bloom into youbloom into you
it starts with a tiny plant, or a succulent rather.
doctor kang had got her a small one in an attempt to brighten up her office. in seulgi’s words, hanging up certifications do not count as appropriate decorations for a paediatrician. but in her defense, she did have a couple of animal decals plastered on her walls, though it still looks soul- in the neurosurgeon’s eyes. so she indulges her friend, though she’s not exactly sure how a tiny plant would help.
seungwan names it small seul; though she doesn’t quite give it as much attention as human seulgi.
with her busy schedules and forgetful tendencies, the little plant succumbs to an untimely fate in a matter of weeks — a record she shouldn’t be proud of considering succulents are meant to last for years. she’s always prided herself on being an overachiever, but damn, this is definitely not worth celebrating. there goes small seul. staring down at the wilted plant, seungwan can already hear the jibes from seulgi echoing in her head. she’s not sure what’s worse, having a succulent die in a matter of weeks or having to tell seulgi that her gift has perished due to negligence.
they both sound equally bad, but maybe she doesn’t have to. a white lie will be how she redeems herself.
where’d you get the little plant from?
they’re called succulents 🙄
why? did you somehow manage to kill the one i gave you? 😢
no… it's still alive
but it's not doing well
😭 yah!!! i thought it would last a little longer than this!!!
it will!!! i just need some help 😔
there’s a florist down the street from the hospital
the ahjumma will bite your head off but she can probably help you
no problem wannie!!
keep it alive!!
a short stroll after the end of her shift lands seungwan at the entrance of bae florals. seungwan isn't the biggest fan of shopping after a midnight shift but certain things have priority over sleep.
the small shop at the corner is covered with assortments of flowers and plants, most that she has never seen before. a gentle ringing of a bell welcomes her when she steps into the store, if there is a heaven for floral enthusiasts, this could be it.
"welcome to bae florals."
the sudden voice draws her out of her reverie and the doctor turns to the sound. her sleep-addled brain has difficulty locating the owner of the voice and she’s confused. a small figure peeps up from below the counter and fumbles to stand up. enigma solved; this isn’t the ahjumma she’d been expecting but the sight of a pretty girl holding a large bouquet is an added bonus.
"feel free to browse, we've got a fresh batch of daisies that just came in." the brunette motions to the bunch of white flowers at the front of the shop.
seungwan lets her gaze trail to said flowers and she nods. "they're lovely, but i'm looking for something a little smaller."
“any special occasion?” the girl questions, stepping out from behind the counter and approaches seungwan with a polite smile.
the florist looks much smaller up close, rivalling the doctor in terms of physique. despite being surrounded by a multitude of colourful flowers, the brightly coloured purple apron she wears draws all the attention.
the doctor runs a hand down the nape of her neck with a grimace, “not quite, i unintentionally killed the tiny plant my friend gave me so i’m getting another before she notices.”
a light snort escapes the girl’s throat and seungwan partially regrets sharing this piece of information. letting a florist know that she’s a potential plant killer probably wouldn’t make for the best first impression.
“let’s find you the exact same one, shall we?”
the florist beckons her to a small section dedicated to succulents and seungwan easily spots a replica for small seul. the doctor picks it up with relief, seulgi won’t know the difference.
“that’s an echeveria lola,” the florist pipes up from behind, “a gorgeous little succulent, though it probably requires a little too much care for a doctor like yourself.”
seungwan spins around to face the girl, “how’d you know?”
“your tag,” the girl smiles, “lots of hospital staff drop by here, i’d recognise that blue strap anywhere.”
the doctor looks down to find her staff pass still hanging around her neck. she shrugs, regards the florist with a sheepish laugh and mumbles. “well, i’ve learnt my lesson the first time, this plant is going to receive as much attention as my patients.”
the florist acknowledges her with an amused smile and they walk to the counter to settle seungwan’s new purchase. the muffled whirring of the air conditioner fills the silence as the girl handles her checkout. the doctor mindlessly glances around the shop, though her eyes seem gravitate to the florist, finally catching a glimpse of her nametag.
joohyun; what a lovely name.
“be careful not to overwater it and give it plenty of sun.” joohyun advises, “come back if you have any problems.”
seungwan nods, thanking the florist before taking her leave. hopefully, the second small seul would last a little longer, though she wishes otherwise.
small seul junior showing signs of rot within a month is a bad omen. seungwan isn’t sure where she’s gone wrong, she’s given it plenty of sunlight and an occasional water; perhaps she’s cursed to be a plant killer.
the doctor returns to bae florals once again, hoping that her tiny plant can be saved by the pretty florist. she pops by during lunch and the shop is relatively empty, though a different voice welcomes her.
a much taller albeit younger girl is hunched over the cluttered counter, resting her elbows on the only empty surface in between a bunch of leftover flowers. a bored expression is plastered on her face and she barely looks up from her phone. seungwan treads uncertainly, she decides she much prefers joohyun to whoever this girl is.
