The Easter Bunny

Bunny ears. A big, fluffy, white pair of bunny ears – that's the finishing touch to my outfit. I gingerly place them atop my head, and brush my fringe back out of my eyes so that I can see my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Oh dear god. I'm nearly eighteen years old, nearly an adult, and yet here I am dressed in white tights, a purple contraption that's halfway between a leotard and a corset, and a little purple skirt-thing, with a fluffy white tail stuck on the back. Oh, and don't forget the three white pipe-cleaner whiskers that are stuck on either side of my nose – which is painted pink. What has my life come to?

"Come on, Ariel, it can't take this long to put on the costume – it's not like there's that much to it." Seth's voice floats under the bathroom door, and I cringe. This is definitely one of the most revealing outfits I've ever worn. I turn around to check how it looks from the back and am disgusted to see that my tail shakes when I move my legs. Ergh.

"Seth, I am not leaving the house in this. It would be a crime against humanity to let anyone see me dressed like this," I call back as I walk closer to the door, watching my tail shake in the mirror with every one of my paces across the tiles.

"Ariel, you lost the bet fair and square, and now you have to wear the bunny costume to the egg hunt. There's no getting out of this. So please just exit the bathroom so that we can get there at a slightly reasonable time." I can hear Seth rummaging through his backpack as he talks.

It is my own fault, and that fact makes me feel even worse. I can't believe that I was stupid enough to think that I could stuff more little chocolate eggs into my mouth at once than Seth. I thought that my love of chocolate would get me through, but I forgot that Seth had once managed to shove an entire Big Mac into his mouth when dared – proof of both his abnormally large mouth and his dedication to dares.

I groan and lean my forehead against the soft towel hanging from a hook on the back of the door. "Noooo ." I whine, tempted to start hitting the door with my fists. "This is so embarrassing."

Seth laughs at me, loud and mocking. "I know kid – that's the point."

I scowl. I am going to kill him for this, I swear to god. I take a deep breath in through my mouth and out through my nose before gently turning the door handle. As soon as it swings open I'm blinded by a flash and stung by the horrible realization that Seth's just taken a no-doubt very unattractive photo of me. "Damnit Seth!" I shriek over the top of his howling laughter.

"You – ah -" He's laughing too hard to even string a sentence together. His blonde mop is shaking slightly as he rocks back and forth. Nice to see that he finds it so amusing. "Oh, Ariel. You look…" he manages to keep a straight face, for exactly one millisecond, "adorable." He dissolves into laughter again.

"What if someone from school is there?" I whine.

Seth raises an eyebrow at me. "Who are you worried about seeing? Someone like… Alex Wilcott?" he teases. I pout and he just laughs. "I don't get why you care what that asshole thinks of you." His expression darkens and I know that he's thinking back to our first year of high school, when Alex shoved Seth's face into a plate of spaghetti in front of the whole school. "He's just a jerk." Seth and Alex have held a mutual hatred towards each other since Seth got him back by throwing him into a dumpster the next day. I can tell that his train of thought has moved on to that happier memory because he's laughing now.

"Oh be quiet," I snap as I walk across my bedroom and slip on my purple heels – they even have little white cotton balls stuck on the front. I must say, I'm a rather suggestive looking bunny. I turn around and see Seth with the camera poised for yet another photo. I put my arms up in front of my face just in time, and he makes a noise of complaint. "No more photos, at least until we get there," I bargain.

He regards me with a serious expression. "This is a momentous occasion, Ariel. I need to document every second of the most embarrassing day of your life."

I feel my frustration getting closer to boiling point as I turn on my heel. I hear the snap of a camera going off as I storm out of the room, fluffy tail wiggling.

(hop)

The annual Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt is held at the national park, where the grass is nice and lusciously green all year round, despite water restrictions, and where there are normally plenty of places for someone to hide if they're trying to escape crowds, say, because they're dressed in a revealing bunny-costume. Not today though. When the egg hunt is on, there is nowhere to hide because the park is overflowing with over-excited children and their parents.

I can hear said parents muttering and trying to quiet their laughing children, slapping their hands when they point and half-shielding their eyes as they walk past us. Seth is laughing and laughing, barely able to stop himself from bending over double.

"Would you hurry up?!" I ask, nervously looking around at all of the young children I am no doubt scarring for life.

He just laughs harder and pops open the boot. He bends down to grab something from it, and I hope that he hits his head as he stands up. He doesn't. I sigh. "This is for you," he states, holding out a little wicker basket with a purple bow tied around it, and about a hundred little chocolate eggs sitting inside it.

I regard it with disdain. Oh, what the hell. It can't make this situation any worse. "Gee, thanks," I mutter, reaching out and grabbing the handle.

"It matches your outfit." Seth takes another photo. I do wish that he'd stop.

