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blue isn’t your colour

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Mitch works at this cozy little flower shop at the rounded corner of a calm street.

He‘s been stuck in here for about as long as he can remember and he’s got a damn good memory, but he loves it. It’s fucking stupid, but he really does. The owner is just about the sweetest guy in the world, too. His name’s Marc, but the folks around the block know him as Flower. It’s some sort of running gag involving his last name and French. Mitch insists on calling him by his real name. The French language is complex enough as it is, he doesn’t need it to be anymore more involved with it. As long as his flowers are safe, he’s happy.

“You treat these guys like your kids,” Marc says as he fumbles to shove a floral arrangement into a vase. Mitch just snorts and shakes his head, glancing up at him from the paper he’s scribbling out an order on. He’s not sure if he wants to defend himself or question the way Marc just referred to the flowers as ‘guys’. Then again, he’s Marc. He’s learned over time not question him. Ever. Not unless he wants to listen to an hour long tangent about him somehow connecting his explanation to the ‘good old days back in Quebec’.

“Working with these guys for years takes a toll on you,” Mitch says. “I mean, look at you. All loopy and shit getting stuck fantasizing about daisies.”

Marc laughs so hard Mitch fears that he’s gonna cough up a lung. That would’ve been a pain in the ass to explain to the next guy that walked in here. “Hey, now. We’re both mature adults. What I fantasize about is between me and Veronique.”

“Oh, my God!” A rush of disgusting images plague Mitch’s head. “Nope, not okay. I do not work here so I can hear about your adventures with Veronique.”

“Adventures?” Marc repeats, his features crinkling with the wide smile on his face. “Oh, no, you mean—“

The door opens and a man with fluffy blond hair steps into the shop, Mitch audibly groans at the sight of him.

“Sup bitches!” He hollers, moving to where Marc is standing and slinging an arm around his shoulder. “I just had the greatest idea. How about we stained the windows, like, yellow and blue.”

“For Sweden?” Marc asks, uncaring. Mitch takes the hint. Unfortunately, Willy doesn’t.

He offers him an embellished grin. “Yeah, plus—“

“Willy, he doesn’t give a shit,” Mitch interjects, his voice coming out harder than he’d meant it to. Willy is almost the exact opposite of Marc. Sweet, sweet, Marc, who wouldn’t hurt a soul and knew when to keep calm. Willy is the in your face 24/7 just for the hell of it type of guy. It got annoying after the first day. That was a little over two years ago.

Willy drops his hand from Marc’s shoulder, who lets out a pleased sigh. “What’cha writing, nerd?” He asks Mitch instead, rather bluntly, but that‘s just Willy’s thing.

“None of your damn business,” he rebukes, clicking the pen barrel and watching the tip retract. Willy practically fucking skips over to him and tries to scan the paper.

“It’s an order I was just heading out to pick up,” Marc answers in lieu of Mitch’s useless response. Willy hums in acknowledgment as he watches Mitch hand it away.

Mitch twists his face into what closely resembles agony when Marc shoots him a questionable look. “I’m so sorry. I still don’t know how to spell chrysanthemum right.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Marc assures him. The corners of his lips quiver and Mitch feels his face get hot. God damn it. “It’s a, uh, it’s a real...” he looks over the spelling again and Mitch is pretty sure he recalls throwing at least two i’s in there. “It’s a hard one.”

Willy perks up. “That’s what she said, bro.”

“Not to you, that’s for fucking sure,” Mitch counters contemptuously.

“Wow. Low.”

Marc snickers and sticks the paper into his pocket. “Alright, I’ll leave you two to your,” he looks between both of them like he’s trying to pull apart a mystery. “...thing, yeah? Don’t set each other on fire, or whatever,” he precautions lazily.

Mitch points his pen at an affronted looking Willy. “Hey, I’m not the one who hired this nark.” He feels a punch to the shoulder and he swallows the whine in his throat.

