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A Job Well Done Chapter 6

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AN: I'm so sorry that it took me so long to update! This is the final chapter!

Reina squinted down at her notebook, unable to understand why she couldn't see her handwriting. Blinking, she raised her head, suddenly realizing that it had grown dark while she was writing. She closed the notebook and stood up. Now that she was aware of the time, she was also aware of her hunger.

On her way home, Reina stopped at the teashop. It was too late to cook. She placed and order with Yun, then frowned and continued, “Actually, I think I'll take two of everything. I don't know if Mako ate.”

“Oh, Mako was in here earlier,” Yun said. “He treated Lillian to a meal.”

“Lillian,” Reina repeated. “I see...well, I guess I'll just take one of everything, then.”

Mako was still out when Reina came home. She propped her notebook on the table and read while she ate. She was so absorbed in her notes, that she didn't notice that Mako had returned home. When he said her name, she jumped and her notebook fell over. As she grabbed it, Reina realized that Lillian was there as well, clinging to Mako's arm and looking...a little frightened. Reina frowned. Why should Lillian be frightened?

“Lillian and I have been talking,” Mako began. He paused, considering his next choice in words. “Though we have each other a short time, we have become close. And our friendship has deepened further-”

“We're in love,” Lillian blurted. She looked directly at Reina and Reina suddenly understood why Lillian was afraid. She was worried that Reina, Mako's only relative in Konohana, would not approve.

“I'm so happy for you,” Reina said. She hugged them both at the same time and felt Lillian relax. Their eyes met and Reina saw the question still lingering in Lillian's eyes. She smiled and nodded and Lillian knew that Reina was truly happy for them.

****

Word spread quickly through the two towns. Everyone gossiped about them, Aside from Reina, no one had seen Lillian and Mako's romance developing, though a few people looked back on the events of the past few months and realized the signs were all there. The majority of villagers were a little confused, but a few made unkind remarks about the couple, making references to Mako having a mid-life crisis or to Lillian having some sort of complex. Fortunately, the harshest gossip never reached Lillian's ears.

Gradually, the gossip died down as a new source of conversation took its place. Eileen was nearing completion of the tunnel between Konohana and Bluebell. She expected to be done by Fall, maybe sooner if she could focus all her energy on this project.

****

Lillian's cow won the contest and she moved back to Konohana. As promised, she used Mako's new fertilizer on her crops. Her days settled into a peaceful routine. She spent her mornings working on the farm, watering crops, planting seeds, milking the cows, sheering the sheep and collecting eggs. Then, after showering and changing her clothes, Lillian spent her afternoons and evenings with Mako.

Often they walked into the mountains, gathering herbs and flowers. Mako often taught Lillian about the plants they found. One afternoon, Mako found a rare herb and talked at length about it: where it was found, under what conditions it grew, its medical uses and how it could be used in cooking. During all this, Lillian had been gathering berries while listening to Mako with great interest. When her bag was full, she sat on the ground, picked up a nearby flower and twirled it in her hands. Mako saw her and stopped talking suddenly.

“Am I boring you?”

“No, not at all,” Lillian said in surprise.

“I get so excited in my work sometimes...I am not used to having anyone except Reina to talk to,” He walked over to where Lillian was sitting and laid down with his head in her lap.

“I like the way you get excited about your work. It's cute.”

“Don't say things like that.”

“But it's true,” Lillian replied, tickling his nose with her flower. “I've always thought so.”

Mako twitched his nose against the flower, but said nothing, content to just lay on the grass and enjoy the warm summer sun and Lillian's company. He still held the herb in his hand and Lillian took it from him, examining it closely.

“I wish I could grow herbs on my farm,” she said.

“Perhaps you could.”

Lillian shook her head. “The seed maker doesn't work with herbs.”

Mako sat up. “If the seed maker had a few adjustments made-” His face lit up with boyish enthusiasm a s he talked about what modifications the seed maker needed. Lillian smiled and let him him go on for a minute, then she threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.

“You really are cute,” she said.

“Too many compliments are unlucky,” Mako said. His voice was gruff but his smile was tender. “Tomorrow, I shall go to Bluebell and speak to Eileen.”

“She's not taking any work right now. She's totally focused on clearing the tunnel. She won't even do upgrades to my farm.”

“If you need more space for your crops, you are welcome to share my fields.”

“No,” Lillian picked up the flower she'd been holding and twirled it between her fingers. “I wanted her to do some upgrades to my house.”

Lillian trailed off. She began to pluck the leaves from the flower stem, her cheeks growing pinker with each leaf she plucked. Mako watched her, wondering and waiting and after a few minutes, she went on.

“I need more room,” she explained. “Well, that is, I have enough room, um, except my bed is um, a single person bed so it's small...”

“What? ...Oh!” Lillian snuck a peek at Mako. He was blushing too. “Well, in that case, we should not interrupt Eileen's work.”

They laughed together. Lillian felt less awkward and snuggled against Mako. “You know, in Mineral Town, you can buy beds and things from mail order.”

“Yes, and in Zephyr Town you can buy furniture at the bazaar.”

“But I'd still rather live in Konohana.”

“As would I.”

The warm Summer days grew shorter and cooler. Every day Eileen made more progress in breaking through the tunnel. The old feud between the towns was over and everyone looked forward to the tunnels completion. Finally, in the Fall, Eileen's work was done and everyone from the two towns went into the tunnels. Lillian smiled at the sight of the residents of Konohana and Bluebell talking and laughing together.

Lillian showed Mako the little house and fields in Bluebell. No one had lived in the house or used the land since Spring and everything was overgrown. Mako was interested in the plants that were overrunning the little farm and took some samples with him when they left.

Fall ended and Winter began. Now that all her time and energy wasn't being used up clearing the tunnel, Eileen was able to do upgrades to Lillian's farm. The night the renovation was complete, Lillian laid on her big bed, thinking over the last two years of her life. So much had changed since then and there were still more changes to come.

As she walked towards Mako's house the next day, Lillian's heart was beating a little faster than normal. She knew Mako loved her, but except for that day in the Fall, they had never discussed the subject of marriage. Lillian had memorized a heartfelt speech, but when she saw Mako standing outside, she forgot everything she was going to say and wordlessly shoved the Blue Feather towards him. One of his hands touched hers, the other gently stroked the feather.

“Let us go elsewhere to discuss this,” Mako said.

Lillian nodded. To her surprise, Mako didn't take her inside his house, but instead he led her through the streets of Konohana and into the mountains. They walked hand in hand, but neither spoke. Lillian's nervousness increased, but from time to time, Mako would squeeze her hand and smile down at her and she felt reassured. Finally, they reached the top of the mountain. Mako led her over to the Harvest Goddess's pond, which even in Winter was a lovely spot.

Well, well, a blue feather,” Mako said. “I am honored to receive it and I accept it. Before I met you, Lillian, I had begun to wonder if perhaps I was not destined to share my life with another. I realize now that love can come into your life at any time.”



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