Twelve Roses

In the heart of Destiny Square, a shopping district in the picturesque town of Swan Valley, there's a place known as Restaurant Lane. There is no road in this area, just one large stone pathway around which was an array of radically different restaurants. Hundreds of shoppers would walk up and down the path, relaxing and choosing from the large selection of restaurants.

One chilly February day, a petite brunette walked alongside her loud raven haired friend, into Turtle Jack's, one of the only chain restaurants in the city. The thing everyone loved about the restaurant was the serving staff-some of the friendliest young ladies and gentlemen you could ever encounter worked there, and these two ladies were part of that staff. The big raven haired woman laughed, as her short companion flushed red.

"That's hilarious! Dannica, do you know how many women would kill to be stalked by the dashing Sergeant Swan?" she asked, waggling her eyebrows.

"I don't know why. Bree, he's so irritating."

Bree laughed, shaking her head. Every morning, the two women would meet up in the parking lot and walk the short distance to their workplace. Valentine's Day was only twelve days away, and Destiny Square was fast becoming a very overdone Valentine's Day card. Shop windows were covered with gifts and pink teddy bears, chocolates and candies in other windows, along with couples in love roaming the streets. It's why Bree had asked Dannica if she had any secret admirers.

Of course, the only man who somewhat admired Dannica was Derrick Swan, police officer and oldest son of the mayor and his wife. Sure, some thought that was amazing, and many, like Bree, would be ecstatic if Derrick was constantly hitting on them, but Dannica had never been like everyone else.

In fact, she found the man infuriating and annoying.

Even if he had saved her from drowning the first time they met.

The warmth of the restaurant engulfed the women as they walked in, nodding at the hostess, Sandra, and making their way to the lockers at the back. They were joined by an average red headed woman at the lockers.

"Morning Bree, Morning Dannica," she said, stifling a yawn and opening her locker.

"Morning, Anna," Bree replied, cheerily. Dannica smiled, fiddling with her lock.

"You girls notice the lovely windows this morning?" She asked, sadly.

"Of course! The feeling of love is in the air," Bree said sarcastically. Sadly, her sarcasm was lost on the young waitress, who started babbling about how beautiful the holiday was and how she wished she still had someone to spend it with. Sighing, Dannica tuned out the two women, and opened her locker, throwing her purse in. She stopped, however, when something red caught her eye. Peering into her locker, the scent of flowers tickled her nose, as she pulled out a red rose.

"Dannica, are you even-oh my goodness that is beautiful!" Anna said, noticing the rose.

"Secret admirer, eh Dannica?" Bree winked and nudged the shocked brunette.

"Oh! Maybe there's a note! That'd be soo romantic!"

Dannica looked in her locker. No note, no message, nothing. How did it even get in her locker, anyways?

"Nothing, huh? Maybe you'll find clues throughout the day, dearie."

"I'll help you look! Oh, you're soo lucky; I'm soo jealous right now."

The two women's opinions faded into the background, as Dannica gazed at the rose. Why am I so worked up? It's just a rose, she thought. Slowly, she placed the rose inside her locker and grabbed her apron. Only time would tell who had put the rose in there.

Later that evening, Dannica arrived home, the rose in a plastic kid's cup filled halfway with water. Walking inside the silent house, she carefully placed it on the table, throwing her purse and keys on a chair. She peered at the rose, as if it would spread its dainty red petals and say Hey, Dannica, this is the person who gave me to you!

But, no such luck. Figuring that she may as well make the rose look pretty, she wandered to the small kitchen, looking for a vase to place it in. In an hour or so, her dad would be home from the office, her mom in tow, covered in flour from her bakery, both exhausted after a long day at work. That left her ample time to hide the rose in her room, and get some thinking done, before her family started to snoop.

"Oh, Dannica, that's a pretty rose," a quiet voice said. Whirling around, Dannica nearly tripped over her small cousin.

"Dear lord, Claire, you scared me!"

