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Good Old-Fashioned Flower Boy

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Brian was stood behind the counter, busying his hands with a particularly stubborn stem of a particularly sturdy tulip, lost deep in thought. As per usual.

 

If there was one thing Brian was confident in, it was his ability to appreciate beauty. In the small pebbles on the ground, creating constellations almost as mesmerising as those in the sky. The sheer spontaneity of nature, heartwarming like no other. The beauty in a couple of badgers, huddling together for warmth. Of a litter of kittens, pawing at each other before being able to even open their eyes. Using their tactile senses to have a feel for the world before being able to visually take it in, sensing closeness to their siblings. The beauty of that tiny flicker of hope in a moment of despair. Brian found beauty in a lot of things.

 

That’s one of the reasons he decided to work part-time at the flower shop. Well that and the fact that he really could do with a little bit of extra cash, for his tuition. Nevertheless, the different colours, shapes and sizes really were a sight for sore eyes. The wonderful scent was just an added bonus.

 

Beauty either translated to happiness or melancholy, converting a state of description into an emotion not being an easy task. Thus he didn’t know whether he wanted to smile until his cheeks hurt or cry himself dry, when a blond head popped into his field of vision. He could’ve sworn he’s never seen a male form as beautiful as the one stood at his shop entrance. So he stilled his hands working on the bouquet of flowers, to ponder. As he often did. He appreciated beauty too much, to the point of it being calculating. His stomach twisted as the boy sauntered over to the counter where he was currently stood, frozen.

 

He was close now, maybe two meters or so in front of himself, close enough for Brian to detect the lightness of his eyes. Blue, he decided. Long blonde locks of hair cascading down his narrow shoulders, darker at the roots. Brian found himself wondering if tampering with nature was acceptable when you looked like that, what would he look like as a brunette?

 

A metre away now, his half unbuttoned shirt exposed a sunkissed slip of skin, it looked smooth too, Brian’s mind helpfully provided. As he went to open his mouth, Brian wished sincerely he wasn’t about to ask him to prepare a bouquet for his partner. He had a fragile heart and wouldn’t be able to take it. He prepared himself for the blow when, “How do I passive-aggressively say fuck you in flower”

 

That’s, decidedly, not what he expected. “Excuse me?” He hadn’t been working in the flower shop for too long, maybe half a year, there’s been an odd request here and there but this has to have been a first.

 

The blonde gulped, a heavy necklace bobbing at the hallow of his throat, before attempting to explain himself. More elaborately. “Flowers have, meanings, right?”

 

If there was one thing Brian considered himself good at, apart from gawking at beautiful customers, it was passing knowledge forward. He tried not to show how much he was bursting with excitement at the prospect of telling this pretty boy all about the meanings behind different flowers. He settled for a, what he hoped was a calm sounding. “They do, indeed.”

 

The blonde nodded, bounced on his feet a little and tucked a stray hair behind his ear. “Right, so how do I tell someone to go fuck themselves. In flower language.”

 

Brian’s mind was racing a mile a minute, there certainly was flowers with meanings beyond love and adoration. In fact there were many which held underlying meanings such as the tansy, which quite literally carried the message of declaring a war on someone. Or the orange lily with the unadulterated meaning of hatred. Confident he had done his homework and had enough knowledge he nudged the conversation. “Do you mind me, asking the occasion.”

 

The blond snorted, and Brian could’ve sworn the smile tugging at his own lips looked ridiculous. “The occasion of hatred?”

 

Brian found himself nodding, “Yeah, something like that. An ex-girlfriend type of hate or a teacher who just unfairly failed you on a test type of hate.”

 

“Neither, actually,” a grin started spreading across the boys face, Brian found himself both scared and curious as to what was going to come out of his mouth next. “A roommate not letting me sleep type of hatred.”

 

“If you know what I mean.” The blond quirked an eyebrow then, smirking slightly.

 

Brian wasn’t sure he could gawk any more than he currently was, his mouth felt completely slack and he was surely going to pull a muscle in his jaw. He relaxed his forehead slightly, sensing a crease beginning to form between his eyebrows as he tried to process the information given. “So,” The blonde looked at him with wide, doe-eyes. Nodding his head slightly, urging him to continue. “You want a bouquet for your roommate?” Another nod. “As a, statement?” His voice cracked embarrassingly as the tone of his voice went up an octave too high at the last question.