When Marc tries reaching to open the door, it creaks away from him and he has to stagger back to let the customer in. They both murmur awkward apologies and Willy is too busy taking shots at Mitch’s mom to notice, but Mitch swears he feels his heart skip a beat — maybe two.

In steps a young man, around Mitch’s age, maybe a little older. The customer has a face that stops you in your tracks. He must’ve known it too, face pinched like he was getting all too used to the nonchalant gazes and weak smiles thrown his way from passerbyers. Mitch’s blush is a dead giveaway he‘s staring, too. He just couldn’t bring himself to look away.

He turns around towards the shop and— shit, he caught him. Locking eyes was bad, like, really fucking bad. And awkward. Oh, god, is he sweating? Now? None of this is good, especially with Willy still chatting his ear off. Mitch wishes he could hide behind the counter, but that would be equally as mortifying as any of this.

The customer breaks it off and relapses to the same way everyone else browses the shop.

Mitch exhales a heavy breath and the snarky remark that follows from Willy is almost as unnecessary as the way the customer pulls his snapback off to run his fingers through his hair. His breath feels strangled in his throat.

“Like I was saying—”

He watches him pick up a bundle of white carnations, examining each petal with wary eyes, unsure and so sure of himself at the exact same time. He returns it to its place and exchanges them for the deep red ones, a beautiful colour Mitch is sure is pretty much identical to the one on his face right now.

Everything he does is so fascinating, gorgeous in its own way. He hates that he’s enchanted by him so soon, so quickly. Mitch doesn’t even know his name. Does it matter?

“...and that’s the story about how I have joint possession of a goldfish with Marc.” Willy clicks his tongue and turns on his heel.

“Wait, what?” He doesn’t notice the customer’s eyes dart towards them in confusion. It’s all but unjustified.

“You’re not even listening to me. I’m going out back. Can you handle this without going into your weird ass la-la land?”

Mitch wishes he could kick Willy in the dick or something but it’s extremely unprofessional and he’s a professional down to this marrow, even if his coworker isn’t. “Shut up. Get the hell ‘outta here.”

“Hey, can you ring these up?” An unfamiliar voice pulls him from his bickering. It’s so low it rips goosebumps up his arms, but also soothes them with the sheer richness of it. It drips from his lips with such precision, Mitch could listen to it for hours. That just would not work here, unfortunately.

“Uh, yeah, sure.” Red carnations. So, he went with them after all. “You know what those mean?” Mitch asks, half curious about his knowledge and half wondering who he’s buying them for. He’d give just about anything for this to turn out with a majestic fairytale ending where Mr. Perfect here ends up handing the flowers over to him, all apart of an elaborate scheme to ask him out. Not happening.

He looks amazed. It’s a good look on him, but anything could have been. “They mean something? I thought I was just buying some good looking plants.”

Mitch doesn’t even think to mentally criticize him. He’s far too endearing to judge. “Yeah, actually, we’ve got this whole underground flower language,” he says excitedly. “Red carnations, those things you have there, symbolize love, esteem, admiration — all that good stuff, y’know?”

“I see where you’re coming from.” Mitch can see he’s hesitant, the words bouncing off of him. “Guess that works. I just thought they looked nice,” he chuckles sheepishly.

“They’re $45, by the way,” Mitch adds. Okay, so he’s purchasing flowers that symbolize affection. This guy has to be taken, how can’t he be? Mitch is acting unrealistic. Love at first sight doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t.

There’s a smile stretched across his lips and Mitch wishes it wasn’t enough to make his breath stutter on its way out. In a way that’s way too obvious to be considered normal. He reaches into his wallet and slides Mitch a fifty. “Just keep the change.”

”Generous,” he grins. Mitch sticks it into the vintage register Marc had insisted on keeping (to add to the aesthetic of the shop). He holds up a finger to the man and reaches over into the vase Marc had filled earlier. He gingerly pulls out a lavender rose and adds it to the bundle of carnations. When the man went to question him, Mitch interjects with, “Just think of it as a thank-you.”

