Cherry petals danced their way down onto the road. A gentle breeze blew them forward and into the man's face. Despite how confident he looked, his heart fluttered with nervousness. He walked with a small bounce in his step to a particular corner store.
Opening the door caused a quiet ring to echo throughout the small room. From floor to ceiling, it was cluttered with gorgeous flowers and was speckled with leaves and petals that had fallen. Despite the mess each flower was clearly categorized into each specific section of the store.
The man stepped quickly into the room, taking much care to avoid knocking down a potted plant. A woman came rushing to him. The nametag on her shirt read "Hello! My name is Annebelle!"
"Hello, sir!" She cheerfully greeted him. Her hair bounced in her face, though she did not move it out of her eyes. "Welcome to Anne's Flowers! How may I help you?"
He smiled. "Well, I'm looking for some flowers for my girlfriend..."
She sighed, dropping her pencil to the ground. She let her head fall onto the desk. Her long brown hair laid on her paint tubes without her knowledge.
The woman had been trying for days now to paint a lovely portrait of her boyfriend and herself, holding a bouquet of roses. She supposed it was her way of trying to propose to him.
She groaned in frustration. Sketching her boyfriend was easy. She'd known him for twelve years, together for five. She'd been waiting for him to propose for months now. Since he hadn't, the woman decided to take matters into her own hands.
The problem was, she couldn't even get her own face right.
The woman lifted her head up and tucked her hair behind her ears. She almost threw her desk out the window at the sight of green, blue, and orange paint on her hair and fingers.
"...do you happen to have any that represent love?"
Annebelle beamed at him. "We sure do! Follow me!"
Despite the clutter surrounding them, Annebelle weaved through the store with practiced ease. The man did his best not to bump into anything.
"The popular choice for loved ones are roses." Annebelle mentioned once they got to a few pots of the unique flower. "Particularly red roses."
The man gently reached out to nudge a petal back into the bud as it had been poking out at an awkward angle. "Well, these roses seem like a good back-up plan if I can't find anything else. But I want something special, you know? Something that she would adore."
Annebelle had a knowing look in her eyes. "Planning anything special for her?" She teased. He shyly glanced away from her.
"I'm planning to propose to her."
Ignoring her rainbow splattered hair and fingers, the woman picked her pencil up from the ground. Instead of continuing her painting she stood away from her desk.
Her apartment walls were completely littered with painted canvases, posters for the next drawing competition, and framed pictures of her and her loved ones as well as some blue flowers. A certain photograph caught her attention, and she smiled.
Her brother had taken the picture for her. The photo depicted her boyfriend and herself sitting on the fishing deck that was near the park as the sun set and cast a dim, but stunning light over the park. She reached to pick it up but faltered. Her fingers were still stained.
Casting one last look at the photo she walked to her bathroom. On her way there, she passed her fish tank. Blubs, the blue betta-fish formerly owned by her brother, stared at her blankly.
"Oh, are you hungry?" She cooed at him.
Blubs tapped the glass with his face. Then he swam away. The woman laughed at his antics. "Alright, guess I'll feed you…"
She dropped a few pellets of the food into his tank. Blubs eagerly swam back to the slow falling fish feed and began to eat.
The woman smiled at him, putting her supplies away. She continued on to her bathroom.
"Aww!" Annebelle squealed. "That's amazing! How long have you been together?"
"Five years." He said, gently toying with his jacket cuff. "We've known each other for twelve."
"You are one lucky man." She chirped, patting his back in congratulations.
"I sure am."
"Do you know what her favorite flower is?" Annebelle asked. "If you know what it is, we could pair it with some other flowers that also mean love."
"Really?" The man looked up in relief. "Oh, thank you!"
"Just doing my job, sir." She grinned.
He chuckled. "Anyways, I know she absolutely loves blue cornflowers. Blue is her favorite color."
"Hmm.. I think we have some in stock, but I'll have to go check." Annebelle thought for a moment. "I'll be right back. In the meantime, why don't you go check the lilies? The white ones might go well."
"I will." The man said.
She washed her hands first. She gazed at the swirling rainbow that fell down the drain. I could make an art piece inspired by this. She thought.
She quickly shook her head. No. I have to focus.
The woman stood fully and reached for a wet towel. Using the mirror, she wiped away the paint that was stuck in her hair. Unfortunately that was not an easy task as the paint had already begun to dry.