“uhm…” seungwan starts nervously, “i need help with my succulent.”
the girl regards her momentarily before raising her shoulders in response. “can’t help you there, i don’t know much about succulents.”
seungwan purses her lips, a silence washes over the pair before she tries again. “is joohyun around?” seungwan asks hopefully, “she helped me out previously.”
drawing a deep breath, the girl bellows, “joohyun-unnie! someone is asking for you!”
another silence, followed by a creaking of a door. the brunette shuffles out from an unlabelled door and an audible sigh is heard. “yah, sooyoung, get off your phone.” joohyun chides, “go help yerim.”
indignantly, sooyoung gets up and trudges to the back before joohyun fully turns her attention to the doctor. she offers an apologetic smile, “sorry, my cousins are helping out since it’s summer break, neither of them likes it very much.”
seungwan dismisses it with a lazy flop of her hand, “i understand, i wouldn’t want to spend my summer working either.”
the florist smiles, “so what’s the problem?”
“my plant is dying … again …” the doctor murmurs while presenting the rotting succulent in her hands. it’s ironic how it’s her job to save lives but she can’t save a little plant if her life depended on it.
joohyun takes it from her and inspects it, finding the problem with ease. “you overwatered it.” the florist sighs, “come back in a week.”
“wait,” seungwan calls out as joohyun is heading to the back, “what are you going to do?”
the florist chuckles, “relax, it just needs some time to dry out before i can replant it. you can come back when it’s ready.”
“is there anything else you need?”
“some flowers, maybe?” seungwan rubs the nape of her neck, “do you have any recommendations?”
joohyun looks her in the eye and the answer slips from her lips, “lilac roses, i think they’ll look great for you.”
and she leaves with a bundle of lilac roses. her intention had only been to thank joohyun but she supposes she wouldn’t mind getting flowers every once in a while.
her third trip to bae florals happens after yet another overnight shift, it’s been slightly over a week and she wonders if the pretty florist has saved her plant. if she didn’t, then seungwan would consider telling seulgi the truth.
“welcome to bae florals.”
to her relief, it seems like joohyun is the only one around. the florist acknowledges her with a warm smile though she’s in the midst of putting a bouquet together.
“hope you’re not too busy?” seungwan returns the smile as she steps further in.
the florist waves her hand and shakes her head, “not at all, you’re the first customer today.”
“and you’re my last stop before heading home.” the doctor retorts and watches joohyun disappear to the back room.
the florist returns with a reinvigorated small seul junior, in the span of a week, the succulent flourished under joohyun’s careful watch. it looks way better than it has ever been under seungwan’s care.
“how do i thank you?” seungwan beams as she takes the plant from joohyun, “this little guy was on the verge of death last week.”
“if you brought it in a week later, it would’ve probably been too late.” the florist hums, tucking her hands into the pockets of her apron. “let’s start with a name?”
extending her hand out, the doctor introduces herself, “son seungwan, doctor of paediatrics.”
“bae joohyun, florist,” joohyun chuckles, accepting her hand with a firm handshake in return, “it’s nice to meet you, doctor son.”
“seungwan is just fine,” seungwan says quickly, “nice to meet you as well, joohyun.”
a calm stillness envelopes them and for a moment, seungwan thinks she’s brave enough to spit out a i think you’re really pretty. thankfully, her rational side justifies that it probably wouldn't be the compliment that she thinks it is. pulling her hand back, her brain leaps to the next excuse so she could extend her time here.
“any recommendations for today?”
“tulips,” joohyun motions to the half finished bouquet on the countertop, “interested?”
“sure, why not?”
she returns home exhausted, though with a beaming smile and a lovely bundle of tulips.
“who got you those flowers, wannie?”
the doctor spares a glance at her friend, “i got them myself.”
“since when did you like flowers?” doctor kang gasps, taking a seat before the paediatrician, “i could barely get you to keep the succulent.”
seulgi visits her when they have coinciding shifts and when they’re not too busy, it’s harder to spend a solid hour together than it is to spend multiple ten-minute breaks together.
“said succulent was on the verge of dying, i went back to the shop to get some help and then i bought flowers.” seungwan looks up from her paperwork to face her friend who’s currently inspecting small seul junior. the pediatrician is fairly certain that seulgi wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, after all, she picked the closest thing to a perfect replica. she deserves all the berating in the world if the neurosurgeon actually found out.
“well, i’m glad it’s still alive and well."
it wasn’t, but seulgi doesn’t have to know that it’s different from the one she gave her.
“i told you i’d keep it alive.”
the neurosurgeon chuckles, “did the ahjumma yell at you? she practically lost her mind when i told her about my first succulent.”
“i’ve been there thrice and i haven’t seen this ahjumma you speak of.” seungwan hums while returning to her papers.
“what? no way, she’s always there.”
“there’s only a pretty florist and her younger cousins.”
