Series: A Vintage Love Story
It’s a breezy, sunny day in the city. Everyone is rushing around in the early morning as they make their way to work. Olly, however was taking his time to stroll down the street and take in all the scenery. After all, he had only just flown in yesterday and he was eager to get know his new surroundings.
Oliver Alexander, Olly, was a young, tall handsome man, clean cut with black hair, today he wore a gray suit with a black hat and bright red tie. He was an optimistic man, always ready for something new and wonderful. But he wasn’t looking for the next best thing to happen to him, as far as he was concerned, he was already flying high, new job project, new location. Everything was falling into place, life couldn’t get any better, right?
He dropped his briefcase when a woman ran right into him; she drops her apron and books.
“Oh! Oh my, I’m terribly sorry.” she says while looking down.
“Oh that’s quite alright,” he helps gather her things and looks up, their eyes meet and immediately, he is taken with her. “Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Well I’m on my way to work you see, and I’m running very late.”
“Ah, well don’t wanna be any later then.”
She begins to walk past him, “No, no, I must be on my way. Again, I’m very sorry.”
“Don’t think anything of it, I’m quite alright, more than alright. Say, what exactly is it that you do?”
“I’m a florist, I work at the little flower shop down the way. Goodbye now!” she waves and turns to leave.
“Yes, goodbye! Hey try not to run into any more people! I meant that for your own safety,” he smiles at her. She turns and smiles back.
“I’ll try not to!” she turns back around and continues on her way.
Olly can’t help but smile as he finishes his walk to work and suddenly he felt as if the sun had risen all over again.
When he finally made it to the office, right on time, he was ready to get to work, he already knew the team he’d be working with, as he had a few meetings with them before officially relocating, but everything still felt new and exciting. He got brought onto a project in Rochester, New York to build a new grand hotel, even fancier than the surrounding hotels, and closer to a neighborhood that was becoming more popular and their hopes were to bring in more tourists. If there was one thing Olly enjoyed doing, it was making things bigger and grander and beautiful. He was a fan of art and architecture ever since he was little boy and now he could bring so many of his ideas to life with his career. He decided that working on this new project was going to be the beginning of something wonderful. Since this would take a few years to complete, he had already grown used to the idea of calling this place his home. His new home, and he was going to make the best of it.
Olly was a man with a strong work ethic, so he worked through his first day with focus, determination and ease. But he couldn’t get the flower girl out of his head, even though he was hard at work, and enjoying himself, he was also very eager to get done and make a quick stop on his way home. Today was one of many meetings they’d be having while getting construction ready to go, they already had the work site ready to begin before he came and so, some final touches were being made before making it come to life.
When they finally got things wrapped up for the day, Olly didn’t hesitate to grab his things and make his way out the door.
“Where are you off to in a hurry Olly?” John asks.
“Oh, I’ve got an important errand to run before going home today,” he tips his hat and smiles.
“Okay, sure you do, see ya tomorrow!”
He walks down the street he took in the morning, eagerly searching for the flower shop down the way. Finally he sees it. A little sign dangling from the side a building that read, “A Snippet of Flowers”. Before walking in, he glances into a window to make sure his tie and hat are straight. When he walks in, he is greeted by an older woman with white hair, still a lively woman. He wonders if she might still be there at this hour.
“Hello, how can I help you today?” she happily asks.
“I’m just stopping by to say hello to a friend actually, she’s about this tall and has brown hair.”
“Oh you mean Lilly?”
“Lilly, yes, that sounds about right,” he quickly agrees.
“Give me one moment,” she walks away, “Lilly! There’s a man here to see you,” she smiles at Olly and then walks away. Meanwhile he walks around the room examining all the arrangements.
“A man? Hmm okay, I’ll be right there!” she turns the corner quickly only to bump right into Olly. “Oh no, I’m sorry!”
He begins to laugh, “well, we’ve got to stop meeting like this.”
“It’s you! What are you doing here?”
“Well, you said you worked at a flower shop and I thought I’d come and take a look; you see, I’m new around here and I thought I better see about a flower shop in case I ever need to get something for that special someone.”
“Oh I see, a lady friend, or a wife perhaps.”
“Well yes, ” he looks up to meet Lilly’s eyes, she looks down, clearly disappointed, “the only thing is, I don’t seem to have either of those yet,” he leans in and smiles.
“Uh-huh,” she walks around the room.
“But I figure it’s always good to be prepared.”
“Well, you could always come and get some for a mother or an aunt or maybe a sister.”
“No, my mother passed away some time ago, she had brothers and I was an only child.”
“I see, I’m sorry about your mother.”
“Thank you, my mother did mean the world to me, she always liked pansies, they were her favorite flower.”
“They are beautiful aren’t they?” Oliver shakes his head in agreement.
“You know, I couldn’t help but notice that nice lady called you Lilly, is that right?”
“Yes, that’s my name.”
“Now isn’t that something, your name is Lilly and you work at a flower shop.”
“I have heard the connection made before, it is rather funny.”
“I think it’s just lovely myself, the name and the place, it suits you. Very elegant and pretty.”
She blushes, “well mister, you’ve only just met me.”
“It doesn’t take long to make that observation.”
“Well what about you? What’s your name?”
“My name is Oliver Alexander, you can call me Olly if you like.”
“Okay, Olly. So tell me, what is it that I can do for you since you’re not here to buy flowers from me?”
“Good question, I guess I was wondering what you might be doing when you’re finished up here.”
“Hmm, it’ll be evening time when I get off, and I don’t really know you, so I will probably be busy.”
“I see, what can I do to get to know you then? Or allow you to get to know me?”
“Well, sometimes I go to the cafe at noon when I take a quick break for lunch, the one down the street, but other days I stay in here at the shop, perhaps you can catch me there sometime. And after a little while, maybe I’ll get to know you.”
