“Three men attacked one of the largest local banks in downtown London yesterday evening. While the police had trouble arriving on the scene on time due to the traffic at the time, Visionary got there not a second too early to make sure the robbers didn't leave the building. When the police finally arrived, he handed them over and disappeared in the crowd.
And once again, our favourite hero saved the day but there is one question most of us can't help but ask. Who is Visionary?”
The radio is turned off suddenly and I look up.
“Superheroes” My boss, Lydia, whispers. She glares down at the radio and rolls her eyes before she looks up at me. “Seriously, I don't get why they let him run around in that dumb costume of his while he does the work of the police.” She sighs and crosses her arms across her chest.
I simply shrug and turn my gaze away, concentrating on the bouquet I am putting together for a costumer who called half an hour ago. It's simple. Red roses and some decoration. Nothing too special. He sounded pretty annoyed when he called. It's probably for his girlfriend. Maybe he cheated and thinks she will forget about it when he buys her some flowers.
“So are you finished soon? I wanted to close up early today.” Lydia says while reaching for the broom behind the counter. “I have a date.” She states proudly.
“A date?” I chuckle. “Let's just hope this one doesn't have a silly moustache.”
Lydia rolls her eyes and starts to sweep the floor near the door. “That happened once. The photos on his online profile were so obviously fake.” She glared down at the petals on the ground like they were to blame. “This time it's different, I swear. There are several photos this time and he's stunning. He wears a suit in every single one of them.” She stops abusing the floor and holds the broom close while smiling like a teenage girl.
I finish the bouquet and start wrapping it in some paper. “And how exactly is that different from last time?”
Lydia blinks and almost drops the broom. “Be careful, Aven. One more word and you're fired.”
“Sure, because you can afford that.” I laugh and carefully place my finished work on the counter before looking up at the clock. The guy should be here soon to pick it up.
My boss crouches down and starts picking up the dirt. “At least I try. When was your last date? In middle school?”
I decide to ignore her and instead start cleaning the counter. She probably doesn't even know how right she iss. I was fifteen when I had my first, and last, date. It was with a girl named Melody. She had blond hair and blue eyes and she kept talking about how pretty our kids would be because we basically look the same, except I'm a guy. Obviously. That was when I first started thinking about the fact that I might not be into girls because even though she was nice and pretty, maybe even beautiful, I preferred her with clothes. Yes, I was still a teenager at the time but that little fact never changed.
I like girls. They are nice to me and they love the fact that I don't have a problem with going shopping with them but that's about it.
After that, I never had another date. At least not in the traditional sense. I went to a gay bar once, just to see if I might be gay. There was this guy who took quite a liking to me that evening and I might've ended up in bed with him after he kept buying me drinks. I know that's not very romantic, but I never regretted losing my virginity to him.
In a way, we are still friends. Cameron is six years older than me and works for a bank or something. I never cared enough to ask any more than that. Sometimes he calls me and we meet up to, you know, do things. That's about all when it comes to my love life.
The bell above the door brings me back to reality and I stand straight and try to put on a friendly smile. “Hello, how can I help you?”
The man in front of me looks exactly like I imagined. Dirty jeans, a t-shirt with some faded logo on it and short light hair. He doesn't look like he wants to be here. Once again, my people skills are stunning.
“Hey, I called a while ago.” He explains while he looks around the small flower shop uninterestedly. “About the roses.”
I nod and pick up the bouquet. “It's all finished.” I put on a more convincing smile. “That would be 20 pounds. Is there anything else you need? Maybe a card?”
He grabs the flowers and throws a few bills into my direction. “Nah, that should be enough.” And then, without showing any sign of gratitude, or courtesy for that matter, he leaves.
Lydia, who has been ignored the whole time, raises an eyebrow as she watches him through the glass front of the shop. “What a jerk.”
“I hope the girl dumps him.” I sigh and put away the money. Sadly, this happens a lot. People make mistakes and think saying sorry with a few pretty flowers will fix everything.
“Whatever, he paid.” My boss disappears in the back and returns quickly with her handbag. “Aven, would it be okay if you close up? I'm kind of in a hurry.” She smiles innocently and I nod. “Thanks! You're a sweetheart. You know what? You can leave early tomorrow. Sound good?”
I beam at her. “I won't say no to that.” Not that it makes a difference. It's not like I have plans or something.