“oh, that must be her granddaughters.” seulgi muses, “thrice, huh?”
seungwan feels a kick to her shin and she rolls her eyes. “i swear to god, there’s nothing. i was there for purely floral related business.”
seulgi stifles a laugh and leans back in her chair. the doubt doesn’t leave her narrowed eyes but she lets it slide. they’ve known each other for years, if anything were to bloom from this fated encounter, seungwan wouldn’t neglect to tell her.
it doesn't come as a surprise that the subtleties in joohyun's actions have gone unnoticed by the blonde doctor. while the florist values attention to details, it's not the best way to tell a woman that she has beautiful eyes.
after resuscitating the poor succulent, joohyun doubts that she'd see seungwan for a while, which in yerim’s words, . to hold on to a hope of a blossoming friendship seems silly, but the doctor seems pleasant enough to warrant such yearning.
the ringing of a bell signals that a potential customer has just stepped into the store.
"welcome to bae florals." joohyun drones automatically. it’s been a busy day and her attention is fixated on a particularly tricky arrangement, whoever has just stepped in is seeing her at the apex of her exhaustion.
ten days; and the doctor is back. joohyun did not expect her to turn up so soon, especially after a long day of work.
the florist lifts her gaze and a grin finds its way on her lips. "doctor son, welcome back."
"seungwan is just fine," the doctor rubs the nape of her neck, "busy?"
"it's been a long day," joohyun grimaces before returning her lips into a welcoming curve, "but how can i help you?"
seungwan nods while she browses the assortment of flowers, bae florals was in the opposite direction of home but she figured it was about time to get fresh flowers since her tulips had wilted. while flowers generally don't last long in a vase, it's also partially her fault for not adding more water. but joohyun doesn't have to know that, nor the fact that she waited a few more days before coming in.
"i'm looking for more flowers, they help brighten the place up much better than a little plant." she explains, looking up from a bundle of baby breaths.
"a dash of color would certainly bring some cheer." joohyun muses, "i was half expecting you to return with the succulent once again."
"do you think of me as a succulent murderer?"
"i won't lie, it is my initial impression."
the doctor drops her jaw in offence, "it's doing fine after you gave me some tips!"
"that's great to hear," joohyun giggles, "perhaps someday you'll get more."
"let's not get too ahead of ourselves now."
the florist shuffles to a corner of the shop where seungwan's new flowers sit. joohyun had long thought of a recommendation should the doctor ever request for more.
something a little bolder — hibiscus flowers.
"let me guess," seungwan pipes up, "peonies?"
joohyun snorts and shakes her head, "far from it, doc'."
"carnations?" she tries yet again.
"are you going to try every flower you know?"
"at least i know it's not a rose." seungwan smiles sheepishly.
the florist chuckles, "they're hibiscuses, any preference for colors?"
she's crouched before an assortment of brightly coloured flowers, looking expectantly at the doctor who shakes her head politely.
"you're the expert here, i trust you."
the doctor's trust is hardly misplaced, with a request for something simple in mind, joohyun still attempts to create a floral masterpiece.
seungwan watches her work in awe, though the only thing she comprehends is that the pretty girl is putting flowers together. it’s only when joohyun meets her gaze does she realise how creepy she must have come off with her blatant staring. swallowing nervously, she averts her eyes to anything but the florist. the silence begins to border on awkward and the doctor decides to be rid of it.
"i've been meaning to ask," seungwan starts, "are you the only one around here? i mean, if your cousins are only helping out during summer."
joohyun bobs her head, "yup, i took over the shop from my grandmother."
"that makes sense, my friend mentioned that there was an ahjumma around but i’ve never seen her." the doctor hums.
"oh she drops by once in a while, though i've been dissuading her since it's not exactly near home." the florist responds.
"let me guess, old folks are stubborn?"
"she's tenacious, i suppose."
"tenacious," seungwan snickers, "that is one way to put it."
"stubborn, if you must." joohyun relents with a shake of her head, an amused grin seeping into her expression. "old folks are pretty much like kids if you think about it."
the doctor chuckles, "i'd have to agree."
the subtle whirring of the air conditioner becomes more noticeable as they lapse into another pocket of silence. she lets the florist work her magic and the doctor, in all her boredom, struts around the shop. hell, she could probably name every common ailment but her knowledge of flowers barely extends beyond roses and tulips.
seungwan swivels at the sudden interruption and joohyun presents a bouquet with a mixture of white and purple flowers. no, hibiscuses.
"they're gorgeous." seungwan exhales, releasing the breath she's unconsciously been holding. joohyun has certainly worked her magic into the very stems of these flowers, and she's almost afraid that a single breath would ruin it all.
the florist smirks teasingly, "well, lucky you, you get to take them home."
seungwan lifts her gaze from the flowers and bobs her head, lucky her indeed.
getting flowers from bae florals turns into a regular routine. varying factors like unforeseen emergencies, not having day shifts and fatigue make it hard for seungwan to drop by consistently.
but she makes it work and joohyun always seems to have new flowers ready. from irises to alstroemerias to orchids, the florist never disappoints. each time, they only seem to get bigger and even more beautiful than before.
"welcome back," joohyun greets with her usual smile. by now, she roughly knows when to expect the doctor even if her shift varies from day to day. if she’s had an overnight shift, she’d be the first one in, and if it’s a day shift, she’d trickle in just as the sky begins to darken. occasionally, she’d drop by during lunch but those visits were rarer.
