(A romantic love story)
[+ Kiss me+]
Published by Chantal Pretorius at Shakespir
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Sandton, Johannesburg, 2007
Gareth listens to his parent’s angry, frustrated voices about his report card. He understands what the fuss is all about today. A report card with terrible grades marked in red circles.
Mary, his mother, is the complicated one. John is the happy-go-lucky parent without the moustache but wears intelligent glasses. Then Gareth closes his ears with his hands; refuse to listen to the argument in the kitchen. Rather feel the warmth of the sun rays streaming through the window, shining on his dull face.
Gareth’s crystal blue eyes twinkle with shame. To receive D’s and E’s are not so bad, he thought or so they may think.
He watches Mary frowning at him right now. So he can take another look at it, before he went to high school, trying to fit in with the other students. He just can’t seem to understand their attitude towards school. They will all graduate and go their separate paths next year.
Gareth senses the silence in the kitchen. No smell of breakfast or homemade fruit milkshakes drifts in the air around him, only bewildered eyes and red faces of anger. He notices John’s brown eyebrows lifts up, including a worried frown. Why are they angry with me? Gareth though.
Suddenly, John came closer – demand him to sit down on the chair. After a few minutes, he rapidly did what John asks. No time for playing games anymore. He only has one opportunity in life; treat your parent’s right, do their commandments and study.
Mary angrily left the room, slam the door close, so hard they nearly jump off their seats. She is no longer interested in keeping the conversation going. To have failed mathematics and science is disturbing enough.
So who can be blamed for his failures? He thought again.
John is glaring at me from across the table with folded arms. Gareth doesn’t blame his mother… he doesn’t blame her at all, either his father.
“Is mother angry with me?” Gareth wanted to know.
John sights aloud and bit his lower lip. “Your mother is not angry with you, just disappointed son.”
“Disappointed?” Gareth asks frowning and lowering his chin.
John slightly nods and cleans his glasses quickly with his tie. The tie is completely white, so white it nearly hurt his eyes now. People with blue eyes are more sensitive to certain things; driving, pain and anger management problems.
“All we ask of you is good grades,” he said disappointed, “and this is what we get Gareth?”
“It’s not like I have been expelled father,” Gareth replies each word slowly and distinctly.
“I am talking about your grades son,’’ John said, turn his head and look outside. A young woman attracts his attention, she surely seems lovely.
“D’s and E’s are not all that bad,” Gareth argued back.
John frowns worriedly, then put his glasses back on. Take a good look at his handsome son. Just wishing he would leave the girls alone and focus on succeeding.
“Not so bad, your grades are terrible!” John said, throw the paper angrily at Gareth and he backs away wide-eyed.
Gareth took his eyes away from the report card. He could not afford to lose his mind over it. Why should he anyway? His parents would never understand his frustrations’ at school everyday. Dealing with bullies, smart beautiful girls and annoying rich kids.
“I promise,’’ he hesitated, “I will make up for the chaos father.”
John put his warm hand on Gareth’s shoulder. “Give us better grades you are giving us no choice, but to send you away the next semester.”
Gareth lift up his head, stare at John’s cold eyes. “Sending me away?”
He can’t believe what he just heard. Sending him away sounds better than dropping out of metric and tries to find a job with a grade ten certificate. Never in your life!
“I will no longer disappoint you or… um mother,” he promised and smiles weakly.
Suddenly Mary storm into the kitchen. Cheeks still blushing pink and with hands on her hips, means she will not forget or forgive him that easily. Can they just forgive him? It’s only a damn piece of paper with crazy numbers on it – showing only his weak side in theory and formulas.
Now she points her finger at him, looking serious. “You better pull up your socks Gareth, because if you fail this year, you are out of this house!” She said aloud and takes a deep breath, then releases it again.
Gareth slumbers out of the chair and back on his feet. His mind feels like a swinging, sinking ship with dark thoughts at the bottom. His heart is sailing somewhere on the open sea, in search to be cherished, not trashed like garbage.
“Please my son, don’t fail us again.” John pleaded, turn his head away. The girl outside winked at him, she wants more than just her secretary position. He knows Kate very well, she will do anything to get what she wants; forget about the consequences, it doesn’t matter.
Gareth nods respectfully. His eyes follow Mary’s bewildered voice. She is not in a good mood today.
“Don’t disappoint us anymore son, she said pitiful. “I will not tolerate your lack of ambitions, as you are a smart boy indeed.”
Gareth’s smile faded away. “I… um, will not disappoint you mother.” He takes a look at the sicken report card once more, greet them, before heading out the door.
What a relieve it is to be outside, away from all the drama, he thought and take a deep breath in and out of his lungs. Gareth thinks of Mary’s serious eyes and John’s speech. He wanted to kiss her goodbye, like he do every morning, but he couldn’t force himself to it. Anger controlled their behaviours.
Why do they treat me like a twelve year old? I need my own space and I want to be free from chores and high grades.
But Gareth knows Mary is right. He better start acting like a student, instead off an adult. He is stuck between a teenager and a man. No one can say that the truth is easy to face, neither is lies in one’s company. His own company is worse enough.
Then inhales the fresh air and hears the birds chirping in the background. He stares at the naked skies, its pastel blue with no clouds visible. He notices an eagle sweeping in the air to find prey in the city.
