The journey to the flower shop was silent; full of intense words and thoughts that were not to be spoken. That is... Until Joe pulled up outside the flower shop and I stepped off the back of his bike, pulling off my helmet and giving it back to him. He took it off of me, and took his own helmet off to reveal a sorrowful expression.
"I’m sorry." He said, guiltily.
I looked down at my feet, sheepishly.
"I really am... I don’t know what got over me." He sighed, running his hands through his hair. "I just got so worked up. I hate the way he... The way he stares and tries to control you."
"I hate it too." I responded almost instinctively; a sudden influx of heat and anxiety swept up from my stomach and I immediately felt the urge to tell Joe every single thing Korbin had been doing to me, however, there was a more important matter to be discussed. "Shouldn’t you be more worried about something else?"
"How the hell did he know my girlfriend is pregnant? Even I didn’t know." My thoughts trailed at the vision of his pregnant lady...
"I’m sorry you had to find out like that Joe. I’m sorry that Korbin is so..." I was unable to put my thoughts to words. "I’m just sorry."
He attempted a smile at me as I pulled my handbag over my shoulder. "I’m sorry you have to live with him."
I smiled back. "Not for long."
"Ah, yeah." He chuckled. "Have you found anything yet?"
"I’m going to see a house this afternoon."
"Where is it?"
"Buckleberry lane. Near Westmine."
Joe nodded thoughtfully. "Quite area... It’s far away from the main roads... You know... It might not be the safest-"
"I don’t care." I laughed at the concern Joe had for my safety. No one knew anything about my safety; not Joe, not anyone. "I can take care of myself." I lied.
He attempted another smile. Then his mouth opened... But then sank a little and stood ajar...
"What is it?" I asked, perusing his face for whatever it was he was hesitant to say. "What aren’t you saying?"
He sighed, twiddling his fingers around the handles of the motorbike. "I don’t know if I’m happy that I’m going to be a father."
My eyes widened and he quickly went back on his words.
"Don’t get me wrong! I don’t mean that I don’t want to have a child! No. No! That’s not what I’m saying at all. I just..." He observed me for a moment, a gentle breeze flowing through his hair. "I like you Viola."
My heart began pounding.
"I like you... A lot. It’s the only reason I’ve been helping you... Showing up to drive you wherever you need to go. I just..." He ran his fingers through his hair again. "I can’t get enough of you... And now to realize that I’m going to be a dad!"
I stared him straight in the eyes, knowing what I had to do. Knowing what I needed to say. Knowing that I could not mess up his life. Knowing that whatever I told him now, he would remember for the rest of his child’s life.
"Joe." I began, calmly, but soon a pool of tears began swimming in my eyes. "I think it’s a glorious thing that you are to be a father. I’m pretty sure your girlfriend will also think it a marvelous idea that you are to be the father of HER child. Whatever feelings you have for me... I do not completely understand. But..." It was hard. But I did it anyway. "I do not return them, Joe I’m sorry." At this point I wasn’t sure if that was correct. It was Joe’s kindness that had drawn me to him.
He stared down at his handle bars, obviously regretting mentioning it at all. "I know."
"I’m sorry. I just..."
"You love Korbin."
"No." I spoke bluntly, blinking back tears. "My relationship with Korbin is irrelevant. Or rather, the relationship that I did have with him. You’re going to be a father; your life just got a whole lot complicated!"
He nodded, avoiding eye contact.
"I want you to go to your girlfriend and act oblivious to the fact that she’s pregnant. Let her tell you herself. It means so much to a woman when she can tell the one she loves about his future prospects of being a father. So let her do it. Wait patiently until she’s ready, and perhaps even buy her a gift while you wait. Then... When she gets further and further into her pregnancy... Indulge yourself in the sweet times and the beautiful prospects of your future... Don’t think about me... Or Korbin... Or anyone else. Do it for yourself. For your girlfriend. For your child... For your family."
He had tears in his eyes, yet mine were dry. I had given him some wisdom... Some wisdom which I hoped he would remember me for. Whatever happened to me from this moment on, I would be satisfied knowing that at least Joseph had heard some good words from me.