“Well, thanks Mitch,” he purrs — it sounds like a fucking purr. His voice is so silky, it rolls off his tongue perfectly.

Mitch makes a perplexed noise before he reminds himself of the name tag clipped to his chest. “Well, you know my name. So?”

“Auston,” he says. No, Auston says.

He’s an idiot and he’s pretty sure he has a crush.

“I have a joke,” Willy says to him later, hoisted up on the counter. Mitch ignores him and continues skillfully stitching together a wreath. He’d learned from the best — Marc. Plus, Willy isn’t going to do it. “I said I have a joke.”

“I heard you. I just don’t really care,” Mitch confirms, keeping his eyes attached to the wreath. His tongue is absentmindedly peeking out between his lips, swiping over them before retracting. His focus is at its peak. Willy doesn’t deserve a second of it.

“A pretty boy walks into a flower shop,” Willy starts teasingly. “The florist gives him a rose because he has literally zero game.”

Mitch almost drops to the floor in embarrassment, wreath and all. “You heard that?” He cast his gaze on Willy’s perfectly punchable face with blown pupils. “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”

“What a flirt.” He hops off the counter and plucks an imaginary rose from an equally imaginary vase. “Oh, Auston, dear Auston. Accept this rose as a reminder of my undying love for you,” he says in the most Shakespearean accent he can muster. “I also have a massive boner for you.”

“So, should I ignore that you called my boner massive?”

“Don’t read into it,” he urges him. “But you admit you have a boner for carnation boy?”

“Don’t read into it,” Mitch rebukes, his voice pitched into a bad impression.

Willy goes to say something, but then vouches to turn his head and greet the customer at the door.

“Hey, welcome to the Green Room! Lemme know if I can help you out.”

It translates pretty blatantly to defeat.

* * *

Mitch flips the sign on the door so it reads ‘sorry, we’re closed’ to the rest of the world. He makes his way to the back of the store to exchange his green apron for the Leafs hoodie he’d dangled over the cash register — then, there’s a knock.

He grumbles to himself and ignores it. They’re closed. The sign is right there on the door, it says it in big white letters that couldn’t be more obvious.

The knocking is persistent and Mitch grumbles. Just because he’s in the shop doesn’t mean he’s going to start working overtime. He has way too many things to go home and work on, like hell he’s going to drop all of it just so some soccer mom can buy daisies for herself.

If he just stays turned to the door, he can pretend he doesn’t hear it.

“Mitch!” A muffled voice calls. He definitely hears that. That doesn’t sound like a soccer mom at all. When Mitch turns around, all he has to spot is that familiar red snapback before he virtually sprints to the door.

“Hey, I’m really sorry, I had no idea you guys were closing earlier today. I’ll be super quick, I swear,” Auston tells him. Mitch cannot care less. He’d be fine with Auston taking up the rest of his night if it meant he could just longingly stare at him the entire time. Which is creepy, yeah, but leave him alone. He has a crush.

Mitch lets the door swing shut behind Auston. Holding it open for him in the first place must’ve scored him at least two gentleman points in his book. Hell yeah. “It’s cool, don’t worry about it. Did you run outta carnations from yesterday?”

His face goes red and Mitch can’t tell how far out of line he’s stepped. “Uh, no, I just need something to...” he grinds his teeth down onto his lip and Mitch subtracts those two gentleman points. “I-I’m going to Willow Grove.”

Willy Grove. Willow Grove the goddamn cemetery. Jesus, he’s stupid. Auston looks so uncomfortable it’s painful. Mitch just wants to hold him and tell him sorry for being the biggest idiot on the planet.

He sucks in a breath and tries to fill in the silence. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

“It’s whatever... stuff happens,” Auston affirms stiffly. “You got any recommendations?”

“White carnations,” he rushes out, a controlled smile on his lips. Auston tilts his head in a silent question and Mitch is eternally grateful he doesn’t drop to his knees right there and then. “Love, good luck, remembrance,” he counts on his fingers, racking through his brain to assure he doesn’t accidentally spill out ‘you’re really hot’ between the symbolisms.

