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You're My Gloxinia

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When you’re given a bouquet of flowers, what’s the first emotion you experience? More than likely, it’s happiness or thankfulness. Now, however, what if you knew what all the flowers meant? Each individual flower has something it represents, be it love or kindness or playfulness. Some, on the other hand, don’t exactly represent all the lovey-dovey, fluttery feelings people might suspect at first. Yeah, that’s right. Some flowers are assholes, even if they do look like the Milky Way.

 

When Levi clocked in for the day at eight in the morning exact, he didn’t expect to have such an eventful Tuesday. He expected to sit at the counter and jot down orders from either callers or people who so happened to stroll in at the time. He expected to water the flowers in the back and enjoy his morning, minus his rather loud friend of whom just came through the back doors for their shift. He expected to walk around and manage any flowers that needed some extra love, as well as pick up any petals that were brushed off and fell onto the ground from people who didn’t pay enough attention to their surroundings. What he expected was to not see a man stomp through the doors with seething rage radiating from his entire being.. Except, that rage was hidden under a well-forced, likely practiced smile. An extremely well-forced, practiced smile.

 

“Hello!” the customer waved at Levi from the slowly closing door, closing his eyes and taking in the smell of the different flowers around the shop. “I’d like to order a bouquet.”

 

“That’s... Usually why you walk into a Florist, yes,” Levi said with a huff of breath. The customer paid the comment no mind, however. “What can I get for you?”

 

The man opened his eyes and revealed a sight Levi had never seen in the thirty-two years of his quite boring life. The turquoise shades around his irises hinted at a harsher green just at the bottom that dazzled in the early morning sunlight. Levi watched as the customer walked closer to the front desk with his clearly angered smile still on his face. If anger is making you smile, something’s up. No one smiles like that unless someone else just waged war on you or stomped on your grandmother’s prized possessions. Maybe both; who knows?

 

In this time, as well, Levi got to take in the other details of the man in front of him. His hair was a grey-ish brown and was tied back into a bun. Small tufts of hair escaped the hair tie and drooped in front of his face, making him look even more ethereal. Levi had already fawned over his eyes earlier; how it was almost the carbon copy of the ocean, but it was still worth mentioning. He had a longer, dark grey sweater on him as well as black-washed jeans. It’s not like it was wrong to wear a sweater and jeans at this point, seeing how it was still early spring and a little chilly. The sight of tattoos was truly a sight, however. The customer rolled up his sleeves - since the shop was warmed to accommodate for the flowers - and revealed a bountiful amount of tattoos. There were irregular and geometric shapes, as well as dragons and other animals that coated his arms. Levi could probably spend hours trying to figure out what the guy had. You’d think you’d get ink poisoning at some point after all of that was poked into you. There was another dragon tattoo around his neck, inked with all different shades of red. It had some sort of flower petals coming out of its mouth, but Levi didn’t know what kind. On the back of the man’s right hand, a chrysanthemum tattoo was barely present. Its ink was either fading or maybe it just wasn’t finished. Levi didn’t know. It’s not like he would have to begin with.

 

“Well,” the customer started, shoving his hands into his denim-jean pockets. “What’s the best way to tell someone “ suck my dick, you little shit ” in flowers?”

 

Okay, well, Levi knew the guy was pissed at something. Nevertheless, he didn’t exactly expect him to say something like that. Levi heard a muffled laugh from his friend around the corner and in the green house where they stored the rest of the flowers. This was going to be a trip, certainly.

 

“Uh,” Levi started. Nice job, starting a conversation with filler. “Well, we can get you something along those lines , but not exactly in those words.”

 

“Oh that’s perfectly fine, I just need something that looks nice but really means I want to rip off their dick and feed it to sharks or something,” the man leaned his side against the countertop, waving his hand around in circles with his annoyed smile never fading from his face. Beautiful face, Levi added. “You know, as you do.”

 

As you do? As you do ?? That isn’t exactly something people say at the end of those indirect threats, but who was Levi to say anything about that? It’s not like he knew why the guy was angry, and he wasn’t about to prod. “What’s got you in a frenzy, anyways?” or maybe he was. Come on, it had to be asked. You don’t just let someone walk into your shop, have them ask you for a hateful bouquet, and then not question why the hell they’re so pissed. Basic knowledge here, my friends.

 

“Stupid boyfriend is all,” the guy replied with a growl in his throat. Clearly, it was more than stupid. “There’s a better word for him rather than stupid-” yeah, see? There we go. “-but let’s just say it isn’t as PG as I’d like it to be.” 

 

“You just walked in and asked me to make a bouquet threatening the safety of someone’s... pride and joy. I don’t think you have to worry about it being PG or not anymore,” Levi sighed, taking out a notebook and pen. They needed a paper copy before they could put anything into the computer. The man laughed a little into the back of his hand, humoring Levi for a second before it died down. “Is that all? When would you like it done? Pick up or delivery?”

