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Posts tagged ‘Kurztown’

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.

SOCS/Story a Day: Day 12 – “The Ugly Duckling”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to use the ugly duckling story structure.

Use the Ugly Duckling Story To Write A Balanced Story With The Life-Changing Moment In The Middle

And it’s also Stream of Consciousness Saturday. That prompt was to use a word with a farm animal sound in it and bonus points if you use three or more.

So, I’ve got some more with my characters from “Flower Shop” and “Maeve“.

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Maeve stepped out of her house, two full garbage bags in her hands. So much for Anthony cleaning up before he got out. At least he had gotten out. She would take cleaning up her house on her own if it meant not having to deal with that scum sucking cheating bastard.
She dropped the bags on the curb, ready to be picked up when the garbage truck came by. This was finally the last of them. Between her own work, making sure she ate, and actually getting some sleep, it had taken her most of a week to get the last of the trash out of the house.
She looked over at the twitch of a curtain in the neighbor’s house. She lifted a hand and called, “Good morning, Mrs. Tronson.”
She could practically hear the woman’s huff from here. The woman hated her, and she’d never done anything that she could remember to deserve that. She didn’t even dance naked in the moonlight, though the old woman often looked at her like she thought that’s just what she did.
Not that it should be any of the woman’s business if she did.
Maeve went back up to the porch to make sure her door was locked then headed down the sidewalk toward the diner. She could really use some coffee she hadn’t made. And maybe one of those sweet treats Anna liked to display.
When she stepped into the diner, she felt too many gazes on her. She hadn’t ventured out much in the last week, so she had no idea what rumors were going around. She could imagine Anthony had started some of his own. They didn’t bother her. She’d dealt with being the brunt of them most of her life.
She kept telling herself that, nearly every day of her life.
But, at least Anna smiled at her. And it wasn’t the fake one she gave customers she really didn’t like very much. Anna smiled a lot these days. She had been for the last year. Maeve supposed that happened when you got to marry the man of your dreams and got a six-year old daughter out of the deal.
Maeve wasn’t sure she’d ever get that. Not that it was a man she thought of most days when she thought of her future. She knew Anthony wasn’t exactly a keeper, not a permanent fixture in her life. He wasn’t the first man she’d had a relationship with, it wasn’t like she hadn’t been attracted to him and others, but they certainly weren’t the first to draw her gaze.
“What can I get you this morning, Maeve?” Anna asked as Maeve approached the counter.
“Medium triple chocolate coffee and one of those,” she said, tapping the display over a pastry that was drizzled with strawberry sauce and some white icing.
“Good choice,” Anna said. “Erik tried that one out over the weekend for the first time. It’s good.”
Maeve stepped to the side, so the next customer could step up while Anna got her order ready. But, as she took her pastry and coffee to a small table in the corner, she could hear whispers. Yeah, Anthony had probably started some rumors.
She didn’t care. But, the pastry weighed heavy as she finished off the first half of it.
The whispers grew louder, and she choked a bit as the coffee burned her throat when she heard the loudest. “Can’t believe she threw that nice boy over for some girl. What is this town coming to?”
So, that was what Anthony was telling people. And not a bit of it held any truth. Big surprise there. She was starting to doubt the man knew how to tell the truth.
She pushed back from the table, taking her coffee and pastry with her. She might not be able to make them stop talking about her, but that didn’t mean she had to sit here and listen to it.
“You know, Mr. Trent,” she head a nice melodic voice say, “I think this town is coming to something good. And I would have thrown a cheating asshole over for a nice girl, too.”
Maeve turned her head and saw Carolyne standing at one table over from her. Their eyes met for a moment, and Carolyn winked at her. Maeve smiled back then headed for the door. And she nearly ran into someone coming in. Great. She was going to make someone else in this town hate her.
But, Lora just smiled at her. “How are you doing?” Lora asked her.
Great, she’d heard the rumors, too. But, Lora didn’t seem to be judging her. That was a nice change. “Fine. Just finished taking out the trash today.”
Lora grinned at her. “Good for you. He was never good enough.”
Maeve laughed at that, and that heavy feeling in her stomach dissolved. Not everyone was buying Anthony’s bullshit at least. She headed back to her house and as she neared it, she saw one of her neighbors step out and smooth his shirt down. “Got a hot date, Mr. Bosman?”
The man grinned at her. “Just lunch with the wife. Maybe one day you’ll know what that’s like.”
She grinned back at him. “I certainly hope so.”
And it was Carolyne Grier she thought of as she let herself back in to her house.

