Landon, father of three, accidentally runs into another shopper while looking at oranges in the supermarket. He thinks little of the incident, but after being tasked to find a church by his mother and testing out a Children’s Advent Celebration with his kids, he discovers that the shopper is actually one of the instructors helping all of the children make spiced orange pomanders. The man gives Landon a pomander with his phone number on it, but since Landon swore off men for 2017 after his partner left him and his dates have all flaked on him, will he take the instructor up on his offer of a date?
Oranges and Cloves
Author: Annabelle Jay
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 3100
Sex Content: N/A
Oranges and Cloves
Annabelle Jay © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Landon yanked a single shopping cart from the chain in front of the grocery store and propped his list on the seat where his youngest, Jessie, would normally sit. He checked his watch. Thirty minutes until the nanny left his house, which left him twenty minutes to frantically shop for the weekend, two minutes to pay, two minutes to load up the car, and six minutes to drive home.
He lived fifteen minutes away.
Hurriedly, Landon threw his weight against the handle and careened the silver cart into the cool air of the store. The vegetables were in the middle of misting, and the hissing reminded Landon of the garter snake his son George insisted on keeping at the foot of his bed. He fed it a mixture of grasshoppers, earthworms, and minnows George set temporarily loose in the snake’s bathing pool. Just the thought made Landon’s stomach turn, and he vowed to cook a vegetarian dinner that night to make up for the snake’s carnivorous eating habits.
At the oranges piled beautifully on a display in the center aisle, Landon paused. He inhaled the smell emanating from the fruit and closed his eyes, thinking of the sunny Florida home where he’d spent his childhood. Though his mother had always worn Chanel perfume, he more often thought of her this way, with the oranges she picked from the tree in their backyard.
Unfortunately, his memory was interrupted by a second cart crashing into his. The impact caused the handle to push into Landon’s stomach, and he let out an oof.
“I’m so sorry. That was an accident.”
A middle-aged man wearing khaki pants and a W.W.J.D. long-sleeved T-shirt looked up from his cart sheepishly. On his feet were hiking boots, and Landon guessed he probably wore Jesus sandals in the summer. He knew this man’s type—purposely tried to avoid it, except for the occasional weekend when he and the kids tried out a church to satisfy his mother’s insistence that “the babies get confirmed.” Landon quickly grabbed two oranges from the top of the pile so that he could make his escape.
“I’m sorry,” the man repeated again. “Really, I mean it—”
“It’s fine.” Landon straightened his blue blazer and gray tie, though they were already perfectly placed. “Don’t worry about it.”
He steered the cart away as the man tried to say something else. There were only a few minutes to find some of his most essential items, so he would have to be choosy. Pasta, sauce, salad, olive oil, and vanilla ice cream made the cut, while everything else would have to be purchased the following day, with the three kids in tow.
On his way out of the store, Landon happened to glance back at the produce section. There he was, the man in the T-shirt, piling his whole cart with bags of oranges. Weird, Landon thought, but then he remembered he was late and forgot all about the strange incident.