The taste for flowers

The music was loud, the quiet journey started to change, everyone began to go to the biggest living room, where the owners used to let their guests dance all the night at every party. The light was exquisite giving a sense of staying in a vibrant garden. She remembered some women extremely delicate and elegant when they had chosen their outfits; the first flashback was her personal choice of a retro style for decorating her house. Lauren knew exactly every detail, which provoked and inspired her, she always enjoys the aesthetics for the first decades of XX century. She spent long hours searching, classifying or buying pieces for her personal collection. Lauren was five years old, and she used to go upstairs to her new house. She loved the structure, design and color. Also, Lauren used to play on them or to wait that her parents arrive in the afternoon. Afterwards, she decided to transform her bedroom inspired by her deep fascination, which used to define it as an obsession, for Art Nuvo. However, the stairs in her house were inspired by the needs of her husband. He used to prefer useful things; he never was interested in learning about style, design, decoration. Furthermore, Mark likes how she works in something so important for her and the benefits of staying in a beautiful place most of the time. This time, the smell of the Narcissus falling like a cascade in the middle and over both sides of the staircase was something he enjoys. Their guests would be able to perceive the smell at least from a distance of 15 steps before they could put one of their feet to go upstairs, everything looks like Lauren wished for it. Lauren promised an unforgettable evening, and her commitment was becoming an extraordinary experience since the first moment for everyone, she has been mentioned a special night for celebrating his husband’s birthday.

When she was descending at 06:00 pm, the action let her remind different moments in her life, birthdays, baptisms, weddings, break-ups and other rites of passage from her family. Even when all of them had their time, she still reminded them all of them apparently. At this particular moment, she only was able to focus her mind in the first time she arrived at her house. Something in her mind let her guessing that it would not be an easy night for her, but it would not stop her while she was trying to organize everything like she planned in the last two months so the evening would be unforgettable.

She keeps checking every detail, watching the distance between the calla lilies around the fountain surrounded by big white candles, as she drew in her office. The tables in the house were decorated with a different type of her favourite flowers like lotus, a special one because it was one of the first flowers she got in her youth. Even though nobody in the celebration would notice the particular sense of every detail in the place, there were not doubts about that every object was inspired by the things she loved. Some of them, even hide from the people who knew her well.

Before verifying that the menu for the dining was perfect, which means that every guest would appreciate the delicate and intense flavours created for the talented chef Marie, who worked for her when she used to invite people for dining in special celebrations, she still has many doubts about the choices she made for everyone. When she should think about that evening, she was focused on her husband’s love for the sea and all the things involved with his passion for fishing, snorkeling, swimming, among other hobbies that she found dangerous and annoying. She never liked the texture of the sand over her body, the hot weather, the killing sun and of course the sweat while experiencing the so vibrant “fun” in the beach, like Mark used to define it.

After let her mind was lost for a few seconds remembering these details, she asked Marie:

– “Do you follow my instructions about the menu?”

Marie just watches her with her eyebrows up while expressing her lack of satisfaction about the question. However, she had been working for the last years with Lauren, and she knew very well the type of obsession her boss usually apply when there is a party at her house, she was only worried about avoiding that her female friends would not criticize her skills for organizing an evening for friends or family. Of course, there would be more interesting things happening everywhere but for them this party was considered as a priority and the approval or critics about trivial details like the Sacher cake had not possessed the right buttery taste and how would Lauren, the queen of details, let her guests eating something like that? Marie just stops thinking about it before getting a headache.

– Yes, Mrs. Ballmann. I did everything as you asked in the morning.

The tone of her voice was similar to what you listen when someone is trying to console a little girl because the only thing she would like to do was throwing the plate with the lobsters and tiger shrimps she got in her hands to Lauren’s face after hearing unnecessary questions. However, this woman paid very well and beyond her continuous intense behaviour and stress, she cares about what she is doing in her house; that was the only reason to understand her crazy ways.

