The cupboards are filled with food. There are cans neatly pilled, one on top of the other, following a sequence and given order. The tuna cans are with the tuna cans. Tomato soup with tomato soup. Chicken noodles next to chicken noodles. All the cans are facing forward making it easy to read the label and brand imprinted on them. The ones with a closer expiration date are up front for prompt consumption.
In another shelve there’s bread, cookies, flour, cookie batter and pancake mix. Everything’s related to baking or something baked. In another one there are cereal boxes arranged by size and the order in which they’ll be eaten.
The plates and glasses are in the shelves right on top of the stove.
The glasses are also arranged by size and type, first the ones made of plastic next the ones made of glass, cups follow right in the middle and the mugs are on the other end. The plates are close by but not quite there, just close. The plates are pilled up, making up a pyramid. The bigger ones are at the bottom, the medium sized are in the middle and the smaller ones right at the top.
The inside of the refrigerator has an order of its own.
The kitchen table is small and round, with only four chairs. The bright reddish brown of the mahogany almost shines when the sun light peeks through the blinds every morning. There’s a vase in the middle of it with white peonies in it that get changed every week.
Everything is in place. The entire kitchen is clean and organized. Completely spotless.
Just as the kitchen the rest of the apartment follows some order, a pattern that makes sense inside his head, keeping him sane and safe.
Brendon runs out of his bedroom checking the hour in his cell phone before slipping it inside the left pocket of his jeans as he usually does. It’s 8:05 in the morning. He still has time.
He walks inside the kitchen going over to the coffee maker and plugging it (he tends to unplug everything in his house before going to bed), he goes through the motions and when the coffee is ready he takes a white ceramic mug with the picture of a penguin playing the guitar. His favorite one.
He pours half of coffee on it, the other half is milk and he adds two spoons of sugar, stirring it six times before pulling the spoon out and rinsing it, putting it next to other spoons to dry.
Twenty minutes later after drinking his coffee, flipping through the local newspaper ( The Santa Monica Mirror) and brushing his teeth ( Up and down fifteen times, left to right another fifteen times), he goes to the front door.
Before actually making it out the door he runs about four times to check he actually unplugged the coffee maker and that the stove isn’t on, even though he didn’t use the latter.
It takes him about fifteen minutes to walk to his work (he knows because he’s checked and timed his mornings). In the way he avoids the cracks in the sidewalk and counts his steps.
It’s 8:45 when he’s standing in front of a door beneath a sign that reads In Bloom; he takes the key out of his right pocket and slides it into the keyhole. The morning is slightly cold and the sun’s making its way on top of the building and stores around him. He says good morning to the people passing by, counts to seven, and enters the shop.
It has been a slow day, barely any people have dropped by. Just a few customers here and there taking dozens of roses, buying sunflowers or daisies and asking him how exactly pansies look like (but the last one doesn’t count because it was just Gabe on the way to his shift at the coffee shop, being a douche and making fun of Brendon in a totally not subtle way. Whatever, he hopes the bastard gets hot burning coffee thrown at his face after trying to hit on another customer again).
He’s currently at the back working in an arrangement. Gardenias, lilies and camellias are in front of him and making their way into a vase. Ribbons and scissors and his tools are in the table he’s sitting at. He cuts the stem of the flowers before putting them in the vase meticulously, his fingers working deftly, eyebrows burrowing in concentration and the tip of his tongue sticking out between his lips.
He hears the sound of the jingle of the little bell he put on top of the door because he wanted that feel of an old store, he wanted it to be warm and welcoming, pleasant for his customers.
Ian’s voice can be heard from the front of the store where Brendon had left him minutes ago to manage the store while he was working in the back. He’s talking to whoever stepped into the shop. He’s trying to decide if it’s too much white and maybe the arrangement needs a pop of color, even if it’s subtle, while twirling a lily in his finger when he hears someone laughing. Immediately he drops the flower and his entire body is in overdrive, he knows that laugh.
He gets up and takes the green apron with the name of the store in bold black letters in the top left corner off and takes the bottle of antibacterial gel he always keeps close by to clean his hands, then he straightens his shirt and fixes his already perfect and neat hair (it is perfect even if it looks messy).
When he walks out to the front he sees Spencer leaning against the counter talking with Ian, smiling brightly and Brendon just wishes. He really wishes.
When the other two notice his presence in the doorway of the hall that leads to the back, they turn around to smile and Spencer’s smile is so perfect he feels weak. His feet lead him next to Spencer and he can feel the heat coming from the other’s body, and he totally didn’t peek at Spencer’s ass in those tight jeans he seems to be inclined to wear. Definitely not.
