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chapter forty one; a groom isn't supposed to see the bride in her wedding dress

Luke forgot how much he hated dirt, which was ironic for a florist.

He had finished cleaning up large potted  gardenias that the newest rookie, Derick, had just broken, spending a good twelve minutes sweeping up brick red ceramic and fertiliser off of the greenhouse floor and into a dustpan. He swiped his hands on his uniform smock, brown staining the bright green for the first time in a long time seeing as Luke had been moved up to cashier ages ago, and was only back here due to the fact that Derick was the definition of accident prone.

It was a shame too because, though Luke's favourites were gladioluses for obvious reasons and Himalayan blue poppies for the colour, gardenias were rather pretty as well, and now they were all trudged on and ruined from Derick's big feet.

It had been a slow day at Carolyn's Flower Shoppe which meant Luke had to do some babysitting, and not the enjoyable experience that came with the realisation of Wow-I-Want-Kids-When-I'm-Older kind either.

No, slow days at CFS meant one thing and one thing only: complete hell.

Ever since the spawn of Satan came along under the name Derick Hannigan and got himself a job, Luke had to take him under his wing when the shoppe lacked customers. He had to go to the back to reach Derick how to take care of the flowers and plants properly, which was a task easier said than done.

Luke had just started truly liking his job now that bad memories were beginning to fade and he wasn't so brooding all the damn time, and he could finally nerd out with his secret (well, almost secret since Ava knew about it, and so did Ashton, and so did Calum—actually, it wasn't really that secretive) passion for flowers. While most of the information he had stored in his brain was due to Carolyn's training and numerous pamphlets littered around the store pertaining flowers and their meanings and how to keep a plant from not dying, Luke had forgotten what it was like to be truly excited about something small.

He quite literally did stop to smell the roses for the first time in a while, and he never realised how a scent could smell so sweet, reassuring even.

But Derick, oh. . . Derick made Luke want to shove himself into a thorn bush. So far, the only thing that he wanted to take care of was the massive headache forming in the other boy's presence. It was immeasurable how much Luke had complained via text message to Calum and Ashton about this teenager whose entire being had a warning labeled Douchebag to alert those near.

"I'm uber sorry, dude," Derick apologised for the twentieth time, and it seemed like every time a word came out of his mouth it was sorry but each time came with a different reason. Even Jerry, Jerry for God's sake, in all in grumpy old man, hard liquor drinking glory, shot Luke a glance of sympathy. "I could've sworn my grip was tighter on the pot."

"You seem like you'd know a lot about pot, wouldn't you?" Luke muttered through clenched teeth, desperately trying to keep himself together and not lose his patience.

Truly, he felt bad and almost pitiful, but this was Derick's third week of training since he began working after Christmas and near New Year's, and he hadn't gotten any better. It was nearly the end of February—and this kid had learned nothing.

It had been several days stacked upon each other of repeating the same things, only for something else to get knocked over or for a healthy hydrangea to mysteriously die when it was passed unto Derick under his care, or lack thereof. It was rather mesmerising how lasting a first impression could be—and how accurate. It was a wonder that Carolyn still paid the newbie hipster with a superiority complex generously.

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