1, The Unrequited.

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((( Hello! This is my first official oneshot of any kind, and feedback would be very much so appreciated! Thank you so much! xoxo- Cowboy


You met him late at night. The stores were so much more quiet and well... convenient then. Less encounters, less eccentric people to try and make small talk. You hated that. It was easier this way.

As you made your way to the next isle, your grip on the basket you had your arm looped through tightened. There stood a man. For some reason as you stood near him your mind told you that he could talk to you at any moment, and that maybe even you were bothering him. It was when you both turned to each other at the same time that you felt your heart skip a beat and maybe even stop. It was cliché, but that's truly what it felt like. His eyes were so piercing, vibrant, but the rest of him practically radiated a cold dead.... nothing.

There was something about him that made you want to know everything about him.

You both mumbled 'sorry' at the same time and brushed past each other. Not a split second after you could smell a sickly sweet dankness, like a fruit left to rot in the summer sun too long. You knew immediately it was him, and in your heart, you knew that you wanted to be closer.


In the following days, all you could think about was him. What did he like, what kind of music does he listen to, why does he shop so late at night? Maybe he too hated everything about the daytime life. He was in everything you did, daily tasks had narrations of 'I wonder what his name is, he looks like a Shaun, maybe? Or no, maybe a foreign name.' Work was punctuated by fantasizing of his odd demeanor, you fantasizing about how he would move and talk. Those piercing eyes boring into your own.

You were totally enamored with a stranger.

On your night off, a Friday, you decided to go to a bar. It was a little more crowded than you hoped for, but you were committed. After ordering a white Russian, you sat at a table along the wall and just listened to the environment. Of all places to go while full of people you favored this the most. People were busy with their own lives. Either drowning themselves in drink to forget, or with a date, friends in town perhaps? In your people watching, you just so happened to spot him.

He sat alone. You could only see the side of his face. A small glass that hadn't been touched sat without a coaster on the dark oak table, his pointer finger and thumb lazily resting at the base of the glass. From what you could see of his hands, they were calloused. Working mans hands. You wondered, where did he work? His other hand kept his head propped up, but it was tilted down in a manner that suggested that his captivating, lively eyes were just staring into his drink. You wished so desperately that you could see those eyes, but they were blocked by a curtain of dishwater blonde hair. The rest of it was pulled back in a low ponytail at the nape of his neck, and you wished you could feel that hair. Was it like straw? It didn't look like it, more like the bare ends of an unfinished silk dress. Those eyes were so much more alive than the rest of him, even his skin looked dead. You felt like he was looking... inside you.

Wait.

When did he turn towards you? He was staring back now, those eyes seeming hungry in a way you couldn't describe. Stomach lurching, you watch him get up. Eyes follow excitedly as he starts walking toward you.... and hurriedly past. A sharp pain shoots through your chest, but not only through your heart, for some reason in your lungs as well. At least you get to smell that sickly sweet smell again.


It's when you get home and you're laying in bed, thinking nothing but him that you realize you have feelings for him. Perhaps strong feelings.
You're getting ready for work on Sunday night when you first realize something is wrong. At first it's a small dry heave, and then you think you see blood so you rush to the bathroom. Hunched over the tub, you heave and heave, an odd texture coming up your throat. You look down to see poppy petals scattered across the dull green bottom of your bathtub, covered in a little bit of blood here and there. Your confusion is instant but it's not long before it clicks. Hanahaki. Staying right were you were, you fish your phone from your pocket and call out of work for the first time in about three months, which helps your case immensely. Generously, the shift manager gives you a few days off. You think they can hear that there's something genuinely wrong, especially when you have to hold back another wave of petals. It's futile, you choke and spit it out, mouth tasting odd and organic. Wishing you well and a speedy recovery (for the company's sake) the shift manager hangs up. You press your forehead to the cool material of the bathtub side and sigh, pressing your hand to your chest. It's hard to process that there were roots that were going to overtake your own lungs. Hard to believe. All because someone you ...loved didn't like you even as a friend in any way. The two of you had only met twice, this was hardly fair!
At first you felt helpless, and practically lived in the bathroom. There was a nest of blankets and pillows, bottles of tea and a laptop for movies, the bathtub full of flower petals and fresh healthy leaves. There were even vines, which were hell to chuck up. A constant stream of tears left a shiny trail down your cheeks, and you were quick to lift yourself up at any sign of a cough or feeling even slightly like heartburn. One whole flower came out once or twice, prompting you to cry twice as hard, but the kudzu vine made you snap.

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