THE GIRL IN THE FLOWERSHOP
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I'd walked past the shop a couple of times now, building up the courage to just go inside. I did it subtly of course. She hadn't seen me. I hope.
She was in my school. We had biology together. As in, we were in the same class. She worked with Mike and I worked alone. Two rows behind them. Instead of studying the assignment in front of me, I'd mostly just study the soft brown curls on her back. She had pretty hair. It smelled nice too. Really nice. I smelled it once, when she had bumped into me in the hallway. She had walked right into me and in that very second I couldn't help but notice how she fit perfectly against my chest and under my chin. That's when I caught the scent of her hair. Strawberries. Freesia's. Roses. A fragrance sweet and delicate as the pink blush that spreads on her cheeks so often. Just as it did then. Her hands were planted on my chest for support and my own hands had automatically grabbed her sides to keep her from falling.
"Oh," She exclaimed flustered, taking her hands of me and stepping back. "I- I'm sorry. I didn't see you." She said nervously. I watched how her cheeks coloured. It was lovely. She fidgeted with the hem of her shirt. "I… I uhm… I didn't hurt you or anything, did I?" She bit her lip and finally looked up into my eyes.
My lips eased into a smile. "I'm ok. No worries. You? You didn't hurt yourself did you?"
Her eyes widened the slightest bit. "No, no. I didn't hurt myself. I'm perfectly fine. This happens all the time to me. I'm a bit of a klutz as you can see. I really should start looking at where my feet are taking me." She rambled. Adorable. Guh, she'd turned me into such a sap, it's not funny anymore.
"So, uhm, yeah. I should go." She added. She took in a sharp breath and met my eyes one more time and then abruptly turned around and hurried down the hall. I stared at her retreating back, her scent still slightly dazing me.
Bella Swan. She had blushed her way into my heart and I couldn't stop thinking about her. I was always searching her out in the crowds during lunch, after school. And I counted on those two hours of biology each week.
But school was over now. Summer had begun. And I hadn't seen Bella in a while. That is, until I discovered by accident that she worked in Ms. Daisy's local flower shop.
I had thrown a fleeting glance inside when I crossed the street and noticed her petite form behind the counter. She was cutting flowers and arranging them into a bouquet for a customer. She hadn't seen me, too engrossed in her work. But I had frozen and my heart had warmed at the same time. I watched her for a moment and then got a move on before she could spot me.
I couldn't help it, but I came back. I'd stand across the street and watch her for a moment or two, or I'd walk past the shop and would sneak a glance inside. Just as I had now.
I inhaled. And exhaled. And inhaled. And turned on my feet, back to the shop. Exhale.
Ok. I was going to do this. I really was. Just one more time. Inhale. Exhale. Ok.
I slowly walked back. My feet stalling a bit. But then. Finally I did it. I stepped over the threshold, into the shop. No bell rung when I entered, and I was the only one in the shop, so she didn't notice me right away as her back was to me now. Her back with the beautiful brown curls.
I studied her. The nerves in my stomach were still fluttering around, but at the same time I felt miraculously calm.
She turned around and gasped. "Oh, uhm, hi. I didn't hear you come in." She said a bit startled.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
"Oh," She exhaled. "It's ok. Uhm, can I help you with something, or do you want to look around for a moment." She gestured at the buckets with roses, lilly's, gerbera's, asters, and dahlia's, they were all part of the sea of flowers on the floor.
I looked over at the flowers for a moment, and then back at her.
"I, uh… Actually, it would be great if you could help me."
"Ok, sure." She came out from behind the counter to stand next to me. The close proximity made me want to go smell her hair again. The strawberries, and roses, and freesia's.
"So which one of these would you like to have?" Her eyes scanned the buckets and then her head turned slightly so she could look at me. Her irises were a tad darker than the colour of her hair. And I noticed a really tiny dark spot in her right eye, just left of her pupil. Or maybe it was a freckle? If that was possible in eyes? I wouldn't know. It was pretty tough. Something unexpected in the smooth texture of the brown.
