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A Perfect Bloom 20 – Alex Ankarr
It’s the one with the roses. One of the ones with rose references, at least – the fifty-fourth sonnet. (Of course it’s one with rose references. What other one would he choose?) It could be interpreted a lot of different ways. But it seems to Cory, that it’s praising his sterling qualities, quite apart from his physical charms. Which is, er, flattering in various ways. He supposes.
And he really has to be the most complete fool living, to be standing here at his desk, looking down at it quite still and with a burn over his cheeks. Feeling a little tingling wooziness that is unbecoming to anyone over seventeen, with an international company to run.
And that unwariness is also what renders him vulnerable to Linnet’s attack. She’s the one who brought him his mail, it’s true, then made herself scarce in the name of making travel bookings. But he should have gone through the day’s post now, be sitting down, be making calls and thinking through the order of business and…
She’s up behind him and peering over his shoulder, with one hand clamping his hand in place where it holds the paper, a vice to prevent him pulling it away. And the way that she whistles and laughs in his ear, sends a chill through every blood vessel in him. “My, my,” she coos in his ear. “He’s got it bad, this guy, right?”
And Cory is quite proud, that he manages to keep his voice steady and sarcastic, in return. “What are you talking about?” he asks snootily, even though they both know perfectly well. “I receive a mysterious anonymous message in the mail, and you immediately make assumptions. Instead of exhibiting a proper, appropriate concern, and instituting inquiries, and possibly calling the police.”
Linnet just snorts with laughter, at this sally. “The police? What am I going to tell them, that you’re getting threatening haiku in the post? What are they going to do except laugh at me?” She seems to pause and consider a moment, gets another good look at the poem. “Well. I suppose old Bill did rather harp on the graveyard motifs and gloomy endings. Are you worried?”
Cory snorts with laughter himself, if of a rather sardonic kind. And he yanks the paper out of her hand, while she’s unwary, and goes back to the tall windows, exactly where he’d stood on the Monday, with that damn rose in his hand. This time, there’s no Sam in sight. Not pruning the bushes, not mowing the lawn, not stealing flowers either. “Hardly,” he says, absently. And he continues staring, as if that might conjure Sam up out of the thin mist.
© 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.