“What brings you here?” he asks and he wants to smack himself for coming up with such an amazing line.
“Ah, flower delivery?” Spencer says in return lifting an eyebrow, because yeah. Of course. Flower delivery and he’s the flower delivery guy and they’re in a flower shop obviously. He didn’t showed up out of the blue to take Brendon out in a romantic date involving a walk in the beach and Spencer winning a gigantic stuffed bear in the pier for him. Right. Of course not.
That never happens.
“Yeah, right. Flowers,” Brendon says, and laughs nervously. Spencer’s smiling at him. Oh God.
Behind them Ian is chuckling, because he’s aware of Brendon’s predicament. The bastard. Brendon swears he’s never ever going to confide in Ian again, especially when it comes to boys and how much he likes Spencer’s smile. He hopes he gets pricked by a thorn and he actually bleeds.
Brendon isn’t usually a vengeful person but he’s having a bad day and people are being assholes today.
When Spencer leaves the store he wants to go to the back and hit his head against the wall over and over again.
He gets home late.
He’s really tired and whoever thinks that he just sells flowers and that it’s a relatively easy job is wrong. Running your own business is never an easy task. He has to keep the books in check, pay the bills for water and electricity of the store and also the ones of his apartment, sort through the flowers and when they’ll be delivered. He has to clean and arrange and put order around him. When he started his own business he put all of his savings into it, he had always wanted to own his own flower shop because he loved to help his grandma in the garden, planting Cosmos and Gerberas. Smelling the Gardenias and Magnolias. Making Daisy chains and bouquets out of Marigolds.
It had always been his dream and it was though in the beginning but his hard work had paid off in the end. His little flower shop has become one of the bests in Santa Monica. He really loves his job but it is tiring.
He wishes he had extra help besides Ian.
Ever since Jon just up and left, because according to him he missed Chicago (Brendon’s pretty sure he eloped with that skinny guy who sometimes visited him at the shop. They seemed to be the kind of people to do something impulsive like that anyway. Plus, he’ll remain forever suspicious of them fucking in the counter), it has been just the two of them and he hasn’t found someone as good as Jon to substitute him. He misses the guy sometimes and he understands if Jon wanted to get hitched, he just wished he were invited to the wedding if there ever was one.
Anyway, he’s totally beat and wants to throw himself in his bed as soon as possible.
That only happens after he takes a shower where he shampoos his hair twice and uses the conditioner once. He brushes his teeth when he gets out (up and down fifteen times, left to right another fifteen times). He dries his body and uses the blow dryer to dry his hair. He can’t go to bed with wet hair, he hates how it feels against the pillow.
When he finally finishes his nightly rituals and gets to the bed he picks up the book in the bedside table and turns the lamp on top of it on. He gets in the covers and reads a chapter like every night and goes to sleep after unplugging the lamp and hiding underneath the covers making sure they’re pointing in the right direction.
Sleep takes him over quickly.
“Come on Greta, it’s not that easy,” Brendon groans.
“Sure it is, you just walk up to him and ask, ‘Do you want to go out with me?’” The blond girl who’s currently browsing through the folk section of the music store tells him. He doesn’t believe a word she says.
“I bet you’re not even listening to me. I asked you to come with me to do some window shopping and to be a supportive best friend, but right now you’re ignoring me and trading me for Phil Ochs!” he exclaims. He’s whining and he knows it. Greta turns to look at him unimpressed because she’s used to his craziness and crankiness.
“I am listening to you sweetheart. You want to hump flower delivery guy but you’re being a total wimp and won’t ask him out.” Though sweet, she usually speaks the truth and says things just like they are. This time is no exception.
Brendon sighs and pulls his tiny bottle of antibacterial he takes with him when he goes out from his left pocket. He touched the records and there are germs in them.
“But you know how I am. Who I am. Not everyone can put up with it, guys aren’t usually so into me when they get to really know me and you know that,” he tells her, sighing again already defeated. It’s the truth after all; some people think he has serious issues. He thinks they’re wrong.
“Brendon, just because Dallon couldn’t take it doesn’t mean no one can. After all, he was a douche and you know it,” she replies with a sense of finality giving Brendon a smile and hugging him.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“Of course I am. Now let’s look for some Bob Dylan.”
Brendon is looking through a catalog. A young bride-to-be had been with him most of the morning; she wanted centerpieces and edible flowers in her cake. And Brendon is the one in charge of providing the flowers for the wedding. The color scheme is white and pink. Brendon sees the bridal bouquet made out of white and light pink peonies. He’s feeling excited about his job right at the moment.