“Carnations, again?”

“You bring out their beauty.” Mitch shrugs and pulls a bundle of pure white flowers from their display, making sure they’re in perfect condition for Auston. It’s not until he sets them down on the counter does he realize what he’s said. Dumbass. “Cash or credit?” He asks quickly, attempting to break the awkward silence that was settling on them.

It’s like every chick flick he’s ever made fun of has come back to haunt him in some torturous form of karma. His brain decides to sputter to a stop the second he lays eyes on Auston, like it’s a curse. Auston, however, is everything but a curse. Mitch fucking admires him.

“Cash,” he smiles. It’s not crooked in the slightest. Even his smile is well put together. Mitch seriously means it when he thinks he’s the physical embodiment of perfection.

When it’s all said and done, including the various jeers from Auston stemming from Mitch’s decision to wear a Maple Leafs hoodie, Mitch slips a lavender rose in the middle of the carnations.

“But you don’t owe me any change?” It sounds more like a question rather than a statement.

“I owe you for keeping you waiting outside earlier.” Mitch gives him a thumbs up. He just can’t rip his eyes from the way Auston hugs the flowers close to his chest.

“I’ll see you later, then.”

“Yeah, I’ll see you. Good luck.” He cringes. Good luck. Did he just say that? He’s going to a fucking graveyard, not writing a test. He needs to watch what he says. It’s not cute. He has to stop.

Auston’s eyes aren’t bright like they were earlier. His smile betrays them. “Thanks.”

When the door shuts behind him, Mitch takes a deep breath and curbs the urge to crush his head against a wall.

* * *

I’m going to Willow Grove, floats through Mitch’s brain.

Wait, that’s not the right answer.

“Sorry, what?”

Marc huffs and finishes sweeping up the rest of the dust on the floor. “Your wreath looks really great. You’ve shown a lot of improvement since last time.”

Willy could’ve made a wreath and it would turn out better than the last one he made. It was an bona fide disgrace to Marc’s legacy.

“Really?” Mitch has quiet amazement on his features from receiving a compliment from a literal fucking flower. More or less. “Thanks, man.” Marc hums in acknowledgment of his appreciation and the the shop falls quiet once more, only interrupted by the occasional background noise from cars and the low tune playing on the radio.

Mitch is more focused on twisting the dandelions on the counter into a flower crown — just for fun. He’s supposed to dispose of them anyways. Marc handles himself well enough, plus he’s sure Willy’s coming in soon to work his shift as well.

His fingers delicately grip the stems of the dandelions and he loops them through each other with extensive accuracy.

There’s something so soothing about working with a plant as gorgeous as a flower, with their frail petals and silent beauty. Even if he’s stringing weeds into a crown — he doesn’t know how much more girlier he can get — he loves it. It calms him, and Marc doesn’t judge him for it either.

The bell on the door jingles and Mitch doesn’t spare it a glance, the focus buzzing between him and the dandelions. Then he hears a greeting, a crinkle of wrapping paper, and some banter. It’s pouring down onto him from overhead and, oh. It’s for him.

“Damn, that’s pretty. As much as I hate weeds.”

“Hey!” Wow, this is embarrassing. “I didn’t see you there,” Mitch blurts, straightening himself out so he could actually look at Auston, who’s at their little flower shop for the third time this week. “I’m really sorry. Why do you have—“

“Strawberry or chocolate?” He interjects, raising the two cones in his hands a little higher. “There’s an ice cream kiosk down the road, and the guy running it was wearing a Leafs cap. Made me think of you,” he explains sweetly — the ice cream had to have envied him.

“Strawberry...” Mitch responds, too flustered to pull together words to form anything more coherent than one word.

Calm down. You’re overreacting. It’s just ice cream, he reminds himself.