He nodded, passionately. Sniffing back tears, he put his helmet back on and after saluting me; he drove away, like a man on a mission.
I on the other hand, watched him drive off into the distance. What I would give to start again... To be in his place and revive my life to its fullest. I would die for another chance... A chance away from the hurt... Away from the anger.
But then I realized that it would always find me. And after realizing this, I turned and walked into the flower shop and made some bouquets of flowers.
The morning had traversed quickly and I was now perusing the old cottage in Buckleberry lane. It was rather rusty, understated and premodern. But I liked it. It had an adorable feel to it... It almost felt like I was walking around a doll's house.
When you walked through the front door, you entered a small, open plan living room. There was no TV, just a couch and some chairs. If you walked through the living room, you would eventually find yourself in the kitchen; it had a dining table, a breakfast bar and a small patio range for laundry to dry outside. In the living room, if you opened what looked like a closet door, you’d reveal to yourself a set of stairs. If you climbed them; you’d find yourself in a small bedroom... With a small bed in the middle of the room, and two side cabinets, a dressing table and a large wardrobe. This was definitely a woman’s house. There was a half door that connected the bathroom to the bedroom, and upon entering it I saw a large rainforest shower - something I had not been expecting - a toilet and rather beautiful glass-made sink.
I smiled to myself. There was so much character here... On the outside the house looked like it had survived the medieval times; and yet on the inside, it seemed to have been refurbished quite well.
I smiled again when I signed the deal with the estate agent and then got back into my taxi and drove back to the flower shop. Due to some contract issues, not on my part; the estate agent told me that I would not be able to move in yet for another couple of days. I agreed, but told her to let me know if that changed.
When I walked back in the flower shop, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had a churning of hope inside my womb, my stomach, my throat and my heart. I felt everything pacing itself out and warming itself up for my move into my new house. Compared to my mansion, it was probably the size of my garage... However, I loved my new house just the same. I couldn’t stop calling it ‘my house’.
I let out a breath of relief and began trimming some roses. A cold breeze came over me as I ogled at them whilst I placed them in the bouquet I had been making. I once again found myself smiling; working in this flower shop was good for my soul... I could feel it.
A cold breeze rushed over me again and I finally looked around to see where it was coming from. Was it the air conditioning? Then I looked at the front door to find-
"Korbin!" I stopped dead, my eyes fixed on his figure standing by the door, while his eyes were fixed on me standing by the desk. He was leaning against the doorframe, as if he had been standing there for some time.
A gasp came screeching into the room along with Annette. "OH MY!"
Carlos followed her. "GOD!" Clearly they had not forgotten the incident with the vase.
I continued to stare at Korbin while he flicked his head from Annette, to Carlos, and then back to me. We all stood there for a moment; unsure of what was going on, when Korbin abruptly leapt towards me and clasped my hand. I dropped the roses as he ran, pulling me along with him, out of the front door of the shop and towards his silver car which was parked outside.
I yanked my hand away and pushed him into his car. He stumbled but got his balance back.
"Where are you taking me?" I asked, accusingly. "You can’t just show up here and expect me to go for a joy ride with you!"
"I wasn’t planning on doing that anyway!" He spat back. We were both breathing hoarsely, and I swear I could hear both our hearts beating. We stared each other down; my eyes threatened his... Well at least I tried to make them threaten him... And yet his eyes seemed curious and almost... Almost... Damaged.
I folded my arms.
"Get in the car." He spoke quietly. "There’s something we need to do."
I shook my head and stomped my foot. "I won’t! I don’t know where the hell you’ll take me! To my doom I suppose!"
He shook his head, exasperated. "Just get in the damn car and you’ll find out! I’m not going to do anything, I promise." He yanked me forward and I brushed past him as I fell into the passenger side of his car. I tried to get back out but he forced me back down and slammed the car door shut behind me.
"My handbag is in the shop!" I yelled as he stopped walking to his side of the car, and then sprinted back inside the shop.
I couldn’t hold the laughter back as I shoved the car door open and began running to the back of the shop, to the flower garden. I’d be able to find some tree to hide behind until he’d eventually give up and drive off again.
