Frozen Flowers (excerpt)

Frozen Flowers: Day One

Shelby tipped the last of her beer into Denis’s glass and leaned back in her chair at The Compass, Clarence Bay’s favourite place for beer, burgers, and bands. Talking to a friend on his other side, Denis didn’t notice her contribution to his drink. It kinda irritated her, though she couldn’t really say why. They’d been friends ever since either one could remember. At one point, they could finish each other’s sentences.

Not anymore.

Not since she’d left Clarence Bay for her year-long sojourn in Toronto for her Floral Design course. Now she didn’t have a clue what her best friend was thinking.

He looked the same, mostly. He was still taller than her. In his close-cut Henley shirt, he was broader and more muscled. His dark hair was more stylish, but his green eyes were the same. His smile for her was the same. Her breath caught and for a second she wanted to reach out and stroke his jawline, to feel the bristle of his beard, the softness of his mouth.

She gasped and knotted her fingers together, steadied her breathing.

These new and disturbing urges were all the fault of her college friends. They’d ogled pictures of Denis and teased her mercilessly about “gettin’ me some of that”. Of course, Shelby knew he was handsome. She had fully functioning eyes in her head. She’d just never thought of Denis that way—as a sexual being.

Now it seemed like she couldn’t stop thinking of him that way.

He was her best friend.

He was not a sexual being.

The duo came back onstage. Tonight, Julia and Izzy were entertaining the crowd with renditions of Sinatra songs.

Beside her, Denis stood and touched her arm.

She tipped her head back.

He winked down at her. “Wanna dance?”

“Sure.” Shelby got up and followed him to the dance floor. They moved into their familiar position, close but not too close, friends not lovers. They’d danced together dozens of times, teaching each other how to find the beat and keep the rhythm. She’d stopped his geeky shuffle and he’d stopped her flailing arms. Thank you for such a good friend.