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about love

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Yifan, for as long as he could remember, had been told that love was something special, something to cherish and embrace. Frankly, he didn't plan on ever finding out. After watching his mother live in her loneliness, with her only son that'd left to be on his own in China when things got rough ( guilty as charged, but he's paid his dues for that and visits her regularly with her favourite coffee ), he vowed to never subject himself or whatever partners may be destined for him to that hurt.

It'd been a Tuesday when he'd been coerced into walking his neighbour's dog in the park ( she was paying and she was a nice old lady anyway ), he'd stumbled upon a quiet, closed off corner of said park. In this corner, where he was planning on just sitting for a while and enjoying the nice weather paired with the sweet dog, there appeared to be another person. From a distance, Yifan couldn't quite tell.

When he got closer, he saw that the boy was doing something intricate, something that involved nun-chucks and fluid movements that could only be the result of years and years of practice. When the boy looked over to him with a shy but proud smile on his face, Yifan knew he had to turn around and walk away right this instant.

Really, the only time he had crushes were in elementary school on tv show characters, always straying himself away from others and only really involving himself in the school basketball team. As soon as he felt a weird tingle in his chest, he instantly knew that this was what he'd been dreading. He quickly took the dog home, saying that he had been feeling ill and it had only gotten worse.

It was silly, he told himself. But he couldn't get it off of his mind. The boy looked light as a feather, but with the determined, triumphant look in his pretty eyes and the powerful grace of the moves he was performing before he spotted Yifan, he looked like he could destroy cities.

It wasn't fair that one male could capture him so easily, and it took days to finally give into the fact that it wasn't just the shock of another human that he wasn't expecting or the glint of the metal of his earrings, the nunchucks, and it wasn't -- He was so curious. He just wanted to see the boy again, to figure out himself what was so intriguing.

So the next week, he found himself at the park again, earlier than before. He was sitting on the bench for an hour, resorted to playing Bang Dream on his phone. He was beginning to think that perhaps the boy wasn't coming today, or he'd been spooked by other people finding his quiet place, or something else. Just as he thought to get up, the noise of feet on pavement grew closer and the boy rounded the corner of trees.

Yifan froze in place, and so did the boy, just until he smiled shyly at the older and returned to where he was last time their eyes met. Yifan looked back down at his phone, as not to seem too stalkerish.

The boy began whispering to himself under his breath as he performed his routine. Perhaps counting his steps or saying something else to keep his place in his routine. Yifan moved to a position so he could hold up his phone with the camera on facing Zitao, and it appeared he was just casually holding his phone so he could see it. Definitely creepy, and definitely desperate, but he didn't care.

Yifan did this once more before he realized he was in super deep shit. He was going to talk to the boy, and if it worked out, then fine, and if it didn't then it wasn't meant to be.

Yifan just knew that this flower shop was the exact midpoint between his house and the park that he now frequented and that it was also his last resort for his mother's birthday present. He certainly did not know that the flower shop on the corner of 5th and Main is where the object of his affections spent working in the time he had between sleeping and practising at the park.

The name tag reads 'Zitao' with a heart emoji, and Yifan feels the heart emoji in his own chest. He isn't sure what to do when he locks eyes with the boy - Zitao -- and the other smiles. He freezes up (which he tends to do a lot around Zitao). He stiffly asks for a bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots.

Zitao shuffles and Yifan watches him drop about 6 of the flowers, then fumbles with the ribbon before the bouquet is ready. The other boy is so clumsy, it's adorable. He digs into his wallet and they're handed to him in exchange for a 10 dollar bill. On a whim, he plucks one of the flowers and holds it out to Zitao without a word. On reflex, the shorter reaches and takes it, though looks confused. Meanwhile, Yifan gets the fuck out of there, and right before the door shuts behind him, he hears a soft "Oh, goodbye."

Even if Zitao forgets, Yifan sure won't.

The rest of the year turns into Yifan falling headfirst, hopelessly into love with Zitao. They communicate first through stolen glances through storefront windows and quiet passing comments at the park, then through texts with vague wording and deep underlying meanings. When they began seeing each other for real, just as friends of course, more excuses filled the older's head.

It's just how his hair looked today

It's just the outfit he's wearing

It's just his smile

You just love that he's nice

And the problem was that these excuses became the catalyst. Because they were true. Zitao did have soft hair and a kind, shy smile and was the nicest person Yifan had ever met, and he dressed well and was a good listener. It scared Yifan that Zitao was so quiet, that normally around others he kept his head down, that he flinched the slightest bit whenever the elder raised a hand but-- He figured Zitao would disclose when he felt comfortable with doing so.

He surely hadn't meant to stumble over his own feet when he entered the flower shop this time, with his small but hopefully effective plan in mind.

"Yifan."

The sweet voice rang through his ears, breaking him from the loop of his plan playing through his brain. Zitao had handed him the bouquet of blues and purples after Yifan had handed him the same amount as their first meeting.

"Do you have a pen?"

And Zitao nodded, grabbing one from his black waist-apron and clicking it open, then handing it over. Yifan had messed up twice and had to mark it out while writing his number onto the card, his hand was so shaky he couldn't begin to control it. He let out a deep sigh as he placed the tiny cardstock rectangle into the cardholder, then handed them back over to Zitao. He stuttered through the sentence, 'actually, these are f-for you'. And it only went up from there.

From all the happy accidents Yifan had made in the start of the relationship with Zitao, now, 3 years later, it's no mistake when the words 'I do' leave his mouth, quietly and sincerely.

Zitao looks so handsome in his clean white button up and black bowtie, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows and tucked into his tight black jeans, that Yifan is actually the one holding back tears this time.

When he hears 'you may kiss the groom,' there's no hesitation in the time before his lips meet Zitao's, and he thinks that there will be no more beautiful a moment than this, surrounded by Zitao's flowers.