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Story Notes:

This is the first story I have submitted. It was a short writing prompt that I did for myself that turned into something of substance (at least from my prospective). I hope that you enjoy it and please feel free to comment or suggest edits as you see fit. I have a lot to learn!

Wendy stirred; the slight groan of the old house as it pushed against the wind and the melodic spinning of Michael's mobile from the hall roused her from her sleep.  She rolled over and rubbed a crust from her eye, collapsing back against her pillow and pulling the quilt tightly up around her neck  She felt a cool breeze on her cheek.  Something didn't feel quite right. Her eyes still closed, Wendy felt her stomach tighten uncomfortably.  A new home, a new bed, Wendy was sure she hadn't slept through the night in almost a month.  

The window slapped the wall suddenly jerking Wendy into a sober wakefulness.  She was sure that Mrs. Darling had latched the window, a nightly ritual since Wendy  and the boys had come to live with the Darlings.  Wendy clenched her eyes tight and balled her hands against the quilt pulling it tighter to her chest. She could see light flickering though her closed lids.  A light from the street perhaps or a shadow coming to snuff out her life. Wendy shivered.  It was late, the Darlings were surely asleep.  She cracked open one eye slightly. A shadow swiftly scooted beyond her line of vision and a heavy weight fell on the end of her four-poster bed.  A deep breath caught in her throat as she pulled the covers over head.

Slowly, not breathing at all, she peeked out.  Her eyes meet two deep set orbs the color of the ashes of something precious, like something you would put on the mantle.  Above them, unruly brown brows furrowed as a portrait of a pale face came into focus.  Wendy felt a trickling sensation through her blanket.  Looking down she saw blood congealing beadlike from a scratch on a thin arm.  Dripping, dropping intrusively on her quilt as a young man perched birdlike on the edge of her bed.  

"Who are you?" The question peeped out of her like a hungry little bird.  The words were so quiet in the silent room that she felt a heat rise to her cheeks and turned away her eyes to the blood collecting neatly on her quilt.

"A lost boy." He said.  His lips were full but drawn thin in a tight frown.  He pushed himself back onto his bottom, too rudely for a young man breaking into a proper lady's bedroom at night, Wendy thought.  She eyed his torn tunic and makeshift belt, and old sandals barely kept on his worn feet with a few laces.  His legs were bare. Wendy realized she had never seen a boy's bare thighs, at least not a boy her age.  They were strong and sinewy. She could see the muscles tensing and relaxing and again the heat rose to her face.

"Peter." He said tersely breaking her languishing stares.  "My name is Peter." 

"Where is your mother?"  She asked as Peter played with the beads of blood on his arm.  He looked puzzled as if he didn't understand. He rubbed his fingers on his tunic, leaving a red stain.

"I haven't a mother." He remarked blandly without looking up.  His frown deepened.  Wendy shifted uncomfortably silenced by the boy's distance and odd response.  She thought the polite topics of chit-chat she had learned in etiquette to be too out of place here. Instead she looked at the quilt running her fingers over the stitched edges and thinking of her own mother.

"But my shadow.  Have you seen my shadow?"  He looked up at her suddenly. The light from the street revealed stirring ocean eyes.  They churned and hopped at the edges of the pupils gathering hurricane like in the center and furiously licking an angry black core.

"Well that's about the silliest thing..."  She snorted, glad for the comic relief, but stopped suddenly realizing she had committed some social faux pas.  Peter's face suddenly fell as he wrapped his arms around his strong legs to keep them from shivering.  It reminded Wendy of Michael, only five years old when he had pulled on Nana's ear so hard the dog yelped and Michael cried for having hurt her.  Wendy reached out a nervous hand and brushed a bloom of mossy hair from Peter's face.  His thin, blue eyelids sank close for a mere moment and as she pulled her hand away he looked as though the absence of her warm touch pained him. "I will help you find it though."  The corners of his mouth flickered and were still, but she saw the cool wave of affection that exuded for that one moment.

All at once she knew what needed to be done.  She pushed her delicate palm against his cheek that same way Mrs. Darling had each night before wishing her good dreams.  "But first I am going to give you a kiss." She warned him.  He looked at her and said nothing.  Instead, he reached out a hand, palm raised.  

Wendy thought she must have blushed because in an instant his hand recoiled.  Losing most of her courage, she reached over him and drew from her dresser a silver thimble.  It was her favorite of a small collection.  Taking his calloused hand she pushed into it the little silver cup while leaning forward and brushing her lips gently along his cheek.

"What is that?" He said.  Holding himself with one arm and rubbing a finger across where her lips had touched.

"That," She said pointing the the thimble, "Is a kiss."

"May I give you one?" He asked ruffling himself up onto his feet.  Wendy prepared herself, smoothing the edges of the quilt and nodding solemnly. Peter took hold of a button from his tunic and pulled.  It took him a moment has he fumbled with the broken strings.  Wendy thought he must have sewn it himself, the buttons marched jaggedly down his shirt.  He took her hand in his own and gazed intently into her eyes, his mouth pulled to one side.  Cupping her small hand he pressed the button awkwardly into her fingers.  He leaned into her, legs quivering from the strain and with his hand in hers kissed her squarely on the mouth. Wendy recoiled and coughed, flaming red with shock and stirring emotion.  She looked at him, bewildered, as a mischievous grin erupted on his face.

"That," He pointed to the round silver in her hand, "Is a button."

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