Shannon and Daniel walked along the crowded pavement from the apartment they shared (with four other room-mates) towards Flora’s, the neighbourhood florist. Occasionally, they’d bump shoulders, laughed. She’d swat his head and run ahead. He’d look at her retreating back momentarily stunned at her cheek and chased after her. This was how they always were.
It was the evening before Valentines. Everyone was rushing out to get flowers. Shannon and Daniel included.
Flora’s was packed – with people and blossoms – tiger lilies, gerberas, daisies, orchids, tulips, irises and roses, filling every container in every available crevice.
“So, I’ve to ask you a really important question and you have to be serious when you answer, ‘kay?” Daniel held Shannon’s arms and looked into her eyes, “If you could receive a bouquet of flowers,” Daniel asked, “what would the bouquet be filled with?”
Pretending to think about it, she put a finger to her lips and went, “Mmmm…well, in all seriousness…” she chuckled, unable to hold it back in. Daniel tickled her waist. “Alright, alright! Stop it! Jeez…if somebody were to give me a bouquet of flowers, what would it be filled with? Well…duh, irises!”
Daniel gave her a knowing smile and walked straight to the cash register. “Ahem, excuse me. I’m here to pick up my bouquet order. The name’s Daniel Sisson.”
The lady behind the cash register checked her records and held up a finger to let him know that he needed to wait. She went to the backroom and returned with a giant-mungous bouquet overflowing with irises. Shannon’s eyes went wide! The bouquet was beautiful! She turned to Daniel wondering why now? She’d had a crush on him ever since they became roomies and he’d always treated her like a friend. So, why now?
After he paid for the bouquet, he turned and handed it to her. Shannon’s heart was beating out of her chest, she was positive. “Hey, could you hold on to this? I’ve gotta call Tracy before we come over.”
Hands full with the bouquet, she blinked once, then twice before she realised what he said – “Tracy? Tracy who works at the record store with you-Tracy? That Tracy?”
“Yep,” said Daniel with his phone pressed between his ear and shoulder as he put his credit card back into his wallet, “we’re dropping by her place after this. I’m going to ask her to be my valentine. And you know what?” Daniel asked her. Gosh, she felt like she’d reached her quota of surprising yet painful titbits of info for the millennium. “What?” she asked, irritation seeping into her voice. “She loves irises too!” Daniel answered, totally oblivious, clearly smitten. But not with her. Stupid. Stupid. He gave her what she thought was his I-love-you smile which she now knew was actually the I-love-you-like-a-buddy-cos-we’re-roomies-only smile. Her heart crushed into powder.
“Oh, how nice.” How Shannon managed to hold the smile on her face as she said that, would always be a mystery, as her fingers slowly, quietly crushed one of the irises she lovingly held tight to.