Status: Completed

Chasing the Missing Paths

The Second Encounter

The second encounter didn’t happen much longer after the first one. Some may say it happened the day after. So soon after each other was purely coincidental. Or was it? They had to be in the same area if they saw each other in such a short time span. There was no way they would meet each other twice, once at a local bar and once at a flower shop, if one of them lived on the other side of the city or maybe even country. Statistically speaking, they had to live in the same neighborhood. Or one of them was on vacation.

As said before, the second encounter happened at a flower shop. Despite still going to school, Emma worked at the shop as a manager even though she loved helping people choose their flowers the most. She used to spend a lot of time there as a kid, trying to memorize anything she could learn about all the different kinds of plants they had. As a teenager, she moved away for a while, but now that she was relatively close again, she knew it was the perfect job for her to earn some money while having fun.

Alex, on the other hand, did not enter that shop for fun. He had something to make up for. After his girlfriend walked out during karaoke, their relationship did not just go on its merry way. There was already a slight disagreement, but it had turned into a full-blown fight. It ended with Alex being ignored and no more talking. After giving in that it was his fault, he wanted to show just how sorry he was and get some flowers along with his apology. Hence, he was in the flower shop where Emma worked.

He entered the small store, making a bell ring as he opened the door and it closed again behind him. There were funny and inspirational quotes on the walls, but mainly an overabundance of plants. The sweet smell was just a little too strong, but the beautiful colors made up for it.

At first, Alex planned on just going straight to the premade bouquets and picking up the one he thought his girlfriend would like, but then he saw a familiar face. The girl that was walking around writing something on a clipboard was the girl who had helped him out at the karaoke bar. It was like the universe was giving him a second chance to appreciate what she had done and how well she sang.

“Umm, excuse me?” Alex uttered to get the girl’s attention after he had walked up to her.

She looked up from her clipboard and smiled when she recognized the face. “Hey, aren’t you the guy that got walked out on at the bar?”

“Well, jeez,” he put his hands in his front pockets and bounced on the balls of his feet, “that’s what you remember me for? Not for the amazing experience or the great vocals?”

“Okay, well, singing with you was awesome,” she said as he wanted.

"Singing with you was awesome as well," Alex agreed, enjoying the short conversation he was having. "Although, I must say, the song you did solo, you were super shy at the beginning. But then you got out of your shell a little. You were real good."

"I wasn't shy. It's all part of the act," she explained before changing the subject. “So, I’m assuming you’re here to buy flowers?”

“Ah, yes,” Alex nodded, remembering his initial problem even though the girl had literally mentioned it a few seconds before. “I need something for my girlfriend.”

“Just let me finish writing this number I have in my head right now,” Emma tapped her pen on the list she had on paper, “and I’ll help you out.”

He nodded to show that was okay, yet asked a question nonetheless. “Completely random, but I didn’t quite catch your name last time.”

“Emma,” she replied, writing down what she needed before looking back up at him. “What was yours again?”


“Both very easy names,” she giggled and shook her head as she clipped her pen on the board. “So, Alex, what are these flowers for? Are they supposed to say ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m sorry’ or something else?”

“I’m sorry,” Alex responded with some shame. “I think ‘I love you’ is pushing it a little. An apology needs to come first.”

“Okay, well,” Emma took his answer without any judgment, seeing cases like this on a daily basis, “you can go for the classic rose. It’s simple and you can’t go wrong. However, depending on your girlfriend, she might think it’s a cop-out. The most important thing is to make it cheerful, though. Hmm…” she started looking around the store, Alex following her like a lost puppy. “You know what? I think you should actually go for some yellow roses, but add some--”

A guy stormed into the store, looking distraught, and yelled, “code five!”

“Code five?!?” Emma sprung up right and looked at him before looking at her male c- worker behind the counter. “Jonathan, will you take Alex, here, from me, and I will take our friend?”

“Sure thing.” He came out from behind the counter and bounced up to Alex.

“I’m sorry,” Emma apologized to the man she was helping before, “this is a forgotten-anniversary-and-realized-too-late emergency.”

“Ooh,” Alex hissed with an understanding look, “go save that man.”

And that’s what Emma did. Jonathan took over helping Alex and made him a beautiful personalized bouquet. Just like that, their second encounter had ended. Emma was still frantically helping out the other man, who was in even deeper trouble than Alex, when Alex had paid and was walking out of the store. He didn’t have the heart to interrupt them to say goodbye.
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This is what the chapter lengths are more likely going to be like. Of course, I never know. I've done this before and have had to split chapters up because they were too long. Who still remembers You Leave Me With a Dangerous Taste? Although the story is very different, it follows the same plan: spontaneous idea and planned numbered chapters.

Nobody's reading this right now, but that's cool.