The Flower Fairy
A beautiful spring day shines on the city of Calgary, Alberta. The green grass is starting to grow with little tiny flowers popping up between the stones of the sidewalk. Due to this warm weather, the children run joyfully in the street, people walk the sidewalks catching up on the latest gossip before going to work. It is a day like any other except what the latest gossip is.
In the Cobblestone Bakery & Café, three such gossips sit around with their tea and treats, chattering up a storm.
“Millie! Did you hear the latest in the Newsletter?” asks Deloris.
“No! What’s happening?” Millie replies as Mary leans in closer.
“The old flower shop has a new owner.” Says Deloris. “But no one knows who it is, no one has seen this new owner.”
“Do you think they have been here long?” Asks Mary, “That apartment above it desperately needs a touch up.”
Millie takes a bite out of her Nanaimo bar and says. “It’s a beautiful old store and could use some TLC.”
“TLC?” Deloris acts surprised. “Since when did you become abbreviation Bob?”
The ladies laugh and chatter on, but they can not figure out what is going on with the old flower store. Who could this mysterious person be?
The bell rings and in comes Father Jonas Grimsby. He is the local priest and the ladies can not help but shudder at his presence. He is such a fire and brimstone kind of preacher. Every time that people go into his church and listen to his sermon it’s like being in the front row of a gory horror film.
He orders an earl grey tea, turns to look at the three ladies, and lifts his eye brows as if expecting an invitation. They politely smile and lift their tea cups at him, hoping that he goes away. But he doesn’t. He sits at their table to join them.
“Good morning, ladies.” He says, “I haven’t seen you in the church for a while.”
“Well we have been busy but we pray every night.” Says Millie.
“Ah! But god demands us in his church every Sunday. If you don’t come you will be sent screaming…” He starts but Deloris interrupts.
“Sorry Father. As much as we’d love to hear your next sermon, we have a book club meeting.” She says standing up and grabs her coat. Millie and Mary follow her lead, grab their coats, and hurry out the door while bidding the Father adieu.
He looks at the door with a confused look on his face. What did this neighborhood have against God’s divine influence? He sips his tea and ponders this question. Do they not want to ascend into heaven? Into God’s righteous paradise? He didn’t understand this. He takes another sip of tea and swears he will get to the bottom of this.
She never went out. She is too busy trying to get her shop and apartment in order. There is always something that needs to be done. Ariel is always on top of things and she is right on schedule if not ahead of the game. Her shop is going to open next week, and it is going to be a big hit with the people. She can see it now. The flowers she will sell will bring happiness, turn dreams into reality and make a few miracles happen. But first she has to finish painting the walls.
Ariel ties her strawberry blonde hair back into a hair tie and continues to paint the shop walls in a bright green color. She plans on being done by the end of the day and it is going to be beautiful. Ariel had already placed her orders in for the flowers and looks forward to seeing them again.
Suddenly, little familiar lights surround her. She has seen these little lights since she was a little girl and considers these fairies her dear friends. It’s so good to see them again.
“Hello my friends.” Ariel says. “What do I owe the pleasure?”
“Home.” They say in their lovely ethereal voices. “Welcome.”
And just like that they vanish. They always seem to show up at pivotal points in her life. Ariel guesses this is one of those times. So she better get back to work.
She can not live without plants. She always has to be around them. That’s why she worked on her rooftop garden before she worked on the inside of her apartment. She never owned before but she felt its time to put down some roots. It seemed like she has been travelling forever. Now it is time for a change.
By the end of the day, she is so tired that she fell asleep right on the floor of the shop. This happens often but usually in her garden or her solarium that she fills with plants.
By next week, the flower shop now known as “The Flower Fairy” is open for business. Ariel made special mocktails that contained sugared hibiscus, ginger, apple juice, and club soda. It will be a great hit to anyone who tries it. She is very confident of that. She also made sure she looked her best. He hair is down now with delicate waves showering past her shoulders. She wore a delicate blue strappy dress with sweet ruffles on the bottom and little silver flat sandals on her feet. She hopes she makes a good first impression with this outfit.
What will certainly make a great impression is the plants and flowers that she has everywhere. This whole place looks like a magical paradise where even the walls were covered with the most beautiful blooms. On the center table there are several different potted plants surrounding a tall tree-like centerpiece with suncatchers dangling from the branches. On the wall were shelves that didn’t just house potted plants but beautiful crystals, the flowers from the deep earth. The sound of running water fills the air from a beautiful little fountain in the corner. All the items, that Ariel will sell shall bring many great miracles, one way or another.
The little bell above her door rings and in come her first customers. A mother with three young children. Two older boys and a little girl. Not one of them is older than 10 years old. The mother while still beautiful showed exhaustion in her eyes and frumpiness in her clothes. Ariel could tell that this woman desperately needed a break.
“Come in everybody,” She says sweetly, “Come on in and take a look around.”
