Submitted Date 07/06/2019

One afternoon one of my associates at work receives a large bouquet of purple flowers.

"Isn't this fantastic, Greg? Gideon and I have been together for a year now. He's great at remembering special moments."

I knew Doug was living with a guy and all of us at work applauded his love and courage.

It only pushes me to go after my quest, and that's Mycroft.

This is getting stupid, Gregory Lestrade, I conclude in my head.

For years I've worked with Mycroft Holmes, and now, late in my life, I've developed a crush on the younger man. Oh, not much younger than me.

We're both middle-aged now. Him still very slim, stiff British upper-class, going bald.

Me with a paunch settling in, from a middle-class background. My pride and joy is my silver-grey hair, still full and wavy.

I know Mycroft hasn't had a relationship in all the time I've known him, and that's at least fifteen years, and I would swear he's gay, or bi.

What to do about Mycroft? How to show him my affection without scaring him off. And also, if it's not going to be a sexual relationship, how to keep him as a friend.

I could do the usual, ask him out to dinner, have a few drinks, go back to his place reveal how it is with me.

We've had dinner out but mostly at places I could never, ever afford, and I would feel foolish taking him to my usual spots.

He has no clue about sports so to take him to a game is not a thing.

When we do get together other than eating out, it's mainly at his house, we play chess or backgammon, and of course, he mostly wins.

The day that Gideon gets the flowers I have an idea. I walk around the corner to my local florist.

"Hi, I'm trying to show someone I love them. Do you have any suggestions using flowers other than the standard sending a bouquet?"

" Let me tell you one that came about last year. A woman wanted to send a flower each day to a man she secretly adored.
Each flower would have a different significance based on either the color or scent.
No name on the card, just the name of the flower and what it signified.
At the end of two weeks, she showed up with a huge bouquet in hand to his apartment. And they are now married."

"That is very different. Yea, I'd like to try that."

"My name is Ivan, and this will be great fun for me to do again."

He shuffles over to his counter, moving papers around until he finds his notepad, and taking a pencil in his hand he stares up at me.

"I have to ask a personal question because, in today's world, you know how it is," he shrugs his shoulders.

"Don't be upset with me. Is it a man or woman you're after?"

Without hesitation, but I know a slight pink is in my cheeks, "A man."

"That's fine. It makes a slight difference in the flowers we pick," as he pats me on the shoulder.

"Can you give me more details about your relationship?"

"We're only friends. We don't work in the same office, but we do get together on business projects. Outside of work we go out to dinner, play chess and backgammon. He's the typical British man, very formal."

"How about starting with a daisy? It shows your beginning innocence. Do you want your name on it or not?"

"Let's keep my name off it. What will the card say?"

"The name of the flower and the meaning. Need an address to deliver and your information."

I know he's recognized me but doesn't mention it. Strictly a business transaction at this moment.

"It'll be delivered each day at five in the evening. Now let's go down the list and figure out how you want this to play out."

He has a large whiteboard on his wall with space to write on for each day.

It's pretty crowded with clients names and flowers.

Pointing to a certain day he's all smiles.

"We're not far from Valentines Day. We could have the last flower, the bouquet you deliver on that day."

"Wow! That would do very well. Although to be honest, I'll be shaking so I might drop the bouquet."

We have a laugh over that and with a few reassuring pats on my back, he takes my credit card, and we finish the transaction.

"Before you leave, if all goes well, you'll have to come in to discuss the final bouquet."

" Yea, that's good. I'll get back to you on what I want to do."

I'm on pins and needles during the rest of the day.

I'm supposed to be at Mycroft's house tonight for a chess game and can't wait to see what his reaction is to the daisy and note.

Upon my arrival I try not to be conspicuous in looking around, peeking to see where the daisy is.

"Gregory, how strange. Someone sent me a flower," and he points to the daisy sitting in a vase on the piano in the sitting room.

"Look at the card, Gregory."

Oh my god, this is hard! Trying not to give him any clues.

"No name on the card."

Turning it over and over as if I'm perplexed.

"And all it says is-."

Daisy- innocence

"Strange, any idea who or for what reason?"

