And tell the wish of thy heart in flowers... by banbury

And tell the wish of thy heart in flowers... - banbury

“Are you sure you put it in the right end up?”

“What do you mean ‘the right end up’?” Blair looked up at him with big, blue, ingenuous eyes. It could have looked as if he was secretly smirking or being smug, but Jim knew that Blair was genuinely curious, and as ignorant in the fine art of planting as Jim himself. That was why Jim felt a little unsettled trying to decipher the message behind Blair’s sudden urge to plant calendula, rosemary, sweet basil, and thyme on their balcony. And that brought him back to his first thought.

“I mean, do you really know how to plant seeds?”

Blair sat on his haunches and calmly fixed his gaze upon Jim. “You know, a lot of cultures believe planting to be one of the basic relaxation techniques – you open up to nature, you literally hold it in your palm, you put your hands in the earth and recharge your connection…”

“I know, I know, you can go on for hours about this mystical stuff. Just tell me, do you know how to plant seeds, Chief?”

“Uhm, actually I’ve read a book on gardening and before you ask me again – no, Jim, it’s not important what end of the seed you put up.” Blair went to his knees again and stuck his hand into the specially enriched soil in the case a bit too forcefully.

“You can read whatever you like, Chief, but what should I do, if I see the sprout trying to … to sprout, eh?” Jim moved his fingers apart and very carefully dropped the seed he held, right into the hole Blair had dug in the box.

It was really creepy - Jim wasn’t doing it on purpose, it was just that his vision was drawn by the seeds -- part of nature -- to the extent where he was able to see tiny green tendrils of leaves expanding and seeking exit… or entrance, come to think of it. He shook his head and went inside. He needed to cool off a little.

“Eh? Jim, really?” Blair scrambled to his feet and rushed after him. “You really can see it? Really as in really-really?” Blair's eyes shone with curiosity and he grabbed a nearby pad of paper and pen, already making notes. “We can try to…”

“Uh-huh. Nope. My head’s spinning, when I look at them.” Jim watched Blair unobtrusively. He was still not sure that it wasn’t a plot of some sort, but he knew that Blair's surprise was genuine and that he was pleased with himself. It wasn't a very comfortable sensation. Jim felt like he was cheating; able to do something not because he could, but because of what he was. He didn’t think “freak”, but it lurked in the back of his mind.

He sighed and looked at Blair again.

His friend sat on the floor by the coffee table and wrote busily. A certain tension in his shoulders indicated that he knew what Jim was thinking and wasn't happy about it. Maybe there was a plot after all…

“Okay, spill…” Jim demanded.

Blair hung his head, became visibly smaller, pushed the pad away, and began to fiddle with the pen. “Uhm… you know… that’s that…”

Jim waited. And waited. And waited. “That’s what?” he asked finally.

“You know… our student association… we organize… you know, every spring we organize a special event to… you know – to show our profound concern on the subject of the global environmental problems.” Blair looked at Jim out of the corner of his eyes. Jim made sure that his expression was unthreatening and Blair turned to him and smiled as only an encouraged Blair could.

“Last year we picketed a petroleum refinery. Uhm… before that, there was a documentary about deforestation. That sort of thing. So… I’m in charge this year…”

Jim snorted. If Sandburg was in charge of something, trouble or at the best, unconventional thinking and decisions were inevitable.

Blair shrugged. “So? I can be in charge, you know. Never mind, I suggested to do something useful for a change.”

Jim closed his eyes and began to mentally inspect the city’s law enforcement trying to decide if there was enough force available to ensure the citizens’ safety in the face of Sandburg’s “something useful”. He should warn Simon ....

“… we even try to persuade… Jim? Jim, did you hear me?”

Jim looked at him with vacant eyes, “Fifteen precincts and then… what?”

Blair began laughing. It was so catching that Jim felt the corners of his mouth rise up and laughter began to bubble at the back of his throat. “Okay, I didn’t hear a thing. I was trying to think if the city has enough people to save it from your “useful” actions.” He hoped Blair didn’t take his words too seriously but Blair just dissolved into more laughter.

“I see, I see.” Blair took a deep breath to calm himself and offered Jim a leaflet. “Pay attention, man. So, we… okay, I suggested landing students’ troops in the local parks and gardens. Nothing drastic – just to plant additional trees and bushes. We have an agreement with one of the local nursery gardens – we buy the plants from them with a discount and advertise them in exchange in a university journal.”

Jim looked at him. “Uh-huh. It’s not an invasion?” That set off the new bout of laughter.