Gareth lowers his head. And the beautiful girl is still standing at the bus stop. She sure is pretty and patient. Have long black hair, glowing green eyes and a natural brown skin. Her satin dress is so short he can nearly see her panty lines.
He smiles briefly at her.
Kate quickly looks at Gareth, and then answers her buzzing phone. Her handbag is very small. Where does she put everything in that thing? Gareth thought and shakes his head in wonder.
Laughter spread all over her face. She is up to no good, but maybe to shy to communicate. When Kate bit her lower lip, he notices her sweet dimples appearing.
Quickly Gareth’s eyes turn away from Kate. Then he look at her again, finally her phone call ended and she came closer.
What bothers him though is the way John stared at her earlier. Do they know each other?
Stunning girls are only trouble; Mary told him many times, but John motivates him to date younger girls. Now suddenly he needs to forget the girls and focus on education. He doesn’t need anyone to depend on, only his inner strength and positive thinking, not his big ego.
“Let me introduce myself?’’ Kate began the conversation. “I am Kate… Kate Da Silva and you are?” She grins, her teeth is perfectly straight and white.
Gareth nods. “You can just call me Gareth,” he said short and sweet to her.
Kate is eyeing him for a moment. “What about a surname Gareth, if you have one?”
They both share laughter. “Nicholson, that’s my true surname lady.”
Kate is wearing expensive jewellery. She must have a rich boyfriend who is spoiling her rotten.
Gareth wants to shake Kate’s hand, but she backs away, asking if he knows John Nicholson. “Yes Kate, he is my father.” Kate holds her handbag tight, her eyes wanders around. He then points with his finger across from the street. “There is where I life and my parents, of course,” Gareth said lowering his eyes.
Saw John glaring suspiciously at them on the patio. There are no smiles on his face, only folded arms and sinister high eyebrows. Slightly Gareth takes a few steps away from Kate. John is a brilliant physiologist – quiet a charmer with the ladies. Not even the elegant glasses could hide such arrogance.
Kate sights, but looks away. “I and your father work together. Well, actually I am his secretary and Richard’s.”
“Your position doesn’t sound easy.’’
Kate shakes her head, sights relieve when the bus arrive. “So, guess I will see you around Gareth.’’
He nods. “Nice to meet you too, Kate.”
Gladly Gareth is not alone – not alone at all with his desire to be with a different woman. He smiles, focus on important things dancing in his busy mind.
Kate Da Silva may know John, but not him. He felt a cold thrill move down his spine. Something does not feel right?
On the sidewalk, Gareth decides to skip the first class. Geography is the worst class – all the bullies are there, waiting like hungry wolfs to attack him with full force.
All Gareth need right know is to be alone, in silence thinking and fighting bad things away. The Mankwe River might heal old broken wounds, but not arguments.
Gareth picks up stones then threw them on the sparkling water. See the water move, making circles and went away slowly. Look up, saw clouds appearing, creating grey skies and notice a flock of birds racing against one another.
Then Gareth glares at his wristwatch. It is 8h00 o’ clock, still early in the morning. He throws one more stone; watch it splatter, before sinking away. Finally is ready to face school and his enemies.
Smiling, Gareth lied at the administrative assistant why he was late. The attractive Miss Daisy only lifts up her eyebrow high. “Sign in young man,” she says rapidly and further type on the computer.
Gareth nods and writes his name on the list; thankfully he is not the only one, other names also appear in the book. Gareth throw the pen aside of the book, head for the science class.
In the hallway, Jesse Stein, the Dutch boy from Berlin, approach him alone. Grab him by the T-shirt and push him hard against the wall; Gareth struggle for breath.
His girlfriend, Becky Taylor, begs Jesse to stop pushing him around like a washed out toy. But Jesse just kept on with the heavy punches.
Why would I stranger want to help him? Gareth thought and wipes fearful sweat away. Jesse is the top athlete in school and the most feared rugby player.
“Are you looking at my girl Gareth,” Jesse asks eyes dark.
Gareth only nods. And he looks speechless at Jesse, wiping away blood from his wounded mouth.
“Why do you hate me so much?” Gareth demands to know.
Jesse let his shoulders fell. “I dislike nerds, and you are one of the nerds that give this school a bad name,” Jesse responds to Gareth.
Gareth fell to the ground, gasps, his nose is bleeding badly now. Quickly he wipes it away. Jesse picks him back up; hit him again, until he could take no more.
Now Gareth is a helpless boy without any opinions and self-defending.
Ten minutes later, Jesse, releases Gareth from miserly and self-pity. Forcing him to fake-smile, but instead he feels energized, but confused.
Thinking Jesse will laugh his way into College next year, while he has to depend on bank loans to get educated – so unfair.
What’s next? Gareth wonders and shakes the pain away. He listens to the intercom in the hallway. The principal is calling out his names. Do they have cameras now to?
He touches his stomach. A bad feeling crept into it, making him feel sick and tired, experiencing hopeless and helplessness.
Gareth walks to the office knock repeatedly on the door and first stare at a golden nameplate in black capital letters ‘Mister Epperson’s Office’, and then the principal calls Gareth in. He sights aloud and turns the knob to open. “Come on in son,’’ Edison murmured.