While Lauren was checking the creamy texture for the soup, she explained with a contemptuous tone in her voice.

-“The soup for the entree is almost ready. As we discussed one week ago, I used scallops, fish, and oysters. The soup should be delicate, soft; your husband is going to enjoy it. The preparation of the dessert was following all the instructions you asked for before. It is the Sacher cake; I followed every step from Mr. Ballmann’s mother book of recipes. Before you start asking questions I did not change a thing from it, do not worry. Also, the vegetables for the cheese salad is ready; I am going to prepare it with Camembert, Blue Cheese and Gouda with your recipe for balsamic oil and fine herbs.”

-Now, I am cooking the lobster with tiger prawns and mashed potatoes with slices of courgettes that you requested to replace the rack of lamb with Paprika sauce because it was not appropriate for your menu, even when is one of your husband’s favourite recipes.

The answer satisfied Lauren’s doubts but she was deeply concerned about the tone of Marie’s voice, it sounded quite motherly and annoying, she identified the treatment like an intruder in her kitchen. Although she preferred to avoid a discussion because Marie knew what she should do to provide the best experience to her guests. This fact did not change her anger towards Marie’s disdainful attitude, but everything has been done properly, so she just said:

-“Thank you, Marie. You are always a pro.”

Afterwards, she walked to the living room to use her mobile phone, which was on a table nearby the kitchen, she pushed the bottoms and called Mark because he forgot to send her a message for telling her he will be late for the party. She was expecting to it at 06:30 pm and it is 07:15 pm when she decided to call him.

Mark was in his office, and he replies immediately:

-“Hey Lauren, I was thinking of you. I know I am late. I am sorry. I will be there before 9:00 pm. I am not lying. Don’t be mad.”

Lauren could not shut her mouth; she was feeling ignored by him, so she expressed

– “I was expecting for you to be early. Do you know how long it will take for you to be at home?”

-“Yes, I did, Lauren but someone must pay for all the things that you are spending so this discussion has no purpose.”

-“Mark, I do not care if you are paying for it or not. What bothers me it is watching you are acting like a moron saying one thing in the morning and then, acting like you do not care about this at all.”

-“ I am not going to fight with you now so I will be there before 9:00 pm. I am sorry.”

Lauren listened to the beep on the mobile, and Mark decided to end the call. It was not the first time, and she was feeling sad and tired of his behaviour, but she would not call him again.

Trying to ignore her lack of satisfaction from her previous conversation with his husband, Lauren started seeing if her guests’ names are in the right place at the dining table. Even when this birthday party is not going to be a crowded event because Mark’ s family was living in the capital and they invited him and her to share a special celebration during the long weekend at the end of June. Mark’s relatives invited to this party will be his uncle, her aunt and his cousin, Michael, Christine, and Robert, who will attend with her fiancee, Maureen. Lauren knows they are very close to his husband. Especially, for sharing the same crazy interest in outdoors and sports. They occupied four places in the dining room. Meanwhile, others seats would be for her best friend, Camille and her husband, Karl. He was completely bored. Although she always thinks of her friend as the best, since they were little children while sharing special occasions. She always has the type of personality that everyone loves. Lauren enjoyed her memories with Camille through high school and University, but she was aware of how different they always had been. In some aspects, Camille was free to do everything she wants with all the money her father left her after her dead. However, everyone knows was always more attracted to simple things. That does not mean that she was not able to enjoy the same type of holidays or hobbies like Lauren but they never part of their priorities, she preferred to spend time with her mother and family, taking care of her five children then use her time searching for vanity. At least, she had never been cached talking about sultry details of her high life even when she enjoyed that. She was very strange for her friends; even Lauren did not understand at all her ways through the years but of course, she loved her.

