By: Ani Fulson
View all Ani Fulson's works
I always dream about flowers. The dream always starts with me walking through a garden. The flowers are strangely luminescent. Why do I always dream about flowers you ask? Well, it kind of makes sense if you think about it. My whole life is centered around flowers. My mother was a florist before she died, and I practically grew up in the flower shop. My grandmother also was a florist and her mother too, but now both of their shops are closed, because dad sold them after not being able to run them himself. He’s retired now, but his love of flowers hasn’t died. He sold my mother’s shop to a friend of his, Mr. Grevens, and he now keeps it. Mr. Grevens also happens to be my boss. I work there after school most weekdays, and almost all weekends. I’m 17, and about to graduate. I’m planning to go to college and study botany. Then, right back to the shop. I also want to open a botanical garden is this small town. Give people the chance to love flowers as much as I do.
I was sorting some tulips when Mr. Grevens came up to me with another person I didn’t recognize trailing behind him.
“Ami, I would like you to meet my nephew, Soren. He just moved here and he’s going to be working at the shop.” Soren gave a shy wave and stuck out his hand for me to shake. He looked about my age, and nice enough, so I shook his hand. He was tall, and had one of those haircuts that you see celebrities wearing. You know, the kind where it’s messy, but in a neat way, just slightly in his eyes, so he had to keep flicking it. He was handsome, in a way… but too jock-ish. Not my type. “Now, Ami, I want you to take the rest of the day off, and show him around town. Alright?”
“Ah, well, I guess so…” I say, regretfully looking at the tulips.
“Great! It’s settled then. You two kids run along then. I’ll handle the shop today and you two get acquainted.”
“Yeah…” I say, grabbing my phone.
We leave and walk in an awkward silence for a few minutes. It’s summer, and I’m wearing a thin strapped, billowy green tank top and shorts. My coffee colored hair, mixed with layers of sun bleach is tied in a half up bun. Soren is wearing a white t-shirt, and a black button up with the sleeves rolled up. He has dirty blonde hair and green eyes that are, surprisingly, expressive. Much more than my own brown eyes the color of redwood. Some weirdos say that they’re hazel, but those people are crazy.
“So, ah…Soren…Why did you move here? Is it just to be with your uncle?” I say. I pretend to forget his name for a second, just because I’m still upset about being sent home early.
“Oh! Ah, well, I moved here ’cause my mom died…back in California.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” I felt a little closer to him now. I decided to open up to him. “I understand how hard it is right after it happens. My mom died two years ago. I miss her everyday. She, ah, had a thing for flowers…” I say, choking up a little bit.
“Is that why you work in the flower shop?” he asked.
“The flower shop actually belonged to her, but when she died, my dad inherited it. And since he retired, he sold the shop to your uncle… I’ve been working in the shop for as long as I can remember. Mostly on my own…until now.” I glance up at him as I say the last part. He smiles a little.
“You don’t mind do you? About me being here.”
“No, not at all. You seem a lot more decent than I originally thought.” I give him a small smile.
“I guess I can take that as a compliment?” he says as we approach the door to a Starbucks. He holds the door for me and we go in.
“You sit down, and I’ll get the drinks. What do you want?” I say. After all, I am supposed to be showing him around.
“Oh, okay. I’ll have a chai latte then.” He pulls out his wallet and starts to reach for some bills, but I cut in, “No need for that. My treat.”
“Ah no. I’ll get mine. Don’t worry about it.”
“No, I insist.” I wink at him. Okay, I might be leading him on a little. Whoops. He grins and shakes his head as he puts his wallet away. I walk up to the counter and look at the greasy haired girl staring at her phone. She glanced up at me.
“What do you want?” she asked
“One chai latte, and one java chip frappuccino.”
“Yeah sure. That will be…” She pauses to type into the register, “$8.14.” I pull out my wallet and hand her the bills. Then she goes to the machines and starts making the drinks. By the time she was done I had decided to be friends with Mr. Laid-back weirdo sitting at the table, scrolling through his phone.
“Hey, drinks are ready,” I say setting them on the table. He snorts into his phone, and then looks up at me.
“What are you looking at?” I ask, gesturing to his phone with my cup as I sit down.
“Oh, my friend, he actually lives here. I met him when I was visiting my uncle before he owned the shop. Anyway, he sent me a photo of himself in front of Coaler Bakery. And he’s making a weird face…” He turns his phone around to show me. It’s a picture of a tall blonde dude that I recognize from my high school.
“Hey, that’s, ah, what’s his name…Braiden!”
“Oh, you guys know each other?” he asks hopefully.
“Barely. He goes to school with me, and his mom is always coming into the shop to pick up flowers for the church. But you know, I see him around and talk to him sometimes.” I don’t know why, but I didn’t wanna tell Soren that I had liked Braiden for years. He might be…jealous? No, that’s not it… but, I don’t know why I felt the need to lie to this stranger. Oh well. Too late to change my story now.
We chatted on for some time, about nothing in particular, and we probably would’ve kept going if my dad didn’t call me to ask where I was. I looked at the window, and realized that it was dusk already.