Fiction Friday/Story a Day: Day 11 – “Ruin It”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was about using the Cinderella structure for a story.

Write a story in which your hero wants something, tries and fails to get it, and eventually has their life-changing moment at the end of the story.

I also combined this with the dialogue prompt of: “That’s the problem! You don’t think you deserve something so you ruin it.”

I have more of Jeff’s POV here for this one. Some context: Earlier in the series, Jeff was in a motorcycle accident, leaving him with an incomplete spinal injury. He’s still dealing with the physical and emotional effects of that.

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Jeff threw the ball against his bedroom wall and caught it as it came back toward him. His parents had griped about the noise it made until his physical therapist mentioned it could actually help him. Then, they were all for it. Anything that would speed up his recovery and get him out of their house.
He shook his head and took a moment to try to work through that thought. He was getting better at recognizing what were his own thoughts he projected on other people. It still didn’t come naturally, though. It was easier to assume other people thought poorly of him than to admit he hated himself.
“Dinner’s ready,” his mother called from out in the hallway just as he’d let the ball fly again.
He didn’t react quickly enough, and the ball smacked him in the shoulder. “Damn it.”
“What was that?” his mom asked from the doorway.
“Nothing, Mom,” he said. The ball had fallen to his bed, so he just left it there as he slid to the edge of the mattress. He reached for the walker but remembered his physical therapist had told him to try at least getting to his feet without aid.
So, he did. His legs trembled, though, and he weaved in place. His mother looked like she was about to dart to his side. But, he needed to do this on his own.
He’d like to at least walk to the door on his own, too, but he was sure that wasn’t going to happen. So, he did grab onto the walker now. His mom’s shoulders relaxed slightly. They both knew a fall could set his progress back, and that was the last thing he wanted.
What he did want was for his family to stop looking at him with that wariness in their eyes. Like he was going to go out and screw everything up again. And, oh joy, everyone was here for dinner tonight. He’d expected at least Jarrett, since it was spring break for him. And his twin brother didn’t have a life.
But, then Susan had to be here with her girlfriend, too. Even here, they couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Kendall was leaning into his sister, whispering something as Susan put a hand on the other woman’s knee. Jeff looked away from them.
Unfortunately that had him looking right at his older brother. His hand was wrapped around his girlfriend’s, too. But Jeff still saw the ring on her finger. Not just a girlfriend anymore apparently. “When were you going to tell us about that?” he asked.
But, no one else looked surprised as he glanced around at them. So, he was the only one who hadn’t been told. “I see,” he said. “I’m the only one not important enough to get the news. Why am I not surprised?”
“Jeff, that’s not…” Doren started to say, but he didn’t even bother to finish the lie.
“Whatever,” Jeff said, but he couldn’t bring himself to sit at the table with all of them. “You know what, I’m not even hungry.”
He headed toward the living room where his chair was. “Where are you going?” his father called as he switched to the chair and started wheeling himself toward the front door.
“Out,” he called back. “Not like any of you even care.”
***
Jeff didn’t want to get out of bed. He’d stayed out the night before until it was getting dark. Which hadn’t been all that long after he’d left the house. He just hadn’t been able to bring himself to go back and face his family.
It had only taken a few minutes of rolling out in the chill air to realize he’d overreacted. So what if his brother hadn’t told him about his engagement yet. Maybe he’d planned to do it at dinner tonight. But, the hurt had been crushing. Hadn’t he been trying to prove himself to his family since he got out of the hospital?
And yes, he knew he kept screwing it up. Losing it on Susan when she’d come out to the whole family. That had taken a lot of guts. Something Jeff didn’t seem to have any of. He could barely even admit his attractions to himself, let alone anyone else.
And he kept lashing out at his parents, when they were just trying to help him. He’d made it seem like he blamed Doren for the accident, even knowing the whole time all the fault laid on himself. He was the only one who had screwed his life up. But, he was making his family pay for it, too.
He was going to try to do better. He had to.
The knock on his doorframe had him twisting his head, but that was the only part of his body he moved. His father hovered in the doorway. “Your mom said to get you. Breakfast is getting cold, and it’s time for your pills.”
Jeff groaned and just turned his head back toward the wall. He hated taking the pills. But, he couldn’t deal with how bad the pain got when he didn’t take them.
He thought his dad would just leave, but he could feel his presence near the bed now. “What’s wrong?” he demanded harshly. “Do we need to take you to the doctor?”
Jeff almost thought there was a crack in his father’s voice at that. But, that couldn’t be right. It used to be Doren their dad visibly disapproved of, but he’d now transferred that to Jeff. All it seemed to take was wrecking your life. Except it turned out Doren actually hadn’t been responsible for that, either.
“I’m fine, Dad,” he said.
“Good. Then, come out and eat your breakfast, so your mother stops worrying. Then, you can come out and help me in the workshop.”
He must have imagined that quiver in his father’s voice. It certainly wasn’t there any longer.
Jeff waited until he heard his father’s step cross the room and head down the hallway before he forced himself to roll over. And held back a cry at the pain that shot through his lower body. He took a few more minutes before he finished the process of getting out of bed.
Thank goodness the walker was right next to his bed. There wasn’t going to be any getting up on his own right now. Not when pain was stabbing through him with every moment. He barely kept himself from collapsing into the chair when he finally reached the table.