"I have no idea. And can't fathom what the daisy is supposed to mean to me."

"Innocence. What are you innocent of, Mycroft?" my eyes sparkling with amusement.

"Don't be absurd, Gregory. Must be a joke."

We begin a game of chess, but I like my game better. Might stand a better chance of winning the prize, Mycroft.

To my surprise, the doorbell rings and my man brings in a vase with a single flower. Another one?

This one is purple heather and the card has written on it-

Purple Heather-Admiration

I could call the florist from where these two have come from, but I'm sure he wouldn't give the person away.

Next evening, Queen Annes Lace, and the card reads.

Queen Annes Lace-Trust

I'm totally bewildered. Who and why?

Gregory and I had decided on dinner at five on this night.

Because he had to be late at work we thought to meet at the restaurant.

These flower deliveries appear at five, and normally never a person to be curious, I find this distraction most tantalizing.

It is crucial to me to be home for the next flower.

I would never be comfortable sitting for hours without knowing.

I send a text to Gregory.

more flowers. come to the house first before we go out

I keep checking my watch, dressed for dinner but more in suspense over what the next blossom will disclose.

Gregory shows up at the front door at the same time as the florist delivery boy.

A red Anemone.

The card reads.


"You have an admirer, Mycroft," giggling, both at the concept and at my deception.

"A strange way to show it. And what does it mean? Innocence, trust and anticipation, " he replies as we walk out the door.

"It could mean the person is or was innocent, but trusts you and is anticipating- something. I think it's quite gutsy and different if you ask me."

"Hmm, never thought about it that way. Wonder who she is?"

Oh, shit, I think to myself. Mycroft believes it's a woman. Of course, he would. Most males would assume that! Should I stop this whole idea now?

Dinner is a strained affair for me, and like a silly girl trying to get out of a date, I profess a headache and go home right after the meal.

I have to talk to Ivan, and before going to work I stop at the florist to chat with him.

Thank goodness he's in the store!

"Ivan, the flowers are beautiful, but he thinks its a woman sending them. How can we change that?"

"Are you sure he's up to advances from a man?"

"Yes, positive."

Not pushing that small doubt around in my head. Not now.

"Let's do this. You'll send a magenta lilac which means love and passion. And- let's have the card read, 'she is a he'."

"That might be too obvious to him, don't you think?"

"Have you ever given him any indication of your feelings?"

"No, not at all."

"Then let's push onwards. Can't hurt, Detective Inspector Lestrade," and now he gives a knowing grin and a wink.

In a way, I'm glad he knows who I am.

" I think this will give him food for thought. But let's now discuss what to do for the bouquet."

We talk over a few ideas. What the flowers will be in the bouquet and how to present it.

I receive a text from Mycroft that night.

Must see you. Right away.

will be there in an hour

I'm let in and shown to the library. Mycroft is in his sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt. My heart skips. God, I'd love to take him down right now!

"Whats up?"

Drink in hand he points to the lilac.

"Look at the card."

"Lilac-Love and Passion. Wow, and she is a he? " trying not to let him see my trembling hands.

Pausing while I take a glass and pour a drink for myself, I sit in the chair opposite him, holding my glass with two hands. They're shaking so, I'm afraid I'll spill the drink.

"Now that puts a completely different spin on this. "Who do you think?"

"I have a suspicion it could be the diplomat from Spain. He was overly attentive to me during the holidays. It became most uncomfortable. But, why would he conclude that I suspected a female?"

" Oh, come on Mycroft! Most men would automatically believe it to be female. I know I would. Or, wait, is it because he's male? Is that what's bothering you?" moving uncomfortably around in the seat and sipping from the glass.

" In reality, I've been exposed to the male body before, and in-."

Picking a spot on the opposite wall to gaze at, I try to ask the question but it won't come out.

" Are you implying? Did you- I mean, you know?"

" Yes, Gregory," with a smirk in his voice.

"In my late twenties, I had a brief affair with a man, much younger than myself. It lasted a year and a half. I enjoyed it and the, what you would call 'gay' factor never entered into it. Our parents knew nothing about it, of course."

