A tall, bald man, with tattoos up and down his heavily muscled arm, a biker’s leather jacket, and a switch blade dangling from a chain on his belt appeared at the front desk of DeVeux Events. Instead of ringing the bell at the empty front counter, he called out:
“Hey, Mark! Get your sexy butt up here to the front. I’ve got a delivery.”
Mark DeVeux, signature bud behind his right ear, purchased that very morning at Clark Christ’s flower shop, accenting his undeniably Gallic face, in a frilled white shirt underneath his tailored waist coat emerges from the back room.
“Clark. What do we have there? All those roses? For me?”, Mark smiles, coy and dismissive, knowing better than to expect that from Clark.
“No, my love, this is for one of your girls. Seems the fella didn’t even know her name. I reckon its for your Lily though.”
“Lily! There’s a delivery for you.”, Mark calls out.
Clark Crist has already set about cutting the stems and arranging the two dozen roses in a vase.
Lily emerged from the back room still in her painting smock covered with gray watercolor. She was wearing overalls and a dirty old t-shirt. Joe Romero, a twenty-one year old Hispanic man who drove the shop’s truck and was the only other person in the shop at the time peeked out himself after her to see what the commotion was about.
“A military man by the name of Cass Jackson came into my shop this morning. My girl Fiona, who always did take after those clean cut types with Southern accents, was about to swoon over him. He said he spent all weekend trying to track down who did the gig at the Gubn’ers mansion last Friday ‘till he’d worked out it was DeVeux’s (pronouncing it dee vux instead of duh voh) outfit that done it. Said he saw this woman from there sculptin’ ice and it was love at first sight. He described her, and it was a dead on for your Lily, but I didn’t let on like I knew nothing. I just took his order and brought it over here. But, I reckon these are for you, my lady Lily.”
Clark handed Lily the overflowing vase and closed envelope.
“I can’t recall that I’ve ever had an admirer before.”, Lily intoned feigning an unimpressed tone.
“Open it!”, cried Mark, like a little kid at a birthday party.
Mark, Clark and Joe all looked on. Lily recalled the military man from the previous Friday who’d helped her lift her sculpture when Joe had gotten stuck in traffic. For a moment she held the letter to her breast as if the shame them for prying, then with a flourish, she said, “I never was one to keep secrets!”, opened the letter and read it aloud.
“My lady,” Lily read the letter in a manly and earnest voice with a bit of a drawl, having noted Clark’s description of the writer and her own memory of him. “Since I saw you last Friday, I have thought of nothing else but you. Your voice is music. Your form exquisite. Your hands, the very model of perfection. Call me a romantic, but I would curse myself for the rest of my life if I did not try to see you again. If you would be so kind as to see me again, you may contact me with the information on my card enclosed. Tell my secretary that you are the “Ice Lady”, and he will put you through directly to me immediately. I don’t even know your name. Your sincere admirer, Lieutenant Cass Jackson.”
Joe Romero had vanished from the room by the time Lily had finished.
Clark Crist ventured the remark, “I wish I had a man who would talk to me so sweet.”
Mark DeVeux showed more levity, and pronounced, “If I were you, I’d watch out for a man like that, he might end up a stalker. Well, enough fun. Back to work.”
Lily took the flowers to her work space in the back and set them next to her easel in the light of a window from the alleyway. She read the letter one more time, and then tucked it in her middle overall pocket under her smock and got back to work. Joe Romero wasn’t in the back either. But she did notice that the trash can by the back door was tipped over and had a dent in it. Lily had the distinct feeling that she had more than one admirer.