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Of Dahlias and Deadlines

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Victor Nikiforov, renown wedding planner, is a dead man.

"What do you mean, the delivery date has been pushed back a week?" Victor doesn't need an apology, he needs these flowers now for Khloe and Brad's wedding. The sales rep on the other end isn't helpful at all. "We paid a premium to have the dahlias in by tomorrow. Fresh flowers won't last a week in whatever warehouse you have them in."

It takes some more exasperated back-and-forth and the naming of an astronomical (and utterly ridiculous, even for fresh flowers) expedited shipping cost before Victor bites that he'll be expecting a refund, and pushes the button on his earpiece to end the call.

Khloe will not be happy about this new development.

He's called up every big name floristry from Avenue A to 11th, and none of them, none of them, stock Camano Pet dahlias. The sun's already gone down when Mila kicks Victor out of the office for moping around too much.

"You're killing everyone's productivity, Victor." She'd complained, pushing him out with his briefcase in hand. "Go home and rest, and we'll have it sorted by the morning."

Rest? At home? Victor scoffs. He absolutely will not rest. Not until he secures those flowers.

Okay, maybe he's a little fatigued. He barely makes it off the train on the right stop because he's too wrapped up in his thoughts. But Victor's weddings are nothing but perfect. His clients demand it; Victor himself demands it. Some missing flowers aren't going to ruin this wedding.

(Except they will, because he's chosen the entire color scheme around those dahlias.)

He's trudging to his apartment, feet dragging on the pavement against the chilly wind, when his eyes catch on a store window and his breath catches.

Haloed by overhead sun lamps stands a lush display of yellow dahlias, tinged with orange striations at the edges, glowing like miniature suns: the very flowers that Khloe had demanded at their first meeting.

He opens the door with a violent chime of the doorbell, and rushes in as if his life depends on it. Narrowly missing a brush of long fronds in his eyes, Victor ducks, and lets his sight adjust to the light.

He doesn't remember this florist being in his neighborhood, but it's quaint, if not a little crowded. Wooden stands holding vases upon vases of flowers line the sides of the shop (Victor estimates at least 60% of the floor space here is occupied by flowers) and the long wooden counter at the back holds an antiquated cash register to the right, where the counter is aligned against the wall.

"Hello," Victor calls, making his way deeper through the jungle of flowers flanking him. "Hello, anyone here?"

"Yes, sorry," a muffled voice replies, from under the counter. A mess of black hair pops out from under the surface, and the shopkeeper sits up, adjusting his blue glasses frames. "How may I help you?"

Victor's back is turned to him, staring at the dahlias like they'll disappear if he takes his eyes off them. "The Camano Pet dahlias. How big of an order can you take of them?"

"When for?" The shopkeeper replies. There's the sound of a pen being put to paper, and Victor turns to face him, smile at a million watts.

"Tomorrow, preferably before noon." Victor grins, as though he's not dropping a humongous short notice order. "We'll be needing, oh, a hundred or so small table displays, and four large bouquets for displaying at the altar. Not to mention a bridal bouquet and corsages and boutonnieres."

The poor shopkeeper's jaw drops as Victor points out what he wants from pictures on his phone. "That's a lot. I'll have to see if our other orders are filled out yet."

Victor makes notice of the name badge on his apron before putting on his best smile. "You see, the flowers we initially ordered can't be here till next week, so I was really stressing. What a stroke of luck that you happen to have them, Yuuri!"

Surprisingly, Yuuri doesn't respond to Victor's cooing, instead clicking away on an old laptop that he'd pulled out from under the counter. He's quiet and concentrated, and Victor raises an eyebrow at the silence. Strange. He'd normally be signing off on the receipt by now; Victor's very generous with his smile.

"Okay, yes." Yuuri smiles adorably, and he closes the laptop with a click. "You're in luck; we don't have any orders going out tomorrow morning, but there'll still be a hefty late notice fee. We usually take advance orders of around two weeks, but this is an exception."

"Anything to satisfy my clients." Victor nods, pulling out his credit card. "I'll invoice them later."

Victor rests his elbows on the high counter as Yuuri rings his card up, and Victor can't seem to tear his eyes away. He wouldn't brag of being a casanova, but Victor could usually use his looks to wrap others around his finger. Natural charisma is a gift in his line of work, but it's like Yuuri is impervious to his.

He signs the receipt as soon as it's placed in his hands, and he requests a second for his clients. The weight of the flower issue sags from his shoulders, and Victor messages his office work chat with the good news.

"So, Yuuri," Victor asks, turning his phone off and sliding it into his coat pocket, "will you be making the delivery personally?"

"Yes, unless Mari would rather. She helps out, too." Yuuri slides a stack of notepaper to Victor, noting that he needs a contact number and the address for delivery, and Victor writes them in easily, along with his own name in a flourish at the top.

"Then I suppose I'll be seeing you tomorrow," Victor winks, putting his card back in his wallet. "Thank you."

