On the first day there was a simple note in the mail box. Slanted cursive words written in black, smudges at the loops and strokes of letters, specks and blots of ink scattered in the margins. Three simple words.
I'm watching you.
Lucy showed the note to her older brother Will. His face bent into anger. 'I'll kill the bastard,' he growled.
She said, 'I don't know who it's from.'
'Doesn't matter,' he spat, the rage curling his fingers into fists. The letter began to crumble. 'I'll absolutely slaughter the bastard!'
Lucy carefully pulled the paper from his balled hands. 'He could mean it in a nice way.'
Will's eyes shot to her sharply. 'What? How can he perv on you in a nice way?'
'He might not be perving on me,' said Lucy. She smoothed the crinkles out of the letter. 'He might have seen me on the street and thought I was pretty.'
Will rolled his eyes. 'Yeah, right.'
Lucy's face fell. She dropped her eyes to the floor.
Her brother noticed and said quickly, 'You're pretty, Luce, I just meant most guys wouldn't do something like this.' He nodded to the letter. 'If he'd thought you were hot he'd have went up to you, asked you out. Not done something sleazy like putting a stalker note in your mailbox.'
'Maybe he's shy,' she said softly. The curls and curves of the words were gentle and inviting and familiar. 'Maybe he was nervous.'
Will scoffed. 'Yeah, and maybe he's a perv.'
Lucy sighed. She folded the note and slid it into her pocket.
The next day there was another note and a freshly picked daisy. The petals were straight and stiff with life, freshly picked and smelling of dirt. Black ink words on the paper made her smile.
I saw you.
Lucy didn't show this note to her brother. She folded it into her diary, with the other on the page before. Two notes in two days. It made her smile, bite her lip and look at the ground. She sat in the living room at the window, sunlight warming her bare knees, a book open on her lap. Lucy looked out at the mailbox and then the street beyond. The daisy sat in a short glass vase on the windowsill. She bent to rub her nose against the soft white petals just as her mother entered the room.
'What's with the flower?' she asked.
Lucy smiled, a blush tingling in her cheeks. 'It was in the mailbox.'
Lucy nodded. 'My name was on the envelope.'
Her mother's eyebrows were suddenly lost in the mess of curls across her brow. 'You got a note as well? What did it say?'
Feeling sudden nerves, and remembering Will's surmisal of the letter, Lucy was reluctant to share with her mother. 'Not much,' she said, biting her lip.
Her mother smiled cheekily. 'I bet it's from Chandler Harris next door. He just got back from boarding school.'
Lucy looked outside, as if she would spot him in the act of placing a note in the mailbox. 'Chandler?' she repeated. Her heart beat a little faster.
Laughing, her mother said before she left the room, 'That boy has always been too shy to speak more than three words to you.'
When her mother left, Lucy looked down at the note and pulled out the one from the day before. Three words on each page. She bit her lip to resist a broad smile.
On the third day, there was another note, a rose and a small chocolate heart. Lucy didn't wait to get inside to pull the letter from the envelope. Her heart skipped a beat. Three more words.
I missed you.
Lucy looked at the house next door. A curtain fluttered closed at the front window, only giving her a glance of yellow hair and long fingers. She smiled and turned to go back inside, a bubble inflating inside her that seemed to be full of butterflies. Once inside, she went to her room and sat at her desk. She pulled out a sheet of paper that had a border of flowers and bees. Unwrapping the chocolate heart, she slipped it into her mouth and waited for it to melt across her tongue.
Lucy took a pen from the drawer. 'Three words,' she murmured.
She giggled softly and began to write.
Later that day, Lucy went to the mailbox neighbouring hers. Holding an envelope tightly, she glanced at the front window. There was no movement. Her eyes slid upstairs and landed on a face sticking through the curtains. Upon her stare, it disappeared. She was unable to stop smiling as she pushed the letter into the mailbox.
Instead of going back to her house, Lucy began to walk down the street. She resisted the urge to look over her shoulder, even at the sound of a door closing. At the end of the road, she crossed into the park.
She was swaying gently on the swing when he appeared. Yellow haired, grey eyed. Lanky, freckled, sunburnt. He was holding her note.
'Hello,' she smiled. A blush tingled across her cheeks and down her spine.
Chandler Harris ducked his head as he grinned. 'Hi.'
'I see you got my note,' said Lucy. He showed her the paper, crinkled and smudged from his palms. Her simple handwriting was in blue pen, printed along the page.
In the park.
Lucy took the letter from his hand, exchanging it for her fingers.
He smiled broadly at her. 'And I guess you got mine.'