The sun had just begun to shine through the tinted windows when the storefront doorbell chimed. I wiped the sweat from my forehead on the back of my leather gloved hand. Who’s coming to a flower shop at 7:17 on a Thursday morning?
Stepping back from the greenhouse in the farther part of the store, I meandered towards the front, my leather gloved hand running along the dew-coated metal racks of plants, tracing the long shelves that ran the length of the shop. Slipping, my pointer finger caught the edge of a pot, and it dangled over the edge before falling-
-right into the hands of the most beautiful person I have ever seen. Short locks of bright teal hair fell across their face and they faced the pot of mint that I’d been so careless about. Flipping their lip up, they blew it out of their face, revealing bright, taupe eyes sparkling with curiosity.
“Y’almost dropped this.” With one hand, they held out the mint, with another tugged at the front of a short, grey striped shirt tucked beneath a set of jean overall shorts stained with coffee. It was at that moment that my eyes ventured down to see the disposable Caribou Coffee cup on the floor, light brown liquid running through the grooves of tile.
“Oh- oh my goodness, I am so sorry for that I- I should’ve been paying more attention.” I ran my fingers through short cropped black hair, cursing for just then remembering that I gelled it this morning. At the realization that painted my face a burning red, they let out a soft giggle. Instinctively, my hand lifted up to run itself against the back of my neck, hot with the same intensity as the rest of me. “Here let me just-”
“No, no. I came here for mint, and clearly this is the right pot for me.” They ran their pointer finger along the brim, wiping away any excess dirt that had come out in the tumble. “I mean, it did fall right into my hands, did it not?”
“It- yeah, it really did.” I fumbled as I reached down the pick up the cup, contents already drained onto the floor. “Ah, I’m sorry about that. Is there any way I can make it up to you? I’ve got cash in the backroom with my bag, let me just-”
“Can I ask for something else?” Their voice was curious as the words seemed to roll off of their tongue.
“I, uh. I can’t give you the mint for free in exchange for the coffee.”
“No! No, I…” It was their turn to turn red, the blush saddling their nose and spreading out across freckled cheeks. “Let’s try this again. Hey, my name is Avery, and I’d like your company some morning for coffee. As a replacement, of course.”
“Of course!” I blurted out louder than I’d anticipated, and for a moment Avery looked taken aback before laughing, slipping a hand into her overall pocket to take out a phone.
“I’m glad. See you at The Frosted Caribou… when are you free?”
“Tomorrow, I’m off tomorrow.” This odd, dorky smile slipped onto my face before I had a chance to stop it, and they just smiled right back.
“Tell me, who am I meeting tomorrow?” They said as we walked back towards the front of the store and I rang them up for the pot of mint.
“Rainey. The name’s Lorraine but it's Rainey.”
“See you tomorrow, Rainey.” And they slipped out the door, a new plant and my heart in tow.