Chapter 18 ~ Mysterious Flora
She was capturing alright, tiny, vibrant and yet, unsure. Thank god for Harlyn being here, she somehow, makes everything in our lives better.
Flora was fidgeting uncontrollably while she sat, bouncing her leg as her eyes flicked about the room in a natural flight response – I had caused this response. My gaze searched Arly for some sign of comfort. She just winked, not a lot of help there.
“I didn’t do anything…” she screeched. “I mean…well…obviously I did something, but I promise it was only because I didn’t want you to be all alone, you were all alone and I felt saddened because I know what that’s like – to be alone. It was comforting to have someone I knew close…not that I know you…I only know you by order – Mr tall black, no cream, two sweeteners not sugar with a swirl of chocolate and one ice cube…but I didn’t hurt you, I just didn’t want you awake, and no one was here, and you tried to rescue me and everything...”
My brows had hit my hairline in surprise, I honestly didn’t expect her to confess like this. I was just going to introduce myself and apologise. I held up my hand to stop her, Flora’s mouth snaps shut immediately.
My eyes, once again, flicked to Harlyn who’s jaw hung slack, then her hand hit her forehead. Guess she was just a taken aback by the sudden fluid-like confession pouring from Flora’s mouth.
“Relax Flora, please.” I wiped my palms exhaustedly across my face.
“Sorry,” she exclaimed, tears gathering in her capturing eyes.
“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t’ve scared you like that. Do you mind if we start over?”
I held open my outstretched hand. “Hi, my name is Zavion, my friends call me Zav.”
Flora drummed her fingertips against her thy, furiously licking her lips and blinking. “Hello Zavion, I-I am Flora, and…I don’t really…um, have any friends.” Embarrassment swept over her delicate features.
“Hi, I’m Harlyn, Flora’s friend…” Arly interrupted. “Sometimes she gets memory loss and forgot I existed.”
I chuckled. “Sorry, um Zavion, please let me correct myself, this is Harlyn, my only friend.”
I scrutinised the two as they playfully smiled at one another. There was definitely a connection there, though, I feel that was more Harlyn – she infected everyone around her with happiness.
“Flora,” I called, gaining back her attention. “I’m so sorry for scaring you.”
“No-no, I’m sorry.”
“No, I really am glad it was you who I woke up too. Thank you.”
The sweet thing blushed dramatically. “So, you’re some kind of…superhero? Not the career path I presumed you had making your coffee.”
“Now I’m curious. What did you think I done for work?”
“Truthfully?” I nodded. “I thought you were either a personal trainer or some really well put together pimp.”
“PIMP!? Why would you think that?”
She shrugged. “The times you came in, they weren’t your typical business hours and some days you guys looked shattered. Usually, those days were either incredibly early in the morning or late at night, thought you had been partying – not rescuing people. You never drive, typically it was Arlo, or I think his names Tristian, and you would always watch people, not focus on anything else. I presumed you were judging their body shapes since I conjured up the idea of you being a PT.”
“I understand. Well, now, you know the truth. I actually don’t remember what it’s like to be out there partying and judging is not actually something I do – I observe.”
“Partying is overrated anyway, and I finally get it. The two gay dads though, wow, I guess you can be all sorts of wrong about people’s lives, must have been a wicked upbringing – lots of love – must be nice.”
“I care very deeply for them both. Listen, I’m sorry this is how we officially met. Clearly, you’ve endured some…not quite…uh…niceties.”
“I’m not. As it turns out, the most traumatic thing of my life has just led me to a bit of…ah I guess luck, so, there’s positives in everything.”
“I heard; you’re moving in with all of us.”
“You live there too?”
“Well, that’s unexpected.”
“There is a spare suite on the south side of the mansion, perhaps you could stay there.”
“South side? Is that your section?”
“It is – well, my dads and mine.”
I didn’t miss the hard bob of Flora’s Adam’s apple as she gulped. “I’d like that, thank you.”
Watching them was like viewing a personal romance flick. For the past week, I’ve been that crazy stalker, glued to the developing connection between Zavion and Flora. “You could at least pretend to eat while you spy on them, Goddess,” Arlo whispered in my ear.
I peered down at my half-eaten sandwich still between my hands and only halfway to my mouth. “Shut up,” I scolded.
“No-no, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s cute, but you are very obvious, if you’re going to hang with us you could at least learn to leer inconspicuously.”
I rolled my eyes, while Arlo chuckled, “okay Mr super spy, but look at them and tell me you don’t think they are falling in love?”
