This story is a companion story to "A Love Song for Mia" - a romantic short story which is featured in "Whispers of the Heart" by Whisper Publishing UK.
In 2019, a story began with a few simple words...
"Mia, start from the beginning..."
Those famous words were whispered by Amelia, Mia's best friend. "A Love Song for Mia" is a story about finding love after tragedy. It's about hope and second chances. The story is featured in "Whispers of the Heart" - an anthology of romantic short stories that was released on Valentine's Day of 2019. It was a privilege to work with Whisper Publishing - a UK based publisher that produces high quality content and compelling fiction. I was honored to have my story chosen for their anthology.
"Another Valentine's Day, another year without a date..."
After writing "A Love Song for Mia," I decided that I would write Amelia's story, simply titled "Amelia." Amelia has deemed herself #foreveralone but when a stranger from her past shows up at the flower shop, will Amelia begin to heal her wounds and open her heart again? As a special Valentine's Day treat, I am sharing this short story right here on my blog over the next few weeks! I hope you enjoy this story! I highly recommend reading "A Love Song for Mia" first, which is available in "Whispers of the Heart" on Kindle Unlimited.
“Mia, I swear, if I see another rose today…” I mumbled as I stood in Mia's Flower Shop, looking over at the empty desk where Mia usually sat. I sighed as I continued to arrange several roses, one in every color imaginable, into a white porcelain vase.
Mia was miles away in New York City, probably having the time of her life, but it was still a habit to talk to my best friend even when she wasn’t around. It made me feel less alone, even if it was a bit out of the ordinary.
It was a brisk morning in Philadelphia and the city was full of love. I looked outside the window at our chrysanthemum display and noticed a couple standing there, gazing lovingly at one another. As they took several pictures together in front of our beautiful holiday decor, I resisted the urge to open the door and yell, “it’s just another Hallmark holiday!”
For good measure, I grabbed my phone from my purse and took a selfie with the rose display in the background. Should I buy these for myself? #foreveralone #happyvalentinesday. I uploaded the photo and posted it for all the world to see.
And then I waited.
A few likes and comments trickled in. I looked at myself in the picture, surrounded by the romantic flowers. But when I zoomed in on my face, I saw nothing but loneliness.
I let out a heavy sigh as I looked over at the stack of orders that were piled up on the counter. It was a great month for our business, but it also meant endless roses. I placed the arrangement on the counter next to several other deliveries that were scheduled to go out that day.
It was a typical Valentine's day at the shop but for me...
It was one of the most dreaded days of the year.
Even Mia’s grandmother Ruth had a date that day which left me to fend for myself.
I tried not to think about spending another Valentine’s Day alone. I planned to work a twelve hour shift to keep myself busy, but I’d still go home to my empty apartment and watch Jack and Rose fall in love for the hundredth time… this month.
Instead, I thought about last year when Mia’s boyfriend Andrew, had declared his love for her in a beautiful candle lit ceremony. The shop’s sidewalk had been adorned with hundreds of flowers. I grinned as I thought about how he was going to top that little surprise.
This year, Andrew had whisked Mia off to the city for a weekend getaway and planned to propose to her in Central Park.
I adjusted the red and white satin scarf around my neck, a "Galentine’s Day" gift from Mia, when my phone rang. I opened the Skype app and saw Mia sitting on the balcony of her hotel room. Her blonde curls blew in the wind and the city radiated behind her.
“Hi!” I said, as I tried my best to sound enthusiastic.
Mia smiled. She was beaming as she showed me the view from where she had been sitting. She looked stunning in a red dress that bellowed out at the waist, but I could tell she was shivering. Although it wasn’t snowing there yet, the clouds looked menacing.
“Get inside, you must be freezing!”
“I’m fine,” she replied, before she squared her blue eyes onto me. “I saw your post,” she said, in that motherly tone that implied I shouldn’t post such things online.
The monstrosity - telling strangers how I feel about this sham of a holiday!
“Oh, it was only a joke,” I said with the best laugh that I could dish out. “Everyone loves a little bit of sarcasm.”
Mia seemed to mull it over for several seconds. “Really? Everyone loves sarcasm?” I could tell she was studying my facial expression. It was something she always did when she thought I was being untruthful.
I grinned, though she didn’t look convinced as she moved from the balcony into her hotel room, carrying her phone with her, as she showed me the view of the room. “Oh God, I’m a terrible friend,” she said as she plopped down onto the bed. “I left you at the worst time of year! Alone!”