She grunted in frustration but quickly gave up. Throwing the towel away she looked at herself again. Her brown hair was messy and paint stained. Her once ivory-skin was now spotted with a few zits. Her green eyes had grayed over the past week or two from lack of sleep. The painting needed to be perfect. So why wasn't she?
A knock startled her from her thoughts. She stopped and glanced at the clock, holding her breath. It was two o' clock.
It's not him, is it? Oh I really hope our date isn't right now! Despite how much she loved her boyfriend, she figured she'd rather skip a date than show up covered in paint and looking exhausted. She winced as she remembered his anxiety disorder, and hoped he wouldn't be too hurt.
Another knock on the door. She still didn't move.
After a few minutes and more knocking, silence fell. The woman was shaking and her fists were clenched. I really, really hope that wasn't him.
The man stood in front of the lilies. Red, pink, and purple flowers dominated the shelf. Not a single white lily was in sight. The man swallowed and fiddled with his sleeves again. He glanced at his wrist watch for the seventh time that day. Two o'clock. He wouldn't need to be there until three.
The man turned towards the sound of a door opening. Annebelle stepped out, holding a few blue cornflowers in her hands. She beamed at him. "Guess what, I found some!"
He smiled softly in relief. "At least you've got some good luck going for you. I don't see any white lilies."
"Oh my." Annebelle put down the cornflowers and rushed to his side. "Oh dear, you're right. I'm so sorry we must've sold out."
"No, no! It's fine." He assured her. "Really, I should've come here yesterday instead of leaving this for the last minute." The only reason he hadn't been able to visit the store yesterday was because his grandma had called him in the early morning for help because she'd fallen down the stairs. He spent the entire day caring to her, and by the time he was able to get back home it was midnight and Anne's Flowers was closed.
"Well, maybe some white tulips would work?" Annebelle offered.
The woman hurried out of the bathroom, her face flushed with worry and shame. Oh god it was probably him.
Despite how awful she knew she looked, she opened the door, internally cringing at what she might find. A goodbye note? Flowers thrown to the ground?
To her dismay there was nothing in front of her. The doormat looked slightly scuffed though. She looked left and right in the apartment hallway but she saw nothing. She stepped back into her apartment and closed the door and tried to remember how to breath.
She stumbled backwards to her desk and sat down, shaking. Her trembling hands could barely pick up the pencil. Her eyes blurred as tears dropped onto the paper.
"Argh!" Without thinking she threw her pencil out the open window and out into the busy street. Huffing shakily, she sat back down and fell deep into thought.
"They might." The man felt nervous again. He's never done this before, as his first two girlfriends couldn't stand his anxiety longer than a month. Not for the first time, he felt truly blessed meeting the woman of his dreams.
Annebelle must've noticed the loving look in his eyes. "You really love her." She said. Her voice held something sad in it.
"I do." He turned to look at her. "Is something wrong?"
"Oh, it's nothing, really." Annebelle smiled sheepishly, though it looked forced. "Just some bad experiences with past dating." She shook her head and her happy smile was back. "But today is your day, and I'm gonna make sure you get that girl!" She ended her sentence with a cheer, pumping her fist in the air."
He nodded, trying to hide his smile. "Thank you so much."
Maybe it'll be okay.
No no, there was no way it would be okay.
Just text him!
Her phone was at the repair shop and wouldn't be back until tomorrow.
He'll come back eventually.
He's probably sobbing in his house, clutching the stuffed bear she'd given him for their third anniversary.
Go to him.
She still looked like a mess.
Another noise disturbed her from her thoughts. It sounded like her door. Her door lock. She whirled around, heart thumping loudly. What was that?
The door lock rattled. Something was being jammed into it.
A disturbing feeling crept into her gut. Something told her it wasn't him. Something was telling her to run.
And so she did.
"Alright, this will be $9.57. Cash or credit?" Annebelle questioned at the register.
The man was stunned. "O-Only ten dollars?" He stammered, clutching the bouquet of cornflowers and tulips. "Aren't the tulips alone fifteen?"
Annebelle smiled. "Oh hun, I'm rooting for you."
He understood immediately. After paying for the bouquet and opening the door to leave, Annebelle cheered.
"You go get him, tiger!" She cheered, pumping her fist in the air again with a big smile on her face, red hair falling in front of her eyes.
The man whooped with her, and walked out of the store with the biggest grin on his face.
The woman hid in her closet, her hands clutching her mouth and quiet, broken sobs escaped her. She heard someone rummage through her desk, picking up what was likely the cash from her art job she was paid last week.
