The first bouquet comes on a nondescript Wednesday afternoon after Ritsu has just finished calling Saitou-sensei about her manga they’re going to make a drama CD for. Even though she sounded confident the last time they had met, about a week ago, he still wanted to make sure she was 100% on board with this project and to let her know that he was supporting her.
The smile he heard over the phone reassured him, at least a little.
Replacing the phone back into its receiver, Ritsu leans back and stretches, satisfied with his progress. He’s about to begin working on Mutou-sensei’s storyboards when the sound of a delivery man reaches his ears with a, “Delivery for Onodera Ritsu?”
“What? For Ricchan?” Kisa wonders, looking up.
Ritsu glances up as well, blinking. In all the time he’s worked here at Marukawa, he’s rarely received a package from someone, save for the odd storyboard here and there from his authors when he couldn’t leave the office. But there, in front of him, is a bouquet of red and white flowers. It’s not the best looking bouquet he’s ever seen, but—
“Eh?” He exclaims, taking the bouquet from the delivery man with another baffled noise.
“Oho~.” Kisa leans over with a grin. “What’s this? Flowers for Ricchan? Who’re they from?”
Though Ritsu is wondering what must be happening in the world for him to receive flowers of all things, he still has the right of mind to check for a name or a card. “There’s…nothing there,” Ritsu finally says after a moment. “I don’t know who it’s from.”
Kisa’s grin turns even more delighted, if that were possible. He really had too much interest in Ritsu’s love life. “A secret admirer, then? Or from your girlfriend?”
Flustered, Ritsu feels his cheeks turn hot as he splutters, “Kisa-san, I told you already…” setting the flowers to the side. Thank god Takano wasn’t at his desk right now.
“Ah, yes, yes, I remember. No girlfriend.” Kisa waves a hand, turning back to his own desk. “You’ll have to tell me who she is when you figure out, though.”
I would tell you if I had a girlfriend, though he’s not exactly a girlfriend… Ritsu thinks wryly. The image of Takano wearing a wig and a dress drifts through Ritsu’s mind, and he hides a snicker behind his hand as he bats the flowers out of his vision. Wouldn’t that be something. Not that Takano would ever agree to do something like that.
Ritsu returns to Mutou-sensei’s storyboard with a tiny smile, the bouquet a noticeable but unobtrusive question at the back of his mind.
The second bouquet, however, arrives while Ritsu is away from his desk the next Monday.
By the time Ritsu returns to the Emerald department, there sits another bundle of flowers, this time a vibrant shade of blues and purples. It almost makes the rest of the room look like an eyesore with how colorful the flowers look.
Ritsu slowly sets the papers he had been copying down on his desk, staring at the bouquet with a confused frown. Another one? He thinks in dismay. Who in the world would send these to me?
“Ah, I’m jealous!” Kisa declares in the seat next to his.
“What is it?” Mino asks, having not been here for the last time it happened.
Kisa lets out another dramatic sigh, hunching in his chair. “Ricchan got this huge bouquet of flowers last Wednesday, and today’s the second one! It normally wouldn’t be that weird but—”
“—Mmm,” Mino finishes, nodding. “Such an obvious display of flowers must mean this person loves Onodera-kun very much.”
“Exactly! Who wouldn’t be jealous?”
“Uh,” Ritsu cuts in as he sits down, “how do you know what whoever’s sending this is thinking?”
Mino hums. “I took a flower arranging class once, years ago, and learned the meanings of certain kinds of flowers. The ones you’ve got today mean ‘true love’ and ‘eternal love, devotion’. Or at least that’s from what I remember.”
“Eh?! You took a flower arranging class before, Mino-san?” Ritsu asks, eyes wide in surprise.
Mino just nods, neither proud nor ashamed of it. “I took a lot of classes when I was younger whenever I was curious enough to join. It’s why I know how to decorate the Emerald department at the beginning of every month, for example.”
“Wow…” Ritsu says, impressed. The most he’d done in terms of extracurricular classes was book club, and even that hadn’t lasted very long until he’d gotten tired of it. Sitting around discussing books hadn’t quite felt the same after he and Takano had broken up, way back when.
As he settles back into his chair and half-listens to Kisa asking Mino what other unique skills he has, Ritsu once again wonders who could be sending these to him. Well—it isn’t that difficult to guess, considering there is only one person who would declare their love for him so shamelessly like this, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be Takano’s style.
Flowers? Ritsu snorts to himself, pulling out his pens. Not even Takano would do something as cheesy as that, no matter whatever lines he spouts to me about wanting to be ‘lovey-dovey’.
It’s at this moment that Takano re-enters the department and notices the flowers on Ritsu’s desk.
“Oi, what’re those?” he asks, peering over at the bouquet.
Ritsu looks up at Takano, noting the frown and vaguely dissatisfied air around him. Eh? Annoyed? “They’re flowers, I received them a few minutes ago,” Ritsu says, thoughts and half-formed theories breaking to pieces in his head. If it wasn’t Takano…
Takano straightens again, apparently having lost interest already. “Hm.” He continues on to his desk without another comment, leaving Ritsu to wonder what the hell that had been about.
He didn’t look so happy to see these flowers… Ritsu thinks, looking over deadlines on his calendar. Does that mean he wasn’t the one who sent these? But then who else could it be, besides my… my…
He forces himself not to blush at just the thought of ‘lover’. Well, this isn’t too much of a problem yet, probably. The first bouquet is sitting on the empty desk next to Mino, so this one can just go there, too. Though… Ritsu contemplates with a grimace. If this keeps up, I’ll have to find another place to put them. Ah, that’s a worry for another time.