Inside are two policemen in blue uniforms. Gareth leaves the door open for fresh air, hide his bloodied hand behind his back. “Am I in trouble Edison?” He wanted to know and breathe normally.
Edison shake his head, hands are on the table and fingers crossed. “No Gareth, you are not in trouble,” Edison said short, lowering his head. “But there are some bad news we need to tell you.”
Gareth grips at his T-shirt in desperation. “What is it all about Edison? I have done nothing wrong.”
“This is Officer Ross,’’ the man nods, “and his partner George,” Edison friendly said.
Gareth looks the policemen. “What… what is going on Edison? Why the secrecy?” he frowns, but not very worriedly.
“Something terrible has happened-,” George said softly and with hands on the hips. “Your parents died in a car accident Gareth.” The policeman eyes glisten in sorrow.
Gareth can take any news like a man, but this is just terrible to hear.
Ross wipe sweat away, seems like they had a rough day at work.
“Are you sure it is my parents?” Gareth asks George, lifting up both eyebrows. The principal looks away, his brown eyes wander around. Why is this happening to him?
Ross nods and lowers his head and George did the same.
Edison gave him a slid-eyed-look. “What happened to you Gareth? Did you get into a fight?”
Gareth look at his hand, explain what happened earlier. “It is Jesse, principal, he has been bullying me for years,” he replied with a twinkle in his smile.
Edison shakes his head not looking surprised.
“Who is responsible for their deaths?” Gareth wants to know, turn to face Ross and George, wiping unwanted tears away.
George and Ross could not answer.
George is bold headed, with a joker face and he is a body building machine. Now and then Gareth touches the golden badge stuck on his uniform. Ross is smaller, but friendlier.
“We don’t know who the suspects are,” Ross finally declares. “No other vehicle was at the scene when we arrived.” He takes a deep breath and then releases it into the air again.
Gareth turns his head, when George moves his lips to speak.
“What we hope for is a witness. But like we mentioned earlier, we don’t know who is responsible for your parents deaths, soon me and more officers will investigate the matter.’’
Gareth’s hart rose at an instant, more frightened of the conversation than the investigation. Although Mary and John had their differences in character, doesn’t mean he wanted them dead – gone forever to be.
Luckily John doesn’t have debt – he didn’t believe in it. Only life insurance policy’s, don’t forget the golden funeral insurance with the tombstone’s included and after party. So, thankfully he is covered for a lifetime.
Slowly Gareth lifts up both shoulders and let them fall again. “And if you do find the suspect George? Will he be punished for his crime?”
Ross looks serious at Gareth. “Don’t worry son, we will find the person responsible?” he blurted out emotionless.
Why are they not answering my questions properly? Gareth thought.
“Go home and get some rest, you’re going to need it,’ Ross decide to say and folds his arms in front of his chest.”
Gareth looks at Edison, then back at Ross. “Don’t tell me to rest officer! I just lost my parents!” he said aloud, bashing his fists on the table in anger.
He has got nothing left to give; the world turned its back on Gareth.
Edison tries to calm him down. Ross and George bend their heads in shame blushing. Gareth tries to breath, but he can’t. He excused himself, went straight to the bathroom and shut the door. Sobbing alone in misery, waiting for the bell to rang in his ears.
After school, Gareth went home on the bus, because he didn’t feel like walking. Notice Jesse kissing Becky. The girl he once desired, had wet dreams about, but she belongs to Jesse. They are laughing and smiling.
But Gareth can only think of Mary and John. They are gone; he will never hear their voices again.
Did they suffer in the accident? Gareth wonders alone miserably.
While all these unanswered questions mess with his mind. Gareth went to sit by an open window and forget the rest of the world.
“Sticks and stones might break my bones, but it won’t destroy me,” Gareth softly spoke to himself.
Finally, Gareth got off the bus. Walk up to the gate and unlock it. Slumber on the patio, until he reaches the stairs, then the door.
Unlocks the front door, step inside and lock it again. Rapidly throw the backpack on the tiled floor. Angrily start cursing the house, destroying everything with class, style and elegance.
The television, computer, phones, DVD players, Gareth could not resist to demolish. He took a look at his hands; the teardrops fell into his palms, stream downwards to his finger.
Gareth can’t take any more suffering, crawled into a nook corner and sobbed out all the hatred he felt right now. He closes his red burned eyes to sleep. Wishing he never woke them up again.
Sandton, Johannesburg, 2013.
Gareth Nicholson walks through his beautiful rose garden. The natural smell of flower aroma drifts in the air around him. Moreover, the trees blossom with brownish, yellow-green colours. He looks up at the atmosphere. The blue sky looks vibrant, with no clouds visible, only the sunshine above his head. The sunlight is shining in his blue eyes, almost blinding him now.
He feels a soft tropical wind blowing over his face. Relaxed and calm. He wished he could spray his wings just like a bird. As long as it can be a bird, that can fly to another destination.
Destinations that will bring back hope and love. Sometimes he wonders what he would do without his rose garden. This is not just any garden. Nevertheless, a pretty garden filled with desire and temptation. Just like a woman’s full description. Just more sincere and respectful is a woman’s heart.
They are as attractive as the roses in his garden, filled with innocence and glowing personality. A while later, Gareth, stood still at one place.
Standing in front of a Tourmaline rose bush. The stems are strong and the leaves olive green. Many blossoms are almost ready to open. The blossoms will glow pink and white colours.