“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind then.”
Suddenly their conversation is interrupted, “Lilly! Mrs. Perkins is here to get her arrangement!”
“Coming! I have to go now Olly, maybe I’ll see you again sometime.”
“I certainly hope so,” they smile at each other. Lilly turns to leave.
“Say Lilly, what kind of a flower would you get for a girl who works in a flower shop with a name like that?”
“Well, certainly not lilies,” she smiles and walks away.
The next day Olly woke bright and early, he decided to stroll around his neighborhood and get to know his new home city. It was an overcast day but no sign of rain yet. He thought perhaps the strong breezes of yesterday were the beginning of a storm to come. All the more reason to get out and enjoy the morning before work.
He stepped outside and breathed in the cool, fresh air. Daylight was just peaking and the birds were chirping. He could see a few people get into their cars ready to also start their day.
Olly had spent most of his life dreaming about the beauty that surrounded him and wondering about the beauty that was unseen all around the world. He decided that one day he would travel to as many places as he could to experience a new version of beauty. This is also what made him interested in interior design and architecture, he wanted the opportunity to create beauty within a home and allow people to truly be happy where they were even if they couldn’t travel themselves. Of course, this work is also what made him able to travel as far as he had so far.
He would spend hours drawing pictures of wild places and fancy homes. He even got into art in school so he could further his skill in drawing or painting the beauties of the world. He began to paint his own walls with scenery so he could imagine he was in all the locations he dreamed of being.
And even though he had successfully travelled to a few remote islands, worked across Europe for a couple of years and then spent time in Asia, he still found Rochester as beautiful as any location he could travel to. That was always one of his best qualities, finding something joyful in his life to appreciate or be happy about. There definitely wasn’t much that could get Olly down. The death of his mother was just about the worst thing he had ever experienced, though he knew she would pass before she did, there was plenty of time to say their goodbyes. His mother and father had him in their old age, it was more like being raised by grandparents then parents he would say. They waited so long to be able to have a child and when they finally had one, they gave their whole selves to raising him right. You could also say he was spoiled by this fact, but, he was spoiled by love. Not a day went by that his father didn’t teach him the facts of life and how to work hard and earn for yourself but also how to be giving and love and appreciate. They always made sure he had what he needed and what he wanted within reason. This is why he grew up to love and appreciate and give and be kind.
And when it came to romance and love, both his mother and father gave him a wonderful example to look to. He knew someday when the time was right, he would find that special someone, just as his parents did. He had had a few short term relationships with women he had found extremely beautiful and completely interesting, but something in him always felt like there was something more waiting for him. He never took it poorly, he never forced it or searched for that someone, he just knew when the time was right, that’s when he would fall in love. And so, Olly was right.
Olly turned every street and corner examining each house and building and store, taking notes of any future places he would need or would like to stop into. He finally turned down one last street that led him to the one with the little flower shop. He peered inside and saw that the shop was closed, still too early.
He went on his way wondering if he could at least spot the cafe Lilly had mentioned. He walked about a block when he looked up and saw a very tiny cafe sign with a humble little shop next to it, the place was not open but he could still smell the aroma of sweet bread from the early morning baker inside.
This must be it, he looked at the hours sign, maybe he would come around sometime and get to know the place before finding Lilly again.
He smiled and started on his way, but when he looked across the street, he saw another cafe sign. There were two cafes. One was called Howard’s Cafe and the other was called Roasted and Toasted.
“Alright, I suppose I should check both of these little places.”
So, which one is her usual? He noticed the second cafe was opening soon and decided to wait and grab a cup of coffee. Perhaps he would stroll over to the other place and get a pastry to go with his coffee, and then tomorrow switch.
As he sat waiting, he took in his surroundings. He noticed that this particular cafe was more light and wide open, bright colors, paintings everywhere, whereas while looking in the window of the other place, it was almost opposite, a more cozy smaller place, painted in brown and other muted colors, more plain but yet relaxing.
He hadn’t yet been able to figure out Lilly’s personality, so he couldn’t tell which one might be her regular. He wanted to assume she would like the brightly lit and painted location, with all the art, but perhaps she preferred quiet and relaxing.
He also noticed that the brighter, more open one had a modern design, made to appeal to the eye and attract more customers, hence the much larger space for it. It was real nice but he also wondered if it made for poor competition between the two places. This particular neighborhood had seemed friendly enough for there to be peace but you just never know. City living meant trading in one place for another and many competing shops. Even Olly himself had been apart of tearing up older, nostalgic places in favor of newer buildings. He didn’t do it often, but there were times when he had no choice. He preferred to leave things as they were and just add new, it was a nice mindset but not really practical.
He was drifting in thought when he heard someone unlock the door. A middle aged woman with blonde hair pulled out of her face, a name tag on that read Susan.
“I guess you’re well ready for that morning cup of coffee, I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
“Not at all, I was enjoying the morning sun anyway, thank you,” he said while removing his hat and walking in.
“So what’ll it be? We have a few different coffee blends, if you’d like to take a look, and fresh baked scones!”
“Hmm, everything looks and smells so wonderful, but I think for now I’ll just take a small regular coffee with a little cream.”
“Okay, suit yourself, coming right up! So, I don’t believe I’ve seen you before, you new around here?”
“Yes actually I am, the name’s Oliver Alexander, but you can just call me Olly.”
“Okay Olly, well I’m Susan, here almost every morning except when my son and his friends works. Welcome to Roasted and Toasted, best scones and coffee blends around. So what brings you here if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Not at all, I’m here for work. I got hired on at Barnham Designs as a project manager.”
“Oh that’s nice, they are the ones that built this place as a matter of fact.”