As soon as the sigh came out of the mother’s mouth, Ariel offers her a chair and a mocktail. As the mom sits down and puts her daughter down, she turns to the glass and asks, “Is there booze in this?”
“No.” Ariel shakes her head.
“Damn!” She whispers as she takes a first sip. Despite the lack of alcohol the drink is delicious. A smile forms on her tired face.
After taking care of the mother, Ariel walks over to the children and checks out what they are looking at. The younger boy is looking at a big crystal star that sparkles different colors with the sun shining on it.
“You have a very good eye there, Mister…” Ariel trails off and the little boy pipes up “Alan!”
“Alan.” Ariel says, correcting herself. “You know I caught that star when it fell out of the night sky.”
All three children look at her with curiosity in their eyes. “Really?” Asks Alan, his eyes wide with wonder.
“Is it true?” Says the little girl excitedly.
“No Rosie.” The oldest boy says but secretly hopes that it is true.
“It is.” Ariel says. “It was so beautiful. It suddenly moved from the night sky, then it fell into my yard, so I scooped it up and made that star a promise.”
All three children look at her with awe. “I promised it that I would find it a good home.”
“I want it!” Shouts Mikey as he tries to snatch it from his brother.
“I found it first! It’s mine!” Alan shouts back.
“Come on now children.” Ariel claps her hands and the children look to her. “That is clearly meant for Alan but there are treasures in here that are meant for you.”
The older brother and little Rosie take off like two little shots to find these other treasures. Alan smiles up at Ariel and admires the crystal star. Suddenly, Rosie catches the sight of something amazing.
“Mikey, Alan, Mommy! I found something.” She yells as her eyes focus on a beautiful fairy figurine wearing a purple dress, sitting down on a tree stump, and surrounded by purple roses.
The two boys and their mother walk over to her and look at the figurine she found. “Oh, my Rosie. That is beautiful.”
Mikey looks at it very closely and notices something shocking. “Hey! She looks like you.”
“Does she?” Ariel asks slyly smiling at the children.
“Yeah.” Rosie agrees enthusiastically. “She has your hair and eyes.”
“That doesn’t mean that it’s her you guys.” Says the mother but the children look to Ariel. She looks at them, smiles, and winks. They quietly giggle in return. As they run to the counter, Mikey finds a long pointed ombre gray crystal. Ariel notices this as she returns behind her counter.
“I see you found yourself something magical.” Ariel says to him. “That is a smoky quartz. It keeps away all the bad things.”
“Really? Will it get rid of my sister?”
Ariel couldn’t help but shake her head and laugh. “No Sweetie. I mean it makes anything scary like anger, fear, and monsters go away.”
Mikey nods his head and puts it up on the counter for his mom to buy. She chuckles and says to Ariel, “Thanks for everything. My kids are going to want to come here everyday now.”
“Well that’s good but what about you?” Ariel asks.
“With this brood? How can I not?” She says and holds out her hand to shake Ariel’s. “I’m Delilah.”
“It’s my pleasure Delilah. My name is Ariel.” Ariel says returning the handshake and notices that the mother’s skin and eyes look a little brighter. “You do a lot for your children but is there
something here that you would like too?”
Delilah laughs and shakes her head. “I don’t know. Can anything here make me look like a movie star?”
Ariel chuckles with Delilah. “Well not exactly but I think I have something here that might inspire you.”
With that, Ariel pulls up a beautiful fuchsia orchid. It puzzles Delilah at first but seeing that amazing flower she suddenly feels the need to purchase it. Not just buy it but buy it from this woman.
“Orchids bring on a wealth of beauty, luxury and some good goddess energy.” Ariel says. “And it’s only $15.00.”
“Sold!” Delilah says smiling.
“That’s not all.” She says as she bends down and picks up a box. “Because you bought four items today, you get a free gift.”
Delilah studies the box to find that it is a cute little Zen garden kit. She gets the sand, a rock that says peace, the box, a little plastic tree and a tiny rake. By the look of it on the box it would be a beautiful thing to have in her home.
Ariel begins to explain. “This is a zen garden. By arranging the garden and raking the sand, you will bring inner peace to yourself.”
“Well hey. Since it’s free, and I could use any kind of peace, I’ll give it a try.” She acknowledges.
Although Delilah doesn’t know it, Ariel knows that she and her children are going to be very happy with their purchases. Her eyes sparkle when they depart with smiles and waves. Quickly, her next customers come in.
The grand opening was a great success. Ariel sits with her cup of ginger turmeric tea and goes over the days sales. As she looks at the numbers, she remembers each customer but the ones that stand out the most other than Delilah and her children are the three elderly ladies that came in.
They all purchased different plants. A lady named Deloris bought a little pot of roses when Ariel told her they bring on beauty and love. Deloris blushed and giggled with delight with Ariel’s explanation. Mille eagerly bought the Gerber Daisies up to her and could not wait for her explanation of them. That’s when Ariel tells her that Gerber daisies are for health and wealth. With her knee surgery coming up, Millie thought that she could use that. When the last lady Mary brings up the African Violets, Ariel tells her that they attract home protection and boost her energy. It wasn’t what she was expecting to hear but she was intrigued by that none-the-less. All these ladies were fascinated and spent at least an hour in her shop looking around.
