Chris was packing up his things when he heard a knock on the bedroom door; turning he saw his mom leaning against the doorway, her arms crossed and a stern look on her face. “Are you going somewhere?” She asked, knowing full well the answer to her own question.
“I have to, I get that you don’t understand it, but I have to go and see her.”
“You know, when you started to tell me about her, I thought you were insane. Honestly, there is no other word for it. But after we talked and after I had spoken to your brother, I started to realize that maybe I was wrong.”
“Wait, let me get my phone, can you repeat that?” He said with a good-natured laugh.
“You’ve always gone after what you want, and I’ve never seen you fight this hard for a relationship. She isn’t a Hollywood type, and I’ve told you that is what you need, a regular girl who can keep you grounded.”
“Are you saying you are supportive now?”
“Honey, I saw the fear in your eyes when you thought something happened to her; when you thought you might have lost her forever. That was a pain I have never seen and pray I never see again in the eyes of any of my children. I don’t have any doubt that you love Daisy, so, yeah, I support you and this relationship.”
Chris dropped his stuff and moved to hug his mom; this is what he wanted her to say. And frankly, he needed her to say these things. “Thanks, I just hope to get her back, and you get a chance to meet her.”
“Well, I hope I get to meet her but more than anything I want her to quit hurting my boy,” she pinched his cheeks, and he squirmed to get away from her. “Does she have any idea that you are going to be seeing her?”
“No, she has no clue,” Chris said as he moved back to the bed to continue packing. “When I talked to her earlier, she was really mad about the car. I told her I loved her, no matter what happens between us, I love her, and I’ve never stopped. She hung up on me, and her dad texted me and said she was worked up.”
“Her parents are for you two being together?”
“Yeah,” he laughed, “damn near the entire town is. Her parents, her best friend, and even her divorce attorney. Daisy wants me in her life, she needs me in her life, and she just can’t seem to let herself believe she deserves to have me in her life. I’ve been trying to chip at the wall, and I might have broken through. Gotta go see my girl and find out.”
~ * ~
It was no use for Daisy to argue with Melody; every obstacle she brought up, Mel had an answer. She finally gave in and agreed to go on the trip to Florida. After all, her heart wasn’t in the store so why was she worried about sticking around anyway. They went into the bedroom and began going through the closet to determine what outfits should be taken.
Mel sat on the bed while Daisy started going through the closet, “Daisy, are you going to tell me what your meeting was about in Springwood? You are super secretive about it.”
She turned around slowly and then lowered herself into the old armchair that sat in the corner of the room, “I was meeting with Connor Barrett,” she offered quietly, almost embarrassed to say the name.
“Connor Barrett? Isn’t he the guy who owns the boutique on the other side of Springwood? The one you said was a snake in the grass?”
“Yeah, that’s him.”
“Why? What in the world would possess you to meet with him?”
“He wants to expand; he wants to buy my store. Last night was a meeting to try and convince me to sell to him.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa – you told him no, right?” Daisy shook her head, “Oh my God, you’re entertaining the idea? Why? That store has been your dream for years, and you have poured everything into it. What in the world would you do?”
“I’m not making money, at least not a lot of money. Let’s face it, I’m a small shop in a small town, and I don’t have the traffic to stay open. I have an incredible inventory that Connor doesn’t have, and it would be a foot in the door to these designer groups that he isn’t involved in. I have a better reputation than he does – he wants to buy that.”
“So, you give up your dream and then what?”
“I may go back to school. Maybe my mom is right, I need to grow up and live up to my potential. I think I need a fresh start and it needs to be away from here.”
Melody had not expected this, and she was pretty sure the whole selling the business angle had to do with the shadow of Mr. Evans. She wasn’t going to ask, though, she didn’t want to ruin the prospect of this trip and needed to keep things moving. “Okay, well, is he at least making a solid offer?”
“Yeah, it’s solid. I told him that I needed some time to review it and digest it. Selling is not something that was at the top of my list of things to do, and he had to know that I needed to really consider it. He is giving me some time.”
Melody got off the bed and moved towards the dresser to begin looking for intimates and lingerie to pack. That is when she noticed the box and the rings. She stared at them for a moment, unsure of just what she was looking at, then she decided to ask. “Daisy? Why do you have a man’s wedding band sitting here with your wedding ring? You didn’t have this before, did you?”
Daisy ran over to the dresser and grabbed the rings and held onto them tightly, “Um, you don’t need to see those.”
“Too late, I saw them. Did you buy Chris a ring?” Daisy walked back over to the armchair and took a seat, clutching the rings in her hand. “When did you buy that? You haven’t had that all along have you?”
“I bought it the day after he left,” her voice was barely above a whisper. Her head was down, and she could not look at Melody when she spoke. She wasn’t crying, and she had no emotion in her voice, but it was evident that it was not something she wanted to talk about.
