“Did you see that?
Your delivery truck almost knocked me down.” She took a breath
to calm herself. “I’m Bonnie from the Elmvale Nursing Home. I
think you have some flowers ready for me.” She mopped the
perspiration from her forehead.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes, just a little
“Nice to meet you.
I’m Dawn.” The woman wiped her hands on her apron before they
shook hands. “I’ll just get the order for you.”
Bonnie crossed her
arms and looked around, finding relief in the cool environment.
The pleasant room helped to compose her. Flowers of every color
and shade captured her gaze. Astonished, she took in the variety
of tulips, hibiscus, mums, and others she didn’t recognize.
Crossing to a wall of coolers, she admired the arrangements
behind the glass. Daisies tucked among baby’s breath caught her
attention, delicate and arrestingly pretty. Someday she would
make enough money to buy and enjoy a bouquet.
The door to the back
room banged open, and an elegant woman entered holding a long,
white box—the kind long-stemmed roses came in. “Hi, I’m Grace.”
“Good to meet you.
I’m Bonnie,” she acknowledged, shaking the stately woman’s
“Ah, these are for
you then.” She laid the box on the counter and opened it. Roses
mixed with other flowers lay on a bed of ferns. Some were
beginning to wilt, and others had lost their leaves or petals.
Bonnie closed her eyes as the aroma filled her with memories.
The sweet fragrances brought visions of her childhood—picking
flowers with her granddad in his garden. The memory was so
poignant she choked up.
She signed a receipt
and turned to leave when the man who nearly ran her down entered
from the back room. Dressed in a blue uniform with the Petals
and Posies’ logo, he filled the doorway with his broad
shoulders. He swiped at a loose blond curl that hung over his
“You were driving
the truck!” Bonnie gasped.
“Miss, I’m sorry. I
didn’t see you. I turned onto Brock and there you were, tugging
at your hair. I swerved to miss you.” The expression in his big
brown eyes begged forgiveness. His open palms confirmed it.
“Do you know each
other?” Grace stepped forward.
“No.” Bonnie kept
her tone crisp. With the flowers signed for, she swung toward
the door to make her escape from the suddenly charged
atmosphere. “Thank you,” she called.
A buzzing sound
erupted near her ear, then something tangled in her hair. She
screamed, dropping the box. Her precious cargo spilled onto the
“Help me. Get it
out.” The urge to run was strong. A flashback clenched her
Mrs. Grimes dragging
her by the hand and locking her in the shed for punishment,
where she couldn’t escape the bugs. Bees had made a hive in the
corner, and she was forced to sit still for hours to avoid
Bonnie slammed her
heart shut on those bitter memories and concentrated on the bee.
She pulled at the strands to rid herself of the insect. It
thrashed and buzzed all the louder. She danced and bent like a
native person in a primitive dance, trying to untangle the bug
from her long curls. Strong male hands grasped her and pressed
her against the wall of coolers.
“Stand still.” The
man’s voice held annoyance as he plucked at her hair. Bonnie
squirmed. She understood firsthand what bee stings were all
about—huge, painful welts that lasted for days.