"I'm not really sure." I mused. From the corner of my eye I still watched her as I scanned the flowers myself.
"Ok. Maybe… If you don't mind me asking, who are they for? Maybe I can help you picking out."
"Oh. Yeah. That's a good idea. They're for a girl."
"A girl?" Her soft voice altered a little, but otherwise stayed as lovely as ever.
"Yeah, a girl. My age. I think. Well, she probably is. Maybe slightly younger. But almost the same."
"Ok." Her eyes focused on the flowers again.
"What is she like?"
"She's really pretty, and has a really sweet smile."
"Oh, that's not really what I meant. I meant it more like, what is she like. What is her personality?"
"Oh. Uhm. Well… She's really sweet and lovely. I mean I haven't really talked to her that much. But I know she is."
Bella nodded her head and ducked to the side to a bucket with white flowers. Carnations, the name tag read. She took a few of them and straightened up. She tapped her index finger to her lip for a moment and then plucked a few gardenia's and camelia's out of another bucket. Both white. Already with the small starting of a bouquet in her hands, she turned to me.
"Yeah, uhm. She's really lovely, but I don't think she knows just how much she is. And she has this really sweet laugh. An honest one, you know. That's also something I like about her. She isn't fake. When she laughs, or says something, she's always sincere."
Bella walked away to the other side of the shop and picked some flowers there.
"I also know, that she has a bit of a temper." I chuckled. "Whenever she's annoyed or impatience, she can kind of snap at you. But it isn't bratty or anything. It's kind of funny. She's like a little kitten trying to fight as if she has the claws of a tiger."
Bella just kept listening to me and kept picking out flowers. While I spoke, she simply nodded and walked over to another bucket. I followed her movements as she walked around in the small space. The bouquet in her hand grew slowly bigger as she picked out the prettiest flowers in the shop.
"She's funny, and witty." I added. "And smart. She's one of the best students in her class. Yeah, I think she'll make it far in the world." I kept on talking and hadn't noticed that Bella had gone over to the counter and started arranging the bouquet.
"Oh, hold on." I said and reached over the counter for her wrist. I grabbed it to make her stop moving.
"What's wrong?" She looked up startled. Her small wrist had felt as delicate it looked. I quickly let go.
"What are your favourite flowers?"
She looked at me puzzled, but I kept waiting.
"Why do you want to know?"
"I'm curious. You seem to know your way around flowers so well, it makes me curious as to which ones you favour."
"Oh. Ok. Uhm, well, I like these." She pointed at some big light pink flowers in the bouquet. I think they were peony's. Then she touched another kind of flower. Bellflowers.
"And baby's breath. I think that's really pretty too. Those little flowers are so sweet and delicate, they can compliment almost every flower arrangement."
She continued working. "And forget-me-not's. I love forget-me-not's." She smiled.
"Why is that?" I asked curiously.
" They're pretty, but because they are simple they're still easy to forget as a flower. Even though it's name asks you not to. I don't know why but I find them endearing." She smiled again and I couldn't help but smile back.
"Can I have a few of those in it as well?"
"Yeah, of course." She went to get a few forget-me-not's and continued working.
The bouquet started to turn out really nice. It was colourful, but not as if a circus had exploded on it. All the colours were soft and that effect was emphasized by the white flowers in it.
"So, that girl must be really something, huh?" Bella asked suddenly.
"Uhm, yeah. Yeah she is. She's pretty amazing."
"Is she from school?"
"Actually she is."
Bella started wrapping the flowers in cellophane. "Do I know her?" She asked. She looked up into my eyes. They looked serious at first but then narrowed playfully. "Or am I not allowed to know who your crush is," she teased.
I chuckled. "Top secret." I teased back.
"Oh come on. I helped picking out a grande bouquet, am I not allowed to know who it is for?" She glared. Again not serious, just teasing.
I laughed. "You'll find out soon enough."
She stared at me for a moment longer. "I guess." She said and averted her gaze, finishing up the last touches. Suddenly customers came in, and she hadn't had the time to focus solely on me anymore. It was ok, I got what I came for.
