March 2021 Featured Article
ROSE IN BLOOM
“Who needs a husband and babies when I have all this?” Kennedy Rose swept her hand Vanna-White-style to encompass her florist shop. Amaryllis, carnations, delphinium, oriental lilies, tulips, daffodils, and, of course, roses. Riotous spring color on this frosty February 13th.
Her proclamation was met with an unladylike snort. “You keep telling yourself that.” Maggie waggled a sprig of baby’s breath at her. “It’ll be small comfort in your old age.” She rubbed her T-shirt-clad baby bump, which was growing larger by the day.
As Kennedy watched her best friend caress what would soon be child number two, a pang of envy squeezed her heart. Or maybe it was the sriracha sauce she’d doused her pot stickers with at lunch. Whatever. She focused on the glittery red hearts she’d stuck in the storefront the week before. “When the right man comes along—”
“You’ll be so buried in blooms, you won’t recognize him.” Maggie retrieved her purse from behind the counter. “Thanks for lunch. I hate to eat and run, but I want to get home before Cody wakes from his nap.”
“No problem.” She had to admit, the scent of Cody’s petal-soft neck could rival that of an American Beauty rose.
“And when Jason comes in tomorrow for my Valentine’s bouquet, remind him I like pink roses. Or red. Not yellow.” She shook her head. “Where he got the idea that yellow means romance, I don’t know.”
“Be thankful you have a husband who cares enough to buy you flowers at all.” Kennedy winced. She’d become her mother. When did that happen?
Maggie stopped, one hand on the door, eyebrow cocked. “You know what your problem is?”
“My biological clock?”
“You’re too picky.”
“I have standards, my friend. And they aren’t even that high. All I ask is that the man I marry be faithful, kind, and romantic.” She raised a finger. “Oh, and employed.”
“You’re looking for a Boy Scout, not a husband.”
“I’m not looking at all.” Waiting, but not looking.
“That’s another one of your problems. You think the perfect man is going to just appear out of nowhere. But as long as you’re holed up in this shop, the only men you’ll meet are the ones who are already attached.” She pulled the door open and nearly collided with a man who was entering.
He side-stepped and held the door open. “After you.”
Kennedy squelched a bark of laughter at Maggie’s exaggerated swoon through the storefront window behind his back.
“Have I done something amusing?” The deep voice drew her attention away from her friend’s antics.
A pair of hydrangea-blue eyes sucked the air from her lungs.
“Uh, not at all.” Face warm, Kennedy snatched up the flowers she’d been arranging. An amateur move, she realized when a hot stab of pain shot through her hand. Disengaging the thorn, she pressed her thumb against her green canvass apron to soak up the drop of blood. “What can I do for you?”
He motioned to her hand. “You okay?”
“Oh, just peachy.” The warmth in her cheeks rose a degree or two. “I assume you’re here for flowers.”
He nodded. “You assume correctly. I’d like something for a very special lady.”
Of course. “Roses are the flower of choice this time of year.”
He squinted. “Too cliché, don’t you think?”
“That’s entirely up to you.”
He perused the shop. “Nice place you’ve got.” He wrinkled his nose. “But doesn’t the heavy aroma of flowers get to you after a while?”
Kennedy inhaled. “Nope. I love it. It’s eternally spring in here.”
He took her business card from the holder by the register. “Kennedy Rose?”
“Actually, it’s Kennedy Rose Marin. But for business reasons, I opted to drop my last name.”
“I’m Trent Carter.” He stuck out his hand. His warm fingers enveloped hers.
A zing of heat shot through her, and she tugged her hand free.
“Have you worked here long?”
“I own the shop.”
“Then you must be an expert at picking out just the right bouquet.”
He had her there. “Tell me something about the recipient, and I’ll see what I can do.”
“She’s adventurous. Loves nature, babies, and romance.”
“Well, who doesn’t?” They shared a grin.
