By Jannet Ellis,
(Publishers's Note: This is an original work of fiction. No characters represent any client of Fresh As A Daisy Cards; it is purely for your enjoyment and is subject to copyright.)
The day started like any other for Josh Hardgrove: an early morning run and a quick protein shake. Josh, a hard-nosed investment banker at Goldman Sachs, knew that a healthy body allowed him to stay sharp and focused at a job that was very competitive, and at the age of 30, he was considered one of the ‘old’ boys. But nothing worried Josh; he was young, successful and, most importantly, rich. Most would consider him arrogant, but he didn’t care. He had more money in his bank account than his father ever had in the thirty years he worked in northern England’s coal mines.
|'Nope- too mushy' says Josh|
Josh also knew he was good looking. He was lean, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, with dark hair and eyes and a dimple on his chin that most women couldn’t resist. He liked the women—all of them—and was in no way willing to settle down. Married life or even a steady girlfriend was the equivalent of being sent to prison, in Josh’s mind. It would also be the death of his trading career, which he so coveted. He saw what happened to traders when they got married—they either ended up divorced for neglecting their wives so badly or consumed with day care and potty training, neither of which really appealed to the playboy bachelor.
Josh also didn’t want to share, and he didn’t have to. His sixteen-bedroom mansion on Hill Street had plenty of room, but it was for the ‘boys’ and the lavish parties that drew London’s society women who liked to live and play hard. It was not for baby bottles, nappies and nurses. Josh’s life was good—and that is what he believed.
|'Nope- not the right colours' thought Josh|
Josh jumped into his Ferrari and headed to the office. Cooper Shefield was already there, hammering the phones and deals for the day. Coop yelled out from his office, ‘Josh, come in for a sec.’ Josh happily complied, for the two of them were inseparable since they both started at Goldman’s. ‘What’s up?’
‘Tonight, we are going to hit one of the hottest parties of the year at McQueen’s. I just got off the phone with His Highness.’ As Coop said ‘His Highness’, Josh rolled his eyes. ‘I know,’ said Shefield, ‘but he has scored us in invite to Lady Sarah’s gig at McQueen’s.’
Shefield went to public school with one of his Highness’s sons and was considered part of the inner circle. Josh was left to private school and managed to get to Oxford on a scholarship. But he loved Shefield and didn’t begrudge that he had a better start in life. Shefield showed him how to manage being part of ‘society’ once Josh started to make his fortune—where to live, what to drive and where to shop for his suits and shirts. And Shefield had enough class to never make him feel like an outsider.
Lady Sarah was the daughter of one of England’s earls—but who knew which one? Josh thought to himself. He considered himself a ‘republican’ largely. If he didn’t make the kind of money he did, in English society he would be considered a ‘no one’, though an outsider with unfathomable success and wealth at such a young age.
Josh nodded at Shefield and said ‘cool’. Then he walked into his office to begin a day of making more money, which got Josh’s blood coursing through his veins.
The day went on: equities were traded, mortgages were syndicated and bonds were sold. All and all, Josh estimated that he did about £50,000 in commission that day. Not one of his best days, but things had been a little slow since the 2008 crash. Josh saw the crash coming early and moved his money in exchange-traded funds (ETF) and bonds and avoided any personal harm. He also managed his clients’ money in the same way, which left a number them much better off than their counterparts. Josh knew he did well by them, and he demanded their loyalty and any extra investing. ‘Tit for tat,’ he thought.
|'Maybe', says Josh|
Shefield showed up at his door at 9:30 p.m., which was quitting time at Goldman’s. And then it was off to McQueen’s. His Highness met them at the door with a few others who made up his inner circle. Everyone greeted each other and in the door they went.
McQueen’s, which is named after Steve McQueen, the actor, is a chic and sexy night club that only holds about 200 people. Josh had only been to it one other time and was impressed.
The ‘boys’ went into the club and saw that most guests had already started to arrive. His Highness brought his group to meet Lady Sarah. Forever aware of his position and manners, His Highness introduced them to the hostess of the evening. When Josh was finally introduced, he was tongue-tied and actually shy. Lady Sarah was ‘lovely’, he thought to himself as he watched her gracefully welcome the group. Her tall sculpted body, sun-like hair and deep blue eyes made her attractive—but the way she held herself—poised and graceful—added to her allure. There also was a gentleness in her manner that made her all the more appealing.
Josh managed to squeak out a ‘hello’. She held out her hand for a shake and Josh panicked as he realized his palms were now sweaty. She said ‘hello’ back in a voice that Josh thought sounded like the sweet chirp of a singing bird.
The boys went to their reserved table and bottle service was already there. Josh couldn’t take his eyes off Lady Sarah. He watched her every move. Shefield noticed Josh’s focus on Lady Sarah and said, ‘She’s a winner. She is not like these other aristocratic women who just expect the world to bend over backwards for them and that everyone in the world is there to serve them. “Lady” suits Sarah. I have met her a few times. She never overdrinks; she doesn’t put anything up her nose; and she is not bombastic or demanding. Why don’t you go talk to her?’
‘I can’t’, said Josh. Shefield, stunned, let out a little laugh. ‘Oh, Superman has found his kryptonite.’
With that, Josh got up and began to walk over to her. As he approached, he noticed the beautiful curl to her nose, a little brown mole on her cheek and beautiful full pink lips. Before he said hello, she noticed him and offered a gentle smile. He was now sweating profusely. And to make matters worse, His Highness showed up to join the conversation.
|'Would orange work?' he asked|
Through the conversation, Josh learned that she lived at the Stanley estate with her parents, the Baron and Baroness Stanley. She had a master’s degree in fine arts and worked at the London Design Museum as junior curator. His Highness demonstrated his impeccable pedigree of education and all things artistic. Josh couldn’t even tell you who Van Gogh was. Defeated, Josh thanked her for the party and said he needed to leave since Goldman Sachs calls start early.
After bidding them farewell, he jumped into his Ferrari and drove off—to the big, beautiful home that now seemed so empty. He went to his den, but all he could think of was her. He had to send her something. ‘You know, a thank-you note’, he said to himself. He searched online: ‘Should I send an e-card? Nope, tacky’, he thought. ‘A bouquet of flowers? Nope, too pushy, and I don’t want her to think I’m a stalker.’ Finally, he came across a flower card web site: Fresh as a Daisy Flower Cards—Handmade, Personalised Flower Cards.
Great, he thought. ‘It’s the perfect way to say thank you for a lovely evening. It’s not pushy or gushy.’ So Josh began to fill out the screen to send his perfect thank-you. He picked a crafty flower card with white lisianthus and then tried to compose a message. ‘Wow, this is hard.’ Short and sweet seemed best.
‘Dear Lady Sarah, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a lovely evening. It was a pleasure to meet you and I do hope I will see you again. Best Regards, Josh Hardgrove.’ He sat and thought to himself, I’m crazy; why am I sending this?’ He waited a few more minutes, but something in his heart said, press the button. He did so. His destiny was now in the hands of Fresh as a Daisy Flower Cards. ‘Flower card—I just sent a flower card’, he said to himself.
What will Lady Sarah do? Will she remember Josh? Will she like the flower card? Did he send the right flower card? Will a romance blossom?
Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out.