I said my goodbye and turned for the door.
"Hey Edward," she called just before I went outside.
"Yeah?" I turned.
"Uhm, well… I'll probably still see you around and all, but anyway, have a nice summer. And I hope things work out." She nodded towards the flowers in my hand.
"Thanks. You have a nice summer too."
I had brought some paper with me and wrote what I wanted to say. I folded it and put it in with the flowers. Next, I went to buy it a vase. I didn't want them to go to waste so fast and I didn't know if my girl had anything lying around the house. It wasn't as if I had been there before.
I got everything I needed and went back to my car to finish the last of my plans.
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I felt… out of it. This whole day had been weird. I was closing up the store and thought back about my afternoon with Edward. It was a surprise for him to show up there. Sure I had seen him around town a bit, even saw him passing the shop a couple of times. But he never went inside. I didn't really see him as the flowery type anyway.
But today, he surprised me. First by entering the shop. Second by buying flowers that were not for his mother, or grandmother. Or any other related female.
A girl. He liked a girl. A heavy feeling settled in my stomach and I sighed. I had reached my truck by now and was already climbing in, ready to drive home.
God, he sounded absolutely love struck. And she sounded absolutely perfect. Perfect for him. Of course she would be.
I wondered who it was. Edward Cullen never dated anyone. He hung out with his family, a couple of friends, but that was it. Though he was pretty wanted, he either was oblivious or didn't care for it. I think it was the latter. It made me like him that much more. It meant that he wouldn't hang out with people just to please them or up his social status. It meant that if he really did hang out with you, than he must genuiningly like you too. Just for who you are. And that is a very nice fact to know.
Unfortunately I never had that opportunity. I never hung out with him. I knew who he was, of course – how could I not – but I didn't know him as a friend. Even though I wanted to. And if I'm honest, I wanted a little more than that. I sighed and moved my truck on the road. The drive home would be 15 minutes max. Depending on the highly unnecessary three traffic-lights on the way back. Edward Cullen. I think the hair was what I noticed first about him. Like most people did. Always that casual disarray. It was magnificent. And then his eyes. Beautifully green. And his features, his jaw. His body. He was fit. Very fit. Not bulky though. Which was exactly right for me. And then lastly, the cherry on top – his mouth. His mouth was hypnotizing. The way he could lazily lift the corner of his mouth into a crooked smile melted my heart. I spent much of my time in school training my self-control and trying not to turn around and look at him. Especially in biology. The only class we had together. But I always felt his presence. Always that chill on my back and the butterflies in my stomach.
But yeah, I unfortunately never had the chance to hang out with him. Let alone have full conversations with him. So it's kind of amazing that the first time I have a real conversation with Edward Cullen – one that counts for the record – was all about flowers. Yeah, pretty amazing. Who would have thought.
The drive home took slightly less than 15 minutes. Just one of the three traffic-lights had been green right away. If they had all been green, it would've only taken me 10 minutes.
I parked next to Charlie's cruiser in the driveway and hopped out of the truck.
"Dad?" I called as I entered the house.
"Hey Bells," I heard his sleepy voice from the living room. He must have dozed off in front of the tv.
"Hey," I said, once I caught sight of him on the couch. "Have you eaten already?"
"No, I was waiting for you, but kind of fell a sleep. No worries though, I'm fixing you something now." He said and started getting up from the couch.
"Dad, that's ok. I'll do it, it's fine. It are just left-overs from yesterday anyway. It's just microwaving."
"You sure? You've been at work all day."
"Oh, yeah, it's fine. You can set the table in 5 minutes though."
"Ok, if you say so."
Charlie and I ate dinner pretty quietly. Which was kind of normal for us. We weren't that big of a talkers. He muttered something about hanging out on the couch again, and I decided to go upstairs and take a quick shower.
I went into my room and straight to my closet, gathering my clothes and a towel. I only spot the huge thing on my desk as I turned back around to head to the shower. I froze.
Flowers. Now that I saw them and my nose was their way, the fragrance hit my senses strongly. Stunned I looked around as if it would give me an explanation.
