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Finding Love Within the Landscape This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“Come on, Alicia! The water’s wonderfully warm!” Heather giggled, dancing across the slippery stepping-stones which protruded from the surface of the stream. Sighing fondly, Alicia Robinson watched her younger sister from the highest bough of a nearby tree. “I’m fine right here, Heather,” she responded, pulling her auburn hair away from her face. The breeze was cool and refreshing, and she preferred the shade of the tree to the heat of the sun, however rare warm days like this were.

“Alright, then. I’m just going out to Blackberry Hedge, the view’s great from up there!” With a wave, the fourteen year-old skipped off in the direction of the hedgerow. Meanwhile, Alicia turned her gaze back to the scintillating water, watching as the sun refracted its golden tentacles of light off the bubbling stream. In the distance, a shepherd boy was sitting on a fallen log, watching over a large herd of sheep which dotted the surrounding hills. When it came down to it, Alicia was glad that her parents had made the move to the country. Never had she imagined that such peace, such tranquillity, existed.

A quarter of an hour passed as the sixteen year-old sat there, admiring the view. Beginning to feel restless, she gracefully descended the tree. Following the path taken by her younger sister, she made her own way to Blackberry Hedge, wondering what Heather was up to. That place – Blackberry Hedge – had always intrigued her, from the very first time she had visited. They had been living in the locality for about a month now, and on every visit, Alicia found a note among the brambles. It was always there, in the same spot, scrawled in the same messy handwriting.

What first evoked her curiosity was that the letters seemed to tell a rather sweet love story. They began by speaking of a new-found love, and then of a desire to meet, tainted by coyness and a sense of uncertainty. The following notes seemed to be straight from the admirer’s heart, stating that he or she felt that the one they so desperately pined for was in a league above their own. Alicia knew they were meant for someone else, because they were always gone in the following hour or two, but she could not help reading them. When she had approached her own boyfriend six weeks ago with the news that she was moving, rather than the romantic reassurance she had been expecting, all the girl had received was the cold shoulder and a cruel break-up. It felt nice to be reminded that not everyone was like her ex.

“Oh, you came!” Heather grinned upon seeing her sister, hurrying over to her side. When her sister’s response was delayed, the younger girl huffed in annoyance. “Alicia, you’re brooding again! Stop it.” Snapping back into reality, the named girl immediately looked up.
“Sorry, Heather,” she murmured apologetically. “I was just thinking about Cameron.”
“Who was no good for you!” Heather added, with a decisive nod. Looking about her, her eyes widened. “Oh, Alicia – I’ll be back in a second. I think I dropped my hairclip…”
As soon as her younger sister was out of sight, Alicia began searching for the note she knew would be hidden amongst the brambles. Her search was not long, as it had been placed in the usual spot. This time, when she unrolled it, she was surprised.

Dear X,
I think it’s time we met, don’t you? You know who I am, in this quiet countryside. I will wait by the beginning of the stream in the clearing, tomorrow night.
Love, X.

No other letter had been so clear and so specific. Alicia knew exactly where that place was – it was the exact spot where Heather had been dancing on the steppingstones earlier that afternoon. Despite all her reservations, the girl knew what she had to do. She had no choice but to find out who this mystery author of the love letters was, or she would never sleep easy again. After all, it could very well be someone interested in her little sister, and Alicia felt it was her duty to keep Heather safe.

The chilly evening wind made Alicia wrap the thick coat even tighter around her shoulders. The gentle breeze from earlier that afternoon had now become colder and more unpleasant. It had been a long time that the girl had waited, partially hidden by the lower branches of her favourite tree. Perhaps no one was coming. It could have been an entirely different stream that was referenced, perhaps one known only to the writer and the person for whom the note had been written. Just then, the snap of a twig made Alicia jump.

“Hello.”

The sixteen year-old stared at the sight before her, transfixed by the shy voice which had broken the eerie silence. About two feet away, and looking directly at her, stood the shepherd boy. The same shepherd boy who frequently sat on the log, whom she could see from her favourite tree. She had never thought of him as being more than part of the landscape. But it seemed he had noticed her.

“Hello.” She answered at length, and when he stepped closer, she got a better look at him. He was undeniably handsome, and about the same age as she was, with dark hair and hazel eyes. Awkwardly, she extended her hand. “Alicia, Alicia Robinson.”
“Tobias Hope, but you can call me Toby,” the boy answered, smiling – a dazzling smile that made his eyes sparkle. “I have something to ask you.”

Nervously, Alicia cleared her throat. “Go ahead.”

“Do you believe in love at first sight…or should I go sit on my log again?”
The girl blushed pink, laughing but averting her eyes. “You tell me, Tobias.”
Tobias Hope, formerly the lone shepherd boy of the landscape, smiled again, “I think you do, Alicia.”
“You know what?” Alicia responded, as she looked back up at him, “I think I do, too.”



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IceSkater<3 said...
Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm:
I love to write!
 
ILOVESHERLOCKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
today at 10:34 am :
Same! <3
 
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