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Sunshine and daisies

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Walking down the street felt very weird after weeks and weeks of being at home. And sure, it was weird to see people in masks and signs to keep your distance in every shop, but at least he was out on the sunny street with people around. It felt like the weather was celebrating the end of the lockdown with everyone. The clear blue sky made the world feel happy and big. There was a pleasant cool breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, there were colorful flowers planted along the sidewalk, and the air felt fresh and rejuvenating.

 

As Phil turned the corner, he saw the familiar logo of a Starbucks. When he left for a walk this morning, leaving Dan to brainstorm on the next chapter, he didn’t have a real goal in mind, but getting a fancy ice coffee felt like a really good idea.

 

He adjusted his face mask (with a corgi pattern, of course) and took his place in line (6 feet behind the previous person, of course). Taking out his phone, he considered texting Dan and asking if he wanted something but then decided against it. Dan was working and pulling him out of his focus for coffee didn’t seem worth it, especially since Phil was fairly confident he could guess what Dan would prefer. Instead, he opened twitter and scrolled through his feed.

 

The line looked long, but it took only 10 minutes for Phil to get to the register and order his Caramel Ribbon Crunch frappuccino (the name itself made Phil’s teeth ache in anticipation of all the sugar) and an Iced Matcha for Dan. He also ordered a cake pop for himself (he was an adult, no one could tell him what to do) and an almond croissant for Dan.

 

Phil left the coffee shop and slowly walked down the street towards the apartment, drinks in both hands and the pastries under his arm. A woman with a baby stroller walked past him, talking on the phone with someone. A young man in a mask jogged past him and Phil had to actively stop himself from doing a double-take (he had quite nice shoulders). Phil felt as though his breaths were deeper and almost sweeter than usual. It felt good. Life felt good.

 

He was passing the little flower shop that Dan liked to frequent and suddenly felt the urge to go in. Dan was the one who loved to buy flowers. Every now and then he would come home from a walk with a large bouquet. Sometimes he would say that they were for Phil and blush a little. Sometimes he would just put them on his desk and not mention it. And sometimes Phil would kiss him on the cheek and say “Such pretty flowers, Danny.”

 

Phil walked inside the store and breathed in the smell of the flowers. He walked around the different displays, looking at the different plants, trying to decide what to get for Dan.

 

“Sir, can I help you?” A voice interrupted Phil’s thoughts. He was so startled that he almost dropped one of the coffees to the floor, but caught it just in time. The bag with the pastries, however, fell down.

 

“Sorry, sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you!” The young sales assistant rushed to pick up the slightly beaten bag and handed it to Phil.

 

“No, no, it’s all fine! I just didn’t see you there!” Phil put down the cups on the counter, adjusted his facemask, and shoved the bag back under his armpit.

 

“Is there anything I can help you with, sir?” the girl asked again, in a quieter voice.

 

“Um…yeah, I wanted to buy some flowers…” Phil trailed off. There was an awkward pause.

 

“Well, this is the place for it! What kind of flowers are you looking for?”

 

“They’re for…a friend. A boyfriend.” It was still weird to be able to say it out loud. 

 

It’s been a year since I could first say it on the street, Phil thought to himself. How has the time flown by?

 

“Oh, ok! What kind of flowers are you thinking? What does he like?” She started walking around the shop pointing at different flowers. “Lilies? Or maybe some roses, is he a roses guy?”

 

“What about these?” Phil pointed at a bucket. “They’re daisies, right?”

 

“Yes, those are a great choice! Did you know that in the language of flowers daisies mean ‘I love you truly’? How many do you want?”

 

“All of them,” said Phil before he could stop himself.

 

If the sales assistant was surprised, she didn’t show it. “Ok, great!” she said and started wrapping the giant bunch up into fancy paper. Phil felt a little silly watching her wrap up what must have been several dozen of the white flowers, but said nothing and just awkwardly stepped from foot to foot.

 

“There you go, that will be 94.60!”

 

After paying, Phil tried to arrange all the packages in his arms without dropping the coffee, but nearly tumbled over. 

 

“Here! Let me help!” exclaimed the flower girl and carefully handed Phil the cups after placing the bouquet under his free arm. “I’m sure your boyfriend is gonna love them! Have a nice day, stay safe!” She opened the door for him.

 

The walk home, while still quite pleasant, was definitely a little tricky. As was opening the door and pressing the buttons in the lift. And he didn’t even attempt to unlock the front door, and just banged on it with his foot until Dan opened.

 

“What’s all this?!” Dan looked rumpled and a tiny bit annoyed, although his face quickly turned to surprise and his ‘Phil what are you doing but also you’re so cute’ expression.

 

Phil handed Dan the (very much melted) matcha and the pastry bag. “For you,” he said, walking into the apartment and placing his cup on the table. After tearing off his mask, he gave Dan a quick peck on the lips and stepped out of his trainers.

 

“Daisies?” Dan asked, looking at the giant bouquet.

 

“Also for you.” For some reason, Phil felt a little hesitant now. They were a little ridiculous. They probably wouldn’t fit into any vase they had.

 

Dan looked into Phil’s eyes for a bit and then proceeded to give him a slow kiss. “Thank you. I love them,” he said and took the flowers out of Phil’s arms. “Now go wash your hands, mister, don’t want any of that virus on my furniture.”

 

When Phil came back after washing up and changing into his pajamas, Dan had assembled the daisies into smaller bouquets, placing them in 5 separate vases, and was now arranging them all across the flat.

 

“They’re a bit ridiculous, I know.” 

 

“Hey, don’t say shit about my flowers!” Dan countered. “But what did you do, buy the whole stock?”

 

When Phil didn’t answer, Dan started laughing and kissed Phil on the side of the head. “They’re beautiful, Phil, and now I have enough to put into every room.”

 

They ended up finishing up their drinks and pastries while sitting on the sofa, legs tangled together. Dan told Phil about his progress (or lack of it) on his book, and Phil told him about what specials were at Starbucks. They watched a couple of YouTube videos and at some point, Dan stood up to continue working.

 

“They mean I love you,” Phil blurted out before Dan had a chance to leave the room. “The daisies. The store woman said that they mean ‘I love you deeply’ or something like that.” He trailed off, a little embarrassed.

 

Dan turned around and walked back up to Phil. He pulled him up from the sofa and wrapped himself around Phil and squeezed. “Oh, Phil, you spork,” he whispered into Phil’s hair and kissed him on the temple. They stood wrapped up together for a minute or two, until Dan untangled himself, gave Phil a last kiss on the lips, and went up to his office. He took the biggest vase with him.