They said she was born from a sunbeam.
Born on the hottest day of the year, Sunni Solar was born for beaches and bikinis, not sleet and sleds. The daughter of a wealthy Caribbean hotel owner, she had never worn a pair of jeans until middle school and hadn’t worn close toed shoes until her first office job. Her white hair was streaked with gold and her naturally fair skin stayed honey year-round, even with SPF 70. She surfed every morning and swam every afternoon, soaking up every ray as though it might vanish without her smile.
When Ash Winter saw her that summer holiday, he couldn’t believe his luck. “I must have her,” he whispered to his white wolfhound, who found the sun and sand as appetizing as a carrot stick. ”I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful.”
“She’s not just beautiful.” His friend slid on his sunglasses, trying not to openly stare. ”She’s pure joy. I’ve never seen her sad. No one has.”
For a man all too familiar with ice and snow, it was too much. That evening, he slipped into the seat across Sunni at dinner.
“Hello.” She smiled. ”Are you enjoying your stay?”
“Only because of you.” He reached for her hand and she pulled it away. Her nails sparkled, the warmth of the tips like sun spots across the white linen.
“How can you enjoy your stay because of me? You don’t know me,” she reminded him. ”You just know my name, if that.”
“I know that your smile is brighter than the sunrise and your eyes gleam like golden ribbons of sunbeams through my morning curtain. I know that joy sparkles in your heart and makes you glow. I know that you find the good in everything, every tiny starfish and shell that you scoop up on your morning walks.”
Sunni sucked in her breath. ”I…I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll marry me. Say you’ll be mine.”
Sunni looked into his silver eyes. While most found them cold, she found the flames within. He smiled.
She said yes.
But as all lovers know, the honeymoon doesn’t last forever. Soon Sunni found herself on a plane, yearning for the beach she left behind.
“It’s just for a few weeks dear.” Ash stroked his wolfhound, who was thrilled at the idea of weather that wouldn’t make him pant. ”Just to get some business taken care of.”
She stared out the window at the mountains, her stomach curling in knots as she studied the clouds swimming around the peaks.
She had never seen rain or snow until that week. And that was all she saw.
At first, she busied herself shopping and seeing the sights. But every time she stepped out the door she was wet and cold, never as she had been in the ocean, even on Christmas. She only caught the sun in tiny grasps, hidden by the heavy grey blanket of clouds. Soon her smile faded and her hair drooped. Her skin paled and her joy faded into dullness. Curled up on the couch, she stared outside.
“You should send her back,” Ash’s friend advised. ”She won’t last another week.”
“But we’ve never been apart.” Ash’s wolfhound tilted his head back, drinking the rain and splashing in the puddles. ”I don’t know how to be without her.”
“You can’t be selfish.” His friend shrugged on his raincoat. ”She can’t survive here. Cold can survive heat, heat can’t survive cold. You have to give her the sun.”
Ash frowned. ”I can’t move the suns and clouds.”
“Then move her.” His friend vanished into the gusty winter, banishing the howls with a slam of the door. Ash stroked his wolfhound, then grinned. Leaning over, he picked up the phone. ”Mrs. Walker? Get me Peterson’s.”
Later that afternoon, Sunni peeled herself off the couch at the buzzing insistence of the doorbell. She pulled open the door and gasped.
“Sunflowers for Sunny Solar Winter.”
“That’s me.” Burying her face in the blooms, she felt a warmth tingle in her toes she hadn’t in days. ”Ash, right?”
“Right.” The florist handed her a card and Sunni shut the door. Pulling open the envelope, she smiled.
Like the moon, I need my Sun too much to send you home. But if I can’t bring you to the sun, I can bring the sun to you. I love you.
Sunni smiled and turned her face to the flowers. When Ash came home, he found his wife and the sunflowers tilted toward the window.
The sun was shining.
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! A new week of whimsy awaits!
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