The girl with the pink flower.

The Girl with the pink flower.

L.T.Marshall

 

He had watched that same girl walk past the cottage almost every day for the past three weeks, same long blonde hair, covered with a wooly purple hat, green parka, and pink wellie boots pulled over skinny jeans. She seemed young, maybe early twenties and out of place for this area. Come rain or shine she had made the journey along the winding country lane almost as close to his front door as anyone had ever dared, then beyond to the hills in the distance every morning before six am.

The thing which stuck out to him almost from day one was not the small slim figure, her hair concealing her face in a mass of golden waves or the way her body seemed to sag in exhaustion, most likely from her long walk in wellington boots, but the single pink fresh cut flower she carried with her ritually. Like a neon sign in the greyness of the weather.

Held in pink tinged hands going numb from the cold, she never seemed to wear gloves. At first, he had seen her briefly as he made coffee in the kitchen, warm and cozy before heading out to start plowing the higher fields for the day, checking the sky for signs of bad weather, clouds rolling in. There she had been, walking past as though it was the most natural thing in the world and it had stopped him in ritual mode to watch her progress by.

He had been surprised to see anyone this far over to the west of the town, normally he saw only horse riders or lone dog walkers sporadically up closer to the main farm house where his parents lived, never a single young girl walking alone so early in the day when the sun had not yet fully taken the tinge of dullness from the air.

He stood mesmerized that morning, hand vacant of coffee, he had been waiting this time, watching in anticipation. Seeing her had almost become part of his morning now, like seeing a robin in winter perched on the fence almost daily when the snow fell. She was part of the day, even for someone like him who never had much time for women beyond sex. He had no idea why she drew him to watch her walk by and hold off his day for a few minutes.

Today she had no hat on, the weather wasn’t warm enough to be without it, but here she was, he frowned as she slowly walked by, irritated by the fact she had come out without it. The winter was coming and someone as fair and thin as her wouldn’t do well in the cold this place could conjure up.

Never looking up, that mass of wavy blonde hair forever concealing his perfect mysterious stranger. It irked him that in all the days he stood here, he still didn’t have a face to match that figure.
He had wondered many times over the past couple of weeks what she would look like, imagining a delicate face with soft blue eyes and a full mouth, he could fantasize anyway. He wondered where she was going. The only thing along that road for miles on end was fields and forests, the next town too far to walk. He never ever saw her return, usually, he had left moments after seeing her to head to his parents to start planning the days chores with them and the other farm hands. He had a busy life, always on the go and far too embroiled in his own crap to take a time out for a girl.
He stood by the window, openly on show but he knew she never turned this way, she never looked up, her focus always on her careful footsteps, watching the gravel on the bumpy road and avoiding pot holes, always gripping that single flower.

He wanted to know what the flower was all about… Why did she always have one in her hand? It intrigued him. It annoyed him that he even wanted to know at all. He had no idea what it was about her that dented his cocky attitude and ‘women have no place in my life’ mentality. Yet here she was and here he was – watching, waiting, smiling when he knew she was close to showing up.

He watched her walk slowly out of sight over the hill until the tip of her hair was completely gone and felt disappointed. Strangely. Watching her for the past weeks had become more than an interest and the start of a nagging urge to speak to her, to find out why she walked by everyday. The only thing which had stopped him until now was the gold wedding band she wore on her left hand. He was no fool, even if he was a lady’s man with a few many notches on his headboard. Women with husbands in this place should be avoided at all costs, he had had enough sexual advances from bored lonely stay at homes in the past few years and enough trouble from jealous husbands to last a lifetime.

Mathew was aware that he wasn’t exactly lacking when it came to looks, he knew he was a handsome son of a bitch with a lot of confidence and a lot of ‘man’ in his pants. Many women had tried to snag him in this town, but none intrigued him the way this girl seemed to, even then he knew once he figured out her mystery he would soon bore of her, most likely another plain jane farm girl with ruddy cheeks and bored expression. It took spectacular to keep his interest and as he was only twenty-four, far too young to want to bed the same girl for any length of time.

