6 Mayıs 2023

Midsummer Nights


It might have seemed audacious to ask the woman they’d screwed over to do their wedding flowers, but Calvin and Ivy were desperate. Three florists had already cancelled on them, and the summer wedding season meant everyone else was already overbooked. With a mere two months remaining until the big day, they had next to no time to find the kind of florist that could make their high-profile wedding into the exquisite occasion everyone expected. And Sofia Violet seemed like their only option.They hadn’t seen her since high school. It had been ten years. Calvin tried to process it. Ten years since he’d broken up with Sofia the night before prom and gone with Ivy instead. Ten years. They’d been kids. And now? Now everyone was grown up. He’d been on and off with Ivy ever since and now they were on and the wedding was in two months. The venue was booked. The cake was decided. The guest list had been finalised, and gold-embossed invites were about to be sent out. Only the flowers remained.Two months was an unrealistic timescale but as people said; if anyone could pull it off, it’d be Sofia Violet. She did red carpet events, gave speeches on environmentalism, and had even been named in Forbes’ thirty under thirty. She was interviewed in bridal magazines; had worked on the Met Gala; her floral arrangements had even made the cover of Vogue.Her waiting list for weddings was over a year long, and so Calvin was forced to spend long hours networking and digging to find out exactly who’d booked her for the upcoming months. With millions of social media followers, he had the power and reach to destroy reputations, and it took little convincing to advise people to find alternative florists.Even after all the underhand work, he still hadn’t been able to book an appointment with Sofia and so he’d finally ended up outside the flower market she was rumoured to frequent every night. It was three in the morning and he was exhausted.Calvin sighed. He got out of his car and stretched, heading towards the market. Vans and trucks filled the parking lot and fluorescent light glowed from the entrance of the enormous building.Inside, the huge warehouse was refreshingly cool, and laden with flowers. Everyone seemed to know everyone and the conversation was loud and easy. People wheeled along rattling crates and trolleys stacked with bouquets and pots. There were more people than he’d expected and he had to ask if anyone knew Sofia and whether or not she was around. He’d wandered for what felt like miles around the maze of stalls before he finally found her.He didn’t recognise her at first. It was stupid of him but in his mind, the Sofia he’d been looking for was the same girl he’d fallen for at high school. Sure, she’d been pretty but she didn’t use it. Nobody saw it unless they looked hard enough. But it’d come to the surface now, so completely and devastatingly that he felt almost afraid to approach her.He thought of the hours he’d spent to find her. The wedding had to be perfect. People had been following Ivy ever since her breakout role in the Emmy-winning drama series Ladies and Calvin had been interviewed enough times on national television to turn him into something of a celebrity. Their relationship had become a social media convergence of two worlds and typically everyone was obsessed with the wedding. People were taking bets on everything from the bridesmaids dresses to the dessert menu, and People magazine had secured exclusive rights to cover the day.They needed flowers.Calvin stepped forward.“Sofia? Hey!”She turned, frowning as he approached.“Yes?”He blinked. She didn’t recognise him and he felt unexpectedly affronted.“It’s Calvin. Calvin Chase? From Parker High?”“Oh,” Her mouth formed a perfect ‘o’ and he felt a sudden, primal urge to kiss it hard. The thought caught him off guard and he tried to dismiss it.“It’s been a while,” Sofia said and she smiled the quick, nervous smile he’d always known her for.She wore a shirt over denim shorts. Her legs were long and tanned sleekly brown. Even in high-heeled sandals she was a good six inches shorter than him. Her hair was darker than he remembered and up in a messy braid. Make-up was smudged around her golden eyes.“Whatcha doing here anyway?” She looked him up and down. “I thought you were into journalism now, not flowers.”“I was looking for you, actually. I – uh – well, Ivy Stone and I are getting married and we’re looking for a florist.”If Sofia was surprised, she hid it well.“You could’ve called the store,” she said mildly. She turned and began walking again“I did, actually,” Calvin tried to match her pace. “I called and we even went by but you just – I know you must be busy. The woman there, Martha, she said we could find you here.”“Well, you found me.” She was walking remarkably fast, constantly scanning the market. He felt like he was in the presence of something spectacular. The sleeves of her shirt were rolled up past her elbows and her arms were almost browner than her legs. There was a tattered wire bound notepad in her hand, Bostancı Escort and on the top sheet was a scrawled list of items he couldn’t make sense of. He wanted to touch her, hardly believing she was real.He cleared his throat. “I thought you might – I don’t know – still be pissed at what happened.”Sofia laughed.