He softly touched the petals with his fingers. His plants are growing healthy strong. He cares well for them. Making sure, they have enough sunshine, good soil, sufficient water. As well as keeping the beds, weed-free to prevent plant diseases from damaging them. Not to mention insects that can destroy them.
He looks closer at the leaves. Notice small bites out of the leaves. He could see the slimy trail the slugs leave behind after they damage the bush. Since the Slugs likes to chew on everything, it could be no other pests responsible for this mess.
“Not the slugs again,” he said. “I have tried everything to keep them away, but nothing seems to work. What am I going to do to keep them away from my roses?” He sighs helplessly aloud.
“Perhaps you must try to trap them under a board,” he heard a voice say. It seems to work well in our garden.” The voice did not sound familiar to him.
He lifts up his head and swing around, a beautiful young woman standing near the Belle Rouge roses. She smiles kindly and briefly at him.
He did not have the opportunity to explore them yet. However, the red rose bush is perfectly growing. It must have been all his tender, love and care he gives them freely.
“I see you are an avid gardener?” She asked nicely and looks around. Gareth takes a good look at her and takes his blue eyes away again. “Um …” well, yes,” he hesitates.
Wonders how the girl managed to climb over the huge stone fence. Why would a pretty girl, like her, want with him? “Are we neighbours?” he asked her.
He takes a deep breath in and out his lungs. Smell the aroma swinging in the air. Like a woman that sprayed, she sent all over the garden. This is the first time, in a long time a woman visited him. Gareth could not remember her.
Silently he wonders what she is doing on his private property. She dared to come and stand here in his rose garden. “Yes, we are neighbours, neighbour,” I am sorry for disturbing you so early. “I am working on a college project about flowers and was wondering if perhaps, I can ask your advice on it.”
“You want my advice? Why?”
He sounded surprised, but also sceptical. Folding his arms patiently, wishing she would just leave him alone and ask someone else to help her with the project. “I am not an expert, you know.”
“Yes,” she smiled,” I hope you do not mind.” You know so much about flowers. I mean not just any flowers − roses, of course.” He noticed the small notepad and pencil in her tight jean front pocket. Then he frowned at her.
“I am just a gardener,” he implied. “I do not know that much about plants. Maybe you should ask someone else.” Or go to the library to find what you need.” She shakes her head and bit her lower lip. Such stubbornness overwhelms his friendliness, I, though.
“O, come on,” she said smiling. Just imagine all the knowledge you can learn me. ”Lesley winked at him and then walked closer. Until she stood right in front of Gareth’s face. Almost nose to nose. Thankfully, not mouth to mouth. He knows were hugs and kisses leads, with pink feet and dirty nappies, of course.
He realized she will not take no for an answer. What is he going to do with this girl? He thought. “Don’t you have the internet?” he shrugged. I shook my head.
She gave him a sweet smile, wondering whether he meant it sarcastically or just asking her for interest.
“Yes, but it is boring searching for information alone. I rather prefer doing it with somebody together.”
Gareth folds his arms in front of his chest, surprised also in suspicious. Why did she have to choose me over somebody else? “I suppose that somebody is me?” he said, taken aback by her request.” He lifts up one eyebrow while eyeing her back.
“Yes!” I mean, obviously, gardener.” She bends her head in shame. See the green grass underneath her feet. “My parents expect me to get an A for this one. “And I suppose you want me to educate you?” He continued asking. “I would have rather prefer you ask someone else.”
“Why? He asks her.” “Cause, you need professional advice.” He looked at her again. She walked closer one step after the other. “Perhaps tomorrow will be a better time?” Lesley stared straight ahead. I saw his eyes glisten.
She Begged him to help her, and not tomorrow. Because you never know what tomorrow might bring. Perhaps more raised blossoms. The world is unpredictable enough. Anything can happen by then; she refused to wait until tomorrow.
“Maybe, it will be,” he replies brief. “Right now would be better. I want to learn about roses − everything about them.” “I already know that story?” Go and visit a garden shop? I believe they will be of assistance to you.” She shakes her head. “Why to refuse to help me?” She asked him frowning.
“However, he sighs, giving in to her demand. “I will show you most of my special roses. How does that sound to you?” “Great, when do we start?” She asks him nicely. Gareth lifts up one eyebrow, and replied, “Let the knowledge begin,” then sighs aloud.
Love and roses
She turned around and spotted a powder white rose bush. The roses are also glowing with a tint of yellowish colour inside the petals. The smell of natural rose fragrance floats in the air around her. Not even a perfume store can smell this great. Lesley thinks optimistic. She reached her hand out. Desperately wants to touch the closest one near her; without warning Gareth interrupted her experience.
“Don’t touch them; my plants are very delicate and sensitive creations.” “I … I could not resist,” she hesitate, lowered her hand next to her side.
”Glances at her watch and stood. “Next time I will be more considerate. Lesley could not control her temptation to touch only one rose. Just one would not hurt anyone. She loves flowers, any flower with a sweet scent. Will win her heart, filled with love first, and then lust later.
“If I may ask, what kind of rose is this?” Gareth sighs aloud. He came beside her. “These roses are called True Love roses. They have a very strong stem and dark green leaves.” “I see.” She placed her hands on her hips.