Auston’s following smile could have single-handedly ended world hunger. He holds out the cone for him. “I had a feeling you’d— wait, no, you just—“

Mitch doesn’t realize until the cold sinks into his fingers that he’s grabbing at the scoop of the desert instead of the cone. Auston dissolves into a fit of laughter and Mitch curses under his breath. He hurriedly wipes his hand on his apron, smearing streaks of pink. He can hear Marc mumble something along the lines of, “That’s gonna be a bitch to clean,” from behind.

“I’m so sorry,” Mitch chokes out through his mortification. “I guess it’s just really early. I just— I’m so sorry.“

“It’s all good,” Auston’s smiling wide enough to raise concern for the pain he’s going to feel in his cheeks afterwards. “I just did not expect that, like, at all.”

Mitch keeps rubbing his hand again his apron because the awful sticky sensation on his skin is repulsive. He’s going to try and keep himself from going guess you just distracted me with your charm, just to save him the extra embarrassment. “I mean, it’s still good to eat?”

“How about you don’t.” Auston chuckles, chucking the mangled ice cream into a nearby trashcan. “You can have the chocolate cone.”

“But it’s yours!” He doesn’t realize just how much he sounds like a whiny toddler right now.

Auston steadies Mitch’s hand by grabbing his wrist and sets it on the bumpy cone. “You’ve made my day, man, just take it.” Their fingers touch, it’s more than just a brush, and it lingers because Auston wants to make sure Mitch doesn’t drop it. He knows why, he feels just about as dazed as he looks.

“Thank you.”

Mitch ultimately gives Auston a lavender rose in return — he sneaks it from the vase when Marc isn’t looking. There’s a quiet voice in the back of his head classifying it as flirting, but it’s half-sure that’s just Willy.

“Did he come in today?” Willy asks him later nonchalantly as he switches between radio stations. Mitch knows exactly what he means, but he dismisses him regardless. “Mitch.”

“Yeah, Marc was here,” he says. He doesn’t mean Marc.

“I don’t mean Marc,” Willy confirms. “You damn well know I mean carnation boy.”

“He has a name!”

“He also flirts with you non-stop.” Willy stops at a particular station playing some sort of acoustic cover. The sound makes Mitch’s ears curl.

Mitch furrows his brows. “He’s taken.”

“How do you know?”

“He bought red carnations the first time he came here.” Mitch turns his head to the customer in front of him. “Is that all for today?” He asks her, faux cheerfulness caking his voice.

“How do you remember what he bought?” Willy interrogates, ignoring every lecture about respecting customers Marc has ever given him.

Mitch lets her type her credit card digits into the machine, tapping his fingers impatiently against the counter. He tries hard to negate the glare he sends towards Willy. “You remember what he bought too!”

“That’s because you won’t stop talking about him!”

“Thank you, have a fantastic day,” Mitch calls after the woman. He can’t even imagine the thoughts running through her head.

Willy lifts himself up onto the counter, looking out the window near the front of the store. “You got a little jizz on your apron, by the way.”

“It’s not—“ Mitch looks down to scan the stain. “It’s strawberry ice cream, asshole.“

So, he ends up telling Willy about the whole ice cream situation. And the second he starts hollering with laughter, Mitch knows he’s never going to live this down.

“That’s called flirting, you dumbass!” Willy points out.

Auston’s taken and he isn’t flirting. There’s no way. His brain just does this thing where he over analyzes every little gesture and it seems Willy intends to do the same exact thing. Lucky him.

* * *

“Where on earth are all my roses going?” Marc recounts the flowers in his vase and Mitch shrugs at him. When Willy opens his mouth to respond, he gets a firm kick to the shin.

* * *

Auston doesn’t come to the shop for a few days, but when he does he comes in with his arm slung around another guy and— is he gay?

Hold up. Okay, there Mitch goes looking way too deep into things again. Willy starts mumbling something about snacks or whatever the fuck into his ear, but Mitch just zones it out.

He hears Auston call the guy Kappy and what a fucking nickname. It sounds like a term of endearment, way too much to stay between friends.

“Willy. Willy, stop,” he grits back. “That’s his boyfriend.”

