She couldn’t come up with a single plausible one and she thought about calling him herself to give him what for. She was about to do that when her door creaked open and he stepped into her room.
She folded her arms over her chest and glared at him, not willing to reveal how happy and relieved she was to see him. Not until she had given him a piece of her mind first.
“Hello, sweetheart,” he said softly, stepping farther into her room and approaching her bed cautiously. She noticed for the first time that he was clutching a large bouquet of flowers in his hands, and pursed her lips. If he thought his flowers were going to cut it this time, he had another think coming.
“Where have you been?” she asked bad-temperedly, and he flinched before sitting down on the chair beside her bed. His eyes drifted down to her elevated leg and the clean dressing wrapped around her thigh.
“How do you feel?” He answered her question with a question, and that just pissed her off even more.
“How do you think I feel?” she snapped. “I was careless at work. I’m never careless at work. I feel like an idiot. I also feel bored and my leg hurts and I wish I could walk around but everybody keeps telling me I should take it easy. And I feel angry. With you.”
“I understand,” he said, leaning forward, the flowers still clasped in his hands.
“Do you? Because I don’t understand. Chase told me to give you time to get over the horrific experience, but you’re not the moron who stabbed herself in the leg with a chisel!”
“Yeah, well,” he said, still without heat. “I am the one who had to stand there and watch you bleed half to death. I’m the one who was terrified you would die right there in front of me while I was helpless to do anything and afterward . . . I was absolutely covered in your blood, so I had a few things to work out, okay?”
She hadn’t considered how extremely traumatic the experience must have been for him or the guys in the shop and felt immediately contrite.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, and he sighed.
“I am too. I should have come sooner, but . . . it was hard.” He looked down at the flowers in his hands and held them up for her to see. “I also had to find these. It took a bit of research finding the perfect ones.”
“Oh? Is there some flower out there that says, ‘sorry you sliced yourself open with a drifting chisel. Hope you feel better soon’?” His lips twitched and he shook his head.
“Not that I’ve found. I’ll keep searching for that one.”
“So what do these mean then?” She nodded toward the exquisitely wrapped bouquet in his hands. He swallowed audibly and pointed each flower out to her.
“These are tulips,” he said, and she rolled her eyes. He had started with one even she recognized, but she nodded and smiled at the friendly red color of the blooms. “These blue ones are forget-me-nots. These are azaleas; over here we have ambrosia—that was hard to find—and of course, these are daffodils.”
“They’re very pretty,” she said, and he cleared his throat nervously. “Are you going to tell me what they mean?”
He tugged a card out of his jacket breast pocket and handed it over to her with a trembling hand. She gave him a searching look, wondering about this extreme display of nervousness and pulled the card from its envelope.
This time there was writing on only one side. Another poem. She read the words and looked up at him with a confused look on her face before reading them again:
Roses are red
Tulips are too
Every flower in this bouquet
Means, “I love you”
“Gabe?” She asked uncertainly, her own hand starting to shake.
“The red tulips are a declaration of love,” he said, his trembling voice gaining strength with every word. “Ambrosia means that I love only you. The forget-me-nots are absolutely screaming that you’re my true love. The daffodils are saying ‘I love you too’ in reply to all the times you’ve said those words to me . . . and just in case you have any doubts about what kind of love we’re talking about here, the azaleas are telling you that it’s romantic love.”
“Oh my God,” she whispered, her hands coming up to cover her mouth as she tried to hold back her sobs.
“I’m the only idiot in this room, Bobbi,” he told her. “It took the sight of you bleeding and unconscious to make me realize what I’d be missing if I lost you. All I could think of was that we would never get married and have babies and that my life would be utterly miserable without you.”
“Married? Babies?” she asked in disbelief, not quite sure if she was awake or not, and he grinned before pointing to a perfect red rose nestled amongst the tulips—she hadn’t even noticed it.
“You probably know what a red rose means, right?”
She nodded. True love, of course.
He tugged the rose from the bouquet and she noticed that the long stem was wrapped in cellophane to protect the leaves from breakage. He unwrapped the cellophane and handed the rose to her.
“Watch out for the thorns,” he warned. She glanced down instinctively and that’s when she saw the ring—dangling prettily from one of the leaves. She looked back at him, her eyes huge in her face, and he smiled lovingly at her before reaching over to tug the ring from the leaf.
He held the ring, an exquisite square-cut canary diamond surrounded by small white diamonds, up in front of her before unexpectedly going down onto one knee beside her bed. It was such a romantic, if somewhat clichéd, gesture that Bobbi was absolutely staggered by it.