A Secret Admirer
Francesca Burke | Carlie Ricketts
Diane opened the front door that morning to fetch the post, only to nearly tread on —
Diane peered along the street, expecting to see a bouquet that had escaped from a delivery van. It was a good thing she was wearing shoes…
The road was empty. Shrugging, Diane took the rose inside with the post. Deepest red, it made a nice addition to her indoor pots.
Diane found two long stemmed red roses, tied with ribbon, left on the doorstep. There was no note, exactly like the day before. Perhaps someone had thrown away some flowers and the wind brought them to her door? They looked fresh enough, and Diane took them in.
Today there were three roses. Not even pausing before she scooped them up, Diane started to wonder if there were forces at play that had nothing to do with rogue florists…
“It’s quite strange,” Diane told her lodger, Mark, as they made dinner that evening. “I’d think they were for me, but Christopher and I don’t have our anniversary until May.”
“Haven’t you forgotten something?” Mark grinned over the potato peelings. It’s nearly Valentine’s Day.”
“Goodness!” Diane blushed. “You don’t think…” Could Christopher have finally taken thirty years of hints that she didn’t need another pair of earrings? Well, if he had, Diane had better come up with a better Valentine’s gift than a box of Thornton’s…
Sure enough, every day until 14th February, another rose appeared in the posy on the doorstep. They were quite spectacular, and although Christopher hadn’t said a thing, Diane knew he knew she was delighted. She hadn’t smiled this much since Christmas! To make sure he received something just as good, Diane booked a meal with Champagne at a swanky restaurant for Valentine’s Day evening, and made sure to get her hair done.
On the morning of the 14th, Diane answered the front door to a gentleman presenting an enormous bouquet of roses — at least a round dozen, carefully wrapped in cellophane.
“Oh, you didn’t have to ring the bell,” she beamed, flustered. “I’ll just take them —”
“Is Mark here?” the man asked. He had a European accent and, now Diane thought about it, much smarter clothing than the average florist.
“Yes, but —”
“Alejandro!” From down the hall, Mark squawked and sprinted to the door, squeezing past Diane to lift Alejandro — and his flowers — off his feet.
“Diane, this is Alejandro. You remember I told you about him?” Diane leant on the wall, wondering vaguely if it was really possible to die of embarrassment.
“Oh, yes.” Alejandro. Mark’s boyfriend. The one who lived in Barcelona. Diane trudged back to the kitchen, strangely numb.
“They weren’t from you,” she murmured as she saw her husband, who hadn’t even left the table.
“What weren’t, dear?” Christopher pointed his spoon to a small velvet box next to Diane’s toast. “Your present’s here.”
Earrings, of course. They were beautiful. “Darling, I love them. And I have a surprise for you. We’re going out to dinner tonight…”