Friday, June 27, 2008

Entry #4 Unique Character/Setting: Flower Power

Flower Power
by Debbie Roome

Rose paused for a moment, enjoying the deep throated rumble, the sheer power that vibrated beneath her. If only she was leaving on a road trip instead of arriving at work.

“Morning, Rose."

“Morning, Jennie.” Why are you outside?

“Would you mind posing with Halley for a customer?”

I should have known. “No problem. Send him through.” She dismounted, tugging her helmet off as she did so. She was tired of being a legend, tired of curious tourists, tired of not having a man in her life. She supposed it was her own fault really. What kind of man would fancy a forty year old biker who sold Harley accessories and flower arrangements.

The customer walked into the private parking area at the back of her shop. “Sure appreciate this, Ma’am.”

She recognized him at once. He was a regular customer and handsome in a brawny muscled, droopy moustached way. She glanced at his empty ring finger. Stop it, Rose.

“96 model?”

So he knew Harleys. “Yep. 96 Ultra Classic, Electra Glide, 1340cc engine, six-speed manual, custom painted cobalt metallic blue.”

He circled the bike, running his hand across the bodywork. “The paint job is excellent. You must really enjoy her.“

Rose softened a little. “I call her Halley – Halley Harley after Halley’s comet. When I open her up on the road, she really flies.”

“Do you mind if I photograph you with her?”

Rose swung her leg over the bike and crouched forward, gripping the handle bars.

He clicked away, taking several shots from the front and side.

“Never seen a jacket like that.”

Rose straightened her spine allowing him to capture her back view. The jacket was black leather appliqued with a giant red rose. Tiny silver chains were stitched here and there, giving the appearance of being woven through the petals.

“Thanks for your time, Ma’am. That’s a superb machine you’ve got there.” He hesitated. “Could I pick up a flower arrangement while I’m here?”

He went to browse in the store while Rose changed into working clothes. So what am I? She asked as she shrugged off leathers and pulled on jeans and a floral smock. A feminine rose or a butch biker? She looked in the mirror, pulling a face at her neat features and cropped caramel hair. Her parents had named her Rose. Not Rosemary or Roseanne, but Rose. She ran a finger over her unlined skin. People said she had a complexion like a rose petal, dewy and soft, and she certainly loved flowers. But she also loved the thrill of opening Halley to full throttle and hurtling down an open road. Do I really need to choose one or the other to be happy?

Her assistants were already busy in the shop. Josiah Kane was an expert on Harleys and Jennie Milford was a qualified florist. Rose was competent in both areas and worked between the two sides.

“Right, Mr...?”

“Jack Sherwood. Call me Jack.”

“What sort of arrangement are you looking for?”

“It’s for a special woman. She’s a biker but I think she has a soft feminine side to her.” Rose thought quickly. “How about something bold with strong features? I can soften it by adding in some delicate flowers.”

After showing him buckets laden with blossoms, he decided on a creation of spiralled drift wood, creamy arum lilies and tiny sprigs of gypsophila. Rose wound some fine gold cord around the driftwood and sprinkled a little glitter on the arums. “Will you need a card to go with that?”

He nodded, looking across at the rack. “Could you choose one for me?”

“You say she’s a biker?”

“Sure is. I’m hoping she’ll go on a date with me.”

“This is one of my favourites. If she’s into biking, it should go down a treat.” She handed him a large card that displayed a magnificent Harley Davidson against a flower strewn street. The caption at the top read ‘Flower Power’.”

His smile stretched from ear to ear. “That’s perfect.”

She handed it to him, along with a big red envelope. “Would you like delivery?”

“No thanks. I’ll be delivering this myself.” He pulled out his wallet and paid for the items before striding out of the shop.

Rose felt a pang of jealousy as she watched him disappear. If only I could find a man like that. One who loves bikes but is gentle enough to buy a woman flowers. There must be someone out there. Her thoughts persisted as she went to the cool room to collect materials for an order. Marigolds, tulips, ferns. When did I last receive flowers from a man? A circle of oasis and some florist tape. I can’t even remember. Scissors and ribbon.

“Rose,” Jennie popped her head through the door. “Someone to see you.”

She set the supplies in a corner and pulled her smock straight as she walked back into the shop. Jack was standing there, arrangement in his arms.

Oh dear. I wonder what’s wrong.

“Madam Rose,” he placed the arrangement on the counter with an exaggerated bow. “Special delivery for you and a special message.” He handed her a large red envelope. “ I’ll be back later to hear your reply.”

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