A Perfect Bloom 12 – Alex Ankarr

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A Perfect Bloom 12 – Alex Ankarr

And he hardly knows what to say, in response. Cory can’t quite remember how to get his lips, his tongue, his voice-box to operate. He’s just staring at Sam like some innocent ingénue, can feel how his eyes are wide and his mouth slightly open. He shuts it, quick, and coughs distractingly. Thank God his voice is quite deep. He knows that otherwise, despite being a mature and worldly-wise thirty-year old, in photos and at a distance he tends to look about nineteen, and like he’s just been expelled from the convent after being bad-influenced by the class bad-girl, blue-eyed and corruptible. It gets him a lot of attention from the wrong kind of guy, in bars.

“Mr Siles is quite strict about bad language being used in the hothouses, too,” Sam notes. “He thinks it affects the plants. I think he thinks they can hear us.” His grin is… what, collusive? Like he’s letting Cory in on a secret. Possibly while passing him a first cigarette, on the wall outside school before sagging off.

Sam would definitely be that bad girl.

Scramblingly, Cory re-locates as much as he can find of his brain. He’s the CEO, he reminds himself. He’s in a position of ultimate authority. He’s this young man’s employer. “He may well be right,” Cory says, with as much repressive flatness as he can bodge up from somewhere. “But I’m sure he’ll excuse me re-purposing one of his blooms. I am, after all, the chief executive of the company, and responsible for signing off on his salary, and everyone else’s too.” And even as he says it he regrets it, wishes he’d found more lightness and good humour to respond with. Because he can see the dancing light go out of Sam’s eyes, as he realises that Cory is going to enforce the authority structure of the company, isn’t going to participate in any kidding around or informal chit-chat on an egalitarian basis. Or… any flirtation, come to that?

That really isn’t what Cory intended, the impression he’d wanted to convey. He’s just inept as a result of shyness, and particularly with this guy. He just didn’t know how to respond to being teased, and as a result came off pretty much like an overweight and shy fifteen year old, having her pigtails vigorously pulled by the captain of the senior year football team. That, combined with a touch of pompous authority that has him coming off as a complete asshole.

“Of course, sir,” Sam says formally, and that’s that, that’s any chance Cory might have had out the window now, he’s sure of it, damn it. He can’t look at Sam right now, it’s too dispiriting. Instead he looks down at the rose he still has caught up in his hand, still attached to the bush with his nail-clippers ready to snip at the stem. He gives it a vicious little tug, as he clips with one aggressive snip through the fat greenness of the stem.

And then he shrieks like a teenage girl at a boy-band concert. And that’s the second time he’s sworn violently in front of Sam, at only their second proper meeting, if that, even. Great.

He’s gripped the stem of the rose a lot too tightly, absent-minded in his frustration and disappointment. And this particular hybrid is specifically bred for flaming, fiery beauty, which often comes at a price. The price in this case is that the blooms are accompanied by thorns, an awful lot of thorns.





© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.


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