There are many small villages in our green country. Fore example, the little one we reside in now. They are scattered among the hills, hidden away from the troubles of the big cities.
It was in a similar village hugging the coast that there lived a sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Wynne. Her family was the local tailors, making clothes in exchange for their daily needs, as all small towns do.
Wynne's mother, Billie, had been apprenticed as a tailor, later to succeed her master when he passed on. Saxon McKenzie, a former Scottish swordsman, soon traveled his way into her life and fell in love instantly. Together, they started a prosperous business, as well as a family.
The eldest child, and only son, they named Murray, known widely as Ray. He was in love with the sea and any time he had was spent on the water.
The youngest was a lovely little girl named Bonnie. Although she was only ten, she was considered one of the prettiest girls in the village.
And finally, there was Wynne, a very unusual child. Because of her long, wavy, auburn hair that stood out at odd ends and sparkling green eyes that often glimmered with a perceptive look, it could appropriately be said that she stood out in a crowd. But it wasn't just her appearance that made people stop and stare. Her personality was something to consider as well. Wynne was not your everyday, average village girl. She enjoyed living in suspense and spent her times in the woods, usually coming home late and dirty.
Many people often thought that she was a changeling, a fairy child replaced with the real one when she was a baby. Her parents, however, loved her all the more, calling her their own little fairy and helped her learn to ignore the suspicious stares of the villagers. Wynne's personality, however, was an odd mixture of her parents' stronger traits.
Billie was the strongest willed woman anyone from their village had ever seen. She was stubborn and almost unmovable on a subject. Billie refused to believe that women were to be small, fragile creatures, seen and not heard, and Wynne had inherited this strong will from her.
Saxon was an eccentric man, as most Scotsmen are. And, like most Scotsmen, he had a horrible temper. Saxon loved adventure and, in his wilder days, would travel all over Scotland with nothing but his faithful sword and his imagination. He had been able to settle down once he came to Ireland and met Billie, the only person who could stop him in his tracks. And Wynne had gained his imagination and, unfortunately, his temper.
Wynne embraced the stories of brave heroines of both Scotland and Ireland. They inspired her to look past the scrutiny of the people around her and instead to the future. She was determined to make something of herself in the outside world. She'd carve her own path and destiny in life.
With such a determined sense to know the unknown, it came as no surprise to anyone when Wynne became interested in the strange young man who had recently moved into their small town. Truthfully, it wasn't a surprise that everyone took an interest in him. The young man was very handsome and seemed to hold himself like a gentleman, showing the proper etiquette to almost everyone. The rumor going around was that he was the son of a noble in the capital city, come to see their land in disguise, although he hadn't mentioned anything but his name. "Call me Ed… mund. Edmund Royce," he had said.
Nothing else was known about him, and so he was surrounded with an aura of mystery. This only increased Wynne's curiosity above everyone else's. The more she saw him, the more she wanted to meet him, but she never got the chance. Every time she tried to see the newcomer, she would have a job to do. Wynne was about to give up. She had lost all hope in coming into contact with the mysterious Edmund and had started to try to sustain her curiosity when, suddenly, he came to her.
It was a boring day. Saxon and Billie had gone into town and Ray was fixing up his boat (for the millionth time) leaving Wynne and Bonnie alone. The ten year old was "too little" to watch the store, so Wynne was left at the counter by herself while her little sister was outside playing.
The girl had her head in the palm of her hand and sighed as she stared out the window. As her eyes began to droop, the bell above the door rang. Wynne kept her eyes shut, thinking it was Bonnie.
Someone cleared their throat. Wynne's eyes snapped open as she realized it was a customer and immediately stood up and smiled. "How may I help you?" she asked quickly.
An unfamiliar but attractive voice answered her. "I was wondering if I could pick up my order now." Looking up, Wynne saw a handsome pointed face, framed by slightly disheveled brown hair peaking out from underneath a large cap.
The tailor's daughter turned her face away when she felt herself blush and pretended to busy herself by looking for the order. "Um… What's the name?"
"Edmund Royce." Wynne stopped what she was doing and practically flew over to the counter; hands clasped together and stars in her eyes. The now-nervous customer took a small step back.