“Wow. Add arrogance to your list of traits.” She picked up a bunch of pale orange roses and examined them. “It was a hundred years ago, Calvin.”“Yeah, I know, but -”“But what?” She replaced the roses. “It all worked out in the end. You guys are still together. We’re all doing just fine.”Calvin frowned. Part of him had wanted there to be some kind of rejection. Some kind of payback. But she seemed totally unconcerned. It almost offended him. He wanted to have had some kind of impact, to have left some kind of mark on her but there was nothing. She was beautiful and successful and smart and so together that he felt like a mess in comparison.“Anyway,” Sofia was bending over to examine a crate of long-stem white roses and he stared helplessly at her ass. It looked incredible. The stallholder cast him a disapproving look. Sofia straightened up. “What’s your aesthetic?”“My what?”She rolled her eyes. “For the wedding. What style are you looking for? Colours? Shapes?”“Uhhhh.” Calvin hoped he didn’t look as stupid as he felt. He tried to remember the words Ivy had been throwing about. “White. And rose pink. Rose? It might be rouge. They’re practically the same though, right?”Sofia laughed like he was joking. Calvin tried to smile. She turned and started walking fast again, slipping through the narrowest spaces between stalls as though she were trying to lose him. He kept up. She turned finally and seemed disappointed that he was still there.“You should book a consultation,” she said. “When’s the wedding?”“August eleventh,” Calvin said. Her eyebrows shot up and he hastily added, “But Ivy has everything figured out already. And we’ll pay upfront. Everything.”Sofia frowned. She scrolled through her phone reluctantly.“Two months is nothing,” she mused. “I’ve had cancellations but – it’s really not much time.”“Please,” Calvin said. “We can’t find anyone else. And we’re – well, we’re kinda old friends, right?”Sofia blinked at him. “I guess.” She sighed and looked through her phone again. “Let’s make an appointment. Say, Monday? Ten a.m. Bring Ivy, okay?”Calvin frowned. “I’m working.”“Then forget it,” Sofia said. She pocketed her phone and eyed him with half a smile. “Find someone else.”There was no one else. And he didn’t want anyone else. Her eyes were like sunlight, and against the backdrop of countless flowers, she looked like a hazy, fantastical daydream. She’d become so different to the way he remembered; like every good thing had been amplified and highlighted and blown up in glorious, beautiful, high definition colour. He wanted to grasp the waistband of her shorts and drag her closer and kiss her like it was the last kiss he’d ever have.“Well?” Sofia eyed him impatiently.“We’ll be there,” he said and he watched her walk away until his stomach hurt.***Ivy and Sofia hit it off as though their friendship had never waned. The three of them were sitting in the spacious, airy office at Sofia’s store and Ivy had already launched directly into her list of daunting requirements, which Sofia seemed to take remarkably in stride.They talked endlessly about shades of white and the fall of Ivy’s wedding dress and the tables and guests and things that seemed totally irrelevant to floral arrangements but every time Calvin tried to speak, Ivy shut him down. He contented himself with pretending to listen and trying not to look too obviously at Sofia.She was in her element, scrawling ideas into a pristine notebook, leaping up to find photographs to show to Ivy, and calling her suppliers to check prices. She really was beautiful. She’d always been beautiful but it was in a stop and stare way now and god help him, Calvin couldn’t stop staring. Her dress fit impeccably to her narrow waist before flaring into a pleated skirt and her legs looked ridiculously perfect. He felt the urge to touch her, to feel her warm skin, slide his hand under her skirt and touch her until she came all over his goddamn fingers.He swallowed hard and tried to shake the image. Ivy was sitting right next to him. But Sofia was opposite and her mouth was perfection, the shape of her glossy lips, the way she pressed them together hard as she focused. And her eyes. They hardly settled on him but he felt caught off guard when they did, thrown by her amused disinterest. It seemed like she knew exactly what he was thinking.Sunlight poured in through the windows, and he undid the top button of his shirt, loosening the tie around his neck. He looked at the photographs on the wall. Celebrities Sofia had worked with. Magazine covers. Everything about her seemed untouchably sleek. And she’d been his. He’d kissed her, touched her, gotten so close to everything she was. He couldn’t Bostancı Escort Bayan help but marvel at the way life had played out since.Sofia went out of the room to put together a vague idea of the flowers Ivy had asked for. Calvin and Ivy exchanged a glance.