She tried to stay quiet. She really tried. But a loud thump right outside the closet door made her jump and yelp.
The house fell silent.
She trembled violently as heavy footsteps crept to her hiding place. They stopped in front of her. Her heart hammered in her chest, surely heard by the burglar that stood in her home.
The closet door ripped open. She opened her mouth to scream…
You got this.
He walked across the road, holding the bouquet to his chest tightly. He did his best not to shake, but discomfort obviously displayed on his face as several people stopped in front of him to ask if he was okay.
Yes, yes. I'll be fine if you just let me walk to my girlfriend's apartment in peace. His anxiety whimpered. Every breath felt difficult, but he pushed on.
Finally, the tall brown building came into view.
...before a hand clamped onto her mouth, muffling her scream of terror.
The person in front of her wore a black mask with whited out eyes. His black gloved hand gripped her face roughly. His other hand gripped a sort of metal tool, obviously used to break in.
Her breathing quickened as her eyes searched for any means of identifying him. There were none.
She tried to scream again. No use. The person in front of her chuckled. His voice was deep, obviously masculine.
The metal tool rose high above her.
With nothing much for her to do, she screamed into his gloved hand and shut her eyes in blind terror. What was going to happen to her? Why did the man break into her home? Why couldn't he hav-
In his nerves he almost dropped the flowers several times. He hissed under his breath. Don't you dare screw this up.
He walked to the building doors, swallowing nervously every few seconds. God, it felt like he was about to vomit.
The man stood in front of the doors. Then he realised he hadn't a key. He groaned, miserable. Now he had to wait for someone to open the doors for him. Hopefully soon, he only had twenty minutes before the date and he'd forgotten his phone at his house. Again.
Realising there wasn't much else to do, he sat on the bench by the door. And waited. And waited.
Oh the agony.
"Maybe I should just give it up." He said suddenly. "What if-" He shuddered, setting down the bouquet and clutching his shoulders. "What if she says no?"
"You alright man?"
He dropped his tool, thankful for his strength. To the man's relief, the woman had obeyed and kept still. So stupid of her. But now he didn't have much time to get what he wanted. Didn't help that he had a headache now. Boy, was she loud.
He dropped her mutilated skull, letting the remains of her face fall to the walls, falling and smearing blood and skin everywhere. The man wiped his face and immediately regretted the action. Blood smeared on his black mask and dripped through the eye-holes.
"Son of a-"
He looked up, tears pricking his eyes.
A friendly looking man with glasses and tied up blond hair was staring at him with concern.
"I heard you muttering to yourself." He stated, glancing at the flowers. "I take it the girl didn't like it?"
"Oh no." He waved his hand shakily. "She hasn't seen them yet."
"Then what's the matter?" The man sat on the bench with him but kept a respectful distance away. "I've got time, if you don't mind."
He hesitated. He wasn't much of a people person.
She'd be proud of you.
Remembering her soft face, her long brown locks and her green eyes that glittered with happiness and love every time she looked at him.
She was always proud of him every time he talked with someone else and liked it.
He took a shaky breath, and opened his mouth to speak his worries.
The man immediately stopped mid-curse as something shiny caught his eye. He moved towards it curiously, hoping he was right in what it was.
"Bingo." He whispered delightfully as his bloody fingers grasped the ring. Oddly enough, it was placed on top of a note. He barely looked at it, only reading the words "Proposal Script".
The ring itself was made of silver, nothing too special. The real prize was the shiny green gem that was embedded in the center. He wasn't much of a jeweler himself but even he could tell it was something called Arizona Peridot.
"Whooh, This'll fetch quite the price." He muttered as he dropped the ring into his pocket. He looked around with narrowed eyes, searching for any more valuables. Unfortunately for him, it seemed the only valuables left around the house were the hundred dollar paint brushes that he found in almost every drawer and shelf.
He sighed. This was the third home this month that barely had anything good. Oh well, at least he found something.
He hummed quietly to himself as he reached a bookshelf that seemed to hold many important things. A few bills, another reached for what looked like a wallet when his hand knocked down a photograph.
He held his breath as the framed picture wobbled dangerously close to the edge. He sighed in relief as it held its ground.
He picked up the photograph. The woman in the picture was obviously the home-owner, but the guy…
In the picture they were kissing rather… passionately. The man was holding whatever had taken the photo clumsily, his other hand clutching the woman's arm. Flipping the photograph over, he found the written date to be just a few months ago.
The ring and note suddenly made sense.
