Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Spring to all! Today I'm sharing a short flash fiction story I had fun writing. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading! xoxo
Fabiola stood at the edge of the field, breathless after the short walk from her car. She used a fuzzy white paw to wipe the back of her neck, grateful she’d at least thought to wear a ponytail.
Across the grass, adults hovered near picnic tables while kids ran around in ruffly, pastel-toned dresses and neat little suits. As uncomfortable as they looked in their fancy-pants Easter clothes, Fabiola had them beat in this fifty pound bunny getup. “The things I do for money,” she muttered, jamming the final piece of her bunny costume over her head.
The kids slowed to a stop in their playing, all eyes on her now as she skipped to the party, her head tilting side to side cheerfully. Sure, it was cheesy, but once the head went on, she was in the zone... she was the Easter Bunny.
Some kids wanted hugs, and a few smart-alecks wanted to know why there was a zipper on her back, but she just pantomimed an exaggerated shrug. Her job was to keep the kids occupied for an hour, whether it was as the Easter Bunny or as a fairy princess, and she made sure that she did such a good job, she was asked for by name at the party place she worked at. She had one goal in mind: college money, the more the better.
Peter Cottontail blared from her stereo as she led the kids in a game of bunny freeze dance, busting out some dance moves of her own. It was easy to get into it when no on could see her face. At the end of the song she even shook her cotton tail. That’s right. Get down with your bunny self.
A voice stopped her cold. “Wow, that’s impressive.”
Fabiola turned around so fast she almost lost her bunny head. Who the--
Oh. It was only Donnie. She put on another song and started dancing again, motioning for him to join in. Wow, Donnie didn't seem as shy as he used to be, making up some goofy dance moves of his own. She'd never known him to be very outspoken, but then again, they hadn't had a lot of classes together. The song ended and she gave him a furry thumbs up for being a good sport before returning her attention to the kids.
Three games later, she was baked and exhausted under all that fur. Only one more activity and she could get out of here. After a minute rummaging through her bag, she took out the face paints.
“Do you need a hand?” Donnie asked.
When had he come back? If she weren’t part of the hired help, she’d be enjoying some Easter feastage, not hanging out with the Easter Bunny. But... well, if he didn’t mind. Opening paints with bunny mittens on wasn’t exactly easy.
Soon each kid had their cheeks painted, and the dinosaur and heart-faced munchkins were no longer her entertainment responsibility. Sweet freedom! She packed up and Donnie took her bag. “You must be burning up in there,” he said. “Let me help you out with these.”
She used her bunny paw to pretend to blow him a kiss and he smiled, lugging her things across the grass.
“So, where are you... parked?”
Fabiola passed the trees, sure that the kids couldn’t see her anymore, and tugged off her bunny head. “Surprise!”
He flushed, pink staining his cheeks and forehead.
“Thanks for your help back there. This bunny suit is brutal!”
“Oh-- of course,” he said, lowering his head as he walked the rest of the way to her car.
“Are you okay?”
He exhaled and shoved back his dark hair. “Yeah. I’m sorry, I just didn’t think-- I didn’t expect to see you here.”
He was acting weird. Not that being weird was totally unusual for Donnie. He’d been known to do some serious sword fighting with his LARP buddies, and could slide a well-played milady in casual conversation. Come to think of it, being weird was exactly what made her think she’d miss him once they left high school.
He cleared his throat. “Crazy, how close to being done with school we are, right?”
It was like he’d lifted the topic right from her mind. “I know, right? Four more months and I’ll be going to State.”
His gaze sharpened. “State? Me too.”
“No way-- I thought you were going to Polytechnic.”
He laughed, brushing the hair back from his forehead again. Why hadn't she noticed this little move of his before today?
“I would be going to Polytechnic, if my parents had their way.” He shrugged. “I guess I like living life my way.”
She felt a smile creep up her cheeks. Donnie might not be the flashiest guy in school, but he was always himself. “I’m glad you’re going to school where you want to go,” she said. “Since it’s you’re life and all.”
She swallowed, feeling silly. Why did it feel so good to know he’d be going to State with her? Not with her. But, he would be there, and the thought gave her heart a little flutter.
“Well hey, I guess I’ll see you at school,” he said. “And at State.”
“Right,” she said. He started to shut the door for her but she held it open. “Um, why don’t you take my number?” Oh man! It was her turn to blush! She tucked back a stray strand of hair and managed to say, “I mean, State’s a huge school. It’ll be cool knowing someone. We should...” she swallowed, trailing off. We should what, exactly?
“Yes, we should,” he said, his eyes teasing as he watched her. “So, should we switch phones and input our own numbers?”
She nodded, offering her phone and taking his in return. “Oh, um--” Stupid bunny-mitted fingers. She tried to undo the velcro strap at her wrist with her teeth, which usually worked, but at the moment she felt like a total spaz.
Donnie knelt down on the asphalt and took her hand. Her breath caught as he pulled off the fuzzy mitten and held her bare hand in his. “There,” he said, keeping his gaze steady on her. “All better, milady.”
Fabiola shivered, despite her overheated bunny suit. Donnie pressed a kiss to her hand before letting go, and her eyes slid shut. She could get used to this.