 

“That’s all,” the guy started. “As soon as possible, and I’ll come around and get it.”

 

Levi wrote the man’s order down and nodded, putting the notepad away and moved over to the computer. The man’s attention had drifted off to the clusters of flowers on the back wall and down the rows in the center of the shop, his ocean-like gaze focused a little too strong on the hyacinths. Levi could only guess why. This man was full of questions that Levi really, desperately wanted answers to. But he wasn’t about to meddle in some dude’s personal affairs, no. That didn’t make up for his previous slip-up, though.

 

“Can I get a name?” Levi asked with a little cough, hoping to bring the man back to reality. And it seemed to work, since the distant look in the man’s eyes snapped.

 

“Right, sorry about that,” the man tilted his head back to Levi and pushed himself off the counter, rubbing the ends of his fingers on the faded chrysanthemum. “Eren.”

 

“Last name?” Levi’s voice deepened. Come on, there were several people named “Eren”, expect the spelling was different. “And spell it please. Both first and last.”

 

“Yup yup,” Eren smiled, this time a little softer than when he first walked in. “E-R-E-N for the first, Yeager, Y-E-A-G-E-R, for the last.”

 

“German, huh?” Levi said quietly, quiet enough to keep the customer from hearing him. He typed the Eren’s name into the register, clicking at a different slot for his number before glancing back up at him. “Phone number? So we can call you when it’s done.”

 

Eren told Levi his number, the florist tacking away at the keyboard without an expression visible on his face. Eren watched as Levi continued to poke at something, but was unable to see the screen since it was, you know, not facing him. Eren could only wait until Levi was done, so he decided to focus his attention back on the hyacinths on the back wall. Levi glanced up at Eren and noticed his eyes were focused on the flowers again, the urge to ask him why he was so damn adamant on staring down the hyacinths almost forcing its way out of his mouth. But Levi shook it off with a short sigh. It still wasn’t his problem.

 

“We’ll likely get back to you later today,” Levi closed the window he had open on his computer, tapping the countertop to attract Eren’s attention. Not like it had any sort of secret purpose, Levi just wanted the dude to stop staring down the poor flowers. He would kill them with his stare alone if he wasn’t careful enough. “Have a nice day.”

 

“You too! Thanks for the help,” Eren shot Levi a smile that reflected that of the sun’s burning light. Levi was almost tempted to squint. “See ya!”

 

And with that, the strange, answerless customer left. Levi couldn’t help but watch as Eren whistled his way down the street, hands in his pockets and seemingly over the anger he had earlier. At least he wasn’t going to scare off anyone else he might talk to later. 

 

“Golly, what a sight,” Levi’s friend from around back poked their head through the swinging doors of the green house, holding back their laughter. “Didn’t know you could just.. Boom , love on someone.”

 

“You know what, Hanji? If you don’t drop it, I’ll make sure you can never feel that “boom, love” for someone ever again,” Levi threatened, taking one of the shovels from under the desk and threw it at Hanji. The coworker dodged and picked up the shovel, waving their hands playfully in Levi’s direction. “Go away. Focus on making the guy’s bouquet. And I did not go all “boom, love” on him.”

 

“Right right, you tell yourself that... I never understood why someone as rowdy as you would open a flower shop,” Hanji cackled, pulling their head back through the doors. “What did you want to use anyways? It’s not like I talked to him.”

 

“Petunias, orange lilies and geraniums,” Levi said, listing off the flowers from his fingertips. “All run along the lines of “hate”, at least.”

 

“Right-o,” Hanji saluted Levi and got to work, gathering the flowers from further within the green house. “Wonder why he was so pissed. I only caught a couple of things while I was wandering around back here.”

 

“I hope you didn’t ruin anything...” Levi clicked his tongue with a roll of his eyes. “He said it was about his boyfriend.”

 

“Oh golly, romance troubles,” Hanji took out a pot of orange lilies from one of the corners of the green house, dropping it a couple feet away from Levi. “You gonna help?”

 

“You can cut them. I’ll arrange them well enough that it at least looks presentable,” Levi hated getting dirt on his hands. He’d take hours scrubbing the dirt off, even if it wasn’t there anymore. Why did he want to open a flower shop again? “These flowers will look horrible together.”

 

“You usually make weird flowers look good together, I don’t doubt you can do something about this... Mix,” Henji gestured to the pots of flowers that really did not go well with each other. The striking orange of the lilies didn’t mix with the dark blues and purples of the geraniums and petunias. “If you’re mad enough to walk into a Florist and ask for a bouquet like this, whoever is receiving it isn’t going to see the light of tomorrow.”

 

“Yeah well, it’s not my problem, Hanji.” 