"hey." seungwan offers a small nod. the stiffness in her behaviour differs from her usual liveliness, it leads joohyun to wondering if something has happened.
"what can i get you?"
"do you have chrysanthemums?"
joohyun tightens her jaw — it's the first time seungwan has explicitly requested for anything but chrysanthemums are the last thing she would have ever expected.
the florist narrows her eyes slightly, "who is it for?"
"eun–" seungwan mutters absently before catching her mistake, "a patient."
joohyun reaches her hand out and squeezes her arm lightly. "what happened?"
the doctor swallows before releasing her clenched fists. "she was ready to be discharged a month ago and then her disease flared up."
"is she... okay?” the brunette asks softly. death is always a sensitive topic, and she’d rather not unintentionally make things worse.
"she died this morning. i tried everything but it wasn't enough.” seungwan says quietly, making a conscious effort to mask her tears, but she can’t stop her voice from cracking, “i really thought she would make it out, get to feel the sun on her skin. live, without the burdens of her illness holding her back. but she couldn’t and i just wish she had more time.”
she hadn’t noticed joohyun stepping out from behind the counter, but what she does feel is the florist snaking her arms around her back, maneuvering her into a small hug. the doctor caves into her embrace, resting her cheek atop the brunette’s small shoulder.
"you tried everything, but sometimes, things are beyond your control." joohyun’s voice is gentle, comforting in all the ways that she can be. she runs a hand down the doctor’s back lightly when she hears sniffling. perhaps in any other situation, she would be ecstatic to be able to hug the doctor, but tonight, all that she hopes for is to assuage her grief.
“it’s not your fault, seungwan.”
the doctor heaves, drawing a deep breath to slow her tears. turning to joohyun for comfort should feel odd, like she should be turning to seulgi instead, but she doesn’t want to talk to a fellow doctor about death and illness as if seulgi hasn’t seen enough of it. the florist is wrapping her in a tender caress soothes her grief, it reminds her of life and all things beautiful.
"of course it does,” joohyun hums, tightening her arms around the small frame of the doctor, “you just lost someone you care about, i can’t imagine a situation where it wouldn’t hurt.”
seungwan merely shifts her head to acknowledge her words. she knows it well, but sometimes, she just needs a little reminder that it’s okay to grieve.
the doctor lingers till closing time, and instead of chrysanthemums, seungwan leaves with a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers tucked in her arm. she’ll hurt for now, but like flowers, her grief is ephemeral and it will wither away.
the florist is the last person seungwan expects to see when she begins her morning rounds the week after. her colleagues, however, don’t seem to be as surprised. she hasn’t been able to bring herself back to bae florals after crying her eyes out the week prior, her embarrassment rears its ugly head every time she considers walking over. glancing at nurse kim, the older woman is the only one to offer an explanation.
“she called last week, said she was the florist from down the street. asked if she could drop by to give flowers to the kids.” nurse kim explains in a low tone, though a large smirk rests on her lips. “might want to consider shutting that jaw, doctor son.”
the blonde clears and presses shut, the nurse must have caught her gaze lingering for a little too long. she approaches the florist with her team in tow, greeting her with a soft good morning.
“good morning,” joohyun greets the team with a bow, “i hope i’m not getting in the way, i’m just about done.”
by done, joohyun meant that every kid in this room has a single sunflower by their bedside table.
“doctor son!” areum exclaims, “look at what i got!” the young girl of eight proudly shows off her single sunflower with more excitement than she’s ever seen the girl display.
“it’s beautiful, areum-ah! did you say thank you to joohyun-unnie?” the doctor responds with the same level of enthusiasm.
joohyun widens her eyes in surprise, “it’s no big de–”
“thank you joohyun-unnie!”
seungwan watches the florist’s mouth curve into a smile and her chest fills with warmth, she loves these kids wholeheartedly and seeing them happy is a wonderful feeling. she knows that joohyun is feeling the very same emotions as her now.
the doctor thanks her, asking her to stay till she finishes her rounds. despite having to get back to the shop, joohyun agrees. she watches the charismatic doctor visit each and every one of her little patients and a couple of them excitedly share their little sunflower with her. she responds with an equal amount of interest even though she’s probably seen it about ten times now.
tender-hearted and dedicated, seungwan unknowingly shows a different side of herself to the florist, it makes joohyun’s heart soar with admiration.
“so, while i’m really grateful to you for doing this, i’ve got to know why.” the doctor, upon finishing her rounds, returns to the florist’s side.
joohyun leans against the wall and raises her shoulders, “i just felt like it.”
“so, you just felt like giving a bunch of sick kids flowers?” seungwan takes a place next to her, nudging her playfully.
joohyun sighs and relents; when seungwan came in crying the other night, the sight of the doctor looking so grief-stricken broke her heart. “the thought of kids being stuck indoors all the time made me sad, so i thought i could bring some sunshine indoors.” she explains with a soft exhale.
the doctor smiles, accepting her words with a gentle nod. “well, thank you, truly. for everything you’ve done. you made their day and mine too.”
