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  1. #11
    Alexia Carlisle

    Alexia gave a light snort when she read her uncle's text. He did have a point.

    I'll just off her myself, if that's the case. Prison sentence couldn't be much worse. See you later - give Pluto a treat for me, she replied, before pocketing her phone. She'd better start moving. The sooner she finished appeasing her stepmother, the sooner she could be rid of the woman.

    And picking up the flowers meant leaving the house, and staying away from Helena for at least a while.

    Shaking her head, Alexia got up to go change, since she would probably not have the time to come home and do so after picking up the flowers. "Don't worry, won't forget", she replied shortly before stepping into her room. The quicker she left the house, the better.

    Stepping out into the garage, Alexia entered her car and shot a quick text to her trainer, letting him know something else had come up, before driving out to the floral shop. Thank God the owners were nice people. At least she could spend some time not dealing with annoying and self-entitled jerks.

    As she parked near the store, Alexia took a quick look around and went in the shop, hoping to pick everything up quickly. While she waited to be seen, the girl texted Helena. She knew at least this time she wouldn't be ignored, as she was working for an event.

    Anything else you would like me to pick up on my way? Any last minute orders, etc.? Alread at Blum's, she sent, hoping the answer would be no, but not wanting to drive around on a goose chase in case there was something.

  2. #12
    Harrison O'Brien

    Well, in prison, you wouldn't have to set up floral centerpieces.

    Harrison replied to his niece with a smile. He knew how tense her relationship was with her stepmother. Helena liked to guilt trip Alexia and then play the martyr. She was quite a piece of work. He only stayed cordial with her because of Alexia. He was sure his brother had probably fathered other children, Helena had just been one of many women he had loved and left, but Harrison had no way of knowing. Alexia was the only one of the kids he knew. And he had no children himself, she was family to him. And he liked having a relationship with her. Even it meant keeping Helena in his life too.

    Pluto already likes that idea. Talk to you later.

    He replied to Alexia. Pluto barked at him for them to keep moving. Upset that they had stopped for him to check his phone.

    "Here, Alexia insisted."

    He told his dog, reaching his pocket and giving him a treat. Pluto happily ate it and Harrison walked him to the funeral home he owned. He might as well check up on things. He figured it would be a slow day, but one never knew.

  3. #13
    Penelope Blum

    Penelope Blum and her mother, Denise, owned the flower shop. Penelope and her mother were very close to each other. Denise had raised her on her own, Penelope's father had run off years ago. It was okay, though. Denise had made sure that Penelope was healthy and happy. The mother and daughter owned the flower shop together. Her mother was away on a weekend trip and Penelope was running the shop on her own. This time of year was busy, especially weekends. Because of weddings.

    Penelope liked weddings, although she found some brides to be more demanding them others. The other reason they were busy this time of year was funerals. A more somber reason to have business.

    Helena hoped that Alexia didn't forget and texted her a list of other things to pick up last minute at the local Walmart. There was always someone who needed a bobby pin or a quick hemming of a dress. Helena prided herself on being prepared for anything and everything at a wedding.

    Penelope saw Alexia, recognizing her, of course. Helena Carlisle often sent her to pick up the flowers for weddings. Helena usually came with the bride to pick out things but Alexia often got stuck with the pick up duties. Helena didn't seem to really like her or Denise, but Penelope didn't really know why. She never did anything personally to her. And when she asked her mother, Denise just replied that Helena was a difficult person to know. If people didn't treat her like a queen, she was rude to them. However, they were the best flower shop in town and most brides wanted to use them.

    "Let me guess, she sent you for a pick up."

    Penelope said with a smile. She looked at the order book her mother used to keep track of all their orders and said.

    "Bates-Duncan, right?"

  4. #14
    Alexia Carlisle

    Alexia chuckled softly at Harrison's words. He did have a point there, and it was fun talking to her uncle. He was the only family member who seemed to care about her, after all. Her father had up and left, and the Gods knew where he was now, or even if he was alive. Her stepmother kept her around basically as free labor, and not much more. The only person who actually gave her some family affection was uncle Harrison. Which was funny, since, on the surface, he would seem like the least warm of them all.