Slowly I dropped my clothes on my bed and walked over to my desk. My heart started pounding faster, harder, in my chest. Those flowers. The bouquet. Oh, I recognized it.
I made it myself this afternoon. I was at loss for what the meaning was behind this.
This were his flowers. How did they get here? They were for him. He was going to give them to her, that girl he- I gasped. Did he put them here? How? I spun around inspecting my window first. It was closed and hadn't seemed to be forced. My heart started pounding even more frantically. I hastened out of my room to the stairs and called out to Charlie: "Hey Dad, was there someone at the door for me today?"
"Not that I know of? I only came in about 40 minutes before you did. Why, did you expect someone?"
"Uhm, no never mind." I called back uneasily.
Back in my room. I sat on my bed and stared at the bouquet. It was so big that it really made have of my desk unusable. I only then noticed the flowers were placed in a vase I didn't recognize. I stood up and walked over, tracing the elegant swirls and decoration of the glass with my fingers.
Had he… Could he have… I swallowed. There is no way he could have been talking about me.
And yet, here they were. On my desk. The flowers I had picked so carefully to cover all of those trades he said that girl had. Involuntary my body started to react to the idea that maybe, possibly, those flowers really were for me. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach and I grew kind of warm.
It still didn't explain much to me though. If this really was for me, then how could he have ever gotten it here?
I leaned in to smell the tigerlily. I had put it there because he'd said the girl sometimes thought she was more of a tiger than the harmless kitten she really was. I leaned in, but froze half-way. Wait, what… If this was for me… Did he really thought it was amusing when I got mad? My eyes narrowed and glared at the flower I had tried to smell only seconds ago. Only then, I saw a piece of paper poking out form the mass of leafs.
I plucked it out. It was a little piece of paper rolled up and bounded with a silken ribbon.
I carefully slid the ribbon off and unrolled it.
I want you to know that I really like you. As in really really like you. You heard me today: I think you're amazing. You're sweet, genuine, caring. I love your smile, your hair, the way your eyes light up when you get really excited about something. I love your intelligence. I meant it, when I said she – and by that I mean you – can go places in this world.
It really bothers me that I've never really had the chance to talk you. I mean, I could have. I had plenty of opportunities to pull you aside in class or in the hallways, or in the waiting line at lunch. But you kind of make me nervous and I didn't know how to do it. So I hope you can forgive that I am doing it this way. And I am sorry I made you work for your own flowers. But as you might expect, I have no idea how flower stuff works. And I just wanted to talk to you and give you something nice. So, yeah.
I am kind of surprised though, I thought freesias and roses would have been amongst your favourite flowers. But you didn't mention them, so I guess not. I hope strawberries are your favourite fruit though, then there will be at least one thing about you that I figured out all by myself.
Anyway, I was wondering, guessing that you will read this tonight – or else I'll look pretty stupid – if you wanted to meet me outside?
I am down at the old gazebo by the river. I take it that you know where that is? I hope you will be there. It'll mean a lot to me. And if you do not have an interest in me and do not like my attention, than I am sorry to have bothered you. Of course I won't make you come if that's the case.
But I do hope you'll come.
My heart had pounded itself a way up to my throat and I noticed I was taking heavy breaths. He had really meant me when he said all those things this afternoon. My heart swelled. He really did like me.
A happy grin spread on my face. He liked me.
I read the letter again, and maybe I read it a third time as well. Only when I finished the last time, I realised what his last request meant. He wanted me to meet him outside tonight. That meant that he was there now, or going to be there soon, I decided after a quick glance at the my bedside alarm clock.
Oh oh, I was still sweaty from work and really really needed that shower. I made a quick work of soaping my self into freshness and get changed into a new set of clean clothes. Then I run down stairs to tell Charlie I was going out.
"Where are you going?"
"Just out, meeting a friend. I won't be home late."
"Oh come on, it's summer. It's not like I have school tomorrow."
"But you have work. I don't want you to be to tired for that."
"I won't. I won't be back that late."
"Ok, fine. See you later then." He finally muttered.