“So, you’re training in the fine art of planting for your… event?” Jim busied himself making coffee, but he didn’t miss the mischievous smile on Blair’s face.

“I don’t actually… in fact, I don’t need to train myself, I worked in the arboretum one summer when I didn’t have an expedition.” Blair stopped talking expectantly.

“Oh, no. Just don’t tell me you want me to go with you.” Jim shuddered remembering sprouts in their sleeping quarters. “No, Chief, no way. I’m… I’m allergic to the fertilizers.”

“Huh?”

“And… and I don’t know how to dig… uhm, no, I mean – I don’t know where… no, I mean… No good?” Jim didn’t try to find an excuse for real. For some time now it had been a game of theirs – ‘how to find an excuse for not doing something’. Blair was the champion.

“Nope.”

“Damn.”

“Ah, man, what's to fear – clean air, nice weather, good company…” Blair fished out another leaflet. “See? We’ll go there – it’s a new park by the sea. We have some pines, birch trees, currant bushes and the like. And some flowers. You can pick whatever.” He motioned Jim over to the balcony. “Let’s see if you can find the perfect place to plant our training seeds.”

Jim sighed and muttered under his breath, “You’ll better ask Simon over to keep me company. Otherwise I might dig myself in and you’ll never find me.”

^^^^^^^

At least Jim managed to bring the whole Major Crime gang to help him find his way through the flowerbeds. It wasn’t as bad as he’d imagined – the whole good company thing, almost as much fun as a picnic, if he discounted the mud and sweat.

Jim sighed and looked the last two flowers beds over with satisfaction.

“Hey, Chief, what are you writing on these plates? Isn’t it supposed to be just the name of the plant?”

Blair squinted and motioned him over. “You see, this one is your flower bed and the other one is mine.”

“Yes, and?” Jim began to suspect that Blair had somehow beaten his reluctance to try the theory of seeing sprouts.

“Uhm, it’s just I watched what end of the seed you put pointing up and put mine the other way up. You see, I didn’t ask you.”

Jim wasn’t sure he wanted to get mad at Blair, it was just that the other man didn’t even try to win an argument and he still got what he wanted.

“That was clever, Sandy!” Neither of them had noticed Megan Connor approaching. “And I like it that you asked us here. I didn’t know Jim was such an experienced gardener. So…”

Both men snickered.

“Nope, Connor, Blair ruined the last weekend trying to teach me. He decided to make his own garden on the balcony.”

“Just some herbs,” hastily added Blair, “to have something fresh to cook with and flowers, you know – basic stuff: calendula, rosemary, sweet basil, thyme, things like that.”

Megan looked him over with a thoughtful expression, “Good choice, mate. I think you really need thyme, for that matter.”

Blair didn’t have time to answer; some students came over, asking for help, and he jogged away, waving a farewell to Megan.

Jim grabbed Megan’s sleeve. “What do you mean, he needs thyme? Is it some sort of weird natural remedy? Is he ill?”

“Oh, no, mate. Nothing like that, I swear. I just remembered the flower language, that’s all.” Megan drifted away with that parting comment and a wicked smile.

“Damn it, another weekend down the drain. Now, where can I find an open library on Saturday evening?” Jim muttered to himself as he walked off.

“May I help you, Detective Ellison?” Jim nearly collided with one of Blair’s students. “Blair went…” She waved her hand somewhere to the south.

“Oh no, thank you...unless...I don't suppose you know something about the language of flowers??” It was a long shot, but still better than wandering around the city in search of an open library.

“Not much.” She shrugged and smiled. “But I can always try.”

“O-okay.” Jim wasn’t sure he really needed to know it, but you could never tell when it came to Blair. “Do you know what calendula, rosemary, sweet basil, and thyme mean?”

“Let me think. Basically, it means – joy; remembrance, commitment; good luck; strength and courage. At least, something like that. Is that all?”

Jim nodded and she walked away, leaving him stunned."And she thinks he needs courage. ‘Good luck’ for me… I’ll be damned.”

Blair really had been smug, then, with good reason, and Jim felt tricked. “I’ll show you flower language," he murmured under his breath. "Next time I choose the rules of the game and you so-o-o plant me the whole Yellowstone and… I really need that damn library. What to choose – Morse code? No, Blair might know it. Language… language… oh, yeah. Maritime Code of Signals. Oh yes! He’s so planting the whole Olympic National Park!”

Jim breathed deeply and smiled with satisfaction. “Oh yes, he was right – planting is a very relaxing pastime…”

The end

Back to the Gendex

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Jane Davitt for the quick beta. Thank you to Patt for finding the cover art for the story.