Back in the present with her tea in her hand, Ariel chuckles at their invitation to join them the next day for breakfast at the Cobblestone Bakery and Café. They don’t know if they will be there for sure since they all have some health issues but Ariel, being the dessert addict that she is plans on going there anyway. She sets down her tea and closes her books for the night.
7:00 AM and the bakery is open for business. Angelica, the ever-determined owner and head
baker wanted to get all the desserts and pastries out pronto. Everything has to be perfect and presentable.
She hears the bell above her door ring and there stood a delicately lovely lady with strawberry blonde hair, dressed in a purple dress and a matching poncho. Angelica studies this woman, she seems to sparkle and shine with the sun beaming down at her.
When the mystery woman steps forward, she speaks, “Hello. Do I sit anywhere or...”
“Oh yes go ahead.” Angelica says with a smile and grabs some menus. “Are you new around here?”
“Yes. I just moved here. My name is Ariel” She says as she walks over to shake Angelica’s hand.
“Angelica. Nice to meet you.” She returns the handshake and gestures Ariel to sit. “Please sit. Would you like some coffee?”
“Oh no thank you.” Ariel says as she gracefully takes her seat and smooths out her dress. “I am a tea drinker.”
“We have the best teas in the city.” Angelica claims smiling.
“Do you have Jasmine Green Tea? It’s been my favorite since China.” She says.
As Angelica makes the tea she looks at Ariel with interest. “You were in China?”
“Yes, a long time ago.” She replies as Angelica serves her the tea. “I’ll also have your chocolate dream cake.”
Angelica brings her the cake almost immediately until a ring of the bells above the door has Angelica go back behind the counter to help her next customer. While Ariel is tasting the best chocolate dream cake of her life, she can see that Angelica has a true gift with dessert. She looks around and sees that the place needs to reflect the desserts.
“Hey Angelica.” She says as the last customer of the rush leaves. “I was wondering if you wanted some flowers to spruce the place up a bit.”
Angelica smiles and shakes her head. “That would be nice but I don’t have enough in my budget for flowers.”
“I’d love to help.” Ariel says smiling.
“What? Why?” She asks looking up from putting her cookies on a tray.
“Because I can tell you have a wonderful gift with your desserts and I am pretty sure I am going to be here every single day to enjoy them. I will start by making some sweet little bouquets for your tables and brighten things up a bit. Maybe even attract some more customers.”
“I can’t afford that.” Angela says but the temptation in her voice tells Ariel that she is already in.
“I’ll sweeten the deal if you pardon the pun. A dessert for each bouquet and we’ll call it even.” Ariel smiles.
“What? Really?” Angelica smiles at her but shoots her a doubtful look at the same time. “No catch?”
“None. Just dessert.”
Angelica chuckles and nods her head. She has never had a deal this good or this easy. And there is something about this woman that she just knows that she can take her word for it.
“Deal.” Angelica says and puts out her hand to shake Ariel’s. Ariel gives her business card to Angelica and leaves just passing the lawyer that walks in. Even with all his brooding, moody splendor, Angelica can’t keep the smile forming on her face as she puts Ariel’s card in her pocket. He orders his typical strong black coffee in his usual grumpy tone and Angelica flashes him a big grin.
“Wow!” He says in a rather suspicious tone. “You’re in a good mood.”
“Something amazing happened that’s all.” She says.
“You want to tell me about it?”
She probably would have told him, but Miles Tanner has a nasty habit of seeing the worst in every situation. He’s very kind but a bit of a downer. If you win the lottery, Miles will be the first to remind you of the taxes. Angelica goes into the kitchen to get more desserts as Miles raises his eyebrows and leaves. It’s best to just leave this alone. After all, if she is in any trouble, he has no trouble bailing her out.
That’s what Miles does. Gets people out of trouble. He doesn’t mind that, it is good to have a purpose in helping people. He keeps the city safe in his way.
While he walks towards his law office, he gets his morning paper from the stand. Miles looks towards Mister Abernathy who gives him a smile and a wave. He returns the wave and goes on his way.
Inside his office, his secretary Delilah acknowledges him with a wave and goes back to talking on the phone with one of his clients. When she hangs up the phone, she follows him into his office.
“Good morning boss. You’ve got a 10:00 and a 2:00 today. You have the files that you need on your desk.” Delilah says.
“Thank you, Delilah.” He says as he sits with his coffee, sets his paper aside and looks at the first file. Before he focuses on it, something catches his eye on Delilah’s desk. It is a bright fuchsia moth orchid. He got up out of his desk and walks towards hers.
“Delilah, where did you get that?” He asks.