He’s so into it, planning and choosing flowers even tough he just wants peonies, that he doesn’t hear the bell nor the person coming inside, until said person is standing in front of the counter and lets out a ‘hey’ that startles him.
“Shit, you scared me!” he says holding a hand to his chest dramatically, but he really got scared.
“Sorry,” Spencer responds sheepishly.
Brendon smiles because oh well, a teeny incident. Spencer is here now and they’re alone.
“It’s okay. Hey, it’s not Tuesday did you get confused? You don’t deliver on Thursdays.”
“No, I don’t. But I can leave if you’re busy.”
“No, no don’t leave!” he lets out hurriedly and blushes because he sounded so desperate. “I mean you don’t have to, we can talk or something,” he adds under his breath.
“Or something, what are you implying by that?” Spencer asks leaning against the counter, smirking and his arms going next to the register. Brendon does a double check because, is Spencer flirting with him? The words sounded really suggestive to his ears but maybe he’s just imagining everything.
“I-I-what I.” He’s an idiot. He really is.
Spencer lets out a chuckle and smiles so bright and big at him that Brendon feels like passing out at that instant.
“You’re too cute,” Spencer comments. He’s officially dead now.
“Thanks,” he mumbles.
“So listen, I’m here because I ran into Greta the other day.” This is where Brendon narrows his eyes and gets suspicious because Greta that’s not good. Spencer goes on. “You see, she told me that I should ask you out, that you’re a nice guy and that we’d make a good couple, do you agree?”
“I-I don’t know.”
“You don’t? Well, I guess we’re gonna have to find out. I’ll pick you up tomorrow after you close.” With that Spencer turns around and struts out of the store. Brendon has his mouth open and he’s staring at the front door.
When he recovers he feels like sending an entire truck filled with Azaleas and Cornflowers to Greta.
“I’m not fretting.”
Brendon turns to glare at Ian who’s giving him an amused look, asshole. He feels anxious and his palms are starting to sweat, he takes a breath and counts to ten. It might seem irrational but he’s afraid he’s gonna fuck up the date and it’ll be another romantic failure for Brendon Urie. He doesn’t feel in control at the moment. He should’ve taken something.
He checks his wallet for id and money and his good luck charm for the tenth time, because, what if something had fallen out? Fuck, he’s really nervous.
He’s frantically looking at the door. Ian went to the back to do the inventory. He’s glad.
It’s 5:15. They closed fifteen minutes ago and still no sign of Spencer. Maybe he regrets asking him out, maybe he ran into someone who has gone out with him and they told him all about Brendon. Maybe he ran into William and he told him about that time they went out for dinner and Brendon slapped his hand really hard when Will tried to take food from his plate and now, Spencer’s running back to his house to hide, afraid he’ll suffer from the same faith.
Brendon swallows hard.
He gives up.
Just when he’s about to admit defeat the door flies open and Spencer steps in.
“Sorry, I’m sorry. I know I’m late. I drove to SD this morning and it took me longer than expected to get back.” Spencer breathes out looking at him with a guilty expression.
“It’s fine,” he answers, a little bit relieved, but unpunctuality isn’t something he’s a fan of.
“I was visiting family because it’s my day off and I got held up. I’m really sorry.”
“Really it’s fine.”
Spencer smiles at him and he relaxes a little. Before they walk out, Brendon checks his wallet again.
They march through the street and Brendon is staying away from the cracks. Spencer doesn’t say a word about it.
“I’m really sorry Brendon; I know you like to be on time.” He turns to look at Spencer and smiles because that’s true. When they get to Spencer’s car, he unlocks the doors and they get in. Spencer turns to look for something in the backseat and when he turns back he’s holding a small bouquet of Peonies.
“You brought me flowers?”
“Yeah, I figured it’s not the same selling them as getting them. And these are your favorite.”
Brendon tries to suppress a grin but fails. Spencer grins too.
“How did you know?” He questions and Spencer shrugs before answering.
The rest of the evening goes pleasantly well. They go to the pier and eat at a restaurant close by. Spencer eyes the bottle of antibacterial, smiles and says it’s cute, taking it from Brendon when he offers it. He doesn’t say a word on how Brendon won’t touch the handles of the doors nor about how he cleans his knife and fork and spoon discreetly.
They talk a lot and eventually Brendon starts to relax. Spencer doesn’t win a bear but they do walk in the beach.
And when at the end of the night Spencer asks him if he can kiss him he’s surprised and appreciates it. He presses his lips to Spencer’s and knows things will be good.
Brendon’s possibly living in a cloud.
It’s been three weeks since his date with Spencer and he has seen him everyday since then. Even if for a few minutes.
Currently they’re in the back making out. Brendon really loves this.
