The starting words are from dance dance revolution.
“I want to see all of them,” Eunha had told her grandfather, when she first went along with him to the International Flowers and Plants Expo in Tokyo. Instead of laughing, she still remembers how he’d nodded solemnly, and made a note in one of small violet leather-bound notebooks that he always carried. They hadn't managed to see everything, but she still remembers looking around her and marvelling at the wonder of it all.
Eunha has moss green notebooks now, a small florist shop, and customers that she keeps mostly out of amusement.
“Kuroyuri? Really?” her mother says, passing the young woman just exiting with her purchase.
Eunha laughs. “Did you see her expression? If the person she has her eye set on has any sense at all, they'll recognize my warning and go running in the opposite direction.” She finishes writing it up in her notebook, closing the cover and setting her pen on top.
Her mother just shakes her head, but doesn't say anything further on the subject. She just picks out some daisies and frowns at the orange lilies. “Eunha,” she sighs, as usual. As usual, Eunha ignores her, focusing instead on the box of floral-inspired macarons she picked up earlier this morning. The orange blossom one is particularly good.
“Those sunflowers are nice,” her mother calls over her shoulder as she leaves, rather than saying goodbye. Eunha shoos her away with a wave of her hand.
“They don't suit me,” she calls back, brushing crumbs off her skirt.
There's a muffled laugh, and the sound of shoes on the tile floor of the shop. “I don't think I'd agree,” a warm voice says. Eunha glances up, surprised, and then pauses. There's something too familiar about the woman who's just stepped into the shop, the expression lingering around her mouth and the line of her nose. It's not until Eunha spots the tiny birthmark on the side of her nose though, that she remembers.
“Eunbi?” she says. “I haven't seen you since—”
“Grade two, I know,” Eunbi says, still paused by the sunflowers. She turns a grin onto Eunha though, and Eunha can't help but think that of the two of them, Eunbi is definitely more sunflower-like.
“Or maybe freesias,” Eunbi says, tipping her head to the side in mock consideration, and Eunha scowls.
“Now I remember,” she says, slipping off her tall stool to lean against the counter. “You were the annoying one.”
“Now now,” Eunbi says, grin even wider. “Don't forget the sagisō you gave me.” Her fingers graze over the cactus flowers, and Eunha can't help the flush that floods her cheeks.
“I was seven!” she says, protesting the accusation.
“I had sweet dreams for the rest of the year,” Eunbi replies, ignoring Eunha as she trails in front of the counter and plucks a red camellia blossom out of a bucket, tucking it behind Eunha’s ear. She can feel the water from the stem trailing down the skin of her neck, leaving goosebumps in its wake.
Eunha sputters, elbow knocking into her notebook and pen, and only a quick save keeps them from falling onto the floor. “Noble death isn't really my thing,” she says in an effort to regain control of the situation.
Eunbi just smiles, fingers resting on the string of pearls at her throat. “Don't pretend—” she begins, before being interrupted by the humming of a phone, which she pulls from her pocket. “Oops,” she says, glancing down at the time. “I've got to run. Let's have dinner? I'll stop by at closing.”
Eunha takes a breath, and it's only then that she realizes she was holding it.
“Who says I'm free?” she shouts out the open storefront, but Eunbi is already gone.