Mel moved over and sat on the floor in front of her friend, “You bought it for your anniversary?” Daisy slowly nodded in response. “Oh, honey, why did you do that? What in the world possessed you to buy him a ring when he had just left you?”
“I wanted him to come back, Mel. I wanted him to wear a ring that said he was mine like I was going to wear a ring that said I was his.”
“You realize that he isn’t coming back unless you tell him you want him to come back, right? I mean, he told you he loves you no matter what but you have never said to him that you are this torn up over him. You’ve never told him how you have cried yourself to sleep over him or been so depressed you didn’t want to go to work.”
Daisy finally looked up and stared at her friend, shocked and bewildered at what she was saying. “How did you know all of that?”
“Girl, you have it written all over your face. Besides, remember I was here that first night when he left, and you were messed up. I know how bad it hurt. Your mom and dad have been in the café, they’ve told me how you wouldn’t come out to see them, you just moped around your house.”
“Yeah, they’ve been worried.”
“I told you that Alexis and Tangie have wondered where you were – you’ve ignored me. And we won’t talk about the fact that you’ve lost weight you couldn’t afford to lose. The man has made you sick with him being gone; that is another reason you need this trip. You need to do something to keep your mind busy.”
“I know, everything you are saying is true, and I know that.”
“Can I just tell you, though, maybe you need to consider telling Chris the truth and coming clean.”
“I don’t want to think about it now, can I think about it when we get back from Florida?”
“Sure, you can do that. Are you going to take those with you?” Melody asked, motioning toward the rings.
“Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but I keep them with me. It makes me feel close to him.”
“Do you wear your wedding ring, Daisy?”
“Sometimes,” she whispered, “only when I’m home, though, never out in public.”
Mel had a hard time suppressing her smile. She desperately wanted to text Chris and tell him this information, but she knew that she couldn’t. She did not want to betray her best friend’s trust. Besides, it would mean more to Chris to hear Daisy say that she had a ring for him versus hearing her tell him.
~ * ~
Melody pulled up in front of Daisy’s house and honked the horn. Daisy came running out the house with her bags and threw them in the backseat, ready to head to the city and the airport for the flight to Orlando. Daisy found it weird that she had agreed to take this trip and knew none of the particulars for the flight or hotel. She left everything in Melody and Tangie’s capable hands. After all, Tangie was a travel agent so she had to trust that she would not steer them wrong.
The drive to the city was uneventful; it was the arrival at the airport that made Daisy start to question the trip. She had two bags, that Melody had convinced her she would need. But when Mel got her bags out of the car, she had one small bag that would barely hold enough for one night.
“Mel, where are your things?”
“Oh, Tangie is coming down tomorrow, and she is bringing my stuff. She didn’t have luggage so she has to use mine. So, I’ve got a small carry on for tonight and tomorrow and then the rest of my stuff is coming with her.”
“Oh, I didn’t know Tangie was coming, too. Or maybe you told me and with everything that has been going on I forgot. Sorry, makes total sense.”
They walked in and got checked in and made their way through security. As they waited to board, Daisy realized they would not get to Orlando until almost 8 pm. She would be exhausted by that time, but at least she would be able to sleep in, and it would all be worth it.
Luckily the flights were running on time, and sure enough, they landed right at 8 pm. To their surprise, a car was waiting for them.
“Mel, did you order a limo to pick us up?”
“No, I wonder if Tangie did? I asked about a rental, and she said she would take care of transport, this must have been her idea.”
The driver tipped his hat and introduced himself as Jeff, he stated that he would be driving them to their destination, and he had all of the details. He opened the back door and let the ladies get in and then began the journey towards the Disney resort complex.
He pulled up in front of the dock for the ferry over to the Magic Kingdom, Daisy was confused. “Jeff, I’m sorry but aren’t we supposed to just go to the hotel tonight? Why are we going over to the park?”
“I was given the instruction that tonight you would go to the fireworks display at Cinderella’s Castle and spend a late evening here and then go to your hotel. You have a tour guide waiting for you at the castle.”
“A tour guide? Mel, did you know about this?”
“No, Tangie didn’t mention this, she must have just planned this with the park and with Jeff. She told me she had a few things planned that were special.”
The ladies hopped on the ferry and once at the park entrance made their way towards Cinderella’s Castle. As they began walking across the bridge towards the castle, they noticed a man in the distance who appeared to be waiting. Daisy figured this must be their tour guide. She began to giggle, he was dressed in a white suit, his back was to her so she couldn’t see his shirt or tie.
“Mel, they made the poor guy dress up in all white. You know that has to suck.” Melody had to bite her tongue. “I feel sorry for him, though, he has to be dressed up at night to give us a tour. Couldn’t they let him dress down a bit for such a late evening?”
As they got closer to him, he finally turned around and took several steps forward. Daisy’s hands flew to her face, and she gasped, “Oh my God, Chris!”
He reached out for her hand, gently kissing it, looking directly into her eyes. “I felt it only fitting that the next time I saw my Princess, that it be at a Castle. You don’t mind do you?”