“Oh! I gotta go! I need to drop off flowers in the Eastside neighborhood. The Eastside neighborhood is on the other side of town, and I would need to go back to the shop to get my bike… sorry, this wasn’t much of a tour. We just went to Starbucks… but at least you know where it is now,” I say.
He gives me a mischievous smile and laughs. “Yes, thank you for that. Do you want me to give you a lift to the neighborhood? I have a truck, and we can put your bike in the back.” I consider this. I could accept the ride, be comfortable, and be home before dark. But on the other hand, I would be in debt to Soren, and I don’t trust him enough to owe him something. Oh well. He seemed okay.
“Sure. That’d be great,” he sort of sighs with relief. “But,” I add. He looked up at me. “You can’t murder me. Promise?” He smiles and says sarcastically, “Oh, I don’t know. I guess so. You foiled my evening plans!” I roll my eyes. He stands and holds out his hand to help me up. I smirk and take it.
“I bet this nice guy act is a bluff. You must be buttering me up, only to surprise me by having a machete behind your back!” I tease.
“Oh no! You caught me!” We both laugh and start walking back to the shop to get into his truck.
I’m surprised to say that we had a fun night so far. We picked up my bike and dropped off the flowers. We had been making great time with the truck, and still had a half hour till I needed to be home. So we decided, as two teenagers would, to go to Taco Bell. We entered and the place was nearly empty. Not too surprising since my curfew is 11:00pm and it’s ten thirty, but the place was open so we went in.
“What would you like to order?” said a bored teenager working at the counter. We walked up to her. While Soren was ordering, I looked around the restaurant. There were only two other diners. One was a grizzled man with a scruffy beard and lots of scrappy clothes. He looked half asleep. The other was a woman who looked in her thirties. She was wide awake, and typing very quickly on a computer. I wonder what was so important that she had to stop at a Taco Bell on the eastside to do it?
“-what about you, Ami?” Soren’s voice broke my thoughts.
“…To order…Like for food,” Soren said, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh! Yes. Ah, let’s see… I’ll have a Crunchwrap Supreme and a soda.” She handed me a soda cup, and I reached for my wallet, but Soren grabbed my arm to stop me. His hands were soft, despite his strong outer look.
“Ames, I got it this time. Don’t worry. It’s my turn anyway.”
“Ah, well, alright.” As I walked to the soda machine, I didn’t tell him that ever since my mom died, I hated being dependant on other people. I hated feeling like I couldn’t take care of myself. I had had enough pity. I was about to put my cup under the nozzle when Soren came up behind me.
“Which one you getting?” For some reason, I took this as a challenge. “One? You amateur.” I put my cup under the first nozzle, Lemon Tea, and then I filled it up slightly. I repeated the action with all the other ones, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Mist Twist, Hic, and Grape Fanta. I slipped the lid on the cup. Soren laughed and surprised me by doing the same.
“Alright,” he said, “whoever finishes their…monstrosity last, has to reimburse the other for the thing they paid for.” He said, eyeing the cups.
“Order for Soren,” calls the girl at the counter. We walk over and he picks up the tray.
As we sit down at one of the tables I say, “So. Where do you get off calling me, ‘Ames’?” He looks away from me, and scratches the back of his neck. I was teasing, but he looks overly embarrassed.
“Hey. It’s fine. I like it.”
“Yeah. You’re dorkier than you look. So, obviously, I think you’re cool.”
“No, It’s a privilege that I like you. Most people don’t get my approval.” I take a sip of the…substance, of my cup, forgetting its contents. I almost choke. “Oh my god. That is so bad,” I say, wiping my mouth. He laughs.
“So I’m the amateur, huh?” He confidently sips the drink, and immediately makes a face of pure regret. “No no, you’re right. I think should be thrown into a biohazard zone.”
“I’m always right. Get used to it, Dork.”
“Aha! If you call me a dork, I finally get to use my nickname for you.”
“Oh? And what would that be?”
“It’s a real zinger. Okay. Here goes; Flower girl.”
“Wow. So creative. I am in awe of your nickname genius,” I say sarcastically.
He laughs and says, “So. What’s your past like, Flower girl?”
“Well, pretty much like my new name implies, thank you for that, by the way. I’ve always loved flowers, and they feel like a real connection with my mom. So, not very interesting, I’m afraid, but I manage to balance my work and school pretty well. I don’t really have any friends.”
“You do now.”
“Where?” I joke. “No, I’m kidding, but thanks. That certainly helps my ego.”
“Glad I could help.”
“I want to go to college, and get a degree in botany,” I say.
“And what about after? Like, when you graduate?”
“Back to the shop, I guess. I sorta have this crazy dream of leaving this town. Exploring the world, documenting everything. Going to jungles, and-and discovering new types of flowers…”
“That’s really cool. And not crazy at all. It’s a way cooler idea then my dream is…”
“So what is your dream?” I ask. “What does this muscular dork right here have in his future?”
“Well, I want to go to college. I even have a solid scholarship at Columbia University.”
“Oh my god! That’s so cool! What was the scholarship for? Sports?”
He sighed, and rubbed his forehead. Then, there it was – the moment. The way everything in the universe was. The way I didn’t want the night to end. The way he smiled. The – Oh my god, I think I like you – moment.
To Be Continued…