“Oh I bought it at the new store called the Flower Fairy.” She says smiling at it. “Is it disturbing you?”
“No not at all. It’s just a surprise.” He says as he looks at it one last time before going back into his office.
Miles remembers the last time he has seen a flower like that. His mother was always fond of orchids, which is why he had them for her funeral. That flower on his secretary’s desk reminded him of her. For now, he had to put that out of his mind and concentrate on his 10:00 AM appointment.
She is so happy to be home and loaded with groceries. Ariel rushes up to her apartment and quickly puts everything away. Her fruits and vegetables are in the crisper, her milk, butter, yogurt, eggs and muffins all on the top shelf of the fridge. Bringing over her step stool she opens her cupboard and puts away her granola, spices, nuts, chocolate and popcorn. Everything is as it should be. She grabs her deli salad, heads back to the store, turns her closed sign around to open and waits on any fresh customers while eating her lunch.
The bell above her door rings and in walks a priest with dark greying hair and a beard. She gives him the best smile she could while her mouth is full and stands up. She straightens out her dress and sneakily slips her shoes back on.
“Good day father.” She says quickly swallowing the salad and steps toward him to shake his hand.
“Forgive me for intruding on you.” He says smiling and shaking her hand in return.
“It’s no intrusion.” Ariel says, eager to show him around. “Is there anything you are looking for today? I have some lovely flowers that would be perfect for the church.” She walks towards the white lilies and points to them. “These for example give purity, serenity and innocence. They also remind us that modesty is the best policy.”
“They are very lovely.” Looking at him, Ariel could tell that he is not convinced so she tries another approach.
“Or if you prefer something brighter, maybe a little simpler, nothing says welcome spring like lily-of-the-valley or tulips.” Ariel explains, “They will strengthen everyone’s hearts, remind us of the beauty we see all around us, and the strength of a pure heart. I don’t have some in store yet, but I will by Friday.”
“Oh no miss. That is not why I am here.” Father Jonas explains. “I am here to introduce myself and see what you are about.”
“Oh. I’m sorry Father I do tend to jump ahead.” She turns to face him and says, “I’m Ariel O’Connell. Owner and proprietor of this beautiful place.”
“A pleasure, my dear.” Father Jonas says bowing his head and keeping his hands together as if he was afraid she would touch him again. “My name is Father Jonas Grimby. My church is about two blocks away and I would like to invite you to worship with me and my flock on Sunday.”
“Thank you, I don’t attend church.” Ariel says, “But I am always at your service Father and if you need a florist to brighten things up. I am your flower girl.”
With a little giggle she gives him, he finds himself disliking her a little more, but he decides not to give up. “Well you will see that if you want to do well here miss, you should be coming to my church, ready to worship, and thinking about the soul of this community.”
“Oh, but I already am thinking about the spirit of this beautiful city.” She says as she walks behind her counter. “I have three consultations already and my arrangements will make tremendous differences. I have every faith that what I’m doing here will bring good things to all. There is a lot of magic in plants. Don’t you agree Father?”
Jonas frowns at her and suddenly knows what he is dealing with. The talks of magic, meaning of plants, and not going to church. This creature before him is a witch. A hellion that was sent by the devil to bewitch his parishioners away from the church. It looks like he has found the source of his vanishing followers.
He silently turns around and leaves her shop before this Jezebel bewitches him.
“Come again Father.” She says smiling but has a slight sickening feeling in her gut.
She lets that go as soon as she sees a young woman with tears in her eyes. Ariel gently walks towards her and asks. “Are you alright miss?”
“Camille and no. I just put my dog down.” She admits. “He was all I got.”
“Oh I’m so sorry. I think I might have what you need.” She says smiling and leads the woman to the refrigerator, “This arrangement has freesias which are perfect for healing depression, carnations to heal the heart and sprigs of lavender to help relax you and lift you back to where you need to be.”
“It is so beautiful.” Camille says and then asks, “How much is it?”
“$20.” Ariel says, “Satisfaction guaranteed.”
“I’ll take it.”
Ariel gladly wraps up the flowers for Camille and rings up her sale. The tear stains that were on the young woman’s face start to fade. Ariel sees that she is already looking better just because she bought these flowers. It is only a matter of time before she heals completely.
Over the course of the next few days, things really pick up for Ariel. Delilah brings her younger sister, Amelie in who is about to be married, in the store. Roses were always a hit with brides, but Amelie wanted something a little more unique. That is when Ariel tells her about Cherry blossoms. These flowers bring romance, divine love, and kindness. When Ariel explains this, Amelie had to have both them and the roses together. It would be tricky to make it work but Ariel is always up for a challenge.
Sitting at her table, Ariel looks through her ledgers and sips on her camomile tea to unwind. The day was busy enough to turn a profit and being the optimistic nymph that she is, Ariel knows, that business will only get better. She looks over to the small centerpiece example that she had shown Angelica earlier that day. The pink Gerber daisy shines its beautiful face at her, while two little white peonies look to the ground. This little bouquet shows just how gorgeous but simple everything is in the cafe. Angelica’s cafe going to be another magical place to be in town. She could see everything now.