“Well how about that! I’ve only been here a few days so I hadn’t explored everything they’ve worked on locally yet. But I’m looking forward to it. I live for building things.”
“Well you sound like a very passionate man Olly, pleasure to have met you, here’s your coffee dear. Be sure to come back sometime and try a scone.”
“I’ll do that! And say, does a young lady with brown hair, a florist from that little flower shop ever come in here?”
“Oh, yeah, I believe her name is Lilly, she comes in once in awhile for a box of pastries but she spends more time at the other cafe across the street.”
“Hmm, okay, well thank you! I gotta be going now.”
“Okay then, have a good one!” she wondered why he had asked about the girl but decided it was none of her business.
When Olly walked out, he decided he would wait for the other cafe to open up since he had a little time on his hands before work. Luckily there was a bench not too far across the street so he sat down to sip on his coffee and look around taking everything in. He looked over the building once more that had been built by the firm he was now apart of.
When he saw an older man step out of the next door cafe to flip their closed sign around, he decided to go in.
“Well, good morning! You been waiting outside this whole time to come in?” the man asked Olly.
“Oh not long! I have a little time on my hands before heading to the office and so I’m just trying to get to know the place, I’m new in town.”
“Hmm, you don’t say? Well where ya from?”
“I just came from Chicago but technically I’m from Delaware.”
“You a traveling man then”
“Sometimes, but for the most part I stay in one location for a long period of time and maybe just work in surrounding areas, I’m an architect.”
“Ohhh okay, so you design and build things then? That’s good, but if you’re ever interested in redesigning this place, just know, I like it just the way it is.”
“Oh no, you have nothing to worry about, I’m already lined up for a major project and it doesn’t include cafes, I really like this place by the way.”
“Better than Susan’s across the street? I noticed the coffee from there.”
“Well I’m just trying out new things everywhere, in fact, I would absolutely love to try one for those blueberry muffins right there if you don’t mind.”
“No of course not, I’ll go ahead and get you that right now, freshly made just a short while ago.”
“Fantastic, thank you very much. Keep the change.”
“Alright, well let me know if there’s anything else I can do ya for and make sure to come back and try a cup of my coffee as well okay?”
“Absolutely! And by the way, I did have one question, does a girl with brown hair named Lilly ever come around here?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Oh I’m just curious, I bumped into her at the flower shop yesterday and she said she liked to have lunch at the cafe down the road but there’s two so I wasn’t sure which one.”
“Hmm, what’s your agenda? Just a recommendation or are you following her?”
The truth of course was that indeed, Olly was following her, at least trying to follow her path and figure her out, in hopes of running back into her again, she did mention this place after all.
“Oh well, I wouldn’t say I’m following her, but I was sort of hoping to run back into her, no agenda except to get to know her better that’s all.”
“How come? You trying to take her out or something? Lilly is a very sweet young lady so don’t go sniffing around if your intentions are to take advantage of her.”
Olly assumed right away that this must be the place she frequented and wondered why this man was giving him the third degree, perhaps he was a relative.
“I wouldn’t dream of that sir, I can tell she’s an upstanding woman just from our one conversation, I wouldn’t disrespect a lady. Are you related to her somehow?”
“No, I’m not, technically, but I was close to her parents. They were swell people and I’ve just taken to keeping an eye out for her, that’s all, like a niece you could say. That’s why I just want to make sure you’re not some new guy in town looking for a hot new romance or fling.”
“I can assure you, I’m not, cross my heart, I’ll even do my best to make sure I speak with her here the next time so you can chaperone how about that?”
“Ahh,” the man waved his arm and walked around the cafe.
“Say, what happened to her folks though, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“I don’t mind you asking, but I won’t say considering that’s Lilly’s business.”
“Right, of course. Well, look I’m Oliver Alexander just to properly introduce myself. You can call me Olly.”
“Okay, I think Oliver is just fine, and my name is Charles Howard, I’ll tell Lilly you stopped in.”
“Thanks sir, I appreciate it, I gotta be going now but I’ll be back for a cup of coffee very soon.”
“Oh I’m sure, have a nice day Oliver.”
Olly tipped his hat, “Bye!”
Olly was happy to know where he might find Lilly again but also relieved to not be getting interrogated anymore, even though he completely understood Charles’ reasoning. He still felt as though he had just met an overprotective father that he would indeed have to win over in order to be close to Lilly. Still, the thought of her alone made him smile and he was determined to get to know her better. He couldn’t wait to bump into her again.
Some days Lilly would sleep in and be on her way to work right on time rather than early. But this particular morning she woke up with the sun and couldn’t help but think about what the day might bring and whether or not she would see Olly again. She wasn’t always easily infatuated, but she couldn’t seem to get his face out of her mind. He was handsome in a sweet and subtle way, he had a nice smile and his sense of humor made her chuckle, Lilly liked people that could make her laugh. She thought about changing up her look and doing a little extra, but then firmly decided not to. She didn’t want to jinx the chances of running into him again, but she also didn’t want him to think she went to the extra trouble just for him. Never give them the satisfaction, that was her motto. After all, a man’s ego was big enough without letting them know that you actually want their attention, that’s what her mother would tell her anyway. Not to mention, Lilly quite enjoyed her quiet, simple life. She had her lonely moments, especially after parents passed away, but they never outweighed her need and love for comfort and routine. She was open to seeing someone so long as they could understand this fact about her. So far she hadn’t met many that could either understand that or that could interest her in anything other than her day to day life. Lilly was simply a gentle pond, and had no interest in ocean life.
Nonetheless, she woke up with more pep than usual and was eager to start her day. She whipped up a quick fruit salad and some toast for breakfast, got dressed, grabbed the current book she was reading, and headed out the door to help Donna open the flower shop.
