April looked at her calendar and realized she’d been working for the last twenty-three days straight. Her boss David was a workaholic father and when his wife walked out, he commandeered her into taking care of his daughters. The girls were six and so adorable, but she needed a break. Grabbing her phone, she sent him a quick email explaining that she had food poisoning and would be laid up next to the toilet for most of the day. David White hated sickness so she knew he would tell her to stay home and as far away from him as possible.
After a leisurely breakfast of bacon and pancakes from a box, she decided to do something fun with her day off. The annual Huronia Flower Show was happening and this year she was determined to grow and keep flowers alive on her rooftop terrace. She rode her Schwinn that she had spray painted rose gold and after locking her up, she bought a ticket and walked around looking at the abundance of blooms.
April was reading an information card about a yellow orchid with lilac striations, when she heard a voice she knew all too well. The deep rumbling of his voice sent a shiver down her back and she looked around to see where he was and how she could hide. He was at a booth on her right and luckily there were enough people around that he probably hadn’t seen her. He was about six foot four with long black hair that reached his waist when he let it down and chocolate brown eyes that had flecks of gold. His beard was thick and highlighted his full lips that in moments of extreme weakness she dreamed about. In jeans, dark brown work boots and an evergreen t-shirt that showed off arms that could lift anything, he was the type of man who she wished would look twice at her. April turned away and decided to go to the far back section that had all types of roses. In such a high traffic area he’d never notice her.
As she looked at some soft peach tea roses she noticed that a group of elderly women and their grandkids surrounded her, so she was able to relax. April had just picked up two small planters with peach and cream tea roses, when she heard his voice. She turned and he was right behind her.
“Oh hey, April. How are you?” His expression was mocking.
“Oh Joseph, hey. I’m good. What are you doing here?”
“I’m glad you’re feeling better. My brother said something about you having food poisoning, so I’m glad to see you’re quite alright.” He said dryly as he looked her up and down. It felt like his gaze lingered on the small bit of cleavage her cream sweater was revealing.
“Please Joseph, don’t tell him you saw me today.”
“It’s just Joe, April.”
“Please Joe. I just needed a day. I’ll be back tomorrow, promise.”
“David really needs help right now April. Pretending to be sick is kind of juvenile and I thought you knew better.” He sounded disappointed and April felt defensive and a bit angry.
“Do you think I don’t know that. I’ve been working for weeks with no days off. My days start at five and don’t end before midnight mostly. Last night was the first night I slept in my own bed since his wife dumped the girls on him. When was the last time you watched your nieces? Don’t lecture me, when you’re an invisible uncle.” She abruptly turned around but Joe reached out and cupped her elbow. April felt goosebumps all over her arms and tried to take a deep breath, but all she could smell was him, a mixture of sea spray and pine.
“April, wait.” Her name on his lips caused flutters in her stomach and for a moment she wished they were in her bedroom, completely alone. She looked back at him and got lost in his eyes. He said something but she couldn’t hear him over the roar in her ears. Her gaze dropped down to his lips and the ache to feel them grew. He tipped her chin up and searched her gaze and April saw the heat banked and her breath caught. The moment might have lasted forever but a young boy running from his friend slammed into Joe by accident and he crashed into her. He managed to keep them upright by wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her into his side, but the moment was broken.