His father didn’t look up from the newspaper at his appearance. “Must be a fascinating story,” Jeff muttered.
Neither of his parents said anything. His father turned to the next page of the paper. His mother set a plate of pancakes and sausage in front of him as well as a glass of orange juice and three pills. He eyed the last distastefully, and decided to ignore them until the last possible moment. But, he could feel his mother’s gaze on him as he ate his breakfast. So after he’d swept the last bite of sausage through his leftover syrup, he popped each pill into his mouth and swallowed.
His father pushed out from the table as soon as Jeff had finished them. “Come on,” he said. “We have things to do.”
He just wanted to go back to bed. But, he knew if he said that, his parents would get that concerned look again. He didn’t care what the therapist said. He wasn’t depressed. He just didn’t see the point. But, he knew he’d upset his mother enough the night before. He didn’t want to give her more reason to worry. So, he shuffled along behind his dad with the walker.
His father didn’t say a word as he unlocked the workshop door. It wasn’t really more than a shed. And half of it contained the debris of Jarrett’s various art projects he’d started. The other half had his dad’s work bench and tools. He didn’t know why his father had brought him out here. Other than to give him a lecture for his attitude the night before. But he still hadn’t spoken a word since they’d left the house.
“What exactly do you want me to do?” Jeff asked as his father settled into a chair in front of the workbench. Jeff found a stool and rested on it.
“You could try to fix that that little cupboard. Your mom’s been on me about it. It just needs new brackets for the shelf.”
“Then, why haven’t you done it?”
“Watch your tone, Jeff. Your mother lets you use your pain as an excuse, but the rest of us are getting tired of it.”
“Join the club. I’m tired of it, too.” He picked up a small hammer and the brackets for the cupboard.
“Then, stop using the rest of us as your emotional punching bag. I’m not going to let that continue.”
“When?” He couldn’t look up. So, he started tapping in the first nail.
“What?” His father asked.
Jeff flicked his gaze up through the hair hanging in his face and saw his father staring back at him, his eyes wide. “When are you kicking me out?”
His father just shook his head and looked back at the bench. “I’m not kicking you out. Where would you go?”
Jeff felt his face flood with heat, and he looked away. His father swore. “I didn’t mean it like that, Jeff. We’re your family. Family helps out when you need it.”
“So, I’m a burden. Just what I’ve always wanted to be.”
“Damn it. Do you have to twist everything anyone has to say to you?”
A silence fell over the workshop after that. How was Jeff even supposed to answer the question. The only noise was Jeff tapping the nails in for the brackets, and the scratching of his father’s pencil. “What are you designing?” he finally asked.
“Dollhouse,” his father responded without looking at him. “For the kid Susan and Ken are going to be fostering and possibly adopting.”
“What?” Jeff asked, turning to look at his father. “Is this something else I wasn’t going to be told?”
“Well, if you hadn’t stomped out of the house like a tantrum-throwing toddler last night, you would have heard the news at the same time as us.”
Jeff felt like the anger was choking him. Anger at himself. Anger at his family. Anger at this whole situation. Before he realized what he was doing, he let the hammer fly at the wall. Cold shame flushed out the heat of anger instantly. What was he doing?
His father swore, but Jeff was already shuffling out of the workshop. He couldn’t stay in there. Couldn’t stay here. How was he ever going to prove that they could put their trust in him if he kept losing it?
Maybe they were all right about him after all.
***
Jeff sat at a table in the corner of the diner. He knew he should just go back home. His mother would be worried. But, by now, she likely knew where he was. And he hadn’t been able to walk around town any longer, so he’d come in here and sat down. Anna had brought him a hot chocolate without him even ordering it.
He hadn’t planned on going anywhere, so he didn’t even have his wallet with him. How was he supposed to pay for this?
Someone dropped into the seat across from him, and he jerked his head up. “What are you doing here?” he asked Erik. That should be obvious, though, since he had an apron on over his clothes.
“I was back in the kitchen. Anna mentioned you were out here, looking upset. What’s wrong?”
“Not a thing,” Jeff said.
“Come on, man, I know you better than that. Something’s eating away at you. Why don’t you tell me what it is?”
Because he was part of it. Why couldn’t he see that? “I said I’m fine. I don’t need you of all people to be coming down on me.” He almost expected Erik to make some innuendo-laced joke. He usually did.
Instead the other man’s face paled, and he pushed up from his chair. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll just leave you here to wallow in whatever misery’s coating you. Have fun with it.”
“Shit,” Jeff said when Erik had returned to the kitchen. “What is wrong with me?”
“The fact you think there’s something wrong with you.”
Jeff glanced up and saw his twin brother had taken Erik’s place. “What do you want?”
“Mom sent me to see if you were ready to come home yet. She’s worried about you. Dad said you were quite upset.”
“Yeah,” Jeff scoffed. “I’m sure that’s what he said. Probably more like Jeff went and screwed up again. Big surprise.”
“Stop that,” Jarrett said sharply. “He doesn’t think that. None of us do. But you can’t keep getting angry when all we do is try to help.”
Jeff let out a huff of air. “Maybe I don’t deserve your help.”
“That’s the problem!” Jarrett said, his voice rising. “You don’t think you deserve something, so you ruin it. Just like you did to Erik before I got here.”
Jeff went cold. “What are you talking about? I didn’t do anything.”
“You think I don’t know? Twenty years as your twin, and you think I don’t know you. I don’t know why you think you have to deny it, but you don’t with me. You can try to ruin us, too, but I’m not going to let it happen. You’re my brother, and nothing will ever change that. No matter how you try to sabotage things. Do you get that?”
Jeff just stared at his brother. He couldn’t remember ever hearing him be so forceful about anything. “Yeah,” he finally managed to choke out. “I get it.”
“Good. Let’s go home then.”

