When I turned back around, I felt my heart skip a beat as I watched him make his way towards me, a wide smile on his face that blew me away. If I had had any sense, I would have just dropped what I was holding and made a run for my car. In the back of my head, I imagined the twins watching my escape and laughing at me.
But I didn’t run. Instead I just stood there, watching him approach, frozen in place like deer in the headlights. He crossed the space between us in seconds, his long legs making his movements both quick and graceful. It was only when he was a few feet away did I get a clear look at him, and to quote Britney, Oh My God!
“Hi,” he said, sticking out his hand and flashing me a smile I wished I could wake up to every morning.
“Hi.” I would have taken his hand if not for the bundle I was carrying, and I tried to maneuver my way around it but only managed to make myself look even more like a fool.
“Oh, sorry, yeah,” he said quickly, relieving me of my flowers and placing them carefully on the window sill of the room I had been working at. “Let’s try this again?”
I smiled. “Sure,” I replied, feeling electricity shoot up and down my arm when he wrapped his hand around mine.
“Chance,” he said. “And you must be Ashlyn.”
I frowned, a little confused as to how he knew my name, but at the same time holding back a giggle that threatened to break free.
“Chuck told me,” he said, noticing the confusion on my face. “The woman with the flowers, right?”
And that is how I will be remembered for the rest of my life. It’s going to be etched into my gravestone. Here lies Ashlyn Carter, the woman with the flowers.
“That’s right,” I managed to say, reluctantly letting go of his hand and sticking both of mine into my pockets. “Hope they’re not too much.”
“Oh no, to the contrary,” Chance smiled. “My mother used to have a garden of her own, and just the smell of everything here kind of brings me back.”
Did he just compare me to his mother? I wanted to slap myself.
“That’s wonderful,” I said instead. “Not a lot of people appreciate them.”
“Well, Chuck obviously does,” Chance said. “The motel’s like a giant greenhouse.”
I chuckled. “Chuck’s a sweetheart,” I replied. “My biggest client. Well, as big as they come in Ludwig.”
“You should really think about delivering outside of town,” Chance hinted. “I mean, these are actually beautiful, and with the right management tool, you could expand your business tenfold.”
“Woah, slow down, cowboy,” I chuckled and mocked Chuck’s thick Texas accent. “What are you, one of the entrepreneurs we hear about?”
Chance laughed, hesitated for a few seconds, and then nodded. “Yeah, of sorts. Listen, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to intrude on your work. I just wanted to come over and say I really enjoy the flowers, and that what you’re doing here is beautiful.”
He nodded, looked at me for a beat, and then nodded again. “I guess I’ll be seeing you around.”
You most certainly will.
“Yes, I guess so,” I smiled.
I watched him walk to the front office, then turned around and let out the breath I had been holding in.
He was still in the front office when I was done putting out fresh flowers in all the rooms. I had gone through my routine a little faster than normal, most of my work done yesterday, and was just going in for a cup of coffee when I saw him sitting on the couch in the tiny lobby, flipping through a magazine. Chuck was bent over a few papers, scratching his head as he tried to make sense of the numbers he was punching into an old-timey calculator.
Chance looked up at me, flashed me a smile, and put the magazine down.
If he keeps smiling at me like that, I’ll lose it.
I smiled back, went to the coffee pot and poured myself a mug, my mind screaming at me to just ignore the coffee and go home. Another few minutes with him, and I’d probably say something stupid that would just make me look like a complete idiot.
“Numbers confusing you again, Chuck?” I asked.