Chapter 07: White Clover
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny -- though a bit chilly -- and Evan was in a good mood from the moment he got out of bed, and remembered Sascha had agreed to spend some time with him outside of his flower shop. Evan was still not going to call it a date though, because he knew that wasn't how Sascha saw it. He had probably just agreed to keep Evan from complaining, but Evan was perfectly fine with that as long as he got to spend his Saturday with the florist.
So, on that day, Evan cheerfully got up, got dressed and got ready to leave, not caring that it was early. He thought he could probably go out for an early breakfast, look around a few shops and then stop by at Sascha's shop a little earlier than planned and chat with the florist for a bit. With his plan set, Evan left his home, already looking forward to how his day would go.
The weather outside was nice, with clear skies and Evan decided to switch up his plans a bit as he walked to Sascha's shop a while later. He hoped the florist wouldn't mind, but it wasn't a big change in plans and he though Sascha might enjoy it. Evan was so distracted, that he almost got run over by a painfully familiar teenager on a bike.
"Jason, why am I not surprised?" he said dully, as the boy stopped to apologize.
"You can't blame me this time, you were pretty distracted," Jason was quick to defend, and Evan couldn't deny that the boy was right. "If you're going to the shop, Sascha's closing up already," he informed the older man.
"I know, I'm supposed to meet up with him," and Evan regretted saying that almost immediately, because Jason was giving him a sly grin, eyebrows raised teasingly.
"Oh really?" said the teenager.
"Go home, Jason," Evan told him with a glare.
To his relief Jason did as told, although he was cackling as he rode away. Evan just shook his head, muttering about nosy kids as he stopped in front of the flower shop. He nearly bumped into Sascha, who was just walking out, hand reaching for the keys in his pocket.
"Oh, Evan, hello," said the florist, taking a step back.
"Hey, you weren't going to close up and ditch me were you?" Evan joked, and Sascha just gave him an amused look before shutting the door to his shop.
"No, but I can if you want," he said innocently, pocketing his keys.
"Nope, it's too late, you already agreed to this," Evan pointed out, crossing his arms.
"Besides, it'll be fun, I promise. You need to get out more often; you're always at the shop, that can't be healthy," Evan said, leading the way down the street.
"I like the shop," Sascha argued, as he walked beside the other man. "And you're always there too, so you can't talk."
Evan supposed that was true, but it wasn't like he was there for the flowers. He was pretty sure that, were it not for Sascha, he wouldn't have returned to that shop unless he was after some girl. It was his hope, however, that he'd be able to get Sascha out of the shop more often; if things went well on their current outing, that was.
"So, where are we going?" Sascha asked a bit later.
"Just to a coffee shop nearby, then I thought we could take a walk around the park or something. We don't have to, though; it's just if you want to," he added, because Sascha was looking at him a bit oddly.
"No, it's fine, I like the park. I haven't been to it in a while, so this'll be nice," the florist agreed.
A short time later they were walking out of a nice little coffee shop with hot drinks and making their way to the park nearby. It was a pretty big place where people liked to go for a run, or just to spend their lunch hour if they worked nearby. Kids had a special part with a playground where they could go during the weekends or after school, and benches were spread out along the paths for anyone who just wanted to sit and relax for a while. In general, it was a nice place, clean and well kept.
"You know I've never been to this place before," Evan commented as they strolled down a path.
"Really? I come here sometimes, but I've been a bit too busy lately," Sascha said.
"Well, I don't live around here, I just work nearby so I pass by sometimes. It's nice, pretty quiet actually," the man noted, as they sat at a bench on the side of the path, coffee cups warming their hands. In all honesty, Evan wasn't the type to go to parks, but he thought it might not be too bad every once in a while. Especially if he had company as good as Sascha.
"So, what's it like to be outside in a flower free environment?" Evan asked with a grin.
"You mean like those," Sascha laughed, pointing at a small bunch of tiny yellow flowers on the grassy area across from them.
"You know what I meant," Evan said, but he couldn't help but laugh along.
"I guess it's not so bad," Sascha admitted.
"That's because you're in great company," said Evan.
"How modest," the florist teased. "But I guess it is better than coming here on my own."
It looked like Sascha really meant it too, despite the fact that he looked away from Evan and focused his gaze on his cup of coffee. There was a small smile on his face and some color on his cheeks, but it could have just been the cold. Of course, Evan hoped that weren't the case.
"Hey, I'd never seen that before," Evan said suddenly, pointing to a ring on Sascha's hand.