Thinking about Uncle Michael and her very opinionated wife, there will be tears, sweat, and blood that night. Christine was the cruelest person on earth when she decided to criticize someone. Lauren never expressed her perception about she has about her, but nobody could deny the harsh experience of tolerating that women, who always criticize everything or compare anything with what she has seen or experienced before in a way that you would never understand how this woman was able to be extremely valued by socialites. Of course, she knows well about acting like a lady, even in the middle of the worst crises like when Robert try to run away or was caught cheating in his final exams. Lauren still remembered how Christine was suffering a nervous collapse in both situations. How he and his family experienced this type of crazy situations when they have been trying to give the best education to her little Rob, who was messing around and changing the plan made for him by his caring parents.

Of course, the situation with the girl was solved because it was a false alarm. The parents of the girl prohibited any interaction with Robert for the rest of his life. It was strange because they loved each other but if they run away together, they knew that Robert and Lissie would probably be not able to finish high school or do something else with their lives. Nowadays, Robert has a relationship with Maureen, her fiancee; she worked for a favorite TV show as the anchor. She is well-known, interesting, smart and attractive. Christine is satisfied with this type of nonsense because you could not expect anything else from her. Although Michael did not like her so much; he was scared that the only reason for her to try to get a Robert in a relationship would be money. Nonetheless, she never could be appreciated as poor women, but the idea of her working on TV is something that still does not convince him at all, even when she talked about her professional goals. Well, the birthday party would be the best scenario to observe their dynamic was an idea in Lauren’ s head while was changing the cards on the table. She feels curiosity know more about Maureen; she looks gorgeous on TV; she conquered a huge audience, but when we talked about Michael and Christine, their rules are more complicated to understand and play than the measures made by McCann Erickson’ s statistics.

No matter how attractive or famous her future cousin in law would be. Lauren was deeply interested to know more about his new husband’s business partner at the company. She barely saw him two months earlier in a company’s event organised by the firm. Martin has been living the last three years in Europe, but he decided about this change after he discovered his inner desire of sharing more time with the woman he met during his holidays. His friends were surprised after he decided to spend more time with far from home. Martin took many financial risks to leave everything and give a chance to this opportunity, which was his original perception about his attraction. He moved following her; they were living the last few years together until she finished her studies abroad and she wanted to stay again with her family. The story moved every person; they automatically compared this romantic guy with a less romantic boyfriend, husband or partner they have just met. Thinking about their story, Lauren has an extensive list of the different question but what captured her attention was knowing this woman, and this night would be a great occasion to watch her closer.

Everything looks OK, but Lauren still was feeling a little bit anxious about getting everything in order. Suddenly, the ring of the bell let her know that her hairdresser has arrived, she opened the door and showed Iris, where they must go to fix the hairdo that she will have that night with an orange silk gown with the classic cut and of course, a beautiful golden bracelet and necklace. After she was sitting to blow her hair, she talked to Bea.

– “What have you been done in the last three months? I was calling you, but you always have been busy.”
– “Well, I got a full-time job, so I was not able to help you. Mrs. Although, I recommend you another person.”
– “I know you did, but I do not trust strangers. I have known you for the last 27 years, so I was expecting that you helped me. Sorry for not being patient but I missed how you worked.”
– “Do not worry but you must understand.”

Selena has known her family since she was a child, they are always working with her, and Lauren has been generous with her most of her time. Even when most of the people are not aware of the reasons behind her decision to marry Mark, when both are so different. They always expected someone more similar to the sensitive side of Lauren but it was not in that way, she got married to a breathtaking, straightforward and practical guy. What everyone asks is why did Mark marry Lauren?

She remembered the day that Mark and Lauren got married, she suffered a panic attack before the ceremony, and he was there being the patient man he always has been. The guests were making bets that he would not marry her, but he did, which is something peculiar. Later, they were trying to have babies for a long time, but there are some problems to accomplish this desire, they have been trying every possibility, but it was not working. Selena knows about this, not for Lauren but through her mother Edith (prosperous in war), who always had enough confidence in Selena to talk about very particular topics because she is like a tomb, always listening and never letting any word escape from the concrete.

