She shrugs. “I don’t know. They’re sweet, I guess? They’re alive, so they make me think of life. And maybe the color pink. And spring.”

“Sweet, life, pink, spring,” I repeat. And then, “Allysa, you’re brilliant!” I stand up and begin pacing the floor. “We’ll take everything everyone loves about flowers, and we’ll do the complete opposite!”


She makes a face to let me know she isn’t following.

“Okay,” I say. “What if, instead of showcasing the sweet side of flowers, we showcased the villainous side? Instead of pink accents, we use darker colors, like a deep purple or even black. And instead of just spring and life, we also celebrate winter and death.”

Allysa’s eyes are wide. “But . . . what if someone wants pink flowers, though?”

“Well, we’ll still give them what they want, of course. But we’ll also give them what they don’t know they want.”

She scratches her cheek. “So you’re thinking black flowers?” She looks concerned, and I don’t blame her. She’s only seeing the darkest side of my vision. I take a seat at the table again and try to get her on board.

“Someone once told me that there is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things. That stuck with me, because it’s so true. We’ve all got a little bit of good and evil in us. I want to make that our theme. Instead of painting the walls a putrid sweet color, we paint them dark purple with black accents. And instead of only putting out the usual pastel displays of flowers in boring crystal vases that make people think of life, we go edgy. Brave and bold. We put out displays of darker flowers wrapped in things like leather or silver chains. And rather than put them in crystal vases, we’ll stick them in black onyx or . . . I don’t know . . . purple velvet vases lined with silver studs. The ideas are endless.” I stand up again. “There are floral shops on every corner for people who love flowers. But what floral shop caters to all the people who hate flowers?”

Allysa shakes her head. “None of them,” she whispers.

“Exactly. None of them.”

We stare at each other for a moment, and then I can’t take it another second. I’m bursting with excitement and I just start laughing like a giddy child. Allysa starts laughing, too, and she jumps up and hugs me. “Lily, it’s so twisted, it’s brilliant!”

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“I know!” I’m full of renewed energy. “I need a desk so I can sit down and make a business plan! But my future office is full of old vegetable crates!”

She walks toward the back of the store. “Well, let’s get them out of there and go buy you a desk!”

We squeeze into the office and begin moving crates out one by one and into a back room. I stand on the chair to make the piles taller so we’ll have more room to move around.

“These are perfect for the window displays I have in mind.” She hands me two more crates and walks away, and as I’m reaching on my tiptoes to stack them at the very top, the pile begins to tumble. I try to find something to grab hold of for balance, but the crates knock me off the chair. When I land on the floor, I can feel my foot bend in the wrong direction. It’s followed by a rush of pain straight up my leg and down to my toes.

Allysa comes rushing back into the room and has to move two of the crates from on top of me. “Lily!” she says. “Oh my God, are you okay?”

I pull myself up to a sitting position, but don’t even try to put weight on my ankle. I shake my head. “My ankle.”

She immediately removes my shoe and then pulls her phone out of her pocket. She begins dialing a number and then looks up at me. “I know this is a stupid question, but do you happen to have a refrigerator here with ice in it?”

I shake my head.

“I figured,” she says. She puts the phone on speaker and sets it on the floor as she begins to roll up my pant leg. I wince, but not so much from the pain. I just can’t believe I did something so stupid. If I broke it, I’m screwed. I just spent my entire inheritance on a building that I won’t even be able to renovate for months.

“Heeey, Issa,” a voice croons through her phone. “Where you at? The game’s over.”

Allysa picks up her phone and brings it closer to her mouth. “At work. Listen, I need . . .”

The guy cuts her off and says, “At work? Babe, you don’t even have a job.”

Allysa shakes her head and says, “Marshall, listen. It’s an emergency. I think my boss broke her ankle. I need you to bring some ice to . . .”

He cuts her off with a laugh. “Your boss? Babe, you don’t even have a job,” he repeats.

Allysa rolls her eyes. “Marshall, are you drunk?”

“It’s onesie day,” he slurs into the phone. “You knew that when you dropped us off, Issa. Free beer until . . .”

She groans. “Put my brother on the phone.”

“Fine, fine,” Marshall mumbles. There’s a rustling sound that comes from the phone, and then, “Yeah?”

Allysa spits out our location into the phone. “Get here right now. Please. And bring a bag of ice.”

“Yes ma’am,” he says. The brother sounds like he may be a little drunk, too. There’s laughter, and then one of the guys says, “She’s in a bad mood,” and then the line goes dead.

Allysa puts her phone back in her pocket. “I’ll go wait outside for them, they’re just down the street. Will you be okay here?”

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