"Oh." Despite how much he didn't care for murder, he really hated messing with relationships. "Shit."
"...and it's just absolutely amazing that she's stayed with me this whole time! I mean, even I hate myself sometimes." The man rambled on to his newfound friend. Amazingly enough, he nodded and listened and smiled as he spoke without a trace of irritation in his face.
"And today, I was-I am going to propose to her. With these flowers a-and-" He started stuttering as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, blue box with violet highlights.
The blond man ooh'd at the box. "Must've cost you a fortune, man."
He laughed. "Only a few thousand dollars." His job as a janitor paid him enough that he was living comfortably. "Over the past year I've been saving up anything I can to afford it."
"I wish I had a girl to marry." The other man admitted sheepishly. "But the last one that bothered to stay with me ended up ditching me for another man."
"Ah, what a shame."
They fell into a bit of awkward silence. The man's heartbeat sped up slightly. This is what he hated most about social interactions.
"She live here?" The other man asked suddenly.
He was relieved he said something, especially that it wasn't himself. "Oh, yeah." He gestured towards the apartment doors. "Our date starts soon but I can't get in."
"Don't worry man, I live here too." He assured, patting him on the back. Then he stood up. "Follow me!"
Setting the photo down, he grabbed the last of the cash he could find as well as the gem. He walked around in the living room area for a few seconds more before he couldn't bear it anymore. He really ought to leave now.
He rushed to the door as quietly as he could and opened it. He did his best to fix the lock, but he knew he broke it completely. Right before he stepped out, he remembered his bloody mask.
Grunting in frustration, he walked to where he thought the bathroom was. On his way there, he passed by a tank. Despite how little time he knew he had left he peered in. He was greeted with the unnerving sight of a blue fish staring right at him.
Knowing he was a grown man-and not giving a shit- he stuck two fingers at his eyes, then the fish's. "I was never here. You never saw anything. There is definitely not a corpse in the closet. Got it?"
The fish stared back blankly.
Satisfied with the fish's response, he continued his way to the bathroom sink to quickly scrub his mask and get out.
"Thank you so much!"
"Hey, it's really not a problem, man. Just- here." The blond man reached into his jacket pocket and took out a piece of paper. He pushed his glasses back up his nose and wrote something down. "This is my number. Call me if it goes well. Call me if it doesn't."
He took the paper with the man's number and stared at it. He looked back up with a big grin. "I couldn't thank you enough."
"Listen," the man reached and patted his shoulders. "The only thanks you can give me is by marrying that girl and going on the sweetest honeymoon!"
"I-I sure will." Now that the happiness was slowly washing away, his anxiety had returned and was hissing complaints in his ear. Too much talking! Too much social contact! Stay back, you-you-!
Before his anxiety could come up with a good insult, the man finally started walking away. "Bye!" He called over his shoulder.
"Bye." The man said, waving slightly.
Now that he was inside, he could finally visit his girlfriend.
"Get the F- U- C- K- outta here~!" The man whispered under his breath as he finally left the room with a clean mask. He knew the staircase had no cameras. If he could just make it there without running into anyone, he'd be able to remove his disguise and get to his hidden car without being caught.
Thankfully, luck was siding with burglars and serial killers today, for he was able to reach his car within five minutes. He practically threw himself in and put the car in ignition. The steady purr of his engine relaxed him immediately.
He patted the dashboard. "Alright, dearest Kia Soul. Get us out of here."
His car roared to life, the screen in the middle of the dashboard lighting up with the nearest available route to his hideout. The radio turned on automatically, blaring something stupid about a guy that robbed a nearby bank that completely backfired on the guy.
"Heh. Lot's of robberies happening lately." He said sarcastically to himself as if he had no idea, pulling out of his hidden area and moving on to his next heist. "Gee, I sure wonder why."
The man felt nervous.
Understatement of the year.
He chuckled at the thought. Yeah, that was right. He wasn't just nervous. He was terrified!
But he had to believe in himself. He refused to mess this up with her.
He stood in front of her door breathing shakily. In one hand, his bouquet of blue cornflowers and white tulips. In the other, a beautiful blue box with an even more beautiful blue and purple ring inside. Sapphire and garnets were one of her favorites. Personally, he really liked peridots.
He shook his head. He needed to stay focused.
Putting away the box, he reached for the door handle.
To his surprise the door opened.
He stood petrified for a moment. He would've really liked to have another second to prepare himself.
Well. Here goes nothing.
With the most confidence he could muster, he opened the door and walked into the room.