The beaming yellow sun glistened through the decorative glass that shone a bright lilac and gleamed against the crisp white walls, neatly displayed flower arrangements were scattered around the shop all bloomed to perfection and sat next to each other in small rows on a wooden crate. Various hanging decorations were placed eloquently on the tall ceiling and shaded rugs lay out across the floor, fulfilling the light, pastel aesthetic that engaged delighted customers to visit frequently. Across the floor was a storeroom for cleaning equipment and tools that would help keep the flowers in their best condition throughout the day, as well as some spare earphones and an mp3 for the days when the shop was quiet and the employees could dance around in their squeaky shoes and sea-foam green smocks, watering tulips to their heart's content as the wind chime sang in the breeze and ocean blue sky radiated throughout the store.
One of these employees was Arisugawa Nino, a young college student majoring in music production. Her light silky hair swayed in the wind and flowed softly like a wave being formed in the ocean, her skin dusted lightly with pearls of sweat and eyelashes fluttering in the heat. The white mask she wore close to her mouth stuck closely to her ears and the matching polo shirt was covered under the smock, untucked and hung messily on her body above the light blue denim skirt that grazed her knees and swung on her hips with every movement she made. Arisugawa Nino sung along to the music that blasted in her earphones, a voice like honey velvet that stung closely to those who walked by, soft melodies running out of her mouth and pouring from her heart like innocent tears but expressed positively and with so much passion that one could doubt an ethereal being such as herself truly existed. The earphone cord stayed wrapped around her finger like a hospital cord, as though music was her only lifeline, but the joyous expressions showed that she was only truly happy, and always in her element when she could sing.
Arisugawa Nino gently dusted the porcelain glass and set her tools aside to wipe a bead of sweat from her forehead as she took a sip of lemon flavored water and breathed in some fresh air. The day was early, and although they had not had many customers today she was not worried, as most of their visitors tended to come by around lunch time, as there was a bakery situated nearby, and the enticing smell of buns almost convinced Arisugawa Nino to leave her post and scope out the place, but instead she stuck it out and waited patiently for the day to be over so she could scroll by. As time flew by, a few familiar faces swung by the store to collect roses for sweethearts or apologetic bouquets. That was the most rewarding part of the job, she thought, meeting new people and being a part of their story. Each customer had their own life and own tale, but coming by to pick up a symbolic and important bouquet showed that her services were needed. It felt rewarding to put a smile on someone’s face, her bubbly and quirky attitude could easily turn a sour mood into a happy one, just from her funny observations or slight puns.
She yawned drowsily and lifted her arms above her head to stretch her limbs, before jumping on top of the counter and dangling her feet over the edge and pulled her phone out of her pocket to check some emails and talk to her friends. She was invested in a conversation with her childhood best friend and post-high school boyfriend Momo as the door chime rang sweetly in the wind, and the footsteps of canvas shoes could be heard on the marble floor. Arisugawa Nino stay put, looking into her device so thoughtfully that she barely heard the voice coming from just a few feet away.
“Hi, uh, are you still open? I’d like to get some flo- oh,”
The new customer stopped in his tracks as he saw the messily dressed girl with the green smock hung around her shoulder and voluminous hair look up to him and beam a warm smile, like an engaging hug that he wanted to be embraced by. The red on her cheeks and soft dimples were beautiful in itself, but her deep brown eyes looked directly at the boy and into his heart that he felt like his 18 year old self again, vulnerable and emitted in oozy feelings that he didn’t know what else to do besides stare back at her with a growing pinkness instilled in his gasped and gazed expression.
“Yes! We are! I’m sorry about that, I was in another world! I’ve been told I’m not that good at listening to people.... Anyway! What can I do for you?”
She spoke fast like a violin on ecstasy, the uncommon tone and effluent brashness completely took him off guard, but he liked it. He liked how this completely random stranger didn’t fit in, how she stood out like the flowers that bloomed just a bit brighter than the rest. He tried not to stare at her too intensely, but gave her a gentle smile.
“I-uh, I need an arrangement done, preferably not too expensive, although I don’t really know how much flowers cost…” He felt his voice running away, as though it wanted to hide and it reminded him of high school, how he let his thoughts run wild and felt incapable of talking coherently. He quickly snapped his head around and looked into the girls eyes.
“I’ve had some trouble with my friends and I need an apologetic bouquet that basically says “Hey I’m sorry, I still love you” but nothing too clingy or over the top, do you… get what I mean?”
The girl looked at him thoughtfully and he figured she was stuck in her own little world again, before she snapped around with a loud “AH!” and beamed a smile towards him.
“I know exactly what you mean! You didn’t, do anything illegal, did you?”
“What? No! I… kept missing band practice for a while and missed out on some shows and it’s hit us hard so… I want to apologise for being incompetent.”
He fiddled with his fingers unknowingly as she listened and scratched the back of his head as it hung in shame. She gave an apologetic look and got to work, looking and searching around the store with a handful of flowers at her arm and grinning.
“You’re in a band, huh? Wow, I remember when I was too!”
“Y-you were in a band? What instrument can you play?”
Arisugawa Nino shook her head abruptly and headed to the store room to gather supplies.
“I don’t, I sing! At least I used to much more back then…”
Her voice faded out as the boy looked at her bewilderingly. He thought about how convenient this meeting was, and grinned to himself slightly. The smile wore strongly on his lips and failed to disappear. He watched the girl pick out some flowers, as he browsed over the name tags. Carnations, hyacinths, the names meant nothing to him, but he understood the language of flowers was vastly important, especially for a business like this to run and ensure the best for its customers.
“Funny you say that… our vocalist has been absent for some time because of college problems. You know, money and the sort.”
The girl looked at him with radiant eyes and wore a golden smile, as she wrapped the flowers up as neatly as she could. She placed them into a bag, as well as some other items like powder packets to ensure the longevity of the flowers and glanced at the boy.
“I see… life is funny like that, I guess.”
She recalled the times she spent as a child, singing with Momo until her hearts content, how most of her adolescence was revolved around music and her passion for noise. As she grew older, she wanted to take music more seriously and dedicated her time to studying in order to learn more about music producing, and she believed one day, it would all pay off. Her efforts and her talent could not be denied forever, she hoped. She perked up and inquired the boy standing in front of her.
“What’s your name?”
“Your name. I’m Arisugawa Nino.”
“Arisu… Arisugawa… Arisu Nino… that’s way too long! I’m calling you Alice.”
She smiled softly and looked into the boys eyes, glistening and all.
“Okay. That’s fine with me!”
She giggled softly and jumped round the cash register to stand in front of him, handing the boy the flowers she carefully picked for him, secretly hoping the apology he wanted to make would be met through her attentiveness and care.
“Thank you… these look lovely…”
He sounded overwhelmed, and he was. He was amazed at her talent and felt the warmth within his heart spread all over his body and let off a fuzzy, familiar feeling.
“I’m Yuzuriha. Kanade Yuzuriha. Thank you for your time, really… these flowers will do the trick.”
Yuzu’s ears flamed deep scarlet and he blushed feverishly, gulping quickly and blinking away from his new friend. She smiled at him, the same familiar, heart-warming smile that etched its way into his heart slowly, as he committed himself to wanting to remember this smile for all its beauty.
“Well, I’m gonna close the shop soon. Would you like to go?”
Yuzu jumped backwards and glanced up at Alice in amazement.
“Go? Go where? With you? I-”
“I want to get some cake. We can talk about music on the way, if you’d like.”
The boys heart soared and spun a million times a second as he composed himself and grabbed onto the flowers, looking up to the girl with a bright grin fitted on his face.
“Sure. Let’s go, Alice.”