“First of all, no. You’re not a terrible friend.” I rolled my eyes at her. “You deserve a vacation. You work harder than anyone I know.”
“So do you,” Mia said, her voice barely above a whisper.
I remembered how much Mia had fussed about going away for the weekend, which left me alone to run the shop. It was one of our busiest times of the year, but I knew she was excited about this trip that Andrew had planned.
Before Andrew came into our lives, there were weekly dinners and shopping trips together, but as time went on Mia and Andrew spent more and more time together and I spent more and more time alone. Which, of course, was still wonderful. I couldn’t be happier for Mia, that she was able to find love after Oliver, but still…
I missed my best friend.
Mia set the phone down on the nightstand and picked up the package next to her on the bed. She shook it vigorously. It sounded… fragile. I cringed, but she stopped shaking it and sat it on her lap. “Andrew asked me to wait until he got back, but I can’t wait any longer!”
I laughed as Mia quickly tore the red paper off the box and unwrapped it to reveal a gold enameled white rose.
“It’s so beautiful!” She moved the rose closer to her phone to show me. “It’s our tradition, you know,” Mia replied, her eyes glimmering with hope. “Every year Andrew plans to get me a special rose.” She laughed a little. “I can’t imagine what I’ll do when I have fifty of these!”
Mia looked so in love that it made my heart soar. But deep down, the sadness of spending another Valentine's Day alone made it hurt at the same time. I pushed those thoughts aside, and focused on Mia’s golden rose. I watched as the rose seemed to shimmer in the bright sunlight, which cascaded through the open window of Mia’s hotel room.
“Every rose has a special meaning,” I said, even though it was something she knew all too well. “Hmmm...white roses. Humility. Purity....” I watched Mia’s face flush as she put her hand up and shook her head, but her face was as bright red as her dress. “It’s also known as the bridal rose...” Before I could say anything else, I was cut off by Mia’s excitement.
“Oh, I already know! I saw the engagement ring in his suitcase.” She covered her face and let out a shriek, then smiled at me.
“Oh goodness,” I said as I set the phone down on the counter and picked up another handful of roses. “He’d be heartbroken if he found out you already knew.” I paused for a moment. “Speaking of Andrew, where is he? Aren't you two supposed to be on vacation, you know, together?”
“He stepped out for a few minutes. Something about needing air.”
I giggled again, knowing what a nervous wreck Andrew probably was.
“So what are you going to say?” I asked.
Before Mia could respond, I heard the door open. I saw Andrew appear on the tiny screen as he walked over and kissed Mia on the forehead. I smiled as I saw Mia’s eyes light up at the very sight of him. He then placed a gentle kiss on her lips. I blushed and looked away.
“Sorry!” Mia giggled, as she adjusted the phone on the nightstand. Andrew, stood in the background, dressed in his usual suit and tie. He waved to me and I waved back, though I had to cover my mouth to hold back a smile. He paced back and forth behind Mia and reached into his pocket. I saw him sigh with relief.
“I can’t thank you enough for working this weekend so that we could do this.” Even on the tiny screen, I could see the gratitude in Mia’s eyes.
“Just enjoy your vacation,” I replied. “Everything is fine here. Promise.”
I watched as Andrew held the empty wrapping paper up. Mia simply shrugged.
“I’m sorry. I just couldn’t wait,” Mia said as she showed Andrew the exquisite golden rose. Andrew’s laughter echoed through the phone. He kissed her cheek, then turned to me.
“Thank you, Amelia,” Andrew said with a wave of his hand as he wrapped his arm around Mia.
“Bye,” I said, giving them my best smile. They both waved goodbye and ended the call.
I leaned against the counter and let out a heavy sigh as I looked at the orders again. I hadn’t even checked the online orders yet. I knew it was bound to be a busy day, given how successful Mia’s shop had been in the past year. And considering it was Valentine’s Day…
I had better get to work.
It was sunset before I finished the last order of the day. There would be plenty more to do the following morning, but for now, I commended myself for a job well done.
I wondered how Andrew’s proposal had gone. I looked at the clock and realized I hadn’t heard from them all day, which was probably a good thing. I was grateful Mia was able to enjoy her vacation without having to think about work every minute of the day. I reached behind the counter and grabbed my purse. I was looking forward to ordering some take out and lounging on my couch for a few hours before going to bed.