“no problem, doctor son.”
most of her colleagues assumed that seungwan was the one who requested for joohyun to come, and word spread fast, even amongst the kids. they begin to call her doctor son flower, and she has to admit, it’s a pretty smart nickname.
the doctor works out an arrangement with joohyun so that bae florals would deliver a little piece of the outside world to the kids on a regular basis. the florist would often spend time with the kids as well, teaching them about the different types of flowers and plants. oftentimes, seungwan would lean against the frame of the door, never entering for fear of interrupting joohyun sharing her knowledge with her rapt little audience.
"welcome back, doc'."
"good morning to the beautiful maiden assembling yet another masterpiece." seungwan greets playfully while making her way into the store with a paper bag in hand.
they've eased into a relatively friendly dynamic, some light banter is to be expected upon every meeting. if seungwan has an early shift, she even grabs breakfast for joohyun alongside her morning coffee.
joohyun rolls her eyes and puts down the half-finished bouquet. "what do you need today?”
“some nice flowers, if you would indulge me.” the doctor says, resting her weight on her arms as she leans against the counter. joohyun retorts with a soft scoff and pushes her unfinished work aside to give all her attention to the blonde.
joohyun huffs as she steps out from behind the counter, “haven’t i always?”
seungwan nods sheepishly and watches the florist walk from one end to another, searching for whatever her next bouquet of flowers may be. little does she know, seungwan’s heart is rapidly thrumming away in her chest. the doctor is getting anxious while contemplating a particularly risky move, one that she's been thinking of for a little while now. there’s no doubt that she enjoys talking to joohyun, but there’s a lot more she’d like to learn about the florist.
what better way to get to know someone other than a date?
“what do you think of dinner?” seungwan blurts, breaking the stillness of the air with her voice, “with me?”
yikes. that could’ve gone better, the doctor holds back a wince at her glaring lack of grace. maybe joohyun wouldn’t care, or she’d just get rejected. a million questions race through her head, ones that she’s never considered until now — what if she already has someone? what if she overstepped her boundaries?
joohyun snaps her head around in surprise, “dinner?”
“yeah, tonight… if you have time?” the doctor murmurs hopefully, though her confidence is waning with every second joohyun remains silent. they regard each other quietly and seungwan wants to retract everything she’s just said, travel back in time if she could, anything to staunch this pooling regret.
embarrassment courses through her, leaving flushed cheeks in their wake. digging her nails into her palm, the doctor opens to take her words back.
"i-it's fine if you don’t wa–"
"i'd love to." a firm response slips from joohyun as she returns to her searching. her crouched form hides any and all emotion from seungwan, but she’s very aware that she’s bitten the inside of her cheeks a little too hard. it stings, but nothing can take away this burning euphoria.
“u-uh! cool!” seungwan stammers, cool? “i’ll pick you up after my shift ends, if that’s okay?”
the florist sends the grinning doctor back with some light pink peonies, she had originally meant for them to be daisies instead, but seungwan’s offer to take her out changes everything.
slipping into the tiny back room, joohyun grabs her nearest cousin by the shoulder and shakes the poor girl vigorously. happiness is too mellow of a word to describe the sheer excitement that pumps through her veins. so much that her cheeks begin to ache from being frozen in an extended grin.
“yah, unnie! let me go!” yerim whines as she swats joohyun’s hands away with a frown. her younger cousins are staring at her strangely, it’s not every day they get to see joohyun physically jumping with joy.
the florist releases the youngest from her grasp as she shares the good news with the two. “the doctor asked me out for dinner!” joohyun exclaims as she bounces from one leg to another animatedly.
“the blonde one you’ve been trying to flirt with?” sooyoung drawls, looking up from some flowers.
joohyun purses her lips and mumbles sheepishly, “i’m not flirting with her…”
a loud snort escapes yerim and she scoffs, slapping her unnie on the arm. sighing, the youngest shakes her head slowly, “dude, you gotta try harder if you wanna lie to us. we googled every flower you’ve given her and i gotta say, it’s not all that subtle.”
“she’s right,” sooyoung agrees, “but the doctor is kind of slow, isn’t she? it’s been months since she’s started coming in.”
“for real, i expected a date much earlier.”
“yeah like, do you think she even knows joohyun-unnie is trying to flirt with her?”
“probably not, unless—”
“yah!” the florist explodes, interrupting the two with a sharp click of her teeth. her hands find their way to the back of her cousins’ heads, offering a relentless smack that leaves them whining in protest.
the oldest pulls out her only trump card, threatening them with a frown, “i had every intention of closing up early today but i think the shop needs some extra cleaning.”
“no it doesn’t, there’s not even a single speck of dust.”
