“Laura tells me about them,” he added quickly, feeling that his first explanation wasn’t quite adequate.
Sally’s face lit up. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she assured him. “Men can be interested in flowers, too.”
“I like them,” he said, looking Sally in the eyes. He knew right away that he shouldn’t have. They both shifted imperceptibly closer to each other.
“Laura should be done soon,” said Sally. A large frond swept her cheek, and she instinctively brushed it away.
Sean nodded, and swallowed hard. “I like the cactuses,” he said, deliberately choosing his words while turning from the new girl.
“That’s not news.”
Sean spun around. Laura was standing in the narrow doorway to the tropical section. “Let’s get out of here,” she said, flipping her hair out of a ponytail.
Sally had disappeared. For the first time, Sean could feel sweat on his brow. The damp atmosphere seemed to hold him in place. If he tried hard enough, he could still smell perfume lingering in air.
“Why are you waiting? Let’s go,” said Laura. She was bouncing from heel to toe with excited energy.
Sean walked towards her, severing the last connection to the charged space. He held out his hand for hers as they made their way back through the store to the exit.
On the way out, Laura pointed at a large plant with bladelike dark green and yellow leaves. “Sansevieria trifasciata,” she told him. “Remember that from last time?”
Sean shook his head.
Sally waved from behind the counter. “Goodnight!” she called.
“That’s Sally,” whispered Laura. “She’s new.”
“I know,” said Sean. “We met.”
Then they left the flower shop.