Things are coming together so beautifully like baby’s breath being added to a complicated arrangement. She can’t wait to see what happens next.
It seems like Ariel’s magic is spreading quickly to those who have come to visit her. Miles has noticed that Delilah is glowing and during the weekend, she had a makeover. He could not help but notice how much more serene she is. Delilah told Miles that her husband approved this transformation. There is something about the orchid. It seemed to switch something on in their marriage. There is nothing wrong with their marriage (they thought) but something felt missing and now they have found their spark and made it shine again.
Their kids are getting out more too. Alan has taken an interest in astronomy, so much so that he joined the astronomy club in his school. Every night, he goes outside to look at the stars with his star that he got at “The Flower Fairy.” He is also making noises that he wants a telescope for his birthday. The other son Mikey is running around all over the place, and “fighting monsters” in the backyard with his new smoky quartz. All he used to do was play his race-car video game but now he is running around, getting in better shape, and is a lot more confident in school. Then there is little Rosie. She takes her fairy figurine almost everywhere and comes up with new adventures for the little statue. She draws pictures and writes stories about it. The girl’s imagination is soaring.
Delilah also told him how the three elderly ladies also found things are changing for the better. Because they bought flowers from Ariel they have remembered how much they love gardening. That’s what she tells him anyway. After buying all kinds of seeds they decided to make their own little gardens. Although they still gossip, they now add a friendly garden competition to their daily tea time.
Even after all Delilah has told him, Miles notices how none of these changes hadn’t come close to those of Angelica’s Bakery/Café. She has little flower arrangements on each table and a few pictures up on the walls. It isn’t much but the place seems a lot brighter.
Everywhere Miles goes, he hears about all those wonderful things that has been happening to people in the neighborhood and all because of this one woman. So, he is decides to find out more about this woman. That’s why he is outside the door of the “Flower Fairy.” Ariel steps outside and brings a fold out sign.
“Hi! How are you?” She says to him in a friendly voice. He gets confused. She talks to him like she has known him forever.
“I’m good.” He says in a reserved manner. “I’m here because…”
“Please come inside.” She interrupts, “You’ll find what you are looking for, including a fresh cup of tea I’m brewing.”
“Oh, I’m more of a coffee man.” He says.
“Wait until you try this tea.” She says and walks inside. Challenged and intrigued, he follows.
They are sitting in the corner sipping the tea and nibbling on little shortbread cookies at a little white bistro table. Ariel and Miles have been chatting and laughing together. Miles could not remember ever having this good of a time with someone.
“You know. I have never liked tea.” Miles says smiling at Ariel. “I do like this.”
“It’s a very special blend of chicory, beet root, and dandelion.” Ariel says smiling at him.
“Well thank you for the tea but I should be getting back to the office.” He says as he picks up his jacket and slips it on. “Also thank you for the orchid in my office. It really brightens it up.”
“I’m glad.” She says standing up and helping him straighten his jacket. She brushes his shoulders and straightens his tie. “Please come again. I always have fabulous office arrangements.”
Miles smiles at her and just stares at her for a moment. Questions fill his head. What is he supposed to do? Kiss her on the cheek? What he wanted to do is take her in his arms and lose himself in that feminine floral scent of hers.
Instead he says to her, “Thank you for the tea. I didn’t know I could like one. Have a good day.”
“You too.” She cheerfully holds out her delicate little hand to him for a handshake. He lightly shakes her hand before he walks out her door.
She stares at him as he leaves and could not deny that she felt something when they touched hands. Like a pleasant little jolt of electricity. She is going to see him again. She knows this and looks forward to it.
Miles sits in his office trying to concentrate on his deposition but finds his mind wandering towards Ariel. How beautiful she looks when she smiles. How perfect she is being surrounded by all those flowers. He could just imagine her sitting at her till perfecting a beautiful bouquet. One thing he knows for sure is that he will have to go back and get some flowers from her. It would be a good way to ask her out to dinner.
A buzz on his phone interrupts his thoughts. He presses the button and says, “Yes Delilah?”
“Father Jonas Grimby is here to see you. He says it’s urgent.” She says on the intercom.
Miles sighs, “Alright. Send him in.”
Miles is reluctant to let that man in. Father Grimby is nothing but full of complaints and misery. Sadly, he can’t turn him away because as a lawyer he promised to help and serve his community as such. Seeing that solemn man stride toward the chair opposite of him to sit down makes Miles wish that he taken the day off.
“What can I do for you Father?” Miles says seriously but politely.
“It’s that flower woman.” He says as he sits in the chair.
“Ariel O’Connell, you mean?”
“Yes. I have reason to believe that she is a danger to our society.”
“How?” Miles shakes his head and rests it on his fingers. “Why?”
The priest says. “Well for months, the people in my church are acting extremely different.”