Was this to be her destiny? Helping attractive men pick out just the right flowers to woo their girlfriends and wives? “Is she a traditionalist or a trendsetter?”
He tilted his head. “She’s a classy lady. But spontaneous enough to sport a hot-pink streak in her hair.”
Kennedy did a mental eye-roll. “I put together some bouquets this morning that might be perfect for her.” She slipped from behind the counter and walked to one of the glass-fronted refrigerator units. “If pink’s her color, there are a few here that might be to her liking.” She motioned to the shelves of bouquets. “What do you think?”
“I think you have beautiful green eyes.
Was he flirting with her while picking out flowers for a girlfriend? Of all the nerve! “I meant the flowers.”
He pointed to a collection of gladiolas, amaryllis, and delphinium. “I’ll take those.”
“Fine.” She grabbed the vase and marched back to the counter. The sooner she got this guy out of her shop, the better. “Would you like a card to go with them?” Her voice was frostier than the vase, but she didn’t care. He deserved the cold shoulder.
“Have I offended you in some way?”
“Not at all.” She sniffed. “I’ll just ring these up for you.” Her fingers fumbled at the register. Lips tight, she slid his purchase toward him. “I hope your girlfriend enjoys them.” The words were forced through gritted teeth.
His baby blues crinkled with confusion. “These aren’t for my girlfriend.”
Wife, then. Even worse! “It’s really no business of mine who they’re for.”
After paying for the flowers, he pulled out a small card and set it on the counter. “I’d love it if you’d call me sometime.”
Was he kidding?
Before the door closed behind him, Kennedy tossed the card into the trash without even reading it.
# # #
The Rose Garden was hopping all day long on February 14th. Husbands and boyfriends who’d waited until the last minute converged on the shop like a swarm of locusts and left nothing behind but a few sorry-looking bouquets. Valentine’s Day was always good for business, but it didn’t soothe Kennedy’s ego much.
What’s wrong with her? One minute she denied the desire for a husband, and the next she was moping about not having one.
Head buried in the refrigerator, Kennedy was gathering up fallen leaves and a collection of wilted stems when the tinkle of the bell over the door caught her attention. “I’m afraid I don’t have much left,” she said without turning.
“Oh, you might be surprised.”
Spinning toward the melodic voice, her nose nearly collided with the refrigerator door. A puff of cold air escaped from her mouth.
An elderly woman stood in the doorway of the shop. Her hair was pure white with one bold streak of hot pink. This couldn’t be Trent Carter’s amour, could it?
“I’m Amelia Carter.” She took three sure steps, shoulders back, and a mischievous grin on her lips. “Might you be Kennedy Rose?”
“I’m Trent’s grandmother.” Her dainty hand gave Kennedy’s a firm squeeze. “The flowers were lovely.”
“So he’s not—” Kennedy snapped her lips shut. She wouldn’t look good with her size sevens crammed inside her mouth.
“Not what?” The twinkle in her eye bespoke amusement.
She gulped. “Attached?”
“I suppose that would depend on you, dear.”
Kennedy bit her cheek in an effort to hold in the silly grin that was trying its best to break free.
“My grandson would be appalled if he knew I was here. But you were all he talked about at dinner last night. You and your charming store.” She held up a crooked finger. “I think he might be smitten.”
Air would be good right now. And some sort of comprehensible reply.
“I hope to see you again, Miss Kennedy Rose.” Amelia left with a wave and a smile.
The sweet woman wasn’t quite out of sight before Kennedy dove toward the trash can.
In this world of independence and impatience, we are often on the fast track to disappointment. We want what we want now and don’t trust God, in His infinite wisdom, to come through for us. Rather than wait on His timing, we step around Him. But if we delight in Him first, He will bestow on us the desires of our heart.
What is it that you have been waiting for? Have you given it to the Lord and trusted He has a perfect plan for you? Or are you striving to make it happen in your strength and timing?