“don’t challenge us, unnie, we’d a table to prove you wrong.”
stunned into silence, joohyun could only scrunch her face in disgust as the two girls looked at her smugly. if anything, she’s glad that summer break is ending so that she could finally be rid of these brats.
bae florals closes early for the first time ever. the florist chases her younger cousins out of the shop so that she could spend some time preparing a special bouquet for seungwan without being teased. the sky gradually begins to dim, and before long, it’s dark out and the doctor has yet to turn up.
exchanging numbers hadn’t been either of their priorities, so she has no way of contacting seungwan. joohyun wonders if she’s forgotten, as unlikely as it seems, it’s still a possibility. they could always reschedule, or maybe she changed her mind, it’s just a little depressing to be stood up. joohyun locks up the shop with all traces of her initial exuberance fading away like a wisp of smoke.
late. seungwan is horribly late. but between a date and saving her patient’s life, she has to pick the latter no matter what. thankfully, sacrificing her date with joohyun is enough to help the little kid pull through.
exhaustion is creeping into every inch of her body but it’s the least of her concerns now. getting to bae florals as quickly as she can is the only thing on her mind. if she spends a couple of minutes to change and pack up, she could get there in under fifteen minutes.
adding another fifteen minutes on top of the two hours or so that she’s been late makes her chest weigh heavily with guilt. she would be relieved if joohyun went home instead, she’d feel worse if she made the florist wait without so much of a message. buried in her thoughts, she moves around her office on autopilot, gathering up all her belongings in a trained motion.
“yah, you’re not even going to acknowledge me now?”
the familiar voice draws the doctor out of her fatigue-induced haze, she blinks dumbly. joohyun is sitting in her office, looking at her expectantly. she blinks again, and stares like the florist is a glitch in the matrix.
“it’s the girl you stood up, doctor son.” joohyun sighs, standing up from the chair. she strolls over to seungwan, patting the blonde on the arm lightly. “is everything okay now? i heard the gist of it from nurse kim.”
the doctor nods slowly, the reality of the situation is slowly beginning to kick in. she’d been so focused on getting to bae florals, she hadn’t even considered how she should apologize. she mentally beats herself up as she begins to blabber an explanation, “i’m sorry, joohyun. it was an emergency and i couldn’t leave.” she mutters with remorse in her voice, “i would’ve told you if i could, i swear. let me make it up to you, please?”
“i think getting your number is enough for today, at least you can call me next time.” the brunette reassures gently, though seungwan catches the disappointment that seeps into her words. she nods towards the mid-sized bouquet on the doctor’s desk, “for you, by the way.”
seungwan looks at the pink roses on her table and she feels her heart drop, “i’m really sorry, i–”
joohyun lifts a finger to the doctor’s lips, shushing her with a single motion. “i completely understand, it was an emergency. you don’t have to feel bad for doing your job.”
she has seen how sweet joohyun can be, but when she’s at the receiving end of that kindheartedness, she doubts if she really deserves it. the doctor forces a shake of her head. “no, it’s not okay. i made you wait for so long, i need to make it up to you.”
“well, that can wait. we’re both tired today, aren’t we?”
seungwan would’ve left it at that, figure out a way to compensate for this terrible first date after she’s had some sleep. but the sudden, audible gurgling of joohyun’s stomach forces the guilt to stay. the florist’s face reddens while seungwan tries to hold back a snort and fails miserably. quiet snickers and an offended yah fills the room.
“it’s definitely not the dinner i had in mind but we could grab some instant ramen at the convenience store downstairs, my treat.” the doctor offers in her usual playful tone.
joohyun expels her breath through her nose, "but you look exhausted, we can find another time."
"at least let me buy you dinner," seungwan pleads, "i'd feel even more awful if i let you go home starving after waiting for hours.”
“well, can i get a coke too?"
“of course,” seungwan laughs, “you’re welcome to get dessert as well, as long as it's not mint chocolate ice cream."
the florist rolls her eyes, before nudging seungwan to finish packing up. holding a large bouquet of roses garners plenty of attention from onlookers, no doubt doctor son would be a hot topic amongst the staff by dawn. the blonde ignores them all, she has better things to concern herself with, like making sure joohyun is well fed with convenience store food.
the doctor lets the florist pick whatever she wants, a little of this and that before they settle in a corner of the store. turns out, the extra snacks that joohyun picked out — mostly consisting of energy bars, are meant for the doctor. they chat over bowls of instant ramen, sharing snippets of their day in between slurps of noodles.
it’s close to midnight when they part ways; hearts content with some uninterrupted time spent together. a revelation occurs to the doctor as she gets into her car, joohyun’s bouquet of roses sitting comfortably in the passenger seat.
whipping out her phone, she types a question into the search engine. her kids could probably answer her after weeks of learning about flowers with joohyun. and it’s not that she doesn’t know the symbolism of a rose, but rather that she wants assurance for her conjecture.
what does giving someone pink roses mean?
“so do you want to explain why the nurses were talking about you all night?” doctor kang struts into her office with a cup of coffee, “because i’ve had a whale of a time listening to all their theories.”
the paediatrician accepts the steaming coffee from seulgi, sipping it without a second thought. she had barely any sleep last night, spending a solid hour googling just about every flower joohyun has recommended. having a morning shift after getting less than five hours of sleep is certainly far from ideal, but she’ll figure out a way to push through — one of them would be to avoid expending energy by talking to seulgi.
