“Right here,” she says, pointing at me, and I stand too, a little shocked.

I take them from him and he makes me sign a form before giving me a small salute and walking out.


The blush hits my cheeks as I turn and place them on my desk. There’s a small envelope attached, and I unpin it from a leaf, looking up to see Skyler waiting expectantly. I raise an eyebrow at her, and she rolls her eyes and laughs as she gives me some privacy.

Last night Paige and I talked some more before I went to bed and had a better night’s sleep than I’d had in days. It wasn’t anywhere close to as good as the one I’d had with Oz, but I’ll take it over being a zombie any day of the week. I left my phone off, not really ready to talk to him yet. I still need to think things over and get my head on straight. But I guess Oz found a way around my silence. At least he’s giving me space, in his own way.

When I saw the flowers, I knew right away he’d sent them. No card was needed, but I pull it out anyway, wanting to see what he has to say for himself. Seeing his beautiful, neat handwriting does something to my insides, but I try to ignore it.

Mallory,

Nothing is as lovely as you.

Missing your beauty.

Love, Oz

The blush on my cheeks deepens, and I sit in my chair, trying to think of what to do next. Do I thank him for the flowers? I’ve never gotten flowers from anyone before. God, why does he have to be so…so…charming? He makes it hard to be mad and I want to hang on to that anger. I can’t let him steamroll over me.

Placing the note in my bag, I go back to work, wanting to think about my response before I give him an answer. If I even will.

It turns out I don’t have time to think of a response before the next bouquet is delivered. This time it’s a larger arrangement of lavender dahlias. Eric perks up at this and asks if it’s my birthday. Skyler rolls her eyes at him. I wait until I have a moment alone before I read the note.

Mallory,

Nothing is more precious than your touch.

Missing the feel of your softness.

Love, Oz

I grab my phone from my bag and squeeze it. I want to turn it on and text him, but I know I have to stay strong, too. This man lied to me, and I need some space to think over what I want. But instead he insists on doing things that are going to make me break; I know it, and a small part of me wants to know what he’ll do next.

The next delivery of flowers arrives an hour later, and so goes the rest of my day at work. I spread them all over the department, so I won’t have all of my work space taken up. People ask questions, but Skyler helps me out with that. She says it’s a joke, and people shrug it off.

All day the notes come, and I keep every one of them, each one melting me more and more, breaking down my anger. He sends red tulips, peach plumeria, violets, hydrangeas, and even a bouquet with bells of Ireland. Every arrangement is beautiful and special. They aren’t your typical flowers—each of these looks to have been specially picked—and I know in my heart he did that.

Finally, before quitting time and hopefully after the last delivery, I turn on my phone to send him a quick text. I don’t know if I’m strong enough for more.

Me: Thank you. For all of them. They were overwhelmingly beautiful.

His response is instant. Like he’s been waiting all day, and maybe he has.

Oz: You deserve a thousand more.

Me: I wouldn’t know where to put them.

I smile and it feels nice. God, I want to forgive him and run into his arms. But I asked for space and I need to take it.

Oz: I would build you a castle, if only you would ask.

Me: Maybe one day.

I bite my lip, thinking maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Damn it. I have to be stronger, I tell myself, but it’s hard when someone makes you feel like you’re so important to them. But then I let out a sigh and put my phone back in my bag. I decide to leave the flowers at work so I can enjoy them longer. I head out and meet Paige in the lobby. I don’t need her for the walk home, but it’s nice walking with her again.

When we get to the apartment, she pulls out her key, unlocking the door and stepping inside.

“Holy shit,” she says, and I try to look around her.

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