The florist looked at the object Evan pointed out. It was a silver ring with a circle in the middle containing a small four leaf clover, still a vibrant green color that stood out against the white background it was set on. The small leaf seemed to be perfectly preserved.
"Oh, I usually take it off while I'm working so I won't lose it," Sascha explained.
"My sister gave it to me when I first opened the flower shop, for good luck, she said," he finished with a smile, Evan just stared blankly at the florist.
"You have a sister?" he asked after a moment, only to receive a nod from Sascha.
"Yes, I have two older siblings, a brother and a sister. They live in the same town as my parents though, so I don't see them all that much," he shrugged, sipping his drink, and Evan tried to imagine what Sascha's sister would be like, considering the way the florist looked.
'Hot, definitely hot, there's no way she isn't,' he decided.
"What are they like?" he asked, pushing away his previous thoughts, because he didn't think Sascha would appreciate them.
"Hmm, I don't really know how to describe them," said Sascha, looking thoughtful. "I suppose my sister is very smart, she's actually a dentist. She's very pretty and friendly, but she does have a bit of a temper. It's very hard to get her really mad though," he added, because Evan was looking rather worried about ever meeting her.
"My brother is a bit more patient, but he tends to be a bit serious. He's very nice though, he's always taken care of me and my sister since he's the oldest. His wife is also very sweet."
"He's married already?" Evan asked, wondering how much older than Sascha the guy was.
"Yes, he just got married two years ago, it was a very nice wedding. I had to go back home to help with the flower arrangements, but it was fun," Sascha said, smiling fondly at the memory. "Oh, I think I have a picture of them in my phone," he said, digging in his coat's pocket for the gadget.
He pulled out his phone and set his coffee down to search through for a picture of his family. Finally, he handed the phone to Evan, who took it, curious to see what Sascha's siblings looked like.
As he had expected, Sascha's sister was very pretty, with long hair just the same tone as Sascha's that fell in waves over her slim shoulders, and eyes of a slightly darker green. There was a sharper look in her eyes that gave Evan the impression that she was very clever, just as her younger brother had said. On the other side stood a man with short hair, a tone or two darker than his younger siblings and eyes of the same clover green as Sascha's. He was tall and had a sort of imposing look, but he still had an arm wrapped around his younger brother, who smiled happily between his siblings. He had longer hair in the picture, just a bit longer so that it brushed his shoulders and a sunny smile stretched across his face.
"You look like your sister," Evan said after a moment.
"Evan!" Sascha exclaimed, shoving the man aside lightly.
"I'm kidding!" Evan laughed, but he was only really half joking because Sascha resembled his older sister a lot more than he did his brother.
Sascha huffed indignantly as he took back his phone. "So, what about you, do you have any brothers or sisters?" he asked, as he picked his coffee back up.
"Yeah, I have an older brother," Evan told him, drinking from his own cup. "He lives in the city, same as my parents so I see them all regularly."
"What's he like?" Sascha asked, and Evan had to think on how best to describe his brother.
"Well, he's a pretty good guy, easygoing; not as handsome as me, of course," he finished with a grin and Sascha chuckled.
"He works as a chef for an Italian restaurant, if you want to meet him we can go there sometime," Evan said casually, watching Sascha's reaction as he finished his coffee.
"Oh, um, I don't know," he said, looking a bit flustered.
"Come on, I promise the food is good. If nothing else, the guy can cook," Evan tried, and Sascha let out a small laugh.
"Maybe, I'll think about it. I really don't want to bother your brother while he's at work," said the florist.
"It's fine, he won't mind. But we can go anytime," Evan didn't really want to pressure Sascha too much, because it was hard enough getting him to go out for coffee. At the very least, the florist seemed to be considering it, and that was enough for Evan.
They sat there for a while longer, just talking about their families and their work and life in general. Evan enjoyed it, but he always liked talking to Sascha. He could always be more honest with him, more like himself. With Sascha, Evan never had to work hard to be charming and interesting to keep his company's attention, he could joke around and complain about everyday things and laugh without worrying. It was refreshing, and it was why he always enjoyed spending time with the florist.
He took Sascha home afterwards, and was a bit disappointed when they arrived at the florist's home. Evan wished he'd come up with a way to keep Sascha out and in his company for a while longer, but the florist had only agreed to a cup of coffee and a walk around the park.
"I had fun, Evan," Sascha said as he unbuckled his seatbelt.
"Maybe we can do this again sometime," Evan suggested, tone hopeful, and Sascha shrugged.