“shouldn’t you be home by now?” seungwan groans, looking up from her desk.
the neurosurgeon shrugs, “i’m dying to know what happened, come on, wannie!”
doctor son eyes her best friend tiredly before fishing out a crumpled piece of paper from the pocket of her coat. she’s too tired to recount the whole saga with the pretty florist from day one, hopefully a piece of paper could do the talking for her. strange as it may be, seulgi accepts it, eyes skimming over the shoddy handwriting.
“what’s this?” seulgi frowns, squinting at seungwan’s frantic scribbles.
“the meanings of flowers, seul.” seungwan murmurs, “flowers that the pretty florist has been giving me.”
seulgi squints even more at the last line, pulling the paper right up to her face. pink roses??? —
affection appreciation?? admiration?????
“so,” doctor kang starts, voice increasing in volume as the realisation sets in, “you’re telling me, the pretty florist that you said you had nothing going on, was flirting with you all this time?”
seungwan winces and raises her shoulders, “it’s just a guess, alright? i’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or if she's been intentionally doing this.”
"god damn it, wannie! she’s flirting with you and you’re going all damn i don’t know if she likes me. she does, you fool!” seulgi exclaims, slamming her hands on the desk incredulously.
scrunching her face into a frown, seungwan runs a hand through her hair. “what do i do, seul-ah?” she whines.
“do you like her?”
the blonde takes the question in slowly, as if savouring the taste of aged wine. they are well beyond the age of teenage crushes but when it comes down to it, seungwan can’t deny the presence of something that makes her heart race when she’s around joohyun. a dizzying epiphany befalls her, a crush, she has a crush. and said crush, might like her back too.
“i think i do.” she breathes.
seulgi jumps up, shoving the crumpled piece of paper back to her friend. “you gotta give her flowers to declare your love or something, it’s gotta be an unsaid rule at this point.”
“what’s the point in giving a florist more flowers? it’s like giving you more surgeries."
seulgi looks at her pointedly, "like it's a bad thing? i love surgeries!"
"i can’t give her flowers from her own shop!”
doctor kang scoffs, turning to take her leave, "so grow your own. if you can get through med school, i’m sure you can grow a few flowers.”
autumn gives way to winter and joohyun is running out of flowers to give to the doctor. even with sooyoung and yerim’s encouragement, the florist could never find the courage to confess. she likes seungwan, a lot. but the doctor doesn’t seem all that keen on reciprocating her feelings. and as much as she wants to let the flowers do the talking for her, it’s getting to a point where the whole hospital thinks they’re together, but seungwan would deny and say they’re just friends.
it’s frustrating, and joohyun decides that she’s dragged it on for long enough, she’ll try one last flower before she considers a verbal confession. it’s two weeks before christmas when she visits the children again. seungwan has just finished her rounds and she readily welcomes joohyun into the ward.
seungwan winks, “they’re all yours, joohyun-unnie.”
the florist stops the blonde by tugging at her coat. stumbling slightly, she blinks at joohyun in bewilderment. “yeah?”
“this is for you.” joohyun mumbles as she pulls out a single flower from her box of daisies, the bright orange stands out glaringly against the sea of white. her hands quiver slightly but thankfully, seungwan’s attention is focused on the flower instead.
“i haven’t seen this before,” seungwan blinks, “what are they called?”
“i’ll leave it to you to figure it out, doctor son.”
“you’re not going to tell me?” the doctor gasps.
“it’s a dare,” the florist says as calmly as she can, despite the vigorous beating of her heart. seungwan has never once asked for the meanings of the flowers, so it's unlikely that the doctor would ever find out about its obscure symbolism.
the blonde chuckles softly, tucking the tiger lily into the pocket of her coat. “well, dare accepted. give me a little time to do some research, okay?”
if only the doctor knew what she’s just accepted, joohyun almost wants to blurt out its name. but thankfully, she’s saved by the kids.
“joohyun-unnie! why does doctor son get a special flower?”
snorting, seungwan pats the florist on the shoulder, leaving her to offer answers to the children.
the doctor doesn’t ask about the tiger lily again, though she does ask joohyun out on christmas eve. she has a day shift, meaning that she would be free in the evening. the florist hesitates to accept; she’s been swamped at work and even with her cousins returning to help, the orders seem endless.
but an aged woman enters the shop in the early hours of dusk and that changes everything.
“halmoni?” joohyun gasps.
her grandmother grunts in acknowledgement, shuffling around the shop only to find a seat on her usual stool behind the counter. “don’t you have a date?” she mutters.
the brunette chokes, “d-date?”
“we snitched,” yerim pokes her head out of the back room, followed by sooyoung popping out a second later.
