Month Five: Daisies
The rain dropped in fat, heavy beads that soaked through my cotton jacket. I had dumped my umbrella on the way to campus after it turned inside out and two of the ribs snapped. At least the north eastern wind calmed while I sat in my marketing class.
I walked briskly, hoping the chilly dampness didn’t soak my shirt as well. I paid little attention to my surroundings, always a mistake, and had made it to the east gate of Riegert before I looked up. At the end of the stone walk, idling in the narrow breakdown lane of the street, sat a long, sleek, black limousine. I thought nothing off it and pressed on, ignoring everything but immediate obstacles. While dodging one of those obstacles, a bicyclist who whizzed past me without regard to the muddy water he splashed on me or the fact that I was forced to jump to the side to avoid him, I dropped my bag.
“Dammit,” I hollered to the sky. “Really?”
As I looked up, Ethan was opening the limo door and heading towards me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him. “You had your interview today.”
“Oh, I decided those stuffy old geezers could wait. I had a maiden to save from a storm.” He flashed me a smile and bent to scoop up an escaped notebook.
“What? You didn’t go? You can’t do that, Ethan. Not everyone can wait for you, you know?”
“Whoa. I’m teasing.” His smile faded a little as he recognized my irritation. “Do you actually think I’d blow off an interview like that?”
“I’m sorry. I know you were excited for the interview. I’m just aggravated. It’s been a long week, and it’s only Tuesday.”
Ethan stood, rapping my wet body in his arms. “It’s okay, Georgia. It’s great actually. Come on, let me tell you.”
He moved to take my bag and I gratefully handed him the soaked backpack made heavy by books and water.
He led me to the limousine. A dark-suited, hat-wearing driver jumped out to open the door.
“Miss,” he said, nodding at me with a slight smile. “Sir.”
“What’s this? Why a limo? What’s going on?” I rattled off questions without pausing to hear answers as I climbed in.
“Give me a second,” Ethan said with a chuckle. My impatience always entertained him.
Looking around, I noticed the soft beige leather interior. There was a small television and a complete bar. And sitting in a pale pink metal pail were dozens of blue daisies. They reached from the small bucket in a messy order, almost the way they would grow in a wildflower garden.
“Do you like the flowers?” He reached out and plucked one from the group, handing it to me.
I twirled it between my fingers. “Yes, yes, I do. They’re adorable.”
“And chaotic. Daisies are chaotic. I remembered.”
“Yes, they are. At least more so than roses.”
“But beautiful all the same,” he said. He turned away from me and opened his briefcase, removing a black leather portfolio. “I have something to show you.”
I stared at the portfolio somewhat confused.
“So I met with Thompson Financial. I offered up my resume, talked about my term abroad in London. I even mentioned how I’d been working on my Japanese. I hit all the highlights.”
“That’s great,” I said feeling proud of my smart and well-traveled boyfriend.
“And they offered me a job. Right then. They just opened up this portfolio, wrote a number, and slid it across the desk. It was like I was in a movie.”
I nodded for him to continue. I’d never heard Ethan so excited. Enthusiasm bubbled in his voice and he bounced the slightest bit as he spoke.
“So I take the folder, look down, and it’s more money than I ever thought I’d make right out of school. But I know to refuse it and counter. That’s how this works, after all.”
“You did? You countered?”
“Yep. You should have seen me. I wrote a number not too much higher, but high enough, and slid it back across the desk.” His face flush, he continued, exhilarated. I hung on waiting to see what came of the story.
“The head guy, Alan Toreau, he picks it up. He reads it and picks it up. Doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t shake his head or nod or even frown.
“Instead, he picks up the phone and says, ‘Maria, please tell Ms. Morgan in HR that we need to adjust the Gregory contract by $17,000.’ And he hangs up.”
“Oh my God, Ethan. They took your offer? They seriously didn’t even counter again?” I felt the same excitement that had been oozing from Ethan as we spoke. “That’s great news. I’m so proud of you.”
Grabbing my shoulders, he leaned in and kissed me. Pulling back, he looked into my eyes. “It’s all happening, Gia. It’s all coming together. Everything I’ve wanted. It’s all going to work.”
“It looks like it. I really looks like it,” I said before throwing my arms around the man I loved.