“She seems good,” he offered.“Yeah,” Ivy adjusted her earrings, frowning. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “But she seems kinda full of herself, don’t you think? And her tan is so trashy. It’s fake, right?”“Probably,” Calvin wondered if she’d cottoned onto Sofia’s effect on him and was venting accordingly. But he’d done his best to act normal. She couldn’t possibly know.“Anyway,” Ivy’s voice dropped even lower. “Did you manage to cancel the gala she’s doing?”Calvin blinked. “We’ve booked her now. Why would we need to?”Ivy rolled her eyes extravagantly. “Because we need her undivided attention! Honestly, Calvin, it’s like you don’t even care! Everything has to be perfect. Everyone needs to focus on us. Nothing else. So cancel it. Sofia hasn’t got the brain to multitask and I’m not taking any chances.”There was a flurry of movement at the door and they exchanged a nervous glance as Sofia walked back in.But thankfully, she hadn’t heard. She looked radiant as ever, her arms full of flowers which she tipped gently onto the desk.“I’ll have to order lily of the valley,” she said. “And the roses will be paler, like you want. But this is just a general idea of course.”“But they’re perfect,” Ivy stood up, gazing at the flowers reverently. “This is exactly what I had in mind.” She lifted one of the bouquets in wonder, examining it from every angle before sighing contentedly. “You’re literally a genius,” she whispered and she was doing what she did with everyone, playing the princess, acting like the girl next door and Sofia was happy and laughing and she seemed so taken in by Ivy’s charm that Calvin wondered if she’d lost some of the intelligence she’d always been known for.“The flowers are literally the most important thing,” Ivy was saying. “They’re everything. I mean, I’m walking down the aisle to La Vie en Rose. They’re even on the cake. They’re literally going to tie everything together.”“I understand entirely,” Sofia reassured. “It’s going to be beautiful, Ivy.”“And nobody can know,” Ivy continued. “I don’t want anyone to know anything until the actual day. So it has to be like, top secret, and you might think nobody cares but believe me, people literally follow us everywhere. They might even show up here. They won’t find anything out, will they?”“Oh no, don’t worry,” Sofia said. “We have state of the art security. Nobody will know a thing, I promise you.”And her reassuring smile was so beautiful that Calvin couldn’t even look at her.“It’s going to be amazing,” Ivy said when they finally walked out of the store. Her excitement was palpable and yet all Calvin wanted to do was go back into the florists, and fuck Sofia until he passed out. He tried to be rational. She was just a woman. Nothing. And yet he felt like a teenager again; daydreaming about the unobtainable. He’d wanted her for years and he didn’t think the urge had ever gone away but had somehow receded and hidden in the back of his mind, waiting for a time to come out and now it was out and it was all he could think of.“I can’t believe how much time we wasted,” Ivy was saying as they crossed the street. “We should have called her first.”“I’m surprised she’s doing it,” Calvin confessed. “You really think she doesn’t care about what we did?”“Why would she?” Ivy dismissed. “Anyway, she can’t afford to. It’s not like this is gonna be a small-time wedding. This is like, huge publicity for her. She’d be literally stupid to say no.”Calvin glanced at her, frowning.“You think?”“Yes,” Ivy widened her eyes for effect. “Like she’s gonna turn us down because of one tiny thing ten years ago. She needs us.”One tiny thing. Calvin wondered if he’d built the betrayal into something more than it was. Both Sofia and Ivy were clearly over it; they’d hugged like old friends after the consultation. And yet, he couldn’t shift the feelings of guilt. Sofia had been his first girlfriend and he’d dumped her and upgraded in the most callous way possible. Upgraded. Ivy was holding his hand tight and she flipped her honey-blonde hair back over her shoulder as he opened the passenger side door for her. She slid in gracefully. Calvin closed the door, went around to his side and started the engine.“You don’t think we did anything wrong?” he pressed.“Well, maybe you did,” Ivy said. “You’re the one who dumped her. Anyway, when did you get such a conscience? You literally kill people off every day. Like Sofia was even a drop in the ocean.”He looked at her but she was absorbed in the screen of her phone, replying to text messages. She’d been Sofia’s best friend at school and until now, they hadn’t spoken once since the night of the prom. Maybe girls were wired differently. Maybe enough time had passed. He frowned and pulled out into lunchtime traffic.