“I hate August,” Joanna said as she stepped into the sticky heat to collect the mail. But she forgot about the mail when she saw the huge bouquet of gladiolus sitting on the front porch. Gladiolus were special flowers that Joanna shared with her husband, and she knew their meaning without reading the card, but she read it anyway, “Looking forward to tonight.”
“Oh, Ted, they’re beautiful,” Joanna whispered to her husband, even though he was at work. Joanna’s heart started beating faster and a giggle escaped from her lips. It had been months since they had a romantic evening together.
Two hours later, Joanna admired her reflection in the mirror. The emerald sundress she wore brought out the green in her eyes and offset the rust tones in her auburn hair. Somehow her laugh lines seemed to disappear too. “I feel like a new bride.”
Sitting down in the living room, she glanced at the clock. Ted was 15 minutes late. “God please let him be okay,” prayed and restlessly moved from one seat to another.
An hour later, she called his cell phone, wondering why she hadn’t called him earlier. “Hello,” Ted answered.
“W-where are you? Is everything okay?” Joanna asked with a shaky voice.
“I’m playing golf with the guys,” Ted replied. “Don’t you remember me telling you about it at breakfast?”
“I must have forgotten. Are – are you coming home soon?” Joanna asked, not sure what was happening.
“We’re only playing nine holes tonight. Since Mikey got married, he can’t stay away from his new bride for long. He’ll get over it soon enough. We all did.” Ted laughed at his joke and Joanna heard the rest of the guys laughing too, but she didn’t join them.
“Don’t let me keep you from your fun.” She hung up the phone and tried not to cry. The beautiful flowers now seemed to mock her, and she said, “I just don’t get it, why would you send me our special flowers and then golf with the guys?”
Then she went to the bedroom and tore off the sundress. Joanna changed into elastic-waist shorts and an oversized t-shirt and decided to order a pizza, since she didn’t feel like cooking for herself.
Settling in with a novel, she heard a car in the driveway. “Yea, pizza’s here.” But when she got to the door, she didn’t see the pizza guy. Instead, she saw Ted carrying a huge bouquet of gladiolus.
“Why are you trying to confuse me?” Joanna asked as Ted reached the screen door.
“Confuse you? Honey, I’m confused. I don’t understand why you’re mad at me.” Ted said through the door to his wife. “I went golfing, like I told you this morning, and then you called me and sounded like you were crying. So I came home.”
“What about the flowers?” Joanna asked as she sat on the sofa.
Ted sat down beside her and explained, “I saw a roadside stand selling them, and I knew they would cheer you up since they’re our special flowers. They’re beautiful aren’t they?”
“Not those flowers, but the ones you sent today from work.” Joanna pointed to the bouquet on display in the dining room.
“I didn’t send you flowers.”
“Yes, you did. They’re over there.”
“Why would I send you our special flowers when I was planning on playing golf after work?”
“Exactly. I got dressed up to go out. I cancelled --” Joanna stopped when the doorbell rang, and Ted answered the door. Joanna silently watched as Ted carried her flowers from the dining room and handed them to a person standing outside.
Ted came back and sat down with a big smile on his face, “Mystery solved.”
“How’s that?” Joanna asked.
“That was the delivery guy from Amy’s Bouquets. Apparently, he delivered a bouquet of gladiolus here when he was supposed to deliver them next door.”
Joanna started blushing. “Seriously? I thought you sent me the flowers and wanted to have romantic evening because – because …”
“Because every time I send you our special flowers, I have a surprise evening in mind.” Ted wrapped his arms around his wife. “So that’s why you were so upset when I went golfing with the guys.” He continued to cuddle her and said, “You know, we still have a bouquet of gladiolus and the rest of the evening to ourselves.”
Joanna smiled and said, “I think tonight will be special after all.”
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