It was a warm summer evening. Gemma was wearing a yellow cotton sundress and flip-flops. She could hear music from the picnic fading softly as she tiptoed away in the dusk. The creek and the crickets and the rustling of leaves were subtly drowning out the sounds of Begin the Beguine. Soon, there would be dancing underneath the paper laterns and coy laughter, but this did not concern her.

Stealthily, Gemma made her way through tall grasses and wildflowers towards the sound of the creek. The moon rose, and the creek shimmered and softly glowed as if to mark the place of her crossing. Gemma kicked off her flip-flops in the long grass and deftly stepped on a moss-covered and slippery rock rising from the steambed. She savored the cool feel of the stone beneath her feet for a moment, then leapt from rock to rock without stumbling or faltering until she reached the other side.

Slowly, but without pretense, Gemma made her way to the copse of birch trees that shone silver in the light of the moon. Soundlessly, she crept between slender tree trunks making her deliberate way to the meeting place. She reclined gently underneath the largest of the trees, hiking her skirt up past her knees. The moonlight shining through the leaves dappled her long, slender legs and her black hair swirled like smoke or shadow. She was alluring and knew it would not be long.

For a few moments all was still and she almost began to doubt. And then, the wind picked up. A warm summer breeze began to press her yellow sundress against her body, the rustle of the leaves seemed to whisper her name. Gemma parted her lips and spread her arms, as if embracing a lover. She felt kisses on her cheek and the back of her neck. Invisible hands caressed her and held her. She closed her eyes and arched her back as the wind grew warmer and her cheeks grew flushed. The wind blew the skirt of her yellow sundress open like a flower and she felt herself blossoming.

There were colors behind her eyes, the shiny black of her hair, the violet of her eyes the dusky rose of her lips. She was an orchid, but also a songbird. She had wings that were petals. She felt herself flying and spinning in the darkness. She was the moon, she was the sea. In delight, she cried out, "how wonderful". And abruptly, the spell was broken. She opened her eyes to find herself lying barefoot in the dirt in a cheap yellow sundress. Faintly, she could hear Moonlight Serenade on the wind. Gemma stood up, brushed leaves off her dress and began to walk back towards the creek.

As she walked, she could hear the barely audible voice of a man ask, "When will you come again?"

Sadly, Gemma looked back towards the copse of birch trees, she could see tiny lights in the still, summer air burning with expectation. Pulling her tangled black hair into a knot at the nape of her neck, she lied, "Soon."

Gemma walked towards the paper lanterns, the strains of big band music and the man she did not love. In the tall grass there floated fireflies and the wind blew once more against her long legs, but she did not look back again.

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