a Sultry Land

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Hearts of Flowers

Fifteen-

Sometimes Dane’s travels were close, and sometimes far, but from that time mostly, all the business deals over his land were excavated, licences squared, and their plans, goals, dreams, meant nothing important to Dane than missing Valentines Day with Meridian. They were so fond of each other, and she realized Dane had businesses all over the world, and from time to time has to travel, so she thought she’d be mature about the lover’s holiday, and work her way through their sorrows. Dane rarely phoned Meridian at his manor, but each day, and every night, he’d call to check if Gordon checked in with Enid, and to tuck Meridian in too, nights.

He thought to himself, what would Valentine’s Day be with us without each other? Dane sold Ruben the deal he liked, paid double transportation, and booked a flight back, asking Ruben to write a check. Dane, and Ruben made the deals, and funded transactions in taxes as well. Dane, and all involved, meant they could all return home. He and Ruben had a plane to catch, and they meant to be on it. Ruben missed his wife Nicole, and could eat, sleep, have cocktails or anything else he wanted on the airplane, the offer of that business deal satisfied everyone. If Dane got back in time, he promised Meridian a surprise.

He, and Ruben journeyed back in time for brunch Valentine’s Day, a little earlier than she expected when he pulled up to her house unexpectedly, and she heard a suspicious noise on her property. By the time she knew the car drove up, it was parked in the blind spot of her windows. It was her favorite peach color, with soft peach tinted windowed, leather lilac accessorized interior, brand new Integra. The car had everything, and showed better taste, and also, a car Dane could barely fit into it. He planned the car as soon as Meridian accepted his proposal of marriage, and had the sports car adorned in red ribbon, with a huge bow on top of it.

That morning, Meridian had just taken a warm bath. She felt fraught, not knowing the person zooming across her cobbled pavement. Without seeing them take a u-turn in front of the hedges surrounding her initial mailbox. Meridian was stumped, and not expecting company, so she assumed the people were lost. Her wrought iron railings hidden inside of lush shrubberies cut above them, rattled, and she thought the person on her property would probably approach the house. It had to be someone lost from at least a mile back. Not counting the drive up to her private property, which could’ve been omitted, that person, or people, did not have to drive all the way up to her domain to turn around.

It seemed too suspicious. Clearly there were destination signs to state directions out, onto the direction of either town. Meridian thought that the person, or people in question must’ve been drinking, or having too much fun, and Meridian felt she was in more trouble than she could handle alone, so she prompted to call the police. Playing possum, and at that moment, all she needed was Dane to protect her. The sound outside of a car door closing frightened her, but the sound of Dane’s voice summoning her was more than a relief. Seeing Dane through stained glass holding a huge box of chocolate candy was a blessing from God, and they practically flew into each other’s arms.

Dane spun Meridian in the air, smiled proudly, they kissed, he said he loved her, and Dane’s thick mustache tickled her. Meridian looked into Danes eyes, and said she loved him too. Charles sent Enid Rae a bouquet of flowers delivered the eve of Valentine’s Day. She, and Gordon shopped a few days ago for chocolates, and roses should be delivered to the mansion at noon for Enid Rae, from everyone. The bouquet should fill the entire foyer, or her rooms, with Meridian, Dane and Gordon’s love attached. In the cool air Dane stepped back, and with both hands handed Meridian a Valentine wrapped jewelry box.

She reached over and handed Dane a square box wrapped beautifully in Valentine wrap, which never meant so much to him after Sheridan passed away. They shared a warm embrace into an unconscious sway of remarkable bliss, and he smelled and kissed the top of Meridian’s head, and she felt completely wrapped in his love.

“You’re trembling.” Outside, the weather was rather clammy, and Meridian was just out of a steamy bath. She was wearing a terry cloth jogging suit, but her hair was too damp for the morning air. With Dane the intruder, color returned to Meridian’s cheeks, and the look of a deer in headlights disappeared.

She almost finished wrapping up her studies a moment ago, and admitted being frightened.

“Dane, I could not assume...”

“Come, I have a surprise, and then something else to show you.” Dane took Meridian under his arm. With the car parked around the side of the house with hers, he’d almost forgotten about her surprise. She opened the gift he gave, and they exchanged sentiments. Inside the jewelry box he handed her, was a beautiful white gold diamond tennis bracelet she loved. They left her vestibule to see Dane’s surprise parked next to the red Mazda.