“Your garden is breath-taking and very extraordinary too.’‘ They stood there for a moment, looking at one another. “Indeed, they are. All of them are precious to me.” For the first time in months, even years he could see the eyes of a woman. Hazelnut eyes he will never forget, sensitive eyes with a hint of secrets inside them.
“Where are your parents? When can I meet them?” She decided to ask. “They died in a vehicle accident many years ago.” “I am sorry for your loss,” she responded sincerely.
“That’s all right.” Then he tells her what happened to the garden after everything had died, because of his sorrow. He was the only one who understood roses and their needs to survive to heal them to glow like sparkling stars in the universe. Lesley listens to his story in much respect. Their eyes met one another for the second time. Suddenly she felt sorry for him.
If only she can remember his name? If only he can remember hers. “So,” What is next to see?” She asked him. He could feel the tension building up between them. Altogether is there a moment of silence drawing them away from nature.
A moment later, he points his finger in another direction. Over the big rose bushes must be excited ones to adore. “Let’s go,” He replied slowly and distinctly.
“I would be glad to show you more variety in my garden. I know you will like them.”
Gareth turned his face away from hers. The more he looks at her, the more he realizes how attractive she is. Just like the lustrous roses in his garden. She is a blonde-haired person. With kissable red lips and lightly brown tanned body.
Her golden necklace shimmers with the sunbeams. She is indeed a beautiful woman, a woman with lots of styles, elegance and admiration. “Wait.” He continued to speak. Lesley smiles innocently at him, in patience with his lessons. He likes being the leader. She noticed. I like that about a man, I though.
Gareth bends forward his body and looks serious at the rose bush. The stems on the rose bush are damage. Cane Borers. Might be the cause of it all? The Insects do not care about the petals only about the stems. Eating the stems until there is nothing left of the rose bush. “What a sweet rose,” she declares. She could not take her eyes off the rose.
“Tell me more about this one; please, I have to know.” “Be quiet,” murmured he, ignoring her reply. “Come closer girl, you need to see this, its horrible, but worth to learn about.” Lesley did as he asked, she bend her head slowly, next to him. In addition, witnessing something terrifying enough to be a nature disaster, a natural disaster.
In the bush are bright yellow roses. Its colour stood out from the rest. With a light green stem and normal grass green leaves, it reminded her of the sunlight streaming down to earth, and the petals are shaped into a diamond form.
She also realized all the roses in his garden have prickles. Once they sting you, nature leaves his mark on you, forever. All the roses are different colours shapes and sizes. Neither one of them is really the same. Indeed, life is so beautiful.
Gareth carefully touches the leaves on the rose in front of him. “Saying: can you see the damage done on this plant?” They have been destroyed by the Cane Borers.”
Lesley frowned troubled. “What are Cane Borers?” She wanted to know. “Cane Borers are the larvae of insects that lay their eggs on the cut end of a rose’s stem,” he informed her right away. “Name of the rose, please?” She wanted to know immediately.
“This yellow flower is called an intense one.” “Thank you, I will remember the name given.’‘ A sincere smile spread over her face. A rose with such beauty, smell and a bright yellow colour is more than just a growing plant in your garden. It is indeed a rose filled with love and influence.
“I just don’t like any insect,” he interpreted. All of them are killing my garden with their hunger for greenness.” Lesley slightly nods her head. He dislikes the Aphids as well. They literally suck the life fluid out of them. He felt like grabbing a bottle of insect spray in the house to kill them all with one shot. Knowing, it will only harm his plants.
Not even spider mites are such a big issue for him. At least, the spider mites are in control by water, but Japanese beetles are the worse pests ever. In July and early August, they are the most destructive. “Our biggest problem in our garden is the earwigs’ insects. “Luckily, we can Control them by using soap and water.” She pauses.
“But our worst problem is the diseases flowers get these days.” Gareth looks at her. The answer she provided him seemed out of line. What was she thinking even saying that to him?
“It only happens if you don’t take care of your flowers.” All gardens need the right soil to grow your plants, enough sunlight, plenty of water and the right combination of temperature to grow. Not all plants grow throughout the year, you know.”
She could not help staring at him.
He seems to know so much about flowers. More than she will ever get to know. She also notices he has dark curly black hair. Grey light-blue eyes. Eyes she can see right through. He is a skinny man and a strong person with many feelings and emotions locked up inside him − trapped inside his soul. Today is the right day to ask all her hearts desires questions. She just hopes he doesn’t see her as a nuisance here.
“Tell me more,” she demanded. “I want to know everything there is to know about nature.” She smiled briefly at him. She kept her eyes glued to him. He turned to face her. He saw the sweet girly smile fade slowly from her doll face. “What else do you want to know?” He asked good-naturedly. She eyed him for a moment, and then said to him.
“Are you serious?” “Haven’t I told you enough already?” “No, she said and shakes slightly her head.” “So, what else do you want to now?” Gareth asks her. “Where do you know how to plant a rose stick? Remember, I need to get an A for my assignment.” She bit her lower lip a little and then looks at him in front of her.
“Well, not you, you’re parents demanding.” He pronounced easily.” At least, you must know the right location and soil before making a decision to plant anything. Otherwise, all your hard work will be a failure at the end.” I told her, leaving the bush and walked up to her. “Tell me more about the soil please.”
