This is the second in the Love is Blooming serial
Widow Paisley Robbins rounded the corner of her front walk, ever on the look out for flowers to divide or trim. The transplanted Nebraskan missed specific seasonal changes, but spring was definitely in the air here in southern California.
The sound of a slamming car door drew her gaze off the slate path. Three houses up, at the curve of the cul-de-sac, Sara Hunter walked backward to her front door, face almost obscured by…a tree made of fruit? They exchanged a wave.
Paisley eyed the delivery van parked in front of the edible fruit truck, and wondered what Sara was celebrating. The driver of the van exited the horseshoe drive. Instead of gaining speed, he swung into Paisley’s drive. Curious. She hadn’t ordered anything.
“Ms. Robbins,” the teenaged driver greeted, “we had a mix-up of orders and one of these is yours.”
“One of what?”
He jumped out and opened the slider. “Take your pick. The names are here on the clipboard, but Gramps and I don’t know who gets what ‘cuz the computer’s messed up.”
She surveyed the choices, beginning with a handwritten restaurant invitation. Her heart hitched at the writing that looked like her deceased father’s. She shook her head.
Delectable chocolates packaged in gold and pink wouldn’t be for her because she had celiac disease.
The dozen red roses vased in emerald glass weren’t for her either. She may have awakened that morning with a heightened sense of spring fever, but her love lay in a cemetery across town.
“How about these?” The delivery boy held up an ornate replica of a Victorian bird cage. Through the resin slats a pair of cuddling, teal love birds cocked their curious heads. Their iridescent feathers reminded her of an Indigo bunting she’d once seen back home.
She knew who the birds were meant for. “I’ll sign for those.”
This was the fourth time deliveries or mail had been mixed up with a man named Robin Paisley. The last time was the previous week when a package of organic bird seed had been left on her porch.
The teenager carried the cage up her steps and set it in the shade. Then he placed the invoice on the top of his clipboard for her to sign. “Thanks, three to go.”
She thanked the youth for the delivery. It was time she met the bird man.
Their first contact was when he’d called. Her number was on the invoice for a delivery of calla lilies, left at his door. She’d picked up her package when he was at work. The next two exchanges were over mail left in each other’s box.
The turquoise love birds were probably fine on the porch. She went inside to get her cell.
For some reason, a flutter of anticipation wiggled through her tummy as she waited for him to answer.
“Mr. Paisley, Paisley Robbins here.”
She smiled when he chuckled, low and long. “It happened again?”
“Right the first time. I think this one calls for a personal retrieval.” That flirtatious tone had come from her mouth?
“Be right over.”
What had she done?
Would Gabe be turning over in his grave?
She sat without moving, mesmerized by the pair of love birds. They nuzzled and clacked, engrossed in one another as they perched.
A car soon swished into her driveway. She took a deep breath and turned at the snick of the door. And almost forgot to exhale.
He wasn’t Hollywood handsome. Separately, features were mismatched, kind of unbalanced. But all together, she approved of the approaching package. When he was close enough, Paisley blinked. Robin’s blue and green eyes matched the feathers of the love birds.
He extended his hand. “We finally meet.”
At the touch of their palms, her hungry heart sighed.
Something beyond attraction was born. Peace. Familiarity. The sense of rightness. And above all, she could almost hear Gabe whisper, “It’s time to let me go.”
He ignored the steps and leaped onto the porch. “Oh, what lovely blues and greens you are.”
“Is that what they’re really called?”
“Generically. The bright green with the target eyes are called Fischers.”
“Why such a fancy cage?”
“It’s all for show. They’ll live in a wire cage in the breezeway behind my house.”
She tipped her head and wondered if she looked too much like his birds. “They seem pretty content here on my front porch. Would you like some lemonade?”
“I would. And I’d like to get to know more about you.”
Paisley had no idea what Robin’s life story was. But she knew deep inside she was beginning a new chapter of hers. A part of her would always miss Gabe, yet she was certain he wouldn’t want her to go through life alone.
She suppressed a giggle at the crazy romantic notion of the name, Paisley Robbins-Paisley. But that sounded a whole lot better than Paisley Paisley.
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If you want to read the other serial stories, they will be post at different spots. Visit our blogs and websites, listed below and follow the story of the mixed up gifts!