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Gardenia

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Simon worked tirelessly, from morning to night, at cutting, arranging, and perfecting all 150 vases of flowers that were ordered for a wedding at the last minute. It was one of the perks of being an android, setting an objective for yourself and it driving every little moment of your existence until it was finished.

Although, it didn’t keep the little burn of annoyance in Simon from coming up. Ordering flowers weeks, evens months, ahead of time for a wedding would be the decent thing to do, yet these had to be done in three days along with little flower crown arrangements. But Simon couldn’t turn down the extra money they offered for the inconvenience. That didn't stop him from adding basil as a small filler in the vases.

It was his second day on this project, and he was right on time to complete the entire order by that night. By the next morning, Simon would send them on a delivery truck and return to normalcy in his little shop.

No distractions, none at all.

The bell attached to the front door rang as someone entered the space, and Simon’s program twitched at the damnable noise. Lingering at the last vase to check for any imperfections, Simon switched off the objective in his system to avoid the incessant blinking to remain on task and walked from the workroom that sat behind the counter. He could only see the back of the potential customer mulling about, surrounding themselves in the plant-crowded space.

Patience was something Simon always had, so he’d wait. He’d wait despite the small timer in the back of his mind, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds that he was losing by being patient.

Any other day, Simon would have patience.

Deciding to take matters in his own hands, Simon wiped his hands against the dark, heavy material of his apron and left the counter to find the seemingly lost customer. Brushing past ferns, elephant ears, and silver bays, the android effectively located the male customer standing in front of the wall refrigerators that kept the flowers fresh. Upon hearing someone approach, the customer- an android, Simon determined with a quick scan- turned and smiled warmly at Simon. His programming stuttered at sight before him.

He was beautiful; completely and utterly beautiful with a soft smile and mismatched eyes that caused a random search in Simon’s mind to place the colors, Forget-Me-Nots and Sedum Treleasei. It didn’t help that he was wearing a crisp suit that hugged all the right places of his strong form and Simon couldn’t believe that he was looking at a customer’s butt--

Simon cleared his throat, “Hello, how can I help you?”

“Well, I’m visiting someone at the hospital,” the man seemed to have caught a microexpression of worry from Simon as he continued with a waved hand, “He’s completely fine, he’s just an old man, that’s all.”

“That’s good to hear,” Simon almost choked on his words as the other android’s voice seemed to wash over him like a calm wave, “I assume you want to get him a ‘get well’ bouquet?”

“Yes, yes that would be perfect!” The stranger smiled, and a hopeful look made his brows crinkle, “But can you help me pick? I might be hooked up to the internet, but I don’t know a where to begin about picking out flowers.”

The clock ticking down the time on Simon’s urgent project fuzzed out into static at the sweet smile, and he nodded, moving forward to the refrigerators. He stood next to the man, who was approximately one inch and three centimeters taller than him, but he still felt small. He commanded the space and Simon felt like he probably could lead thousands into rebellion with a face like that.

Simon scanned the rows and rows of flowers before reaching into one of the refrigerators and taking a handful of deep violet chrysanthemums. He then motioned for the man to follow him to a large work table where he placed the flowers. In a moment of hesitation, Simon plucked a few strands of broad-leaved sage and set them next to the bundle before working quickly at snipping away at the stems.

The stranger’s gaze on Simon as he worked was distracting, and he almost pinched himself between the handle of the hand pruner. As if he could sense Simon’s discomfort, the other android turned away from the station to examine the succulents that hung in glass teardrops.

“Have you had this place long?”

“Just for two months, I had another place south of here near the docks,” Simon mused, focusing on the delicate flowers at hand instead of the stranger’s sharp profile.

“What happened there?” the stranger looked to him again, curiosity lacing his voice.

“Flooding, unfortunately,” Simon carefully wrapped the bunch of flowers in the crinkly brown paper before finishing it off with a little string and a tight knot.

The android’s eyebrows shot up, and he frowned, “I’m sorry about that.”

Simon shrugged as he slipped a business card into the stems, “It serves me right for not doing my research on the area before moving in. But being in the city is a better location anyways.”

Before the other android could say anything else, Simon handed him the bouquet, “Hopefully your friend will like these.”

The frown melted from his face, no doubt scanning the flowers as he held them with hands that seemed to have no imperfections in them, so different from Simon’s that always had dirt and grime on them. The man plucked the card out from the stems and read it over before a small smile grew on his lips.

“They’re beautiful, Simon, thank you,”

He couldn’t tell which, but some biomechanic, or maybe all of them, tightened at the sound of his name on the stranger’s lips. Simon hoped he wasn’t blushing too hard as the thirium in his body rushed through artificial veins.

The stranger moved to complete a transaction with him, but Simon snapped himself out of his stupor and shook his head, “If your friend likes them, you can come back and pay for them.”

When did he get that smooth?

This time, the stranger hesitated. A look of confusion, curiosity, and mirth flicked across his face before he nodded, “I hope he does; I quite like it in here.”

And he left, a flurry of beauty and mystery in Simon’s mind. The shopkeeper could’ve been doing that order that he was so stressed over, but he consequently forgot as a single question bogged his mind.

What was that man’s name?