 

The boy in front of him nodded, excitedly. He really was adorable, he reminded Brian of a puppy, somehow. “Pretty much.”

 

Brian stood still for a second, pondering his every knowledge in floristry. He did know a few on the top of his head, decidedly not enough, though. But if this is what the boy wanted, Brian would surely make do. The last thing he wanted to do was to disappoint. “I can do that.” He decided, “When do you need it?”

 

The smile crossing his face was infectious. His nose, which was small, Brian noted, crinkled a bit. Brian watched him raise one hand to cover his lips and gave it a light smack of a kiss, before placing it against Brian’s face. Followed by his whole body, pressing itself into his side. A bit awkwardly with the counter separating them. Brian wasn’t sure he could be anymore shocked, or content, or jittery. If this is how the boy showed his gratitude, Brian was done for. In simpler terms, he was fucked. His cheeks surely redder than a bouquet of red roses.

 

“You’re the best,” A slight wrinkle formed between his eyebrows, and even that was cute, for fucks sake. Brian filled in the gap when he realised the blond was searching for a name, that he didn’t yet know. “Brian.” He added, helpfully.

 

“Brian! Suits you.” He said, and was that a wink? Brian was surely going to die. Being beautiful was one thing, but being beautiful with an inherent flirty nature was downright lethal. He was grateful he’d managed to stay alive up until that point, as his heart was surely thumping itself up into dangerously fast rhythms.

 

“Also,” Snapping Brian out of his health scare, how is it possible for the cause to also be the cure? “I heard Friday’s are date nights, so by Friday night?”

 

The florist made a show out of whipping out his calendar dramatically, if only to make the boy in front of him giggle again. Today was a Wednesday, he could research flowers tonight and tomorrow and bind the bouquet for him on Friday, completely doable. He’d lose a couple hours of sleep but it’d be completely worth it. He snapped his head up, locked his eyes with crystal blue ones. “Friday it is! Not a problem.”

 

He was given a thumbs up, an action that literally just meant good, but was so uncharacteristically adorable coming from the blond before him. “Perfect, thank you, Brian.”

 

If Brian had the phrase, Perfect thank you Brian, on loop in his head for the rest of his shift could you really blame him? Especially since it was coupled with a smile looking so sincere, Brian felt his insides turning to mush. He was a logical person but he found he’d throw himself into a pit of rabid dogs if it meant the blond could have the world. Looks could surely be deceiving, but Brian decided to be nice to himself for once and not be his own biggest party pooper. Relishing in the feeling of his workplace crush while assembling bouquets, walking home and for the remainder of the evening.

 

As he was sat comfortably on his sofa, teacup neatly placed on the tabletop and a melodic record playing. He set to work. Feeling disgustingly warm and soppy on the inside. He liked absorbing new information more than refreshing the ones that he partly knew, yet he dutifully scribbled notes as he went along the book, page after page. Closing it up, not without bookmarking it halfway through, slightly too much past midnight.

 

He spent the next morning fiddling about with his curls in front of the mirror, a bit more thoroughly than usual, just in case. Sprinting off to work, uncharacteristically dreaming about the day to come. The smile he walked into the shop with must’ve also been a bit, off-character, as it was immediately picked up on by the old lady he was working for. A polite, “What’s the occasion, Brian dear?” Thrown his way.

 

Brian felt his cheeks heat up, so much for being subtle. “Nothing in particular, Ms.”

 

She glanced him over and when Brian made eye-contact with her, the look in her eyes was almost, knowing? An underlying understanding in the slightly hooded eyes of hers. He reminded himself to never underestimate the elders, they see right through you. Ms Jones seemed to have as much respect for him as he had for her, though. He appreciated that, and they’d gotten along swimmingly ever since she hired him. She even took it upon herself to teach him everything he needed to know about floristry.

 

She went up to him and straightened out the collar of his white button up, “You’re a handsome young man Brian, no need to fret.”

 

“Thank you, Ms. Jones.” He uttered, sincerely grateful, for she didn’t even know how long he’d been standing trying to tame his wild head of hair that morning. Scrutinising his slim build, even though he’s never thought of it as an issue beforehand.

 

“None of that, now get to work, you!”

