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A Perfect Bloom 15 – Alex Ankarr
He’s watching Sam carefully, at this point. And Sam doesn’t have the face of an innocent man, as he digests Cory’s confidence. There’s definitely a little smirk on his face that he’s trying to hold in and control, there are crinkles at the corner of his beautiful hazel-green eyes as his lashes flutter down. Those are dimples. There are definite dimple appearances and disappearances going on.
He has the face of a rose-stealing man, seems like. “You work in the horticulture section, don’t you, Sam,” Cory goes on, remorseless now, unstoppable. “Do you have any clues about the disappearance of a rose, exactly like this one?” And he waves the slightly drooping bloom, held loosely in his good hand. “Yesterday morning? And its sudden reappearance on my desk in the executive suite office? Did you see anything, Sam? Anyone you want to finger for the crime, fingerprints left by someone who forgot their gardening gloves?”
It must be painful, now, keeping the smile repressed right off his face. It keeps making wild attempts at a jailbreak. But Sam just about manages it. And his voice is controlled, its normally warm and husky self, if perhaps a little bit strangled, when he replies, “No idea, Chief. I never saw a thing. But good luck with your investigations, tracking down the culprit.” He gives a final tug to the bandage, that is now wound and closely-fitting in a way that is fixed and immovable but not uncomfortable, and feels warm and cared-for. “I’m all done here. I suppose you’re free, and I can let you go to steal more roses… so that you can play detective.” He doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic about the idea. Cory doesn’t want to move, himself. He can smell the perfume of the roses, from his own stolen bloom, from the hothouse even beyond the tightly closed office door. And Sam’s up so close, doesn’t get up or move from his hard plastic chair close to Cory. And after playing at eye contact, fleeting and teasing, now they’re looking at each other. How very lovely Sam’s eyes are.
“Your eyes are such a vivid blue, it’s…” Sam says abruptly, and flushes. It probably wasn’t what he’d meant to say. “I mean… I’m sorry it took so long. To bandage you up.” His hands had been slow, and his attention distracted. “Be careful with the thorns on your rose.”
“My roses,” Cory points out. “I have two, now.”
He ought to get up, he has meetings to work through, and he still doesn’t get up. But Mr Siles sees to that. The door creaks, and he puts a head around it, grey and middle-aged and twinkle-eyed. He’s a tyrant with his staff, but liked just the same. “Hello there, Mr Rocque! Brendan in the outer warehouse said you’d come in. And then a drop of blood in the middle aisle, looks like you’ve been having fisticuffs or something! Did Sam here fix you up?”
Pink, flustered, and unable to meet Sam’s eye, Cory has sprung up now, finally. “Yes, yes,” he assures jovial, joshing Mr Siles awkwardly. “No fisticuffs, I promise you! Only an accident with one of your lovely roses. Sam, here – well, as you see,” he finishes lamely, displaying his bandaged-up hand for Mr Siles to examine.
© 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.