“Alright then, but this is the last information I can give you,” He said, and his face glistens. “The soil should be well prepared for planting perennials. The soil should be loamy, free drained and have a high organic content.”
“What about chemicals?” She went on with the questions. He eyed her back. Realizing she insists on answers.
“I try not to use chemicals on my plants because I know it will harm them in the process,” He said to her. “I know about rose diseases, at least,” she mentioned to him.
“Name any then?” he said sounded surprised, looking at her. “I only know three.” Does not matter,” he said, lifts up one eyebrow.
“Go ahead, name them for me.” Lesley begins with the black spot disease, anthracnose and powdery mildew lastly. “Sorry to say, but that is all I know.” She glares at her black wristwatch. Time is not standing still today and soon she must leave to return to her home sweet home, bored and lonely.
“Well,” at least you tried. That is all that matters the most.” Come, there are three more roses I want to show you before you leave.” “I can’t wait!” she said excitedly, and ignoring the time. “Wait until you see our garden.”
Her eyes glisten with happiness, and her smile brightens up. Wishing today will never end. Just like rose blossoms, their smell, colour and radiance cannot ever vanish. ”You have a flower garden too?” he asked her. “Yes, well, not as creative as yours.” What do you mean?” He decided to ask her in much surprise.
“Ours are only there for decorative reasons. Mostly for the guests to find them charming to look at, I suppose−,”
“I don’t hope they are man – made flowers?” he said. He always wanted to meet a person like her – a woman who loves the nature.
The colours of nature: sea green, light brown and dark yellow brightens up the seasons.
Falling in love
“No, of course not,” she replied. I think fake flowers are only there for decorations.” She pouts her mouth and turns her back. She keeps on walking until she stood still at one place. Near a big stone fence she stood still. The fence is so big, that she thought she was in a prison’s building.
Locked up and forgotten. On top of the stone hedge, is a huge electric fence for security? Close to her body, is a rose bush so big it nearly scared her to death? The bush is bigger than she is too. “I agree with you. They are not as special as real ones.” They can’t be planted and can’t blossom either; neither can plastic plants grow or give a sweet fragrance.”
She nods her head, agree with him. Gareth backed away from the flowering shrub and walks next to her left side. She is like the True Love flower to him. Just as perfect and glowing like the rose. He wondered, have she ever seen a Bonfire rose or a Wedding Garland before? The flowers with the yellow – orange, cream white colours.
On the other hand, even a Pink Curtain rose with its soft crimson and satin waxen colours. He doubts it – she has never seen any of these roses. Comprehend; her beauty is messing with his head.
Although, his lonely heart, crave her compassion to learn and interest in him and his garden. However, the question remains. Does she believe in love at first sight? Forget about her, he thought alone. She is not my league or my type of girl.
“My mother, Maria, always loved to place these types of roses in a glass vase on the wood table. Their smell would normally last for days before the roses would die brown colour naturally.” “She sounds lovely,” Lesley said. She wanted to ask him about his father, but rather scold herself for keeping the some questions to herself.
“She was and always will be. So, enlighten me about your parents?” He asked her. “They mean the world to me, though, I never really see them much; work has taken over their lives.” In his heart, he felt sorry for her.
Knowing, she is just as unaided as he is. Worse of all, she has parents who rather work than full her mind and heart with all the love and attention she ought to have.
What is happening to the world these days? He thought alone. Gareth lifts up his shoulders and shrug’s audibly. He misses them dearly. More than words can say. Furthermore, without them, he is desperate for love, desire, as well.
He felt alone and miserable sometimes, but with his rose garden, it still seems he can see – feel their presence near him, protecting him from the fearful things out there hiding in the lurking shadows, ready to grab him by both hands. “What is done can’t be undone,” he said openly. Lesley keeps her thoughts to herself. She only nods her head in silence.
“Yes, it is true.” “So what flowers grows in your garden?” He asked. “The only flowers we plant in our garden are the Apricot and Coral Marionette’s. They grow so beautifully in our garden you can’t take your eyes off them.”
She smiled at him and then lifts up her head to search for those greyish eyes to look at. She must change the subject quickly; it will help him and her focusing on important things. “Why did you decide to plant those roses over there?” She asks and points with her finger in the right direction.
“The Stortford van Line roses are a good security to me. The roses grow successfully and deliver beautiful shapely strong blooms.” He mentioned. “Yeah, I can see that. I like the long stems; they look so strong and healthy.” Her hazelnut eyes shine in surprise.
“It is an old plant? And the plant is a hundred years old.” He mentioned to her. “No, I didn’t know that.” She shakes her blond hair out of her eyes and smiles at him. Lesley glares at the Stortford van, Lines. Some roses are peach orange, others a little in pink colour. She remembers them in her grandparent’s garden. Their fragrance is moderate and has a classic hybrid shape.
Almost everyone in her family likes this specific rose because it secures for criminals to enter. The prickles are there for a reason – they will make you bleed if you fell in the bush. Moreover, the rose bush can grow from one metre up to two metres tall. Higher than a human being will grow, it is a scary thought to her.
At least, she knows much about this specific rose. However, she will not tell him her dark secret. It will just spoil their friendship. Now, she focused all her attention on the large plant.
