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Ridley's heart raced as he stood alone in the moonlight on the cobblestone street. Hands shaking, he pulled some pebbles from his vest pocket and carefully tossed them up to a window and faintly heard them hit the glass. "Lilyanna," he beckoned softly. He took more tiny rocks from his pocket, and gave another toss. "Lillyanna," he called louder, and then waited.
Moments later the window swung open, and a huge mass of disheveled hair appeared. "Who is it that comes at night and throws rocks at my window?" Lillyanna groggily demanded.
Catching his breath, he replied, "It is I, Ridley."
"Yes, Ridley. I sing in the marketplace. Surely you know of me."
"Yes, I have heard you, but why are you here at this hour?"
"Then you have relished in the splendor of my gift?"
"Splendor? What gift?
"Well, some say my voice has potential. Uh, what do you think?"
"Your voice?" She rubbed her eyes. "Well, splendor is not the word I'd use, but one might say you have…hmmm potential. But why do you ask me this now?"
"Aaah, because your gracious approval spurs me on to carry out my vital mission for this night."
"My mission to sing you a sonnet, a rapturous melody that speaks the truth of my heart. My dear Lilyanna, you move my soul and spirit in such grand and mysterious ways as I have never experienced. Like a rushing river, you cut a new course through my very being, and I will never be the same."
She sputtered. "These words which you speak glorify me in such manner that is beyond me, yet I hardly know you."
"Yes, but I feel I know you, and have so much more to say. Yet mere words without notes will not suffice. I must sing you a song."
"You mean now?"
"No please, not now. It is the day's end and my parents are retired for the night. If you cast your voice in these quiet hours you may awaken them, and perhaps others living along the way. Certainly, a time during the day would be better."
"I don't care who hears my song for you in these late hours. Would not a tune of sincere love from my lips that pierces the still night be better on delicate ears than jealous gossip of strangers by day?"
"But there is no need to express your admiration for me any further at this time, for you have already made your appreciation quite clear."
"But I must, for that is what I do. I must sing the passions of my heart, or surely I shall burst."
With that, Ridley sucked in a full chest of air and then lifted his voice, in a peculiar note. "Lillyanna, Lillyanna, Lillyaaaaannaaa," he sang with wavering crescendo.
She gasped in disbelief as a chorus of howling dogs throughout the neighborhood chimed in. She flailed her arms. "Shoosh. Be quiet!"
Ridley stopped singing, and then remarked in a tone of calm cavalier. "You see, my love, even the lowly hounds refuse to ignore my passion for you as they bay their sentiments of empathy."
He began singing again, as a growing number of howls and barks joined in.
A man's voice bellowed from a nearby window. "What is that racket? I dare say, I will gladly land the point of my sharp arrow in the source of such senseless screeching if it does not stop!"
Lillyanna cried. "See? Now you're waking the entire lane."
Ridley gazed at the moonbeams dancing on her tousled golden hair. "Romance is streaming through my veins," he loudly proclaimed. "I want the whole world to know my desire for you, Lillyanna, for it cannot be contained."
From a dark window across the street, the meek voice of an elderly woman politely suggested, "You could try writing a letter. You know…a love letter. That would be romantic I think. At least it would be quieter."
"YES, QUIETER," a deep male voice trumpeted. Lillyanna's father appeared at the window beside her. He looked down at Ridley. "NO-MORE-SINGING. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
Ridley stuttered, "Uh, yes sir," and quickly nodded.
"Good. Nothing is worth hearing at this time of night. You must go, and inspire my daughter at another time. Good night!" He huffed, then looked at his daughter. “Surely, the boy’s a loon.” Then reached out and yanked both windows shut.
Ridley sighed deeply, as Lillyanna disappeared behind the closing curtains.
The elderly woman offered a last bit of encouragement: "Don't forget the love letter," then shut her window.
Ridley stood alone in the moonlight on the cobblestone street looking up at the dark window. How splendorous she had been with the moonlight dancing in her hair. He considered the advice from the old woman, and pulled the few remaining pebbles from his vest pocket and tossed them up to the window. "Lillyanna," he beckoned softly. No answer. He gathered some larger stones off the ground and gave them a toss as the window swung open. Rocks scattered all about her bedroom floor.
“Ridley,” she called out in a tone of frustration. “What are you doing?”
“I wish to write you a letter, but how should I spell your name?"
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