“What do you mean different?” Miles asks.
“They smile for no reason, go into dreamy trances every time they see these flower arrangements, and they seem less focused on what they should be doing with themselves.” The priest rants. “An example of this is the teenaged Lisa Turner. She started singing out one of the hymns in a dramatic pitch and sways to the music in a way that does not match the music of the church. That flower woman has something to do this because I saw the girl wear a tulip on her jacket that matches the one I saw in her store.” Jonas pauses as he sees Mile’s disbelief in his face and complains again. “This is only going to get worse with her in town.”
“It sounds to me like these people are just happy.” Miles says with an arched eyebrow.
“It’s unnatural!” He screams but takes a breath and quickly calms down. “She is doing something to them through those plants of hers! She’s a witch!”
“People like flowers and she is good at what she does.” Miles says to him calmly, “That doesn’t make her a witch. And even if she is a witch, she is free to do and worship as she pleases just as you and the rest of the world.”
“Even if it sends the world into hell! They are supposed to be modest and grateful for what they have.”
“People are supposed to be free to be who they want to be, and happiness is not the worst thing to be.” Miles says firmly, “Nor is it illegal.”
“False hope and excessive happiness are going to lead them to their doom!”
“Or it saves them!” Miles says finally having enough of the zealot. “Why don’t you try some excessive happiness?”
The priest looks at him in shock and disbelief. No one has dared to speak to him like that.
Miles gets his emotions back in check and says. “Now Father. I have real work to do, so if you can see yourself out. And the next time you want to pass judgement on someone, why don’t you try to get to know them instead.”
Father Grimby stands up, angrier than ever. Now he knows what he must do and if this blind agnostic lawyer can’t see what needs to be done then he must do it himself. In a chilling rage, he walks to the door and turns to face Miles one more time.
Father Jonas sneers. “The devil is in that woman and if you won’t do something then I will.”
As the Father turns to leave, Miles stands up and walks to the door. He wants to make sure that the priest really does leave the office or else he will personally pick him up and throw him out. Against the law or not, that man deserves a hard toss. No one should threaten a woman like Ariel or call her evil. He hasn’t known her long, but he likes to think he knows her well enough. She is a kind, caring and fun lady. Maybe she is a little unconventional, but it suits her very well.
Brushing a hand through his hair, he realizes that he really likes her. Delilah sits at the front desk and looks from the front door to Miles. He looks back at her and says, “We got to keep an eye on him. Something is going on there.”
Delilah nods her head in agreement. She heard what he had said about Ariel and now worries for the woman’s safety.
Ariel sits in the Cobblestone Bakery & Café without a care in the world, sipping her white tea and nibbling on a raspberry tart. The vanilla custard melts in her mouth with each bite. She puts down her Aesop Fairy Tale book and looks around the café at all the customers. Everyone is laughing, commenting on how beautiful the flower arrangements are but most of all they can’t get enough of Angelica’s delicious food. This café has become a haven of joy, even the staff are in better spirits. Ariel waves at Angelica who is walking towards her.
“Girl! This place has become a hot spot thanks to you.” She says as she sits across from Ariel.
“They are coming in for your desserts Sweetie.” Ariel says as she closes her book. “The plants only highlight the beauty of what you do.”
“Well whatever it is. I have to thank you.” Angelica says, “Business is booming, and I had to hire more people. I also hear that a famous food blogger is making their way here. This place could become the biggest little gem in town.”
“It already is a gem. It just needed a little sparkle.”
The women laugh until they hear a bell ring at the counter. Angelica excuses herself to help the customer and sees Miles Tanner walk in. After a quick hello, Miles immediately notices Ariel sitting by herself, sipping her tea so serenely. She wears a green dress with an empire waist and little flowers all over it. She isn’t his usual type, but Miles couldn’t stop himself from smiling at her.
He walks towards her and asks, “May I join you?”
“Of course!” She says happily, “How are you Miles?”
“Fine.” He says happily but then remembers that he must warn her about Father Grimby, “but I have to tell you something.”
Ariel sees the concern in his eyes and pays close attention to him.
“Father Grimby came into my office and started saying some not-so-good things about you. I told him that there is nothing that he can do but he sounded threatening.” Miles pauses and studies Ariel’s frightened expression.
“Ariel. He is a strong figure and looking to make trouble for you.” Miles explains. “I don’t think he will do much except say nasty things but after that threat I am not sure of how stable he is.”
“What should I do?” Ariel asks.
“Well just be careful around him and if he steps out of line call me.” Miles says as he gives her his business card. “Anytime. Day or night. Otherwise, keep doing what you are doing. You are bringing a lot of happiness around here.”
She reaches across the table and holds his hand. “That means more to me then you’ll ever know.”
“Listen I was wondering if…” He trails off as he strokes her hand. “Would you have dinner with me?”
“I’d love to.” She smiles at him.