"Y-yeah, no problem." Yuuri nods, and Victor thinks he sees the faintest hint of pink dusting his cheeks.

Victor walks briskly back home, warm on the inside from more than just solving the dahlia dilemma.

 

 


 

 

Yuuri pulls his battered Katsuki Flowers van up to the foot of a big, grand, white cathedral the next day and gawks.

This wedding venue had to cost a lot— and he'd thought that the fee for last minute flower delivery was expensive. He had the right place, right? Unfolding the memo from the previous day from his pocket, Yuuri dials Victor's number and waits.

A few moments later, Victor picks up. "Hello?"

"Hi, this is Yuuri from Katsuki Flowers. I've arrived at the venue with your order, but I might need some help getting it up all these steps."

"Got it, I'll come down with help in a moment."

No sooner than Yuuri had ended the call did Victor, followed by a few others, burst from the open doors of the cathedral and rush down the steps.

"Oh, thank god you're here. Khloe's been on my case all morning." Victor sighs, and Yuuri can't help but gulp at the sight of him. He's dressed in a really nice suit and looks flawless despite all the running around he must be doing in preparation for the wedding. He was really kind of disheveled last night, so it's a drastic change when his hair is lightly gelled and he smells like nice cologne. "Mila, Georgi, Yuri, let's take the flowers inside."

They all end up making two trips while Victor flits around inside, fussing over minute details.

As soon as Yuuri sets the last of the bouquets down in the entryway at the center of the cathedral, he looks up, and his breath stops.

It's light and airy, with the dappled light from stained glass windows staining the ivory chiffon draped columns vibrant hues. The pews are lined with green vines and satin, and there's a long carpet rolled out down the center to the altar. But it's the lively flowers Victor had ordered from him that make the venue whole, bringing freshness and vitality to the space.

Victor disappears for a moment to a side room, and comes back, looking much more relaxed.

"I told Khloe the flowers are here, and she's ecstatic." He says, sidling up to Yuuri where he stands in awe of the cathedral.

"I can see why," Yuuri gapes, trying to tear his gaze away from the room. "This is... Something else."

"A happy bride makes for a good wedding." Victor laughs. "And you helped make this happen on such late notice. Thank you, again."

Yuuri simply nods, and offers the clipboard that'd been sandwiched under his arm to Victor. "I, um, need you to sign below." Victor does, easily, and smiles, genuinely this time. Yuuri has to look away to avoid blushing again, and he takes the clipboard from Victor.

"Tha-Thanks for your business, again."

"I look forward to working more with you," Victor shakes Yuuri's extended hand, and nods, turning back to his preparations.

Yuuri makes the rest of the day's orders with his chest thumping wildly every time he thinks of the handsome wedding planner he'd met by chance.

 


 

 

It's not until a week later that Yuuri's mother shrieks happily, gripping the latest issue of some wedding magazine in her hands.

"Yuuri, Mari!" She calls, ushering her children in to look at the page she's opened the magazine to. "W-We were given a feature in this magazine!"

Yuuri scoffs, rubbing his eyes blearily (he liked to sleep in on his days off.) A wedding? That couldn't be. They hadn't taken orders for a wedding since...

Since that wedding a week ago.

Yuuri's awake instantly, and he focuses his gaze to see a stunning full page photograph of the cathedral he'd delivered to. The flip side shows a picture of the happy newlyweds— Khloe and whatshisname, Yuuri couldn't remember, but apparently they're a big deal, if they're getting an entire spread in the magazine.

His eyes fall on the subtitle to the article.

Sweethearts Khloe and Brad had their wedding organized by wedding planner legend Victor Nikiforov, through his company Weddings by Victor. Stunning flowers provided by Katsuki Flowers.

"Yuuri, you didn't say anything about this! This is huge!" Mari gapes, straightening enthusiastically. "The Victor Nikiforov ordered flowers from us! The guy is a legend in the wedding world."

"I, uh, I didn't know he was such a big shot." Yuuri murmurs, just as Mari hooks him in for a bone crushing hug.

"Well, he is." Mari assures, putting her hands on her hips. "No wonder we've been getting so many emails about weddings today! This is why."

Yuuri's already dreading all the complications that come with catering to weddings when his phone beeps, and he sees a text from Victor's number, of all things.

Victor: Did you see weddings weekly today? I made sure they featured your floristry, too

Honestly, Yuuri just wants to drop back into bed at the mere thought of the influx of orders they'll be getting. Instead, he sighs and smiles, tapping back a reply.

Yuuri: The venue looked amazing, thanks for the feature

Victor: No, it's thanks to you

Victor: The flowers made it!

Victor: I'll be dropping by later to discuss my next project

Yuuri sends a simple "ok" before wandering back into his room, dropping his phone on his pillow and lying next to it in shock.

It'd been a hurried delivery, and Yuuri could still feel the butterflies in his stomach from when he'd fretted, but his heart beats in anticipation of the possibilities working together could bring.

He sits back up, slaps himself awake with two firm hits of his cheeks, and slips on his apron.

There's new work to be done.