The drop in temperature had been unexpected, to say the least. The wheels of the rented carriage had skidded ominously across the ice all the way to the party, causing Aunt March to click her tongue and clutch Amy’s arm every time they slipped. Now, safe inside with the fires roaring, one could almost forget the frigid temperatures outside, unless one stopped to look closely at the frost clinging to the windows. Amy, having just excused herself from her third dance with Fred Vaughn (he would be so insistent upon her dancing every dance with him, but her throat was parched and she needed a drink and Miss Howard had been looking longingly across the room at him for at least twenty minutes and surely it wouldn’t hurt either of them to begrudge the little thing just one dance) and made her way to the refreshment table, found herself doing just that as she nursed a glass of punch. The ice had frozen intricate patterns on the windowpane, and she couldn’t help but think of the stories that Jo could conjure up about it if she were here, passing the time by whispering tales of winter fairies who traveled through the night to leave messages and artwork on the frosted glass–
“There you are,” said a voice softly in Amy’s ear, and she would have jumped in fright had she not recognized it right away. She gave a well-practiced roll of her eyes and turned to face Laurie, who was grinning mischievously in a way that would have delighted Jo but only served to infuriate Amy. “I thought you’d never tear yourself away from him.”
“I needed a breather,” said Amy, her tone as cool as the wind outside. “It wouldn’t do for me to keep Fred to myself the whole night over, anyway. He understands.” Desperate for something to occupy her hands, she reached for the nearest plate–a platter of marzipan treats–and popped one into her mouth, grateful for both the taste and the distraction they caused. She couldn’t answer Laurie as long as she had something in her mouth.
“You like marzipan?” he asked, undeterred. As she nodded, he plucked a sticky piece off of the plate and turned it in his hand, studying it as carefully as he had never studied his books under the tutelage of Mr. Brooke. “I cannot say I’ve ever tried any. I’m sure it was pushed on me in the past, but I was a very willful child.”
“Who has grown into a very willful adult,” Amy retorted. “It’s quite good, if you must know. You may as well try it.”
“Then I shall,” he said triumphantly before stuffing it into his mouth. Amy watched his expression as he chewed, careful to keep her eyes locked onto his and far, far away from his lips.
“That’s not bad,” he said finally, a faint smile crossing his face. “Not bad at all.”
“It’s my favorite,” she said primly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe Fred is expecting me back.”
It was a few years later, when Laurie and Amy were married and she was expecting and her cravings for marzipan were so acute that they had to keep it stocked in the house at all times, that he finally admitted the truth–that he hated the sticky almond paste, had hated it all this time.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” she asked, recalling all the times that he had eaten it alongside of her–they’d served it at their hasty wedding lunch, even!
“Because, Mrs. Laurence, it is your favorite, and that makes it worthwhile.”