***The Escort Bostancı summer was relentless; it hadn’t rained for weeks and though Calvin presumed this boded well for the impending wedding, apparently he was wrong. It was a bad thing, Ivy explained impatiently. Cakes could melt, flowers could wilt, guests could be squinting in photographs outside the church and heaven forbid the champagne should be warm. Calvin tried to come up with solutions but his mind was distracted and he’d become more of a hindrance than anything.He couldn’t stop thinking about Sofia. It wasn’t a welcome fixation; in fact, he did anything and everything he could to expel thoughts of her from his mind but they resurfaced, persistent and frustratingly urgent, resulting in a tight, unstoppable hardness beneath his jeans. It came over him at the worst of times; during meetings, interviews, even when he was trying to sleep.He couldn’t sleep. The nights were sweltering and he’d lie awake beside Ivy and think about Sofia until he had to get out of bed and jerk off in the bathroom. It was constant, continual. He’d walk down the street and think he’d seen her but it was always someone else, someone unimportant and everyday with dark hair and nothing else.His focus should have been on Ivy. He was marrying the love of his life. She was beautiful and smart and successful and her family were rich and their union would only give him bigger opportunities in the world of journalism. She should have been all he wanted.But he wanted Sofia. Every time he took a shower, he found himself masturbating to the thought of her. He wondered what she looked like naked, what it’d be like to fuck her, the sounds she’d make, the way she’d say his name, the way her body would feel under his hands. The fantasies came quick and fast, his fist working his cock hard as he leaned his forehead against the cool wall of the shower and groaned out her name.And it got worse; the thought of her even invading his mind when he was in bed with Ivy.“Oh God,” His eyes were closed and if he focused hard enough, he could almost lose himself in the fantasy. “God, Sof-”He caught himself just in time, stomach reeling from the mistake.“What, baby?” Ivy frowned as he opened his eyes. “So what?”“I just – just – you’re so fucking beautiful,” he said and marvelled at the save. He was dripping in sweat. Ivy smiled indulgently and touched the side of his face.***The day of the wedding came closer. Everyone was ready. Friends from abroad were flying into the city and the seating plan had been triple-checked. Minor adjustments to timings were being made. They even had an impromptu rehearsal of the ceremony though it seemed pointless without the guests and flowers. Still, it gave Calvin a chance to realise how ridiculous his vows sounded out loud. He emailed his speech writer immediately afterwards, demanding a redraft.Two days to zero.Calvin was living his best life. He’d just gotten off the phone with Tom Ford, having assured them he’d wear the suit they’d sent in his next television appearance. Interest in his wardrobe had soared since the engagement announcement and he still couldn’t believe he was getting paid to wear clothes. He set down his phone and went out onto the deck.All eight of Ivy’s bridesmaids had come over for cocktails and they were getting progressively louder and happier. The evening was warm and luxurious, the sun slanting lazy rays of heat into the back garden. Ice-cubes clinked in glasses of lemonade and wine. Calvin was wondering whether it was too soon to offer to handle the PR for his future sister-in-law’s cosmetics company when Ivy caught his elbow and steered him inside.“Have you heard from Sofia?” she asked.Calvin blinked. “No. Why?”“I’ve texted her four times and she hasn’t answered.”“She knows what she’s doing,” he said. “She’s probably just busy.”Ivy glared at him. “We have two days, Calvin. Two days!” She went into the kitchen and thrust a sheet of paper at him. “These are all the flowers we decided. Go and make sure she has everything arranged.”Calvin didn’t want to go. It was past seven and it was unlikely Sofia would even be in her store. Besides the idea of being alone with her felt far too dangerous.“Do I really have to?” he asked.Ivy looked furious.“Do I have to do everything myself?” she snapped.Calvin wisely took the list, got in his car and tried to be rational.He was marrying Ivy. He loved Ivy. She was smart and beautiful and she understood him and she wasn’t afraid to go low. She was the perfect woman for him. Sofia was nothing. She was a distant memory. A high school reject. Their lives ran on different paths, different speeds. He was blowing her up in his mind, making something out of nothing. It was just the shock of seeing her again. He didn’t need her. He didn’t want her. Besides, now that he thought about it, she wasn’t even all that attractive. Ivy was perfection. Blonde and clean and perfect.Sofia was nothing. He got out of the car, repeating the line in his head though he was already sweating at the thought of seeing her again. It was ridiculous. She’s nothing. She’s not even attractive.But she was. The store was closed and when she finally opened the door, she stood in front of him in a pristine white summer dress and strappy high-heeled sandals. Even looking at her felt indecent.

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