🙂 Tuesday is upon us once again!! Let the #Blogbattle begin!!
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This week’s word: Orchid
Genre: Romance ❤
Finn steps into the house that is so familiar. It’s just as his Aunt Lainey had always kept it. It had been a couple months since her passing, a friend of hers took care of the house until he could move in. As he walks into the dining room, he stops, and looks around. The orchids. Aunt Lainey loved her orchids, and she has not just a few of them, they are everywhere. He smiles as he hears her voice echo through his brain “Please Finn…don’t kill my beloved Orchids. When the time comes, you’ll know exactly what to do with them.”
Before he can start any work, he needs to eat. With no food in the house, he needs to go out. When he steps out of the house and heads towards his car, he notices someone next door, he hadn’t realized that the house had been sold. It was empty for many years after old man Stone died. When she glances his way, they both stop, staring at each other as recognition dawns. “Claire?” Finn asks.
“Finn?” she mimics.
They walk towards each other, their elation palpable. When they are close enough he pulls her in a friendly hug and says, “Claire, you look great!!”
After hugging him back she says, “You do too Finn, what are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” He points over to the house then says, “My Aunt Lainey left me the house, I just got here today to start cleaning it out.” Suddenly his memory darkens, he says quietly, “Hey…I heard about Danny…I am so sorry Claire.” He rubs his hands up and down her arms.
She softly replies, “Thanks Finn, I knew when I married him there was always that possibility” she shrugs, “He died doing what he loved, defending our country…not that it makes it any easier.” Smiling and needing to change the subject she spreads her arms out towards the house and says, “But look…I bought a house!! It needs a lot of work…but it’s mine!!”
“Congratulations!! Hey, I was just going to get something to eat, would you like to join me?”
“You know, I think I will.” She says with a nod.
They continue talking on the drive to the restaurant, as comfortable as the two old friends that they are. Being back in the town they both grew up in stirred up a lot of old memories.
As they wait for their food to arrive, they compare to-do lists for their houses. Finn hates the thought of Claire doing all that work by herself, but knows deep down she needs to do it herself, and probably will enjoy it, but still. He can’t help but offer, “Claire, please do not hesitate to call me if you need any help, I’d be happy to help.”
“Thanks Finn, but I know you have a lot of things you need to get done as well, I’d hate to bother you, I’ll get everything done…eventually. Hey, the way I look at it I have 30 years to get it just right.” She says with a smile full of pride and accomplishment.
As they eat, talk and laugh, Finn sees Claire with new eyes. In high school she was always Danny’s girl, so he never thought of her as anything but a friend. But now, after knowing what she’s been through losing her husband too soon, yet ready to tackle a new life, alone, he is in awe at how strong and beautiful she is.
As they linger over dessert and coffee, Claire excuses herself to use the ladies room. She has enjoyed Finn’s company more than she expected to. Sure they were old friends, but in high school, she never looked at anyone else, for her it was always just Danny. As she washes her hands and looks at herself in the mirror, this is the first time in five years that she doesn’t see the young widow of Staff Sergeant Parsons. Who she sees is the woman she truly is. Oh, she will always love Danny, but with the new house, it’s time for new beginnings.
She steps out of the ladies room, and catches a glimpse of Finn sitting there waiting for her. Yeah…Finn is definitely easy on the eyes, she grins at the thought of having him as her neighbor.
When they pull up to the house, Finn jumps out and quickly jogs around the front of the car to open her door. It’s been a long time since a man did that for her, the sweet gesture warms her heart. He takes her hand in his to help her out of the car. She says, “Thanks for dinner Finn, it was nice catching up.”
With a slight bow he says, “You are very welcome Claire, I enjoyed it too. Claire…don’t forget…you call me if you need anything.” He says pointing a finger at her.
“Yeah, OK…Thanks again Finn…Good night.” Claire turns and walks away.
“’Night Claire…dream sweet.”
~ ♥ ❤ ♥ ~
Finn wakes up early the next morning ready to start his day. As he walks through the dining room, the sun shining through the window catches his eye. There standing proudly among the purple flowers is one lone yellow orchid, illuminated by the sun’s rays. He wasn’t by any means an expert on orchids, but in all these years, he has never seen a yellow one before.
He enters the kitchen to get some coffee, as he looks out the window, he sees Claire up on a ladder. “What the…oh no. That’s not happening.” He murmurs to himself.
He walks out the back door allowing the screen door to slam behind him. He marches right up to the ladder and says, “What do you think you are doing? Claire, I told you to call me.”
“It’s so early I didn’t want to wake you.” She argues.
“Come down from there…carefully, please.” He coaxes her.
He holds on the ladder as she descends it slowly. She makes it all the way down safely, but slips on the last rung causing her to almost fall, but Finn grabs hold of her. As she tries to stand on her own, he notices that her loose fitting shirt fell from her shoulder revealing a beautiful tattoo on her back. First he asks, “Are you OK?” Then, “Is that a tattoo?”
She nods her head, and shyly says, “Yes.” Trying to cover it back up. He stops her and says, “May I?” as he moves the shirt back to reveal the whole design.
She explains, “It’s an orchid, my favorite flower.”
“Yes, I know it’s an orchid, it’s beautiful…but why a yellow one?” Admiring it, he inquires.
“A yellow orchid symbolizes new beginnings…how do you know it’s an orchid?” she questions.
He says with a smile and a shrug…”I’ve seen a few. New beginnings huh?” Just then he takes her by the hand and says, “Come on…you have to see this!!”
© 2015 Carrie Ann