“I have to go,” Spencer tells him when they pull apart. They have to breathe sometime. Brendon pouts because he was really getting into it. Spencer leans back in and pecks his lips.
“Don’t. Go.” Brendon lets out between pecks.
“I have to. But I’ll see you tonight,” Spencer says as he manages to untangle himself from the tight grip Brendon had him in.
When Spencer’s gone, Ian peeks inside the room where Brendon is wearing the biggest grin ever and says, “Now that the boyfriend is gone, can we finally get to work?”
Brendon pretends he can’t hear a word.
Brendon goes to open the door pausing in front of it, counting to seven before pulling it open and smiling excitedly at the sight of Spencer.
They kiss as a way of greeting but the innocent peck they had gone for is easily replaced by heavy making out. Brendon is feeling good today.
“Hey back, to you,” Brendon says to Spencer their foreheads are pressed together and their fingers tangle between their bodies.
Brendon made dinner. He really made an effort. He cleaned his cutlery carefully with hot water. The glasses and plates received the same treatment. Everything’s in place when Spencer steps into the kitchen he looks surprised by everything and Brendon is just glad he’s there.
While they eat they make small talk. Brendon goes through the same routine of folding his napkin in half, cleaning his fork even though he already did, starts eating by the right side and never mixes food. Spencer’s eyes never leave him and he can’t tell if it’s a good thing or not.
He decides it’s a good thing when they’re in his couch kissing again, because they seem to be doing that a lot lately.
They kiss and talk between the pauses they have to make to get air back in their lungs. When they touch the subject of music they find out how much more they have in common besides the need to be constantly attached to the other’s lips.
“Yeah I think Simon & Garfunkel are great.”
“But you gotta admit that Dylan is the best.”
“That goes without saying.”
After and hour of talking about music Brendon takes Spencer to his bedroom. He’s just going to show him his record collection. Okay, maybe not.
They fall into the bed in a mess of limbs, giggling and kissing. Touching and listening to their breathing entwine.
“Brendon, I do want to see what you’ve got.”
“I think you where already touching what I’ve got.”
Spencer rolls his eyes, smiles kissing him again before getting up from the bed and going over to the collection of records neatly arranged in a bookshelf, by genre, band and year it came out.
Brendon smiles. He likes how Spencer looks in his bedroom.
But he never saw it coming.
Brendon starts feeling a little nervous when Spencer’s fingers fall on the records, when he starts to pull them out from their place he counts to ten and takes a breath, when Spencer puts Queen next to The Beatles and close to The Rolling Stones he loses it. It’s not the same type of music, for fucks sake!
“Stop! Just stop it! ” He yells.
Spencer turns towards him looking bewildered at Brendon’s sudden outburst.
“Are you okay?”
“I- please. Just, don’t.” He’s sitting in the bed trying to calm down. Taking deep breaths. Counting to ten.
“Tell me what's wrong?” Spencer pleads walking over to the bed and sitting next to him. Brendon flinches when he tries to grab his hand.
“The records, they’re wrong. That’s not their place.”
“Oh, I can fix it.” Spencer gets up and Brendon bites his lip. He can’t take it. He gets up too, pries the record from Spencer’s hand and puts it back in his place.
“I could’ve done it, you know,” Spencer tells him.
“No, you really couldn’t.” He knows he sounds like an asshole.
“Aha,” Spencer mutters.
“It’s just, this are my things. You can’t just-”
“I can’t touch your things? But can I touch you?”
“No, I mean, yeah. Sometimes.”
“If I let you.”
“If? Let me?”
“So are you telling me I can’t touch you unless you let me and I can’t touch anything that belongs to you?” Spencer questions sounding incredulous.
“It’s not that you can’t or that you won’t.” Brendon’s starting to get agitated because he usually leaves this conversation for later on. He doesn’t like to bring his issues up in the first date, people might notice them but he doesn’t address them.
“I can’t. Please go.”
“Are you throwing me out now?” Spencer scoffs. He can’t believe it. Brendon either. This was going so well.
“Please, I’m really not. I’m ju-”
“Goodnight Brendon,” Spencer says before stepping out of his bedroom.
Brendon flinches when he hears the front door close.
“Maybe you should call him.”
“Greta, he was sort of an ass.”
“Maybe you were too.”
“I had a right and he totally freaked out on me.”
“You did it first.”
“Whose side are you on?”
“Yours. But I think you should’ve told him about everything.”
“What? Drop into the conversation by the by I have OCD but I don’t take my meds because I don’t think I need them. Wanna make out?”
“Not like that. You know what I mean. I know how much you like him and you were always smiling around him. You guys could work it out. I’m sure. I want to see you happy.”
