Lisa Q. Mathews

Motives for Murder: The Rose Wars

Before I explain why those innocent-looking, sweet-smelling roses on your desk or nightstand could drive you to homicide, I have to set the record straight.

When I was too young to know better, I thought all roses were, in the words of kid detective Flossie Bobbsey, bee-yoo-tiful. Each year my mom designed four enormous rose gardens and I got to weed my way through every single one of them, carefully avoiding razor-sharp thorns and fuzzy, lurking bumblebees.  Five cents per weed-filled grocery bag was hardly a fortune made, but it did beat dusting. And my floral charges presented themselves in a dizzying color wheel of enticing hues: reds, pinks, peaches, creams, and whites. The cheery yellow roses were my favorite. And they all smelled nice.

marsha-rose

via Giphy

But eventually I learned a few things about roses. Like the demanding Flower in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, they can be selfish, vain, and scheming beneath those silky, dewy petals. They murmur barely-audible nothings to those who think they own them, and taunt the less fortunate who desire them from afar. This is especially true around the middle of the cruelest month. No, not April. That would be February, when the roses wield their true colors.

morticia.rose.gif

via Giphy

Maybe you think I’m exaggerating. But everyone loves roses, right? And really, what’s better than receiving them once in a while?

rose-girl

via Giphy

Sadly, no fabulous bouquets ever came my way, even on Valentine’s Day, for more years (okay, decades) than I cared to count. None of my Prince Charmings believed in floral displays of affection. And that was perfectly okay with me.

pruning-roses

via Giphy

Because…well, expensive. And archaic. And boring. And over-rated. And maybe even vaguely sexist. Plus, there was always the daunting task of keeping them alive, at all costs.

belle-rose

via Giphy

And what could be worse than receiving those garish, token arrangements at the office, where everyone would notice that telltale trail of rose petals leading straight from the reception area to your desk? Of course then you would have to act surprised and maybe you really were, if you had no idea who they were from. Which was even more intriguing, to you and every fellow employee across five departments who was so happy for you.

pam.office.vday.gif

via Giphy

And then, one rainy Valentine’s day, it happened. I was the recipient of an enormous bunch of gorgeous roses. Please bear with me—this is where the murder part comes in.

My eyes filled with happy tears, which I quickly brushed away so no one could tell I was a 1-800-Flowers newbie. I was the princess today, the Cinderella who had always watched everyone else go off to the ball, and now could live Happily Ever After (Note: In the romance world, they call that “HEA.” In the mystery world, not so much.)

The spell was broken when a colleague sidled up behind me and glanced at the attached card. “Your boyfriend?”

I nodded, increasingly mesmerized by the low but very definite siren call emanating from the perfect buds nestled under their protective plastic wrap.

“They’re yellow,” she said, with a sniff. “That means friendship, or jealousy. Not love. Too bad.” Then she walked away.

What??!! You would have thought she was talking about yellow snow. And rose colors had actual meanings?  I quickly looked it up, as the yellow-hearted traitors on my desk grew strangely silent. Yep, there it was, all laid out. Red meant love, and white was purity or unity, and peach denoted passion and yellow with red tips meant a growing relationship. Black-hued roses were apparently not good news. (Side note #2: There’s even a peachy-pink Miss Piggy rose. Who knows what that means.)

miss-piggy-rose

via Pinterest

My colleague was right about the friendship-yellow. But how could she have been so rude and mean as to point that out? She’d ruined the most important moment of my entire romantic life.  Correction: unromantic. “Kill her,” my new roses said, very loudly and clearly. “Kill her now.”

I glanced at the handy pair of scissors standing among the editing pencils in my desk mug. “You can do it,” the roses urged. “Kill, kill, kill!”

wed-addams

via Giphy

My hands closed on cool steel, just as my boyfriend called to see how much I loved the flowers. “You said yellow roses were your favorite, remember?” he said. “At the Steeplechase, last May. You know, where we met? They were on the champagne table.”

Reader, I married him. My bridal bouquet was made up of harmless hydrangeas–and yes, maybe a yellow rose or two.

(* Alice in Wonderland image is also from Giphy)

Are you a secret (or not so secret) special-occasion floral fan–or should roses in particular be banned for the safety of the general public?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Motives for Murder: The Rose Wars

  1. Wow! You’re crazy co-worker was rude. And what’s wrong with friendship in romance anyway? You need some of that, too.

    Love the ending. Your husband sounds like a keeper for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awwww, MAN!! BTW, I got a bouquet of yellow roses once, and I don’t think my boyfriend knew they symbolized jealousy. But they were completely appropriate because he was one of the most jealous BFs ever! Anyway, where my story is ironic, yours is super sweet! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with the yellow roses on your desk…what’s a little murder between friends? 😛 After you hung up, you should have told her what he said, and that to the two of you, yellow roses were a reminder of when you first met, and therefore the most romantic color roses on the planet, and if she were ever lucky enough to find a guy like that she should remember that fact…and if she never did, then that would be just too bad for her. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, yep, the ol’ woulda-coulda-shoulda. Wonder where she is now and how can I fit her into one of my books as a character? Hmmm…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s