She entered the museum, her face still wet from crying. This was supposed to be a joyous event – her honeymoon, in fact. Instead of lounging by the pool and touring European castles, Millie now sought solace as far away from the scene she just encountered.
What she saw couldn’t have been real. That’s what she kept telling herself anyway. However, the vision remained at the forefront of her mind, plaguing her with doubts and questions. Everything she believed to be real now shattered in the span of just seconds.
“Can I help you, ma’am?” asked the lanky man with a strong Jamaican accent.
Though her legs wobbled she remained steady and smiled. “The hotel clerk told me about a painting here, and I wonder if you’d know which one it might be.” It wasn’t entirely a lie, she had been wondering about the image when its existence was mentioned this morning. “It’s a single flower, orange in color and in bloom.”
“Ah, yes,” the gentlemen replied with excitement. “I know just the one.”
She chuckled at his jovial nature and followed behind her guide. She perused the artwork adorning each wall as they ventured through corridors of white. The vivid colors nearly jumped out of the frame, piercing her eyes and mesmerizing her senses. As they entered the next room, Millie noticed the bronze nameplate at the top of the doorway: EN FLEUR. “In bloom,” she murmured.
“Oui, Madame,” her guide responded. “Vous parlez Francais?”
She laughed and shook her head. “I speak very little French. I’m surprised I knew that much.”
“Sometimes, Madame, we recall what we need to.”
His reassuring smile reminded her of why she had been so adamant that they vacation here. She just had a feeling, a very strong feeling, that it would be the perfect start to their new life together. She didn’t understand why she felt so strongly, but Ian always agreed to her requests, so she wasn’t surprised when he relented rather easily.
The gentlemen who led her in, swept his arm toward the opposing wall, and she followed her gaze accordingly. It was even more beautiful than she’d imagined. Walking as delicately as the flower depicted before her, Millie soaked in every detail. The midnight blue background twinkled with the stars spaced across the canvas. Despite its beauty, the setting paled in comparison to the coral-hued flower that blended with the evening sky behind it. Directly in the center of the five-petal design, a silver moon glowed with brilliance.
Millie could all but stare at the sight in front of her. How can one person be responsible for so much beauty? How did they know at the start that the finished product would turn out as expected? She closed her eyes, rubbed her hand over her slightly bulged belly and wondered what kind of mother she was going to be. The only other question that remained was, “Who was the father?”