In the crisp, sun-warmed air of the spring flowers bloom everywhere. Roses. Petunias. Pansies. Daisies. A rainbow of organic color that sweeps over grassy fields and tiny gardens. It’s no wonder many people consider spring their favorite time of year when they get to see the flowers grow somewhere other than their skin.
Bees dance around carrying pollen from people’s flowers to the earth’s. The sun smiles down not yet at the boiling point that is summer. It’s just warm enough that people are walking around in shorts and T-shirts and children are jumping through sprinklers, their still new flowers on show.
This is what Sal sees as they leave the neighborhood that he had lived in all his life. His dad reaches over and pats him softly on the shoulder in a way that’s supposed to seem comforting. Bright yellow tulips grow in small rings around his wrists and he is happy with the warm weather and shining sun.
The blunet briefly thinks of his mother with pretty little daffodils along her high and regal cheekbones. She’s dead now, couldn’t handle that her son got mauled by a dog and her husband cared too much about work. She was a coward , he thinks even though he still loves her greatly.
Sal is miserable in the spring. He’s got a pair of sunglasses shoved up the nose of his prosthetic and a black sun hat slapped over his blue hair which is in slightly lower pigtails than usual to accommodate. His sleeves are pulled down over his hands and he’s wearing jeans even though it’s over seventy degrees outside. He’s got the air conditioning in the U-Haul on blast and all of the vents he can reach are pointed at him.
Winter flowers are rare , at least that’s what the doctors said when he was four and sprouted his first bloom a few days before Christmas, Just like other kids after his first bloom they’ll stay year round… but it will be very uncomfortable in the spring and summer months. Sal already longed for the cool winds of autumn and it was only March.
When they got to a small apartment building that was a little less than decrepit outside he didn’t bother with his clothes or his bed. He climbed into the back of the truck and seized his portable air conditioner. His dad grabbed the two box fans beside it and followed him up so that the could set up his room. When the portable, window unit, and two fans were finally working to turn his bedroom into the Arctic they went back down to begin moving in the rest of their stuff.
Even after bringing in all his stuff his room wasn’t cold enough, but he chalked it up to the door being opened and closed so much. After he got his blackout curtains right over the window so they wouldn’t cover the AC and he fixed the air traps at the top and bottom crack of the door, he left telling his dad he was going to explore. There wasn’t much to explore, though.
He met a boy named Todd who was installing some tech on his door. The ginger had calm green eyes and a loop of orange roses around his left ankle. He offered Sal a piece of gum and told him that he was installing security measures on the apartment because one of his parents buyers tried to break in a few nights ago and was almost successful. The blunet decided quickly that he didn’t want to know what they were selling and continued exploring the apartments.
Next he ran into a woman, maybe his dad’s age. She said her name was Lisa and she had the most beautiful orchids dotted across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose like freckles. She smiled at him kindly and gave him a key card telling him that if he didn’t mind the cold her son should be downstairs in their apartment.
On his way to the apartment he spoke briefly to a boy named Chug who had white Lilies across his forehead like a decorative monobrow. The boy told him next time he came down he’d bring Sal some quarters too so that he could also get some candy. In turn Sal didn’t comment on how green the boy’s hair was and that it almost looked like grass.
When the blunet finally got into the apartment Lisa sent him to, he knew exactly which room was her son’s. Maybe it was the frosty air seeping slightly from under the door or the headbang worthy metal music but either way he knew this was it. Somewhere in his brain as he knocked loudly and opened the door it finally occurred to him that he was meeting another boy with a winter flower for the first time ever. He closed the door behind him not wanting to let too much warm air in and looked around.
The music cut and Sal’s eyes flicked over to a taller boy with long, brown hair that was gelled back at the top. The guy was fucking gorgeous with his deep amber eyes and mocha colored skin, and the smaller teen almost said so out loud when the other smiled. Instead he said what he meant to when he first walked in, “I’m Sal Fisher, the new tenant. Your mom told me I should come say hi”.
“Larry,” the taller teen spoke setting down the pencil and sketch pad he was holding, “I like your mask, if it’s too cold here for you we can hang in my treehouse,” he raised his hand to scratch at the back of his head and Sal saw a row of Sweet Alyssums across his knuckles.
“No - I - uh,” The blue eyed boy stuttered before pulling the V-neck of his sweater down slightly to show off the swath of Hellebores growing over his collarbones, “I’m a winter flower too, went exploring while my room is cooling off”.
The cool air hitting his petaling was soothing and welcome after the day spent in the warmth of late spring. Larry smiles at him as he lets the neck of his shirt go so it can slide back into place, “I’ve never met another winter flower before”.
“Neither have I,” Sal murmurs. Here. In this room with Larry Johnson and crisp, freezing air. Here is just where he belongs.