    Alexia didn't remember much about her father, though, so she couldn't really tell, and Helena hated talking about him. Unless, of course, it involved guilt tripping her about her father's short comings.

    All right, later.

    She replied to her uncle, before focusing on her work for the day. It was for the best that she didn't keep thinking too much about her father. That was still unresolved, and Alexia shifted between missing a father figure and hating him for leaving her with Helena. That would have to wait, though, as she had work to do.

    Shaking her head, Alexia sent a quick reply to Helena to acknowledge that she knew what else she needed to pick up, and went in the shop, hoping she wouldn't have to be there for long.

    Seeing Penelope, Alexia smiled. She liked the other girl. From what she had gathered in a conversation here and there, Penelope didn't have a present father either - of course, Alexia would never dream that the reason why was that they shared the same runaway father. Still, Alexia felt an affinity to both Penelope and her mother.

    "Exactly, Bates-Duncan", she replied, shaking her head. "Then to pick up a load of bits and bobs she probably won't even use", Alexia added, rolling her eyes. "If I ever get married, I'll elope", she joked, despite the fact that marriage didn't even cross her mind.

  5. #15
    Penelope Blum

    Penelope liked Alexia, she was nothing like her stepmother. Penelope thought the other girl was nice and smart. She had no idea, anymore then Alexia did, that they shared them same father. Helena and Denise never told them about it. Denise, who preferred to keep drama in life to a minimal, never said anything. She thought it was better that way. Plus, she had felt like a fool falling for their girls' father. Even though, she had had no idea he had still been married to Helena when she did. Denise didn't regret it, though. She loved her daughter and do it all over again to have Penelope. Even if that meant having to deal with Helena and her wrath.
    Penelope nodded her head to Alexia.

    "I have seen, since I was old enough to help my mother here, that eloping seems to be the least stressful option."

    She said with a smile. Some brides were a joy to deal with, others....Not so much. Some could be quite demanding. It made Penelope feel bad for their finances.

    "I'll be right back."

    Penelope said, heading into the store's back room. She came back with a cart full of flowers.

    "The bride wanted fresh flowers for everything. Bouquets, the groomsmen's boutineers, centerpieces...Even for the altar and the ends of the aisles."

    The bride spent hundreds of dollars on flowers. She had wanted a perfect wedding, full of flowers.

    "I hope none of her guests have allergies."

    Penelope joked, even though it had been a great order and made them a lot of deal of money.

  6. #16
    Alexia Carlisle

    Alexia liked Penelope as well. Something in her felt like there was a lot in common between herself and the other girl. Of course, she had no idea what the reason for this affinity was. She would probably be very surprised and maybe disappointed if she knew. On the other hand, she might also see this as a chance to move on from Helena’s incessant nagging and guilt-tripping, and maybe see if Denise wouldn’t take her in for a while provided that she helped with expenses, until she could get her own place. One never really knew.

    It didn’t matter, though. Alexia was so used to coming to pick up flowers that she had taken a liking to both Denise and Penelope, and, even if nothing ever came from this friendship, she would still value it.

    “I would say. Being stepdaughter to a wedding planner lets you see all of the ugly realities of weddings. I do love when she has to set up a beach wedding, though - it’s the only time I’m happy to be dragged to the location”, she joked with a grin.

    Nodding when Penelope said she would be right back, Alexia waited for a moment and took this time to look around at the flowers.

    When Penelope came back with the flower’s, Alexia’s eyes widened. “Holy gods, she must have spent a fortune”, she remarked, shaking her head. People were really shallow, and that was something she had never really understood.

    Hearing Penelope say she hoped none of the guests had allergies made Alexia laugh. “I almost hope someone does. It would at least make the wedding less boring”, she joked, before letting out a sigh. “I better get these to the car and run. We should hang out some time”, Alexia added, sincerely. “If you’d like to, we can go out for dinner or coffee one of these days”.

  7. #17
    Penelope Blum

    Penelope always felt a little sorry for Alexia being stuck with Helena. She saw how the woman treated her step-daughter and didn't think it was right. Helena acted like she was some kind of martyr, taking in the 'unwanted' girl. But that didn't give her right to treat the girl as basically slave labor. Penelope knew her mother didn't like it either but it wasn't like there was much Denise could do about it. Helena would do just tell her to keep her opinion to herself. She nodded her head to Alexia.