While she didn’t have to rush to get to work, she still arrived just on time to get her shift started, Donna waiting to let her in.
She moved through her work quickly as the day passed, eager to go have lunch at her usual, Howard’s Place. Some days she brought her own lunch when she felt like staying and hanging out at the shop, but today she had hopes of possibly bumping into someone and so it was a good day to go have a warm sandwich and a cup of coffee she thought. She made sure to also bring along her book.
“Hi Charlie!” Lilly called out upon entering the cafe.
“Ah Lilly, beautiful as always! How are you?”
“I’m doing great today, and you?”
“Better, now that I get to see your pretty smile,” Charlie said while reaching for a quick hug. “So, will it be the usual today? Warm mushroom sandwich and a hot cup of coffee with sugar and cream?”
“Absolutely! Thank you.”
“Of course,” Charlie went to start gathering her food and coffee while she found a spot by the windows to sit down. She was ready to eat and do some reading but she still looked outside… just in case.
“There you go, one mushroom sandwich and a cup of joe,” he says while sitting everything down.
“Mmm, delicious as always,” she smiles.
“Oh, also, some guy by the name of Oliver Alexander came in here and asked about you…do you know him?” her ears perked up.
“Olly? He asked about me? Well, I sort of know him, well I met him anyway and we had a quick chat but that’s about it. When did he come in here?”
“This morning,” Charlie grabs a chair and sits with Lilly for a moment since he didn’t have another customer yet. “He said he bumped into you and that he was hoping to again. He also said that you recommended this place to him.”
“So he figured out it was this cafe after all,” she giggled to herself.
“Actually, he had a cup of coffee in his hand from Susan’s place so I’m assuming he tried there too.” Lilly chuckled again. “So what do you know about this guy?”
“Hmm, I know that he doesn’t always look where he’s going…but then neither do I, I guess, I know that he’s new in town, I know that his mother has passed away and I know that he’s not seeing anyone romantically. That was from the short introduction we had.”
“How come he told you his mom died?”
“Well he mentioned wanting to know about all the shops in town, and that in case he ever needed flowers in the future, and I just made a suggestion that he could always get a bouquet for his mother and that’s when he told me. It was simple though, he didn’t get into details, nor did I ask, not that I would obviously.”
“Hmm, so, he definitely wants to see you again, do you want to see him?”
“I haven’t decided yet, I think so though, I mean I have no reason not to until he gives me one I guess. But you don’t have to worry Charlie, I will not give him the time of day if I don’t find him worthy, I swear,” Lilly said as she crossed her heart and laughed. Just then, a customer walked in and Charlie had to get back to work.
“Okay Lilly, just promise me you’ll be careful, and definitely bring him in here if you decide to see more of this Oliver guy okay.”
“Yes sir,” she said with a wink and a smile, “now stop worrying, I’ll be just fine.” Charlie smiled and shrugged and then got back to work. Lilly smiled to herself at the thought of him pestering Olly.
She could only stay as long as her break was but still she dragged while getting ready to head back to work. She decided to grab a box of scones from across the street to bring back for Donna and her while they finished their shift for the day. Still subtly looking around. While ordering their usual strawberry scones, she had a quick chat with Susan but unlike Charlie, she decided not to mention anything about the man that asked about her and let her go on her way.
Olly had been tapping his foot anxiously during his meeting while waiting for lunch to come, and considering they would usually have late lunches, he figured there’d be a slim chance of running into Lilly.
When the meeting finally came to a halt, he grabbed his hat and took off to make his way to Howard’s Cafe. He knew he most likely wouldn’t have a lot of time to sit and eat, so intended on grabbing something to bring back to the office. Currently he had lots of meetings to do as plans were being made for their next construction. After that, he could finally do what he loved the most which was hands on work. He had excitement all in his chest at thoughts of getting started on his first building project, but he was also filled with excitement at seeing her again.
It took him about 20 minutes to make his way to Blossom Avenue, where he’d find both Howard’s place and the flower shop. He had only been living here a few days but he had already grown fond of this street, as if he knew this would be a place that would bring him joy already.
He scurried his way through the sidewalk of people and made it to the door of the cafe. As he walked in, his heart sunk when he saw that she wasn’t there, of course, why would she be at this hour in the afternoon. He turned to walk back out but not before Charlie noticed him.
“Hey Oliver!” he turned to see Charlie waving at him.
“Uh hello sir, how are ya?”
“If you were looking for Lilly, you just missed her, she left about ten minutes ago.” Ten minutes ago? So she had a late lunch as well? Or maybe she got off early.
“Oh, okay, well I appreciate it.” he said turning to leave.
“Yep,” Charlie responded while serving his afternoon crowd.
Olly stepped outside looking around for a moment. He started towards the direction of her shop and considered going in again to find her since he was already here. But as he was walking he also thought about how tacky that might look, coming to her place of work again for no reason than to check up on her. He slowed his steps while mulling over what to do. He finally decided to just turn around and go grab some lunch when he heard her voice. She was a little ways down the street, but there was no mistaking it.
“Nice to see you too Linda! Bye!”
He looked around and finally spotted the brown haired girl walking across the street with a pastry box and a book in her arms. He began jogging a bit to catch up to her, trying his best not to be too much of a spectacle.
“Hey stranger!” he called out from behind her. She immediately stopped and turned around.
“Well, if it isn’t Mr. Alexander.”
“Please, Mr. Alexander was my father,” he laughed at his unoriginal joke.
“Mhmm, so, did you come to search me out again like you did this morning?”
“Ah, so I reckon Charles told you that I asked about you, huh?”
Lilly laughed, “You mean Charlie, and yes he did. He also told me you checked out Susan’s place as well,” she laughed again.
