The Wedding Secret
Carrying an armload of tulips, Renata McPherson moved slowly across the floor of Natural Inspirations.
She’d opened the flower shop nearly seven years ago, with a unique spin. All her flowers were silk, but she took great care and pride in making them look like the real thing. In her mind, the quality of her work made her shop stand out above the hundreds of other stores in Charlotte. If the steady stream of orders coming into the shop were any indication, folks around the city agreed.
Laying out the pile of flowers on the front counter, she sorted them by colour. Once the pink, white and yellow blooms were arranged in their respective colour groupings, she took a moment to glance around the bustling interior of her store. Six customers were currently in the shop, and two of her clerks were handling orders at the registers to her left. Her brow crinkled. Where’s Shauna? The shop was busy, and she needed her third clerk on the floor. Turning, she slipped past the end of the counter and returned to the back.
When she entered the storeroom, her eyes bulged at what she saw.
There, in a corner between shelves holding her floral foam and other supplies, was Shauna, her missing clerk. But she wasn’t
alone. Renata’s fiancé had the young woman wrapped in a tight embrace.
Renata shouted, “Gary! What the hell?”
Gary’s eyes widened. “Ren! I uh…”
As if sensing danger, Shauna ducked and slipped out of Gary’s hold, skittering away. As she passed Renata, Shauna said in a cautious tone, “I’ll be back next week to pick up my final check.”
Without looking away from Gary, Renata shook her head. “We’ll mail it.”
Not needing any further prompting, the young clerk disappeared.
Still stammering, Gary moved in her direction. “Honey. Let me explain. It’s not what you think.”
Tears gathered in Renata’s eyes and she dashed them away angrily. “Save it, Gary. The best thing for you to do is get out of my sight, immediately.”
“But, Ren. Just let me…” Gary came closer, attempting to enter her personal space.
Reaching out, Renata grabbed a pair of floral shears from a nearby shelf. With fire in her eyes, she warned, “Don’t. Just get the hell out.”
Throwing up his hands in exasperation, Gary sneered. “That’s the problem with you. You always have to have your own way.” Then he stalked past her and left.
Standing alone in the silence, Renata realized how tight a grip she had on the floral shears. Setting them aside, she leaned against the nearest wall. More tears fell, despite her anger at what had just happened right before her eyes. Tomorrow, she was supposed to be present as the Yamada wedding festivities kicked off. The events would continue through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and she was a guest of the groom’s sister as well as the florist. Now, thanks to the duplicitous Gary, she was left dateless.