I was in the process of dethorning roses in the back room of my shop—Kathy's Rainbow Florist—when I heard the bell tinkle above the front door.
I pushed back the curtain, and stepped to the counter. David Wright, still the most eligible bachelor in town, was peering into a refrigerated showcase.
Ten years ago we'd been in high school together, though our paths seldom crossed.
"Did you sell another house?"
Dave is in real estate. About six months ago he started having flowers delivered to new homebuyers on their move-in dates. Though he can place the orders over the phone, he always stops by. We chat and laugh. He bought flowers for his mom's birthday and Mother's Day. Once he even bought flowers for his secretary's birthday. A little pang of jealousy pricked me as I wondered about their relationship and what she was like.
Now he turned and smiled at me with his boyish good looks.
"No house sale," he said. "And it's not Mother's Day—I might have a date next week...my graduating class's ten-year reunion."
When I thought of his dating someone, that pang of jealousy pricked me again, but I told myself, Kathy, get a grip. He's a customer! Then I said, "You need to order a corsage, right?"
"Right." David peered into the showcase again.
"Who's the lady?" I asked, trying to sound only vaguely interested.
"Liz Chambers. She emailed me. Said she'd be in town."
He looked sheepish, and I felt my eyebrows rise.
Liz was the best-looking, most sought-after girl in high school. When she started dating David during their senior year, everyone thought she had finally settled down and the two would marry someday, but after graduation they broke up when she flew off the New York to seek a modeling career. David joined his dad here in Lost Grove in the real estate business.
"What's she going to wear?"
He scratched his head of curly black hair. "Don't now."
"Something slinky? Flashy? Elegant?"
"Really, I have no idea—are you going to be there?"
I shook my head and felt a little disappointed he didn't remember I was a year behind him in school. "My ten-year anniversary is next year. "
He studied me a moment, as if seeing me for the first time, and I felt myself blushing.
"I can do that." He pointed at the showcase. "What are these, here in front?"
"They're beautiful. You make corsages out of them?"
"Frequently. They're feminine. Delicate."
"Would you like a corsage made of sweetheart roses?"
"My absolute first choice, but I think Liz would like something more spectacular. An orchid perhaps."
"You're right—I'll ask about her dress. And if she'd like an orchid."
All week, I kept thinking about David and the right corsage for Liz. I suspected Liz's dress might be red. Something off-the-shoulder. Definitely slinky.
Monday morning, first thing, eight o'clock, David shuffled through the front door of my shop. "Did you contact Liz?" I asked.
"Did you ask about her dress?"
That surprised me. "Well," I said, "that's okay. I can fix an orchid to go with nearly anything. Would she like it for her wrist or dress?"
He shrugged. "Didn't you say you'd like the sweetheart roses?"
"Yes, but I'm not sure Liz—"
"The roses will be fine."
"Wrist or dress?" I said again.
"What would you prefer?"
Suddenly our eyes locked. My heart went all fluttery. "David, it's not up to me."
"Yes it is," he said, suddenly looking hesitant and fearful yet hopeful—all at the same time. "Because I've been coming into this shop for several months now, and I've finally decided I like a girl who likes roses—not orchids. Would...you be my date? I know it's short notice."
I blinked. My knees nearly wilted. "Liz—?"
"I told her I had someone else in mind. I said I was sorry." A smile crept across his face. "I'd be honored if you'd be my florist—and my date."
I blinked again. Twice.
"This could be a perfect match," he said.
I inhaled. Exhaled. Gulped. "I'd love to be your date," I said, my heart racing, and I immediately decided that for my wrist I'd fashion—you guessed it—a lovely corsage of sweetheart roses.
The EndEnjoy reality! Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Don't wait! Visit: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Jon+Ripslinger