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Inayat - Flowers and Herbs

by Ramield on May 13, 2017 at 06:13 PM}
“Flower, could you bring me one of those onions please?”
“M’kay!” came the reply, followed by the pitter patter of tiny bare feet. Amelthia looked down at the beaming face rimmed with short, red hair and hands extended upward to present the onion. The woman took it with an exaggerated expression of awe. “Woah, that’s a big one.”
“’S why I picked it,” the little girl replied cheerily.
“Well thank you, Inayat.” The little redhead ran back to play with her figurines as Mel resumed chopping vegetables.
“Mommy?”
“Yes flower?”
“Why do you call me flower? My name’s Inayat.”
Mel chuckled, her knife continuing its methodical motion. “I call you precious and sweet and flower and other things; I just lo-“
“Is it because you grew me in the garden?”
Mel couldn’t help but laugh. “Where on earth did you get that idea?”
“Brenian says you must’ve grown me in the garden and that’s why I have red hair but Mommy has blond and Daddy has black.”
The knife slowed to a stop, and for a moment, silence filled the room. Amelthia turned, placing her hands on her hips, her expression behooved but colored by a smile. “Well, if that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” She pushed her pale gold locks back over her shoulder as she walked over to kneel in front of the little girl, cupping the young one’s face in her hand with a loving smile. “After all, you’re my daughter. I call you flower because you’re bright like a flower,” she said, running her hand through the little one’s red hair, “and happy like a flower,” she concluded with a tap to her freckled nose.

Inayat giggled. Her laughter was interrupted by an excited gasp as the front door’s hinges squeaked open. “Daddy!” Inayat’s short legs sped her over to stand in front of her father. Carthen put down his load with a tired, low grunt and smiled broadly down at her. “Well now, what’s got you so excited today?”
“I know why Mommy and Daddy call me flower.” She put her hands on top of her head. “I’m bright like a flower aaaaaaand happy like a flower!” With that, she leapt at her daddy with arms outstretched. He caught her and swung her around him in circles. Amelthia smiled affectionately at the pair, laughter emanating from them both, and rose to resume her task.

“Woah there, precious, warn me next time, eh?” Carthen held Inayat up in his arms, and she shook her head defiantly. He scrutinized her with an incredulous gaze. “So, you’re telling me you’re not a real flower?”
“Nooooooo,” she refuted, giggling.
Carthen scratched his stubbly chin. “Well, let’s see.” He turned her over in his arms so that he held her upside down by her ankles, swinging her like a pendulum. The child shrieked and laughed as he flipped her, letting her arms hang free, her fingertips still so far from the floor. He appeared to examine her feet. “Hmm, there’s enough dirt here for a flower to grown in. Are you sure she’s not a flower, honey?”
Mel chuckled. “Yes, dear.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” He carefully laid Inayat down on the ground, and she sat up to smile at him as he knelt in front of her. “These look like little potatoes; they could be roots,” he said, wiggling her toes. Inayat giggled. “No! They’re my toes.”
Carthen’s face was a mask of astonishment. “No? Hmm, toes and potatoes, that sounds a little suspicious to me.” His daughter laughed as if that was the funniest thing in the world. “But what about your stems here?” he asked, tickling the backs of her knees.
“Daddy, those are my legs!”
“What? Then what about these?” he asked, interlocking his fingers with hers and swirling her arms around in circles. “Long, skinny, grabby things. Surely these must be your vines.
“These are my arms and fingers,” she said matter-of-factly, flapping her elbows and wiggling her fingers.
“But aren’t arms supposed to be bigger?”
“That’s because I’m little and not big and strong like Daddy yet.”
“Well, you have me there, but what about your leaves?” he asked, lightly flicking her ears back and forth with his fingers. The little girl twisted her head this way and that to escape them. “Those are ears for hearing!”
“But above them are your red petals,” he said in rebuttal, quickly rubbing his hands through her hair and making it stand out.
“Hair and petals aren’t alike,” she said, pushing at his arms in vain as he continued to play with her hair.
“They are if it’s dandelion petals.”
“But I’m not a dandelion, I’m a girl!”
Carthen stroked his chin. “Hmm…Well, I guess you’re right. But if you’re a girl, who do you belong to?”
“To you! To Daddy and Mommy.”
His mouth fell open in mock surprise, putting a hand over his chest? “To me? You’re my girl?” He let out a relieved sigh. “Well good, I’ve always wanted a little girl like you.” Inayat hugged him suddenly as he smiled, kneeling there and stroking her back before placing a kiss on the top of her head. “Hey, flower, why don’t you go out to the garden where the real plants live to give your mommy and daddy some thyme?”

The little girl scampered to the door with an “Ok.” The garden was only a short way away, though the yard gave her time to run freely as she couldn’t indoors. Inwardly, she smiled triumphantly that she had made it out without having to put shoes on. She curled her free toes in the loamy garden soil. She tiptoed her way past vegetables, including the much hated cucumbers, to the herbs, finding the long, thin leaves of the thyme. When trying to pull off one of the sprigs, she nearly uprooted the plant, and with a worried glance over her shoulder toward the windows of her house to make sure no one saw, she quickly patted it back into place and pushed dirt in around it to keep it steady. She was more careful after that, prying off a few sprigs before tiptoeing her way back through the vegetables again then jogging to the door.

Inayat burst back through the door, spoils in hand. She looked over to her parents who stood together by the table. “I’ll save you, Mommy! I won’t let him eat you!” She charged over. Her mother plucked the sprigs from her fist, chuckling, her cheeks a rosy color, while her father pulled away and grinned down at Inayat. “Oh, but who’s going to save you?” he asked. Bending down, he picked her up with a roar and tucked her under his arm. “I’m a troll!” He roared, stomping around the room. “I can crush boulders with my hands and eat pretty little girls for breakfast!” He lifted her up and pretended to eat her face off with kisses before tucking her back in place with exaggerated chewing noises. “Who can save you now?”

Inayat flailed about, trying to free herself and laughing. “The Riders will save me! Or Aunt Rami! Or my Mommy and Daddy! Or I’ll get you myself, you big mean troll!” She held out a hand toward her mother. “Save meeeeeee!”
Mel chuckled, flipping her golden hair over her shoulder as she turned to add the thyme to the pot. Carthen stumbled away from her as if stricken. “Oh no! The sunlight, it’s turning me to stone.” He collapsed to his knees, releasing Inayat before falling on his back. The little girl plopped down on his stomach, producing a deep grunt, and began pounding on his chest. “Take that, troll!” she cried. Her father sighed. “I am defeated. Now, go claim your reward, hero, for a mighty feast has been prepared in your honor.” Inayat leapt up and ran to her mother and the good smelling stew but was directed toward the dishes to set the table with.

The evening passed in general pleasantness. Inayat brought her figurines to the table, telling them a story she made for them. Amelthia smiled softly at her daughter, asking her questions about it and suggesting outcomes while Carthen watched them contently. Throughout the night, Mel and Carthen exchanged silent looks, a conversation between them alone that Inayat couldn’t understand.
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