around her neck, in her arms. Ailsa could smell the girl already. And her singing voice was sweet and clear, almost like the peals of a bell. The sylph couldn't help but notice that she was stunning.

As soon as she saw James, Effie dropped the flowers and ran towards James, who stood with open arms. He scooped her up and twirled her around several times before setting her down and thoroughly kissing her. Ailsa's mouth dropped open. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. James was supposed to be in love with her.

And then, she heard what the two where whispering. "I've missed you, my love." That was James.

Effie gave a girlish giggle and nodded. "James, have you spoken to your mother yet?"

He sighed. "Not yet, beautiful." Now, he was sitting on the stump, with Effie on his lap. "But I will, soon. I promise."

She grinned and kissed him again, this time longer. James leaned over and buried his face in her flower filled hair.

Ailsa had had enough of this. James could not love this, this Effie. It simply wouldn't do. But then, a plan began to formulate in her head. And as she floated back into the forest, she was singing the same song that Effie had sang.