FLOWERS FOR ANGELA
By Curtis Phills
Three dots bounced on the bottom of Terry’s cell phone screen. Angela was reading his message. That was good. It meant she hadn’t blocked him. He re-read his message to her:
I don’t know why that girl told you I was going to marry her. I swear I only spoke to her once for less than a minute. I don’t even know her name
The dots disappeared. She’d left him on read. Again. This was completely unfair. He’d done nothing wrong. Ever since her cousin’s wedding, women had been saying things like that to Angela about him.
The phone buzzed. A message from Angela!
Shes not the only girl whose told me that
Terry furrowed his brow and leaned back against the driver’s headrest. Why was this happening? He’d never cheated on Angela. He never would.
Another buzz. Angela wrote:
Shes the fourth girl this week
Terry shook his head. That made no sense. He brought up the screen keyboard to reply but stopped. Texting wasn’t getting anywhere. He had to speak to her in person. She’d know he was telling the truth when she heard his voice. He grabbed the bouquet of flowers from the passenger’s seat and hopped out of the car.
Angela’s medical center was busy so Terry waited in line to speak to the receptionist. One person gave him a weird look about the flowers but most were excited to see who they were for.
When he reached the front of the line, the receptionist asked him, without looking up, “Do you have an appointment?”
“No.” Terry held the flowers up. “But I–”
“We’re full for the day.” The receptionist adjusted the shawl around her shoulders. “If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, use our app to make an appointment.”
“I brought these for Angela.”
The receptionist looked up, her eyes narrow and her jaw stern until she made eye contact with Terry. “Awww. That is so sweet.” She grabbed the flowers. “Take a seat and I’ll put these in some water.”
Terry found a seat at the back of reception and wrung his hands. Hopefully, Angela would like the flowers half as much as her receptionist. She loved the way carnations smelled.
The line to check-in grew. An elderly man with a cane joined the line, followed by two gray haired women–one helping the other. Next a woman with two toddlers running around her legs pushed a stroller to the end of the line.
Terry stood to make room for her. “You can have my seat.”
“We’ll be fine.” She picked one toddler up and glanced at Terry. When their eyes met, her cheeks flushed red. She put her kid down and wiped at the baby food stain on her shirt. “Just so you know, their dad is out of the picture and the kids are always in bed by 8, maybe 8:30 at the latest.”
Terry furrowed his brows in confusion. Why would she tell him that?
“So I still have plenty of time in my life for a boyfriend.” She placed her hand on his forearm. “The right boyfriend.”
“Hey!” The receptionist had returned to the front desk and pointed at the mom. Her shawl was gone and she wore a thin white shirt with spaghetti straps instead of her uniform top. “That’s assault! Get your grubby hand off him!”
“It’s fine.” Terry held his hands up to show there was no problem.
The receptionist’s bare shoulders rose and fell with every angry breath. “Stay away from him.”
The mom glared back. “He deserves a real woman.”
“Oh wow, are those the flowers?” Terry said in an attempt to make peace while he approached the front desk. “They look beautiful in that vase.”
The receptionist looked at him and melted into a smile. She hugged the vase. “Too bad Dr. Angela won’t appreciate their beauty.”
Terry sighed as another receptionist sat down. “I can take who’s next.”
The elderly man coughed and used his cane to shuffle toward the new receptionist. She nodded at Terry, their eyes briefly connecting, then put her hand up to stop the old man. To Terry, she said, “You’re so thoughtful to bring those for Dr. Angela.”
Terry shrugged. If only Angela thought that.
The new receptionist put her hand on her chest and cooed. “I’ll bring them to her right now.”
“No,” the first receptionist said. Her lips were redder than before and her eyeliner sharper. “She doesn’t deserve them. They’re staying here with me.”
“He doesn’t want to be with you.” The second receptionist snatched the vase and ran to the back.
The first receptionist ran after her. Terry shook his head, his mouth open. Why was this happening? The first time he’d noticed women acting strange around him was after he caught the bouquet at Angela’s cousin’s wedding. She’d asked him to stand in the line for her.
He went to return to his seat, but the mom slowly licked her upper lip and winked at him. He decided to go in the back and find Angela himself.
It wasn’t hard. He followed the sounds of the receptionists screaming.
“You don’t deserve him!”
“You’re lucky to have a man bring you beautiful flowers.”
“Angela.” Terry stood in the door to her office. “Can we please talk?”
Angela sighed while she stood. “We’re through Terry.” She looked in his general direction, her brown eyes red from crying. “I’ve had enough of your lies. Now you’re seeing my receptionists? How long has that been going on?”
“I’m not.” Terry stared deeply into her eyes. He remembered getting down on one knee after catching the bouquet. Of course, Angela didn’t see. Before he could propose, her cousins tackled him, knocking him to the ground and scratching his eyes with the flowers. “Please, let’s talk about this.”
“You’re not going to make a fool of me anymore.” Angela grabbed her white cane and tapped a path past the receptionists, past Terry, and out of the office.
The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key <–YOU ARE HERE
Flowers For Angela by Curtis Phills <–YOU ARE HERE