Griffin & Lily

Lily and Griffin have been friends since fourth grade. Their relationship is full of inside jokes and many surprises. Lily finding a mysterious box with no key to open it is just the start to their roller coaster eighth grade year. Their friendship will grow and strengthen as learn about themselves and what it means to love.


This blurb will change as I write/publish more of the story.

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3. Family Harvesting Day

 

Lily

 

 

     Family Harvesting Day was my dad's favorite day of each year. Because the orchard was to big for four people to tackle in one day, Dad always invited a few of his friends over to help. I asked him of I could invite Griffin over but then I remembered that he said he wouldn't come because of Family Harvesting Day.

     Each year I got assigned a different type of apple to pick. Last year I got Red Delicious. The family and a few of Dad's friends assembled in front of the orchard at 9:30 AM. My dad spent at least a month planning this day. He had a clipboard (to look official) and wore a plaid shirt, jeans and boots. I had on similar apparel but my sleeves were rolled up past the elbows.

     "Okay. Today is going to be productive! I've got it all named out here on this clipboard." My dad pointed to the chart in his hands. "Assignments: Anna, dear, you and I will be on Red Delicious; Olivia and Jim, you got Jonagold; Dave and Curtis, you are picking Granny Smith, Ben and Steve are at Pink Lady; that leaves Lily at Fuji."

     "Wait. I'm by myself? Fuji is one of the bigger groups. How am I supposed to finish?" I complained.

     "You said Griffin was coming to help," my dad said.

     "Well...he couldn't make it," I lied.

     "Oh. Sorry, toots, you'll have to work alone today. Or maybe I can take a break and come help you," he suggested.

     "Okay," I said.

     My dad turned back to our little crowd and announced, "We all break for lunch at around noon. If you need a break before that, we have some water and lemonade over here," he gestured to a small wooden table a few feet away with some pitchers and, "We also have grapes and Goldfish," on it. "Everyone good? Okay hands in," We piled our hands on top of each other and broke on "Team  Adams Apples!"

 

     We got to work right away. I hauled some barrels and baskets over to the fuji part of the orchard. I stared down one of the four rows of twenty trees. Eighty trees. Only one of me. And thousands of apples. The plus to apple picking was that some of the apples had already fallen from the branches. I made a plan: I would go down one row and pick up the apples on the ground and then go back up the same row picking from the trees. i would zig zag across the orchard.

     It was close to 10:00 AM. when I started picking. I got through picking up the apple on the ground in the forst row in about forty-five minutes. I really likes to listen to music while I worked, but I had left my iPod in my room. I was at the edge of the orchard, alone. I liked to sing even if I sucked (and I wouldn't be able to tell, no one ever heard me.) One of my favorites was Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone".

     I played the intro in my mind, bobbing my head. Then I started with the first line: "Here's the thing, we started out friends. It was cool but it was all pretend. Yeah, yeah. Since U been gone..." I liked the sound of my voice, even flawed. i loved the feeling of singing; pushing each individual note out of my mouth, slowly crafting a melody into a song.

     "Since U been gone, I can breathe for the first time, I'm so moving on, yeah, yeah. Thanks to you, now I get what I want..."

     I had filled up 10 barrels after the first row. I grabbed a basket and started picking up Fujis from the ground again. After I filled a basket, i set it aside. When I finished the ground-picking, I emptied the baskets into a barrel, grabbed a new basket, and started stripping the trees.

     I was on the eighth tree, now singing the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way", when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I lost balance the ladder for a second, but hands grasped my waist, restricting my fall.

     "Surprise!" said the voice I knew. The hands let go of my belt loops.

     Without looking back I said, "You told me we were going to meet up Sunday." I climbed down the ladder with care and turned to Griffin.

     "Like I said, 'surprise!'" he said with a pathetic display of jazz hands.

     "But really, why are you here?" I asked. Why did I sound so upset? I wanted him to harvest with me!

     "I was bored. Plus, I was thinking about you a lot this morning. I mean, the box. Yeah," he looked at the basket in my hands, "Also, you look like you might need a hand." said Griffin turning his gaze down the long line of trees that I hadn't harvested yet.

     "Oh. I was actually going to call you and...well...never mind. Just grab a basket. There are ladders in the tool shed."

     "I know," said Griffin already walking away. A few minutes later, (I was halfway through tree nine) Griffin came back with a red ladder.

     "By the way, Griffin, I forgot to ask you: How did that twine hold up?" I asked.

     "It actually held the box...wait..how...?"

     "I saw you through the kitchen window."

     "Do your parents know?"

     "My mom was watching over my shoulder," I said, laughing.

     "Yikes."

 

     To avoid embarrassment, I didn't sing for or around Griffin. We got a good conversation going, and doubled our apple-picking speed.

     "So how are the notes?" I asked. Were on the third row, tree six, picking.

