• Hazel made her way to Benjamin's home. The route was one she knew well, as she had travelled it many a time.
    She opened the door of the servant's entrance and stepped in quietly, another familiar act. As she did so, she recalled all the times Benjamin had waited, eager and excited, at this very entrance. He would pull her into his arms, sometimes carrying her through the threshold, like a newly-married couple.
    Never again, Hazel thought, will he hold me to him.
    She looked down, discouraged for a moment, until she remembered her mission.
    She padded up the servant's stairway, quiet as a newborn kitten. Stopping at the top of the stairs, a thought occurred to Hazel.
    She had no idea where to find Felicity.

    I sit in the garden, on that same bench as only a few days ago. My husband has left me quite alone, and I am relishing the solitude. I hum quietly, rocking gently back and forth, a small smile playing on my lips.
    My time here, as yet, has been more enjoyable than I anticipated. I have had time to myself that I had never been given previously. As a married woman, I am allowed to roam freely about my home unescorted. It is a welcome and very exciting freedom.
    For a moment, I think I see someone slink into the servant's entrance, but it can only be a servant, and I go back to my humming.

    Hazel went back down the stairs, feeling defeated. A cold feeling settled over her as the weight of the situation became clear. She could try again, she supposed, but it all seemed pointless now.
    She opened the servant's door and walked out into the spring sunshine. She looked about, and saw Felicity sitting in the garden. One of her slow, sly smiles crept over her face, and she strode confidently into the garden.

    "Hazel?" I say, as my old childhood friend approaches. There is a blush on my cheeks as I think of the nature in which our friendship ended.
    "Yes, Fee, it's me." Hazel says, and surprises me with an embrace.
    I wrap my arms around her, still stunned.
    "It has been so long, Hazel." I say.
    "Yes, but I felt I had to come back." Hazel says, looking down.
    She then looks into my eyes and says,
    "I have missed you."
    "I have missed you as well, Hazel." I say quietly. My cheeks flush more as I realize that the statement is true.
    "You are a married woman now, Fee." Hazel says, sounding disappointed.
    "Yes, I suppose I am." I reply, looking down.
    Hazel has grown into a beautiful woman. I feel plain and out of place next to her.
    Hazel takes both my hands and pulls me into standing.
    "I have much to tell you, my dear Fee." Hazel says.
    Somehow my old nickname sounds more beautiful on her lips.

    Hazel had drizzled honey over every word, and it had had the desired effect and more on naive little Fee.
    She looped her arm through Felicity's crooked elbow and led her into the heart of the garden.
    "I have a confession to make, Fee." Hazel said, mock sincerity dripping from her voice.
    "What is it, Hazel?" Felicity asked, looking genuinely concerned, and, perhaps even more genuinely like an idiot.
    "Well, you remember the last time we spoke..." Hazel trailed off purposefully.
    "Yes, I remember quite well." Felicity said, hardening. Hazel was going to have to add extra sweetness to the next bit if she was going to be convincing.
    "Well, the reason I was so surprised, Fee...Well, it's because, because I have the same feelings for you that you had for me so long ago. I realize now that perhaps you have changed your mind and your affections, but I couldn't live with lying anymore." Hazel said earnestly.

    I take all this in and, somehow, manage not to faint dead away.
    "I...I see" I say quietly, fearing that if I raised her voice above a whisper, my excitement would show.
    "Oh, I knew it!" Hazel bursts out. "You've left me behind."
    She turns her head away from me and very nearly falls to her knees. The urge to hold her tightly is almost too much to bear.
    "No, Hazel!" I say loudly. "I still...I still love you!"
    I pull her to me and we stand there for a while, just holding one another.