Claire, a small raven haired, purple eyed child, had padded down the stairs, curious to see who was home. Her older cousin had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't realized the twelve-year-old girl was home.

"Weren't you supposed to be at Duncan's house?"

"I was, but Aunt Elaine said she and Uncle Victor'd be late, so Duncan walked me home to make sure I was safe. I think he worries too much."


"So who gave you the rose?"

"I have no clue," she replied, placing the rose in a small crystal vase, filling it with water.

"It smells really nice. So you have a secret admirer?"

"I guess."

"I think I know who it i-is," Claire sung. Dannica walked up to her room with her small vase, Claire following behind her. She reached her room, and placed the vase on one of the nightstands.

"It's Derrick, I'll bet. He adores you," Claire said, walking into the brunette's room and jumping onto the bed, cross legged.

"Ohhhh, big word. Someone's rubbing off on you."

Claire shrugs. "We're doing a creative writing assignment in school. I've been looking through a thesaurus for the past few days...but yea, Duncan helps too." Duncan was Claire's best friend, and Dannica approved of him. He helped a lot two years ago when Claire originally came to live with them. Now, the pair were inseparable. The brunette had to admit, she was a little bit jealous of her slightly timid cousin's friendship.

"Anyway, don't change the subject," Claire continued, flopping back on Dannica's pillows with a poof, "It was Derrick and you know it."

"You just want it to be Derrick because you like him."

"Well, yeah, he's nice. Also, he plays games with me. But, he cheated."

"That was two years ago, Claire." Dannica fiddled with the vase, and sat on the edge of the bed, looking at Claire. For a twelve year old, she could be such a child. Said kid sprung up and narrowed her eyes.

"I never forget." Winking, she flew back into the pillows.

"You're something else, little cuz," Dannica smirked, tickling her. Claire laughed, pillows flying. The two collapsed in a fit of giggles, sighing happily.

"Well, it is one rose, Ica," Claire said, using the nickname Dannica hated. "It's not the end of the world," she smiled, and sprung out of the bed, making her way to her room.

She's right; it's just one rose, Dannica thought, moments after her cousin left. What's there to worry about?

The next day, Dannica went in for the night shift. She said hello to her co-worker Nia, and opened her locker. Once more, the smell of roses greeted her nose, and she pulled one out of her locker, again. She searched once more for a note, smoke signal, trinket, anything, but found nothing.

"So you really do have a secret admirer," Nia said, smelling the rose and smiling.

"It's all over work, isn't it?" She replied, sighing.

"Talk of the night shift with Anna yesterday," Nia replied, shaking her dreadlocks out of her face. "I'm positive she's jealous." She smirked, her brilliant white smile lighting up her face. Dannica couldn't help but smile a bit. After all, Anna could get very annoying.

"Lemme get you a cup to put that in, and then we'll tackle the latecomers," She said, breezing into the kitchen.

Claire's going to get a kick out of this, She thought, smelling the rose. And she couldn't help the smile that graced her face as she inhaled its lovely sent.

For the next nine days, the same thing would happen. She'd arrive at work, morning, afternoon, evening, or night, and as soon as she opened her locker, the smell of roses would greet her nose, and one more would be in her locker. No note, trinket, or acknowledgement of any kind.

Claire was convinced it was Derrick; everyday, when Dannica got home and added the newest rose to the fast growing bouquet, she made sure Dannica heard it. Her mother thought the same, but wasn't very vocal about it, saying instead that the roses were very sweet and the bouquet gorgeous. Her father just sat in his chair and told her that if she bought any boys home, he'd show them his gun collection. She'd just roll her eyes-he didn't actually have one. She was twenty-five, for goodness' sake.

On Valentine's Day morning, she woke up to the smell of the rose bouquet. Smiling, she gazed at it. They really were lovely, despite the fact that she was starting to believe Claire about who sent them. She got ready for work, her smile soon being replaced with a grimace, when she realized that it was Valentine's Day. And she had the worst shift-Lunch.

