if it's in your heart, it's hard to find [past]

with dove koenig

The western coastline of the United States and the Pacific Northwest include Washington, Oregon, and California.
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Araceli Rosales
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:00 am

Sweet williams. Purple irises. Pink peonies. Myrtle. And then a small bunch of coral roses. The flowers were set to arrive at Artemis's shop about an hour or so before Dove was meant to meet his friend. Araceli knew this because he had been the one to receive the perplexed look from the florist as he arranged it all in the small fit of whimsy and child level adoration that clouded his better judgement. The coral roses, of course, were meant for Artemis. The bunch of are you sure you wanna send those, kid? were meant for Dove. Each would have a card with the respective's person name on it and that would be it.

Araceli hoped that it would just look like a customer had wandered in and struck up a fancy with both of them. But of course, once the plan was executed, Araceli had a sudden and sickening feeling of... he wasn't sure what. He didn't regret arranging the flowers to be sent, but a deep paranoia started to creep in. What if Dove didn't like the flowers and their garbled meaning? What if Dove knew it was him? What if Artemis got mad that Dove had received small a bouquet and he had just received a handful of flowers? At his own shop?

Araceli had to work with this anxiety the entire day he spent in town. While Dove would be able to tear the flowers apart with Artemis, he had to pick up the various items needed for the cabin. He had to run the small errands Dove had wanted him to run. Only a couple hours had passed, but by the time he had arrived back at Artemis's shop, his own thoughts had etched worry into his forehead. He just wanted to go home.

Maybe they never got delivered, he hoped. Maybe they were trashed by now. Maybe neither of them even noticed.

Araceli adjusted the bag on his shoulder and stepped through the shop doors. He didn't wander too far away from the front and instead just called out, "Dove? Are you ready?"
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Dove Koenig
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:02 am

"Pigeon?"

Tap. Tap. Tap. Dove didn't raise his head from the bouquet.

"Pigeon, helloooooo?"

Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap!

He pressed his face to the flowers, eyes closed as he inhaled their scent and felt the softness of their petals on his skin.

"PIGEON!"

Artemis brought his palm down hard enough on the table to make the entire thing shake. Dove jumped and shot a fierce glare up at Artemis. He'd only just managed not to drop the bouquet all over the floor of the shop.

"What?! Oh my God, Artemis. What do you want?"

"You've been trying to make love with that bouquet for the last twenty minutes. I wanted to put a stop to it before you got arrested for public indecency," Artemis said, dry as ever. He reached down to straighten up Dove's hair and added in a teasing, singsong voice, "That and your boy is here."

"He's not my boy!" Dove said, but that didn't stop him from scurrying from the room with a happy smile so he could meet Celi. He hugged his bouquet to his chest.

Dove forced himself to look calm and unaffected when he greeted Celi.

"Hello."
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Araceli Rosales
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:18 am

The way Dove hugged the bouquet against him made every single worry Celi had dissipate. He was foolish, he realized, to think Dove wouldn't like the flowers no matter who they were from. He felt bad for even hoping that this small bout of happiness be taken away from him.

It was so hard to keep from smiling that Araceli had to settle for what he hoped would be an amused and curious little grin. He even tilted his head like a pup might when they weren't sure what they were looking at.

"I'm gone for two hours," he declared like the entire world had changed, "and you find yourself a bouquet. How did that happen?" Sometimes he could lie so easily he believed his own farce.
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Dove Koenig
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:38 am

Dove practically glowed with happiness when Celi pointed out the bouquet. Not that Dove needed him to point out the bouquet, but--well, he might have considered Celi's reaction to the fact someone sent him presents. And he might have hoped Celi would be more than a little curious. For reasons.

"Someone sent them for me," Dove said. He sounded like a child who'd received their first school valentine. "Artemis received a bouquet, as well."

He tactfully didn't mention that Dove's bouquet was leagues better. Because Artemis had hearing like a bat and Dove had no doubts whatsoever that Artemis could whoop his ass.
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Araceli Rosales
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:24 am

Celi felt light. He felt gifted. He felt like the radiance of joy that came from Dove was enough to make him go out and buy the man a hundred more bouquets. Only to see him smile and feel adored. It was this exact whimsy that sent Celi to the florist in the first place.

This was going to become a habit. He could feel it.

"Who are they from?" he asked, stepping over to Dove to nosily inspect the bouquet for a note or a card or anything that might tip off who had sent the flowers. Of course there was nothing. Araceli had made sure of that. "Secret admirer?"
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Dove Koenig
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:49 am

Dove touched his own cheek. He was smiling too much. He was blushing too much. He felt like a twitterpated idiot who'd never had a cute boy ask them to a dance before. Except, well, that wasn't entirely inaccurate.

When Dove had lived in London, he'd had plenty of suitors, but they had all been after one thing. There hadn't really been a lot of romance, or adorable shows of affection like the exchange of flowers. There had been a lot of jewelry traded for other things not appropriate for casual conversation, but Dove didn't think that counted.

"I don't know. I suppose? Do you really think I'd have a secret admirer?"
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Araceli Rosales
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:21 pm

Araceli had to pull back to look at Dove with the last question, "Why wouldn't you have a secret admirer?" he asked like the question in and of itself was so astounding. Like he'd never considered that Dove didn't regularly get showered in gifts and affection, which was really contradictory to his next statement:

"I'm surprised you don't get more bouquets sent to you."

And he was being honest. Araceli didn't understand why people didn't even do the smallest of gestures like this for Dove. It was so easy and so sweet and the look on Dove's face was more than worth it. He almost wished he would have allowed himself to be there as soon as Dove received them.
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Dove Koenig
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:06 am

Dove gave Celi a strange look, like he couldn't understand where Celi was coming from at all. It wasn't Celi's fault. He didn't know any more about Dove's life than Dove had allowed him to see. Those few snippets wouldn't have explained his surprise at the gift whatsoever.

"I'm not really the sort of person you send romantic gifts to," Dove said. "I'm more the person you sleep with after the person you send gifts to rejects you."

He tried to chuckle at his own admittance, but it sounded forced. Dove clammed up and looked down at the bouquet once more, seeking any sort of comfort.
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Araceli Rosales
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:47 am

Araceli looked at Dove. His expression hadn't changed; he still looked amused and confused by the idea that Dove would think he didn't have a secret admirer. But the amusement didn't quite reach his eyes now. He was more sad now than confused that no one really gave Dove the romance he deserved.

"Well," Araceli looked towards the flowers again, specifically the myrtle that adorned the small bouquet, "Obviously someone thinks you're worth sending romantic gifts too."
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Dove Koenig
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:45 am

Dove brightened up at Celi's reassurances. Really, there wasn't much that could have put a damper on Dove's innocent happiness. He gazed at his flowers with the same fondness as the first moment he had seen them. His face was open and free of its usual anxiety-filled minutia. Dove looked up at Celi like Celi had given him a sunrise.

"I wonder who it is," said Dove. "Do you think it's someone we know? Or someone who's seen me from afar and just--had to do something?"

He sounded giddy about either possibility.
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