He sniffed. Wiped his nose on the cuff of his gloved hands that held the snips he’d been using to trim the stem on the thornless rose. “Please feel free to browse.” His red eyes wandered over the slim build of the bottle blonde screwing up her nose at his art. “Can’t find anything to suit?”
“I’m getting married and I want different.” She popped her littlest fingernail into her mouth and teethed on its edge like a termite tackling timber.
“Of course, you do.” They all do. He sniffed, wiping the beads of perspiration from his brow, and eyed the clock’s countdown.
“So, any tips?”
“Have you considered the match to your dress and theme?”
She tapped the tortured fingernail on her tiny chin. “What do you think?”
Nope, not touching that one. He licked his lips, sniffed, and grabbed his water bottle and drank it dry. “Ask your mother for advice.”
“She won’t. She doesn’t like him.”
“Ah huh.” Great, let’s play counsellor – not. “What about a friend?”
She shook her head. “They work.”
Duh, don’t we all. “We’re open on the weekend where our best staff pander to people.”
“Oh, goody.” She clapped baring her white teeth in joy.
“Yay.” Not. But it was part of the job. “Listen, honey…” Yes, let’s play it up the expected way.“Why not get your girlfriends to come with you, find a few photos of what you like and meet with our Stylist, she’ll be able to dote all over you, doll-face. She’s just lovely.” He paid his mother a fortune to deal with customers he hated.
Again, he sniffed. Side-glanced the crawling clock, counting the minutes until his next snort of powdered magic.
“Are you alright?” She asked.
“You look stoned.”
“Excuse me?” His brows raised.
“The red eyes and constant sniffling. The clock-watching, chewing on your bottom lip, and drinking gallons of water. I know the signs. You…” Pointing her chipped fingernail at him. “Are an addict!”
He laughed. “Honey, I’m always like this in the last half hour before I can take my next powdered pill.”
“Pill? I knew it.”
“I suffer from allergies and my antihistamines dry me out.”
“You have hay-fever and work as a florist?”
“What can I say, I like floral arranging.” He just didn’t like the customers or the pollen. “Bet you think I’m gay too!”
(first published 11/08/2016)
Happy Valentine’s Day