"Maybe, you can even invite Drew next time," the florist responded with a sly smile.
"What? How do you know I know Drew?" Evan asked, surprised, and Sascha laughed.
"He stopped by yesterday and asked if you'd been around lately," he told Evan, looking very amused. "You didn't tell me you knew Drew. He's one of my best customers, you know."
Of course Evan knew that, because it had been Drew who clued him in on Sascha's gender(not to mention he also laughed at Evanevery time he was reminded of that incident for days). Evan had just forgotten to mention it to Sascha, mainly because he'd never thought it was important.
"Oh, yeah, we work together, actually. Different departments, same company, we've known each other for a while. How about you?" Evan asked, because he'd never asked Drew how long he'd known Sascha.
"He's been visiting my shop for a few years, his sister was the one who told him about it when he needed something for Mother's Day; she's another frequent buyer. After I helped Drew out the first time he always returned when he needed something for a special occasion," Sascha explained.
"Yeah, Drew mentioned it(or more than mentioned it), I just didn't think it was all that important," Evan told Sascha.
"It's not, but I just thought I'd tell you. He'll probably mention it on Monday anyway," Sascha said, getting out of Evan's car.
"Anyway, I should go, but thanks for the coffee," he said, smiling brightly.
"Yeah, don't mention it," and Evan watched him go, smiling faintly and feeling satisfied. It had been a pretty good day after all.
As it turned out, Drew did in fact mention his visit to Sascha's shop on Monday.
"I still can't believe you went on a date with Sascha," Drew said as he sat across from Evan during their break.
"It wasn't a date, we just went out for some coffee. I go out with you sometimes, after work," Evan argued, not bothering to look up from his meal.
"We go to a bar to get drunk on Fridays, we don't go out for coffee and walks in the park. It was a date," Drew insisted.
Evan sighed exasperatedly, wishing Sascha hadn't told Drew that they would be going out. He didn't really care all that much, but Drew could be pretty annoying at times. As was the current case.
"Drew, it was not a date. I just thought Sascha needed to get out of the shop more often, he never does anything fun. Besides, he'd never date me after what happened last time," and it was still a bit of a sore point, because Evan couldn't stop feeling guilty.
"Does that mean you wouldn't mind dating him?" Drew asked, partly as a joke and partly out of honest curiosity.
"You do know I like women, right? As in curvy, lovely, women?" Evan said dully, but Drew just shrugged and swallowed the bite of sandwich in his mouth.
"Well, you did think Sascha was a woman, and I'm almost positive your brain is so stupid it still has trouble accepting that fact," Drew pointed out casually. "Or maybe it's not your brain," and he gave his friend a highly amused look that was answered with a glare.
"I do not have any trouble accepting that Sascha is a man(he did, but he wasn't telling Drew that), I know that and that's why we're friends," he stated resolutely, but his friend sighed, frustrated.
"Look, Evan, I don't really care what you do, but I honestly think you've gotten to the point where you'd do it with a rock if it was the only option. I don't see how a man would be much of a challenge for you, especially if it's someone like Sascha. You already get along with him, and you were more than willing to get his pants off when you thought he was a girl," Drew said, leaving Evan with little to no arguments.
"I would not do it with a rock," Evan muttered a while later, and Drew actually snorted into his coffee.
Evan's talk with Drew stayed in his mind, because he couldn't deny that he was still very attracted to Sascha. He'd always tried to keep him as a friend, had told him that was all he wanted, but maybe he'd been wrong. Maybe, Evan thought, he didn't care about the florist's gender as much as he'd previously thought; maybe he'd actually be able to be in a relationship with him. In any case, it was something that Evan would have liked to try. That is, if Sascha allowed it.
It definitely wasn't hard to picture himself with Sascha. Evan could imagine how it would feel to hold the florist, his slender frame warm against his own, soft lips upon his and that smell of flowers that stuck to Sascha from being around them so much.
'Oh no, bad thoughts, bad thoughts,' Evan thought, pushing the image out of his mind before he got in a car crash because of his filthy, filthy brain.
Somehow, he managed to get home in one piece and after a quick meal and a shower, he decided he should get some rest; because he was still thinking of Sascha, and that couldn't be good. Personally, he blamed Drew, because he was the one that went and stuck weird ideas in his head and Evan was taking them all too seriously. But the thought of having Sascha to himself was all too tempting, and he already knew he liked Sascha for more than just his looks.
