She kept a bottle half-filled with dried rose petals by the side of her bed.
At first, he thought it was because she liked roses, but when he brought her a dozen on their third date, she was so un-thrilled as to be unhappy, and the level of petals in the bottle grew.
And, he noted, his wasn’t the only bouquet. The level grew by the fourth date – he brought her orchids, which at least got a smile – and by the fifth, she was onto a new bottle.
He brought her daisies on that date, and it was a nice one, smiles received and a long time snuggling afterwards, until she suggested she had to get up in the morning and he, like a good boy, took his cue.
“When can I see you again?” he asked, as he always did, and, like she always did, she contemplated for a moment. He braced, always afraid he’d hear the “I’ll call you” that he’d been told meant his time with this angel was over.
“Next Friday,” she said instead, and he felt his heart start again.
He thought about flowers all week. About the roses in the wine bottles. About the flowers she always had in a vase, drying in the hallway, petals in the bottle. He’d thought it was because she liked them, but that was clearly not the case. And the orchids and daisies… they hadn’t done much better.
He did some more thinking, and some reading, and when he came to pick her up for their sixth date, he brought a dozen origami flowers he’d folded himself.
And when he asked when he could see her again, as the dawn colored the sky pink, she told him… “today.”
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