When Nate arrived in the small Ohio town, he had expected the same type of drab people that came in every hick town, but as it was, he was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there were some familiar types (grandmotherly waitresses, local cooks, and weird tourist attractions), but there was something about the town that made it feel almost like a home. That alone was odd, considering Nate hadn’t had a proper “home” in over a year now, ever since his landlord kicked him out and he had started travelling with his friends.
The town was small and tight, almost as if a giant had pressed all the homes and business together. The business themselves seemed to be run almost exclusively by families or small groups of friends. The people as well were close, greeting everyone they passed and exchanging pleasantries. Nate walked down the street, guitar case in hand, watching these exchanges with an odd feeling blossoming in his chest, almost like longing. He sighed. There was no way he was already getting attached to the small town.
Nate kept walking, ignoring the few odd (probably because he was a stranger) or sometimes disgusted (probably because of all the piercings, leather, and dyed hair) looks sent his way. He walked past the same flower shop five times before he admitted that maybe, just maybe, he was sort of lost. He huffed and pouted to himself for a moment before groaning and entering the small shop to ask for directions.
The shop was more of a greenhouse with a checkout station, flowers lining every available spot, sunlight streaming down from the glass roof and the sweet smell of flowers lingering in the air, with one single hunched figure among it all. The figure was hunched down to a group of light purple roses, muttering to themselves and making wide dramatic gestures. Nate’s lips quirked.
“Excuse me!” he called, walking toward the person, avoiding a large vine thing hanging down from the ceiling. The person, or rather, man, sprang up looking alarmed. He quickly placated his terror however and smiled at Nate, walking up to greet him. “Hey! What can I do for you?” the man asked, smiling gently at him. The man was a handsome brunette with the warmest brown eyes Nate had ever seen and a smile to match. He had on a pastel green sweater vest, a pink collar peeking out from underneath, pastel blue jeans, and a green apron that was darker than his sweater, but still light. It had the name of the shop, The Gloxinia, written in gold cursive. Oddly, the gold seemed to bring out the flecks of gold in the man’s warm eyes (like chocolate!), looking every bit like the honey-gold flecks were melting into the chocolate around them.
The man coughed, and Nate was brought out of his poetic waxing. He blushed laughed awkwardly, shifting his gaze away from those molten honey-chocolate eyes. “Sorry,” he said, “I’m supposed to playing a show in a small French restaurant here, but I don’t know where it is? Could you help me?” he asked, willing the blush to dwindle down. The man- Matt, according to his name tag (he must’ve missed it when he starting swooning over Matt’s eyes)- smiled and nodded. “You mean Pleine Lune? It’s around the corner, between Jirard’s Barber Shop and Jared’s Photography Service.” Matt smiled at him again and Nate almost forgot everything he said in it. Nate blushed again and grinned at Matt gratefully. “Thank you so much”. Matt waved it off, rolling his eyes. “It’s no problem! Now go on, they might think you bailed on them!” Nate nodded and waved as he walked back towards the exit, still woozy from the bright smiles Matt kept giving him. “And hey,” Matt called, “if you’re staying for a while, come back soon!” Nate called back a quick, “Sure!” as he exited, a serene smile on his lips. Maybe he should get attached to this town.
A week later, after convincing his friends that it’s be a good idea to stay for a while longer, Nate set off to see the cute flower shop boy. When Nate arrived, Matt was sitting next to a bed of multicolored tulips. He was weaving flowers into intricate locks, smiling contently. “Hey,” Nate said, walking towards Matt. Matt looked, his surprise evident. “Hey!” Matt greeted, setting down his half finished flower crown and walked up to Nate. “I didn’t think you’d actually stay!“ Nate chuckled. “I couldn’t just leave without buying anything, could I?” Matt laughed and Nate though it sounded like tinkling wind chimes.
He walks over to the flowerbeds and picks out the one he had googled the night before. The carnation’s white petals shine softly under the light of the green house, almost ethereal. Nate turns towards back toward Matt and hands it to him. “This one, please,” He says, smiling widely. Matt looks suspiciously at the flower, and then back at him. “You do know what these mean, right?” he asks, blush dusting his cheeks. Nate’s eyes sparkle and his smile softens. “Yeah,” he say, “I do.”