So hey! Since I’m spending a lot of time bouncing around this month, I figured rather than giving you all a prompt call, I’d just offer a few tiny bits of fiction so you can all meet my characters again. I did this once, long ago, and I can’t remember if this exact piece was ever shared, but I like it too much not to.
This is Alan Dawes, son of one of the wealthiest families in town and as such, probably the most eligible bachelor around. And he knows it. He’s disdainful and self-centered and snobbish…at least at the surface. There’s a lot beneath the surface of Alan, and he doesn’t let many people in to see it. The book he’s from–NOBLESSE OBLIGE–is told from Kenna’s perspective, a maid in his household, so we don’t see much from Alan’s point of view. Which is, of course, why I love to write tiny pieces from his eyes. So enjoy this one! I don’t know that it happens in canon, but I still love it.
The vase was always full of flowers.
He’d never had to buy a flower to put in it for as long as it had sat there, and he liked it that way. The vase had come to him with flowers in it, and when new ones came, the old were discarded. None ever died in his room – they didn’t have time.
At least, not until these ones.
What a cliché flower. No imagination, no intrigue. Everyone sends them, thinking they’re being romantic or nostalgic. It makes me ill. Alan regarded the roses that currently sat in the vase with mild disgust. And red ones at that. Have they no imagination?
Red roses – the commercial symbol for romantic love. Alan never gave anyone red roses. In the public eye, he would smile and say that only the perfect woman would ever receive a red rose from him; after all, why waste the most exquisite symbol of love on anyone else? He knew that each time he said it, a new batch of women would fall asleep dreaming of him showing up on their doorstep with a single red rose and an all-too-charming smile, waiting to catch them when they fainted.
But that wasn’t the truth.
The truth was, he hated red roses and always had. They were over-commercialized and cliché and no longer meant anything when you gave them. They were an expectation from men for sex, and an assumption from women for impossible fairy-tale romance. And if I wanted sex from a woman, I wouldn’t need to give her roses, he thought dryly to himself.
However, that did not stop women from sending him the flowers he detested so much. Bouquets of expensive blooms would show up from time to time, often with messages inscribed on florist’s cards such as “To the most exquisite beauty of the world” or “To the eternal love of my life, I send this perfect symbol of love”. Each time, his own words morphed to their own purpose and sent back to him. Again, no imagination at all.
But these had come with no note, and had not been delivered by some generically named florist. These had shown up on his doorstep in the hands of a young girl. The child could have been no older than thirteen and was most probably younger, and clutched the three wild roses in her hands so tightly that Alan was convinced she must have been bleeding.
“Can I help you?” he’d asked, after the butler had told him the visitor wished to speak with him directly.
“These are for you.” She was cold, angry, emotions that rarely came out of mouths like hers. “Something beautiful needs to be in your life.” And then she’d thrust them into his hands and walked away, calm and collected as ever.
He’d been left stunned into silence. What is a person to say at something like that? He’d shut the door, nodded a curt thanks to the butler, and returned to his room. Mechanically, the flowers in the vase were thrown away – a shame, it had been a lovely spring bouquet – and the three roses were placed in. And there they had stayed, until today.
It’s been almost two weeks now. Bouquets have found homes so many other places in the mansion just to keep these flowers here. They’ve died long ago…I should really take them out. More are destined to come today, and I’m running out of spare vases.
He picked one flower out of the vase, stem stiff and withered – and barely flinched as a thorn pricked at his thumb, the blossom’s last attempt to pierce the façade Alan had built around himself. He stared at the blossom, the original vibrant red of the petals turned a rich, deep shade of purple.
But there’s something so incredibly beautiful about dead roses.