Stella and Danny are crouching next to the body. It’s a young beautiful woman of no more than twenty five years old. There are no visible wounds on her body and although her skin is pale due to pallor mortis, no other signs of death are present. Her posture is relaxed and it looks as if the girl just fell asleep here, amid the tulip flowerbeds.
“This could be a suicide”, - finally speaks Stella.
“What makes you think so?” – Danny doesn’t look at Stella, he is somehow entranced by the vision in front of him.
“Well, she looks so peaceful, and the scenery is so poetic. All these flowers, all these tulips, none of which look damaged, so it looks like there was no struggling involved. And even if it was a body dump, why bother bringing the body to Conservatory Gardens and placing it in the middle of tulip display?”
“Maybe it was a poetic kind of murder”.
Danny and Stella move away from the body, giving space for the M.E, but none of them is in a hurry to start processing the scene. With their backs to the D.B, they look over the field of tulips around them, swaying gently in early morning breeze.
“Perhaps the tulip know the fickleness
Of Fortune's smile, for on her stalk's green shaft
She bears a wine cup through the wilderness” – recites Stella in a quiet voice.
“Hm, never heard you spout random poems at crime scenes before. You ok, Stella?” – Danny is smirking, waiting for Stella to justify herself, but she just smiles.
“Well, you said yourself, that if it’s murder, it’s a poetic one. Anyway, I probably remember it only because it’s so short and is very useful for teasing a certain someone”.
“Huh? Don’t tell me your boyfriend reads poetry to you”.
“Oh, no nothing like that. It’s Flack”, - Stella chuckles at the surprised expression blossoming on Danny’s face.
“Yeah, well, don’t tell him I told you, but once when we were out to a crime scene shortly before my birthday, I let it slip that my favorite flower is tulip, so he gave me a huge bouquet of them for my birthday, and on the card attached to it he wrote that poem”
“I can’t believe Flack would do something like that”, - Danny is shaking his head in disbelief, at the same time trying to deny that it’s jealousy clawing at his heart. Don and Stella are just friends, he tells himself.
“I couldn’t myself, so I teased the hell out of him, before he admitted that he ordered the flowers the night before my birthday, and than he got drunk, with you by the way, so when he came home he had a brilliant idea of signing the card, so he searched the net for a suitable ‘tulip’ poem”.
Danny laughed at that: Flack was known to do silly things when he got drunk, but the pangs of jealousy, though less painful, still didn’t go away.
* * *
It was past midnight, but Don could not sleep. As was customary past few weeks, thoughts of Danny were bothering him. Earlier that day, when he and Danny both finished their shifts and stood outside the NYPD building, having a smoke, the blonde had to go and question his embarrassing escapade of signing Stella’s birthday bouquet with a poem. After that, out of the blue, Danny told Flack that his mom’s favorite flower was white lily as to her it signified purity and innocence. At the time it filled him with such warmth to hear Danny share something so intimate with him, but what worried Flack, was his own behavior. He wanted to share something with Danny too, but couldn’t find the words, and when Danny asked him to join him for drinks at the bar, Flack refused, giving some absurd excuse and went home.
Suddenly, Flack was jolted out of his reverie by the ring of the door bell. Pulling on a t-shirt, he went to the door, wondering who in hell that could be.
It was Danny. Surprisingly sober Danny.
“Messer, what are you doing here?” – Flack stepped away from the door, letting his friend come in.
“We need to talk”, - Danny didn’t sit down, but started pacing the living room.
“What about?” – Don watched Danny move with no small amount of worry and anticipation.
A few paces later, Danny stopped and faced Flack.
“Flack, what the hell is wrong with you lately?”
Don barely suppressed a nervous gulp. Could it be that Danny noticed that Flack had something far more than friendly feelings towards him?
“Whatever do you mean, Messer?” – under the intent gaze of Danny’s blue eyes, Flack couldn’t help but avert his eyes.
“Well, for past two weeks you refuse to go out drinking or hang out with me. You never did that before. Plus you always give me some flimsy excuses. Come on Flack, we’ve been friends for so long. If you are in a serious relationship, why are you hiding it? Or if the problem is with me, why don’t you want to sort it out?” – As his monologue progresses, Danny steps closer and closer to Don.
“It’s not anything you’ve done”, - oh what a lie, thinks Don. He refused to go out with Danny simply because his feeling were so overwhelming, so bottled up, he was afraid to drink in Danny’s company, scared that he would something to Danny about his feelings, scared that he would do something stupid like kiss the blonde’s tempting mouth.
“So who’s she?” – Danny thinks that Don’s answer might break his heart, but he has to know.
“No one, I just.. Listen I’m sorry, Danny, it’s just that I needed some time by myself”
Danny’s eyes narrow with suspicion, but Don’s apology sounds genuine and the fact that he called him Danny, which happened rarely enough, made Messer drop his interrogation. For now.
“Well, ok, I’ll believe you this time”- with that Danny is making his way to the front door, but Flack block his way.
“Stay. We’ll have a drink. Let me make it up to you” – Flack’s voice has just the right amount of pleading in it to make Danny agree to that plan, though he’d much rather prefer Don making it up to him in some other way. Don pours some whisky for them and handing a glass to Danny, he says with a shy smile:
“My mother’s favorite flowers were forget-me-nots. She said their color reminded her of my eyes, but if you tell someone about this, Messer, you are dead meat”.