Brodie seems determined to keep Saige happy even though she’s broken up with Ben. Part of him wants to keep their relationship professional, but a larger, louder part would like to see it develop into something wonderful.
“Sorry that it’s not going to work out right now, Brodie.”
“If not for Ben,” he sighed.
“Goes without saying. Why torture ourselves?”
He nodded, smiling fondly at her. “I could see us together too. You want me to go kick the sorry bastard in the ass?”
“It’s funny how many men have offered to do that for me. The guys downstairs offered to break his legs. Stan and you have both offered to beat him up. I can’t believe I inspire such loyalty.”
“Saige, I’d slay a dragon for you.”
“Too bad the world is fresh out of dragons.”
Rolling his eyes, he chuckled. “Must you be so sensible?”
“Don’t fall for me, Brodie. Please? I couldn’t stand it if I broke your heart by accident.” Her eyes filled with tears. “You need a woman who’s not already attached.”
“Technically, you’re not attached anymore.”
“Technicalities can get you in trouble. Just because I don’t live there doesn’t mean I don’t love him.”
He took her to his favorite bakery/ restaurant downtown near the park. It was a quaintly rustic establishment and specialized in artisan breads and hand ground coffee. Saige admired the building and Brodie smiled proudly.
“It was among my first projects when I started working for Ches. The owner told me what he wanted, gave me a budget and left all the decisions to me. I can’t tell you how many rustic, old world bakeries I studied before I hit on the right blend. And I came in five thousand under budget.”
Brodie watched her closely as she walked inside the building and looked around. He loved to see how her eyes sparkled when she saw something she liked. The fact she admired all his favorite things made him regret even more that they weren’t together. They had a leisurely breakfast served by the owner himself. He made their coffee personally and gave Saige a loaf of fresh bread and a bag of coffee to take home.
As they pulled up to her mother’s house, there was a floral delivery van in the driveway. The man was waiting on the porch, but her mother hadn’t answered. He turned around with a smile.
“Delivery for you.” He handed her a long, deep box with a big red bow. “There’s more.”
He took a pitch pipe from his pocket and began to sing. “What have I got to do to make you love me? What have I gotta do to make you care?….” He sang the first verse and chorus of Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, by Elton John.
She tried to give him a tip, but he declined.
“Already taken care of, Miss Ingalls.” With a smile, he left.
With trembling hands, Saige opened the box. Inside she saw a dozen long stemmed red roses and a card. It said simply, “I’m sorry, Ben.”
Brodie looked crestfallen. Saige burst into tears, not just because the flowers were beautiful and she knew Ben couldn’t afford them, but because Brodie looked so bereft.
“Maybe I’d better go,” he said quietly, backing down the driveway to his car.
“Thank you for breakfast, Brodie. I had such a good time.”
“Yeah, it was fun.”
“I’m sorry about this. I had no idea.”
Brodie nodded. “I’m happy for you. If it works out, that’s great. If not,” he held his arms out from his sides. “You’ve got a consolation prize.”
“You’re a goof, Brodie. But the best looking one I know. Thank you.” She kissed his cheek, leaving him longing for more.
“Don’t you dare call him. That’s what he wants. Let him call you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yup, it would make me absolutely crazy if I sent a woman expensive flowers and she didn’t call to thank me. Make him a little crazy.” He held his fingers half an inch apart, gradually expanding the distance until his long arms were all the way apart.
Saige smiled sorrowfully, almost sorry it hadn’t worked out with him. “I will. See ya, Brodie.”
© 2012 Dellani Oakes