For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen Read Free Book Online

Book: For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beverly Allen
calla lilies mean
magnificent beauty
    “That’s right. Good memory.” I got it. Don’t embarrass the host. I could play along.
    “Very clean. Quite modern,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what else you brought.”
    I lifted the covering for Shelby’s design.
    Suzy gasped.
    “We were going for something a little out of the box. This was constructed by one of our new young designers, Shelby Frazier. The construction is curled and wired lily grass, which he’s used to make an elaborate three-foot cascade. He then embellished that with gorgeous variegated foxglove, so that the flowers start out small at the top, and at the bottom, there’s a symphony of bell-shaped blooms. They really look like bells, don’t they?” I asked.
    “Oh, they do!” This was clearly the bride’s pick.
    “And a surprise.” I picked up the bouquet and shook it gently. The jingle bells Shelby had wired into some of the flowers made their signature chime.
    The bride squealed and clapped her hands. “And what do those flowers mean?”
    “I’m not sure lily grass has a meaning of its own, but lilies generally mean
and grass is a symbol of . . .
. You know, the whole love, honor, and obey thing. Right?” I cemented my smile and hoped they’d drop it there. Gary had assured me we’d only talk about the language of flowers for the Victorian bouquet, and yet he’d started carrying that forward into all of them. I hoped and sent up a quick, fervent prayer that they wouldn’t ask what the foxglove meant.
    As if on cue, Gary and Suzy both said, “So what does the foxglove mean?”
    So much for the power of prayer. “Well, of course this flower was chosen primarily for its shape.” I paused, hoping that would satisfy them.
    They stared, waiting for me to fill in the blanks.
    Silence reigned on the set for about thirty seconds until the cameraman snorted.
    “Cut!” Tristan yelled.
    “No, keep it rolling,” Gary said.
    Suzy became livid. “Why in the world would you put such a flower in a bridal bouquet? Insincerity? What are you trying to imply?”
    “I . . . I was under the impression that we were only going to use the language of flowers for the Victorian-inspired bouquet. The others were constructed simply for their beauty and your bell theme.” I resisted the urge to say “corny bell theme.”
    “What made you think we wouldn’t ask?” Gary asked in that voice sweet as molasses. Grandma Mae would have said “butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth,” but butter is oily just the same.
    Two could play at that game. I put on my sweet voice. “Well, Gary, had you yourself not informed me that you didn’t ‘want to get bogged down with that jazz,’ as you put it, I would have been happy to make sure all the flowers had positive floriography—”
    “So this is your fault?” Suzy turned on Gary. “I spent hours filling in those stupid questionnaires and then more hours with you drilling me about my whole life. You should know what I like by now.”
    “Trust me, Suzy, it’s for your own good.” He took her shoulders in an attempt to soothe her.
    She jerked away.
    “Now look.” He turned to me. “I should fire you for what you did . . .”
    “What I did? But you did say—”
    Gary’s scowl stopped me dead in my tracks. This dude was seriously bipolar. Then Liv’s voice chimed in my ear: “The customer is always right.” Not that she was there, but it was as if she were sitting on my shoulder, like the good angels in the old cartoons. Or like Jiminy Cricket.
    “I’m sorry.” But the thought of Liv in green makeup and dressed as a cricket made me smile. Fatal mistake.
    “You think being fired is funny?” Gary’s cheeks turned red, and his bulging eyes made him appear apoplectic. “I’d find another florist right now if we weren’t so far behind schedule. I’m going to do you a favor and we’ll finish up the interview, nice and pretty. But don’t think

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