The door opens, disturbing a little bell, as a young woman with auburn-dyed hair enters. The way Lena moves through the place, looks like she is certainly familiar with the flower boutique. She looks around for a moment before going directly to the counter.
There doesn't seem to be anyone in the store proper at the moment, though the door to the greenhouse is open, allowing a warm, comfortable draft to spill into the room. It is through this door that a man of considerable size and athleticism exits, dusting the remnants of soil from his gloves. His jeans are stained in some places from the implements of gardening, as is his simple tee. "Aloha," he offers genuinely, but without smile, looking at the woman from bottom to top and finally fixating on her eyes. "Can I help you?" The atmosphere around him is somewhat... disconcerting.
Lena tilts her head and replies, "Hello." Her posture shifts, leaning away from him in an unconscious manner. She politely smiles. He's certainly not the usual person she sees at the shop. "I am looking for a different sort of flower. Something not as expected as a rose, tulip or carnation. Could you perhaps recommend something?" Her light green eyes stay on his face for a few moments and then looks away as if unable to keep her gaze there. Looking around she tries to find something unusual around her.
"Does it need to be red?" the man asks, clearly making an attempt to sound congenial, though it seems his voice is more accustomed to barking orders. "I have some lilies in stock, if you're just looking for a nice bloom without the same sorta color." He folds his arms, apparently unwilling to remove his gloves.
Lena bites her lower lip and looks toward the man. She speaks softly, which is a common volume for her voice, "No, it doesn't have to be red." She furrows her brow in thought, whispering to herself, "A white lily would mean.. Purity." The volume of her voice returns, "I am a painter. I am looking for something unusual, challenging and that has a positive meaning according to the Victorian Language of Flowers." She blushes and brings a hand to one cheek, "Not that many would know the meaning." She softly sighs, "I'm sorry. The last few times I've been here, I just looked around and there was always something perfect."
Rommy blinks slowly, clearly not quite following the woman's floral assessments. "The previous owner was very good about being able to work her craft, while I mostly performed the manual labor." Surprise, surprise! "Sadly, she's since left town and left the shop to me, so I try to put together what I can remember. If y'want, you can check out the greenhouse and have me put together any flowers that y'like."
Lena tilts her head, listening about the old owner leaving town, "I'm sorry to hear the old owner left. But, you are doing the fine job. The place looks as beautiful as ever." She then turns her head to look over her shoulder, confirming her presence was not holding up any customers. Then she looks back to the man, "Alright. I've never been in a greenhouse before.." Her curiosity takes hold and her smile reveals her joy of getting to see the greenhouse. She glances at his dirty gloves, but still reaches out her right hand as she steps closer. "I'm Lena Doyle. I appreciate your kindness. I'll make sure not to touch anything and to try to stay out of your way while I look around."
Rommy tips his head respectfully, but briefly declines to shake her hand. "Forgive me if I don't want to get soil all over you. I'm Roman Akana, Ms. Doyle. I... appreciate your continued business, despite our changes." He gestures towards the warm greenhouse so she can enter first, then follows. Much of the same plants Lena would be used to seeing previously are still here; Rommy seems adept at taking care of them, even if he isn't quite sure of what to actually stick in the store.
Lena does not look offended in the least when Roman declines to shake her hand. In fact, her express looks even more pleased than before. "Nice to make your acquaintance, Mister," She tilts her head, "..Akana." She steps into the greenhouse and leans away from Rommy without even realizing. She draws in a breath through her nose and sighs her exhale. "It's like a dream." She begins walking a bit, but is careful not to touch anything. Every now and then she leans down to sniff at a flower, "Are you, by chance, related to the musician, Miss Rena Akana?" When she finally asks that, she stops moving and looks toward him as if holding her breath.
Rommy's nostrils flare as Lena passes him by, and he follows, keeping at least a body's space between them. "If you mean the violinist, she's my cousin," he says, stopping for a moment to gauge the woman a considered, serious glance. "You know her?"
Lena smiles then, her serious expression fading, "I thought the name was too uncommon to meet two people unrelated. She is very sweet. I met her only recently. Her musical talent is amazing." She then turns her head to look at flowers, but her brow furrows. Moving along, she stops in front of an orchid. She whispers to herself, "Refined beauty." She leans in to sniff the flower and then leans away wrinkling her nose with a smile as the scent almost seems to tickle her nose.
"So I'm told," Rommy says with the same, even tone. "I'm not much of a big-gathering kind of guy, so I haven't heard her perform." A brow raises slightly at the woman's last comment, but he says nothing firmly. Not much of a talker, this one.
