This night had to be absolutely perfect. The thought put a pit in Too-Ticky’s stomach; she didn’t tend to do things perfectly. But right now, it was absolutely crucial that everything go absolutely perfect. Through some miracle, she’d managed to land a date with the heartbreaker of Moominvalley, Mymble herself, and if she had any hopes of getting a second date, things had to go splendidly. Too-Ticky had no intentions of letting the opportunity go to waste, but still. How could one not worry? Mymble, with her lovely hair that never seemed to fall out of place, her soft cotton dresses and smile that made the entire Valley glow. No, there was no way she was going to let it go to waste.
Of course, all of that was decided before Mymble opened her door. As always, her hair was piled high atop her head, tucked into a neat circle that reminded Too-Ticky of a tiny pumpkin.
“Hello! You’re right on time, aren’t you?” Mymble smiled, paw casually swishing the fabric of her dress. It was a fetching pink that reminded her of salmon. She didn't say so, figuring Mymble would not like to be compared to a fish.
Hoping to distract her from the fact that her heart was making a desperate attempt to thud its way clear out of her chest, Too-Ticky held the flowers she had gathered straight out in front of her.
“Good evening, Mymble. You’re looking lovely as always.” She had rehearsed the line, knowing that if she didn’t at least have something to say at the beginning, she very well might stay mute the entire night.
“Oh how lovely! And what a beautiful vase!”
“Thank you. It seemed silly to give you a vase with no flowers.” Too-Ticky tapped her feet nervously, rocking on them.
“Oh! You made it then?” Mymble looked back at her, a sparkle of something like admiration in her eyes.
“It was nothing, really. I only- Well, in any case, I hope it suits you. I wasn’t sure what sort of thing you’d like.”
“It’s absolutely perfect.” Placing the flowers down on a table in her entry parlor, Mymble shut the door behind her, lifting her skirt as she walked. “How did you know purple is my favorite color?”
“I took a guess. Besides, lavender goes well with anything, and I figured if you didn’t want them, you could always make them into soaps.”
Mymble giggled, lacing a paw into the crook of Too-Ticky’s proffered arm as they walked down the road. “I like them just fine. But it’s not a bad idea- That way, I can keep them long after they’d dried.”
“If you dried a sprig, it would look lovely in your hair.” Very much wishing she had a pipe just so she had something to toy with, Too-Ticky flexed her free paw.
“I’ve always thought purple and red was a good combination!” Mymble patted her hair absent-mindedly. “But Mrs. Fillyjonk said-”
“Bah! That woman says a lot of things. A bit of thinking wouldn’t do her any harm, I can tell you that.” Too-Ticky rolled her eyes. There was a beat of silence and then Mymble burst into the most delightful fit of giggles. Too-Ticky thought that if you could see sounds, Mymble’s laugh would look like a sky of bubbles.
“You try telling her so, and see how it goes.”
“I gladly would. I try to keep by simple principles, and anything I’m willing to say, I’m willing to say to anybody.”
“Well, that’s certainly a refreshing, if unpopular, outlook.” Laying her free paw atop the one clasping Too-Ticky’s elbow, Mymble chuckled. Too-Ticky flushed.
“There’s enough madness going about without adding to the confusion. Being straightforward keeps things simple.”
“I like it.” Mymble smiled, a soft look to her eyes. “I’ve often found honesty an admirable quality.”
“It’s not always a welcome one.”
“No,” Mymble looked ahead, humming through her smile. “I like it though. So, how has your day been?”
Too-Ticky’s day had been mainly comprised of putting on the same three outfits in infinite combinations and trying to figure out which way she ought to part her hair.
“It’s been good enough. The weather’s been splendid.”
“Oh, it certainly has! Why, just the other day I was out for a walk, and-” Mymble delved into a story that seemed to wander and loop about itself, not showing any sign of reaching any sort of conclusion. Too-Ticky didn’t mind, glad to just listen. What a lovely voice , she thought. What a lovely mymble. And so they continued walking on, Too-Ticky adding the occasional “Hmm,” or “Ah,” just to let Mymble know she was listening.
Reaching the docks, she stepped into the small boat, taking Mymble’s paw to help her down.
“And then I said-” Mymble stopped, her brow furrowing. “Oh dear, I’ve been talking far too much haven’t I?”
“Not at all!” Too-Ticky lay a checked blanket down on the bench across from hers for Mymble to sit. Taking up the oars, she slotted them into the sides of the rowboat. “I like to listen.”
“Sorry, I get ahead of myself at times. It can be quite a problem.”
“Only a problem if it causes trouble.” Looking over her shoulder, Too-Ticky began to row them out.
“You’re kind to say so.” Mymble smiled sheepishly. “Let me know if I’m ever being a bore.”
“A bore?” Too-Ticky shook her head, scoffing. “Now, anybody who finds you a bore deserves to be pushed right into the lake. Imagine, being so ungrateful.” Smiling, she chuckled as Mymble covered her giggle with a paw.
“You really are too much,” Mymble protested, but Too-Ticky noticed that her tail flicked about happily beneath the skirt of her dress. “If you’re not careful, you’ll spoil me entirely.”
“Ahh, wouldn’t you know it, that had been the plan all along.” Faking disappointment, she snapped her fingers with a sullen pout.
Mymble giggled again, leaning her cheek upon a paw. Oh, that she were a glove upon that paw…
“Are you teasing me, Miss Too-Ticky?”
“Never teasing. I wouldn’t dare, not with a girl as clever as you.” She whistled slowly. “Lord knows I’d be nearly sprinting to keep up with your wit.”
“Oh, stop! Enough flattery!” Blushing a darling red, Mymble smiled, looking out over the water. “Do you come here to fish?”
“Fish? No. Not nearly enough fish here, and anything you’d catch wouldn’t be worth eating.”
“You live closer to the ocean anyway, don’t you?”
“I certainly do. Always have thought saltwater fish tasted better.”
“Does it ever get frightening, living right upon the coast? I imagine the storms must be terrible.” Mymble turned back to her, looking very much like a child waiting to hear a ghost story beside a campfire.
“Not often, but there’s been time enough when I thought for sure I’d get blown out.”
“Really?” Mymble gasped.
“Well,” trying to pick a story in which she came across as particularly brave, Too-Ticky racked her brain. “There was this one time, in the middle of winter. Nobody else was around, not a soul for miles…”