 

She shooed him off, and he was grateful. He set about working on some of the orders scribbled down neatly on the counter. Picking up flowers from around the small boutique and arranging them neatly together, paying close attention to the overlapping and orderliness of the bunches. He was adamant that the bouquets shouldn’t be arranged in patterns, but also not too messily. He rearranged a rose when the sight of it too close to another too-similar one caught his eye. Repeating this for the majority of the morning.

 

By the time lunch was over he found himself a bit restless. He’d helped some customers pick out simpler bouquets, with intentions of a thank you or I love you, even one for an anniversary. Things he could do on top of his head. None as unique as the offer he’d received the day before, but pleasant nonetheless. He liked being of help. The perk of working in this specific field was that people usually walked away happy.

 

“That’ll be 5 pound 30, please.” He smiled at the customer, an older man, probably around 75. He’d bought a bouquet of roses, the red and yellow kind. As well as some white lilies, to balance it out, as per Brians own advice. He could feel tears almost leaking out of his eyes as he thought about the meaning of the flowers and for whom they were aimed at. He hoped for a love like that one day, one that tugged painfully at your heartstrings yet was so easy.

 

“Can I be of assistance, Sir?” Brian approached the man with light steps, not wanting to startle him

 

The man glanced up at him for a moment, thoughtfully nodding, the hat on top of his head bobbing a bit. “I’m looking for flowers for my wife,” his smile was wide, Brian felt emotion swirl somewhere deep in his chest as the crinkles at the corner of the man’s eyes became more prominent. “My best friend, she is!”

 

Brian nodded, the smile plastered on his face not at all forced, quite the opposite in fact. He needed to work on his empathy, it was too strong for his own good. “So it’s an anniversary gift, I’m assuming?” He made sure to add extra lilt to his tone, wanting to feed into this man’s positive aura. For some reason.

 

“Not for another five years,”

 

“How many will it be then?” And Brian was, genuinely, curious.

 

“Sixty, longer than you’ve been alive.” He added a slight chuckle to the end but it wasn’t condescending. Not at all. Just a genuine little laugh, Brian found himself hoping he’d be that happy with his future whatever.

 

“That’s quite something,” Brian found himself smiling so wide, he was showing off his canine teeth. The two that he always felt looked too sharp, two teeth on either side from the middle ones at the upper row. Strangeness aside he picked up a yellow rose and started explaining the meaning behind it. The man seemed pleased at the end of it. He hoped that someday, someone would buy him flowers on a Thursday afternoon simply because they felt like it.

 

Having handed over the money, as well as being told to keep the change. To which Brian protested, of course, but to no avail. The man thanked him before turning to walk out of the shop, the small bell at the door ringing slightly after him. Brian smiled contentedly to himself. The beauty of effortless love clouding his thoughts, as he set to work on yet another bunch of flowers. Humming something familiar under his breath.

 

He was halfway through binding a bouquet consisting majorly of beautiful white roses, careful not to stab himself on its thorns, when there was a ring from the entrance again. Urging his head up, to greet whomever it was with a polite quirk of the lip. Just as he was about to, though, his heart reacted before his head could catch up. Why his body thought he needed to be provided adrenaline at the sight of a, seemingly, harmless boy. He couldn’t tell you. His heart stumbled over itself nonetheless, skipping painfully and starting up a marathon pace yet again. Hand going up to self-consciously tug at his hair, trying to matte it down.

 

“Brian!” The boy from yesterday walked up to the counter with confident steps, flashing a bright smile. Brian didn’t know what to say, he did make himself look presentable today, just in case! But all he managed was a pathetic, but what he hoped was a cheeky sounding, “Today isn’t Friday.”

 

The blond gawked at him, eyes going wide. Brian couldn’t help but to notice how his eyelids were still visible, not hooded over in the slightest, they were big. Very big, youthful and pretty. Shaking himself out of his head, he cocked his hip a bit, staring at the boy as he pondered for a second. Brian was just about ready to take his statement back, as he’d played It over in his head so many times it started sounding rude and taunting, opening his mouth to voice as much when. A chuckle sounded, Brian’s nerves stopped fraying for a second. Good.

 

“I’m aware.” Brian hoped the humour in his voice wasn’t imagined on his part. “Actually,” He raised an elbow to rest against the counter Brian was stood behind, his chin resting heavily in his hand. Brian nodded, urging him to go on, his nerves acting up for the millionth time in a pathetically small span of time. “I just want a plant for my room.”