He pulled on his heavy coat and boots by the door, pulling on a hat, he caught sight of his reflection. All male chiseled roughness staring back, his sandy hair covered, but his blue eyes piercing in his weather-tanned face. He knew he was hot, from an early age girls had flocked to his side. Even his rugged flaws were a turn on, the chipped tooth from fighting in school, the scar across one eyebrow from an over energetic fall from a tree swing as a teen and the unshaven rough face of a guy in his late twenties who couldn’t give a crap about grooming products. Somehow it worked for him and he knew he could pull it off easily.

He was well built from a lifetime of working on the farm, manual labor coming easily to him, he had spent his life outdoors, so he was pretty tough, and women liked his rippling muscles and work earned six pack. He was never short of a bed fellow since he had hit puberty, always, eager girls trying to hook him, hoping for a ring on their finger. Mathew wasn’t interested, he had no interest in any of the women around here, most he had known since forever and they bored him. He wanted more than some shy wifely woman who wanted to bear a multitude of children and have a quiet life.

He headed out jumping into the beat up green range rover in the drive and hit the road to turn left toward his parents. He hesitated at the junction, looking along to the right where she had gone, his foot hovering over the accelerator.

‘What are you doing Matt?’ he said to himself in the rear-view mirror. Despite openly questioning his motives, he found himself turning right and pressing the gas without hesitation. He would just drive by, maybe get a glimpse of what she looked like finally and then his fascination would die, right? That’s all this was. His undying need to curb his interest in the unattainable and get over it. He already had a redhead in town who was more than willing to warm his bed up for the foreseeable future.
He followed the bends in the road and focused on every curve in the hopes of seeing her on the bend, knowing she would not have gotten far; before seeing her up ahead. She moved to the grass verge on hearing a car, stepping daintily sideways but didn’t look around and this irritated him more.

What was he thinking?

He should have been heading the opposite direction and going to work, he had a ton to do that day. He drove past her, glancing in his rear-view until she came into view but felt only disappointment at the fact she was looking down, her hair falling over her face in the gentle breeze with no hat to hold it back from her face. Matt felt his frustration grow and he became agitated and restless about missing his chance to end this.

Seeing the gate to the side of the road ahead he turned in, coming to an abrupt halt and jumped out, the field was being left to go to seed for grazing, so he had no reason to be there, but he needed to do this. Stop fixating on some young stranger and face the possibility she wasn’t his kind of attractive at all.

He opened the gate and checked the latch, knowing this one had always been broken, he was stalling for time until she got close as he pulled out a rope from the fence which had been holding it closed and ripped it away. He had more rope in the car, he intended to make it look like he was just here replacing it, quick and easy. One look at her and then he would be gone. No need to make contact, just get a look at her and then he could stop watching her walk by on the daily. He was praying she was not pretty. He didn’t need complications this month, he had enough of his own.

He watched from the corner of his eye as he rummaged in the back of the car, seeing her getting close enough that she would have to walk around to pass. The idea hit him as she came out to move around, still not looking up at all and he moved impulsively. He paced fast around the near side, past the front bumper and walked straight into her as she came to the front – a tactical move with one goal. To get the girl to look at him because he was truly that desperate.

She walked straight into him, unaware that he had stepped out in front of her, with a yelp as he caught her arms and she tripped over his boots clumsily, her head snapping up in shock at the collision. Matt gulped in surprise, winded a little, feeling like he had just been sucker punched by his little sister as he was faced with the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on, his senses momentarily deserting him. He swallowed hard, all cockiness that normally shrouded him like a cloak just dissipated. No girl had ever made him nervous, yet this one did. She was his idea of perfection.

Her pale skin had a smattering of light freckles over a small cute nose, perfect pouted pink kissable lips in that delicate face he hoped for, and the softest almost grey-blue eyes he had ever seen. Big Bambi eyes, youthful face and something about her that just screamed ‘protect me’. She had instantly taken his breath away, making him feel like a fourteen-year-old tongue-tied kid who hadn’t found his feet in puberty yet – not that he even had awkwardness at that age, he had been born ready to seduce. The effect she had on him threw him.

‘I’m sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going’ she smiled shyly only adding to the breathlessness in his chest, he was literally dumbstruck over the girl. Her voice was as soft and young as the sounds of summer and for the first time in his life he knew what butterflies felt like.

‘No.. it was me.’ he admitted, the impulse to be completely honest without actually making him out to be a weird stalker, he hated the way his heart was hammering in his chest, his hands clammy suddenly. He had never reacted this way to women. Matt was the lothario and the flirt. He was the king of pulling women among his friends, not this stammering fool acting like a major fan girl.

