Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
The Congratulatory Ball ...
Every flower dreams of being invited to one of the Elegant Rosebud Auxiliary Club’s Balls. It is a chance for all flora participants to display their most colorful selves. This will be the very first time that non-flowering plants will be in attendance. However, even they will be vying for being mentioned in the Flowerbed Gazette and especially the Chrysanthemum Journal.
Fern is so excited about being at the ball, especially since this one is given in her honor. Valeri has been too busy with the arrangements to bother with antagonizing Fern which is very much appreciated. Rose Marie hasn’t been her usual chipper self and she is reluctant to share the reasoning with anyone.
“Mom, what’s the matter? Aren’t you excited about Fern’s new position within the club? She’s already said that I would be up for admittance and maybe even an office.” Stephanie brags.
“Oh sure, I’m excited. Excuse me, Stephanie.” Rose Marie moves over to the bedrock decorations, leaving a puzzled Stephanie staring. She is soon joined by Valeri.
“What’s the matter with that petal? She is generally the life of the party?” Valeri stares in the direction of Rose Marie.
“Beats me.” Stephanie dismisses herself. She refuses to gossip about the condition of her mother-in-law. Valeri shrugs and returns to her shopping preparations for tomorrow night.
All through the rest of the afternoon, Valeri is wondering about the strange behavior of Rose Marie. She dare not approach Harry with her suspicions—that particular flower is a favorite of his. Although Harry has never given her any cause to suspect anything ... Valeri is planning on keeping both eyes open.
Finally, the moment arrives—The Congratulatory Ball. Any flower or plant worth their roots is excited to be a part of this gala event. The roses are in full array and even the daffodils are displaying their very best designs. There are several sturdy Pothos and English Ivies on hand for security purposes and Lily is apprehensively surveying everything.
“Take it easy Lily, everything is going to be fine!” Hyacinth attempts to calm her. Then she looks over at Violet. “Between the two of you, this is going to be a long night. Oh by the way, where is Valeri?”
“She’s been acting strange all evening.” Lily replies glad to have an obvious diversion. “Even for her.”
“Come to think of it, so has Rose Marie. She is usually floating around the Conrad Hibiscus Floral Gardens like a displaced butterfly.” Violet adds.
“There is definitely something going on.” Lily concludes. “Well—we’ll have to iron that out later. This night belongs to dear Fern. She’s gone through a lot to get to this junction in life and I won’t let anything interfere!”
“We agree!” Both Hyacinth and Violet chime in unison. At that moment, Fern approaches the three flowers.
“Has anyone seen Valeri? I wanted to thank her for the wonderful decorations and food. She’s really outdone herself and I appreciate it.”
“Yes, she has. We were just talking about that, too. She’s been acting funny these past few days.” Violet speaks up.
“Hmm, so have my mother-in-law Rose Marie. She is usually so cheerful and serene. But lately she has been withdrawn.” Fern acknowledges.
“That is definitely not like our Rose Marie.” Lily agrees and as they move further into the Floral Gardens they receive the shock of their lives. There is Rose Marie huddled into a darken corner with Harry, Valeri’s husband. Each looks at the other with an expression of horror.
“You don’t suppose?” Hyacinth starts.
“No, it can’t be!” Fern exclaims.
“But there they are.” Violet confirms. It is not long before Valeri makes her way toward the group.
“Why are you four florae staring toward that bleak corner with your mouths gapped open? What’s going on?” But before anyone can say a word, Valeri edges past Violet and looks motionless at what has gained their attention. Several petals fall to the floor followed by Valeri herself.
“Somebody call Stan the Plant Doctor.” Violet screams as both Harry and Rose Marie rush over to examine the commotion.
“What’s going on here?” Harry barks and then seeing the crumpled body of Valeri remarks, “What happened to Valeri?”
Rose Marie’s Dilemma ...
“As if you don’t know!” Violet snubs. Harry shakes his head in utter bewilderment.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about?” Harry is perplexed.
“What were you and my mother-in-law doing over there?” Fern doesn’t beat around the bush.
“Oh you think—PLEASE!” Harry’s otherwise jolly face turns into a grimace. Moments later the Plant Doctor, Stan Honeysuckle is on the scene helping lift Valeri into the brightly colored container, rushing her to the Cloverville Conservatory with a worried Jacquelyn following closely behind.
“Okay everyone, things are going to be alright. Valeri is in the hands of the best Plant Doctor in Cloverville.” Lily tries to reassure the crowd as things slowly return to normal. Someone mutters—
“Why wasn’t Harry in the coach with Jacquelyn and Valeri?”
“I saw him cozying up with Rose Marie before this happened?” Blake Hibiscus recalls.
“Harry, Rose Marie suppose you follow us into the Main Office. Fern, return to the party.” Lily orders.
“With all due respect Madame Lily, I need to know what’s going on myself. Rose Marie is my mother-in-law and Uncle Harry is in some pretty deep fertilizer!” Fern relays.
“Very well—let’s all go into the office.” Lily reluctantly complies. Once the door is closed and before anyone can say a word, Rose Marie thrusts a picture into the leafy hand of Lily.
“Oh dear!” Responds Lily as she passes the photo to the others, hearing gasps and sighs.
“No wonder you were with Rose Marie. How could such a thing happen? And who on earth sent you this photo?” Violet shrieks.
“I don’t know. It just came in the mail several days ago.” Rose Marie begins to sob, and the other flora surround her.
“Don’t worry Harry, you’d better get to the Conservatory. Take this photograph with you. Even Valeri will be able to see reason. Sorry we doubted you!” Lily apologizes with resounding agreement in the background.
“Well, you should be.” Harry grabs the picture and is off to do some serious damage control.
“Why didn’t you come to me with this?” Fern admonishes with hurt feelings.
“I didn’t want to spoil things for you. You seemed happier than I’ve ever seen since you arrived here.” Rose Marie lowered her petals a bit.
“But we are family now!” Fern further rebukes.
“That’s true Fern, but ‘pouring more water on an already dead shrub isn’t going to revive it’ as my mother would say.” Hyacinth adds.
“Right! Let’s all get back to the party. This is Fern’s Big Day! We need to invoke a little damage control as well. Let’s just say Rose Marie is suffering from a touch of the vapors and Harry only tried to help.” Lily advises the group.
“That won’t be too far from the truth.” Rose Marie confirms, and the five plants leave the office with a mask of gaiety plastered on their faces.
Harry arrives at the Cloverville Conservatory only to be met by an angry Jacquelyn.
“Before you say a word look at this photograph.” Harry hands over the picture to his only daughter.
“Hmm ...” Jacquelyn replies looking at her father. “Poor Aunt Rose Marie!”
“Poor Rose Marie, what about me?” An angry voice laments from a beautiful ceramic pot. “I want a divorce!”
To Be Continued ...
Meet the Blossoms 6
- Meet the Blossoms 6
Valeri is shocked to learn the truth! Harry is definitely upset with Valeri and lets her have it right in the Cloverville Nursery. He has never been so upset with his wife and admonishes her for not having enough faith in him.
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on February 29, 2020:
Will the photo be enough to convince Valeri?