“Well, you said you liked to have lunch at the cafe down the street, but there were two, of course I checked out both.”
“Well, well Olly, seems like a lot of trouble just to try to find my usual spot.”
“Not at all, it was on my way this morning and it was only a quick walk across the street.”
“Okay then. So which place did you like better?”
“Oh I like them both just fine, Susan’s coffee was good and Charles, I mean, Charlie’s blueberry muffin was good also, tomorrow I plan to switch and try a pastry from Susan’s and the coffee at Charlie’s,” they both laughed. Olly couldn’t help but stare at her in awe when she laughed and smiled.
“Well, you don’t have to wait to try the pastry, you could have one of these right now, they’re strawberry scones and they’re delicious.”
“Oh no, that’s quite alright, I’m sure these are spoken for already.”
“No, it’s really okay, one less won’t hurt, trust me,” she opens the box and puts one right into Olly’s hand. “Now go on, try it,” she said with a smile. Olly took a bite and sat there chewing for a moment.
“Mmm, now that’s pretty darn good,” he said, mouth half full.
“I thought you might say that, they’re mine and Donna’s favorite scones, though the chocolate ones are really good too.”
“Donna? Is that the lady you work with?” still eating.
“Yes, it is. She owns the shop and we run it together.”
“Hmm, and how long have you been there?”
“Oh, for a while now, I mean, I used to volunteer to help her out back when I was a school girl. Her son used to help her run the place but then he traveled abroad for school and work about two years or so ago and so I offered to help out since flowers, decorating and gardening are a joy to me.”
“Oh yes, absolutely.”
“That’s sweet,” Olly smiled at her while taking another bite of the strawberry scone.
“And you? You said you’re new in town, what brought you here?”
“Well, I’m with a building firm called Barnham’s Designs and I got brought here to do some work on putting up a grand hotel. This particular area is booming with new tourism so it’ll bring more business.”
“Hmm, that’s interesting. I can see that business blooming.”
“You don’t sound that excited about it.”
“Oh I’m neither excited nor disappointed, it’s inevitable, I just hope it does the place good,” Olly was about to speak but then she cut him off. “look, I have to go now, my break has already run over as it is.”
“Right, I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t get you in trouble.”
“No, not at all, but I still need to get back now.”
“Okay, well is there any chance I could see you again soon? Maybe at the cafe? I’ll be working late this evening but I thought maybe on your next day off.”
“Um, well I’m actually off on Sunday, maybe you could meet me there around noon, he opens up at eleven that day.”
“Hmm, Sunday would be perfect actually.”
“Okay! Well I’ll see you then Olly, goodbye!”
“Goodbye,” he nodded his head and he couldn’t help but stand there watch her walk away and into the shop, waving right before she went inside.
He turned around to walk back and looked at his watch, realizing that he too might be late getting back. Not something he wanted to do but decided it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. He made his way to go grab some quick food to bring with him. He got a box of goodies to bring back to ease his tardiness and because they would be there late in the evening after all. He was ready to get back and work on the plan but he knew that over the next two days, he’d be thinking about seeing Lilly again.
Later that day, after Lilly and Donna closed up shop, Lilly strolled down the road, taking her time to walk home. She couldn’t stop thinking about how handsome Olly was. Even though she still had a couple of days before she would see him again, she decided to pick something out to wear. Since it was just lunch at the cafe, she picked something casual and less formal, but still offered a feminine flare.
After that she put on a record of soft jazz and started cooking dinner while easing into her usual nightly routine.
When Sunday morning came, both Olly and Lilly were early risers. This wasn’t unusual for Olly but however, most Sunday mornings, Lilly would allow herself to sleep in until noon. Since she had plans today, she decided to wake up and tend to her garden before getting cleaned up and dressed. She didn’t feel like reading since her mind was already busy thinking about lunch with him.
As for Olly, he woke up more chipper than usual and decided to finish sketching out a new idea he had. He had barely begun work on the grand hotel project, but he still couldn’t help but daydream about lining up something new already. He too had laid out some clothes to wear and would glance up at both them and the clock, eagerly waiting to finally leave the house.
Lilly decided to go ahead and get cleaned up and dressed early since she was all nerves. She hadn’t even ate breakfast that morning so she was also excited to finally eat.
She took her usual route to Blossom Avenue and walked right in to greet Charlie.
“Hey! There’s my favorite gal, how are you today? Ready to see Olly I’m sure,” Charlie said as he winked.
“Yes, you could say that, I decided to come a bit early so I could relax more, how’s the morning been so far?”
“It’s been alright, pretty average but I am enjoying the Spring weather these days, windy, but nice.”
“Oh me too, of course! It’s my favorite time of the year.”
“Yes, I know you’re happy, that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh, “so, would you like me to get you something now while you’re waiting?”
“Only a cup of water, I’ll wait on coffee till he gets here.”
Lilly sat there sipping her water while glancing outside and looking over the Sunday paper. About twenty minutes went by when Olly walked in, it was ten till noon. She looked up and politely smiled, while Olly was grinning ear to ear. The sun was shining on her face and he thought she was the pure image of perfection. Charlie also took notice of Olly as soon as he walked in.
“And here I thought I might be getting here early, I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long.”
“Not at all, I wanted to come a little early to see Charlie anyway.”
“Okay, speaking of which, what’ll it be?”
“She’s gonna want a mushroom sandwich and a cup of coffee,” Charlie piped in.
“Hmm, okay, that sounds pretty good, we’ll make that two mushroom sandwiches,” Olly replied.
“Coming right up, and I set aside a pot of coffee just for the two of you.”
“Well thank you.”
“Yes, thank you Charlie!”
“No problem, anyway, don’t mind me, just go ahead and have your chat,” he said while fixing up their plates.