With that, Ritsu sighs and moves on, deciding to think more on it later.
Unfortunately, flowers continue to come to the department for the rest of this week and the next as well. Instead of full bouquets, though, he receives individual flowers of all different colors and types, all apparently meaning the same general message of ‘I love you’, according to Mino.
Ritsu sighs at the flower that comes today, nearly three weeks since the first bouquet. It’s not that he doesn’t dislike the flowers, no, it’s that he’s no closer to figuring out who’s been sending them. Takano, to Ritsu’s confusion, has only been growing more and more displeased the more flowers swing by the Emerald department.
If the one sending them was Takano, Ritsu reasoned that Tuesday after the second bouquet, then he wouldn’t get so annoyed about them, right? It’s the only conclusion that doesn’t make Ritsu’s head spin, anyways.
In any case, there were so many flowers that Ritsu had started taking them home with him so they don’t clutter up the workplace so much. Though he didn’t have a proper vase, only a large glass cylinder that he’d found in the back of his closet, Ritsu thought that the flowers added a nice spot of life to his otherwise plain and—truthfully—filthy apartment.
They still didn’t make him want to clean up more, at any rate.
Looking up at the clock, Ritsu sighs again at the time. It’s nearing the hour where most employees are expected to head for home, but because it’s also nearing Hell Week, most of Marukawa’s employees in the manga departments were still here, slaving away.
Most of them, including Takano.
I should probably start calling him Masamune, shouldn’t I? Ritsu muses idly as he tries to get his vision to stop swimming so he can see the storyboard in front of him. Since we’re—together, and all. But I called him Takano for over two years since we saw each other again. It’s a difficult habit to kick, and calling him by his given name seems too… intimate.
Well, Ritsu continues, watching out of the corner of his eye as Takano points something out to Hatori at his desk. I don’t think he’d like me doing that right now, considering how upset he seems with me. What with the flowers and all…
“Onodera!” Takano suddenly barks, lightly hitting him on the head with a stack of papers. “Let’s go.”
“Wha?” Ritsu tries to get his bearings straight after having sat here for nearly two hours without moving, shuffling the papers on his desk. “Where?”
“At this time?”
“Yep. Come on.”
Grumbling to himself—Takano didn’t seem so upset now, when he was yelling at him—Ritsu dutifully follows after Takano. To his surprise, they’re not heading up to any of the meeting rooms.
Instead, they take a turn into one of the break rooms, which is empty and dead quiet at this time of night.
“Wait, Takano—” Ritsu begins, cutting himself off when he notices the other man locking the door behind them. “H-hey, what’s—”
“I couldn’t wait any longer,” is what Takano says, stepping forward quickly so they’re right in front of each other.
Ritsu shakes his head, at a loss. What in the world? “’Wait any longer’? Any longer for what?”
Takano crosses his arms, tilts his head. It seems he’s trying to figure out how to say something, but is unsure of what the words might be. After some time, he asks, “You’ve been receiving flowers a lot recently, right?”
“Yes.” Ritsu refrains from rolling his eyes with an Obviously.
“Who do you think sent them to you?”
“Who—what are we doing here, Ma—Takano-san?” Ritsu gestures to the room. “Did you make me come up here just for an interrogation session?”
“Answer the question.”
“I don’t know who sent them to me.” Shrugging, Ritsu smiles somewhat ruefully. “Sorry if you were expecting another answer.”
“And b-besides,” Ritsu laughs nervously, “they couldn’t be from you.”
Letting out a heavy breath, Ritsu tries to explain without turning even more red than he probably already is. “Because you were—” He tries again. “You seemed—”
“You seemed—upset with me, for some reason.” Though he got what he wanted to say out, it doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. Admitting that Ritsu got a little upset about Takano being unhappy or displeased with him? Absolutely mortifying. “So I thought, ‘It couldn’t be you.’ Why would you get upset about flowers you yourself sent?”
After Ritsu’s confession, the two of them stand there in silence for a long moment. Not even the sounds of people walking around outside reach them, as scarce of people as Marukawa is right now.
Finally, Takano reveals, “I was the one who sent you the flowers.”
Ritsu’s head snaps up. “What? How?”
Takano huffs out a laugh that sounds somewhat smug. “Obviously I was the one who sent them. Unless you have another person in your life who would love you as much as I do?” Before Ritsu can reply, Takano continues, “Each flower represents the number of years I’ve loved you.”
W-wha?! Ritsu feels his face heat up and mouth set into its typical frown.
“But I realized sending huge bouquets would become too expensive, so I settled for individual flowers instead,” Takano is saying, looking for all the world as if they were just discussing the weather. He moves in even closer, close enough that he’d be stepping on Ritsu’s toes if he took even one more step, and lifts Ritsu’s face to meet his eyes.
“What… was the point of all of this?” Ritsu asks, eyes darting away from the intense yet tender look in Takano’s expression. “Sending flowers… that doesn’t seem like you at all.”
It shouldn’t surprise Ritsu in the slightest that all Takano does is shrug and murmur, “I love you, Ritsu, and I wanted to show you what you mean to me.”
“Wh—well—that is—” Even after all this time, how could you say things so embarrassing?! Instead of saying anything more, however, Ritsu decides to just express his gratitude towards his lover in the only way he learned how—through a kiss.