 

“Oh, but I could see just how interested you were in his story. The little flicker of light in your eyes was practically begging the poor guy for answers,” Hanji cut off a couple flowers from the geraniums, setting them gently down on a clean cloth. 

 

“I’ll end you.” Levi threatened, but at this point, Hanji was so used to them that they didn’t mind to much. They shrugged it off with a laugh. 

 

“Right right. You’ve had the ten years we’ve known each other to kill me, Levi,” Hanji shuffled over to the pot of petunias and cut off a stem or two, moving over to the lilies and finished the cuts. “You could probably call the guy back now. The bouquet is gonna be done in like, the next hour or so. It’s not like we really have any other orders to complete.”

 

“Let’s wait until it’s done first.”

 

--

 

And so they did wait..... Through a couple fights and thrown piles of dirt, that is.

 

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CRUSHED THEM?!” Levi’s shrieks filled the customer-less air as he chased down Hanji with a clump of dirt in his hand. He had a glove on, though, so no dirt was actually touching him. Thank god for his future self and the soap he would have to destroy. “YOU CLUMSY APRICOT !!”

 

“HEY! DON’T CALL ME THAT! IF I’M AN APRICOT, THEN YOU’RE A CORELESS APPLE!” Hanji fought back, flinging a bit of dirt at their friend from the shovel they were holding. The dirt landed a couple centimeters from Levi’s foot, to his luck. If it touched him, he might have made Hanji eat some of it off the ground. 

 

“Excuse me?” someone called from the front, the two employees unaware of their customer. “Is there anyone here?”

 

“EAT MY DICK, HANJI!” Levi shouted back, totally scaring off the unfortunate soul who just wanted a bouquet of flowers. “I’LL MAKE YOU CLEAN THIS UP! I CAN FIRE YOU!”

 

“BITCH, YOU LIVE RIGHT ABOVE THIS SHOP! I CAN DESTROY YOUR APARTMENT IF I REALLY WANTED TO!” Hanji started laughing as they jumped over empty pots and discarded containers that they promised to throw away. “AND YOU CAN’T FIRE ME! I’M THE ONLY OTHER EMPLOYEE HERE!”

 

Levi finally chucked the pile of dirt in his hands as his friend, the earthy bits splattering all over Hanji’s back. They laughed again. “YOU’D BETTER CUT MORE FLOWERS OR I SWEAR TO ANYTHING THAT’S GOOD IN ME-!”

 

Hanji laughed harder than before, grasping their sides in attempts to lessen the cramping. They got right back to work after composing themselves, knowing that yelling wasn’t exactly professional. Hanji starting cutting a couple flowers off the bundles that they’d originally gotten for Eren’s order, setting them down on another piece of cloth like the one from before. Levi watched over Hanji like a hawk does its prey, tapping his foot on the ground angrily with his arms crossed as well. He didn’t want them to destroy another batch of flowers. He’d have to order more.

 

“Here you go!” Hanji handed over the flowers to Levi with a cheeky grin and innocent aura. Levi knew damn well they were not innocent. “Not squished this time.”

 

“You should start paying attention to where you’re walking ,” Levi grumbled, snatching the flowers away from their hands. “I’m going back out front.”

 

“Yup yup!”

 

Levi propped himself on the stool behind the front desk and crossed his legs, his arms still folded against his chest. He wondered back to Eren, who’d come into his shop with pure rage surrounding his every being. He wondered back to the boyfriend Eren mentioned; who pissed someone off that badly? You’re their partner. If you can’t have a toxic-free relationship, don’t be in a damn relationship. Word of advice kids, don’t date idiots. They’ll only ruin your life later. If you think your relationship is going well in the beginning, beware of the future. Your loving partner could turn out to be an over-aggressive asshole.

 

Levi got out some wrapping paper and plastic-y shit; he didn’t understand why they were still using plastic, but whatever. On to the arranging bit, Levi had no idea how to actually do it. The colors were vomit-inducing. Who matched orange and blue together? Horrible color choices, really. Now, if you were going to do a paler, pastel color palette with orange and blue, sure. But darker, more striking colors like this? No. Don’t ever do that.

 

“I can’t even think about where to begin...” Levi muttered. Just then, the door to the shop opened, the little bell hanging above the edge ringing softly. Levi looked up at the new customer and realized they weren’t new. “Oh, you’re back. Why?”

 

“Wow, thanks. You’re so polite to your customers. If that’s the case, does that mean I have to be nice back?” Eren chuckled, shoving his hands into his pockets. Levi noticed he did that a lot. “And I was just walking by. I felt like coming in, is all. Good to know I came in at the right time; seems like you’re almost done with the flowers.”