The sun set behind the clouds and an iridescent glow filled the entire shop. It was quiet moments like these that my thoughts quickly turned to Oliver, Mia’s first love, and a dear friend of mine. When Mia lost Oliver tragically in a car accident, she thought she’d never find love again.
There was something about Valentine’s Day that always made me think of Oliver. He never had the chance to be Mia’s forever love, but he’d always be her first love and there was a lot to be said for it. I knew that Oliver had finally found peace in knowing that Mia was safe and happy again, but still, I couldn’t help but feel a little envious. As much as I adored Mia and Andrew, I couldn’t help but think-
What about my happily ever after?
“What do you think, Ollie? Do you have one more miracle left for me?” Feeling a little foolish, I laughed to myself as a cold breeze suddenly filled the room. I looked over at the window which I had closed earlier that day. Strange, I thought as I wrapped my arms around myself. I jumped when I heard a gentle tap on the window.
My breath caught in my throat as I looked up and saw him.
I groaned immediately.
Speaking of first loves…
Slowly, I walked over to the window.
When I moved closer, Sawyer gently placed his hand on the window. It took everything in my power, but I resisted the urge to place my hand there to match his. We stared at each other for several minutes before he traced the outline of my face on the glass. I felt my heart quicken. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a piece of paper. Slowly, he opened the folded paper, his striking eyes never leaving mine.
On the unfolded piece of paper were the words, I miss you. He held it up to the glass. I looked at his note and then up into his eyes again. I was bound to get lost in those eyes. So naturally, I did what any girl would do…
I closed the curtain.
Shame on me if you break my heart… a third time?
There was a gentle on the door and I could hear his muffled voice on the other side.
“Melie,” he said and I swore my heart stopped.
“No,” I whispered to myself, though I knew he couldn’t hear me through the wooden door.
“No,” I said, only louder this time. My voice cracked and I shook my head, fighting against painful memories of the past.
I waited for several minutes until I heard the sound of footsteps. I shut my eyes tight, resisting the urge to open the door and run after him. But if he could give up that easily…
Just as he had before…
I waited for several minutes before I opened the door and looked outside. I stepped out of the shop into the cold air and grabbed our display, placing it back inside.
When I turned around, I stood face to face with Sawyer. His eyes met mine again.
Shame on me…
I exhaled slowly.
“What are you doing here? I have nothing to say to you,” I said softly, though I wanted to shout it at him. I shook my head, trying desperately to convince myself of something. But the truth was, there was so much to say.
So many things left unsaid.
I watched Sawyer as he ran a hand through his hair. When he smiled at me, I saw that all-knowing look in his eyes once again.
I turned away.
“Melie,” he whispered as he moved closer. Despite the cold, I could feel the heat emanating from him as he stood inches away from me.
“It’s Amelia now,” I whispered. “But if you had stayed, maybe you would already know that.” I hadn’t meant for it to sound so harsh, yet I heard the bitterness in my tone.
He expected to just show up in my life whenever he wanted? Without so much as an explanation?
“You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to see you.”
He was standing so close to me. I wanted to fall into his arms and have him hold me again. My heart ached at the very sight of him. He tucked a strand of long blonde hair behind his ear as he moved even closer. I took a step back until I was pressed up against the door.
“I can’t do this. Not today.” Tears stung the back of my eyes as I stood there with the man who had broken my heart not once…
“Please Mel- Amelia. Can I show you something?” He stepped out of the way so I had a better view. I looked to see a single row of rose petals leading down the street. I gasped a little, then groaned.
“How original,” I mumbled as I thought once again of Andrew’s Valentine’s Day ceremony last year. I turned to face Sawyer again. “You were there. You were there last year and you didn’t even say hello,” I said, my voice getting louder with each word. As I turned to walk the other way, he gently grabbed my arm and pulled me up against him.
He leaned in close to my ear. “I tried to. Believe me, I tried. But I was a coward, Amelia. Please. Forgive me.”
I held my breath again and closed my eyes. “You should go,” I said, though every part of me wanted him to stay.
He looked at me and took me by the hand, intertwining his fingers with mine. “I’m staying. You asked for a miracle. I’m here.”
I looked at him completely dumbfounded.
I looked at Sawyer, Oliver’s brother, and let out another long, deep breath...
PARTS TWO AND THREE WILL BE POSTED FRIDAY - 2/28