"Ok, bye dad."
I skipped through the front door and climbed into my truck. I knew the place he meant. It wasn't that far from my house. A little long for walking distance, but by car it would only take a few minutes.
I parked down at the picnic area and set course for the little gazebo. This place used to be a little thing for tourists to picnic and let their children play in the water. But since the current of the river had became stronger, people never went swimming here anymore and the place was sort of forgotten. Sort of, because everyone still knew it, but nobody really visited anymore.
As the gazebo came into view I suddenly became a little nervous. What if he wasn't there. Or he wasn't there yet and I'd have to wait for him.
But I didn't need to worry, because I quickly spotted his tall figure. His back was to me, but he turned around when he heard me approaching.
I blushed as he made eye contact and smiled broadly.
He came down to meet me.
"Hey," I said as soon as he was within hearing distance.
"Hey," he replied, still that smile on his face.
When he was close enough he instantly reached for my hand and held it up between us. I blushed a little at the contact. And the nerves.
"Yeah, I did." I smiled back.
"I'm glad. I'm sorry if you thought that whole stunt was stupid and kind of lame." He said drawing me a little closer by my hand. "But I did really mean it."
"It wasn't stupid." I protested. "It was really sweet and I so did not expect it. I mean, I know you said you meant it all, but… you really like me?" I asked shyly.
"Yeah." He grinned, drawing me so close that there was minimum space left between us, and while one hand was still holding mine, the other slipped around my waist.
Oh that felt wonderful.
"I like you too. Very much."
"I guess it works out just fine then, doesn't it?" He smiled.
"I guess it does."
"Bella," He said my name and slipped the hand from my waist, up to my shoulder and then my neck where it tangled with my hair.
"Would you mind it if I'd kiss you?"
I blushed and shook my head. "No, I wouldn't mind."
His grin broadened even further and he ducked his head down to capture my lips. His lips where soft and wonderful. His arms wrapped around me while we kissed and I had never felt so safe. And his scent. His scent was better than all those flowers together. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it was so good. It was like honey and sunshine and… just Edward.
"Oh, wait." I pushed him away. He reluctantly pulled his lips off mine.
"How did you get into my house? My dad says he hasn't let anyone in, and the window at my room was closed. So, tell me, how did you get in?"
He chuckled. "Top secret."
"No, you can't not tell me how you got in to my house." I pinched his side.
He sighed and rolled his eyes. "Ok, fine. It is as top secret as the spare key under the flower pot next to the front door."
I gasped. "How do you know about that one."
"I wanted to leave them on your porch. But when I got there and noticed the flowerpot, I thought there was a good chance you kept a spare key over there."
"Edward. Breaking and entering into the house of the Chief of Police? Are you seriously looking for trouble?" I grinned.
"It wasn't really breaking in, since I used a key…" He grinned back. "Besides that was kind of an obvious place to keep a key. I expected more from the Chief. You've got a really nice room by the way."
My eyes widened. Oh yeah. He saw my room.
"Yeah, I can't believe you did that either." I said, and then my voice softened. "And I can't believe you think so highly of me. All that stuff you said, and well, that you've done. Thank you. It really is the sweetest thing someone has ever did for me."
He just smiled and leaned in to capture my lips.
I stayed with him for some time more, and we talked about stuff. And sometimes he would steal a kiss or two. I absolutely did not mind that. His kisses were heaven. He was heaven. He was as nice as I thought he would be. He had held my hand the whole time we were there and it felt so good.
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I parked my car down the street and walked over to the little shop. Again I was the only one there except for her.
She was with her back to me, behind the counter. "
"Hey Bella." I greeted her.
She spun around with wide eyes. When she saw me, a smile spread on her face.
"Hi Edward." She greeted back. "Did it work out, with the flowers and all." She teased.
"Yeah, I'd say so. I'm taking her out to Port Angeles this weekend. We're going for ice cream." I leaned in over the counter and she followed my move. I kissed her lips softly.
"If she has the time of course." I smiled. My fingers tracing the curve of her face.
"Yeah. She's got the time."