“I don’t know.”
“Think about it.”
When Brendon hangs up the phone he doesn’t feel better. Greta is his rock and the person who knocks some sense into him when he’s being stupid and even though she might have a point, he still thinks Spencer was an asshole.
He really doesn’t know what to do.
Brendon’s been moping around for the past three days. But still, he manages to pull off amazing arrangements. He considers that’s one of the perks of his obsessive trait.
His back is to the door as he flips through a gardening magazine in the counter. He feels restless and can’t sit for more than two seconds.
He sighs for the untempth time when the bell jingles.
He’s alone in the shop because Ian ran down the coffee shop to buy him a caramel macchiato (‘Large extra hot, soy, stirred, with whip, extra caramel, at 200 degrees, please’) to try and cheer him up. He’s taken a long time. He probably took his time flirting with Gabe. The selfish bastard.
“Did you bring coffee?”
“No. But I brought chocolate chip cookies and an apology instead.”
“Oh.” Brendon turns around and looks at Spencer who’s now standing in front of him, giving him a small tentative smile. He holds out the box of cookies and Brendon takes it. They’re from Greta’s boyfriend’s bakery. He never eats chocolate chip cookies from another place. He knows he can trust Andy with his food even if he’s covered in tattoos. He places them in the counter.
“Greta called me.”
“Of course she did.”
“And she told me I’m an ass.”
“Which, you are.”
“Which, I am. I’m really sorry about last time. I overreacted and it probably seemed like I just wanted in your pants or something. But I don’t.”
Brendon furrows his eyebrows and crosses his arms. “You don’t?”
“No, what I meant wa- Okay, it’s obvious I want into your ridiculous tight jeans, but that’s not all I want. I really like you and I’m sorry I was a jerk, yelling at you and stuff. But I like you a lot and I want to keep going out with you. If you still want to, that is.” Spencer finishes and his bright blue eyes are boring into Brendon’s brown orbs.
Brendon sighs looking down at his shoes. “I’m sorry too. Things got a little out of control I suppose. I need to tell you something.”
“Okay, go on.”
“I’m on pills and I have OCD.”
“I figured as much,” Spencer says shrugging like ‘really it’s not a big deal’.
“And you don’t mind?”
“And you still want to go out with me.”
“Because let me tell you Spence, that guy who yelled at you for putting a record in the wrong place, that was me. I am that guy. I obsess over every little single detail. I can’t go to bed without checking the stove about three times and unplugging everything that needs to. I can’t step on the cracks because I think something bad is going to happen. Everything has to be specific and in order. For example, my movies are arranged by director and follow the chronological order of the year they were released and when someone messes up with that I freak out. I can’t stand it. I need control over those things,” Brendon says and takes a breath to continue, holding up a hand at Spencer who was about to speak, “But that’s not all. I’m on pills but I don’t take them because I don’t feel like myself when I do. I like myself just how I am; sometimes it’s the other people who can’t stand it. From time to time I’ll take an anxiolytic just to ease the pressure. And besides the sense of order I like to keep around me, I don’t like when people touch me. Out of nowhere. Specially strangers. I need a comfort zone around me. You can’t touch me, unless I want you to. And as you noticed I want you to violate my comfort zone a lot, every minute of the day if possible,” he says trying to light up the mood. “But you have to understand, if you really want to be with me, that sometimes I’ll ask you to shower before you can fuck me. I’m not even kidding. The world’s a dirty place, Spence.” Brendon finishes pleading Spencer to understand.
“I already had figured you had OCD I just never knew how strong it was, but now I do.” Spencer says in a serious tone.
“Oh God, you’re going to leave now, right? I knew it!” Yeah, he always knew.
“No, I’m not. I like you. I really like you. It doesn’t matter. I’ll shower and clean my nails and whatever else you want me to. I actually think it’s adorable how you always carry around your antibacterial. I love how you jump a little to not step on the cracks, the way you count in your head before opening doors, how you clean your fork before eating and your long coffee order. Large caramel macchiato, extra hot, soy, stirred, with whip with extra caramel at 200 degrees.” As Spencer finishes this, his bright blue eyes seem to be shining and his grin is so big that it’s infectious and Brendon lets his own grin form in his face, he steps closer to Spencer and presses his lips to his. Spencer’s arms go around his waist and they’re pressed together.
Not everyone gets to step into his comfort zone so easily.
When they pull apart from the kiss, they’re both smiling, wrapped up in each other.
Spencer then asks, “So, what are your exact rules in sharing a bed and nudity?” Brendon just smiles and shakes his head, pressing their lips together again