Hearts and Flowers

A Tale of Hayfever and Bad Decor

by Angel Martinez

Michael Sarver hates Valentine's Day. Between the flowers, the tacky decorations and his sleazy boss, he's certain he's about to experience the worst costumed office party in history.

But Cupid's minions and a certain Hawaiian god have other ideas. Let the mayhem begin.

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A giant stuffed heart and a masked French maid whisked past Michael in a cloud of giggles and overpowering perfume. A fit of sneezes forced him to stop and lean against the wall. The ballroom looked like a Hallmark store had wandered by and thrown up its innards in a fit of disgust over the excesses of the season. Pink and white bunting festooned the walls. Red, pink, and white floral arrangements peppered the space as landmines for the pollen-challenged. Teddy bears holding hearts or cloth flowers glared with smug satisfaction beside each arrangement.

Why the hell am I here again?

“Mikey! Welcome to the fun!” A huge hand clapped him on the shoulder.


Bleary-eyed, he turned to find an enormous gladiator/centurion grinning at him beneath a golden mask that did absolutely nothing to disguise the cheesy, plastic smile. Right. That’s why. I was ordered to attend. “Hey, Dave.” A drag Egyptian queen latched onto Dave’s arm and gazed up at the Marketing Director with huge puppy eyes. “Ah. Anthony and Cleopatra. Stunning.”

“I know, right?” Dave did a little turn to show off the full effect of leather and brass armor. The leather tunic-thing barely covered his gym-sculpted ass. “And what are you supposed to be? I thought you were doing Cupid?”

“No. You suggested Cupid. You said I’d look cute in wings and a diaper.” You sleaze.

The drag Cleopatra giggled and snuggled closer to his escort. Dave patted his sequined butt. “So why didn’t you?”

Michael ignored the question. “Cupid was a beautiful young man. A god. Not a fat, winged baby with inappropriate toys.”

“Yeah, yeah, English major blah-blah-blah. So what’s with the Interview with the Vampire getup?”

“It’s not—” He tugged irritably at the ruffled cuffs. “I’m George Gordon.”

A double shot of blank stares met his announcement.

“Lord Byron? Romantic-era poet? Wrote about epic, tragic loves?”

“Oh, a poet. Figures. I guess it works. Well, try to have a good time, Mikey.” Dave pulled his latest conquest close. “Come on, sugar. Let’s go show you off.”


About the Author

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, gave birth to one amazing son, and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

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