Apple Cricket

Smack. The apple exploded as it smashed into the cricket bat, showering me with sweet smelling gunk and ribbons of apple pulp that clung to my once clean dress.

“Haha, another point for me I guess!” Ivor cried, laughing and throwing his hands in the air. He didn’t notice my filthy dress that was covered in fruit or my face, mouth turned down in a grimace as I thought ahead to the punishment I would face for the dirty clothes. I shivered in the cold air, as the setting sun peeked through the orchard for the last time that day, taking with it the warm air of the daytime and replacing it with cool evening breeze.

“Your turn, your turn!” Ivor demanded, my inability to ever hit the object being thrown never failed to amuse him. This time I decided, would be different. I would smash that apple with all my might, showering him with the slimy apple. That would wipe that smirk of his face. I gathered my skirts and thundered forward. He raised his eyebrows.

I picked up the bat in my sticky fingers and clutched it as letting it go would be disastrous. He grinned and prepared to throw the apple. I tightened my grip. But at the last second he flicked his wrist, causing the apple to shoot forward at an odd angle. I brought the bat around with an almighty force, waiting for the impact of the apple to shatter like soft glass on the bat. Instead, I was greeted by a swooping of air. I had missed, again.  The bat continued on slicing through the air and whacked into the apple tree. The force rippled up my arms and into my shoulder blades, and I toppled over in shock, curled up in a heap on the dusty ground.

Ivor exploded into laughter, hair flopping over his eyes that gleamed with childishness. My cheeks flushed red with the embarrassment of humiliating my self. Again. But then sheer fury chased away the blood in my veins, replacing irritation  with anger. I stood up, brushed the dirt of my once pristine dress and looked him straight in his glistening eyes.

“You spoilt, pretentious brat!” I yelled, not caring if the other maids could hear, ” I’m ever so glad you’re enjoying me humiliating myself, but it would be wondrous if you could throw me the odd helping hand once in a while!”

I stormed off, not caring about the look of shock that crossed his face just after the outburst. My ankles wobbled as my boots sank into rotting apples. The sun had now set and the orchard was  filled with a sharp coldness and basked in the dull blue of the night. I heard footsteps behind me, and turned sharply to see Ivor running towards me, a look of concern painted on his perfect face. I swished my head around and continued onwards, ignoring his presence.

“Look, I’m sorry, I just…you know, thought it was funny.” I can still hear the hint of humor lurking behind the words that tumbled form his mouth. I continued onwards.

“I’m sorry.” He sounded serious now and hooked his little finger round mine, something we used to do when we were kids. I come to an abrupt stop and turned on my heals. Tilting me head, I raised my eyebrows at his finger. He slipped it out of my hand and hung his head in shame.

“Is that all? I mean, forget all those times when I’ve been caught playing with you out in the orchard, gotten my dress dirty and been punished for it. Forget that we are not even supposed to be here in the first place!” I hissed at him, eyes burning with a look of acidic fury.

“Well…you’ve never told me about these things. Why didn’t you say?” He mumbled, grasping at excuses.

“Like you would care.” And I began running back towards the huge house, no longer caring about tripping or getting my dress dirty. I stumbled up to my tiny servant’s  room and perched on the window sill, preparing to settle down with a good book. But I made the mistake of looking up and seeing him at the far end of the orchard, crossing over the hedge and into the field. His  boots were dirty and his shoulders  hunched in the cold.

I bit my lip and wondered if I had done the right thing.

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