Chapter no 6

It Ends with us

It’s been fifty-three days since Ryle walked out of my apartment that morning. Which means it’s been fifty-three days since I’ve heard from him.

But that’s okay, because for the last fifty-three days, I’ve been too busy to really give him much thought as I prepared for this moment.

“Ready?” Allysa says.

I nod, and she flips the sign to Open and we both hug and squeal like little kids.

We rush around the counter and wait for our first customer. It’s a soft opening, so I haven’t really done a marketing push yet, but we just want to make sure there aren’t any kinks before our grand opening.

“It’s really pretty in here,” Allysa says, admiring our hard work. I look around us, bursting with pride. Of course I want to succeed, but at this point I’m not even sure if that matters. I had a dream and I busted my ass to make it come true. Whatever happens after today is just icing on the cake.

“It smells so good in here,” I say. “I love this smell.”

I don’t know if we’ll get any customers today, but we’re both acting like this is the best thing that’s ever happened to us, so I don’t think that matters. Besides, Marshall will come in at some point today and my mother will come in after she gets off work. That’s two customers for sure. That’s plenty.

Allysa squeezes my arm when the front door begins to open. I suddenly grow a little panicked, because what if something goes wrong?

And then I do panic, because something just went wrong. Terribly wrong. My very first customer is none other than Ryle Kincaid.

He stops when the door closes behind him and he looks around in awe. “What?” he says, turning in a circle. “How in the . . . ?” He

looks over at me and Allysa. “This is incredible. It doesn’t even look like the same building!”

Okay, maybe I’m fine with him being the first customer.

It takes him a few minutes to actually make it to the counter because he can’t stop touching things and looking at things. When he finally does reach us, Allysa runs around the counter and hugs him. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she says. She waves her hand in my direction. “It was all her idea. All of it. I just helped with the dirty work.”

Ryle laughs. “I find it hard to believe that your Pinterest skills didn’t play a little part.”

I nod. “She’s being modest. Her skills were half of what brought this vision to life.”

Ryle smiles at me and it might as well have been a knife to the chest, because ouch.

He slaps his hands on the counter and says, “Am I the first

official customer?”

Allysa hands him one of our flyers. “You have to actually buy something to be considered a customer.”

Ryle glances over the flyer and then sets it back down on the counter. He walks to one of the displays and grabs a vase full of purple lilies. “I want these,” he says, setting them on the counter.

I smile, wondering if he realizes he just picked lilies. Kind of ironic.

“Do you want us to deliver them somewhere?” Allysa says.

“You guys deliver?”

“Allysa and I don’t,” I reply. “We have a delivery driver on standby. We weren’t sure if we’d actually need him today.”

“Are you actually buying these for a girl?” Allysa asks. She’s just prying into her brother’s love life like a sister would naturally do, but I catch myself stepping closer to her so I can hear his answer better.

“I am,” he says. His eyes meet mine and he adds, “I don’t think about her very much, though. Hardly ever.”

Allysa grabs a card and slides it to him. “Poor girl,” she says. “You are such a dick.” She taps her finger on the card. “Write your message to her on the front and the address you want them delivered to on the back.”

I watch him as he bends over the card and writes on both sides. I know I don’t have a right, but I’m brimming with jealousy.

“Are you bringing this girl to my birthday party Friday?” Allysa asks him.

I watch his reaction closely. He just shakes his head and without looking up he says, “No. Are you going, Lily?”

I can’t tell by his voice alone if he’s hoping I’ll be there or hoping I won’t. Considering the stress I seem to cause him, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

“I haven’t decided yet.”

“She’ll be there,” Allysa says, answering for me. She looks at me and narrows her eyes. “You’re coming to my party whether you like it or not. If you don’t show up, I’ll quit.”

When Ryle is finished writing, he tucks the card into the envelope attached to the flowers. Allysa rings up his total and he pays in cash. He looks at me while he’s counting out his money. “Lily, do you know that it’s custom for a new business to frame the first dollar they make?”

I nod. Of course I know that. He knows I know that. He’s just rubbing it in my face that his dollar will be the one framed on my wall for the life of this store. I almost encourage Allysa to give him a refund, but this is business. I have to leave my wounded pride out of it.

Once he has his receipt in hand, he taps his fist on the counter to get my attention. He dips his head a little and, with a genuine smile, he says, “Congratulations, Lily.”

He turns and walks out of the store. As soon as the door closes behind him, Allysa is grabbing for the envelope. “Who in the hell is he sending flowers to?” she says as she pulls the card out. “Ryle doesn’t send flowers.”

She reads the front of the card out loud. “Make it stop.”

Holy shit.

She stares at it for a moment, repeating the phrase. “Make it stop?

What in the hell does that even mean?” she asks.

I can’t take it another second. I grab the card from her and flip it over. She leans over and reads the back of it with me.

“He is such an idiot,” she says with a laugh. “He wrote the address to our floral shop on the back.” She takes the card out of

my hands.


Ryle just bought me flowers. Not just any flower. He bought me a bouquet of lilies.

Allysa picks up her phone. “I’ll text him and tell him he screwed up.” She shoots him a text and then laughs as she stares at the flowers. “How can a neurosurgeon be such an idiot?”

I can’t stop grinning. I’m relieved she’s staring at the flowers

and not at me or she may put two and two together. “I’ll keep them in my office until we figure out where he intended for them to go.” I scoop up the vase and whisk away my flowers.

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