A high-pitched voice to my left distracts me from yelling at him. "Mummy, mummy, it's the Easter Bunny helper!" I turn my head to see a hyper-active three year old tugging on his mother's sleeve and pointing at me. He has chocolate smeared on his right cheek and determination in his eyes.

"Yes it is," the mum says in a condescending tone, glancing at me tiredly. "Maybe if you go and ask her nicely she'll give you an egg?"

"Oh no," I hiss, turning to Seth, my eyes wide with fear. "Oh no, Seth, what have you done?" He just laughs at me, lamely trying to disguise it as a cough as I feel a tug on my skirt.

I look down at the little boy standing at my feet, staring at me hopefully. "Scuse me miss Easter Bunny helper, do you have chocrote in your basket?"

I can't believe I'm doing this. "I sure do," I smile awkwardly at him and grab an egg from the top of the pile. "Here you go." I place it in his chubby, outstretched hand and he grins at me like I've just given him a million dollars. "Mummy, I gots chocrote!" he yells as he runs back to his waiting mother.

I sigh and turn around to glare at Seth, who is just smirking at me. "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Because I can." His smirk turns into a grin and I'm wondering what on Earth has possibly made him even happier.

A tiny little voice comes from behind my knees, "Excuse miss Mrs. Easter Bunny, could I please have a choc – a chocklat – a chocolate egg please?"

The girl is about six years old and dressed in a pink princess dress. She's wearing a tiara with bunny ears behind it. How could I say no to something as adorable as that? "What nice manners you have! Of course you can have a chocolate sweetie."

By the time I've handed her an egg there are three more eager children huddled around me.
I glare at Seth and he has to bite his fist to stop his laughter spilling out and drowning me in even more embarrassment.

(hop)

We eventually make it to the entrance to the hunt, where the children are forced to leave me alone because they have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get inside. We get to the gate and the people look me up and down.

"First year for you? Didn't you read the e-mail?" The blonde woman asks me. I don't reply, but I must look satisfactorily bewildered, as she rolls her eyes at me and points to an empty gate on my left. "Over there. John will meet you and tell you where you have to go."

I just nod dumbly, probably for a bit too long, until I feel Seth's knuckles in the small of my back and stumble over to the gate with a sign above it that reads 'Volunteers and Employees Only'.

Seth goes to follow me, but the blonde glares at him with squinty eagle eyes. "You're a volunteer too?"

Seth keeps his cool, and just gazes at the ticket-taker steadily. The people in the queue behind us start grumbling. "Why else would a guy my age be at an event like this?" There's just the right amount of disdain in his voice to make the woman back off. She gives him a half-nod and we make our way to the special gate.

John doesn't even ask us for any form of ID, and barely raises an eyebrow at my outfit. "Okay, we need more volunteers stationed at Section E, near the stage. Head there and ask April what she needs done first."

Before we can say anything in reply John grabs a walky-talky from his belt and starts yelling something about a code yellow by the toilets. Seth and I glance at each other before walking past him and into the park, trying to act like we know exactly where we're going.

(hop)

"Are you going to give this up?" I growl at Seth as he takes yet another photo of me. It's now 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I am really over this now.

"Scuse me -" I don't let the seven year old in a Hannah Montana t-shirt say anymore. I just hand her an egg and she runs off back to where her parents have set up their picnic. That leaves only 2 eggs in my basket.

Seth giggles, aggravating me even more. "Seriously Seth, I'm in the costume, I'm at the Easter Egg Hunt, I've completed my punishment. What else do you want from me?"

"Oi!" The gruff voice makes me turn around sharply, nearly loosing my footing in these stupid heels. "You need to get over here, it's nearly time!"

"Time for what?" I ask before I can stop myself. The guy in purple overalls comes closer to me and gestures for me to join him. "Seth…" I turn around and try to face him as he pushes me over towards the man. "Time for what? Seth! Time for what?!"

Next thing I know a microphone is being shoved into my hand and I'm being pushed up onto the large stage at the far end of the oval, in front of an audience of heaps of hyper-active, chocolate-smeared children and a few tired looking parents. A giant white rabbit wearing a purple waist-coast stands beside me. I feel myself freezing up with fear.

An enthusiastic, high-pitched voice comes from the other side of the stage. "Hello friend!" A girl in her early twenties with her hair in pigtails appears from behind the rabbit's accentuated stomach. "You're here to help the boys and girls find the missing Easter eggs, aren't you?!" Her voice goes up in pitch at the end of her question, and her lavender knickerbockers are visible under the hem of her frilly purple skirt.

I can't speak. It's like my mouth has been glued together with caramel. I don't know why I do it, but I nod. This seems to encourage her. "Goodo! Remember boys and girls, teamwork is very, very important! And it's very nice of our friend here to help us find the eggs! Isn't that right, Great Bunny?"