Lena lifts a hand to touch the orchid. Her eyes close as she feels the texture with the pads of her fingers. Slowly they open and she turns towards Roman, "Mister Akana, may I have two of these? I might only paint one flower, but I'll be treating myself to a bouquet today." As for not being into big-gatherings she nods her head, "It's difficult to think at large gatherings. Or rather, it is easier to be able to center your thoughts when not in a crowd. Perhaps that is why my best paintings are done when there are few people around."
Rommy moves silently to fill the woman's request, but pauses momentarily to digest her following comment thoughtfully. "Yes... that's very true. I enjoy my solitude." He resumes the process of collecting the flowers and their stems before adding: "Also, people tend to find me very intimidating, Ms. Doyle," the flowers begin to be bundled. "I'm not really built for polite company."
Lena watches as Roman collects the flowers, then the moves a few steps away and notices a new flower. Stopping there she looks back to him, "The flowers certainly do not mind your company." She looks around the space as if waiting for a protest as she moves a hand to gesture all the blooms around them, "So, although you may be a bit.. intimidating, I think your surroundings speak volumes for you." She points to the new flower she is near, "It looks like a thistle. May I have a few of these as well? I think their sharp edges will add a nice contrast to the orchids."
Rommy dutifully collects the additional selections without complaint. "The spirits of Nature are close family to me, Ms. Doyle," he says between cuts. "They don't judge, they grow with love, and they give a man something to believe in." Glancing over his shoulder, hie queries: "What do you believe in, Ms. Doyle?"
Lena waits as Roman cuts the new flowers. When she sees them gathered together she asks quietly, "May I?" If he doesn't stop her, she begins to arrange the flowers in his hands to see how much more might be needed. "According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, this says: refined beauty and nobility. I think a little bit of fennel to add some green and the meaning: strength, might be good. We can call the bouquet: Chivalry." As for his beliefs and what hers are? She listens and replies, "I've not had much experience with spirits, per se, but I do believe my parents look upon me now and then. And if spirits exisit or not, I think nature should be respected. I have many beliefs. If you're curious about a particular topic, you just need to ask a more detailed question." She looks up at him and smiles while taking a step back to escape a bit of that disconcerting aura around him.
Rommy allows Lena to organize as her heart demands, his curiosity apparent. "Chivalry, huh?" he wonders aloud, sniffing at the flowers very (very) lightly and then twitching his nose. Following her, he listens with a casual interest, but then turns out a pointed question: "How well do you know about Rena and our family, Ms. Doyle?"
Lena nods her head, "I have an antique book that explains the language of flowers, their meanings and how they were used. I have most of it memorized now. Modern meanings only tend to be around the rose, I believe. But, I'm not a florist." She adds, "I thought I might just get one flower, but now building the bouquet I want it to have a full message. Though, I hope you do not think it odd for a girl to gift herself a bouquet meaning Chivalry." She's a hopeless romantic. When asked about Rena and the Akana family she shakes her head, "I haven't asked her many questions about her family." She looks down with an expression of embarrassment, "I should have though. I didn't mean to be rude. Just, I met her at a.. tough moment in my life. After that, I discussed music with her, mostly."
"I don't mind," is Rommy's reply, empathetic, but succinct. While waiting, he brushes more soil off his jeans, but seems to have managed to get some on his arms and in his stubble; ah, well. "Rena and I have an interesting family, but if she didn't mention anything, don't worry about it." At least his stiffness seems to fade the longer they continue to talk.
Lena looks a little less embarrassed when Roman seems to brush off her not knowing much about the family. She admits, "I usually do not discuss family much. I only have an aunt left. It makes some people react awkwardly." She moves along to look at another flowers and tries to shift the subject back to that pleasant topic, "Please, recommend something to add to this bouquet?" She watches him, clearly interested in his suggestion.
Rommy rubs his chin with the back of a hand, and then gestures Lena towards several more exotic flowers that are rather out of season. "I like the hibiscus. I've been working on some yellow, red, and pink-purple blossoms. I was raised in Hawai'i, so. It reminds me of home." The matter of family seems to have been dropped.
Lena moves toward the flowers Roman gestures to. She draws in a breath, expressing quiet awe, "They are beautiful." When he mentions Hawaii she touches an earlobe, "That explains.." She wiggles the lobe in a brief motion, indicating sound. "I've seen pictures of hibiscus, but never really sought them out. Their meaning is: Rare beauty, delicate beauty. Which would be perfect for this bouquet!" Her exclamation is more of a change in pitch of her voice, not volume. But, she is definitely excited.