Bushels of red roses to his modesty, laid on the front seat of the car, floored Meridian after Danes took his hands from her eyes.

“You have made Valentine’s Day, a special season for me,” Dane said, so sincere in loving Meridian, smitten in fact, and truly, she felt it.

“And because of you, I have never felt this special in all my life.”

“Well then, plan to stick around, Young One,” Dane so patiently said. As if music to his ears, Dane took Meridian by the chin, to kiss her on the cheek.

“I do.” Dane waited for Meridian to get dressed. He took off his suede blazer, the afternoon air warmed.

Meridian changed into a pair of suede moccasins. Thinking about their wonderful future with the woman he loved, Dane took her through the house out back to the shed, and she unlocked the doors as he asked. He moved the cast iron bench that sat on the back corner on top of a rug, revealing a secret, and moved the baby tricycle Meridian still couldn’t put her finger on. Dane pulled open the sand dusty metal floor board, Meridian surprised it was there, and surprisingly, Dane took one of his keys to unlock the floor latch hidden underneath the very worn rug she’d only swept, and went down a few steps large enough to fit his frame, surprised her too.

He landed on floor space, pulled up a box resembling a small coffin, slid it onto the floor beside Meridian’s feet, and slapped his hands free of dust. He walked back up, and recovered the crawl space with the floorboard. He blew spiderwebs off a casing pulled from the floor, and unconsciously dusted his hands off on his blue jeans. Meridian stood perplexed, and didn’t even know that the space existed. What else didn’t she know? Dane wanted to fill her in if Meridian didn’t know that all the woods belonged to her, and that the land back there was overgrown, so the following week, Dane would have his gardener’s start to detail, clean, and trim the property.

“Well Missy. Let’s go inside.” Taking off faster than normally, Meridian caught up, to pinch Dane on his bottom for calling her that again. He grabbed a hand towel, and sat the case on the kitchen nook, wiped the casing, and unzipped it. Meridian’s eyes were full of surprise in its entirety, and then, Dane asked if she’d walked through the brush of the wood, while he opened the case to unpack. He’d gone with his father, and a few others hunting, and they asked him to repack, and conceal the weapons he replaced a long time ago. The coffin turned out to be a velvet lined rifle case. It contained two automatic rifles, three knives, and three hand guns.

The compartment inside the case stored bullets, and would bring more ammunition. He will arrange Meridian shooting lessons, but in the meantime, showed her the basics, how to empty and load the weapons, to line up her target, and said he would take her to the shooting range. Dane taught his woman a valuable lesson in survival. Dane was thinking great things when he pulled up at Meridian’s. He delivered that ace car, and just wanted to be alone with his beautiful, young love, in which he planned the perfect honeymoon. He, and his bride will experience different foods, the ocean, dancing the night’s away, they decided to we'd in September, and share their love.

Where they’re going, the weather is not too hot, never too cool. Dane’s work will continue development when he’s gone, no doubt to expand morality in the town in a sizable way. He didn’t say, but Dane had many angles of assets. Those funds can be used in case he could not produce a male heir in the time allotted, but meantime, it delighted Meridian that Dane was including her dream in his businesses, but he was more than happy of the asset too, and interested in the hands-on parts of their lives. They agreed to travel in hopes of collecting art of suitable works, as Meridian planned to feature her mother’s collections, as an inspiration in as lively as her floral pieces were.

Gordon’s ambitious ideas for the plaza land space were great, and fundamentally upscale. The shopping plaza will be full of affordably chic boutiques, office spaces, restaurants, and more. Meridian saw the blueprint of her art gallery, largely on the second, mezzanine, and third floors encased in non-permeable glass. It will be well lit, state of the art, and they will put an elegant coffee shop beside it from the mezzanine. Dane’s enthusiasm made Gordon draw the perfect plans, saved on his computer, to utilize the every space Dane owns to make their dreams fruition. Ruben handled the business with the city’s officials, so that a huge grand opening will take place shortly.