It is a dangerous rose bush growing extremely wild below the stone fence. “What are you studying?” He asked in interest. “Botanist,” she replies. “Wow. That sounds great.” “Mother nature is what interests me,” She said to him. “Good, for you, then.” He folds his arms and look at her. She nods her head a little. Allow a smile to spread on her face. She came closer without a warning and placed her hand on his shoulder.
Their colourful eyes met one another. He, on the other hand, decided to introduce him to her with a warm handshake. “I am Gareth…Gareth Nicholson. And you –,”
“You can call me Lesley, Lesley Mortimer.” She takes her hand off his shoulder and reaches it to him. His hand feels strong, somewhat sensitive, but strong like a man should be, and his nails trimmed. Lesley glared at him up and down.
From his silver and light blue sneakers up to his number three haircut, neatly done. Clothing neat and tidy, and sent moderated with an old spice; smell still stuck on his black t-shirt. She could not help, but noticing his perfectionist side − hiding from her. “This was one of the rose bushes I wanted to show you, but not the least yet.” She heard him say, forcing her to snap out of her thoughts.
Unexpectedly, surprisingly, he came closer to her. Touching her face with his hand tenderly and loving. Lesley closed her eyes for a moment and feels her skin prickle with desire for him to kiss her red lips.
Gareth took her hand in his, squishing it and refused to let her go. She did not mind feeling his warm hand touching hers. Together they walked to the next rose bush. Lesley realizes the rose garden is designed in a maze structure. The maze is in a big circle, which confuses a person’s mind and thoughts.
By their hypnotized different theme colours and fragrances drowning you. “Will I ever find my way out of the maze?” I thought, looking around. A short while later, Gareth and Lesley stopped at one spot. He is finished searching for the second one he wants to show her.
After giving her, the information she wanted to know, he would take her to the last one on his mind, the Gallica, the rose with the silky silver, pink and mauve colours. In addition, flat quartered petals. It grows upright, the only flower in the spring with much success. Spring is almost over and sadly is the rose bush.
“Are you sure you know where you are going Gareth?” She quickly looks at her watch again. Time is not standing still; the seconds are ticking away. “It is afternoon already?” She said taken aback. “In half an hour I have to be heading home.” She lifts up her head to look at him. He frowned at her in suspicion. ‘Why be in such a hurry Lesley? I am not chasing you away. I want you here, here with me.”
She bit her lower lip. She wanted to kiss him badly right this moment. They belong together; he wants it just as much as she does. “I know Gareth. I know.” She sighs. “I like spending time with you.”
His eyes widen in surprise. She has the same feelings and emotions for him, as he has for her. “What are the problem then Lesley?”
His blue eyes are stuck on hers, turned sad and lonely. “Our nanny is returning home with my little brother, Danny, from Primary school. I don’t want her to be worried sick, that’s all.” She studied him for a moment.
Gareth nods his head and unexpectedly pulling her closer to him. She tries to resist him, but her emotions failed. He is not just a person who plants roses, but also knows how to handle a woman. They closed their eyes and kissed passionately; his arms pulled her closer and folds around her middle a little tightly.
Moments later, Lesley forced to realise herself from his charisma. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes. She knows love takes the pain away – love is not blind and cannot be hurt. She glared over his shoulder, saying stunned. “What’s over there?” Suddenly, he turned around and looks at the rosebush she is mentioning to him.
“O, those over there is the Mama Africa bush. It is an unusual, but fashionable rose, a rose with a real South African elegance and with its burgundy colours and round petals that always blooms when the sun don’t shine. Lesley blush red cheeks. She takes out her pen and notepad out of her left jean pocket and throws it over her shoulder. “I guess I won’t need the information after all. All I want is right here with me.”
Gareth grins at her. “Why don’t we go inside and have some tea.” She took his hand and said. “It would be nice, thank you.” He climbed the dark burgundy steps and then turned the doorknob open.
“What kind of tea?” She asks him. “Five roses, of course,” said he earnestly. “Five roses?” her eyes widen and her frown appear. “Yes, tea with great flavours, made in South Africa.” She waved her hand at him. “Go and make some then,” she told him. “What about the last rose I need to show you?”
“Don’t worry; we can do it another time,” She said glaring at him, placing her hands together on the table. Gareth nods his head slightly, and walks to the kitchen, to make tea for two in the uncomfortable stuffy kitchen. In the hallway, he has strange feelings and his mind is busy in search for answers.
Why did he allow Lesley into his house? Why couldn’t he just have said no to her from the beginning? Perhaps there are more than what meets the eye.
In the kitchen, Gareth starts to prepare the tea. Take two white cups out of the kitchen dresser, and two saucers to place the cups onto. In the one dresser, he could only found two lonely tea bags lying in the tea caddy. Obviously, the teabag has not expired yet. He took the teabag and puts it in the cup. And lastly throws three tablespoons of brown sugar in.
Then pick up the old dark blue kettle boiling water on the stove. Safely, pours the warm water in the cups. Stir the tea with the tablespoon in the cups. Then, take out the wet silver tablespoon and place it next to the kettle. Finally, the tea is done and ready to be served.
Now he can place the cups onto the saucers. And make some time to find a platter to place them onto. But where could he find one right now? Gareth searched the entire kitchen, and then he went to the dining room. He notices the red curtains are closed.