"You're Edmund?" she squealed. "I've seen you faraway, but never this close! I've been dying to meet you! Every time I try though I have a new chore to finish! Can you imagine that? It's like my parents don't want me to meet you! Do you always wear that hat? It makes you look really handsome…" This (and more) was all said in a mere matter of seconds.
Edmund stared at her nervously as she continued to talk before speaking. "Excuse my asking, but… Who exactly are you?"
Wynne stopped in mid sentence and quickly composed herself. "Oh! I'm sorry. My name is Wynne, eldest daughter of Billie and Saxon McKenzie. I'm just watching the shop while they're out." Wynne shook his hand heartily as she introduced herself and flushed with embarrassment when he grimaced.
The young man grinned and pulled his arm back, massaging it to get the blood flowing. "You sure do talk a lot."
The redhead smiled sheepishly and nodded in agreement. "I'm kinda considered weird around here."
Edmund looked surprised. "Really? I think you're kinda pretty."
Wynne, who had gone back to looking for his order, froze. "Um… Uh… H-here's your new clothes!" She didn't look at him as she handed over a brown paper package. She knew her face was flaming red now.
Edmund, however, was grinning madly. After taking his order, he started for the door, but turned back around. "Say," Wynne looked back up as he addressed her, "can I see you again?" She was speechless, but bobbed her head up and down. Edmund smiled. "Great! Meet me in the meadow tomorrow at noon."
As he finally walked out, Bonnie came back in. She looked at the smiling man and then at her blushing sister. "What was that about?" she asked.
"Grown up business," Wynne said in a daze while staring at the door. When she received no more than that, a very annoyed Bonnie stomped back to her room mumbling something about stupid grown up secrets.
Wynne slung her small bag over her shoulder and headed for the door. "An' where doya think your're going?" someone asked. Turning around, she saw her mother with her hands on her hips.
"To town. Then I'm headin' over to the meadow to go pick some flowers," she told her mother. She had not mentioned anything about Edmund. Her family would overreact and she certainly didn't want that. She would tell them afterwards, Wynne promised herself.
Billie smiled. "All right, Fairy. Go on. You need a break anyways. Make sure you bring back some nice flowers for the table."
"Yes, marm!" Wynne said happily while running out the front door.
She had not lied when she had told her mother that she was headed to town. Wynne had planned on buying some bread for the two of them to share. She grinned eagerly when she thought of "the two of them", but the smell of baking bread brought her out of her fantasies and into the real world.
Loaves of freshly baked bread lined the shelves of the bakery. Wynne looked inside of her money purse and figured she had just enough to buy a medium sized loaf.
She had originally been saving her money for the village's annual fair day, but this was far more important. It wasn't everyday a handsome guy asked you alone to meet him somewhere… even if it wasn't officially a rendezvous.
Wynne took the bread and thanked the owner before rushing outside. As her excitement welled up inside of her, she hiked up her skirts and ran to the meadow. If anyone were to see her, they would simply write it off as another trait of Wild Wynne.
The redhead stopped when the lovely scent of flowers reached her nose. She was almost there. She slowed down then to a calm walk, as was expected of a young woman. The closer she came to the meadow, the more she began to wonder how she would approach him. "Good morning, Edmund. I- No! It's the afternoon! Good afternoon, Edmund. I hope you had a wonderful night because I did… That just sounds stupid." Wynne sighed.
She didn't know what to do. Should she walk up and greet him quietly? Or yell out a greeting while running to him? Foolish as she thought it was, she couldn't help but worry what he would think. "This isn't gonna work," she muttered. As it turned out, however, she had no need to worry. The meadow was completely empty.
Wynne sighed again in disappointment. "I should have known this would happen. He more than likely heard the tales that I'm a Changeling child and decided not to come." Wynne closed her eyes tightly to stop the tears from falling. Normally she didn't care about what anyone said, but because of the way she acted, despite how much she tried to change, she was always treated differently.
"I happen to like fairies," said a voice behind her in a jesting sort of way.
Wynne looked back and felt her heart leap in her chest as she stared up into Edmund's jovial face. His eyes twinkled with mischief and he wore a grin that stretched from ear to ear. He was obviously taking pleasure the situation.