Squaring her shoulders, she left home and arrived at work. Bree, Nia, and Anna were all working this afternoon. At least she wasn't alone with Anna, who was, giddy with excitement.

"Oh, the love is in the air, isn't it Nia?" Anna said, reapplying lipstick in her mirror for the umpteenth time.

Grimacing, the dark woman nodded in reply, looking to Bree for help, and diving farther in her locker.

"Hun, it's wonderful, but we should really concentrate on this shift. Gunna be a hell of a lot of people," She said.

"You also work at the hair stylists part time, right?" Nina asked, as Bree shut her locker.

"Yeah, and I gotta run on over there after this shift. Busy day today."

"Ohhhh! Dannica! Maybe there's another rose in your locker! Do you know what that would mean? Twelve roses? Well, a perfect dozen means be mine!" The red head squealed.

Nia and Bree watched as Dannica rolled her eyes and opened her locker. A faint whiff of roses reached her nose, as usual. And, as usual there was another rose. She grabbed it out of the locker, and went to smell it when she noticed something.

The stem felt plastic. Feeling the petals, they were coarse instead of soft. She sniffed it-it smelt faintly of a rose perfume.

"Why, that's a fake rose."

"What in the hell?"

"Awwwwh, I was hoping for you to have a real one, Dannica."

She wouldn't admit it to Anna, but she, too, had been hoping for a real rose. Sighing, she was about to close the door when the four women noticed something flutter to the floor, landing at Nia's feet.

"Check it out, babe, you've got a note this time!" she handed the paper to Dannica, who slowly opened it, excitement coursing through her body.

A man gave a woman twelve roses; eleven real, one fake. He told her he'd love her until the last one died. Happy Valentine's Day, Dannica.


"Oh Dannica, I'm so jelly! That's an adorable quote, you're soo lucky!"

"Anna, shut up, you're ruining the moment," Nia told her.

Snickering, Bree shooed the other girls out. "C'mon now, let's get started out there. People won't serve themselves you know," she followed close behind them, turning to Dannica. "Don't be too long, Hun," she said, winking and leaving the back room.

Dannica nodded, and plopped down on a bench. She sighed, holding the fake rose and the short note. D.S. Of course, Claire had been right. None other than Derrick Swan had sent her the roses. Smiling, she carefully placed the fake rose down in her locker, and slid the note into her pocket. She might as well cut Derrick some slack-after all, it was Valentine's Day.

Derrick watched from the kitchen as Dannica smiled sweetly, and joined her co-workers in the restaurant. His hazel eyes sparkled, a lazy grin on his shapely face. Running his hand through messy light brown hair, he turned to the manager.

"Thanks again, Dave, for giving me the combo."

"Not a problem, Sergeant," he said, waving away his thanks.

Smiling, he bid the manager farewell, and left out the back. Looking in the front window from across the street, he saw Dannica smiling and taking orders for a happy couple.

"One day, that'll be us. Happy Valentine's Day, Love." And Derrick turned and walked down the street, the image of her beautiful chestnut curls framing her oval face, blue eyes sparkling as she laughed, engraved in his mind.

A/N-Told ya you'd be attacked with stories ;)

Anyways, here's some Valentine's fluff I wrote after remembering that quote from like grade six. I instantly thought Hey, this'd be a great lovey dovey piece! and I also thought, But not Claire and Duncan, silly Dani, you write too much of them! So, I decided that this is definitely something Derrick would do to try and win Dannica, he's such a lovesick little bum ;)

If you look really closely, you can find someone related to Fran.

Also, if you want more character info *shameless self advertising, whoot!* check out my pride and joy, Remnants! Which'll be updated Friday, and the Friday after that.

Feedback is loved more than Hershey's kisses! And happy belated Valentine's Day! (Speaking of which, I have one more Valentine's fluff from a contest on dA coming for you tonight ;) )