MLMM First Line Friday – “Take Time to Smell the Roses”

Death by roses, she thought, death by roses, hanging her head, feeling totally defeated, tears streaming down onto her velvet dress. This blue velvet dress she had saved just to impress her mother, what a waste it was. She walked down to the waiting taxi and hesitated for a moment, looking back to the cemetery. Oh, mom, why didn’t I realize how much you needed me, before it was too late? Stepping into the taxi she left for the airport.

Jane was late to the funeral, late to the internment, too late to help her mother, just too damn late for everything. Regrets now wouldn’t help, but they would plague Jane for the rest of her life.

It was not all her fault; she was a young executive in another city and state. Flights home to keep abreast of her mother’s situation were not her priority as she fought to keep improving her career. The small town home she grew up in didn’t call to her as much as her business did.

Jane’s mother Lydia led an ordinary life in an ordinary small town. She became a widow early on and raising Jane was the most important thing in her existence. Jane was young enough not to realize her mother’s predicament, and as many young people do, she was only concentrating on herself. Jane attended college away from home and her career took her even farther away.

Lydia found herself at odds being home alone, and decided to volunteer at a nearby hospital. She was needed there and felt a fulfillment that had been missing since her husband’s death. After a few months of socializing, Lydia fell in love with a patient. After his discharge they were always together. Unbeknownst to Lydia or her friends, the patient, Lloyd, had problems that were not addressed by the medical doctors. When Lydia continued her volunteering, Lloyd took her absence as a personal affront. He had a hidden sinister side and when Lydia wouldn’t give up the hospital work, he retaliated.

Researching the effects of certain available poisons, he purchased one he could apply to flowers. Lloyd knew Lydia’s favorites were roses. The night of her death he purchased her favorite roses, but left them in the car. As they ate dinner, he asked her once more to please stop working in the hospital. Lydia knew he was jealous of her time away, but she was not going to give it up. She couldn’t understand why Lloyd wouldn’t want her to help others as she had helped him.

Lloyd excused himself saying he had a surprise for her. He went to the car, retrieved the roses and went into the garage. After applying the nearly invisible poison, he returned to the dining room. He presented her with the lethal bouquet and she smiled. Lifting the roses to her face, she took a deep sniff of her favorite scent. It only took a few moments for the poison to work. Lydia slumped onto the table.

“Death by roses” thought Lloyd, “they’re your favorite, and now so am I.”


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