"Enjoying this are you?" she growled and pushed him, noticeably knocking him off balance.
"Hey now," Edmund said, trying to maintain his ability to stand. As soon as he was on both feet again, he started grinning like a mad man. "It was funny, though, at least listening to you talking to yourself on the way here. Do you often do that?"
Wynne felt her face flush in embarrassment. To keep the attention off of her red face, she turned her head away and asked, "Do you often eavesdrop on other people's conversations?" Edwin nodded enthusiastically. Wynne looked at him and cocked her head to one side. "You are quite odd, you know?"
He smiled. "I am aware of that fact. It is something I have been told my entire life." He paused for a moment. "But at least I don't talk to myself in public."
Wynne punched him in the arm and smiled in satisfaction when he yelped.
"Come on now!" Edmund complained. "You wouldn't do that to me!"
She frowned. "And why not?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips, looking very much like her mother.
Edmund smiled mischievously. "Because you're in love with me."
The tailor's daughter could feel her face betray her again as the blood rushed to her cheeks. "Th-that's a lie!" she stuttered.
"Is it now?" Her smirked at her and turned again, placing a hand thoughtfully on his chin. "Then again, everyone is. I just can't help this charm I have." Wynne glowered at him darkly, but Edmund completely ignored the look and changed the subject. "But since you're here, would my lady mind sharing lunch with me?"
Wynne looked to where he gestured and saw a large picnic set up in the middle of the meadow that she, mysteriously, had overlooked. She nodded, speechless, and took Edmund's offered hand and let him lead her to the blanket.
Edmund took the loaf of bread from her and placed it with the rest of the food before taking her arm and helping her sit down.
"Did you make all this?" she asked in wonder.
Edmund shrugged. "Nah. I'm a horrible cook. I was always kicked out of the kitchen when I was growing up."
Wynne winced. "That bad, huh?"
The brunette smiled and laughed. "Nope. I was always playing tricks on the chefs!"
Wynne chuckled in delight. She could believe that. But a question kept nagging in the back of her mind. "Then where did you get all of this food?"
The boy grinned deviously. "That is a very good question," he said playfully, making her huff in frustration. "Why don't you taste some of it?"
Annoyed though she was, Wynne complied, choosing the nearest delicacy. She took a small bite, testing the taste of it in her mouth. Her eyes widened in delight as she exclaimed, "It's delicious! What is it?" She grabbed a handful and started eating it at quick pace.
A large, suspicious smile graced Edmund's lips as he answered her in a casual tone, "Cow brain."
Wynne's eyes widened again, but this time not from delight. And, suddenly, she shrugged and swallowed the food in her mouth. "Who would have thought it would taste that good?" she replied just as casually.
Edmund frowned in confusion. "It's not really cow brain. Honest." Wynne sighed in relief and he laughed. "You are quite fun, you know?"
Wynne rolled her eyes and muttered, "I'm glad one of us thinks so."
The rest of the afternoon seemed to fly by in a blur as they ate and talked the day away. Edmund acted up to his reputation in town; he was every bit the mysterious, but courteous, lad he was made out to be. But when he laughed, Wynne could see something else. She had not noticed it before, as he seemed to hide it behind his laughter, but Wynne could just make out a mournfulness in his eyes. He was hurting, and she couldn't help but wonder why.
"Why weren't you here when I walked up?" Wynne immediately covered her mouth. She hadn't meant to ask that question, but it sort of came out anyways. "I'm sorry," she said in a small voice
Edmund, however, didn't seem the least bit mad. In fact, he looked slightly embarrassed.
Eventually, Wynne noticed the amber light shining over her picnic. "Oh no," she grumbled. It was twilight, and way past the time she should have been home. "I have to go," she said hurriedly, gathering her flowers and what was left of the loaf of bread.
Edmund immediately stood up to help her. "Well, alright. I'll walk you part of the way."
Wynne smiled but shook her head. "That's quite alright. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."
Edmund smiled cockily, and when she was far enough away to not be able to punch him, he yelled, "As you wish, I'll see you tomorrow!" The redhead gave him a glare and walked home, cheeks turning the color of her hair, from anger for the comment, as well as embarrassment for the truth.