‘Oh No’ she breathed suddenly, her eyes downcast as she noticed the crushed flower between them as petals began shedding and fluttering to the ground in the most heartbreaking way. Mathew cursed under his breath, he hadn’t meant to do that, and he felt awful, a stab in the stomach kind of awful that something he watched her carry every day was now looking like he backed over it in his jeep. She was obviously upset.

‘I’m sorry, look my mum grows pink roses I’m sure she has some we could go pick one if you like?’ he had no idea why he felt so hell bent on taking the look of dismay off the girl’s face, that gold wedding band winking at him like a shiny poke in the eye. Some guy was sure as hell the luckiest guy on the planet and without even knowing him he wanted to punch him in the face for letting her walk this way alone every day at this hour. He sure as hell wouldn’t let her.

‘It’s okay’ she looked up, a sadness in her eye that made his gut ace.

‘It’s stupid really…she won’t miss it for one day’

‘Who won’t?’ he asked gently, wanting to know more, wanting to fix what he had just done. He wondered if he should admit that he had seen her every morning walking by. Ask her about the flower, but he didn’t need too.

‘My mother’ she looked away, holding a memory in her mind’s eye that was obviously painful.

‘She died along this road, this was hers.’ she held up her hand, pushing the ring with her thumb and Matt felt a strange peek of hope inside his chest.

‘I bring her one of her favourite flowers every morning, to lay where she left me.’ she bit her lip, holding back a tremble and his instinct was to wrap his arms around her, blown away by the force of emotion she stirred in him.

‘I’m really sorry’ it was the only thing he could think to say, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her, standing so close he could smell her light floral scent and clean shampooed hair.

Jesus, he felt like an Asshole.

‘It’s okay… I’m getting there’ she smiled sadly.

‘She had a good life, she only moved here a couple of weeks before she crashed.’

He suddenly clicked, the memory of a fatal accident over a year ago, in the middle of the night some woman had gone off the road in a rain storm not far from his cottage. He hadn’t known her, some city woman, a widow who had moved to town; he guessed this girl had come long after and was somehow making peace with her grief in her own time. He wondered if that meant she was temporarily here and suddenly didn’t want her to be.

‘Look let me run you back, maybe get another one and I can bring you back here…it’s the least I can do.’ he looked at her beseechingly, aware that he couldn’t stop looking at that mouth, the full perfect curve of those lips and the overwhelming desire to kiss her. She really was getting to him on all sorts of levels, even if he should be reminding himself of the fact she was upset and grieving.

‘Really? You would do that?’ the happiness on her face was the deciding factor, hell he would skip an entire day’s work to play chauffeur to that smile. It was like sunshine in the greyest day ever.

‘Really!’ he grinned at her, that face infectious with happiness at something so small and insignificant. She clapped her hands in childish glee and bounced up to kiss him on the cheek, such an innocent childlike motion, badly timed, she came lip to lip with him as he turned.

Stunned into stopping while still pressed together he impulsively caught her face and kissed her properly, surprised with his own impulse and the fact she immediately responded. A mere second of a chaste rushed kiss, but it sent an explosion of adrenaline through him, sure she had felt the same shockwave he just did, he was blown away by such a random instant act on the side of the road at six am. He pulled away awkwardly, noticing her face enveloping in the cutest blush ever and smiled impulsively.

‘Did that just happen?’ he asked her surprised that he would just kiss a girl like that. Even someone like him.

‘I guess you will have to ask me on a date now.’ she blushed, shrugging shyly and biting her lip, giggling nervously without meeting his eye. It was obvious she wasn’t the type to randomly kiss guys either and he didn’t want her to be.

‘Can’t have random strangers kissing me on the side of the road without at least one.’ she looked down at her feet innocently and he just wanted to smoosh that sweet little face. Mathew felt the grin spread across his face, she had him, before he even knew her name he was hooked and he damn well knew it. Fuck redhead or any dates in the near future. This one was his.

‘I could sure use some breakfast after we come back with your flower?’ he hinted softly, feeling the surge of excitement as she looked up at him with the most enthusiastic ‘Yes’ he’d ever seen.

 

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