Emily Copperfield strolled down the old path, carelessly twirling her light blue umbrella over her shoulder. Gus and Andrew walked beside her while occasionally shooting suspicious looks at the other. Gus carried a picnic basket while Andrew carried a soft pink cloth.
"It's too cold to have a picnic," Andrew complained.
"It's not cold at all," Gus replied, "is it Em?"
"Why no sugar," Emily remarked with a smile. "My daddy used to always take me on a picnic in this weather."
"What's the matter Andrew, ya feel like goin' home?" Gus asked. "Yer welcome to go back to King farm if yer this cold."
"You're not going to get rid of me this easily Gus," Andrew told him.
Suddenly, Emily stopped them on the trail. "Boys look! It's an eagle!" As the large bird flapped it's wings and took flight Emily oo'ed and awed. "He's flying faster than ah meteror sweepin' across a starry sky!" Emily uttered with dreamy eyes.
"Where Em?" Gus said and then marvelled once he spotted the bird. He whistled. "Yer right Em, that birds faster than ah meteor."
"Actually that's incorrect," Andrew commented. "For one thing, it's not an eagle, it's a Peregrine Falcon. Secondly, it's not travelling faster than a meteor. A Peregrine Falcon travels at an average velocity of approximately 275 kilometers per hour. In contrast, all current astronomical evidence suggests that a meterorite is estimated to travel at an average velocity of 42 kilometers per second, which is clearly faster than a Peregrine Falcon."
"Gosh Andy, you say the sweetest things," Emily swooned.
"That ain't always so," Gus interjected. "What if ah meteorite done hits the earth and stays there? Then it ain't travelling faster than no Pedegree bird that yer talkin' about. Ah think that ya need ta think before ya try saying Em is wrong Andrew. Every time ya try ta prove Em wrong, ya end up making ah mules back side of yerself."
"Boys boys," Emily said while stepping between them, "now don't go arguing over little olí me. We need to enjoy ourselves. Now lets go down toward the cliffs where we shall rejoice in the splendor of the day."
"It's cold out here," Andrew protested, "I think we should go home."
"Now Andrew King," Emily retorted while placing the picnic cloth on the ground, "I slaved all this morning in a hot kitchen making this food for y'all. The least you can do is join me and Gus for this friendly afternoon picnic by the seaside."
"Do as Em says," Gus told Andrew sternly.
Emily opened up her generous basket of delicious morsels as a reluctant Andrew joined them. They suddenly saw B'Ellana walking hand in hand with a toddler as they trotted down the road. The child was about four years old and dressed exactly like B'Ellana in farm coveralls, bare feet and sporting a red bow in her hair. "Hey B'Ellana, would you like to join us for our picnic?" Andrew asked politely.
B'Ellana was joyous when she saw Gus and Andrew but then diverted her eyes away from Emily Copperfield. "I...I don't want to eat all yer fine food. I have one apple to eat for the entire month that I borrowed from Miss Tailey and now I have another mouth to feed."
"Aw don't be silly B'Ellana," Gus said. "Ah rabbit can't live ah whole month off of what yer eatin.' Especially with this little toddler here with ya. What's her name?"
"I call her 'Minnie B' and I found her in the Church Missionary box. I'm going to take care of her." B'Ellana shrugged and decided to join the group. 'Minnie B' began to scavenge the basket, making animal grunting noises as she shoved each delicious morsel into her mouth.
"Gus sugar," Emily chirped, "would you mind feeding me one of them grapes over yonder? It would be soooo sweeeet of you." Gus grabbed a grape and tossed it into Emily's mouth. Emily ate the grape and then laughed horsily. "Gosh Gus, by the way were carrying on lately, folks in this town would think were... were... courtin.'" Emily gushed.
Seeing Emily's flirtatious display, B'Ellana turned to Andrew. "Andrew, could you throw me one of them chickens?"
"Sure I guess," Andrew shrugged. He took a leg of chicken and tossed it to B'Ellana, who caught it in her mouth. "mank Moo Mandrew," B'Ellana said as she graciously munched on the chicken while looking dreamily at Andrew.
"Now B'Ellana, I know your my friend and all and I have tried to be polite around you, but this time you have gone too far," Emily told her. "You have put your feet on my clean picnic cloth!"
Suddenly, Minnie B turned her head and began to growl toward the wooded area. "What is it girl?" Gus asked as he glanced over to spot Sara, Izzy, and Felix in the distance.
"It's my cousins and their friends, that's who," Andrew said. "Maybe they would like to join our picnic?"
"Don't be ridiculous Andy," Emily implored, "I didn't make enough food to feed the island. Now I suggest that we pack up and move to a different location..."
And I suggest you be a little more gracious!" Izzy said as she and Kyle and Felix walked toward them. "Didn't your parents ever teach you any manners? It's impolite not to welcome guests, even if they *are* uninvited." She then decided to answer her own question. "I guess they didn't. Otherwise you wouldn't have swiped Gus away from his lady-love last night! Right, Felix?" She gently elbowed her friend in the side.
"Well please excuse my poor manners Miss Pettibone," Emily replied. "I just don't feel right having a picnic and not having enough food for everyone, but you're certainly welcome to join us... Oh, are you referring to Mr. Pike here?" Emily blushed. "Well I can assure you that Mr. Pike and myself are just friends."
"First, we're not hungry," Izzy said. "Second, of course I was referring to Gus Pike." She looked at Gus. "He looks mesmerised...and that is just *screaming* that you two are more than friends. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he has a complex!"
