Rose watches as the fire burns through the wood that Jack threw onto the pile, reveling in the increased heat which radiates off the bonfire. Other than dangerously made—and very likely illegal—ones, Rose never really saw any bonfires when she was growing up, so at age 23, they’re still a novelty to her. She found a nice little section in Jack’s garden to quietly appreciate the warmth of the fire before re-joining her friends.
“My cousin once got burnt by Guy Fawkes,” Rose is startled by the sudden and rather cheerful voice breaking the silence. Rose stares at the—cute, she immediately notes—blonde, who’s dressed rather flamboyantly in a long coat and bright clothes, who’s appeared almost out of nowhere next to her, their elbows brushing, as the blonde pushes her hands into her pockets. "I say Guy Fawkes—I, of course, don’t mean the actual Guy Fawkes—I mean he may be old, but not that old, I mean a Guy Fawkes at my aunt’s bonfire.” The blonde carries on, as if they were old friends, in the middle of a conversation. She pauses, turning her head to look at Rose, a wide playful grin plastered ear to ear across her face. Rose finds herself staring at the smile—or, rather, at her lips.
“It fell on top of him.” The blonde concludes. There’s a sparkle in her eye, which, despite the topic, makes Rose smile back at her. The energy radiating off her causes a lightness in the air, a lightness in Rose, making the rather awful topic feel enjoyable.
“Was he okay, your cousin?” Rose asks.
The blonde shrugs. “Suffered second-degree burns.” She tells her, and Rose’s eyes widen, her smile fading slightly.
“Don’t worry, he’s an idiot. He deserves it. My aunt told him he shouldn’t get that close or mess around near it. He’s fine, trust me. Even brags about his ‘near death experience’ as if it wasn’t because of his idiocy.” The blonde looks at the bonfire, almost thoughtfully. “Never gone near one again.”
There’s a silence for a moment. “You got any bonfire horror stories then? Everyone always has at least one,” she asks, her eyes finding Rose again. Rose shakes her head, not even having to think for a second. For all the bonfires the estate made was dangerous, surprisingly nothing ever happened. At least, not because of the bonfire.
Breaking their eye contact, Rose looks at the bonfire in front of them. She debates if she should make up a story; Rose doesn’t want her to think that she’s disturbing her, that this—unexpected and sudden—conversation isn’t wanted.
From the corner of her eye, Rose sees the blonde smile again. “Well, you can have mine then,” she says, a casual shrug accompanying the words, and Rose finds that the corners of her mouth form a smile again. This time, a small blush accompanies the smile, as her insides twist at the words. The thought of sharing something with this strange woman excites her, even if it’s as little as a story. Rose would wonder what’s gotten into her, but the puzzle is solved with a look. The woman is cute and, well, Rose has always been rather useless around cute women.
They fall into a silence again, as Rose tries to contain the giddy feelings brewing. After a few seconds, Rose turns her attention back to her, wanting to take a closer look. She doesn’t get very far before the giddy feeling rises again; the coat she’s wearing is well fitting—although that doesn’t stop it flaring—but it’s the sleeves that get to Rose. The woman—Rose really needs to get her name—has rolled up her sleeves, showing off her forearms. That, alone, is enough to cause Rose’s stomach to do summersaults and Rose has to remind herself to get a grip. The rest of the outfit does nothing to subtract from the attractiveness and is, in fact, enhancing it. This—she—is one fit woman standing in front of Rose.
Despite the distracting contractions of her stomach (actually, at this point, it’s no longer her stomach), Rose manages to focus on not letting the conversation die—and therefore, letting this cute blonde get away from her—and takes notice of the design on the top she’s wearing. Rose smiles, brilliant, bringing the beer she’s holding to her lips.
“I like your shirt,” Rose tries to casually compliment, a smile dancing on her lips and the cute blonde grins back. It’s a happy, knowing grin full of that energy. Rose suspects she wears it as a certain kind of icebreaker.
“I’m Theo—short for Theodora, and yes, my parents hated me. But it was better than the alternative,” the attractive blonde—Theo—tells her. The words are spoken with such a playful energy, accompanied by such a delightful grin, that the urge to kiss the stranger (did she really just meet her a few minutes ago?) surges. Rose has a track record for falling for pretty people way too fast, but this must be a world record, let alone personal.
“Theo—I like it,” Rose grins, testing how the name sounds on her lips. And oh how she likes it. “I’m Rose,” She tells Theo a second later. In fairy tales, names hold power, and Rose feels like now she’d follow Theo anywhere.
“Rose,” a shiver goes up Rose’s spine, “I like it.” Theo grins back.