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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Flowers”

“Flowers.”

Carolyne didn’t even look away from the invoice she was compiling on her computer. “Yes. That’s what I sell here. It is a flower shop.”

The man who had just stepped into the shop let out a weak laugh. “Right. Of course.”

She looked up at the man, then. He was tall, and wide. She could picture him thundering down the football field. She had seen it, too, back during high school. “Chris. What can I do for you?”

“Flowers. I really think I need some flowers.”

She watched as he scrubbed a hand over his face then ran it up into his thick dark hair. And she couldn’t help but smile and lean against her side of the counter. “How bad did you screw up?”

“Bad,” he said. “I think really, really bad. Roses aren’t going to cut it. Not with those two.”

Carolyne didn’t react to that last part. She’d seen him around with both Reagen and her girlfriend. And their relationship was none of her business. Except when he’d apparently screwed things up. “Roses never cut it. Not when it’s really important. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.”

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This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to start with a noun. I will be writing Chris’ story sometime soon. It’s not the next one on my list in the series, but I think it will be the one after that. And this might be how I introduce Carolyn into the series. I wrote about her in a Story a Day piece last month, Flower Shop, as well as a couple others that month.

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Story a Day: Day 23 – “Noticed”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to choose a detail that only your character would notice in this story. I picked Carolyne from Flower Shop, though the story actually ended up being from Maeve’s POV.

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“Someone took some of those flowers.”
Maeve looked in the direction Carolyne was pointing. “What are you talking about? I don’t see anything.”
Carolyn pulled away and crouched down in front of the planted display near the corner of the sidewalk. There were plenty of them scattered around town. “I planted these,” Carolyne said after a moment. “I picked out the flowers, designed each of the spaces, and planted the flowers myself. Well, I had some help with the planting, but the rest I did myself.” She ran her finger over two partial stems in the middle of the rest.
Maeve hadn’t noticed that detail before. They’d been in the middle of a conversation, so she wasn’t sure how Carolyne had even noticed it. Although it didn’t surprise her too much. When it came to flowers, Carolyne seemed to notice everything. “Who do you think took them?” she asked.
Carolyne shook her head then straightened back up and reached out for Maeve’s hand again. “I guess it doesn’t really matter. Maybe someone wanted them for their sweetheart. If so, they gave their life for a good cause.”
Maeve smiled at that. Carolyne certainly did have a different way of looking at the world. Nothing was ever too bad for her to smile about it.
Maeve wished she could be that easy-going about things. But, she’d soak in Carolyne’s sunshine as long as she could.

Story a Day: Day 17 – “Drained Away”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story in 14 sentences. I’m visiting with Carolyne and Maeve again for this one. If they’re strangers to you, you can visit with them in Flower Shop, Maeve, and The Ugly Duckling.

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Carolyne walked toward the diner, sure she had made a huge mistake. She never should have called that number. What did she even think would come of this?
But, she was going anyway; she just couldn’t seem to stop herself.
Carolyne pushed into the diner and glanced around. She knew just about everyone in here, but it took her a long moment to find the person she was looking for.
Maeve lifted a hand and waved at her. Carolyne took a deep breath and headed over to her. The other woman was grinning, and it had a smile curving Carolyne’s own lips. The nervousness slowly drained away.
Maeve stood when Carolyne reached the table. Carolyne thought she’d shake her hand, but instead Maeve hugged her. “I’m so glad you finally called me.”
And just now, Carolyne was glad she had, too.

Story a Day: Day 6 “Maeve”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was:

Retell a story you’ve told before, in a new way
This exercise opens up opportunities in future, when you have a piece that isn’t quite working. You can cast your mind back to today and remember that yeah, there’s more one way to tell this story, too.

I decided to take my Day 4 story, Flower Shop, and tell it from Maeve’s POV this time.