The rabbit nods. I freak out even more.

"So, what's your name, friend?" the condescending voice asks me.

I remember I have a microphone in my hand. Somewhere, I can hear Seth laughing. I go to speak into the microphone and it screeches horribly. I recoil, then try again. "Uh – Ariel," I manage to say.

"Let's say 'Hello!' to Ariel, boys and girls!" The girl says. The crowd of kids join her in yelling, "Hello, Ariel!" I don't know if I'm meant to reply, so I stay silent. The pigtailed girl continues, "So, Ariel, do you know where the eggs are?"

"I-uh…" I look at her for a clue as to what I'm meant to say, and thankfully she notices the bewilderment on my face. She shakes her head ever so slightly, and her pigtails swish a little bit from side to side. "No. I don't know where the eggs are."

A collective "Awww," comes from the crowd and from my co-stars. I look desperately for Seth in the crowd, searching for some comfort and an excuse to get the hell off this stage. When I find him he has the camera up to his eye and his lips are in the shape of a grin. My cheeks blush red with annoyance.

"Oh, boys and girls, I have some good news!" The children clap at Miss Pigtails' revelation, even though they don't know what the good news is. "Ariel doesn't know where the eggs are, but Great Bunny's just told me that he knows where the treasure map is! And the treasure map will tell us where all the chocolate eggs are!" The crowd cheer excitedly. "Ariel and the Great Bunny are going to go get the treasure map now and bring it back here so we can all go treasure hunting together!"

My poor overwhelmed brain somehow unfreezes a little and I recognize my chance for escape. I nod gratefully and let the Great Bunny link arms with me and skip me off the stage. As we leave I hear Miss Pigtails saying something about hopping into another funtastic dance. God I am grateful to get out of here. I am going to kill Seth.

Great Bunny seems to be just as happy to get rid of me. When we get behind the stage he takes off his head and I see a pimply 17 year old face glaring at me. "You should have volunteered for the merchandise stand, you're a crap actor," he says. "Even though you look hot in the costume."

My mouth manages to un-stick itself. "I liked you better with the rabbit head on," I snap, walking away. "Find the treasure on your own, loser."

I'm leaving here. I don't care if Seth wants to drag out my torture further, I can't do this any longer.

(hop)

I'm storming off in the general direction of the main gates when I hear a wolf whistle from behind me. I scowl but don't turn around to see who it was that committed the offence. I'm able to stomp on for a couple of meters before I hear Seth yelling out behind me. "Ariel? Hey, Ariel!" I ignore him and pick up my pace a little bit. He's very persistent though, and his footsteps get louder and closer despite my best speed walking efforts. I am so glad I can't see how much my tail is wiggling right now. "Ariel? -" a hand touches my elbow and I jerk around, one hundred percent ready to throttle Seth.

But it's not Seth that's standing before me, it's Alex Wilcott. Alex, the hottest, most desirable, currently single boy at school. Alex Wilcott. Chased after me. In a bunny costume.

…I'm wearing a bunny costume. In front of Alex Wilcott.
Kill me now.

I don't know what to say. The sticky caramel sensation returns to my mouth. I just blink at him. His beautiful blonde hair is falling in front of his beautiful brown eyes and I can feel myself swooning at the sight of the small smirk appearing at the corners of his lips. "Hey," he says, nodding his head once at me.

"Hi," I reply automatically. My voice is unnaturally high pitched.

"I thought it was you on the stage," he says. My whole faces burns with embarrassment. "I thought I'd better check. You didn't answer and I decided I'd still talk to whoever it was anyway." There's a brief pause, and then he adds, "You look hot in the costume."

"Oh," I say. I feel a sickening mixture of glee and disappointment settle into the pit of my stomach. "What are you doing here?" I ask, just a tad dumbfounded as to why someone as gorgeous as him would be at a children's Easter egg hunt.

He shrugs nonchalantly. "My mum made me bring my little brother."

That's sweet of him, I think. Until I realize he's alone. "Where's your brother now?"

He shrugs again. "Meh. Dunno. I'll find him eventually."

A scowl settles on my face at his comment, and at the appearance of Seth behind him it exaggerates.

"Ariel! I've been looking everywhere for you!" Seth exclaims. I believe him, because his cheeks are tinged pink and he sounds out of breath. As he gets closer he realizes who I'm standing with and his expression immediately transforms from one of relief to utter disgust. "What are you doing here?" he spits at Alex.

Alex narrows his eyes at him, regarding him as one regards a piece of dog poo stuck on the bottom of their shoe. "What's it to you?" he replies. There's a sharp tone I don't like lying just underneath the surface of his words.