That night, Miles takes Ariel to the Next Door Wine and Tapas restaurant that is named one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. It is an elegant place with frilly table cloths, candlelight on every table and flowers surrounding the entire restaurant. He knew that Ariel would enjoy this restaurant for all the flowers. She seems so perfect sitting there across with him and all the flowers settled behind her with the candlelight dancing in her eyes. He admires Ariel’s simple but elegant red dress. Red doesn’t really suit most redheads but on her it is lovely.
“I love this wine!” Ariel says brightly, “What is it called?”
“Capote Velho Vinho Branco.” Miles says, “It’s from a lovely winery in Portugal. This wine has green apples and citrus fruits in it.”
“I love it. You do realize that I have to come here all the time now.” They both laugh as she tastes her meal. “This salad is just amazing. How is your sweet chili chicken?”
“Delicious.” Miles says as he picks up a sliver of meat. “I’ve never tried anything quite like it.”
“So why did you become a lawyer?” Ariel asks.
“My mother and I were going through a hard time when I was a kid. This man was trying to buy her out of her store and the apartment above. It was our home, but this man didn’t care. He was just pushing us out without a second thought. Just as we were packing everything up, this guy in a suit came into the store and said he could help us. I watched him, and Mom discuss everything, get things in writing and how he intended to help her. It turns out that this guy was pushing people out illegally and it was this lawyer that swooped in and saved us. People say that the law wasn’t on our side, but this man came in and fixed everything. I knew right then and there that I was meant to be a lawyer.”
“That is wonderfully idealistic of you.” Ariel says smiling and resting her chin on her hand in interest.
“Well a lot has changed since then.” Miles says. “What about you? I know you have a gift with them but why flowers?”
“My grandparents owned a nursery.” She explains, “My grandmother and I would work on the floor since I was little. She knew everything about them and what they did for people. She made it so magical and amazing. I had to be apart of it somehow and so here I am.”
“So why are you here and not there running the nursery?” He asks and when he does her face falls.
“I’m sorry.” He asks concerned, “Is that a sore topic?”
“No, no.” She says shaking her head and smiling but the conflict does not escape her eyes. She knows that this is bound to come up sooner or later. There were a million reasons why not to tell him but there is one good reason she should. She not only trusts Miles, but she likes him. It’s about time she comes out and tells someone her story.
“My grandparents left me the nursery when they died.” She speaks looking sorrowful. “But I couldn’t run it. There were too many memories and the work was so overwhelming that I had a mild breakdown. Luckily my cousin Sylvia has a head for big businesses and took it over for me. She isn’t as sentimental as I was. I still have a share but she otherwise runs everything. And I know I have a knack for flowers and one to one encounters so I prefer running a small shop as opposed to thousands of big ones.”
Hearing her story, Miles reaches across the table and holds her hand. “You’ve made so many wonderful things happen for all of us. You are right for owning a flower shop.”
“I feel like a coward.” She says with a small but insecure smile.
“You’re not a coward. When you can’t handle something and give it to someone who can. That takes smarts and bravery.” Miles says. “Asking for help and pursuing what you do enjoy is the right thing to do.”
“How so? You don’t even know me.”
“All I know is you brought joy, happiness and beauty when we all needed it.” He says softly stroking her hand, “I didn’t know how much I needed your help. Calgary needs you Ariel.”
This is all she needed to hear. She finally found her forever home. Ariel smiles with joy. They lean into each other and their lips gently touch in a kiss that is sweeter than the wine.
Suddenly they are interrupted by, “Would you folks like to see the dessert menu?”
The eager server stands there waiting for an answer.
“I’m game if you are.” Miles says smiling.
Ariel laughs, “Always. We’ll share it.”
A week goes by and the Flower Fairy is still doing very well. The grand opening for a chocolate shop was a hit with the arrangements of white heather, yellow freesias, and the last of the daffodils. Each one bringing joy, luck and the best of new beginnings. That is one reason why the opening is a smash!
Ariel could not stop smiling as she prepared the last of Amelia’s flower arrangements for her wedding. The cherry blossoms sparkle like little pink stars with the white roses showing them off. The bride is going to love them. However, Ariel’s mind isn’t on the wedding but on Miles. He’s been dropping into the store now and again just to see her. They would have a tea and chat a bit. A couple of days ago he surprised her with a picnic in the park and last night they went to see a movie at the canyon meadows cinema. It is so easy just being with each other. She didn’t want it to end.
Suddenly, she sees a bright little light out of the corner of her eye. Ariel knows what that means. Then more little lights appear. She turns not to look directly at them but enough to see several of them flying around her flowers.
“Be careful.” They whisper slowly. “He’s coming. He’s coming.”
“Who’s coming?” She asks.
A big splat hits her window. Ariel shouts startled and looks towards the window. She sees a huge spatter of tomato on it. She hears it again against the walls of her stores, so she runs outside and sees Father Jonas Grimby throwing the tomatoes at her store.
“What are you doing?” Ariel screams.
