A/N:

This is my first foray into the world of pure Tuck Everlasting fanfiction, so please give me feedback and leave a review! Enjoy!

Winnie Foster sat on the front steps of her house, watching the world come and go as the late afternoon sun shone brightly on her face. Her neighborhood was quiet, most everyone who lived there was too old to venture out into the world much, even on a gorgeous summer day like this one.

Sighing, Winnie lazily rested her chin on her hand and yawned, her gaze traveling to the small patch of trees at the edge of her neighborhood. On days like this she wanted desperately to go and play there, the shade of the cool green trees looked so inviting and she could faintly hear the rushing of water coming from somewhere deep within the thicket of branches.

But playing in the woods was at the top of her mother's very long list of things not to do, and Winnie knew better than to go against her mother. The last time she had tried to suggest an amendment to Rule #5 (Absolutely No Cell Phone Until You Turn 18) she had been stuck doing extra chores for a month. That was not an experience she was anxious to repeat.

As the sun beat down and late afternoon turned into early evening Winnie's eyes grew heavier and heavier until they slowly slipped shut, quite against her will. She didn't open them back up, however, figuring that as long as there was nothing better to do she might as well take a nap. She was just drifting off when she suddenly heard the rumble of a truck in the distance, getting louder by the minute. Opening her eyes to investigate this disturbance Winnie was shocked to see a moving van rumble slowly down the street, stopping in front of the house next to hers, an old victorian-style mansion with peeling paint that had been vacant for as long as she could remember.

An man with slightly wild, unkempt gray hair climbed out from the driver's side of the truck and walked around to the back, presumably to open it and begin unloading. He was followed by a woman with flaming red hair that was even more unkempt (if that was possible). Winnie watched, burning with curiosity, as the man opened the back door of the moving van and a teenage boy with sandy blond hair jumped out, sporting a large grin. The people (who Winnie guessed were all related) conversed for a little while, then walked over to the house and went inside.

Unable to keep this exciting news to herself Winnie jumped up and hurried inside to tell her mother, startling her grandmother in the process.

"Mom, guess what!" Winnie exclaimed, so excited that she was practically jumping up and down.

"What?" her mother asked, not turning to look at Winnie as she washed the dishes left over from their lunch earlier in the day.

"A new family is moving in next door!" Winnie answered enthusiastically.

"Don't shout, Winifred," Winnie's mother replied. "I know that we have new neighbors, and I baked them a loaf of soda bread to welcome them to the neighborhood. After dinner, you can go next door and deliver it to them, alright?"

"Alright," Winnie answered, deflating slightly at her mother's reaction to her big news.

"Very good. Now, go and wash up for dinner," Winnie's mother said in an even tone. Nodding, Winnie walked out of the kitchen to the bathroom down the hall, ignoring the look her grandmother gave her.

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

After dinner Winnie fidgeted and fussed until her mother sighed heavily, went into the kitchen, and returned with a small foil-covered loaf of her famous soda bread. "Don't stay over there too long. I want you back here by 7:30, okay?"

"Okay!" Winnie chirped, happily taking the bread from her mother and dashing out the door.

A minute later Winnie was standing on the front porch of the house next door, her heart hammering in anticipation. She knocked softly on the front door, then jumped slightly when a loud crash was heard from inside the house. A moment passed, then the front door was yanked open by the red-haired woman Winnie had seen earlier.

"Um, hi," Winnie began nervously. "My mom sent this bread to welcome you to the neighborhood. I, uh, hope you like it."

"That was so thoughtful of her!" the woman exclaimed, her voice bright and melodic. She stepped to one side and gestured for Winnie to enter. "Come on in! Sorry about the mess, we're still unpacking."

Winnie hesitantly stepped inside, the woman closing the door firmly behind her. "Here, I'll just go put this in the kitchen," she said, bustling off down the hallway and leaving Winnie alone in the entrance hall.

Winnie looked around in awe, she had never been inside this house before but had heard all sorts of stories about it. To her left there was an impressive grand staircase, and to her right there was what appeared to be the living room, piled high with boxes. Directly in front of her was a hallway which lead to a room which Winnie guessed was the kitchen. The woman had disappeared into it, and Winnie was too shy to follow her.

Just as Winnie was beginning to wonder if the woman would ever come back the teenage boy she had seen earlier thumped down the stairs, jumping the last few and landing heavily at the bottom. "Ma, have you seen my slingshot? I thought it was in the box with my silly string but I can't find-" the boy cut off upon turning and seeing Winnie.

"Hello," Winnie said softly. The boy stared at her in what appeared to be a mix of shock and awe for a second longer, then gave himself a little shake, smiled and held out his hand.

"Jesse Tuck, how do?" he said

"Winnie Foster," Winnie responded, taking his hand and giving it a firm shake. They stared at each other for a moment, then the woman returned.

"Oh, I see you've met Jesse!" she said brightly. "That's good, I was hoping there'd be someone his age around here."

Jesse cleared his throat and gave the woman a look Winnie couldn't quite decipher. The woman opened her mouth to say something to him, but then seemed to think better of it and turned back to Winnie.

"I never introduced myself, did I? I'm Mae Tuck, you've met my son Jesse, and my husband Angus should be around here somewhere."

"I'm Winnie Foster. It's nice to meet all of you," Winnie stated, smiling. Then she caught a glimpse of a clock on the wall behind Mae, displaying the time. "Oh no!"

Jesse frowned. "What's wrong?"

"I told my mother I'd be back by 7:30, I need to get going!" Winnie exclaimed, quickly turning and opening the door.

"All right. Well, I hope you'll come visit again soon!" Mae called as Winnie stepped out onto the porch.

Winnie paused to flash the Tucks a smile, then hurried down the steps of their house and flew across their yard to her own house leaving them standing in the doorway, slightly startled.