Olly took a seat across from Lilly.
“So, how has your morning been?” he asked.
“It’s been quite well, I spent most of it in my garden before leaving the house, and you?”
“I was just doing some sketching most of the morning.”
“Oh? And what were you sketching?”
“Honestly, I was sketching some building ideas I have for the future, nothing fancy.”
“Well, that sounds neat, what kind of building?”
“Um, kind of like a community center thing, you know.”
“Ooo, a community center, I’d sure like to see that sometime.”
“Well, of course it’s just an idea at the moment, it’s something that would take years to plan if it ever even became a real idea.”
“It would be a worthy investment. Anything that can help out the community, is always a great idea.”
“You are right on that. I’m hoping to see many benefits from this hotel we’re working on now.”
“I’m sure it’ll do what it’s intended to do.” Olly was getting ready to speak when he was interrupted again.
“Okay, two sandwiches and some hot coffee, plenty of cream and sugar for the lady.”
They both kindly thanked Charlie and began eating.
As they ate, they went on to talk about their food and other small talk, including all the ins and outs of the neighborhood. They finally realized that almost two hours had passed and the cafe seemed to be getting busier with the usual afternoon crowd.
“Well, we’ve been sitting here for awhile, I suppose we should probably wrap this up,” Olly suggested.
“Yes, I suppose so, I have definitely had my fill of coffee by now, that’s for sure.”
“Okay then, let me get this for you.”
They got up to leave and said their quick goodbyes to Charlie.
“So, would it be alright if I walked you home, or did you have other plans for the rest of the day?”
“Nope, I did all of my errand running yesterday, so it’ll just be a lazy Sunday afternoon. I will probably turn in early though, Spring of course is the busiest time for us at the shop, gonna make sure I’m there early, for once,” she laughed. “So I don’t mind if you walk me home.”
“Right, that would be best I’m sure, okay then, lead the way madam and I’ll follow!”
Lilly couldn’t help but blush when Olly said this, they were only barely getting to know each other, but she felt butterflies whenever he looked at her. They walked and chatted the whole way, taking their time and sharing laughs with each other over anything they passed on their way. Lilly pointed out all of her favorite spots to sit at or visit. With everything in bloom, it was like a sweet romantic painting, young love blossoming right along side the flowers. As they reached the fence that led to Lilly’s yard, they stood and lingered for a moment.
“Well, this is it, thank you for walking me home.”
“The pleasure was mine, and you really do have a lovely garden I see, it’s beautiful.”
“I think it’s fitting for my small, modest home, it gives it flare. Thank you.”
Olly smiled, “so I was wondering, could we do something again next Sunday? I was thinking maybe a picnic, at that park you pointed out, what do you think?”
“Hmm, a picnic huh? Honestly, I would love to! Yes, absolutely. Same time as today?”
“That sounds perfect, I can bring some things and come by here and we can walk together, would that be alright?”
“Definitely, I look forward to it, Olly,” as she said this, she opened and walked inside of her fence, “well enjoy the rest of your day.”
“I certainly will, and you do the same…” he turns to leave, “oh wait! I still don’t know what your favorite flower is.”
Walking back up to the fence, Lilly smiles, “well, I like them all, but if I had to choose,” she leans her head over to the direction of a large patch of flowers in her garden, “I guess I’d say daisies.”
Olly glanced at all the white daisies scattered across her garden, of course, he thought.
“Did you know that they represent purity, motherhood and new beginnings? Pretty fitting for Spring, huh? I’ve always loved them, they’re just so simple and cute.”
“That’s really sweet actually, Spring is so wonderful, all kinds of new beginnings…” he stared at her as he spoke.
“Yes, I agree…well, goodbye Olly, see you again soon.”
“Real soon, goodbye.”
That week, both Olly and Lilly went about their usual routine. She was busy at the shop and so she chose to bring her lunch most days, Olly’s crew was steady working on the layout and so he too kept things simple so he could focus on his work. But when Thursday rolled around, he decided he couldn’t wait any longer to see her and so he popped in to bring her lunch and say hello. They kept things short but Lilly was happy to see him nonetheless.
When she put on her apron and went back to work, he quietly asked Donna if she could pull aside some daisies for him and deliver them Saturday afternoon. He felt silly purchasing flowers from Lilly’s workplace for her, but then, why not give them the business in particular. By now, Donna had teased Lilly about her new sweetheart but she still approved as she was glad to see Lilly smiling so much. Olly walked out ready to head back to work, daydreaming about Sunday when he would see her again, Sunday was going to be a great day.
When Sunday finally rolled around again, Olly woke up bright and early as usual and decided to take his time eating breakfast, reading the morning paper, and getting showered and cleaned up. He wanted to stretch out his schedule as much as possible to keep himself busy while he eagerly waited for the morning to pass. Lilly had assured him that she had everything needed for a picnic so long as he could help her carry everything. Still, he took it upon himself to pick up a box of strawberry scones and a couple of mushroom sandwiches. He would also be bringing along some daisies.
Meanwhile Lilly stayed busy packing up all the things she had made the night before into her carrying basket that she used for shopping, picking flowers, and picnics. She pulled out an extra blanket and rolled it up, packed her handbag with a few other essentials, and then got cleaned up. It wouldn’t be long before noon came and she already assumed Olly would be early, so she was showered and dressed by eleven and working on a simple hairstyle. She usually wore it up and out of her face, but today she decided to wear it down. Her hair was long and he had never seen it.
Olly was pleasantly surprised to see her, hair down and softly blowing in the wind. He could smell the flowers in the air all around him. She greeted him at the fence, they shared their hellos and went on their way.
