Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tainted Roses

Chapter 3
After deciding that enough of her closet was thoroughly went through, Amber realized that she had 15 minutes before she had to leave and meet Patrick.  Amber frantically hurried around her apartment as she attempted to get ready to meet him by seven at the restaurant.  She decided to dress in one of her favorite outfits.  A pair of gray corduroy pants that sat perfectly on her hips and a matching orange-toned sheer top covering a stark white camisole.  Her hair was put into a large clip and fell ever-so-slightly across her tan face, accentuated solely by some eye-shadow and shimmering lip gloss.  She slipped on her sporty clogs, the rave of the season, grabbed her purse and set off to the Marta station.  Marta was easier to take considering that her apartment was a three-minute walk from the station, and the train dropped her off right next to Perimeter mall.  She had also always loved the people that relied on the transportation; full of intrigue and mystery, each person held their own story.  She had often wondered some of the situational happenings that brought them into her life.  The reason may have been unknown, but the fact that there was a reason and purpose behind everything always made her smile and remember God’s unique work in everything around her.  She loved discovering it bit-by-bit each day.  As the Marta station came to a stop, she quickly exited and walked towards the Cheesecake Factory, where she would meet Patrick.
        She wasn’t surprised to see him standing there, looking all professional and punctual.  As she walked up, she could see the smile curving on his face and the slightly revealed bouquet hidden behind his back.
        “Hello darling, happy birthday.” he cheerfully greeted as he handed her the bouquet.  She brought the flowers close to her nose so she could take in the wondrous fragrance.  Composed of daisies, lilies, baby roses, and green foliage, the bouquet was exquisite.  She tried to ignore the feeling that had wretched her stomach earlier when she had found the undesirable memento.
        “Oh, by the way, did you get the flower I sent you earlier?”
        “I sent you a single yellow rose with a note saying “I Miss You.”  Did you not get it?  I gave the florist very explicit instructions.”
        She couldn’t move.  It was Patrick that had sent her that?  So many questions raced through her mind.  Why did he pick a yellow rose?  Why did he send her something this morning and say he missed her when she saw him yesterday and he knew she was meeting him today?  Where was Jeremy’s flower?  Had he stopped reminding her? Why?
        “Honey? Are you okay?”
        “Yeah, I just remembered something.  Don’t worry about it.”  She had to figure out what had just happened, and she didn’t want to bring up Jeremy yet.  He didn’t need to worry about her; he had enough cases of his own to worry about.
        The meal went smoothly enough. Amber tried her best to forget about what had happened and instead tried to focus on the future.  They talked about the weather, her organizing intrigues, his work schedule, and any other comments that slipped into their thoughts.  When the meal was over, Patrick walked Amber to the Marta entrance and gave her a long kiss and a soothing hug.  The sky was turning a dark purple-blue as their departing words were said.  She felt as if she had a thousand pounds of baggage on her head, and she wasn’t sure yet how she would manage it.  She paid the fare and walked the stairs to the loading dock.  The station was practically empty.  While she was waiting, she took notice of the ads that surrounded the platform.  One such ad caught her attention.  It was a picture of a bountiful bouquet of roses and a stunning diamond ring underneath.  The caption read, “Surprise her with a gift that she won’t want to hide in a drawer any longer.”  The ad for the jewelry restorer seemed to be speaking about her, as if it were a message to someone who would be on the train.  She considered the ad for a moment and then sent it to the back of her mind along with all of the other dealings that had happened that evening.  The trip took about ten minutes to get back to her station, and even though she had no idea about what to think about tonight, she got off and made the trek back to her apartment.  Her mind drifted in and out of reality as each step brought her closer to her home.  City streets are different at night.  The shadows are larger, the sounds are more accentuated, and the people are sparser.  It reminded Amber of one of those horror-slasher films where rounding the next corner would reveal an outrageously masked man carrying a huge dagger, but no, as she rounded the corner, she only found silent cars and a slight fog rising off the sleepy winter avenue.
        As the elevator doors opened and revealed her floor, she couldn’t help but notice the vase of a dozen yellow roses parked in front of her door.  She rushed over to them, her fear motivating her to discover what it was quickly, and immediately grabbed the card from the bunch.  Reading the card, she fell back against the neighboring wall.  This message hurt the most, out of all of the others sent so far.  “Hopefully, I’ve surprised you with a gift that you won’t want to hide in your drawer any more.  Aren’t ads amazing?  You can say one sentence and tell the whole world what you’re thinking, when, in actuality, you are only talking to one person.  I’m glad it finally found you.  You looked lovely tonight, by the way.  See you soon. Love.”

        Tears rolled down her face and she gasped for air as she turned her head up and down the hall to confirm her aloneness.  She could feel him.  It was as if, he knew what she was going to do even before she did it.  An overwhelmingly uneasy sense of discomfort came over her and she opened her door and clamored inside just as the elevator binged onto her floor.  She quickly closed the door and left enough room for her eyes to see who was coming into her territory.  Seeing that it was a man, she closed the door, locked the deadbolts and fell against the corner wall as whimpers of fear broke into the hysterical sobs already upon her.  The steps came closer and closer until finally they passed her door and continued down the hall.  She heard a knock, a murmured cheerful greeting, and then the returning silence as the stranger was welcomed in out of the hall.  It wasn’t for her.  She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.  She then picked up the card and the vase of flowers and set them on her kitchen counter.  She couldn’t deal with it right now. She was so exhausted that she went to her room and fell onto her bed and cried herself to sleep as her thoughts began to haunt her dreams.


True story. I've been "writing a book" for over a decade now.
The last edit was from Nov. 5th, 2006.
I've got a long way to go and even more editing and re-writing to do.

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