Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: The Florist
“Daniel, would you please come here?”
He spun the lily one more time, making Marla’s skirt twirl, then dropped the flower back in it’s vase. “Coming.”
“Honestly, what have you been doing?” she asked as she hung the clean clothes. “We need to go in a few minutes and you aren’t even dressed.
He shrugged his shoulders and began removing his shirt. “It doesn’t take me long to get ready.” She sighed. “I wish I could say that.” Her brilliant dress was one of his favourites, one that fit perfectly with the tiger lily he imagined her wearing. He plucked at her real skirt, pretending it was still petals and tepals and he could pull them off.
“Enough,” she said, giggling. “Get dressed.” And she left to the washroom.
The party was almost as painful as Daniel expected. The staff of Marla’s office were polite, even friendly, but he had never been good with people. He waited until everyone was conversing and pulled the rose from his lapel, holding it up to the various women around the room.
“What do you, Daniel?”
He dropped the rose in surprise and it landed in his wine glass. The flute was empty and it superimposed the rose on a woman across the room, turning her simple frock into natural beauty. He smiled and took strength from it.
“I’m a florist.”
As usually happened, people stared at Marla, wondering if Daniel was gay. He ignored them, lifting the glass to toast the woman who had risen to move around the room.
“I thought only I got to wear your flowers,” she whispered, taking his free hand and pulling it into her lap.
He brought the glass down and leaned his head into hers, imagining they were the only two people in the room. “I have lots of flowers, for lots of women, but my heart is only yours.” She stroked his chin and kissed his nose. “I know. Thank you for coming. I know this isn’t easy for you.”
He straightened and turned the glass on the table, looking at the women around. None fit the bloom now. It wasn’t easy. He worked alone because that was how he felt safe. His business had plateaued. He could have kept growing if he would take Marla’s advice and hire an assistant, but especially in his shop, he didn’t want to have extra people.
“You wanted me here. I can do it for you.” he said, not meeting any of the eyes in the room, even Marla’s.
“I know you can. I’m so happy.” She stood and wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging tight. “I need the washroom,” she said very quietly releasing her hold.
Daniel yanked a bloom from the centerpiece and turned to watch Marla leave. She stopped and turned just as he got the bloom perfectly aligned. She twirled for him and he spun the flower. Then she raised her hand in a little wave and continued to the bathroom.
He had an eye for flowers, but not for women. He had no idea what made one more attractive than another. He only knew he had picked the best, longest lasting, most beautiful flower in the garden, and he would never let her go.
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Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege and the upcoming Thickness of Blood. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com