 

“Oh my, a brat,” Levi gasped sarcastically, setting the flowers aside. If the kid wanted the bouquet done, he’d get to wait a little longer. For annoyance purposes, nothing else. “Didn’t see that one coming. I thought you were the nice, smiley pushover kind.”

 

“I’m far from a pushover,” Eren leaned up against the counter like he did before, except his focus was strictly pinned onto Levi. Not the flowers on the back wall or the ground, but Levi. The playful glare in his eyes sent shivers down Levi’s spine. He couldn’t look away from him, though, unfortunately or fortunately. “And the only reason why I was all nice and smiley is because I’d rather not start shouting at the employees. Trust me, I understand your pain when it comes to terrible customers.”

 

“What? You work at the supermarket or something?” Levi continued to joke. “It wouldn’t surprise me. You look like you’re sixteen.”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t go around making fun of people's looks, midget,” Eren gestured to Levi with a wave, a smirk growing around the corners of his mouth. “I saw you get up earlier and the difference from you sitting and you standing was very slim. And I’ll have you know I’m twenty-two.”

 

“So still a brat,” Levi shot back, rolling his eyes and placed the flowers in between him and Eren. “Where do you work exactly? It’s not like many places would put up with your attitude.”

 

“And they would tolerate you? Man, I didn’t know egos could go so far. I feel bad for whoever runs this shop,” Eren laughed. Levi tried his best not to laugh as well. Instead, he scoffed. “I work at the tattoo shop just down the street. I own the place.” Levi didn’t expect that. Well, he had a feeling the brat worked with some sort of tattoo chain, but owning the place? 

 

“If you own a shop, I’m surprised it’s still up and running,” Levi stuffed the flowers into the plastic wrapping paper, tying a rubber band around the bottom of the stems and handed it over to Eren. “For your information, I own this place. Here’s your bouquet. Petunias for anger and resentment, Geraniums for stupidity, and orange lilies for hatred. That’ll be twenty-five dollars, ten dollars tax for aggravating me.”

 

“Can you even do that?” Eren seemed a little baffled. Levi shot Eren a harsh glare from the cash register, Eren backing down with a sigh. “Fine fine. Gimme a second.”

 

Eren handed Levi a credit card, to which Levi swiped it and handed it back. Levi didn’t charge ten dollars extra, no, but he did charge a dollar fifty. Typical tax, Eren didn’t mind. If he did, he didn’t say anything about it after it popped up on the little screen above the register. Who complains about tax? Only privileged people, that’s who.

 

“Thanks again,” Eren put his card away back into his wallet and headed to the door, pausing just before his hand could grasp the handle. “What was your name? I didn’t catch it.”

 

“I never offered it.”

 

“Okay you know what-” Eren huffed a laugh, calming himself before he could do anything stupid. A smart move, Levi thought. “Can you tell me your name, Mr. Annoying-flower-guy?”

 

“‘Annoying-flower-guy? Do you even want me to tell you my name?” Levi scoffed, shooing Eren out the door. “It’s Levi. Now go deliver those to your boyfriend or whatever you told me earlier.”

 

“Oh we’re not dating anymore, that’s for damn sure,” Eren’s aura suddenly dropped, his brows furrowed and eyes no longer shining like they were when he was happy. Happy-ish. However, there was still that forced smile on his face. How much did this guy practice his angry grins in the mirror? He looked like a damn pro. “I’ll come by and tell you how it goes! See you, Levi!”

 

“You really don’t have to,” Levi sighed, knowing Eren didn’t hear him.

 

The shop was quiet again. There were still questions unanswered, but Levi didn’t mind as much this time. He got to know the annoying, tattoo-riddled customer better... Ish. Beneath the mask of Eren’s hospitality and kindness was a brat. A backtalking, snarky, cocky, totally hot not hot brat. 

 

“Overheard that convo,” Hanji stepped in, leaning on the doorframe to the green house. “That’s some tension going on there. Didn’t he say he worked at the tattoo parlor just down a ways? We could totally stop by.”

 

“Yeah like I'd do that.”

 

“Of course you would, Levi. You haven’t had fun berating someone besides me in forever. I hope you noticed how your brows wasn’t scrunched up while you talked to him, or how your eyes seemed more relaxed,” Hanji threw their arms around Levi’s shoulders, almost knocking him off his stool. “You like him already, don’t you~?”

 

“No, I don’t.” Levi was quick to deny it. But looking back at it, he did feel less shitty talking to him. Levi no longer had to be nice and civil with him like how he had to act to other customers. Eren already seemed fairly open about his personality, and Levi only met him this morning. Not to mention his looks, more specifically, his eyes. They looked like freshly made marbles that captured what poets and writers dreamt about. They were blinding-... Uh.. “Oh no.”

 

“Oh no?” Hanji repeated.

 

“Oh no.” Levi dragged his hands down his face, groaning into his palms. “I think I do.”