Fifteen minutes had past, and I was still crouched by a large conifer. I had never felt like a tree hugger in my life, not before this moment anyway.
I could see them running around inside through the window, looking for me. Korbin was waiting by the counter with my handbag. An exhausted expression on his face. I wasn’t coming out from behind this conifer until he was gone. I had vowed that. I still couldn’t believe that he had fallen for my trick. Had I caught him offguard? Normally he would have known the game I was playing… Maybe he had finally met his match.
Dread, anxiety, annoyance and the general feeling to do a ‘palmface’ all hit me at once as I swung around and stood face to face with Fazio.
"SHHHH!" I hissed. "I don’t want anybody to-"
Fazio stepped closer. "What did you say? I can’t hearz you, you’re talkingz so quietly!"
"SHHHHHH!" I pleaded again but the man was impossible to work with.
"Nonzenze. Youz need to talk louderz!"
I began hopping up and down, the kind of motion one does when in need of a visit to the toilet. I was waving my hands around, trying to keep him quiet but his repeated insistence on me talking louder got Annette’s attention who was now walking out of the back door of the shop.
"There she is! In the garden!" She squealed.
"Good Lord." I sighed.
Carlos came scrambling out to me. "Get back to your driver!"
"Yes. We’re afraid of him!"
"We don’t want him to break anything else!"
They both stared at me with puppy dog eyes. I sighed. Again. My plan backfiring on me.
They walked me back into the shop where Korbin was waiting with a fake smile. He handed me my handbag and then took hold of my hand. I pulled it away rather instinctively and walked out of the shop and took my place in his car. He got in the driver’s seat and soon we were driving away.
One point of interest was that he wasn’t driving me to the mansion. He had taken the route into town... The route where all the boutique’s and shops were. I stayed quiet, curious to see what would happen if I just let him take me wherever he was going to take me. Every so often he would snatch a quick glance at me.
Why wasn’t he being rude? Why was he doing all of this? After this morning, and last night... I would have expected him to have tried to slap me, punch me, ridicule me and belittle me.
We pulled up outside a boutique called ‘Aurora’. A natural inclination of happiness shone through me... This boutique was my favorite... Why on earth was he bringing me here?
He got out of the car and walked over to my side, opening the door for me. I stepped out of the car, raising an eyebrow; he shut the door and then locked the car with his keys. After which he grabbed my hand and pulled me up the stairs and into the boutique.
Upon entering a shop assistant with a measuring tape dangling around his neck came hurtling towards us. He bowed his head to Korbin. "Good afternoon Mr. Farrington. How can we serve you today?"
Korbin looked at me and then smiled back at the assistant. "Just do everything I told you to do earlier."
The assistant smiled and bowed his head again. He dashed off to a store cupboard; I took the opportunity to hurt Korbin. I dug my nails into his hand.
"What are they going to do with me?!" He squeezed my hand back, and then we stood face to face; my eyes being daggers and his eyes being the defense.
"Just go with it."
"No!" I hissed, digging my nails in further. "I’m leaving right now!" I picked one foot up but he retracted his hand from mine and hooked his arm around my waist; gluing me to him while he whispered in my ear.
"If you don’t just go along with it, I’m going to undress you right here..." He pulled his mouth away from my ear and we looked into each other’s eyes. I placed my foot down again. "Don’t be so scared." He whispered.
I swallowed the urge to cry. "You’re right."
He nodded, satisfied that I was apparently understanding his point. I made sure I told him what I really thought.
"Whatever they’re going to do won’t be as bad as what you did to me."
His features dropped and his eyes were suddenly timid and faded. His grip on my body loosened until it eventually dropped completely. I kept my piercing eyes focused on destroying his, all the while wondering: why doesn’t he fight back? Why doesn’t he come back with some insult?
"Mrs. Farrington?" The assistant had reappeared with a bag of what seemed to be tools, some hangers with clothes on that seemed to have a protective cover on them. I stared at the towels draped around his neck, and then taking one look back at Korbin, who was still staring daintily at me, I nodded at the assistant and followed him up the stairs and into the private parlor of the boutique.