 

Brian didn’t know why he found that endearing, but he did. Pulse fluttering uncomfortably in his throat as blue eyes were aimed at him, awaiting some sort of response. “Any preferences?” When the blond didn’t bat a single eyelash, just stared at him cluelessly, Brian took pity on him and continued, “Colours? Plants? Flowers?”

 

“Oh,” Brian watched the hand not having its arm rested on the counter came up to rub at the back of his neck, dragging his attention to the skin of his throat where, yet again. A heavy necklace was resting, the skin below it looking impossibly smooth. “I haven’t thought that far ahead, really.”

 

Brian felt his heart sinking at the other boys dip in confidence, even if it was only for a second, and was quick to jump in. “Not a problem, I’ll help you, if you want, that is.” He wished he didn’t stammer so badly. He didn’t, usually. But it wasn’t usual for him to be tongue tied, or for his hormones to react this strongly to another person, no matter how beautiful. Some would even call him whipped, probably. The other boy seemed to light up at his words though, letting himself be led through the store.

 

Stood side by side, Brian couldn’t help but notice their size difference. Having to angle his head downwards, a tiny bit, as to not come across as condescending, made him feel protective of him in some way. It was pathetic really. He was unable to stop the urges to pull his face flush against his own chest though. Thankfully strong minded enough not to put the urges into action. He fiddled around with the petals of an especially soft daffodil.

 

“Do they all have different meanings?” The blond shifted the conversation abruptly from where Brian was babbling about which plants were the easiest to maintain. Making him lose his train of thought, “Do what?” He asked, dumbly.

 

“The tulips, does each colour have a separate meaning or are they all the same?” He did look genuinely interested in the answer, eyebrows furrowed slightly and lips parted in a way that had Brian’s breath catching. He had to try his hardest to keep his dick from twitching, too. He felt guilty as ever.

 

“They do, yeah,” He started explaining as they went along the aisle of tulips. Desperately trying to keep himself distracted. If he tugged a suspicious amount on his bottom lip, he hoped the other didn’t notice.

 

“The pink ones represent happiness and confidence, the white ones are usually used as an apology. Which if you ask me, is a bit odd. I know this is subjective but for me, personally, white is usually the colour I associate with marriage. And such.” He felt he was rambling on and was just about to apologise, maybe hand him a bouquet of white tulips when. “Go on! This is so fascinating.”

 

So Brian did, went on to explain how the yellow tulips represented jealousy, or hopeless love. Not without stuttering slightly and ironically applying it to his own very situation. Unknowingly to the boy next to him who just nodded in understanding, long hair bouncing slightly on his shoulders as he did. If he stuttered through his speech about the red ones, expressing passion and romance with their intense colour, and the representation of deep love, he was kind enough to not comment on it. Brian was eternally grateful.

 

“Fuck!” Brian couldn’t help but cackle when the blond dropped the change he was returning to his awaiting hand. A tiny fibre of his being wanted to say sorry, but mostly he was just lazily enjoying how his ass looked as he bent down to retrieve the lost coins. As he came up, and Brian was met with his face instead of a jean covered ass, he put the change in his pocket before raising his middle finger loud and proud in Brian’s general direction. Brian couldn’t help but to laugh even harder, wheezing breaths escaping his parted lips, cheeks feeling like the inside of an oven. He managed to stutter out an apology between heaving breaths of recovery though.

 

“You better be fucking sorry!” There was no real bite to it, a smile adorning the others face too. Cheeks prettily flushed and chest moving a bit heavily as well.

 

Brian placed his slender fingers over his thumping heart, the excess adrenaline apparently making him mouthy. He stored that fact away for future references before he changed his mind. “I’m positively and utterly so sorry, how will you ever forgive me?” He was joking and the melodramatics felt suspiciously natural tumbling from his mouth.

 

“I’m sure I’ll find a way for you to make it up to me,”

 

“Git!” He was surely getting brave now

 

“You like it!”

 

The teasing felt too natural, so natural in fact that Brian didn’t even find it in him to feel embarrassed about the boy pointing out the obvious. “Maybe.” He answered slyly.

 

Brian’s pulse was still fluttering unhealthy in the side of his throat when he settled himself on the sofa later that evening. Book in his lap, determined to finish the bouquet that the boy reminded him, ever so thoughtfully, about. “Don’t forget it Brian! It’s my last hope!” Must be a desperate final attempt to shut up the lovebirds next door. He’s never been this determined to make a bunch of flowers this good. He flipped the pages, making scribbles on the meanings, colours and shapes of the various kinds as he went along.

