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Basement Blooms

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Eddie wondered what he did wrong this time. Waylon hadn't stopped in for another visit--which was fine! Honestly. Or at least, it would be fine if there hadn't been several blatant snubs of invitations over. Lunch, chats, coffee, none of it. Recently, Eddie had gone over to deliver Frank's lunch boxes to the artists and Miles decided he wanted to eat at the flower shop. Waylon took one look at Eddie and said he'd stay back and watch the parlor. The one Miles had already flipped the door sign to Closed for....

Now, Eddie knew people had preconceptions about him. He was a big guy and, apparently, had a resting face that looked like he was plotting ways to kill you and perform horrible rituals with your corpse (as Miles had so eloquently put it). He'd also been told that his speech sounded like the rehearsed lines of a serial killer (again, thank you, Miles). Point was, he could be intimidating at first meeting and plenty of people had avoided him. Still, it was hard not to be a bit hurt when he thought he had done well.

"He's just shy," Miles announced through a mouthful of pastrami. "He wouldn't shut up about that bouquet you have him and looked like a kicked puppy when they began wilting." Chris grunted and it seemed to be in agreement.

"Who's shy?" Eddie tore his eyes from the shop window to see Miles giving him one of his patented Upshur looks of the "Really? I'm totally not going to dignify your poor stupidity with a response, but then again that's against my nature, so prepare yourself, sucker. You've earned this" variety.

"Waylon Park. My artist and the guy you've been making calf eyes at for half an hour now. It's sickening!" A piece of breading flew out of his mouth and Eddie cringed. "See? Even you find it pathetic!" The young man ranted off, swinging the last few bites of lunch around for emphasis, dropping pieces here and there. Eddie was wondering if he could get Chris to clean it up before reopening when the door bell chimed.

"Um, hi?" Waylon peeked in, eyeing his boss curiously.

"Way-way! 'Bout time you showed up! Poor Edster was starting to think you were avoiding him!" Both men in question turned bright pink.

"Miles!" Eddie hissed, throwing him a glare for good measure.

"Oh! Um, I'm...Um." Waylon met the florist's eyes before doing his best to look anywhere else. "I washed this out for you in the back sink." The lunch container. He shifted awkwardly before holding it out to Eddie.

"Thank you, darling, but that's Frank's." Eddie pointed to the stylist before realizing that could be a bit blunt. Waylon winced and turned redder.

"Oh, sorry. I just...you just brought it over and..." Waylon tripped over words as bad as he did.

"No problem, kid. Just leave it with Eddie and he can get it back to me later. My break's over and it'll save me from carrying everything." Frank stood and stretched and Eddie wondered why Frank only had half a break today. "And Silky was talking about Miles having an appointment."

"What? WHE--?" Chris clamped a hand over his boyfriend's mouth and frog marched him out.

"See you later, Gluskin," Frank followed them out and Miles suddenly cottoned on to what was going on with a sharp "Oooh!" The door shut and Eddie wondered of that could have been more obvious or awkward.

"'M not 'voiding you." Waylon muttered.

"Sorry, dear. I didn't quite catch that." Eddie turned to look at his remaining guest.

"I'm not avoiding you. My landlord kicked me out and I've been busy moving in with my friend."

"That's awful! I know some people around--who was your landlord, dear?"

"You probably don't know him, but the guy's name is Jeremy Blaire." Eddie's face darkened."Or maybe you do. That's, uh, quite the strong reaction there."

"Blaire kicked up a fuss when Mama and I tried to set up shop here. Heavily implied someone of my background was a danger to the community and a failing business would lower the street's value." Eddie hissed out.

"Well that's none of his fu-fricking business! I mean? How dare he? Not only is that rude but you seem lovely! Whatever background you have is none of his business and obviously not an issue! Where does he get off--" Eddie could only blink in wonder as the previously shy and unassuming artist straightened up and spat the vilest curses in his defense. There was almost literal fire in his eyes and he seemed ready to pummel Blaire into a pile of unidentifiable goop for a man he'd only really met once. He must really have a vendetta against his prior landlord.

"Murkoff Insurances next door was trying to get this building same time we were. Blaire has some shady deal going with them because an audit showed his matchbox houses were overinsured by the company. Given how many of them have mysteriously burned literally to the ground, he wasn't too pleased when Mama and I took his harassment to court and he received legal scrutiny. Really he is simply a prick and should be castrated for the greater good." Eddie sniggered. "Don't worry yourself about him, darling. You're better off out of one of his deathtraps, though if you're feeling petty...sounds like he broke lease without proper notice. You could take this before a court and get some reimbursement. Especially if you have photos or proof that you were inundated conditions."

Waylon stared at him, mouth having fallen open and forgotten at some point. Insecurities crept back in and Eddie wondered if he had overshared. Had he been rambling? Was it rude to imply Waylon should go to court, or worse, that he had live in squalor? He didn't seem to be one of Blaire's cronies, but--

"That's brilliant!" Waylon beamed, barking out a laugh. "The bastard didn't give me any notice and I was too frantic to realize! And when you called him a prick? Priceless. Oh, Eddie, I could kiss you."

That was...a thing. Not a thing that he expected to happen, but seemed like a good thing?

"You're welcome?" He didn't know if he meant for the advice or as encouragement.

"How'd you know so much about legal stuff anyway?" Eddie cringed. Visibly, if Waylon's sudden worried look was any indication. "Sorry, you don't have to answer if it's bad. I just--"

"Didn't take me for it?" Eddie smiled sardonically. "No worries,love, I get it a lot." He straightened to his full height to avoid meeting Waylon's eyes. "I had time to look up different legal information when I was a child tying to..." find a way to expose his father and his filthy brother"be an invested citizen. Blaire threw out some talk of structural soundness and equity value et cetera when he tried to argue Mama's possession of the building was ruining the integrity and putting the street and civilians in danger." Eddie huffed at the memory of a red-faced Blaire pointing dramatically at his mother,a little lady in her Easter Sunday best, as judge and jurors looked on skeptically.

"Seriously? A metal bit of Murkoff's awning fell on my head yesterday and your immaculate shop is the problem. Sure. I mean, even the cobwebs in this place are aesthetically pleasing!" Waylon snorted, pointing at one such dewy web near the petunias.

"Thank you? I like to keep the little ladies here so other bugs don't take bites." Eddie had no idea how their conversation had gotten...here?

The two stared at each other blankly a moment before Eddie shifted and his hand brushed against Waylon's much closer than it was a second ago waist. The young man sprang back and flailed about awkwardly for a moment before Eddie could fully process what happened. He felt his face heat up and ducked it down.

"Wait here a moment." Eddie called over his shoulder as he practically stormed to his workshop. Words were getting tangled so flowers would have to speak for him. He pulled some dainty blossoms out before remembering Waylon's righteous anger earlier. He was pretty, but by no means weak. He set disassembled the original arrangement and started over with cleome and chamapeuce. Adding in some apple germanium made him smile, pairing it off with some centauridium before wrapping it all together.

"Here. As condolences for having become acquainted with Blaire." Eddie handed the bouquet off to a guilty looking Waylon and felt no small amount of appreciation the gentle way the artist cradled the blooms.

"Thank you, Eddie." Waylon gave him a crooked smile. "I should probably go make sure Miles hasn't stabbed anyone while I was gone, but..."

"But?"

"Would you mind if I stopped in sometime? Outside of lunch?" He looked so soft and hopeful it made Eddie melt.

"Of course, Waylon. As long as I am here, you're welcome." He couldn't help but smile as Waylon nodded and scurried back to work. Dangerous but good indeed.