Noah paced nervously on the sidewalk before finally walking into Sonya’s Flower Shop. He started looking around, but he didn’t know much about flowers. Noah had no clue what to pick out for his mom. He knew that red roses were for romance, but that was the extent of his flower knowledge. He hoped to find Sonya or at least one of her employees. A girl would know what Noah should get his mom for Valentine’s Day. He absently brushed a few stray strands of his unruly black hair out of his face and walked toward the cash register, looking for help.
Noah stopped dead in his tracks. The cashier was not a girl, but instead was the hottest guy Noah had ever seen. Even from across the room, Noah was captivated by the guy’s stunning blue eyes. Those eyes added with the neatly trimmed blonde hair and killer smile made Noah weak in the knees. He guessed the guy to be sixteen, no more than seventeen, which was perfect since Noah himself was sixteen. He composed himself, so he wouldn’t look or sound like a complete idiot and walked up to the cash register to ask for help.
Aiden spotted the guy as soon as he walked in the door. This dude was hot as hell. Aidan was glad there were no other customers in the store because there was no way he could have concentrated on anyone but this dark-haired, dark-eyed beautiful guy. Aiden chuckled softly to himself. The teen looked utterly lost in the flower shop. Was he searching for a gift for a first girlfriend, maybe? Aiden sure hoped not. If he could get a read on this guy, he wanted to ask him out. The guy started walking towards the cash register, stopped, then started walking again.
Noah took a deep breath and thought about what he wanted to say. He was always nervous when talking to new people, but this guy made him even more nervous than usual. “Uhm, excuse me, sir. I need help in picking out flowers. Is Sonya here? Or do you happen to know anything about flowers? I’ve never bought them before. I know they all mean different things and I’m just so confused on what to buy.”
Aiden grinned. “Well, you’re off to a good start in asking for help. Sonya is not here. I’m her son, Aiden. We live right upstairs, and I’ve always helped out down here, so I do know a thing or two about flowers. I’d love to help you pick some out. Who are they for? A new girlfriend?” Aiden caught himself holding his breath, waiting for an answer.
Noah blushed and couldn’t look at Aiden. “No. I don’t have a girlfriend. They’re for my mom, for Valentine’s Day. It’s been a rough year, and I wanted to get something special for her.”
“Aw, that’s sweet. I hope the year hasn’t been too rough. What flowers does your mom like?”
“Everything is starting to get a little better for both of us, I think.” He looked at Aiden finally. “Could you help me pick out something a mom would like? I honestly have no idea.” He shrugged and gave Aiden a shy smile.
“Yeah. Of course.” Aiden walked out from behind the cash register and clapped Noah on the shoulder. “Come on. Let’s look around. By the way, what’s your name?”
“Oh God. I’m so sorry. I’m Noah. Didn’t you say your name is Aiden?”
“Yeah. I’m Aiden. Pleased to meet you, Noah. Now let’s pick out some flowers.”
They walked around the little store for about fifteen minutes. Aiden showed Noah almost every flower arrangement in the shop. Finally, they narrowed down the choices, and Aiden began to engage Noah in non-flower related conversation. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before? Are you new in town?”
“Sorta new, I guess. Me and my mom moved here from across town right after my parents got divorced.”
“Oh geez, that really sucks, Noah. I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It’s ok. Things were actually worse when they were together than they are right now.”
Aiden gripped Noah’s shoulder. “It must still be tough. Anyway, what school do you go to?”
“I’m still going to West Side High, but I’ll be transferring next week. A new school right in the middle of junior year. I hate that so much.” Noah’s smile instantly turned into a frown.
“Hey, I’m sorry. That sucks.” Aidan put his arm around Noah’s shoulders. “You transferring to Mystic River High?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
“It’s the only high school around here. It’s not bad. Kinda small.”
“I guess I’ll know one person at least. I’m sorry for getting emotional. I’m still getting used to the whole thing.”
“No worries, Noah. I’ll show you around and introduce you to my friends. You’ll know a ton of people in no time at all.”
“Thank you so much. Maybe buying flowers for my mom was a better idea than I thought.” Noah finally smiled again.
“Flowers are the answer to everything.” Aidan winked. “You pick out a college yet?”
“God, no! Still working on the applications. I don’t even know what I want to do with my life. Ugh.” Noah rolled his eyes and laughed. “I’m such a mess. Just put my picture in the dictionary next to ‘teen angst.’”
Aiden smiled and poked Noah in the ribs. “How about next to ‘teen hottie’ instead.”
Noah blushed and cleared his throat. “Uh, I’m totally not hot but thanks. Uhm, I think I’ll go with these.” He pointed at the display of tulips.
“Good choice, hottie,” Aidan smirked and winked again. “Everyone loves tulips. I’ll put in a few assorted colors, and I’ll be right back.” Aiden went into the back room then returned with an armful of tulips. “Here you go. One dozen multi-colored tulips and a nice mom appropriate vase.” His blue eyes gazed up and down Noah’s body. “You play a lot of sports?”
Noah blushed again. “I run track and cross country, and I play lacrosse. What about you? I’d guess football or maybe wrestling?” Noah tried to give a sexy smirk, but only accomplished a shy smile.
“I get my workouts around here. Lots of lugging bags of soil and fertilizer everywhere. I don’t have time for sports, but hey I do know one of the guys on the lacrosse team. Zac Simpson. He just started dating one of my best buds, Cole. It was so sweet. Their first date was on New Year’s Eve at the biggest party of the year in this town.”
“Simpson? The Simpsons that own half the town? Wow. I’m not sure if I’m more surprised that he goes to public school or that he came out while he’s playing high school sports! I..” Noah stopped what he was going to say, blushing furiously. “Any jock would get their ass beat at my old school for coming out. I mean yeah, there’s gay kids at my school, but the jocks are the ones that pick on them. They wouldn’t accept one of their own coming out.”
Aiden rolled his eyes. “Homophobia is so stupid. I do give Zac credit for coming out. The lockerroom is a different place than the classroom. His coming out does make it easier for any other gay lacrosse players to come out, though.” Aiden said with a smile.
Noah blushed even redder and walked with Aiden back to the cash register. “After I deduct the hot boy discount your total comes to $23.99.” Aiden said.
Noah smiled and handed the money to Aidan. “You don’t stop, do you?”
“Not until I get what I want.”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Here’s your change, sir. I guess this means I’ll have to let you leave now. I hope your mom loves the flowers.”
Noah glanced down at the flowers. “Hey, Aiden, you made a mistake. There’s an extra flower in here. A red rose.”
Aiden’s grin returned. He reached into the bouquet of flowers and pulled out a single red rose. “It’s not a mistake. It’s more like a question. If you don’t already have plans, would you like to go out to with me for dinner Friday night?”
“Friday is Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t a sweet-talking gorgeous guy like you already have plans?”
“No. And even if I did, you are worth canceling any other plans I might have. Noah, will you be my Valentine?”
Noah nearly jumped for joy. “Yes! Absolutely, yes! I would love to go out to dinner with you. And I’d be honored to be your Valentine.”
Noah put Aiden’s contact info into his phone and smiled. A first date and on Valentine’s Day. He hoped that would be a good omen. He left Sonya’s Flower Shop, clutching his rose close to his chest, happier than he had been in a long, long time.