 

He found himself deep in the gutter thinking about soft, soft features an hour later. Pen tapping, or rather dragging, against his bottom lip, seeking for some sort of stimulation. It wasn’t the flowers that got him in the mood, really, but even that was less mortifying than the truth. He’s never felt this desperate to have something in his mouth, and it wasn’t dirty, not really. He appreciated beautiful people and making beautiful people feel good. Also he can’t remember the last time he got laid, not because he didn’t want to, but because the right person hadn’t come along in a while. He was old fashioned like that.

 

He finished off his ideas for the bouquet with an erection pressing against his stomach, flopped down on his front, lazily dragging his hips into the sofa. Just to get some sort of friction. It made him feel less guilty than actually touching himself, a faulty reasoning. But a reasoning nonetheless. His cock wasn’t up for reasoning though, no pun intended. He’d pleaded with it to go down, to no avail. To avoid giving himself blue balls, he resorted to just rub one out through his underwear, to thoughts decidedly elsewhere. Coming embarrassingly quickly, but feeling sated enough to go to sleep.

 

Of course, of bloody course! The ringing from his bedside table was persistent, any other day of the week he’d roll over and just turn it off. Today he was left gawking though, staring at the clock that just seemed to be mocking him. How had he let himself sleep in for this long, on the one day he’d wanted to make sure he looked presentable? He couldn’t risk being late, it was just out of the question and out of his character. He glared at himself in the mirror as he brushed his teeth, slight red indents still on his cheeks from where it had been nestled into the pillow for hours prior.

 

He sprinted off to work, embarrassingly out of breath as he stepped foot into the shop. Going straight to behind the counter, grateful that he had the opening shift so he could spend some time alone. There usually wasn’t much commotion at 8am on a Friday, and watching people passing by the shop window as rush hour started kept him occupied enough. Making himself a cup of coffee to wake himself up that much further, he sat down to study his late night notes.

 

He went around the shop, picking out the flowers needed. It was a nice stroll, flowers seemed to liven almost every place up with their presence. Some human innate need to be closer to nature, perhaps? He didn’t have time to start pondering his hypothesis however, since just as he was picking up a geranium, a yell that sounded strangely like his name was heard from the entrance. Before the bell rang, which was strange in itself. He almost gave himself whiplash in the process of turning around.

 

He was just about to yell his name back when he realised, he didn’t actually know it. How inconvenient. “May I have your name, so I can properly yell at you for giving me a heart attack?” He figured his heart would be pounding at his presence either way. He now had a good excuse to press his hand to it though, in a desperate attempt to calm it down. A bit like a baby really, needing to be cradled.

 

“It’s Roger.” Brian nodded

 

“Go back out and come back in again?” Brian requested. Roger looked puzzled but did as he was told, turning his back to walk out of the shop, Brian doing the same but staying put.

 

“Roger!” He yelled as he heard the bell of the door, once again. To Roger’s surprise who jumped about three feet in the air with an, impressively, high pitched squeak. Hand going straight for his chest. They must both look like complete idiots now. Adrenaline fuelled idiots.

 

“You fucking moron!” Words sharp, but he was smiling.

 

“Deserved it.” Brian countered pointedly.

 

“Fair enough.” The boy, Roger, agreed. Strolling further into the space to stand next to Brian. “How’s the bouquet coming along?”

 

Brian licked at his lips tentatively, not realising he’d been breathing through his mouth long enough for them to go dry. Listening to the traffic outside for a good few seconds to collect himself, he didn’t know why he was nervous. The thought of presenting his ideas and Roger not thinking it’s good enough was mortifying. Maybe a good metaphor for the rejection of another kind. He twisted the geranium still in his hand to show to Roger, “Something like this?”

 

Roger squinted slightly, reaching to touch the petals, for whatever reason, Brian had no clue. Before deciding, “It’s pretty.”

 

Brian sent him a bright smile, relieved. “It represents foolishness and stupidity.” Roger positively beamed at that, teeth showing and everything. Brian would do anything in his power to keep him smiling like that for as long as he was around.

