love and gelato
Victor’s life consists of three things: taking classes at the local university, figure skating on the weekends, and working at a florist shop downtown. After years upon years of monotony, he’s convinced that nothing can take him by surprise anymore. However, when a new employee begins working at Celestino’s, a gelato shop across the road, Victor’s immediately intrigued. Something about watching “gelato boy” work, or laugh, or dance when he thinks no one is watching ignites emotions within Victor that he thought long buried, and soon enough he finds himself longing to meet the boy behind the counter.
In order to fulfill his wish, Victor begins leaving flowers with flirty notes attached to them outside Celestino’s, knowing gelato boy will find them the next morning. It becomes a routine, another expected part of his day, but what happens when notes written on cups begin appearing in return?
Victor’s never been in love.
Sure, he’s had flings over the years, short, temperate relationships that fizzled out before they really began, but he’s never felt anything close to what all those sappy, romantic songs talk about. No butterflies in the pit of his stomach, no talking on the phone into the early hours of the morning, no pining for someone he can’t have. He can count on one hand the amount of times he’s been on a second date, and he’s never been on a third.
Ultimately, Victor’s decided that people are simply boring, and that’s the last thing he needs when his life is already an ocean of monotony. Every day is the same, a cycle of going to class, working at Yakov’s Flower Emporium, and skating whenever he’s able. He can wake up in the morning and know exactly what he’s going to do and who he’s going to see. Nothing’s exciting anymore and hasn’t been for a long time. The last thing he needs is a bland romantic life to match, and after years of messy one night stands and unfulfilling coffee dates, Victor’s resigned himself to the fact that for now, at least, he’s better off alone.
But then gelato boy comes along and Victor suddenly finds himself questioning everything.
It was three months ago when Victor saw gelato boy for the first time. He’s fixing the arrangements for the flower shop’s front counter display when he glances up and sees a guy who takes his breath away. The boy is casually standing in Celestino’s, the gelato shop that popped up about a year ago, looking out of place behind the counter. His black hair is unruly, swooping across his forehead and falling in front of a pair of half-rimmed, blue glasses. His hip is cocked out to the side and he’s wringing his hands together, only stopping when Celestino appears from the back room and hands him one of the shop’s obnoxious, lime green aprons to wear. The boy takes it with a devastatingly beautiful smile then loops it over his head, laughing when it catches on his ear.
Adorable, Victor thinks.
He ends up discreetly watching the boy for the rest of his shift. When Yakov asks for a volunteer to water the window boxes, Victor raises his hand before anyone else can get a word in edgewise, because he knows he can sneak glances at the boy while he does it. When he is assigned desk duty, Victor finds himself more entertained by the boy taking notes on gelato flavors than doing his own work. And when he is closing up for the day, Victor nearly burns down the building when he knocks a candle over and sets a pile of business cards on fire, too distracted by the boy swaying his hips to a song Victor can’t hear.
Needless to say, Victor is one-hundred percent smitten, and the following weeks are filled with his pathetic, lovelorn pining. It seems like nobody can escape his bemoaning over “gelato boy,” as they’ve all come to refer to Celestino’s mystery worker. If Victor isn’t talking about gelato boy, then he’s doodling pictures of him on discarded receipts. If he’s not doodling, then he’s making heart eyes at him through the window. And if he’s not making heart eyes, then he’s finding any excuse to work by front desk where he can have clear view of Celestino’s.
It’s ridiculous, enough that his coworkers intervene.