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Maeve slammed out of the house. When the door opened behind her, she said, “I don’t care about any of your excuses, Anthony. I was gone for three days. You couldn’t respect me for that long.”
“It’s not a big deal, Mae. I’ll pay you back for the damages. I didn’t think anything would actually happen.”
“You had a party in my house, and you didn’t think anything would be damaged? It’s wrecked now.”
“I said I’d pay for the damages. Come back here and let’s talk about this, Mae.”
She spun around at that. “I’ve told you I hate that nickname. Please stop using it. And we have nothing to discuss. Get out of my house. And make sure she’s out, too.”
Maeve turned and strode away, off the porch and to the sidewalk. Anthony tried calling after her again, but she didn’t even acknowledge it this time. She needed to walk off some of this pissed offness.
And she’d been in such a good mood on the way home from the conference. She thought she could hate Anthony for that alone. But, no, he’d had to pile all the rest of it on, too.
She turned the corner and headed toward Main street. But, her steps slowed as she saw the lights turning on in the flower shop. It had been opened for a little more than a year now, but she’d never stopped in. She knew the basic roses and daisies and daffodils. But, she didn’t get much fancier than that.
She kept finding reasons to talk herself out of stepping inside whenever she passed it. She’d seen the owner through the front door and had wanted to talk to her. She’d been behind Maeve in school, but she’d still recognized her.
Now, she didn’t hesitate but walked right to the door and yanked it open. Her head jerked up when she head a bright, “Good morning. Welcome to Bloomtastic. What can I do for you today?”
Maeve walked right to the counter, leaning against it. Her breathing felt hard, like she’d been running. But, she hadn’t done that in years. She had some ideas, but doubted the other woman would have anything to do with that. Instead, she asked, “How do I passive-aggressively say fuck you in flower?”
The woman—Carolyne, Maeve suddenly remembered— stared at her then a grin stretched over her face. “Are you serious?”
“Completely,” she said with a nod. “I just got back from a business trip to find out my credit card, that I left at home, was maxed out.” And wasn’t that a fun call to deal with when she’d gotten off the plane. “Then, I get to my house and find it wrecked by my oh so thoughtful boyfriend…sorry, ex-boyfriend now. And he’d in bed with my ex-best friend, that one happened years ago, but it still hurt.” She knew she was rambling, but at one time she’d thought Stacie could have been more than a friend. That betrayal might be the worst one of all.
Carolyn winced. Then she reached for something under the counter. Maeve heard something open, a cooler door probably, then she was pulling out some red flowers. Not roses, though, Maeve could tell that much. “You want geraniums. That’ll make the base of your bouquet. That’s for his stupidity, which seems to be the base of his flaws as well. Then, we’ll add in foxglove, for his insincerity in his affections.” Maeve felt her lips twitch at that. “Next some meadowsweet since he’s obviously useless.”
Carolyne watched her for a moment, and Maeve thought she saw recognition in her eyes. That couldn’t be, though. Still, she felt more of her anger drain away as Carolyne reached for more flowers.
She added some yellow flowers to the bouquet, maybe carnations. “Since he’s a disappointment to you and probably the rest of society. And finally orange lilies, to show your absolute hatred for such a pathetic man.”
Maeve let out a little laugh as Carolyne pushed the bouquet over to her. “That’s almost too pretty to send to him.” She kept smiling at it then finally glanced up at Carolyne, only to see the woman staring back at her. Was that desire in her eyes?
No. Couldn’t be. “How much do I owe you for this?” she asked, reaching for her wallet.
Carolyne shook her head. “Putting up with a man like that, and one who treated you poorly, is payment enough.”
Maeve still took a card out of her wallet, one with all her contact information she gave to potential clients, and handed it over. “Call me sometime, then, and I’ll buy you dinner. You can tell me more about the meanings of flowers.”
She pressed the card into Carolyne’s hand and felt something surge through her at the touch. It nearly took her breath as much as her earlier anger had. She forced herself to take the bouquet and leave the store, not letting herself look back. She didn’t want to know if Carolyne just ripped up the card. Not that she’d probably call anyway.
Maeve smiled down at the bouquet. Maybe she’d just keep this for herself. A reminder there were a lot better people out there than Anthony. Even if she never got to have dinner with Carolyne.

