Allysa hands him one of our flyers. “You have to actually buy something to be considered a customer.”
Ryle glances over the flyer and then sets it back down on the counter. He walks to one of the displays and grabs a vase full of purple lilies. “I want these,” he says, setting them on the counter.
I smile, wondering if he realizes he just picked lilies. Kind of ironic.
“Do you want us to deliver them somewhere?” Allysa says.
“You guys deliver?”
“Allysa and I don’t,” I reply. “We have a delivery driver on standby. We weren’t sure if we’d actually need him today.”
“Are you actually buying these for a girl?” Allysa asks. She’s just prying into her brother’s love life like a sister would naturally do, but I catch myself stepping closer to her so I can hear his answer better.
“I am,” he says. His eyes meet mine and he adds, “I don’t think about her very much, though. Hardly ever.”
Allysa grabs a card and slides it to him. “Poor girl,” she says. “You are such a dick.” She taps her finger on the card. “Write your message to her on the front and the address you want them delivered to on the back.”
I watch him as he bends over the card and writes on both sides. I know I don’t have a right, but I’m brimming with jealousy.
“Are you bringing this girl to my birthday party Friday?” Allysa asks him.
I watch his reaction closely. He just shakes his head and without looking up he says, “No. Are you going, Lily?”
I can’t tell by his voice alone if he’s hoping I’ll be there or hoping I won’t. Considering the stress I seem to cause him, I’m guessing it’s the latter.
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“She’ll be there,” Allysa says, answering for me. She looks at me and narrows her eyes. “You’re coming to my party whether you like it or not. If you don’t show up, I’ll quit.”
When Ryle is finished writing, he tucks the card into the envelope attached to the flowers. Allysa rings up his total and he pays in cash. He looks at me while he’s counting out his money. “Lily, do you know that it’s custom for a new business to frame the first dollar they make?”
I nod. Of course I know that. He knows I know that. He’s just rubbing it in my face that his dollar will be the one framed on my wall for the life of this store. I almost encourage Allysa to give him a refund, but this is business. I have to leave my wounded pride out of it.
Once he has his receipt in hand, he taps his fist on the counter to get my attention. He dips his head a little and, with a genuine smile, he says, “Congratulations, Lily.”
He turns and walks out of the store. As soon as the door closes behind him, Allysa is grabbing for the envelope. “Who in the hell is he sending flowers to?” she says as she pulls the card out. “Ryle doesn’t send flowers.”
She reads the front of the card out loud. “Make it stop.”
She stares at it for a moment, repeating the phrase. “Make it stop? What in the hell does that even mean?” she asks.
I can’t take it another second. I grab the card from her and flip it over. She leans over and reads the back of it with me.
“He is such an idiot,” she says with a laugh. “He wrote the address to our floral shop on the back.” She takes the card out of my hands.
Ryle just bought me flowers. Not just any flower. He bought me a bouquet of lilies.
Allysa picks up her phone. “I’ll text him and tell him he screwed up.” She shoots him a text and then laughs as she stares at the flowers. “How can a neurosurgeon be such an idiot?”
I can’t stop grinning. I’m relieved she’s staring at the flowers and not at me or she may put two and two together. “I’ll keep them in my office until we figure out where he intended for them to go.” I scoop up the vase and whisk away my flowers.
“Stop fidgeting,” Devin says.
“I’m not fidgeting.”
He loops his arm through mine as he walks me toward the elevator. “Yes, you are. And if you pull that top up over your cleavage one more time, it’ll defeat the whole purpose of your little black dress.” He grabs my top and yanks it back down, and then proceeds to reach inside to adjust my bra.
“Devin!” I slap his hand away and he laughs.
“Relax, Lily. I’ve touched way better boobs than yours and I’m still gay.”
“Yeah, but I bet those boobs were attached to people you probably hang out with more than once every six months.”
Devin laughs. “True, but that’s half your fault. You’re the one who left us high and dry to play with flowers.”
Devin was one of my favorite people at the marketing firm I worked at, but we weren’t close enough to where we actively became friends outside of work. He stopped by the floral shop this afternoon and Allysa took to him almost immediately. She begged him to come to the party with me and since I didn’t really want to show up alone, I ended up begging him to come, too.
I smooth my hands over my hair and try to catch a glimpse of my reflection in the elevator walls.
“Why are you so nervous?” he asks.
“I’m not nervous. I just hate showing up to places where I don’t know anyone.”
Devin smirks knowingly and then says, “What’s his name?”