 

They went on like that, Brian showing Roger around the store, a bit too enthusiastically. Picking out the flowers he’d planned to use and explained the meaning to a puzzled looking blond. Brian could swear the boy had nearly pissed himself laughing when he’d explained that yellow carnations represented disappointment, the joke flying straight past his own head. Brian had questioned as much, and received a half assed answer. Something about how his friend would react. Brian laughed either way.

 

When he rounded the counter, not without almost knocking his bony hip against it to add another bruise to his collection, to start assembling the flowers. He pulled another easy giggle from Roger and It was just so easy. “Come around?” Brian found himself asking.

 

Roger scratched something at the back of his neck, the same hand travelling down a second later to rub at his shoulder beneath his shirt. He’s seen that gesture before. Brian closed his eyes, momentarily, to avoid his mind wandering. “Your boss wouldn’t mind?”

 

It was silent for a good two seconds, the steady lull of the music playing on a radio somewhere inside making it a comfortable one. Though, does it even count as a silence if it’s not completely silent? A halt in conversation was made at least. “She’s not in, c’mon!” Brian urged, pulling out a chair for him to sit on. Like an overexcited puppy, Roger looked at him with a cocked eyebrow, but moved to situate himself at the small table either way. Picking up a discarded rose and staring intently at its thorns.

 

They settled into silence again, not quite tense enough to cut with a knife yet not entirely comfortable. Brian’s hands busied themselves with trying to assemble the flowers in the neatest, most aesthetically pleasing way possible. Balancing the colours of each individual flower out. While his mind busied itself with Roger. In a rather innocent manner this time around because he’s right there, close enough for Brian to slump down on the chair opposite him by the small table if it wasn’t for-

 

“Why don’t you sit down?” Brian glanced over his shoulder and processed the question at hand. Yeah that’s what his mind was getting at.

 

“My legs are too long?” He didn’t know why it came out as a question, it was the truth. He can’t imagine how many times he’s tried to situate himself at the small table to arrange a various number of bouquets, forgetting between each time that his knees would be bruised afterwards. He learnt about a month, a million sitting positions, sore knees and ribs later, and resigned himself to working at the counter instead.

 

“Your legs are too long?” There was a smirk upon Roger’s face and a glint in his eyes as he stood up. Standing himself tall, well as tall as he could become, right next to Brian. Their legs touching the whole way up, it took all of Brian’s willpower to not let his dick stir. Especially when Roger placed a hand delicately against his jutting hipbone and glanced down curiously.

 

When Brian dared glance down, making sure he wouldn’t stab himself with the scissors, Roger’s fingers were resting snugly on his hip. The palm of it reaching the space between his own hipbone and ribcage, as if measuring the length against his own smaller frame. He glanced up at Brian then, smirking. Brian’s not sure it’s biologically possible to feel so small when the truth was something obviously, measurably different.

 

Roger pulled his hand away as Brian started fumbling with the flowers again. He didn’t go to sit down though, resting his elbow against the counter and placing his cheek in it, watching Brian’s fingers working over the stems and petals for a minute. The radio still playing in the distance, something melodic and pleasant.

 

“They’re nice, you know.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Your legs, they’re nice.”

 

He said it so casually, Brian wasn’t sure how to take it. His brain the number one champion in objectivity, going through all of the possible causes for such a statement to leave Roger’s mouth. His body was decidedly elated though, he’d probably start vomiting butterflies within the next twenty seconds, his foot tapping a rapid beat against the wooden floorboards.

 

“Thank you.” He uttered, though he reckoned the blush on his cheeks spoke for itself.

 

Brian dared meeting Roger’s eye then, catching the small nod of his head. He had his thumb seemingly permanently stuck to his bottom lip, nibbling slightly at the cuticle there, making his top lip jut out slightly. Brian took a calming breath through his nose, inhaling the scent of nature all around him. Getting back to the bench to finish his work. Roger’s eyes boring into the side of his head not so intimidating anymore, more of a welcome addition.

 

Roughly five minutes, one drop of blood spilled and some sighs later, Brian decided he was finished. Twirling around dramatically to show it to Roger with a, “Ta-da!”

 

Roger giggled cutely, removing his thumb from his lips to press his palm to his chest instead, “For me?”

 

“Obviously.” Brian rolled his eyes

 

“Didn’t know you thought this low of me, Brian.” He gestured to the various flowers, arranged together beautifully. Although Brian was a bit unsure of the colour combination at first, he’d managed to situate them to create a complimentary whole. Yellow next to orange, next to red, next to purple. Finished off with a white meadowsweet, for aesthetic purposes as much as the added meaning of uselessness.