ìAnd... And Andrew too," B'Ellana added, "Andrew too looks like he has a complex..."
"Are you two suggesting that I have some type of *monopoly* on these boys' lives?"
"Yeah, if Em says it's okay then ah'm all for it," Gus said with a vacant look.
Izzy turned to Andrew and said, "We'd love to join you, but first Felix and I need to talk to Miss Copperfield here." She whispered to Kyle, "Stay with Gus and Andrew, will you?" Andrew: "Sure, but what is it about?"
"I'm sure Felix and Kyle will tell you two all about it, Andrew," replied Izzy. Felix: Felix cleared his throat and looked straight into the eyes of his normally brillant cousin, who now looked to be in a daze. He turned to Kyle, " I want to help Felicity stop her moaning, but ANDREW! You do it Kyle, or I'll end up making him fall in love with a mule!"
Kyle's eyes grew wide when Felix asked him, but then he figured someone had to do it. 'Here goes nothing,' he thought as he inhaled. "Well, Andrew," he said as he looked into the dazed boy's eyes, "there's a rock I found on the cliff. It looks more like a piece of petrified tree, but I thought I'd ask for your opinion since your knowledge in this subject is far greater than my own. It's right up there," he said as he pointed up. "Sara, your cousin, and Stacie, my sister, should be up there by it. Could you come check it out for me?"
ìI'm sorry Kyle but Em and I..." Andrew shook his head as if he were shaking away a persistent daydream. "Did you say it was petrified?" He asked the Blythe twin with sudden interest. "Please lead the way. I would like to examine this specimen as soon as possible."
Em leaned over to B'Ellana who was greedily scarfing away at a chicken leg. "Oh B'Ellana girl, maybe Miss Izzy is going to ask me to join her friends after school sometime for a get together. This is just the kind of acceptance I've been hoping for," She followed Izzy...
Izzy went over to where Gus and Andrew couldn't hear them. "Anyway, let's say I'm here on behalf of Felicity. Only thing is she doesn't really know we're doing this. However, Felicity is a mutual friend of mine, and I hate to see her get hurt. Plus, Felix is my best friend, and he's friends with Gus, so I guess you could say Gus and I are mutual friends as well. Bottom line is this. If you're going to keep seeing Gus--and goodness knows you probably are--I think we're going to have to learn to get along. I have a little something for you." She pulled the flower with the love potion out of her pocket, showed it to Emily, and pinned it in Emily's hair.
"Why don't we go for a walk? There's someone else I'd like you to meet, and I think *he* would be more suited to your liking than Gus Pike." She escorted her up the cliffs and, out of Emily's sight-range, gave Sara and Stacie a thumbs-up. She then took Emily toward town, to her house.
"Why Miss Izzy Pettibone," Emily said, "you want to give this lovely flower to little ol' me?" She sniffed at the pleasant fragerance. "Why thank you for your fine hospitality Miss Pettibone, but I must reassure you that Mr. Pike and I are just friends. After all, I have a gentleman caller in the newspaper industry down south that thinks that I'm just dreamy," Emily swooned while twirling the light blue umbrella over her shoulder.
"Arthur?" Izzy asked as the twosome entered. "There's someone I'd like you to meet."
Arthur descended the stairs and saw Izzy with Emily Copperfield. "Arthur, this is Emily Copperfield; Emily, this is my brother Arthur."
ìIt's a pleasure, Miss Emily." He shook her hand and noticed the flower in her hair. He took a sniff, the aroma of the potion intoxicating his senses. 'She's even more beautiful than Felicity King!' he thought to himself. 'Why didn't I realise this before?'
"Gosh Mr. Pettibone," Emily gushed, "it's my pleasure to be in your acquaintance." She blushed when he shook her hand. "Miss Izzy didn't tell me that she had such a handsome brother."
"And Providence didn't seem to let me know that there were more beautiful young women out there than Felicity King," replied Arthur. "Your beauty is so incomprable to hers. In short, you make Felicity King look like a potato sack!"
"Oh now Arthur Pettibone," Emily giggled, "you sure are a charmer. And quite a dreamy one at that."
Izzy noticed that Arthur and Miss Copperfield were getting along splendidly. "I have another idea. Why don't you two go over to the store and have a soda...as in 'one soda and two straws?' I told Felix I'd meet him back at the beach."
"I think that's a great idea, Iz!" Arthur replied. He escorted Em to the store and ordered a soda with two straws.
"So, Em, tell me all about yourself."
"Well Mr. Pettibone, it's a long story. I'm actually a yankie girl from the states. My mother was a medicine woman in Colorado when I was just knee high to a grasshopper..." Before Emily could continue, she heard someone call her name...
"Em, what dat you doin' hera?" A young man with a tan hat called out as he stumbled through the General Store door.
"Oh Mr. Pettibone, this is Elrick Tyler," Emily said and then turned to him. "Elrick, whatever are you doing here?"
"Em, da was in da newsdaper stwike whend it got'd oudda hand. I moved up heara da dee do Em."
"Well Elrick, that is very nice of you," Emily admonished, "but wasn't the newspaper strike in the 1860's? Elrick, you really didn't have to travel all the way up to PEI just to see lil' ol me."
"But D'Em, do said dat I was your'd fiance!" Elrick said angrily.
"FiancÈ?" Arthur's jaw dropped.