“Yeah, they are becoming close, which is new for Zav.”
My mouth dropped open, “close? Close? That is more than just close there Mr Ramalio, that is the start of an epic happily ever after in motion – complete with the white picket fence, two dogs and a wedding.”
Arlo groaned, “what is it with you women?”
I put down my sandwich and swivelled in my seat, “women?” I questioned with sassiness.
“Don’t look at me like that, you know what I mean. Romance, princes, fairy tales, The Notebook, you know, women stuff.”
I cleared my throat, making sure I had his full attention, “I would be careful about what you labelled as ‘women stuff’, because was it not you who sat there and cried at the ending of ‘Me Before You’?”
He paled, “you saw that?” I nodded for confirmation, now it was Arlo’s turn to roll his eyes. “There was some dirt, and it was irritating the iris.”
“You are so full of shit,” I scorned as he pulled me onto his knee, extracting a squeal from me.
“Yes, but all of this ‘full of shit-ness’ is completely and utterly in love with you.”
“Good, I love you too. I won’t even tell anyone you cried in the end.”
“He died, it was sad.”
“Dude, you cried at the end of Me Before You?” Zavion questioned, we hadn’t even noticed that the observed had now become the observers.
“Zav, you watch that movie and tell me it doesn’t hit you in the heart.”
“I’d love to watch that, I’ve never seen it.” My wicked smile broadened upon hearing Flora’s confession. Take the bait Zavion, leap and fall into love.
“Well, would you like to watch it with me – tonight?” Wahoo, good boy. “I could get a copy sent over, if you’re not busy, of course.”
“I would love nothing more than to watch it with you, Zavion.”
I was so proud of him. Arlo can pick on me all he liked, ogling their romance had definitely become my favourite thing to do. “You might want to blink; you look creepy gawking at them.”
I just smiled; this was going to be a fairy tale I did not want to miss.
“Paisley, stretch out those muscles, you really need to warm down after that workout,” Arlo ordered.
I sat next to the pool avidly researching on Arlo’s laptop. Yesterday Flora had mentioned something peculiar about property along the Hills coastline, and I was desperate to see what was it that had her so spooked. I’m actually convinced I wasn’t meant to pick up on that small nugget, hell, we were just on a slight reprieve – our’ daily dose of fresh air’ walk. The more we converse, the more I am confident her life before The Brothers was not pleasant at all.
“What’s got your attention so captured goddess?”
Arlo sat down beside me, wiping away the sweat with his towel. “You guys looked great, Princess Paiz is becoming quite the ass-kicker.”
“I know, I might have to recruit her, replace Brady as the muscle – that boys gone soft.”
Truthfully, I hadn’t watched a moment of the training session, I was too busy scrolling through the net.
“Yep, sounds great.”
“Her kick was deadly.”
“I know; you should have tied her laces.”
“What? Yeah, you’re right, bikies would love her.”
“Just make sure she’s okay with it.” Another click and I had finally found the exact location I’d been searching for – even discovered a few school photographs.
“Might put her on a giraffe and twist a monkey around for her to wear as a hat.”
“Arlo, I’m sure Paiz would love that.”
Arlo’s hand landed firmly upon my thy causing me to jump in fright. “Argh!” I screeched.
“You’re not even listening,” he accused.
“Yes, I was.”
“What did I say?”
Shit, I’d been caught out. Rather than admit, I chose to do what any woman in my position would do…fake it. “You know, that…thing. With the fighting…and all that.”
“That isn’t at all what I said.”
“It isn’t? But it could have been.”
“Alright, now you need to tell me, what’s occupying your attention so much.”
I huffed. “I didn’t want to say anything until I was absolutely sure.” I turned around the laptop and Arlo sifted through the numerous tabs I had open. “Flora and I were casually talking, and she happened to mention about attending Hills High. The reason for my curiosity, she said she couldn’t set foot there again, that she would never ever, and then changed the subject.”
“We don’t know a lot about Flora, her and Zavion, assuming the movie night went off without a hitch, would be a lot closer than yesterday.”
“You want to protect them.”
“I know I shouldn’t butt my nose in, but…”
He closed the screen, gripping my knees and turning my form to face him. “I know you love him, Arly, but maybe you should ask Flora these questions that plague your mind. Not research her past like a history project.”
My eyes fell, I knew Arlo was right. I conceded and slowly nodded.
Just as I was about to suggest another hospital visit, Arlo’s phone rang. His eyes narrowed to haunting and deadly slits before he answered.
“Pops, tell me you’ve found them?”
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