 

“Sod off!” Brian shot back, the teasing falling into place so easily just like the day prior. Brian was even bold enough to land a slap on the meat of Roger’s upper arm. Earning a playful smack right back, along with that boyish grin Brian has come to adore.

 

Roger handed him the money needed, for his oh-so hard work. And flowers from the shop. And the whole give and take using paper as a value-marker thing society has developed throughout the centuries. Brian kind of wished he could take the payment in the form of a kiss. His hand was soft as Brian handed the change back, and he let his fingers linger on the smooth palm of the smaller boy for a second too long. Roger was too polite to comment on it.

 

Brian wanted so badly to lean over and plant a kiss atop that little nose, smooth his hands through his hair. See if it was smooth, or frizzy enough for his bleached blonde theory. Ask him out, perhaps. “Good luck with your roommate.” Is what he said instead.

 

There was a glint in the blond’s eyes and for a moment Brian felt disheartened. That he was happy with the prospect of not seeing him again, not like it was a big deal. He was only a customer. Albeit a very pretty one that was making a lasting impression, and making Brian’s hormones react for him. He wasn’t used to reacting first and thinking later. Even if only for a beat.

 

“I’ll see you again, Brian!” He said while walking out. More like backing out. Not once breaking eye-contact, and almost falling on an uneven bump in the flooring, making them both snort with laughter.

 

“Yes, you will!” He called back, bravely, once Roger was about to exit through the door. The beaming smile shot his way almost made his own statement seem believable.

 

“Deaky you don’t understand.” Brian ran his hand through his unruly hair, awaiting an answer on the other end of the line.

 

“You have a crush Brian, it’s not rocket science.” John’s words rang true, yet couldn’t feel further from the truth.

 

He sat for a moment, staring out of the window of his flat. Contemplating just how truly fucked he was. Not only has he never felt this strongly about another person before, but now he would probably never see him again? He didn’t know which one was worse. He didn’t like things that didn’t make sense. It was hard to find the beauty in this particular situation, if not from a pathetic melodramatic movie perspective. Brian cringed inwardly at himself. Methodically picking at a loose thread on the sofa.

 

“It doesn’t make sense.” He resorted to replying, because it didn’t.

 

“Feelings don’t usually do that, no.” John’s voice came out a bit crackly through the phone. Brian groaned at the response.

 

“Hey, he said he’d see you later.” John tried, helpfully.

 

“That’s just a polite phrase.”

 

“You’re just being difficult.” The worst part of that statement was John was right. Brian groaned anyways, for good measure.

 

“Call you up for emotional support, and you just call me out.” Brian felt helpless.

 

“You need someone for that part too.” John was yet again, not wrong.

 

Sat in bed later that night he couldn’t help but to feel like all the life had been sucked out of him. His libido not getting the memo though, he didn’t know how to convince his dick he wasn’t going to get what he wanted. He must look a sight, but also, completely on-brand for himself. A bit melancholic, a bit horny, a little less guilty now that he knew he wasn’t going to see Roger the next day and have to sport a stiffy behind the counter. Desperately wanting to grind it up against his thigh.

 

He decided against a cold shower and went to sleep sated enough, dreaming about smooth skin and big blue eyes. For the third night in a row. He decided this must be a new low. With no apparent solution.

 

He wished he hadn’t indulged himself the night before, as not only thirty minutes after he opened the shop, a familiar blond head made itself known from the entrance. Brian almost stabbed himself on a rose. Roger all but stomped over to the counter Brian was stood behind, grinning from ear to ear.

 

“I take it the bouquet went down well?” Brian managed to croak out.

 

“Very well, best idea I’ve had in a while.” He was still smiling, so, so wide. Like nothing in the world could stop him. From what, Brian didn’t know. He just looked like he was on a mission, and he was going to succeed, Brian didn’t doubt him for a second. “But-“

 

“Yeah?” Brian nodded, suddenly nervous. Buts were never an indicator of a positive message. He was usually very good at coming up with negatives but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what could’ve gone wrong. If the plan had gone down smoothly. He chewed his bottom lip anxiously.

 

“I was wondering how to say, you’re very pretty and I want to ask you out on a date and snog in the corner of that coffee shop. Preferably yesterday. In flower language.”