“go on, we’ll be fine. these two will watch out for me.” the elderly woman kicks joohyun with her foot, nudging her to leave.
in a matter of minutes, the florist is standing outside her shop with nothing but her bag and coat. she peeks through the glass only to see sooyoung turning the sign over to closed. a click of the lock seals her on the streets and joohyun has yet to fully comprehend everything that’s just happened.
go, sooyoung mouths with a roll of her eyes as she disappears behind the rows of flowers. without the insurmountable orders weighing on her, she makes her way to the hospital.
she’s all yours for tonight
thanks a lot, sooyoung!
i really owe you guys a huge one
she brought out the tiger lily dude
we had to do something
yerim wishes you good luck and halmoni says bring back a flower if you can
gotcha, i’ll try my best
seungwan took seulgi’s words quite literally. growing her own flowers sounds easier said than done, she had no idea just how many factors would affect a flower’s growth. the doctor yields and looks for extra help. by a of luck, she manages to catch sooyoung on the last week of her break, and with joohyun in the back room, they exchange numbers.
with help from the two teens, they spend the last weeks of summer teaching the doctor how to grow and care for flowers. and seungwan struggles throughout autumn, trying and failing over and over again, only succeeding when winter arrives.
the doctor swivels around, coming face to face with the florist. she’d been waiting by the entrance but she had been too caught up in her thoughts to notice the brunette. beaming, seungwan greets her with a soft hey before taking her by the hand.
joohyun follows with a slight struggle, stumbling behind the doctor who’s strangely not wearing her usual white coat. “yah, where are we going?”
“you’ll see, come on.”
seungwan refuses to answer any of joohyun’s subsequent questions as she drags them around the hospital. the pair end up on the roof where the garden is located and the doctor tugs them to an unknown location. joohyun wants to complain that it’s too cold, and considering how seungwan seems to be trembling as well, it would be fair to request that they remain indoors. but she holds it back, deeming that whatever the doctor wants to show her as more important for now. the lights around the area are dim but for some reason, only the particular corner that seungwan is guiding her to is seemingly shining brighter than its surroundings.
a creeping suspicion makes joohyun question the doctor’s intentions, “what is this?"
"it'll be worth the wait, i promise you." is all seungwan mumbles as she squeezes the florist’s hand lightly. they pick up the pace and when they finally arrive, joohyun freezes up.
her jaw drops as she takes in the scene before her, the extra glow is coming from the fairy lights hanging around a primrose bush. in the midst of it all lies a neatly arranged bouquet of lilac flowers. the doctor strides over, picking the bouquet up and nervously extending her hand out.
joohyun eyes the flowers, then the doctor. she gasps, her voice escaping in a breathy whisper, "these are…"
"primroses." seungwan confirms with a bite of her lower lip.
the florist blinks, wondering just how many emotions a human can feel at a single point in time. connecting the dots helps her make sense of getting chased out of her shop for a supposed date, though she has a hard time grasping that this is all real.
she takes the bouquet out of the doctor’s hands, "seungwan… how? and why?"
"i got some help from sooyoung and yerim." seungwan grins, "and did you really ask why?"
joohyun scoffs at herself before nodding, "yes… you get all your flowers from me."
"well, because this isn't for me. i don't think it's very romantic to give you your flowers." the doctor rubs the nape of her neck with an awkward smile, to which, joohyun lets a snicker slip. "and why? you know how you've been subtly leaving messages with every type of flower you've given me?"
joohyun bobs her head with a growing smile on her cheeks, listening intently as seungwan continues to speak.
"yeah well, i didn't realise that until the roses.”
"so you've finally got it?"
seungwan grimaces, "yes, in my defense, i knew nothing about flowers. heck, i came to you as a succulent murderer."
"but look at you now, a proud mom of a bunch of primroses."
seungwan nods, “mhm, and even if you already know its symbolism, i’m still going to tell you anyway.” she tries her best to steady her voice but it’s hard when joohyun is staring at her as if she has stars in her eyes. she exhales slowly, calming the intense beating of her heart before she speaks, “you remind me of what it’s like to love without fearing anything, like i’m a teenager who hasn’t known the definition of heartbreak. it’s been a long time since i’ve felt like this but being with you feels… simple, natural. s-so, here, in response to your tiger lily, i present these flowers as an acceptance of your dare."
despite the freezing temperatures, the tenderness of her words makes joohyun’s chest flutter with warm, fuzzy feelings. she's never been one for bold gestures, but there is no flower to speak for her now.
"new dare," joohyun breathes, taking a step closer to the blonde. "i dare you to be my girlfriend."
seungwan leans in, tucking strands of her behind her ear. cupping her face gently, the doctor smirks. "dare accepted," seungwan hums, "and since you didn't give me flowers to drop your message, i think you gotta make up for it somehow."
bold, joohyun thinks. but she could be bolder. with her only free hand, joohyun yanks seungwan by the collar, causing their lips to collide in a deep kiss. she holds back a giggle upon hearing a muffled cry from the doctor, but seungwan relaxes after a few moments. her hands find their way around the small of her back and she pulls her girlfriend closer.
and if there’s one thing seungwan’s certain of; it’s that her terrible skills with plants wouldn't get in the way of their love, it will bloom into something better than any flower in this world.