Sunday, May 1, 2011


Five different White Rose Publishing authors are included in this serial. Five different short, short love stories comprise Love Is Blooming. Each story is connected to a delivery truck containing five gifts. But the computer had a glitch. No one knows which gift belongs to which woman. So each woman must pick up clues as to which gift belongs to her. The answer to each mystery points her to her love. Several of the authors are awarding an autographed book to one fortunate commentator about her story. So, read, enjoy, and comment. Our first story:

Sara’s Story
Tanya Stowe

Spring was Sara Hunter’s favorite time of year. She leaned over her kitchen sink and looked out the window of her Southern California home. The pool was littered with leaves. Her garden over grown with weeds and tufts of grass sprouted like cities beneath her small orchard. Her garden was in need of serious tending…much like her life.

Sara shook her head. How had things come to this? A year ago her catering business was flourishing. So well in fact, they had sent her partner and daughter, Jennifer, to Paris to study pastry for three months under a world-renowned chef. Her son Jerrod and his lovely wife had just presented them with their second grandbaby. Life seemed complete and full, maybe a little too full, but satisfying to Sara.

Then her husband Jake had come home from work one day to tell her that his company was downsizing. He had two choices, take the severance package or relocate to Atlanta. Sara’s world started spinning. She loved her work and her home. The last thing she wanted was change. She told Jake to take the severance package.

“Why? So I can stay home while you work twelve hours a day, seven days a week?” he replied.

It was the spark that set off the explosion. It had been building for a long time. He worked weekdays. Catering took her away night and weekends, when he was home. They had drifted apart.

They argued about the move for months, right up until she dropped Jake off at the airport with two suitcases. It was almost a relief to have him gone. The constant bickering had worn her down. Once he was gone, she could concentrate on her business again.

At first, they checked in with each other once a week. Then less and less. There wasn’t anyone else involved, for her or for Jake. She was certain of that. It might have been better if there was. Anything would have been better than just watching her marriage fade away.

She hung her head. The house was quiet. Too quiet. She could hear the Grandfather clock in the hall ticking. It was going to be even quieter from now on. A week ago she’d sent Jake a letter with an airplane ticket. She’d asked him to come home to discuss their future. She’d told him if he didn’t come, she would know it was over and she would start divorce proceedings. She’d sent the letter certified. She knew he’d received it but he hadn’t answered. The plane was scheduled to arrive at LAX this morning at 9a.m.

It was two o’clock.

Time to face the fact that her thirty-year marriage was over. The tears that had come and gone threatened to flood through. She pushed them back again. Her garden needed tending. She didn’t have time to indulge in tears. She headed out the back door to the potting shed, slipped on her large sun hat and gloves and tackled the weeds with purpose.

The sun beat down on her back. Sweat trickled down the sides of her neck. The rich smell of the earth and the hard work made her feel alive. She finished the garden and looked up at her small orchard, knowing she’d been avoiding this area. She stood beneath the shade of the peach tree. Peaches for peach pie.

She and Jake had met in college. They’d dated for almost six months before she knew he was the one. She remembered the exact moment. They were starving students and had just enough money for one piece of pie at their favorite restaurant. They pooled their money and split the pie. She’d told Jake how someday, she’d liked to use her grandmother’s pie recipes and open a business. Jake told her how he planned to be the best human resources manager the planet had ever seen.

As he talked, his dark, wavy hair fell over his forehead and he pushed the last bite of peaches and crust toward her. He didn’t even think about it, just unselfishly handed her the choicest part. Love flooded through her and she told him so. How had she forgotten the look on his face when she said it?

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of buying their own home, he’d bought this peach tree. When Jerrod was born, he bought her an apple tree. Jennifer garnered her apricots. A cherry and a pear tree followed. In the years after, she used the fruit to bake her pies. Jake never complained when she quit her job to stay home while the children were little. When she said she wanted to start the catering business, he never questioned her, he just applied for a loan and helped her set up the business plan. In the beginning, he’d even helped her cook and serve. He’d always been there.

But when he needed her, when he’d asked her to support the career that had given them so much security over the years, she balked. Why hadn’t she even tried to make a concession or meet in the middle? How had her business become more important than her marriage?

“I’m sorry,” she whispered out loud as she gazed up at the sky through the budding tree branches. “If I could just have another chance....”

Her only answer was a bird, twittering high in the tree. The tears she’d been holding back burst through. She attacked the tufts of grass as if it were her own foolish mistakes she could dig out and throw in the trash. She sobbed and shoveled. After a while, the weeds were hacked and raked into a pile. Sara pulled off her gloves and wiped at her wet, grimy cheeks with the back of her hands. That’s when she heard the doorbell through the open window.

She wasn’t expecting anyone and she was a mess with her swollen eyes and mud streaked face. She wasn’t going to answer the door. When it rang a third time, she knew whoever it was wasn’t going to go away. She grabbed a tissue from the potting shed, wiped at her cheeks, plopped her floppy hat back on her sweat flattened hair and headed around the side gate.

A delivery truck was in the horseshoe shaped driveway and a teenage boy stood at her door. “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, ummm, I have delivery for you, I think.”

“You think?”

“Yeah. There was a glitch. The computer crashed. We got the orders and the addresses but we didn’t get what gift went with what address. The computer’s still down so we thought the best thing would be to make the deliveries and let the customer choose which might be their gift.”

Sara’s heart jumped. A delivery. Could it be something from Jake? “Let me see what you have,” she said already turning toward the truck. The teenager barely beat her back to the van. He slid open the door and Sara looked at the gifts situated in boxes.

First he handed her a vellum envelope. She showed him her dirt caked hands so he opened it for her. Inside was beautiful, ornate calligraphy. It was an invitation to a restaurant she’d didn’t recognize.

“I don’t think this is for me,” she said.

Next he handed her a beautiful clear box of individually wrapped chocolates in gold paper. The box was tied with a giant, pink silk ribbon.

She shook her head and he reached behind the seat, pulling out a beautiful, antique bird cage. Sitting inside were two, teal-colored love birds. “They’re beautiful,” Sara murmured, “but I don’t know anyone who would send me those.”

At last, he pulled out a lovely green, glass vase with a dozen red roses. Sara felt all of the hope drain out of her.

“I’m sorry but I don’t think any of those gifts were meant for me. You’d better send them on to the next address.” She folded her arms and stepped back. Just as the delivery boy hopped into the back of the van, a small truck pulled into the driveway. The side of the truck said Delectable Edible Arrangements.

Sara’s heart jumped again. A young woman climbed out of the truck.

“Hello!” she said as she headed around the side. She took out a beautifully wrapped arrangement of cut, fresh fruit and walked forward. “I have a delivery for Sara Hunter.”

“That’s me,” Sara said, her gaze fixed on the sliced strawberries, blackberries, apples, peaches and apricots arranged in the shape of a tree. The young woman handed her a card.

Sara ripped it open. It said: Bad weather. Delayed in Denver. I’ll be home tonight. Keep the pie warm. Jake.

Clamping the card next to her heart, Sara’s gaze flew up to the bright blue sky. “Thank you,” she said. Then she hugged the young woman. “Thank you!” she said again, as she took the arrangement out of the women’s arms. “And thank you, too!” she called out to the delivery boy as she walked backwards to the house. “You’ll have to excuse me, now. I have some baking to do!”

Tanya is sending an autographed book to one fortunate commenter.

Tanya Stowe

Next Sunday look for PAISLEY'S STORY as a continuation of Love Is Blooming.

1 comment:

  1. These five stories are awesome, especially when seen as the whole story.