"Okay Evan, calm down, you just need some sleep," he told himself, sighing tiredly as he slid beneath the covers.
Unfortunately for Evan, sleep didn't do much in the way of getting Sascha out of his thoughts, because the next day he drove by the flower shop without meaning to. He caught a glimpse of the florist sweeping the shop before opening, probably humming like he usually did when he was on his own(he wouldn't need to hum to get rid of the shop's silence once Jason arrived). Evan didn't stick around though, because the last thing he needed was to talk to Sascha. It probably wouldn't help him stop thinking about the florist. So Evan went to work, completed his tasks almost mechanically, and then met up with Drew to get some lunch.
He didn't mention his current problem to his friend because he knew Drew would only make fun of him. Instead, they talked about work(or more like complained because Drew hated the project he was working on) and the new intern who had a penchant for jumping and squeaking whenever startled(Evan would be testing that later). By the end of the day, however, he still found himself passing by the flower shop again; but he didn't go in.
Two days later, Evan still hadn't been back at the shop, which meant it had been nearly a full week since he'd last seen Sascha and he actually missed talking with him. By this time though, he'd accepted the fact that no, he couldn't stop thinking of Sascha as something more than a friend, and as worrying as that was, there wasn't much he could do about it. Evan couldn't deny the way he felt and he knew Sascha had been interested in him before, when he had first asked him out. Now, Evan could just hope that was still true.
'Or I could try to get my old life back,' he thought idly.
Because it wouldn't be too hard to just find a pretty girl and ask her out. He'd never gone through with his invitation to Laura, after all, and he was certain she would agree. It would be easy to just go back to his old ways and maybe it would keep his mind off of Sascha after all. Evan thought there was a possibility that all he needed was a distraction, so maybe he'd give it a shot.
Friday arrived and Evan finally dragged himself back to the flower shop, though it was a bit late. Sascha was just pulling on his coat and getting ready to leave when Evan walked in, taking the florist by surprise.
"Oh, Evan, I didn't think you'd come so late," he said.
"Sorry, I got off late from work," Evan explained with a half smile, and it wasn't completely untrue because he had gotten out later than usual, but he hadn't gone to the flower shop right away either.
"Well, I was just heading out, actually," Sascha said, but he made no move to leave. "Unless you need something," he added, and Evan grinned.
"I do actually, I was hoping to buy some flowers," he told Sascha, who was a bit taken aback, because Evan never really bought anything anymore; not since he'd claimed to have taken a break from dating.
"Okay, what kind?" said the florist with a bright smile, removing his coat and setting it on the counter.
"Roses," Evan said without any hesitation, making Sascha stop and look at him oddly.
"Roses?" he asked, and Evan nodded in confirmation.
"Red ones, please."
Sascha just stood there for a moment longer before nodding and going off to get the flowers. He was back behind the counter a minute later, wrapping them carefully, gaze locked on the task at hand. Evan noted he wasn't smiling, and he wondered what Sascha was thinking. The roses were wrapped in white paper and tied with a pretty red ribbon and were handed to Evan with a smile.
"I'm sure whoever receives them will love them," said the florist, as Evan paid for the flowers.
"I hope so," said the other man, and waited for Sascha to pull on his jacket and get ready to close. "Sorry for making you work so late," he said. "These flowers are kind of important, though."
Sascha nodded, locking up his shop, and turned to Evan with a small smile.
"Just glad I could help, goodnight, Evan," Sascha said, pulling his jacket closer around him to ward off the cold winds, as he prepared to head home.
That is, before a bouquet of roses was practically shoved in front of him.
"I really like you Sascha, so please go out with me," and it was the first time Sascha had ever seen Evan blush. He couldn't really say anything about it though, because he was sure his own cheeks were as red as the roses he had just been given.
"Evan, you can't be serious," he started.
"I am," the other man insisted. "So give me chance? I know you probably still think I'm a jerk for what I did when I first asked you out, but I really do want to be with you. And before you say anything, I don't care that you're a man," Evan said, determined to get Sascha to at least consider it, but the florist looked decidedly uncomfortable, his eyes not meeting Evan's. At last, he sighed, looking at the flowers in his arms, before extending them towards Evan.
"I'm sorry Evan, I just can't do it," he said, and he could only look at the man for a moment, before stepping back. "Goodbye, Evan," and he was gone before the other man could say anything else.
Evan was left in front of the flower shop, with a bouquet of roses without an owner and what he suspected was the feeling he'd caused Sascha all those months ago, when he'd first rejected him.