“I know you said you had everything needed but I wanted to bring a few extras as well, and, these are for you,” he said while handing her the daisies, she smiled while taking them. “To be honest, I feel a little silly, I got those from your shop to give to you, Donna had them delivered to me,” he chuckled.
“Yes, I could tell immediately, but I love that you did that, thank you,” she smiled sweetly.
It didn’t take them long to walk to the nearby park, so they found a nice shady spot by a tree and got everything laid out. They were lucky to have a nice warm day with no signs of rain yet.
“So, how about some nice lemonade Olly?”
“I would love that, thank you.”
They sat there enjoying their lunch and each other’s company, pointing out nearby flowers, squirrels, bees and birds. The park wasn’t too crowded either so that was nice. Lilly’s heart raced every time Olly said her name and Olly felt butterflies when Lilly looked at him and from the look of it, she seemed to be feeling towards him, the way he was towards her. They decided to take their time today, even taking a quick stroll before coming back to lay on the blanket side by side, enjoying the breeze, sharing stories about their lives with one another.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened to your mother?” Lilly asked curiously.
“She passed on due to heart failure when I was a teen, it was by far the hardest thing I had ever gone through. She was always smiling, always had time for me, always encouraging me to chase my dreams. I always wished she had gotten the chance to see everything I’ve done, whenever I’d be souvenir shopping, I’d always see something I knew she would like. Once in a great while I’d buy it and hold on to it, or bring it back home to my father. My father is still alive, he’s about seventy five now, doing well, I make sure to visit him as often as possible. He helped put the love of building things into me, since he built furniture and did work on our house all the time. Yeah, he’s a great man.”
“I’m sorry about your mother, she sounded wonderful, but I’m glad to hear that your father is well.”
“Yes, I mean, he misses my mother dearly of course but he always finds a reason to stay active. Maybe you could meet him one day.”
“I’d like that,” she smiled.
“And you? I’ve heard you talk about your parents in the past tense, what happened?”
“Well, both my mother and my father were such lively people, always on the move, always doing something. They loved to travel or visit new places, hiking, all of that. Which was super fun! But also could be a bit much. When I started college, I got my own place, the place I’m at now actually, and I would volunteer at the flower shop and work here and there with Charlie, since he was an old family friend, like an uncle to me. I really liked settling into a regular routine and only once in a while I would go on a weekend trip or drive with my folks, which was nice, but I would get busy and needed my quiet space. Then once, towards the end of Summer around their twenty-fifth anniversary, they were going to take a week long trip to Europe, but a really bad storm hit, and though they were planning on landing early until it cleared, something went wrong and well, the plane went down. That was that. They never made it to Europe, and they never made it back home.” she stared off into the distance as she spoke, Olly looking down while he listened. “It was terribly painful to hear the news, my heart was shattered and it took a long time to get over it, when I finally started healing, I tried to remind myself that they died doing what they loved, and I guess it was good they went together, I couldn’t imagine mother or father without the other honestly. Sometimes I walk by the house they lived in while here, and I think about them.” Lilly wiped a tear from her eye as she said this.
Olly reached out to grab her hand, “I’m so sorry Lilly, that sounds awful, I can’t even imagine.”
“It’s alright, I’m at peace with it now, I mean I will always miss them dearly and wish they were here, but they’ve moved on now, probably flying high,” she laughed as she said this. “I think they would’ve liked you, you’re so full of life and pep, that’s how they were.”
“And I think my mother would’ve liked you, she too loved spending time in her garden. My father built a beautiful gazebo for her in our yard.”
“Ooo that sounds so nice.”
“Yes, and I know my father will like you, you’re sweet, smart, caring, and absolutely beautiful.”
“Thank you Olly, I look forward to it,” their hands still intertwined, Lilly scooted closer to him and put her head on his shoulder. Olly leaned into her as well and they sat like this for a good while before realizing that it was getting late in the day.
“I have an idea!” Lilly exclaimed, “why don’t you come over for dinner, that way we don’t have to put an end to this lovely day just yet.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Olly said while helping gather everything up.
The evening was quiet but full of new love in the air, both thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.
When it was beginning to get late, Olly decided he better go home and prepare for the next morning, they both had to be back at work early. Lilly walked with him up to her fence and they said their goodnights, but Olly wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye.
“Is it silly of me that I hate to say goodbye?” He looked down while saying this.
“No, it’s not,” she said as they held hands.
“I promise, I’ll be by to see you, every free moment I have Lilly.”
“I’ll be waiting.” As she spoke, Olly leaned down closer to her face, gently stroking her soft hair, both of their hearts beating fast.
“Can I kiss you goodnight?” Olly softly asked.
“I thought you’d never ask.”
Olly pressed his lips against hers and they kissed for the first time underneath the stars. Completely intoxicated by each other’s warmth.
“Well, goodnight Olly…” Lilly managed to say.
“Goodnight, my love.”
After that day, Olly and Lilly were officially Springtime love birds. Just as everything was blooming all around them, so had their love, fully. They were head over heels and completely smitten with each other. It wasn’t long before they were doing all sorts of things together around the city. Charlie finally welcomed Olly as a part of Lilly’s everyday life. Lilly would visit Olly at his work from time to time and Olly was proud to call her his girl.
Olly had managed to bring out the adventurous side of Lilly, the side she had traded for her quiet routine after her parents passing, and she honestly was happy to be revisiting that side of herself with Olly by her side. Lilly was able to bring out a different side of Olly as well, the side that could easily enjoy a quiet, slow moving day, like he had as a child with his own parents. Some days they found themselves at each other’s homes, simply laying around and enjoying each other’s company. Many times Olly would come over to see Lilly and he would sketch or paint, while she would work in the garden or read a book out there. He was so happy watching her and he couldn’t help but daydream of some day marrying her and building a gazebo for her like his father did for his mother. At times even Lilly couldn’t help but have the same exact daydream, though neither of them had admitted it to each other yet. They would just quietly catch sight of each other and smile ear to ear. Lilly had felt the happiest she had in a long time. She even got used to the idea of a grand hotel and was both happy for and proud of Olly.
