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Build Me Up, Buttercup

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“So... are you going to ask her?”

Shane glared at Emily over his plastic cup of weak-ass punch. She was the only person he considered a friend, not just in town but in general, and it was the sole fact that stopped him from telling her to fuck off. Also, because she was his friend... and about the only bloody person who actually knew him... Shane didn't bother trying to play dumb by asking who she was talking about. He knew who she meant, she knew who she meant. Hell, he had a feeling even Jas knew who she meant, if the way his god-daughter giggled was any indication.


Fighting the urge to wince at his own aggressive tone, Shane continued to glare at Emily who had the audacity to continue grinning at him. He was only at the stupid Flower Festival because Jas had begged him to take her; and although Shane knew he was a no good, alcoholic deadbeat, he did try not to let his god-daughter down too much. He'd even endured the not so subtle 'oh... he actually came' comments that were whispered none too quietly, and it was only for Jas' sake that he didn't tell them all to go fuck themselves. Because really, there were only three people in the whole town that Shane tolerated... perhaps even liked... other than Jas and his Aunt Marnie. They consisted of Emily, Gus and Pam. But other than the sapphire haired woman who was still grinning at him, one was the local bar tender and the other was essentially his drinking buddy; a fellow washed up drunk who enjoyed a pint or seven without much conversation.

But then someone new had moved into the valley, taking over the old abandoned farm not far from his aunt's ranch. A woman with an utterly annoying sunny disposition, who seemed to have made it her life's goal to befriend everyone in the bloody town. Hell, she'd barely been around for a month and even cantankerous old George seemed to like her. Shane on the other hand wasn't sure if she was annoying or barmy, what with her insisting on saying hello every time she saw him. She'd even bought him a drink the other night when she'd dropped by the pub with a fresh order of parsnips for Gus; though thankfully didn't stop to try talk, just bought him a beer then left.

“You should dance with Emily,” Jas said, in that sing-song way only little kids can manage.

“That's an excellent idea,” his friend agreed, her smile widening.

“That way you can impress you know who,” his god-daughter advised, as serious as a seven year old could be.

“I agree,” Emily nodded, enthusiastically.

Of course, that was the exact moment the new farmer wandered over to them, and Jas finally let go of his hand in order to run over to her. Shane's heart felt like it was in his mouth, as he waited for his god-daughter to blurt out something to her. But to his relief, Jas only wanted to tell her she looked pretty in her sundress; which was both true, and a real change from the soil covered jeans and boots she normally wore, not that he noticed. He almost smiled as he watched the farmer kneel down with Jas, letting his god-daughter sit in her lap making daisy chains and animatedly talking about the new chickens the farmer had recently bought from Aunt Marnie. Since her parents death, Jas had been shy and withdrawn, she wasn't good with strangers... until the farmer came along. The pair had seemed to hit it off instantly, which was really nice to see, and Shane honestly would have smiled about it, if not for Emily's annoyingly knowing grin.