When she finished, she looked Lauren’s beautiful face, quiet, calm, and happy. She has known for ages that Lauren is a beautiful woman but most of the time she felt a fear of making things in the wrong way. She is not sure the reasons behind her sense of being distracted by the good things she possessed in life. However, Lauren is aware of her reality and be a mother while she keeps waiting for Mark, even when sh did not discuss this subject, and Mark is patient and love her in spite of all the hardship she has confronted during this period. She knows that Lauren feared being abandoned by her husband under these particular circumstances, which made her feel the desire to make him feel less concerned about her.

After she had finished her job, a simple look to Lauren’s style that day let her expressed:

-“You look beautiful today. I am not wasting words to express it. I hope you and your husband enjoy his birthday.”

Quietly staring Selena in the eye, Lauren expressed her words of feeling fine.

-“You know me, Selena; I am always like this. You know what I want and yes, I hope we both enjoy this birthday. I could not say more words now.”

The both women share hugs and later, she said goodbye.

At 08:00 pm, Lauren was ready to talk to their staff about how to serve the food and beverages. The discussion about the type of alcohol for that evening takes time. She expressed directly she would need the waiters and waitress to serve a Californian Sauvignon Blanc for the dinner. Later she talks about the type of cocktails to one of the people helping that night.

-“This is not difficult; here you would find vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, grenadine, lime, lemons; red, white and rose wine; gin, beer, tequila, rum, Jagermeister, Amaretto, the variety of liquors, champagne. Whatever they asked you, there would be here; we have ice in the kitchen and all the utensils, glass; jars are in the bar. You know how to prepare them, so I do not believe I need to express more details about it”, afterwards, she leaves the place.

Even when she was not a lover of drinking, she knows Michael and Robert used to like to enjoy some drinks while they were attending parties and she would not stop them about their appreciation of alcohol while exchanging stories from their youth. Especially, when Michael used to love to tell his crazy stories about what he used to do with her frat boys at University.

She always remembered one specific story, the craziest about how long it takes him while he was trying to find his way out of a golf field, where their college partners left him as part of their revenge after suffering in the hands of a prankster like him. He had no idea how to leave that place. He had the worst headache while he was trying to find her way to come back to University, which for her surprise was in a different state.

Without doubts, Robert’s personality was influenced by her father, funny, laid-back, and focus when he needs to find an opportunity for telling his tales from Frat times to appear would not disappear that night. The family men, in this case, were the most interesting because Christine was always suffering any emotional crisis. Sometimes, she could not find the proper colour for her living room. The kitchen underwent a transformation and the little details to make this look like Christine wanted, where a complete and reasonable. Enough to make her go to do some aromatherapy or other of this New-Age stuff that she likes it to share with everyone. Even if the person was not interested at all in her vain details to get the proper use of colour in the room like a professional would explain so, she just used to be lame, boring and usually overrated by her crazy and similar friends, who share those topics.

Lauren found them relevant but not the only subject to care about; she was more interested in using her time to her work as the volunteer helping children with special needs. Perhaps, she knew deeply that her interest was influenced by her strong desire to become a mother. The most difficult task in her personal experience. The regular visits to doctors to try to get pregnant during the last two years were an exhaustive search for the best alternatives. However, none of them worked at the end. Trying to use her mind to think about different things, she kept her attention on checking the last details for that night. She should have to maintain a better relationship with Marie, even when this woman has not interested in listening to any guide while she was trying to do everything in her terms. Confronting this situation, she only was to be more patient and listen to Marie about the dinner for the night.

-“Hi Marie, First. I was not trying to show the lack of confidence in your way to work. It is just I need to feel this is going to work tonight.”

-“Mrs. It is not necessary this discussion about what you feel at this moment. I have been working with you the last five years. I know how you are, I only prefer to put limits when you are acting concern about ordinary things in the kitchen extremely.”