Seth glares at him for a few more seconds before turning to me. "Seriously, Ariel," he continues as though Alex isn't here, "I was looking everywhere. I got so worried when you didn't come back onstage…"

"I wouldn't blame her for abandoning you," Alex scoffs. Seth gives him a look that would scare me into silence, but Alex appears to be too cocky for the threat to sink in. "When are you going to realize that she doesn't like you, Seth?" Seth looks embarrassed and this confuses me. What the hell is Alex talking about? "It's obvious that you have the hots for her. Everyone knows it, except for her." Alex pauses and takes a moment of joy in the horror on Seth's face.

As his words start to sink in, I feel Alex's arm slide around my shoulders and pull me towards him. My tail shakes as I'm lurched sideways. Alex has never, ever touched me before. We've never even passed something to one another, had that brief moment of touching the same object without touching each other. And yet here he is, hugging me to his side possessively. This bunny suit must be doing wonders for my sex appeal.

"Shut up," Seth says in a low growl.

Alex doesn't listen, and continues on as though he hasn't spoken. "But think about it. You follow her around like a lost puppy, and it's so obvious that she's stuck you firmly in the Friend Zone." He laughs arrogantly. "She's too hot for you, man. Me, on the other hand -" He raises his eyebrows suggestively. Normally I'd be flattered, but his arm has slipped from around my shoulder down to my waist and I'm feeling rather exposed right now.

A storm has settled over Seth's expression. "You don't know anything about her." His eyes settle on me and I see something flicker across his face that I've never seen before, but he's back throwing virtual daggers at Alex before I can really comprehend it. "Let go of her."

"Please, Alex," I say quietly, trying to step away from him. "Let me go…"

Alex laughs, like this is the most fun he's had in ages. I subtly try again to disengage myself from him, but he only tightens his grip. "I may not know much yet… But, I tell you, I'm going to know a hell of a lot more about her than you do when I'm done exploring."

Before he can get another word out, Seth's fist collides with his jaw, and there's a crunching sound as bone hits bone. Alex doubles over in pain, letting go of me in the process. I want to run to Seth, but my feet are rooted to the ground, my little purple heels dug into the dirt. My wide eyes take in Alex clutching his cheek, and Seth's scratched, red knuckles. I hear an annoying scream coming from somewhere, and it's only after it's stopped that I realize that it was me.

"What the fuck dude?!" Alex yells. The action seems to put him in even more pain.

Seth smiles. "Piss off," he growls. Alex gets the message this time, and leaves in a hurry. I hope that he doesn't forget about his brother. Seth is breathing heavily and I can do nothing but stare at him, cradling his red hand, for what feels like a long time.

"Are you okay?" I ask eventually.

He looks up at me, and I can see apprehension lurking in his ocean blue eyes. "I'm fine," he says, somewhat quietly. "Sorry."

This is all so confusing. I'm still so completely overwhelmed by this whole situation. I mean, you can't expect a girl to get touched by Alex Wilcott, hear that her best friend likes her, watch her best friend punch Alex Wilcott in the face, and understand what the hell is happening. "What are you apologizing for?" I ask.

"I didn't want you to find out that way," he tells me, looking at his feet. "I was going to make it… special."

"You didn't want me to find what out?" I ask because I'm still not comprehending anything. Surely Alex wasn't right. He can't have been. I would have known something -

He lifts his gaze and looks me right in the eyes. His voice is loud and clear as he says, "Will you go out with me, Ariel?"

I don't know what to say. I am so surprised by the question I nearly lose my balance in these heels and topple straight into his arms. I manage to stay upright and reply, "…You want me to go out with you?"

"I want to go out with you," he repeats. "If you'd like that."

"I…" Seth and I have always been best friends, for a very long time. But I never suspected that he… That he felt the same way towards me as I do towards him. "You put me in a bunny costume," I state.

He smiles at that, and the corners of his eyes crinkle up. "What can I say?" He shrugs. "It's been a life-long fantasy of mine."

I wait until he starts to look uncomfortable before replying and putting him out of his misery. "I'll go out with you," I say. The grin he gets lights up his whole face, and I nearly lose my nerve. "On one condition!" I add. The grin fades a little, but he nods willingly. "You wear the bunny suit next time."

He laughs, and I snatch the camera out of his hand before he can react and snap a photo of him doing so. "Hey!" He grabs it back, and pulls me up against his side. "I'm still the only photographer here."

In exchange for the camera, I grab an egg from my basket, quickly unwrap it and shove it into his mouth. He does the same to me in retaliation, and I'm almost sad to note that that was the last Easter Egg. He extends his arm that's not wrapped around my shoulders, and the flash of the camera goes off again. This time, I'm actually smiling into the lens, and Seth is smiling right beside me.

(hop)


a.n. yes, it has been edited so that it makes more sense and is a nicer story. yay. happy easter everyone. i hope your day was as sweet and chocolate filled as this story.