Fiction Friday/Story a Day: Day 4 – “Flower Shop”

For Day 4 of Story a Day, we have a time-limit prompt.

Set A Timer For 40 Minutes, Write A Story
Spend 10 minutes brainstorming and starting the story, 20 minutes complicating your character’s life, and the final 10 minutes reviewing what you’ve written, making notes and writing an ending.

And to get my idea, I used a prompt I found on Pinterest:

This happens among my Kurztown series, though before today I had no idea these two characters existed. I’ll need to figure out where their story fits into it.

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Carolyne Grier moved around behind the counter, checking the inventory of flowers in the cooler once again. Not like she actually thought someone would have broken into a flower shop of all places and stolen her precious flowers. She laughed a little to herself at that thought.
No, all the flowers were still there. Now if only someone would come in and buy some of them. There had been a few orders the day before. Just like the day before that and the one that came before it. There weren’t too many people who’d stop in for flowers in a small town like Kurztown. Apologies for fights, weddings, funerals, prom, but that wasn’t for several more months.
Still, Carolyne did love her flowers.
The bells on the door rang, and she looked up, pasting her salesperson’s smile on her face. “Good morning,” she said brightly. “Welcome to Bloomtastic. What can I do for you today?”
The woman leaned against the counter, nearly panting, as if she’d run all the way here. But, that was unlikely as there was a good foot of snow outside. Now, that Carolyne looked closer, that was anger in the woman’s bright green eyes. And she was pretty sure it was also what was causing her quick breathing.
“How do I passive-aggressively say fuck you in flower?”
Carolyne stared at the woman for a moment then broke into a grin. “Are you serious?”
“Completely,” the woman said with a quick nod. “I just got back from a business trip to find out my credit card, that I left at home, was maxed out. Then, get to my house and find it wrecked by my oh so thoughtful boyfriend…sorry, ex-boyfriend now. And he’s in bed with my ex-best friend, that one happened years ago, but it still hurt.”
Carolyne winced. She’d never been in love…with a man anyway. But, she could imagine. “You want geraniums,” she said. “That’ll make the base of your bouquet. That’s for his stupidity, which seems to be the base of his flaws as well. Then, we’ll add in foxglove, for his insincerity in his affections. Next, some meadowsweet, since he’s obviously useless.”
She watched as the scowl fell from the woman’s face. Carolyne recognized her now. Maeve Lieser. She’d graduated a couple years ahead of Carolyne, and had been Caro’s first crush. She brushed off all that now and reached for the yellow carnations. “Since he’s a disappointment to you and probably the rest of society. And finally orange lilies, to show your absolute hatred for such a pathetic man.”
The anger had slowly drained out of Maeve’s eyes as Carolyne had continued. And she laughed now as Carolyne pushed the bouquet across the counter to her. “That’s almost too pretty to send to him.”
Carolyne knew she was right. The red of the geraniums, and the light purple of foxglove, mixed in with the yellow and orange of the other flowers, it was quite striking. As striking as Maeve with the way she smiled now. If only she could actually say that to the other woman.
“How much do I owe you for this?”
Carolyne shook her head. “Putting up with a man like that, and one who treated you poorly, is payment enough.”
But, Maeve still took something out of her wallet. It was a business card. “Call me sometime, then,” she said, “and I’ll buy you dinner. You can tell me more about the meanings of flowers.”
Her smile was even wider now as she pressed the card into Carolyne’s hand. And Carolyne’s skin tingled at the simple touch. She could only stare at her as Maeve took the bouquet and headed back out of the shop.
She actually wants to get dinner with me? Like a date?
Carolyne shook her head. No, of course not. It was just to pay her back for the bouquet. Of course it was. Carolyne wouldn’t think any more about it. And she wouldn’t bother making that call, either.
There was no point to it.

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