"My Lord, welcome to the Enchanted Florist," Lily managed to say in a normal tone, though her heart raced. She could only imagine two reasons for his presence in the shop. Either his mother changed her mind and sent him to tell her, or he purposely sought her out.
"Miss Emerson, this is a handsome establishment." His eyes slid over the interior of the shop and refocused on her. "Your family should be very proud."
"Thank you, My Lord." Lily waited for him to give some indication of why he was here. When the pause dragged on too long, Lily prompted him, "Is there something I could do for you, My Lord?"
"Yes. I believe so." Lord Haverford looked like he was trying to decide how to proceed. "My sister is having a dinner party this evening. I should like to take her a hostess gift of some sort."
"Of course. Does your sister have a favorite flower or color?"
"I am not sure. Perhaps you could recommend something." Lord Haverford moved closer to her and lowered his voice while they spoke. "If someone brought you flowers, what would you want them to be, Miss Emerson?"
Lily's insides quivered a little at his intimate tone and nearness, but she found her voice to respond. "That would depend on the time of year, My Lord. In the spring, I would like lilacs and hyacinths. For the fall, chrysanthemums and asters. In the winter, a bouquet of Christmas roses, mistletoe, and holly, but my favorite would be lilies and roses for the summer."
"Do you pick lilies because of your name?" Lord Haverford enquired.
"Yes, partly. You see, my full name is Lillian Rose, so the roses must have their place, too."
"Then lilies and roses it is. I leave the color to you." Lord Haverford's intense stare focused on her. "May I stay and watch while you put together the arrangement?"
"If you wish to, My Lord. It will only take a moment." On shaky legs, Lily moved away behind the long cutting counter where containers of fresh flowers crowded the floor. Carefully, Lily selected a dozen deep pink roses on the verge of being fully open and a mixture of pink and white lilies. With skilled hands, Lily arranged the flowers into a sumptuous bouquet and tied it together with a long white satin ribbon.
"There, I think any lady would be happy to receive this arrangement," Lily said and wrapped it in paper to protect the blooms.
"Would you be?" Both his dark eyes and expression were serious.
Yet Lily laughed at the suggestion. "You must admit, My Lord, as a florist, it would be silly for me to receive flowers." She twined a piece of string around the paper and tied a knot.
"Interesting problem. What would one give a lovely florist if one wished to apologize for having knocked her to the floor?" Lord Haverford put his finger in the center of the knot. Lily's hands brushed against his while looping a bow in the string. He rolled his hand over and caught Lily's fingers in a light embrace.