    "I'm sure the beach one was nice."

    Penelope had found that she'd personally prefer something very low key if she got married. Even if the brides who spent a lot on flowers was very good for business. She laughed at Alexia's reaction to the flowers.

    "She did. Mom said she paid the rent for three months."

    Although it was good business the more people spent on flowers. However, Penelope could thing of better things to spend that much money on. Such as a down payment on a house. She could only imagine Helena made a killing on brides like those.

    "As long as you don't have a bridezilla claiming that person is ruining the wedding."

    Penelope had seen enough of those come into the shop. Some of the brides...she was surprised no one stabbed them with a safety pin. She smiled at Alexia's offer.

    "I'd like that."

  8. #18
    Harrison O'Brien

    Harrison was almost done walking Pluto, when a woman in her forties approached him. He recognized her, she had been a recent client. Her father had died last week of a heart attack and his funeral home had handled the service and burial.

    "Excuse me, Mister O'Brien? Umm...do you remember me?"

    She asked and he nodded his head. Harrison had a good memory when it came to people. He met people at some of the worst days of their lives, it always stuck with him.

    "Of course, Mrs Yeager. Is there something I can do for you?"

    He asked, pulling on Pluto's leash to make him sit still. The woman nodded her head.

    "Ummm...yes...First, thank you for everything you did with my father's service. It was all very lovely."

    "You're welcome."

    Harrison replied and he could see that wasn't all on Mrs Yeager's mind. He was used to just getting a card as a thank you. Most people didn't stop their loved one's funeral home director on the street to thank him.

    "But it does seem like there is more on your mind."

    "Umm...yes...There is."

    She replied, rubbing the back of her neck.

    "Well, what is it?"

    Harrison replied, he didn't have all day to guess what the woman wanted. Harrison tended to be rather direct and it would aggravate him when others wouldn't be. She took a deep breath and said.

    "I was wondering...ummm...My father, he had a gold watch and....We can't find it. I thought at first it was at the hospital but they couldn't find it. And my sisters and I searched all over my parents' house. It's no where to be found and....Well, the hospital said that they sent all his personal effects to your funeral home. He rarely took it off. Wore it just about everywhere....I was hoping it was there. It would mean a lot to us to find it. My mother had given it to him for their fifty wedding anniversary. It has an inscription and everything."

    "I see."

    Harrison replied, suddenly feeling angry. Not at the woman. No, she did nothing wrong. She had just lost her father and couldn't find a possession that had meant a lot to her family. A possession that was mostly likely in her father's possession when he died. Which meant it had been sent to his funeral home. Which meant if it hadn't been given to the family, someone who worked for him could have taken it. He hoped not. Because there would be hell to pay for that person. Harrison believed in total respect for the dead. And that included not stealing for them.

    "When your father was brought to us, there were a few other people at the same time."

    That had been a busy week, but he didn't say that Mrs Yeager. He didn't want to sound too morbid. Most people didn't like it if he was.

    "I'm sure it has just been misplaced. I will make it my personal mission to find the watch and make sure it gets back to you. I apologize for the inconvenience, Mrs Yeager."

    Mrs Yeager nodded her head, accepting his response.

    "Oh, it's okay. I understand. I...We just all want it back."

    "And you will get it back. I promise."

    "Thank you, Mister O'Brien."

    She said with a smile and Harrison told her goodbye. Telling he had her phone number already and would call as soon as he found the watch. It had better just been misplaced. Because, if not, heads would roll, he thought as he and Pluto headed to the funeral home.
    Last edited by Optimus Prime; 12-10-2017 at 09:09 AM.

  9. #19
    Alexia Carlisle

    Alexia smiled to Penelope. The two girls seemed to get along just great, and Alexia felt an affinity she couldn’t explain towards Denise’s daughter, not knowing the reason for it was that they shared DNA.

    “It was, the venue was amazing. I like the ones in older churches too, at least you get something to look at. But people waste way too much on those big weddings”, she commented.

    When Penelope said the bride had paid the rent for three months, Alexia shook her head. “Holy crap”, she murmured. “If I were to spend tons of money on my wedding, I would use it to give my guests an amazing experience”, she concluded, deciding it would be a good way to make sense of investing a lot of money on a wedding.