They have been closed for some time. It has been so long he can’t remember the last time he opened them to lighten the room. He sight and look around in the room for a platter. Any platter will make him happy. His eyes stopped for a moment. Notice a beautiful yellow wooden handcrafted platter on the sideboard.
He walks closer and takes the platter with both hands. Take a good look at the design, colour and structure of the furnished wood. It reminds him of the time when his mother still adored it.
Then, he allowed his fingers to touch wood softly and in much respect decide to take it to the kitchen. He quickly cleans the wooden platter with a damp cloth. Pick up the two saucers with his hands and onto the yellowish platter. And carry it in the hallway, until he manages to place it down on the table. In the middle, so Lesley can take her cup of tea.
“What took you so long?” She saw the tingling smile appear on Gareth’s face. “Sorry for keeping you wait for Lesley.” Lesley slightly nods her head. “No problem,” she says. “Come, have a seat.” Lesley gave him a sweet smile back.
And place her hand on the wooden chair next to her side. Instead, Gareth went to sit in front of her. Moving his hand to touch hers, in respect and tenderly. She feels the tingling feeling of his hand moving up to her shoulder. And Lesley’s green eyes meet Gareth’s Irish blue ones. Slightly he touches her beautiful face; lift himself up from the chair to kiss her on the mouth.
Her red lipstick tastes like sweet strawberries. And the taste is stuck on his lower lip now. Lesley releases the kiss and asks, “Do you hear that?” Gareth backs away, nearly falling into his seat, then frowns in suspicion at her. “Hear what?” He asks her. “It is raining outside,” she replies and sips on her tea. Gareth got up from his chair.
Opened the pastel blue curtains, and took a good look outside. Lesley was right. It is raining outside. The natural drops from heaven are falling down on his roses. Making the petals look like small diamonds’. The rain makes nature seems more vibrant with green colours, and the mixture of tints; brown, yellow and orange brightens his garden.
“It is pouring outside,” he mentioned, sounding surprised with a happy tone in his voice. Lesley quickly glares at her watch once more. “In ten minutes I’ll have to leave.’‘ Gareth turned around and looks at Lesley. Why is she always in such a hurry to leave? Lesley’s home is next door. She can just jump over the fence, and her family will never find out she was even here visiting him today.
He bit his lower lip in anger. “How was your tea?” He decided to ask her and went to sit on his chair again. “Great, it has a strong taste,” she replied. Lesley takes the last sip of her tea, to prove to Gareth she enjoyed to drink the tea. Just as much as she enjoyed his lessons in roses and to communicate with a man she adores.
Gareth slightly nods his head. “I am glad you enjoyed the tea. He watches her standing up from the chair. Giving him a secret smile he will never forget − a dream smile. “Come; let me take you to the door.” Gareth and Lesley walk in the darkish hall together in silence. And he grabbed a black umbrella on the wall banister. Then he opened up the door and allowed her to open up the umbrella outside.
Gareth believes in his suspicions’; do not walk under a ladder, breaking a mirror means seven days of bad luck, black cats running over the road in front of the car and opening umbrellas is bad luck. “Can I have your cell phone number,” Lesley asks still smiling at Gareth. Her question seems to startle him.
“I don’t have a cell phone, Lesley.” “Do you perhaps have a telephone in the house?” She went on asking Gareth. He shakes his head. Lesley bit her lip,” then asks him if he possess a fax machine or have an email address she can communicate with him, even if they don’t see each other. Gareth shakes his head once again.
“I don’t even have a television in the house.” Lesley signs aloud. Her sincere eyes met Gareth’s blue eyes. His eyes seem to be so empty and sorrow, and then she opens the umbrella. Quick, she manages to grab the handle and holds the umbrella above her head and shoulders. Hear the raindrops falling on the umbrella. Feeling the soft drops splatter on her face. The rain is cold. Just like the wind blowing her blond curls slightly over her shoulders feels the same.
Lesley looks down at her shoes. Her pretty purplish-blue high heels are wet − very wet. Before wants to turn around and leave, she asks him a simple question.
“Can I write you letters then?” She wanted to know now. Gareth nods his head with a tingling smile appearing on his face.
“Yes, you can.” Gareth points with his finger where the post box is located. He showed her in the direction of the wild, but wonderful marguerites. The flowers with the yellow, white colours, that varies from different pinks to purples. The marguerites are magical small charmers to plant in a garden. These flowers saw their seeds generously and last forever.
Gareth is indeed a flower gardener. I thought. “I will see you again Lesley.” She heard Gareth mumble the words, with the rain still dropping heavy around them; makes it hard for her to think of all the natural noises outside of the house. Curiously she stares at the big house. It is old fashioned, but lovely and a roof over Gareth’s head.
“I look forward to it,” she replied hopeful, came forward with her red mouth, and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. “Remember me as your girlfriend Gareth, as I am no longer your friend.”
Gareth’s eyes widened with surprise. She is now my girlfriend, he thought. And she wants me to remember it too. Kissing her was wonderful, but meeting her meant more than the garden lessons. Watching her turn around, and jump over the fence. He couldn’t escape her words, either her soft touch or precious hugs.
“You are unforgettable,” he said to himself, then slammed the door closed behind him. He leans against the door, blinded by love and desire. Closed his eyes and feels his heart pumping faster every time he thinks about her – the girl that stole his heart… forever.