Sister James flurried into Aloysius’s office. The older woman looked up questioningly from the filing cabinet. The door closed behind the young nun and she stepped up to Aloysius.
She opened her mouth but the words she needed to say didn’t come.
Finally, Sister James huffed her frustration and took the older woman by the cheeks, pressing her lips solidly to Aloysius’s. Aloysius stood stunned and Sister James pulled back, fully ready for Aloysius to give her the sharp side of her tongue.
Aloysius caught Sister James’s wrist, stopping her from retreating and kissed her sweetly. Sister James sighed softly.
Sister James awoke with the sun only to find that Aloysius had left during the night. She got up to begin her ablutions; she noticed a white handkerchief on top of her night table. Wrapped carefully in the handkerchief were dried flowers: a sprig of lily of the valley, a ranunculus, and sweet basil. Sister James smiled and tucked them into her frock when she dressed, feeling as though she was carrying Aloysius with her.
Later in the day, as she passed through the library, the Language of Flowers book on the table caught her eye.
She laid out her flowers and opened up the book, hunting through the pages with a giddy excitement. Lily of the valley. The return of happiness. Ranunculus. You are radiant with charms. Sweet basil. Good wishes.
Sister James smiled broadly, pulling out a sheet of paper and a pencil.
As Aloysius returned to her room after dinner, she noticed the paper on her nightstand. Unfolding it, she discovered a meticulous drawing of flowers, neatly labeled. But Aloysius did not need the labels to recognize the flowers, nor the book to decode Sister James’s message.
Forget-me-not. True love. Stock. Lasting beauty. Sweet pea. Delicate pleasures.
Aloysius reached for Sister James’s hand beneath the table and Sister James hid her smile by sipping from her water. She threaded her fingers with the older woman’s.
Sister Aloysius and Sister James always gravitate toward each other. It’s become an invisible force that always binds them together. They often awake in the morning and they’ve sought each other’s hand during the night.
Sister James traces Aloysius’s knuckles softly with the pad of her thumb. The slight reddening of her cheeks is the only hint that she’s having an effect on the older woman until Sister Aloysius cracks a smile.