    When Penelope mentioned a bridezilla, Alexia rolled her eyes. “This one was actually nice. I’m not sure about the one who bought all of these flowers, though”. Alexia sighed, but perked up a little when Penelope said she’d like going out some time. “Great. I’ll call you if I survive this wedding, and we’ll set up a date, deal?”.

    She would wait for the other girl’s response before going on her way. There was a lot to get done before she could be free for the rest of the day.

  10. #20
    Harrison O'Brien

    Harrison's attachment to Pluto was very strong. He had no wife or children. Alexia was the only family he kept in touch with. He had no idea where his brother ran off to. No doubt mooching off another woman and making more kids in the world. Harrison had lost track of how many women or children his little brother had. Harrison loved Pluto and took him basically everywhere. Even to work. Although Pluto didn't go inside the funeral home. Harrison had a fenced in area of the yard for his dog to play in while he was working. Pluto liked being outside and it kept people from loitering in his parking lot. Harrison locked Pluto in the yard and headed inside. Time to find out what happened to the watch.

    Harrison walked to his office, he kept detailed records. He kept a record of what personal effects were transported over with a body and who worked on body. It was important to keep track of things, even if his attention to detail drove some of his employees crazy. Well, it was times like this he had to do it. He found the record he was looking for and saw that Mrs Yeager had been right. Her father had came in with a watch. He even had a picture of it. He made everyone take pictures of what was brought in, so no one could claim something was damaged. Douglas...He was the one who had worked with the body. And he was here today. Good, best to get this nipped at the bud.

    Harrison took the folder with him and found Douglas cleaning the viewing area. If they didn't have a visitation going on or a body to attend to, then Harrison expected his employees to clean. He didn't pay them to stand around and wait for someone to die. He took great pride in his business and liked to be clean and dust free. Some employees, like Douglas, didn't like cleaning duty. He was grumbling to his co-worker.

    "Clean, clean, clean. It's all we do. I swear the dust bunnies avoid this-"

    His co-worker coughed and Douglas jumped when he saw Harrison.

    "Oh, hi, boss."

    "The last thing a grieving family needs is a dust bunny making them sneeze on one of the worst days in their lives."

    Harrison told Douglas grimly. He didn't tolerate complaining and Douglas swallowed hard. No one liked being on Mister O'Brien's bad side.

    "Right. Of course. I was-"

    "Shut up. Mark, clean the other room. I need to talk to Douglas, alone."

    Harrison said coldly and Mark, the other worker, nodded his head and headed out of the room. Douglas swallowed hard again. Harrison shoved the picture of the watch in front of him.

    "Where is the watch?"

    "What watch?"

    Douglas said and Harrison glared at him.

    "Don't play stupid. The watch in the picture."

    "I don't-"

    Douglas raised up his hands and Harrison say some gold peaking out under his sleeve. Harrison grabbed his arm and pulled up the sleeve, Douglas tried to protest, but it didn't do much good. He was wearing a watch identical to the one in the picture.

    "You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground? Dear Gods, Douglas! You stole it!"


    Douglas tried to hide the watch with his other hand but it was too late and he hung his head in shame.

    "It was nice and...."

    "We don't steal from the dead."

    Harrison told him, angrier then Douglas had ever seen him before in his life, but not yelling. It was like a dark, deep anger. Douglas wished he'd yell, it might be easier to handle.

    "I...I didn't think he'd miss it."

    "His family does."

    Harrison said. Douglas took the watch off and said.

    "Hear, I'll give it back. No harm, no-"

    "You're fired."

    "Fired?! But I-"

    Douglas was going to plead for his job back when Harrison grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. This time he was yelling.

    "There's no buts! I don't ever want to see your face again! If I do, I'll feed you to Pluto! Now...Get out!"

    Harrison shoved Douglas back, who staggered back and broke a flower vase. Douglas looked at Harrison in fear.

    "That's coming out of your last paycheck."

    He said and Douglas nodded his head and ran out of the door. Harrison headed to his office, tempted to break something. Instead, he took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. He had the window and could hear Pluto barking his head off. He peeked out and saw Pluto was barking at Douglas. Like he knew his owner really wished he could feed that asshole to him.

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