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"We're just holding hands because it's cold, not because you're cute."

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“-and so then I told her that it was impossible to do an arrangement without any greenery at all because it would look so terrible and then she said “well I’m the customer, so just do what I want.”” Bertie’s voice rose in pitch as he mimicked the horrible customer he was telling Roger about. Roger ducked his head to hide his laugh. 

“What did you do then?” he asked. 

“Oh, I made her her ugly arrangement. And guess what she said?” 

“”This is fantastic, I love it so much?”” Roger guessed sarcastically.  

“”Why does this look so ugly? I told you to make me a nice arrangement!”” 

“Did she ask for her money back?” 

“Nope. Just told me to “hurry up and do it right.” So then I spent the next twenty minutes rushing to make it look like the first arrangement I did for her. Which she then thought was “absolutely perfect!” and “took me long enough to get right.”” Bertie rolled his eyes. “Customers are the worst.” 

“Tell me about it.” The customers at the craft store where Roger worked were complete nightmares. Well, all except the cute florist who came in to buy ribbons and floral foam every single day for a month and flirted with Roger for 29 of the 30 days. The first day he’d just sort of stood there blinking at Roger as he ran his order through. After that he’d gotten significantly smoother, by which Roger meant that on day 30 Bertie stormed up to his cash, slammed his hands down on the counter, and said much too loudly, “Will you just tell me if you’re gay or not already?!” 

Going on his break had been more than a little awkward that day. 

He’d left the store that evening to find Bertie standing nervously outside. 

“Are you stalking me?” Roger had said, ready to dart back inside and stay there until this suddenly weird guy left. 

“No. I just… I wanted to apologize, but I got the feeling that going back inside would only make things worse for you.” 

“And standing around outside would come off really well?” 

“I didn’t think about that.” 

“Yeah, you don’t really seem to think through very many things, do you?” 

Bertie looked about five seconds away from crying. “I… I know I messed up. I got anxious and when I get anxious, I get loud, and-“ 

“It’s fine.” 

He blinked. “It is?” 

“Yeah.” Roger sighed and adjusted his bag on his shoulder. “I mean, it was embarrassing, and not exactly the way I would have liked to come out to my coworkers, but I’m not fired so I don’t really think we’re going to have a problem.” 

“O-Oh! So you-“ 

He rolled his eyes. “Let’s just go get coffee or whatever. I think you owe me that much at least.” 

Five months later, they were still together and Bertie still wasn’t thinking things through. 

“Are you not wearing mitts?” Roger asked, noticing Bertie’s hands for the first time since he’d met him at work. They’d been in his coat pockets most of the evening, but he’d taken them out to gesture enthusiastically as he told his story. 

“No, I left them at Etta’s house,” Bertie said. “I’m supposed to go over tomorrow to pick them up, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. I’ve got that meeting with that bride who’s being super picky about her flowers. I mean, she wants carnations. Those are funeral flowers, everyone’s going to be sitting there thinking “wow, this marriage is sure to end in divorce! It’s symbolized right there in the flowers!”” 

Roger rolled his eyes, smiling slightly to himself. Bertie got so excited whenever he talked about flowers: his eyes lit up, his shoulders relaxed, he started smiling even if he was complaining about customers who never listened. It was adorable. 

Not that Roger would ever tell him that. 

He would, however, take his hand as they walked. Bertie glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. Roger wasn’t exactly one to hold hands in public. Roger felt his ears heat up and was glad that he had the cold as an excuse for his flushed cheeks. 

“You aren’t wearing mittens,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep your hands warm.” 

“Really?” Bertie said, slowing to a stop and pulling Roger close to him. His eyes were dancing with laughter. “And what about the rest of me? My face is feeling awfully jealous of my hand right now.” 

“Don’t push your luck,” Roger muttered, leaning up to kiss him anyways. 

Stupid cute florist.