Now he stares at his glass, swirling the liquor he lifts himself halfway off the sofa, then sits back down.

" What about you, Gregory? Are you offended at my confession?"

I breathe a sigh of relief. So the homosexual thing would not stop him.

" No, not offended. I also had relations with a man. Before and during my marriage."

Standing up and sitting down on the sofa next to him, I disclose something I've never told anyone, never spoken it aloud.

"While married I went to a convention in Las Vegas. I met a man, my age, and the first night he approached me I was drunk. The sex was so good we spent every night together for the two weeks. But never saw or spoke to him again."

There is a pause, and Mycroft knows there's more, purposely turning his head away, giving me time.

"If I weren't married I probably would have pursued him. But, I was, and that was the end of it. He was a bright spot in what otherwise was a bad time in my life. And no, I don't still yearn for him."

Dinner is at a high-priced Chinese restaurant and even though the air has been cleared between us there's still a good amount of tension.

During the day, I'm out of focus at the office. My assistant, Anthea, is worried and closes the door to sit on my desk, taking the pen out of my hand.

" Mycroft, coming down with a cold? You're very out of sorts today!"

" No, but I will be leaving early. I want to-."

My voice drifts off.

"Whatever it is Mycroft, I know you'll solve it in your usual self-confident way. Go home now. There's nothing much to do today anyway."

I have my driver take me over to Kensington Gardens where I wander aimlessly, looking at the flowers and wondering, which one will be next.

Suddenly, standing in the gardens, the sun warming everything, my heart skitters.

Can it be? Can it be him?

He's certainly been attentive to me, always a good friend.

He's not faint-hearted. A relationship with a male did not deter him once.

Would it now?

Do I mind?

My dear man, you cannot jump to conclusions, as my confidence veers from high to low.

If it is him, and in many ways, I hope it is, I would be elated.

By four I'm home and pacing the floor waiting for the ring of the doorbell. I continually part the curtains to look out the window and rush to open the door as the van pulls up.

And this time it's a flower I don't know, but the card explains it all.

"Symbolizing friendship and devotion, the Peruvian Lilies leaves grow upside down, with the leaf twisting as it grows out from the stem, so that the bottom is facing upwards – much like the twists, turns, and growth of our friendship."
Who? Who? Is it?

Valentines Day is only three days away. Will I find out then?

Five o'clock the next day and I've got the door wide open as the van pulls up. Mycroft, get a grip on yourself. You're usually so composed, not ruffled like you are now.

A bird of paradise and the card.

Bird of Paradise-joy, paradise

This is tormenting me. It weighs on me all day and night.

I've had to relinquish much of my work to my assistants, finding myself daydreaming in the middle of a conference.

Anthea has begun to try to hide a smile when she sees me. I know she surmises I'm in a relationship.

Well, aren't I?

I don't know.

And the next day it's another flower I don't recognize.

Acacia- I have a thing for you

My suspicions kindle higher. I cannot envision the diplomat using that terminology.

The awaited day arrives. It's Valentine's day. I suspect my suitor will show himself today.

I stay home, on pins and needles, restlessly moving from room to room. Picking up one thing and laying it down.

Even my cook asks if I want something to stave off the coming flu.

I text Gregory to meet me for dinner but he texts back he's busy. Taking his daughter out for the evening.

Here I am alone at the house, waiting.

The anticipated time materializes and no doorbell ringing. No florist. What cruel joke is this?

I sit alone in the library, thinking to drink myself to sleep and there's a knock at the door.

I rush to get to it before my manservant does. Opening the door, there stands Gregory with a large bouquet of red tulips, trembling in his hand.

" Read the card Mycroft," with a whisper barely heard.

'Tulips and red symbolize love. Mycroft Holmes, I love you. Happy Valentines Day'

Dazed, even though I suspected Gregory. The complexity and thought with which he contrived this absolutely stuns me.

"Is it all right to come in or do you want me to leave?" his voice a croak, a whisper.

I can imagine only one move to make. I pull a tulip out of the bouquet, kiss it and hand it back to Gregory.

"I give a flower to you. Happy Valentines Day. With my growing love."

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