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Roses are red, but geraniums are better...

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"Is it for anyone special?”

“That’s one word you could use.” Magnus answered, watching the florist carefully wrap the singular red rose. “I, however, prefer the term ‘stone cold bitch’.”

Smiling, Alec merely raised an inquisitive eyebrow at Magnus’ comment.

“The rose is a reference,” Magnus explained, sighing, “For a-”

“Tattoo.” Alec finished, deftly securing the cellophane with a final piece of tape before handing over the now beautifully wrapped flower. Magnus took it with a sly smile.

“Why Alexander, you have been paying attention.”

“You work across the road.” Alec pointed out dryly, “It’s hardly surprising that I can recognise you after almost two years.”

“Has it really been that long?” Magnus asked, knowing full well exactly how long it had been since he’d opened up shop opposite the handsome florist. “I find it hard to believe it’s taken me that long to visit your delightful establishment.”

“And yet you know my name.”

“You have your delightful sister to blame for that.” Said Magnus, smirking as Alec groaned and buried his head in his hands, “She’s one of my favourite customers.”

“Everything she’s told you is a lie.” Alec muttered, desperately hoping he wasn’t blushing as he remembered everything he’d confessed to his sister about the man currently stood on the other side of the counter. He was.

“I sincerely hope not everything, Alexander.”

“I don’t want to know.” Alec said, only half lying, before quickly attempting to change the subject, “So, this tattoo?”

“My ex.” Magnus sighed. “She wants something nice and romantic to celebrate her one-year anniversary with her new beau.”

“It seems a bit harsh to ask you to do it.”

“I wouldn’t usually mind,” Magnus said bluntly, “Except we only broke up four months ago.”

Magnus’ confession was met with silence, and he looked up to see Alec staring thoughtfully at the flower in his hand.

“What?”

“Is she set on roses?”

“Not particularly.” Magnus answered, confused as to where this conversation was heading, “She wants her boyfriend’s name surrounded by flowers, and apparently I’m to make it look, and I quote, high class, unlike your tacky eyeliner.”

Alec didn’t reply, still examining the rose he’d so carefully wrapped. Magnus considered being offended at the lack of response, but before he could make up his mind Alec suddenly pushed himself off his stool, fixing Magnus with a stern gaze.

“Don’t move.” He said, before disappearing through a beaded curtain, leaving Magnus with nothing but a plethora of plants for company. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Alec was back, carefully placing a small yet elegant bouquet on the countertop.

“Red roses essentially say I love you.” He explained. “Which is fine, but I think you should tattoo these instead.”

“And what might these say?” Magnus asked, already picturing ways he could incorporate Alec’s chosen flowers into his design.

“Essentially?” Said Alec, smirking, “Fuck you.”

“Consider me intrigued.”

“Foxgloves represent insincerity.” Alec said, pointing at a long stem of purple flowers, before moving on to two different yellow blooms. “Yellow carnations mean disappointment, and the wild tansy basically says I’m declaring war on you. The geraniums, the red ones, they stand for stupidity, the meadowsweet, the white one, that’s for uselessness, and then the orange lilies are for hatred. Finally, I’d recommend the yellow coltsfoot, which in this case basically means you’ll get what you deserve.”

“I’m not sure how you’ve managed it,” Magnus said gleefully, grinning as he examined the delicate flowers, “But I do believe you’ve managed to sum Camille up in a bouquet that is far more gorgeous than she deserves.”

“Oh, well in that case, there’s always roses.” Alec teased, reaching out to remove the flowers, only to laugh as Magnus snatched the bouquet before he could even get close.

“I think not. You’ve handed me the perfect revenge Alexander. Thank you.”

“My pleasure.” Said Alec truthfully, retaking his seat behind the counter.

“How much do I owe you for this fantastic selection?” Asked Magnus, already itching to get his hands on his sketchbook. Alec shrugged.

“On the house,” He said, “Since it’s for such a good cause.”

“I can’t-”

“Yes, you can.” Alec said firmly, leaving no room for argument. “Although if you insist on payment, you can come back and show me a photo when you’ve done the tattoo.”

“Well in that case.” Replied Magnus, all too eager for an excuse to return, “I’d be honoured if you would also accept this.”

With a dramatic bow, Magnus held out the red rose that Alec had wrapped earlier, and with a roll of his eyes Alec took it. Straightening up, Magnus waved a goodbye, and Alec watched as he wove his way through the displays to reach the exit. Just before leaving he paused, turning back to Alec with a flirtatious smile.

“Oh and Alexander?” He said, “That red rose? I know exactly what message I’m sending.”