“No fucking way.” His eyes are wide, most likely undressing this Kappy kid with them. Willy looks like he’s in disbelief. He’s unnecessarily obvious about his feelings. “He’s fine as hell,” his voice isn’t low enough and Auston ends up looking towards them dubiously.

“Hey, Auston!” Mitch waves at him energetically, trying to pale anything he could’ve heard. Calm down. “Anything I can help with or...?”

Auston nods at him, grinning like Mitch just said the funniest thing in the world. “Kappy here actually has the biggest crush on—“

“Dude!” Kappy shoves him away, then flips him off. Two huge power moves. Mitch likes this guy already, mainly because a crush means he isn’t Auston’s boyfriend

My friend,” Auston starts, “who I will not be naming. So, don’t even try to get it out of me.” Kappy’s got a sharp glare digging into the side of his head. “Is trying to impress this girl. What’cha think about it, Mitchy?”

So, he gets a nickname too. His heart explodes in his fucking chest.

“Willy, do you think you can lend him a hand?” He beseeches, trying to maintain his composure. When Mitch flicks his eyes to look at Willy, he’s practically glowing.

“I gotcha, bud.” They say something to each other with their eyes, then Willy nods his head and moves over to Kappy.

Auston switches places with him, leaning over the counter so he can get closer to Mitch. “Thanks for this,” he says. Mitch notices the fact that he isn’t wearing a snapback before registering his words, too caught up with his floppy raven hair. He curls his fingers into the counter.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s good. I honest-to-goodness thought Kappy was your boyfriend,” Mitch laughs dryly, but Auston didn’t share it.

“My boyfriend, ha, yeah,” he eyes Willy and Kappy curiously. “Not too many guys out there I’d be into makin’ my boyfriend.” He’s closer now, his lips curved into something suggestive. “Y’know what I mean?”

Mitch feels heat melt into his cheeks, traversing all the way to the tips of his ears. He lowers his head to look at the register, to keep Auston from seeing the flush overcome on his face. “Uhuh, yep,” he notes awkwardly.

This isn’t flirting, he convinces himself.

“Why in god’s name are you holding that bouquet to your ear like you can hear the fucking sea or something?” Willy emits, and Kappy breaks into laughter.

“What a bunch of losers,” Auston remarks wistfully.

And their moment’s lost. Not like there was anything there to fret about anyways. Mitch just can’t help but feel like he’s missed out on something.

Before they leave, Mitch hands Auston a lavender rose.

“It matches your sweater,” he tells him.

His sweater is fucking yellow.

* * *

Mitch is oblivious. So damn oblivious. Every time Auston shows up to their shop for the third time in a week, he passes it off as a natural occurrence, as if people really poured this much money into flowers. And every time, without fail, he plucks a lavender rose and slips it into whatever he’s buying, always finding some sort of an excuse.

“It’s like the cherry on top.”

“It really makes the colours pop.”

“I heard somewhere roses bring good luck.”

“Marc really just wants me to get rid of these.”

“Has anyone ever told you purple is totally your colour?”

And Auston pulls his lips into an easy grin and takes it wholeheartedly.

Marc notices Mitch sneaking the roses, too, but he lets it happen. He says something about young love, Mitch is just too busy watching Auston wave to him from outside the window to deny it.

Willy even gets in on it — but, then again, he has been from the start — offering to get Auston’s number for him, boasting how he’d gotten Kappy’s number three weeks previous. Mitch politely declines his offer, insisting the only feelings he has for Auston are his feelings of friendship.

They both know that’s a lie.

Willy gets Auston’s number anyways.

Mitch isn’t sure how to feel about Auston giving Willy his number, but he waves it off as his kind nature peeking through. Well, he hopes that’s it.

“So, when are you gonna text him?” Willy inquires, three days after giving him the number.

There’s an ominous feeling of pressure on him. “I will. Just not yet.”



Willy shakes his head and reaches for the phone on the counter. “I’m doing it for you.”

“No!” Mitch leaps for his phone and it nearly falls to the floor.