They settled into a steady routine by the time Spring was coming to an end, making sure to see each other as much as they could around their busy schedule, taking advantage of every Sunday they had together, rain or shine. Lilly took Olly by the home her parents used to live in, and by their memorial stones as well. Meanwhile, while Olly couldn’t plan a trip to Delaware to see his father yet, he did send him a picture of him and Lilly together and they even spoke on the phone, he couldn’t wait to meet Lilly and see Olly again.
Things remained blissful for the two of them all through the Summer, even if occasionally they would have a small disagreement or get disappointed by conflicting schedules. But with Olly’s optimism and Lilly’s calm nature, they always found a way to be patient and make it work, they felt lucky to have this in each other, and they were.
Fall had begun to settle in, with colored and falling leaves and cooler days that required a sweater. The city was beautiful and Lilly enjoyed the beauty of it all, but she was sad that Summer was ending and Olly continuously found ways to brighten her day. He would regularly buy her new books since she was always reading, this made her glad and kept her pleasantly busy.
They decided before the cold weather would come to stay, that they would make sure to have at least one more good picnic. It was a great way to spend the day, as it always was, they picked a day that wasn’t too chilly or windy, and they ate and laid on the grass relaxing with each other. Olly had some things on his mind and was feeling ready to talk to Lilly about them.
“I’ve been thinking, I know it’s early to think about this, but you know how I’ve been talking about that community center I want to put together?”
“Yes, the one you’re always sketching.”
“Well, I’ve kinda been sketching out another addition to it that I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Okay, and what’s that?”
“I think this community center could also use a community garden, a vegetable and fruit garden, but flowers as well of course, and well, I wanted your input on it.”
“That would be an amazing idea! I love it, you should definitely add it, that would be a much needed thing for this area.”
“Well, I was also wondering if maybe you would help me out with it, like a project we could do together. I could plan the structure and with your knowledge, we could get the garden flourishing in no time, what do you think? I know it’s a long term goal but it’s been on my mind for awhile now.”
Lilly was quiet for a moment, and while Olly wasn’t sure what her response would be, he was hopeful. Lilly had to admit to herself, this made her heart happy as soon as he suggested it but she also wanted to give it some thought.
“Olly, I would actually really love to do that, it would make me happy to be part of something so important that could help people. And of course to be able to work with you on a project would be an added bonus. I do want to take some time to think it over though.”
“Well you have plenty of time of course,” they both laughed, “like I said, it would be years down the road but I still wanted to talk it over regardless, I mean, I want to plan you into every part of my future from here on out, and if we could make a difference with this, well then that would be amazing.”
“I definitely know we could make a difference, and you know, I’ve been planning you in my future already as well…”she trailed off as she spoke.
“Oh yeah? How so?” Olly smiled at her.
“Well, I mean, just simple things I guess, more of what we’re already doing, seeing and meeting your father, doing things together, going places and seeing things. Maybe even sharing a home?”
Olly smiled bigger when she suggested this. “Sharing a home huh?”
“Yes, sharing a home, a life, a future, you know, all that jazz!”
He leaned in and kissed her, “Lilly, would you marry me then?” He heart fluttered when she heard him.
“Olly, do you mean that?”
“Yes, I do,” he laughed. “I really do. I want to spend every day and every night with you from now on, no hesitation.”
“Honestly, I can’t say I haven’t daydreamed about that myself,” she smiled.
“Well then? Will you do it? Lilly, my love, will you be my wife? It doesn’t have to be right this second but I just want to know.”
She waited a moment, this was a big decision, but he had no intention of going anywhere anytime soon and neither did she, she wanted all of the things they had just been talking about and she wanted it to be official.
“Oliver Alexander, yes, yes I will marry you, and I want a Springtime wedding, my favorite time of the year and the season when we met and fell in love.”
Olly stared at her, filled with a joy and then he shouted out, hollering with happiness before embracing her.
“I love it! Let’s do it, let’s get married in Spring, we’ll make all the arrangements this Winter, and then have a beautiful wedding with lots of flowers, and we’ll get my father here and it’ll be great!”
And it was, just like Olly had said. They managed to get through the harsh and snowy Winter, keeping themselves busy with wedding plans. They spent Christmas together and visited Olly’s father, so he could meet his future daughter in law and he managed to fly out for the wedding just like Olly had planned.
Charlie stepped in to walk Lilly down the aisle and Donna helped her with her dress.
It was a beautiful day in Spring, flowers, birds and butterflies all around, they decided to wed in the same park they got engaged at and officially became Mr. and Mrs. Alexander. Lilly’s home, became their home, Olly built a gazebo for her, like he had daydreamed of doing, and they would eventually go on to expand their home in preparation for the future.
Years later they were finally able to begin their plans for the community center and garden which would become the Alexander Center, and would make a huge difference in the community. Olly officially called Rochester his permanent home with Lilly by his side and he would go on to work only in nearby locations and even start his own building firm. Lilly remained loyal to Ms. Donna’s shop, A Snippet of Flowers and Donna agreed to have her take over the shop when it came time for her to retire.
Charlie continued to run his little cafe and Olly and Lilly still came in regularly for a mushroom sandwich and a cup of coffee.
Everyday Olly thought back to the time he bumped into Lilly on a busy day on Blossom Avenue, on a warm Spring day, when the sun was shining and the birds were chirping, and he will always be grateful that he ran into that beautiful flower shop girl.
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