It was a cold day outside and the wind was strong. Leaves were blowing everywhere, swirling and spiraling towards the earth. People hurried to where they needed to go, paying no attention to their surroundings. Tris did not understand why no one enjoyed the scenery on this fine day. No one stopped to look at the leaves, let the wind blow around them, enjoy this fall.
Lark and Sandry were working really hard. It was the time of year when all the winter preparations were happening. But Lark did not lose her mother-ness. Tris hated the fact that she watched over her. Sometimes it was comforting, and she would look up to her and ask her for advice, but other times it was just annoying.
Tris got up from her chair by the window and walked toward the door.
“Where are you going?”
“To the wall.”
“Not without your coat.” With a grunt, Tris put on her coat and went outside. She gave Little Bear, the dog, one pat and then went to the wall. She sat down, letting the wind rustle her skirts and blow her hair around. She watched the leaves spiral around her. Time seemed to have stopped for this beautiful moment.
It seemed to have been only a minute before Tris had company. Tris heard the footsteps and her good mood left her. “Can’t I ever get some peace and alone time?” she murmured.
“Of course you can,” said the person, “you’ve been up here for over an hour.”
“It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been up here, I wanted more time.”
“You don’t want to spend time with me?” Tris spun around.
“Hello Briar. Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
“Not as lovely as you, Coppercurls,” Briar said, tucking a curl behind Tris's ear.
Tris jerked. She was not used to this kind of behavior from Briar, yet. Briar understood and took a step back.
“Well Coppercurls, Lark says you need to come back. Oh!” Briar dug into his bag and brought out a book. Tris raised her eyebrows.
“It's from all of us – Nick said it was your favorite book at the moment.” Briar smiled, “It's signed too. We all signed, even Little Bear. See the paw print?” Briar chuckled. Then his voice lowered to a whisper. “It's kind of a birthday present, but in your favorite season instead. Happy Fall.” With that he gave her the book and went back to Discipline Cottage.
Tris stood there. A smile was creeping onto her face. Fall; the season when she could truly be happy. Tris looked at the book. It was her favorite book, Nick had been right. It was purple with a red binding. The letters were in Copper. The book was so beautiful.
She spun around and skipped back to Discipline. She pet Little Bear, picked him up and squeezed him. Tris jumped inside. Sandry smiled, “Someone's in a good mood.” All around everyone was acting horrible and grumpy, but Tris did not understand why. Yes, it was a hard season for everyone else, but it was the most beautiful and happy season, at least to Tris it was.
Briar was raking all the fallen leaves. Fall meant long, tedious work. Fall meant many plants to take care of, many leaves to rake. Briar remembered fall before Discipline, he used to jump into piles of leaves and have glorious times. A smile crept across his face. At that moment he saw Tris walking to the wall. At first jealousy filled him, jealousy of the fact that she got to enjoy the day. Almost immediately he rebuked himself for being jealous of her. Yes, he longed to jump in the leaves instead of rake them and he longed to go to the wall, but he wouldn't be jealous of Tris.
He continued to rake while playing a game in his head. When the raking was done he moved on to the next chore, and then the next. An hour had passed since he saw Tris going to the wall. Lark and Sandry were still working, and Rosethorn was still gathering herbs and harvesting plants. Daja was not in the house and he assumed she was still helping Frostpine. A small sigh escaped him.
Lark turned and looked at him through the window. She beckoned for him to go to her. Briar practically ran inside, then slowed when he entered her vision. Sandry though had obviously seen him rush then slow because she burst into laughter. That laughter received a glare from Briar and immediately subsided.
"Briar, I need Tris to return from the wall. Sandry said she won't listen to a mind-message, so please go tell her to come back." Lark said as she threaded another needle. Briar smiled.
"Don't worry, I'm on it."
"Oh, and don't forget to bring her the gift. It's in that basket by the wall."
Briar darted to the basket and dug around until he found the beautiful present. He knew she'd be pleased, at least she better be. He picked up his bag, stuffed the gift inside it, and then dropped it on the ground with a thump that made everyone in the room wince. Briar grabbed his coat off the hook and put it on. He then lifted his bag off the floor and swung it onto his shoulder. Waving to Lark and Sandry, he opened the door and jumped outside.
The cold did not do the same thing to Briar that it did to Tris. He shivered a bit and pulled his coat tighter around himself. But still, in no time at all Briar was at the wall. He marveled at the sight that awaited him. Tris sat there, her hair and skirts blowing in the wind, leaves swirling around her. Her hair shined more copper than ever before. He sighed at the beauty of it.
Slowly he made his way toward Trisana. Briar barely heard her mumble “Can’t I ever get some peace and alone time?”
He took a step closer. “Of course you can,you’ve been up here for over an hour.” Briar answered.
Her lips curled as she retorted back, “It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been up here, I wanted more time.”
Briar smiled and without thinking, asked his next question. A question that showed his feelings, but at the same time might make Tris uncomfortable.
“You don’t want to spend time with me?”
Tris spun around and her curls bounced behind her. A small smile appeared on her face as she said “Hello Briar. Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
He couldn't resist the urge to show her his emotions. So many feelings were flooding his mind. And yet he didn't know what to say. He didn't want to make her uncomfortable, but he longed to show her his love. Briar tried to stop himself, but the romantic words slipped out of his mouth anyway.
“Not as lovely as you, Coppercurls.” It didn't stop there though. He tried to withstand the impulse to touch her, to hold her, to kiss her. Despite his struggling to not make her uncomfortable, Briar tucked a curl behind Tris's ear.Tris jerked and he took a step back. Briar looked toward the ground, as did Tris. He knew he shouldn't have shown his feelings towards her.
Briar suddenly remembered why he came in the first place. He finally looked up.
“Well Coppercurls, Lark says you need to come back." A light bulb flashed in his mind. The gift! "Oh!” He dug into his bag and brought out the present. Tris raised her eyebrows and Briar smiled.
“It's from all of us – Nick said it was your favorite book at the moment. It's signed too. We all signed, even Little Bear. See the paw print?” Briar chuckled. There was a long pause. He shifted, wondering whether he should say what he wanted to say. Would it hurt her feelings? Then his voice lowered to a whisper. “It's kind of a birthday present, but in your favorite season instead. Happy Fall.” With that he gave her the book and, his heart thumping, turned and went back to Discipline Cottage.
That night when Tris went into Briar's room, he was already asleep. She crawled under the covers and whispered, "Happy Fall".