My life changed forever the day my sisters left for lunch and forgot to lock the door to our florist shop.
I'd brought my latest centerpiece creation to the front counter to rearrange it but needed two more long-stemmed roses. With my camera around my neck, I held the vase in both hands and slowly spun it to see where to place them. As I held the roses between my teeth, the front door creaked open and a guy strolled inside.
"Are you waiting for your partner?" he asked, moving toward me wearing a wide smile.
My mouth fell open, and the roses fell to the floor.
"You're waiting on your dance partner to do the tango, right?"
Paralyzing fear prevented me from answering.
He picked up the roses but kept smiling, which was great because he'd need a sense of humor when he discovered I never waited on customers. My job was to hide out in the back of the shop, design elaborate centerpieces, and photograph the finished product. That was it. The end. Fini.
"I'd offer to dance with you, but I have two left feet," he said, breaking the awkward silence.
He handed me the roses, and I stepped back away from him, fighting the urge to run away to the safety of my work space. Of all days, I hadn't put on any makeup to hide the hideous scars on my face.
But with no one else there to wait on Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome, I had no choice. Business wasn't so great that I could just blow him off and tell him to come back when my sisters returned. It was too late anyway. His gaze had already gone from the camera around my neck, up to the scars that covered my neck, cheeks, and lips. Third-degree burns left little to the imagination.
"Nice camera. Are those your shots?"
He pointed to the three framed photos of flower arrangements that hung on the wall behind the counter.
"Um, yeah..." I finally managed to say.
"You're talented. So are you a florist and a wedding photographer?"
I went behind the counter to stand with my right side facing him. Although my entire face had scars, the left side looked worse.
He reached down to the bucket on the floor and pulled out a bouquet of yellow lilies with small blue irises and another one of pink sweetheart roses and baby's breath. He stuck his nose in the rose bouquet. "Which one do you like better? Pink or yellow?"
I had no idea why he was doing everything possible to engage me in conversion, but I didn't want to be rude, so I answered him.
"I'm partial to yellow, but you can't go wrong with roses. Most girls want their boyfriends to send them."
"True, but these are for my mom."
My only experience talking to guys was with my brother-in-law and my future brother-in-law. They were sweet, but not as thoughtful as this guy. My heart tightened at his sweet gesture.
A typical hipster, minus the beard, he dressed in jeans, a blue and red flannel shirt, and black work boots. He wore a navy beanie on his head but dark bangs fell across his forehead. As he hummed to Mumford and Sons, I took the camera off my neck and pushed over the centerpiece to make room for his roses.
He pushed up his shirt sleeves revealing colorful tattoos on each forearm, and I bit my lip to keep from sighing out loud at his wrist porn. A black beaded bracelet stacked on top of a leather band adorned his right wrist. A watch with a large black face and mustard yellow strap embellished the left one.
"Can I get these delivered today?"
"Sure, if your mom lives here in the city," I said as I scanned the bar code on the plastic wrapping.
YOU ARE READING
After an explosion leaves Charity Bosworth horribly disfigured and her parents dead, she believes that the only people that will ever love her are her two older sisters. It's been six years since the accident, and at twenty-two, she works in the b...