 

Story a Day: Day 8 – “Shopping”

Today’s Story a Day prompt is all about conflict.

Without conflict or friction in your story, nothing interesting will happen. Today we focus on making sure two opposing forces run into each other in your story.
The Prompt
Put your character in a mundane, everyday situation. Then introduce a strong element of conflict.

I decided to go with the story I’m currently plotting in my Kurztown series. In the other stories he’s showed up in, Erik’s the fun-loving steal-the-scene type. But, we see a different side of him here.

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Erik swung the basket a little as he headed for the far aisle of the grocery store. He hadn’t made a list. Gabriel always got after him about that, but really, what was so wrong with the list in his head? He knew what they needed. For dinner tonight, since Lora would finally be home. Really, with the way Gabriel was acting, he would have thought the woman had been gone a month instead of just a weekend.
But, the two of them were so in love, it almost made Erik sick. Okay, that wasn’t the right word. Jealous, envious, green-eyed. Those all worked a lot better. And it was getting harder not to let it show. Not that he wasn’t happy for both of them. And it wasn’t even either of them he wanted. The night the three of them had spent together had been great, but it wasn’t really what he wanted.
He just wanted what they had. With someone who would look at him the way they looked at each other. But, that person would barely even look his way.
Maybe it was better that way. Erik was good at ruining things, but not so good at keeping them together.
He started to turn down the baking aisle. He already had everything he needed to make dinner for tonight. But, he wanted to add something extra special for Gabriel and Lora. He started adding ingredients to his basket as he thought through what he could make.
While he was here, he figured he could get the ingredients for that soup he wanted to try out before seeing if Anna would add it to the menu at the diner. But as soon as he came out of the aisle, he stopped. His right leg didn’t stop smoothly, though, the socket above where his knee would be wrenching slightly at the rough movement.
Erik’s heart thundered, but he knew it had nothing to do with the slight ache in his thigh now. He was almost used to the pain that came and went still.
And in a small town like this, he should be plenty used to seeing his father around town. And yet every time, he had to fight the panic that tried to descend on him. He took a step back, but knocked into the end cap, a few cans rattling on the shelf.
His father glanced over, and Erik felt the breath clogging in his lungs. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t… No. His therapist had walked him through enough attacks to know that wasn’t the case.
His father sneered at him and turned his way, but Erik turned on his good leg, making his way back through the aisle. He ignored the people who greeted him, forgot about the rest of the items on his mental list. He just had to get out of there. That was all that mattered right now. Getting out of here and home before his father could find one more way to try to mess with his life.

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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