"Hawaiian was my first language," the man explains, apparently assuming Lena's gesture is a comment on his voice. "Hawai'i is a beautiful land," he adds, rubbing his arms. "And not cold." Grumble. By her direction, he gathers some of those flowers as well.
Lena suddenly gives -all- of her attention to Roman at the mention of language. She politely replies about the land first, "I hear it's a paradise. I've only seen it on television though." Then to the topic that has her watching him closely, "Please say something in Hawaiian?" Even with that disconcerting aura around him, she braves leaning forward, anticipating getting to hear something in a language unknown to her.
With the growing bundle of green and petals cradled carefully in his arms, Rommy turns towards the woman and blinks. "Uh, sure," he replies, glancing up to think for a moment. "I mua e na poki'i a inu i ka wai 'awa'awa, 'a'ohe hope e ho'i mai ai." The man's deep voice slides over the vowels with ease, like water, and reverently. "Move forward, brothers, and drink of the bitter water, no shall return," he translates. "It means to keep going on no matter what."
Lena listens to Roman speak, and noiselessly moves her lips to try to grasp any of the syllables she hears. It's her first time hearing Hawaiian, so she does a poor job. Thankfully she was not trying to speak it as well. She repeats his English, "Keep going on no matter what." She nods, "I like that." She adds, "I speak English and French. Your sentence would be: Continuez sur n'importe quoi." ((Thank you, Google Translate)) She reverts to English, "Perhaps we could trade languages. I always felt that those that knew more languages could express themselves better than those that know fewer languages."
Rommy blushes a little, though his demeanor stays roughly the same. "Well, your words are kind, Ms. Doyle, but I don't really have any opportunities where I'd need to speak French. I'm a simple man, working a few simple jobs." And which speaking of, he goes about wrapping the bouquet as Lena previously directed. "I... guess I could teach you the basics of Hawaiian if you're interested, but it's not an easy language to learn. Maybe you should talk to Rena about it."
Lena watches as the bouquet is wrapped and moves a hand to indicate the hibiscus, "Just want to put that one in the middle. Such a vibrant color should not be off to the side. It makes it difficult to notice the rest of the flowers.." She hesitates to see if Roman will make the adjustment or if she may. She smiles brightly, "I would very much like the learn the basics. It's alright if the language is difficult. That would just make it all the more satisfying upon learning it. However, I do not like being in debt. Please allow me to teach you the basics of French or assist you in some other way?"
Rommy begins walking back towards the shop proper, now that the bouquet is finished, and gestures for Lena to follow. "Let me think on it, yeah? Could be there's something else you could do for me. I'm sure you'll stop by sometime soon so we can discuss it again."
Lena follows Roman upon seeing his gesture. "Alright." She moves her hand to slip into her purse, retrieving a business card from where she usually keeps them. "I visit here once a week, since I started painting flowers. I usually work on portraits, but it was nice to try something new and I've stuck with it for well over a month now." Leaving the greenhouse and moves to the customer-side of the counter and puts down her business card. "May I leave my card with you?"
- Business Card: Front - LenaDoyle.com is imprinted over a faded background that is a print of a painting of a woman in a forest wearing a long green dress. The dress and the woman's auburn hair are caught in a gentle breeze making this piece look a bit more etheral or touched by a world of fantasy than a usual portrait. Back - Plain text with contact information.
Rommy gingerly sets the bouquet on the sales counter and rings the woman up. "Huh," he says, upon glancing at the business card, which he lifts (getting a bit of soil on it), glancing at it front and back. "Sure, I'll tape it behind the counter here." For now, he sticks it in the register. And he's still blushing a little, but if he ignores it, it'll go away, right?
Lena tilts her head when told the amount owed, moving her purse to rest on the counter. Her hands retrieve enough cash to pay and she hands it over, waiting for change. "I've been here before and never saw you before. I figure, if you have my card you can call if you are willing to teach a bit of Hawaiian." She smiles at him, looking at his cheeks.. only now really noticing the blush. Politely she turns her head to the side to give the illusion of privacy. "However, if you want to tape it up, I wouldn't mind the advertising."
Rommy promptly calculates her change and hands that over, nodding. "It's the least I can do, yeah? And I was just the man behind the scenes before, not much to it, really." Brushing off his hands again, he begins to head back towards the greenhouse. "Thanks for stopping by, Ms. Doyle. I'll call you sometime."
Lena accepts the change and holds the flowers. Taking a sniff, she smiles brightly. The bouquet is more of a success than just one flower would have been. "I appreciate formality. It's Miss Doyle. I am not one of those too-modern girls that hide behind Ms." She raises a hand to wave, "It was a pleasure to meet you Mister Akana." Then she turns for the door. The bell signaling her departure.