Advertisements, employment fairs, and celebrations were soon to come, and the town’s prosperity would happen. In the back of Dane’s mind lay consciousness. Since Gordon came to the d’Anise family, specifically after the Michel’ tragedy struck, opening orphanages was something Dane thought about since his youth, and although it was hush-hush, and without Denim’s interest. Dane thought somehow he would address the needs of children, and contribute to good causes. He knew that there are too many little lives in need, and having a soft spot for children, essentially cared for their needs since the loss of Gordon’s mother too, and the kidnapping of Meridian, and toiled.

Since then, unfortunately knowing the series of events of his brother Denim, Dane made decisions a long time ago to help those in need, realizing most people couldn’t help having bad luck. The tragedy of his brother Denim existed, but he thought about life, and what it means to do something for others, and the thought rubbed him well. Dane had the best of everything, and if not hands on, he didn’t want anyone to suffer, want for anything, although life became challenging, and changing all around him. Sick uncle Nathan made him realize people did not care about the lives of others that they should. Dane saw enough suffering from adolescence, and hoped for an end to suffering.

Dane hoped too, the older Gordon became, that the mere memories of his mother, or her existence of any hideous life, or death, had unquestionably faded. Dane had a cause, and bid on abandoned land for the areas of town leveled for rebuilding. The property Dane owned sat dormant, because he didn’t know it was his, and debated joining the secluded lots to build that orphanage, before uncle Nathan died, projecting the project for years down the road of even having met Meridian. Agriculturally, Dane plotted on land the town would have easily used as a drinkery, but given Denim’s death, another place to drink, or gamble, the last thing a person needs.

Dane’s intention to buy land for an orphanage, something the town speedily voted against. Dane was done with the narrow-minded wants of others, and got Ruben to obtain private sponsorship, but the board thought the liability for children would be at risk, but their approval for the plaza came before Ruben informed Dane of all his assets. There were properties he already owned, but beating a dead horse was something he tried to avoid, and had to opt out of designing an orphanage. After discovering that the extra land was his, never giving up, Dane changed his mind, and had enough of a fight on his hands.

Dane could do almost anything he wanted to do with his property. He thought of donating his house to the cause. If he had not produced a male heir, he would have his mansion otherwise donated as that orphanage. If he, and Meridian could only produce female children, then he had a lot to think of, but then again, Dane looked into himself, and thought his idea hit too close to home for both Gordon, and his fiancee, so he orphaned the idea. Dane’s contributions to the foundation for children each year might’ve been enough. He was twice chosen as a poster model for the cause, but modestly asked they use a model instead, and still came up with different campaigns to honor his cause.

Dane cared about the prosperity of people, and understood Ruben’s negative concerns, besides, Gordon needed no reminder of the whispers he knew nothing of. He was a child who grew up in love, private protection, and care, all he remembers, but Dane still felt he wanted to do something. After Meridian came up with the art gallery idea, it struck a light bulb in Dane’s head. He slept on the idea, and visualized surrounding consumer shops, Gordon’s ideas, and liked what they came up with. Dane called Ruben. Before they wed, it would be apparent Meridian, and Dane made good business partners. On her beach in moonlight, they planned for business, and what their future might bring.

They omitted their longing for children, but that didn't mean they didn't want any. Sipping wine, and eating apples from one of her trees, romantically, the couple created ideas that would prosper, and with two heads thinking as one, they were a win-win.

“An art gallery is something positive the town could use.”

“You think so?”

“Yes. The mischief is done out of boredom,” Dane replied. His family assets in stocks, and bonds cleared millions of dollars a year for restorations. The d’Anise’ trans-funded causes globally, and cared for the people in the community.

From revenue, they decided they could triple their contributions by including the art gallery to the plaza, quickly in the making. Ruben, and Gordon suggested soliciting a pizza restaurant, and Dane included a barber shop, so he, and Ruben thought a few steps ahead. They’ve been getting their haircut from the same barbershop for years, and couldn’t see adding to the owners competition, so why not offer to move old Mr. Earle in? Maybe he would like to move upscale. Meridian’s business ideas mingled with Dane’s blueprints, since before uncle Nathan’s death, so Meridian’s excitement of her dreams in Dane’s businesses, pleased him very much.

They became positively overwhelmed with the possibilities ahead.

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