WRITTEN BY STELLA WHITELAW
What was it about gorgeous financier Oliver that made blooms fade and die?
Megan bought the Yucca plant in the market. It stood strong and healthy. She liked plants in her new flat.
Oliver was coming to supper. It was the first time she had invited him to a meal there. Not being an expert cook, upmarket ready meals saved the day.
He came in, tall and handsome, carrying a bottle of good wine. He put it down in the kitchen and kissed her.
“Hello, darling,” he said.
Megan dislodged herself from his arms, watching in amazement as her Yucca plant leaned over as if all life had drained out of its sturdy stem. The pointed green leaves drooped, trembling.
The flowers waved in the air as if distraught
“Supper’s ready,” she said, leading the way to the tiny dining table in her sitting room laid with glasses, candles and a vase of freesias. She loved their scent. Oliver followed, uncorking the bottle.
As he approached the table, the freesias seemed to shudder. The delicate flowers waved in the air as if distraught. They curled up and fell over the side of the vase.
Megan took them off the table quickly and put them in her bathroom along with the Yucca plant. They might revive in the coolness. She did not want Oliver to think she didn’t know how to look after plants.
He was a stockbroker. He knew about financial investments. It was a long time since she’d had an intelligent man friend… and one so handsome and kissable.
Later they sat on the sofa watching a money programme Oliver wanted to see. All Megan saw was his handsome profile and the way his hair curled into his collar.
“I don’t think you got the best deal on your mortgage,” he said.
“It was recommended,” Megan pointed out.
“You should have let me arrange it. Why don’t you let me see if I can transfer it to something better?”
Oliver always brought wine or chocolates…
Oliver was wonderfully attentive. He phoned, he called, he dated but he never brought flowers. It was always wine or chocolates.
Megan got a pay rise and a generous bonus. They celebrated with a meal at a French restaurant. Megan wore her favourite dress and combed her hair up, fixing a pink rose among her curls.
As they walked into the restaurant together, Megan found pink petals falling on her neck. Oliver brushed them off.
“Let’s order the best wine,” he said.
Megan watched the marigolds on the table wilt. Their colour ebbed away. For a moment she thought she heard screaming.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “Something’s happening to the flowers.”
“My wife knew all about flowers,” said Oliver reflectively.
“Your wife?” Megan was shocked.
“Yes – Bridget. She was a florist. I didn’t tell you in case it upset you. She died three years ago when she crashed her car.”
Oliver had it all worked out
It was a delicious meal, though Megan had lost her appetite. A waiter took away the dead marigolds. Over coffee, Oliver began to discuss plans for investing her bonus. He had it all worked out.
“Just make a cheque out to me and I’ll make sure it’s safely invested for you.”
“Sure,” agreed Megan. “But I’m sorry, I don’t have my cheque book with me.”
“We’ll go back to your flat and make it a truly memorable evening.”
“No late night and no memorable evening,” said Megan firmly. “I have an early start tomorrow.”
Her early start brought results…
Her early start was at the library where she skimmed through micro film of local and national newspapers. She found the newspaper reports of the death of Bridget. Oliver’s wife had owned a thriving florist shop. The police thought the brakes on her car had been tampered with but nothing was proved.
Megan bought a pot of white chrysanthemums at the market, put them on her desk and watered their dry earth.
“I shan’t be seeing Oliver again,” she told them. “OK, Bridget?”
The white flowers stood sturdy and strong. She had got the message.
Don’t miss these other stories in our Crime Series… the next will appear on Monday!