With winter fast approaching, preservation of the flowers meant the small shop went into lockdown. No smoke breaks, no windows open, and lunch was to be brought and eaten inside so 'the flowers don't get cold'.
These were also rules Levi decided were stupid and to be ignored.
Over the course of just a few hours many of the flowers' leaves had wilted, turning from vibrant green to a pathetic looking browny mess. Those that hadn't wilted were already halo-ing and would require intense care for the rest of the day.
'…well shit. That happened fast.'
If he wasn't allowed to meet up with Eren even before he destroyed half their stock, there was no chance now. Now he was going to have to spend the rest of his shift tying little plastic baggies over each of the damaged leaves in the hope they would start to perk up.
'…Levi, just… wow. And I would have thought you'd be on extra special good boy behaviour with your crush involved.' Said Hanji, peering over his shoulder to inspect the damage.
'Hush up four eyes, we are now on an escape mission. I have to be at that café in a little less than-' he flicked a look to the clock on the wall and cursed, 'a little less than an hour.'
'So you're not denying he's your crush anymore?'
'That's not what I meant. If I can't go I might lose him as a customer and I can't lose another customer or Nile'll find a way to get me fired for it; Now are you going to help me or what?'
'Oh I'm in- you seriously need to get lai-'
Her sentence was cut off by a handful of plant food to the face.
The mission they finally devised took five minutes of planning and ten minutes of patience and waiting for the perfect moment to put it into action. It was executed perfectly with time to spare; the true brainchild of Hanji the genius and Levi the perfectionist.
'When you said your Manager took forever in the toilet I thought you were kidding! Ho-ly shit we had time to get our coats and everything!'
'Hanji I only have five minutes to get there. God I'm not as fit as I used to be, I told you pollen's settled in my lungs!'
Levi ran down the street, his breath clouding in front of him almost too thickly to see. Winter was definitely setting in. The wind bit at his reddening cheeks and his exposed neck and he really wished he'd taken a few extra moments to button up his coat.
He could only hope the "windswept" look was in fashion right now as they stopped outside café.
'Hanji, do I look okay?'
'As always, lover boy'
'Shut up, shitty glasses, he' still a customer, no matter how many fantasies you have of us fucking, and I need to make a good impression… even though I might get bitched out when I get back to the shop. Ah.'
'Oh you know Nile, he's a pushover. I remember the time we changed his nametag from Dawk to Dork… good times.' She pushed her glasses further up her nose, grinning at the memory.
'I can handle myself against Nile just fine, Hanji.'
'Yes yes yes, I know, now go Mr. Independent!'
She grinned and threw him a cheesy double thumbs up before practically shoving Levi through the door of the café.
Café Maria wasn't a bad little place and Levi frowned a little when he caught sight of the demolition notice pinned in the doorway. The Titan Building Company, huh? They were taking down more and more small businesses recently…
After a quick once over of the place, Levi saw that Eren hadn't arrived yet.
Of fucking course he wasn't even here yet. Dick.
Levi sat down at a table, taking a few deep breaths and quickly using his reflection in the cafe window to fix his hair. Stupid kid, making him rush and then wait. He decided a suitable punishment would be to make Eren pay for his tea... and possibly one of those little cakes from the front because they looked damn pretty.
A few minutes later Eren stumbled through the door, hair completely everywhere and blown into a style that would put even Levi's worst bedhead to shame.
After looking around, he quickly he caught sight of Levi in the corner and gave a quick wave before weaving his way over.
'You look like shit.'
'The wind outside's terrible, though!'
'I know that, but I had the decency to fix myself up before meeting with a client.'
'But I just got in!'
'No excuses.' Levi covered his smirk by pulling his scarf up over his mouth, using the rush of cold from the doorway as an excuse. The kid flustered so easily, it was really quite adorable.
'You know I can tell you're smiling'
Levi looked up, raising an eyebrow, 'So what if I was?'
'You like messing with me, don't you?' Levi's lip quirked again as Eren furrowed his brow in annoyance.
'Yes, yes I do.'
They chatted for a while, making polite small talk about the weather and that Levi really must start watching this series- okay you may have to learn German to understand it but you'll get the gist! Before getting onto what they were there for.
'So? Tell me about the bride?'
'Her name's Annie and she's... She's beautiful. Small but strong, she smiles rarely but when she does its beautiful.' his eyes de-focus slightly and the small smile on his face is cute, if a little forced- Which is fair enough; he's saying this stupid lovey-dovey stuff to an almost complete stranger, 'she comes across as mean but really she's caring...and a terrible sometimes with words and flirting. Although if you make fun of her height what happens to you is your own fault.'
Perfect. Really fucking perfect. Levi couldn't help but notice the blush across Eren's cheeks or the way that description sounded oh so unfairly close to a description of him...well at least he now knew that if he were a woman he'd be right up Eren's fucking street.
'Okay then, what do you know about her? Favourite flower, colour and smell?'
'Uh, her favourite flowers are Orchids and her favourite colour is red… no wait I think it's blue? Yeah, blue. Her favourite smell is coffee in the mornings.'
Levi raised an eyebrow, he didn't blame him for forgetting a colour- god knows his favourite things change all the time- but the way Eren listed it sounded… well, like a list. Like a shopping list or like stats and dates you remembered for those stupid sim dating games which Hanji was such a big fan of.
He jotted down the scraps of information, blue orchids were beautiful flowers and would make a perfect centrepiece and bouquet; they were a little more difficult to care for but made an instant impression.
'How long have you two been dating?'
'A few months'
'And you're already engaged?'
'Well our families have known each other for years and we've always been friends it's just… recent circumstances have made us realise what we felt for each other.'
'Hm.' It was a typical story and something he heard often in this job. Friends generally made good matched for each other as they already knew each other well, 'Tell me about yourself then, too. Same questions.'
With a bit of poking and prodding Levi found out Eren was awful at making decisions. He had about three different favourites for everything and a whole rainbow of favourite colours to choose from. For music it was generally punk and indie songs and for movies it was generally horror with a few old classics mixed in.
'What about you?'
Levi wasn't expecting that, head snapping up from his notes.
'You. What do you like, what are your favourite things?' Eren watched him with inquisitive eyes, head tilted in a way that almost made him look like a puppy.
'That doesn't matter, it's not my wedding.'
'Yeah but my favourite movie won't help you pick flowers and stuff but you asked that anyway.'
Levi had to admit the kid was a bit quicker than that soft, dopey smile gave away.
'I'll tell you next time, okay.'
'Eren, we've been here for almost three hours just chatting and I have to get back to work.'
'Three hours?' his eyes widened comically as he stood up from his seat, making it slide back and knock the person behind him, 'Fuck, I'm late!'
'Late for what?'
'I'm late for Armin's music thing! Look, I'll give you a call or stop by the shop sometime, okay?' He shuffled out from between the seats, quickly apologising to the person behind him before throwing a goodbye over his shoulder and hurrying off.
There was something there, definitely. Perhaps a little more than a passing fancy or merely admiring his attractiveness. There was no dancing around this fact now. He had a crush. Fuck it all.