random little story based off an odd thought i had
that thought being "huh, what if people confessed non-romantic love the same way they did romantic love?"
It was 6:30 in the afternoon and Lydia was fifteen minutes from the sweet release from her shift when a pile of bouquets rolled into her check-out aisle. The mass wobbled from one side to the other by a few inches, as though attempting to assess the little hallway of converter belt and snacks. The flowers dropped onto the belt, revealing the man holding them. He was about her age--likely a college student considering 90% of the people currently in the store were college students, including Lydia--with black hair, brown eyes, and a vaguely furious expression.
Lydia glanced down at the bouquets, which were probably half of their pitiful stock. Five father-child bouquets, two uncle-niece/nephew bouquets, and one co-parenting bouquet. Huh.
“Huh,” said Lydia.
“Literally all of the freshmen I know have fucking terrible parents,” the guy elaborated, because people loved elaborating to her for some reason. Archie never had weird purchases elaborated to him. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but today Felicity’s dad sent her text demanding she paid for rent at their house over break. Like, what the fuck?”
She winced reflexively at that, because what the fuck indeed. Picking up one to punch into the computer for the price, she hazarded, “And the Uncle ones?” In for a penny, in for a pound, even if that penny was unwillingly given.
The guy’s expression lightened up a little. “Oh, their parents are fine, they’re just in another country. I’m gonna apply for alternate guardianship.”
Much closer to what she was used to. Lydia punched in the code for those as well. She wasn’t going to comment on the co-parenting one--people platonically co-parented all the time, it wasn’t her business--but then when she set it in the bag the guy immediately leaned over and snatched out the only vaguely romantic flower in the bunch, blushing. A flower that only read as romantic when you over-thought it.
She simply had to take a crack. “If you’re trying to avoid things turning into First Comes the Baby we’ve got romantic bouquets too, dude.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said the guy, face going even redder as he shoved the flower into his pocket.
Lydia shrugged. Not her problem. “That’s $56.74. D’ya have a loyalty card?”
The guy did not, but he must have either been better off than most college students or had been saving up, because he didn’t flinch at the price.
Two weeks later, the guy came back and bought two celebration bouquets and a “will you go out with me?” bouquet, plus chocolates.
“Congrats,” she said, and in a move of great Heraculan effort did not say more.
The guy still flushed and avoided eye contact when signing his name in the card reader.