     "Oh, yeah. Well last night was a little busy for me, and I didn't have time this morning. i woke up, ate some cereal and then pedalled my bike straight here," Griffin said, repeatedly lifting and dropping his head while he spoke.

     "Well did you bring the box with you?"

     "Forgot."

     "Hmmm..." I said bending down to pick up a bruised apple that we missed on first run-through. "Well, I guess we can go check my tool shed while you're here." I suggested.

     "Good idea, Little Miss Fuji. A few more trees and then we'll be on our last row!" Griffin said, examining the last of the Fuji trees.

     We were on tree two of row four when Dad called for lunch. We didn't have room inside, so we ate at some picnic tables off to the side of the orchard. My mom and Olivia had made everyone PB+J sandwiches this morning. I knew Griffin only liked peanut butter, but they didn't know he was coming. He pulled through anyway. My dad cut up a few Red Delicious and put out grapes too. The night before I mixed an extra pitcher of lemonade powder and water and stuck it in the fridge.

     Griffin and I sat down at our own picnic table and began to eat.

     "I really think your tool shed could be helpful," Griffin said through a bulging mouthful of grapes.

     "Wait. Why didn't you go looking for the key when you borrowed the twine," I asked.

     "I wanted to include you in the adventure of finding the key. We do it together. The twine was different. It was a quick fix for a good cause."

     "Whatcha talkin' about?" came Olivia's voice behind me. I turned to look at her, but Griffin beat me.

     "Top Secret, Classified, Off-Limits, Super "Protected", Secret Stuff," Griffin said in that 'I'm only talking like this to explain something to an eight-year-old' voice.

     " Like what?" Olivia pressed.

     "Nothing, just go away,' I said shooing her with my hand. I turned back to Griffin. His plate was empty except for a crumpled napkin. "Sorry. I'm a slow eater." I said, glancing down at my own half-empty plate.

     "No, no. It's fine. I'll just wait here," said Griffin.

     While I finished my sandwich, griffin closely monitored me. It was creepy and cute at the same time. Creepishly cute. Once I finished, Griffin threw our stuff away and I asked my dad if we could go inside (to the tool shed).

     "Are you guys done with your rows?" He asked in that fatherly tone.

     "Not yet, but we're close." I said, fidgeting my hands.

     "Close doesn't cut it, Tiger," he said. Tiger was his nickname for me. Tiger. Lily. Tiger Lily. Yeah, it's cute.

     "Fine. Can we go after we finish, then?" I pleaded.

     "Sure, Tiger," he said.

     Griffin and I got back to work. We were moving along swiftly when Griffin asked, "Lily, do you like to sing?" It was an unfair question.

     "Um, I guess?" I answered, burying Kelly Clarkson as deep as I could. I could feel my face growing red.

     "You know, Lily, I used to sing in my old school choir," he said, uncontrollably grinning.

     "Really?" I asked, playing along.

     "Really. I was soprano." Griffin said nodding.

     "Know any good ones?" I giggled.

     "Oh yeah.

     "Dun Dun Dun Dunna Dun Dun. Ice Ice Baby." He broke out, stepping down the ladder to the beat. He added dance moves, and I found myself hunched over in laughter.

 

 

 

Griffin

 

 

     The tool shed didn't look as depressing, standing in the path of the blinding sun. The lock on the door looked more silver than ever. When we swung the door open, I saw that I had done a good job at replacing everything.

     "We need a system," Lily said, surveying the clutter. "Take out the big things first. Then we'll  uh...we'll get dirty."

     "There's that genuine enthusiasm!" I said sarcastically.

     "Sorry. I'm just...anxious?"

     "About what?"

     "Finding the key, I guess." Lily said, shrugging her shoulders.

     "Don't worry. We're doing this together." Hold her hand, Griffin!, my conscience blurted. But I don' want to be awkward!, I rebutted. But you need to comfort her, raise her confidence!

     After what seemed like a whole minute of fighting in my head, I finally put my arm around her shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly.

    I must've failed miserably because she shivered and shrugged off my arm. Embarrassed, I started working. I pulled out a crate, two ladders, and several rakes and brooms. Lily jumped in and cleared away some buckets. Then we started looking closely.

     It was like finding a needle in a haystack, the haystack being a 3 inch layer of dust bunnies. I was sorting through a tin of buttons when Lily tapped on my shoulder. I turned and saw her sparkling blue eyes. Her lips were smashed tight into a smile, but eventually her teeth broke through. They were crooked and more beige than white but I had a feeling that restrained me to hate them. I couldn't hate them.

     Electrified, I smiled back and asked, "What?"

     "You'll never believe it," Lily grinned and whipped out her arm. In her thin fingers was a silver, but rusty, key. She squealed and grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into a satisfying embrace. We sat there for a few seconds, on the dusty tool shed floor arms tangled, and among us a key. An answer.

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