At this moment, she reminded why she had always been working with Marie. She controls the kitchen in the best way and even understands her excessive tension before all her events. She was never able to assimilate the intrusion in Marie’s experience. Watching her standing in front of the plate with salad the only she perceive was her lack of ability to manage the situation. Undoubtedly, the idea of his husband arriving late to the evening was the most complicated situation in her mind, so she decides to ask for something she has never done before.

-“Marie, may I help you?”

Marie only could close her eyes trying to figure out what exactly was going on in this women’s mind? She has never cooked anything. She exhales and after few seconds, she was able to answer her:

-“Yes, you could. However, I only do because you are scaring me. Mix the salad’s ingredients.”

Lauren walked nearby the sink, and her kitchen showed an elegant use of black and white showed her taste for modern and very minimalist, nothing that captures excessive attention but an excellent place to find everything. A white basket with colourful fruits has attracted the attention in the central black Silestone where she was to start helping with the dressing prepared by herself for special occasions. While mixing the ingredients, she could not stop watching the clock in front of her; she could not believe that Mark will take so much time to arrive. The situation was getting her nervous. He just wanted to be late that night, after all, the time she spent planning what supposed to be special.

Meanwhile, Marie was focused in the preparation of a special sauce for the main recipe. She was working with oyster sauce, delicate slices of ginger and anise while with a few spoons of soup. The smell in the kitchen made Lauren remembered one of her first dates with Mark. She asked her to go nearby the sea because it was his favourite place, she found the invitation quite unpleasant because Lauren was interested in him but the idea to stay in a place that she never really enjoyed was not attractive at all. Although the time they spent there was enough to let her know that if she was able to feel glad avoiding all the negative aspects from the beach, he probably would be the right person to her. Throughout five seconds, she was able to remind the words he expressed while both were talking:

-“What is the craziest thing have you ever done?” – He asked while watching her without blinking. She was surprised by the question, although she knew that he was the type of person who loves to take risks. Her nature was completely different, she has been aware of what others could think or expressed their thoughts, her actions, she has never been the kind of person who takes risks or try to do unexpected things. In some sense, she was not individuals who do crazy things.

She feels a sensation of intrigue and curiosity about his manners. She could not stop to look at a statue hypnotized; and like him, both were warm and kind to express their personalities and interests. She could not stop her mind while her thoughts found everything exciting and scary. She was never the wild girl or something she would identify as completely outrageous. So she looked him, standing up in front of her and kissed her. She was surprised, but she would not miss the opportunity of kissing him back. His hands touched her neck, her lips were exploring each other, the breath almost was lost, while they were trying to figure out when or how it would end. He finished giving her some kisses in her neck. Then she watched him directly while saying:

-“That is the craziest thing.”

He only could smile before kissing her again.

Even when the memories of the beginning of their relationship were so intense, she knew that everything had changed dramatically after the last two years when her interest to become a mother was dramatically exaggerate by social pressure. The idea started after she was trying for one year to get pregnant without having her expectations fulfilled. The worst part of this time was all the pressure she has put on Mark through this time. It was like this was the only thing that matters to her in the entire world. Even more than her marriage. She knows he would never accept the idea of raising someone’ s else kid so adoption would be an alternative for them neither artificial insemination with someone’ s else semen. The character of her husband would not tolerate this type of commitment.

Under these circumstances, they should follow those treatments focused on ameliorating their possibilities to have a baby. However, no matter how doctors choose the stronger and better ovum and spermatozoid from the samples, it just going to nowhere. Her anxiety about this long waiting has just killed a part of her emotions. She cannot wait longer, every time she expects to have positive feedback, the only thing would appear is the wrong outcome. Mark had not said anything; his maleness would not let him show her lack of satisfaction. She knows he felt as this should be his responsibility, and he must go further to finding a solution, but she avoid to make him feel in that way. They never argued about it, but both had been struggling with their unhappiness.

-“Mrs. Did you finish with the salad?”
-“Um… Yes, I only forgot something. Have you done with the main dish?
-“Yes, it is ready.”
-“Thank you, Marie.”

Afterwards, she left the kitchen to figure out when do Mark arrive at home?

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