 

Brian turned a violent shade of red. “I-“

 

“It was directed at you, Brian.” It was as if he could tell Brian was trying to figure out if it was an invitation or a genuine request. Roger didn’t look nervous in the slightest, the cheekiest grin on his face and his hands probably tucked in his back pocket. Brian didn’t know if he should feel offended at his, apparent lack of being subtle, or admire Roger’s confidence.

 

“Was I really that obvious?” His hands came up to cover his burning face, hot to touch even.

 

“Hey,” Roger’s hands came up to pry them away with his own, smaller more delicate ones. Brian wanted to chase the feel of them and hold on. “None of that.” He chastised, still holding Brian’s hands in his own, rubbing small circles upon them with the pads of his thumbs. Brian thought he was going to evaporate with how fiercely he was blushing. Scared Roger would be able to feel his frantic pulse against the tips of his fingers, with how they were resting on the insides of his wrists.

 

“You’re very pretty.” It felt more like an explanation than a compliment. Roger smiled anyways.

 

“As are you.” Brian ducked his head as the compliment was turned on him, on instinct, to hide his aflame cheekbones. Roger’s fingers leaving his left hand to instead push his face up, gently, from underneath his chin. He felt exposed, but in a surprisingly good way. If only for the way Roger was gazing at him, from half lidded eyes.

 

“So, will you do me the honour?” Roger asked, stroking his cheek now.

 

“What do you think?” Brian didn’t know if it was cheekiness or if he just felt he was being too obvious to even need to answer directly.

 

Roger smiled wider, cocking his head. Not seizing the movements of his fingers against Brian’s face. “I think you want me to pick you up in my car after your shift?”

 

Brian was smiling now, too. “I’d love that.” Understatement of the century. Deaky would smack him in the face later for crying on the phone to him for three hours. Over nothing, apparently.

 

He locked up the shop and found Roger stood leaning against his car, right outside the entrance. His breath caught in his throat, he wasn’t wearing anything spectacular at all. Actually Brian could swear he’s seen that exact outfit before in the four days he’s known him. A simple, white jumper and blue, slightly bell-bottomed jeans. That hugged his legs perfectly so. Brian looked down at his own black jeans and purple striped shirt, tugging at the sleeves self-consciously.

 

“Hey there, gorgeous.” Roger tried, cheekily.

 

Brian almost smacked him with the sunflower he had brought for him. Simply because it reminded him of Roger, and he was feeling sappy. Brian thought Roger was beautiful, and radiant, like the sun. He told him as much and the blond blushed so profusely Brian had to reach out to feel his cheeks. Making the blond waggle his eyebrows.

 

“Do you kiss on the first date?” How Roger hadn’t lost his flirty streak after nearly setting himself and Brian’s hands on fire with his blush, was a miracle in and of itself. Brian was impressed, mildly flustered, and very infatuated.

 

Yet again he didn’t think the question deserved an answer, his demeanour speaking for itself. So instead of gracing it with one, he searched for the response in the blond’s eyes, which told him to go for it. So he did, bending down slightly. Even the action of having to do that made his stomach flutter, endearing in ways he couldn’t explain. His lips found the other pair after a bit of knee bending and he could swear he’s never felt anything smoother in his life. Part of him knew he was being biased but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

 

“I guess I do, now.” Brian replied, after the deed had already been done.

 

Roger slapped his arm playfully, but stayed close. Brian was biased enough to find the breath, tickling his slightly wet lips as they pulled apart, to be one of the most precious things he’s experienced. Making his head spin, he kissed the tip of Roger’s nose, simply because he could and the smaller boy giggled so adorably, Brian thought he was going to have a stroke. He’s never found himself this illogical in his entire life, but he found he was grateful for it, somehow.

 

They pulled apart, albeit reluctantly. Roger opening the door to the passenger seat for Brian. Like a true gentleman. Before sitting himself down with a huff behind the steering wheel.

 

“Keep this up and your roommate is going to have to bring you flowers, soon.”

 

Brian regretted the words almost the moment they left his mouth. No scratch that, he didn’t know how he’d let the though process in the first place. The last thing he wanted to do was to come across as insincere. Roger looked at him with a wicked smirk though, a hand covering his thigh while the other was on the wheel. Brian twitched in his jeans. Roger smirked even wider.

 

“That’s the plan.”