Lydia smiles and gives me two thumbs up while dancing over to the door. “See you tomorrow then.” She sings and then rushes outside and down the road to catch the bus.
I lower my gaze and start counting the money in the cash register. It was a pretty quiet day. Just a few costumers who wanted simple bouquets and a woman asking about decoration for her wedding. I doubt that she will come back. Lydia's flower shop is pretty and small, but that's probably the problem. It's tiny. We make enough money to get around but that's about it. Without the few regulars, she would have to close the shop.
How I ended up here? No idea, to be honest. I wanted to be an author when I was younger. That dream was gone as soon as it popped up and after that I had no idea what I wanted to do after school. A few months before finishing high school, I came by this flower shop. There was a sign in the window saying that they were looking for someone to help out so I went inside. Lydia always says that she saw me and thought I was adorable and that she had to give me a full time job. She probably thought I would attract some more costumers. No idea if it worked or not.
Still, twenty years old and a full time job. That's not too bad. Lydia herself opened the shop when she was eighteen. Her father offered to lend her some money and she always wanted to own a flower shop. Now she is twenty-eight and her dream is still alive. I really hope she can work here for the rest of her life. I think that would make her happy. Maybe she gives the shop to me one day.
I smile to myself as I put the money in the safe in the small back room. The lock clicks into place and I get up and grab my shoulder bag. The shop looks clean enough so I simply turn the lights off, look around one last time and go outside, locking the door behind me.
When the hot summer air hits me, I grimace. We're in London, for fuck's sake. Why is it so hot in late July? It's never that hot. Probably global warming.
The shop is in a small alley near the tube station Baker Street. Yes, the street where Sherlock Holmes lives in the novels. Every day, I walk past the house, which contains a small museum. The queue in front of it blocks the pavement, as always. I groan and run past the crowd of tourists. How are they not collapsing after standing in the sun for so long?
I look at my phone while rushing down the stairs to the station. The next train arrives in five minutes. I could pick up a pizza on the way home. Or I eat some instant noodles, as always. Yeah, that's probably better. And cheaper.
I arrive at the platform and look up at the screen. Four minutes. And then about 45 minutes until I get home. Geez, even down here it's way too hot.
The platform isn't too crowded, which I am thankful for. I hate it when you can't even walk without bumping into someone. I reach into my bag and get my earphones out, quickly putting them in to cut out all the noise around me.
Soon, the train arrives and I find a seat, leaning my head back against the window. Maybe Piper isn't busy and wants to come over for a film. I shake my head at the thought. Piper never has time. Only on weekends. We met in middle school and quickly became friends. After high school, she decided she wants to be a fashion designer and signed up for fashion school. They do a lot of projects, which is why she's busy all the time. Still, she's my best friend. And my only friend. So instant noodles and TV it is. I shut my eyes and concentrate on the music blaring into my ears.
Apparently, I fell asleep somewhere along the way because I jerk awake when someone shakes my shoulder. I pull out my earphones and look around until I realise that someone is standing above me.
The guy, who is maybe around my age, smiles shyly and pulls his hand back. “Sorry, I just wanted to wake you since your stop is coming up.”
I look over to the display and then back up at the guy. “Uh, thanks?” How does he know where I get off? Is he a stalker?
I take in his appearance. Well, stalkers need love too, right? His dark hair looks kind of messy. He reaches up to brush it aside, revealing beautiful honey eyes. His skin is darker than mine. That's nothing special though. Lydia always says I have to be a vampire because I'm so pale. My gaze drops down to his chest, which I bet is toned. There has to be a six pack hiding underneath that shirt. Wait, focus. There's a camera hanging around his neck. The device stands out on top of his white t-shirt and dark jeans.
He laughs. Shit, I was staring at him. That's creepy. I'm the stalker.
“I didn't want to freak you out. I noticed you always take the train around this time and you always get out at Canada Water.” He explains and points over to the doors. “Which we are arriving at right now.”
I turn my head to see that he is right. “Shit!” I gasp and jump to my feet, almost stumbling into him. “Sorry! I-I mean, thank you.” I babble and push past the few people in my way to get off the train.
“You're welcome.” The guy calls after me and I turn around. The doors close and the train starts to move again. I can't see him any more. He probably sat down or something.
Okay, that was awkward. How have I never noticed that guy? He's stunning. I should've asked his name. Or his number. Or his shoe size. No, bad thoughts.