Secret Love Wears a Familiar Face – by Caitlynn Sandy (College)

It was strange that someone had sent her flowers at work. She was never one to receive gifts, particularly one as thoughtful as a bouquet of live flowers. In fact, as romantic as she thought the gesture to be, she found herself irritated each time a delivery was made to her office because they were never for her. Today, however, after returning to her desk from lunch, a beautiful glass vase holding the arrangement sat plainly on her desk.

She was suspicious, of course. She stamped down the excitement bubbling up in her veins, checking the attached card for a name, sure that the lovely gift had been left in the wrong spot. Pleasant surprise wound through her as she read her name scrawled in an airy calligraphy. No one had claimed the gift, though the card clearly stated that they were from a secret admirer. Feeling slightly embarrassed at the giddiness rising through her, she sat and plucked a flower from the vase.

She lifted the pale gardenia to her nose and inhaled its sweet fragrance. She had always been interested in the meaning of certain flowers, so the beautiful arrangement meant even more to her because she knew what they symbolized. A gardenia was sent in a declaration of a secret love. Someone, though she didn’t know who, harbored hidden feelings for her and chose to express them in quite possibly the sweetest way she’d ever experienced.

A smile tugged at her lips for the rest of the day, and she floated down the stairs when she left for the evening. She tucked the flowers safely under an arm as she walked to her car, but she was stopped in her tracks before approached. Standing by her vehicle was a man she’d known all her life, but she felt as though she were seeing him for the first time. He wore a hopeful smile on his handsome face, and he clutched a gardenia in a work-worn hand. Her smile brightened as she reached him, accepting the outstretched flower and his secret love with a gentle kiss.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-04

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