When Mitch calls in sick the next week, Willy gives Auston Mitch’s number like the remarkably talented wingman he is. Auston is eternally grateful. His words, not Willy’s.

So, Auston sends the first text. Mitch nearly has a heart attack when he sees it.

From: Unknown Number
2:11 pm
mitchy! what’s good :))

To: Unknown Number
2:13 pm
Sorry, who is this?

From: Unknown Number
2:14 pm

To: carnation boy <3
2:14 pm
omg !!! hi holy shit. howd u get my number??

* * *

“And then, Kappy says—“

The door to the shop flies open and of course it’s Auston. He looks like he’s just ran ten miles. Mitch tries not to let his jaw fall slack. His hair is a mess (a beautiful, beautiful mess) and his features are red enough to rival the peonies in the corner. He has a book in his hands and Mitch tries checking for a title, but it’s blank.

“Mitch.” He sounds sincere, serious, but there’s a timid undertone to it. “I need to talk to you.” His eyes go to Willy, and he frowns. “Can we go outside?”

“I’m in the middle of a shift, Aus.“

Auston huffs and moves towards the counter, setting the book down on the surface. Mitch can tell, from being so much closer to him, his eyes are irritated and teary. He wants to question it, but Auston flips to a random page to reveal a pressed lavender rose.

Oh, fuck. He kept those? The smile on his face stutters when Auston begins explaining.

“So, I showed my friend this book,” he starts slowly, trying to gauge the reaction. “And I know he’s not a florist, but he’s a reliable source. He told me the meaning of lavender roses, like, I think he speaks flower like you guys.”

“Wrong. Willy can’t speak flower for shit.”

“He told me they mean love at first sight,” he states bluntly, ignoring the immature remark. “Enchantment, adoration, impossibility,” he lists off, sounding a lot like Mitch on the job. “Is that... is that true? Did you really mean that?”

Willy sends Mitch a dubious look, anticipating a positive response just as badly as Auston.

The first time he gave Auston that rose, he had no idea what it meant. He still didn’t, not until Auston bust in through the front door. So, that was a mistake. Mitch isn’t sure whether or not he’s thankful for it. He forgets to respond. Auston looks slightly hurt.

“I told him I was super into you, because I-I am. So, it was pretty crazy,” he says. Mitch is still trying to process all of this. “If that’s not how you feel, just tell me off right now. I’ll leave you alone, it’s cool.”

Mitch lets out an airy laugh, and it’s so dry it hurts his goddamn throat. “No, it’s just...” he remembers a time when Willy reprimanded him cruelly for even trying to flirt, so he snaps his mouth shut.

Instead of trying to say anything else, he leans in to cup Auston’s face. Their lips meet. Mitch almost fucking cries. It’s everything he’s ever waited for and so much more.

Auston smiles into the kiss and within a few seconds they break apart, chuckling breathily against each other.

“You’re so bad at showing your feelings,” Auston points out, his arms flailing. “I can’t believe I had to make the first movie!”

Mitch pouts, but it’s followed by a guffaw. “Hey, look, it isn’t my fault you can’t read flowers.”

“I flirted with you all the time!” he admits defensively.

“He really did,” Willy adds, receiving an elbow to the ribs courtesy of Mitch.

“You’re just bad at flirting.”

You’re bad at flirting! You had a crush on me and you were too chicken shit to do anything about it! Next time give me a fucking kiss instead of a rose.”

Mitch snatches the book from the counter and idly flips through it. “You seemed to like the roses,” he hums.

Auston’s about to protest, but the look on Willy’s face keeps him tame. “Just shut up and kiss me, Mitch.”

And he does.

(Willy goes on to yell, “PDA!” a few times, but they both ignore it.)

* * *

Auston sets a bouquet of lavender roses on the counter.

“Who’re those for?” Mitch asks teasingly, taking the bill he’s handed between his fingers and sticking it into the register.

“My boyfriend,” Auston replies, an unwavering quirk in his lips. Mitch smiles back.

“Lucky guy.”