She opened the door to an ocean of long stemmed roses. She knew they were from him; he had found her. They were wrapped in silky white paper, tied with brown twine. Bundles and bundles of crimson bouquets showered the small patio with an intoxicating aroma; sweet and moist, with a hint of something that she couldn’t quite place her finger on. It lingered on her lips as she breathed it in, her chest rising and falling with the tempo of her drumming pulse.
She stepped out of the warmth of the house, eyeing the empty road—nobody. She loosed a sigh, hungry for his arrival. It had to be soon. They did this every year and it never took more than a couple of hours for him to decipher her clues. But where was he? Surely he was the one who had delivered the flowers . . .
Crouching by the roses, she pulled each bundle close until she found a small, heart-shaped card stashed among the petals. She plucked it from its crimson bed, her heart hammering as she flicked it open. Her fingers trembled in the winter breeze, soothed only by her warm breath as she tried to steady her nerves. The message had been written in glittery pink ink, by the kind of gel-pen teenage girls use to write sob stories into diaries that lock with small silver keys.
It read: Did you count them all?
She collected as many of the bouquets as she could in a single armful, carting them inside. After multiple trips between the kitchen and the patio, they were all laid out on the table. With perfectly manicured fingers she counted them, and indulged in a low laugh. Her flowing mahogany hair bounced with humour—he had sent only 99. What was he was playing at? Puzzles and riddles—it was just like him, and she hated it.
She glided to the refrigerator, extracting a glistening bottle of Pol Roger. The cork flew past the light bulb as she unleashed the bubbles, filling her crystal flute. The crisp liquid never got the chance to reach her ruby lips before the doorbell rang. Loud and sharp, like an anticipated phone call. With an arched brow, she answered the beckoning cry.
There he was in his best-tailored tuxedo and a single long-stemmed rose clutched in his hands, like a bride’s bouquet. The one hundredth rose.
“Took you long enough.” The words rolled off her tongue like silk while the aroma of his cologne filled the space between them, intoxicating her. He said nothing as they gazed at each other with a longing far deeper than that of Romeo and Juliet; an infatuation that boiled their blood and tickled their veins. Their eyes devoured each other, consumed with animalistic intent.
“Good game,” he breathed, “it’s never taken me this long before.” He undressed her with his sharp green eyes. The lines of his jaw and the glint of his eyes made her knees tremble and her lips fumbled to find the glass of champagne. A long sip ensued before she said, “You know I don’t like to lose.” She backed inside the house, inviting him in with a wicked grin and heaving bosom.
“Oh, I know,” he snarled, following his wife inside.
“So, what did you do to the owners, this time?” he asked, watching her delicate hands pour a second glass of champagne. She pushed her body against his, feeding him a mouthful of wine. He took it kindly, draining whatever she offered him, and with her lips inches from his, a smile consumed her face.
“The bathtub was the perfect size for both of them. They’re happily bathing in their own blood. I suggest we use the ensuite if needed.”
They laughed in unison, downing their glasses in a single gulp.
“Happy Valentines Day,” she laughed, pulling him upstairs into the bedroom and slamming the door behind them.
© Angela. E. Mitchell
Image via Pinterest.