“Witch! Antichrist!” He screams, pointing at her and throwing his last tomato at her. Luckily, he misses her but he starts to pick up rocks.
Some of the neighbors begin to surround him but the look in the Father’s eyes has them fearing to even touch him. He has completely lost his mind. A few teenagers pull out their phones and start videoing him.
He holds the rock in his hand and points a finger to her says. “Oh glorious god! Strike down this evil she-demon. Save our souls from the hellions that plague our minds and our bodies with…”
At this point, Ariel yells out. “Father that is enough! You are scaring everyone with this insanity.”
“I’m opening their eyes!” He screams, “Your evil shall not be spread like the pestilence that you are.”
Jonas says as he skulks towards Ariel, “We have all heard of her grandmother’s “Book of Canadian Fairy-tales.” But did you all know that those stories are about her? About the little girl who could communicate with the fairy folk and animals? Demon! Witch!”
At this point, one of his devout followers looks from her to him and decide to call the police. This is no priest, she realizes but an inhumane monster. Ariel also looks at all the people and see that they are not staring at her but at this raving mad priest with distain and disgust in their eyes.
Angelica is standing there too and knows that there is only one thing she can do. She pulls out her phone and whispers, “Miles! Get down here! Jonas is attacking Ariel and he is crazy. You have to make him stop!”
“Do you see now?!” The priest screams, “Do you see?!”
No one answers him but they glare at him.
“You all are bewitched.” He says softly with eyes as big as saucers. His face gets even more red and starts flinging rocks at the people. “May god forgive you all!”
The people manage to dodge the rocks until he picks up a big knife and points at Ariel. “You evil bitch! This is your end!”
He screams and charges towards Ariel but with her quick thinking she dodges the madman with a low lunge and trips him to the ground. As he hits the ground, the knife flies out of his hand. That’s when the people finally charge at him and fight the flailing man to the ground. A larger man picks him up and holds the mad priest’s arms behind him. All the people are shouting now and keep the madman subdued when two police officers push through the crowd.
Miles runs towards Ariel and to see if she is unharmed. He holds her in a protective embrace. With the police handcuffing the priest, Miles turns to Father Grimby and looks at him with repulsion.
“You evil son-of-a-bitch.” He says in a low voice, “How can you stand there and not be ashamed of yourself?”
“The woman is a witch!” Father Grimby yells. “She should be ashamed of hers…”
“You are a poor excuse for this community, to the church and a man of god!” Miles counters. “Take this batshit lunatic away. Be sure he gets full charges pressed on him.”
The father is finally silent and the police put him in the police car. With his head down, they drive away with him. The bystanders go towards Ariel to check and make sure that she is okay.
As they all talk around her she reassures. “I’m fine. Thank you all for coming to my aid.” She looks at the store to see the smashed tomatoes on her windows. “Now I will just clean up this mess.”
Angelica walks up to her and says, “We’ll clean up. You go in and rest a bit.”
The people murmur their agreement with Angelica and volunteer to clean up the mess Father Grimby made.
“That would be wonderful you all. I will take care of Ariel.” Miles says as he takes Ariel’s hand and gets her inside.
Inside her apartment, Miles has her sit down at her counter and makes her a cup of tea. “I think this might be the cup you need.”
As he places the cup in front of her, Ariel breathes in the sweet aroma of her calming tea.
“Very wise choice.” She says as she lifts the cup to her lips, “A beautiful combination of passionflower, camomile, and rose hips.”
“Rose hips?” Miles arches his eye brow at her.
“Among other things,” She says as she sets her cup down gently on her fairy coaster. “Thank you for coming and dealing with that man.”
He reaches across the counter and holds her hand. “It’s what I am here for. He’s not going to come here anymore nor is he going to be a priest after this.”
“What do you mean?” She asks
Miles explains. “When Jonas came into my office making those crazy accusations, I wrote a letter, an email, and made calls to the bishop. I eventually got him on the phone and told him my concerns. After explaining the father’s behavior to the bishop, he assured me that they were going to investigate him. Now after this episode, getting arrested, and seeing several people tape what he was doing, he is going to ruined.”
Although she feels sorry for him, Ariel appreciates that Father Grimby won’t be bothering her or anyone anymore. To brighten the mood she buoyantly says, “Lets open a bottle of wine and celebrate.”
“Sounds good.” He says as he turns around and opens the fridge.
She looks up to him and plants her lips onto his. It is sweeter than any dessert that can be made. Miles strokes her back lovingly as she gently caresses her fingers through his hair. With this kiss, she knows she is safe and that she is home.
A special thanks goes to:
Marlow Floral Works
2101 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W8
The Kensington Florist
1145 Kensington Crescent NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1X7
The Ladybug Cafe
2132-10 Aspen Stone Blvd SW, Calgary, AB T3G 0K3
Next Door Wine Bar
8330 Macleod Trail #1a, Calgary, AB T2H 2V2
For letting me take pictures of your wonderful establishments and wares