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Bright Flowers
Kiriena hummed quietly to herself as she tended to the plants in her greenhouse. The greenhouse was a small one behind her shop. She had a buzzer set in that alerted her if anyone entered the store. It was late enough in the evening that she had sent Tasha home.

With the upcoming fundraiser for Africa, she had a lot of people coming in for corsages and boutonnieres. That was keeping her and her two employees busy. She was really hoping that they would want arrangements for the tables at the event. Kiriena imagined that the colors would enliven the event as well.

Kiriena's hum turned into a song as she moved to a group of white roses. This particular group looked very beautiful today. She was interrupted by a ringing phone. Kiriena smiled and grabbed a hand towel and wiped the dirt off of her hands before picking up the phone.

"Good evening, Kiriena's Flowers, can I help you?"
Nika Raskov was stretched out in the cockpit of her car, hurtling along the Hyperloop between Minsk and Moscow at seven hundred some-odd miles per hour. According to the dash display, her ETA was twenty-five minutes with two hundred and fiftyish miles left to go. She’d left Bologna a little over two hours prior after a day of meetings at Ducati Corse. The racer was due at the Moscow Speedway the day after tomorrow for the final test of the GP45. The extra day would be spent making her Moscow condo homey again since she’d spent the winter break split between her homes in Italy and the Canary Islands for the most part. This meant errands stocking up on provisions and sundries including naturally, foodstuffs. When she had time, Nika preferred to source her food locally as opposed to the mega market shopping of Ascazon. Especially if there was a hidden local treasure around. Her doorman, Yury, had recommended she check out a newish shop in the area.

She keyed in the number and was surprised to hear someone answer. What the hell time was it anyway? “Hello, I’ve heard you sell the best produce in Moscow.” Nothing wrong with opening a conversation with a little unsolicited flattery. Was anything in season? Nika had no idea. With the speed of logistics nowadays shrinking world markets, you could get anything in a day after all, she probably wouldn’t know the answer to that question. Not really her area. “I’d love to pop in and see your shop tonight or tomorrow if you’re closing soon. Do you give tours?”
The person on the other end sounded somewhat surprised to get an answer. Kiriena quickly looked at the clock and realized why. Most stores would be closed by now, but Kiriena had a tendency to get lost in her work.

The flattery didn't go unnoticed. In fact, it made the red head smile. It always surprised her how much attention her little shop had gotten in the year that it had been opened. All of her hard work had certainly paid off.

"Most of our produce is grown here or in my garden and is very fresh. We have some winter squash in stock as well as some potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots and turnips. I also have some tomatoes and cucumbers that I was able to grow in the greenhouse."

The request for a tour was something she didn't get often, but it had happened before. "I would love to show you around. I'll be in the shop for another couple of hours, so feel free to stop by tonight, or if you prefer, you can come in tomorrow morning."
It was actually really neat when you could hear a smile over the phone. Maybe it was simply a lighter tone or something but the cheeriness offset the dreary travel of the hyperloop. The good news about her timing and the bright mood of the proprietor made her smile right back. She couldn’t help a little harmless flirt.

“Stop, you’re making me hungry!” A clearly-fake groan. “You know you shouldn’t go shopping when you’re hungry!” Nika laughed and moved on.

“I’d love to see the greenhouse. I couldn’t grow moss on a rock so King’s to you. I’m twenty-five minutes out so I’ll be there in a jiff.” Holy cannoli, she was getting hungry. Uh oh. Good for business...bad for her pocketbook. Oh well. She did favor supporting small businesses.
Kiriena had to let out a laugh at the comment the woman on the other end said. "But shopping while you're hungry is so good for my business."
she said in a teasing manner. Kiriena hadn't even met the person on the other end, but she already liked her.

Twenty-five minutes would be good enough for her to work a little more on her current job. "Great!"
she said cheerfully. "I look forward to seeing you then."

After a polite goodbye, the phone was hung up and Kiriena began to work once more. She started outside the shop, feeling slightly sad that the window boxes were still empty. It was still too cold to really start planting outdoor plants.

Inside the shop everything was neat. The aromas of different plants mixed together creating a gentle and pleasant smell. Unlike soap and perfume shops, they didn't create a headache. Most people found it relaxing. Flowers of different types decorated the rooms as well as other plants. Kiriena briefly checked on each of them before returning to the green house.

Unlike the front room, which had plants arranged in different sections for visual appeal, the greenhouse was more utilitarian. Plants were in rows, sorted by type. Kiriena moved to the plant she had been working on before and finished trimming it.

As she did, she looked at the clock. Her time was about up so she moved to the front room, hearing a ding as she entered. Kiriena was just in time it seemed. She wiped her hands on a towel and greeted her guest.

"Hello! I'm Kiriena, you must be the woman I spoke to on the phone."
“You’ve got me there.” Nika laughed at the other woman’s joke. “Alright, see you shortly.”

Her remaining time on the sled was used on more web errands. She ordered some meat and raw milk from a little butcher named Ivan then notated the delivery on her schedule. Gillian would coordinate with security and dispatch her delivery drone if Ivan’s was tied up. Then she puttered around ordering parts for her project bike; tires, a fender eliminator, a chain, oil and filter. With five minutes to go she switched her cockpit back to self-drive mode, pulled up the traffic maps on her HUD and worked out her route. One minute to go and she fired up her engine and enjoyed the rumble of the exhaust inside the pressurized pod.

The ‘loop spit her out after a very brief queue of cars also arriving in Moscow. The underground lift put her in a spot next to the sidewalk and it was an easy merge into traffic this time of night. Her pace was tame as she weaved through and around the other vehicles on the road. The turbos could earn their keep perhaps later. It would be rude to blip about waking kids and setting off alarms this time of night. Sure, she could switch into stealth mode too but what was the fun in that? So she let her car have his unmistakable rumble that was certain to turn the heads of fellow petrol lovers, were there any about. An acquired taste perhaps.

The assassin pulled into a spot right out front of those empty window boxes. She stretched as she walked to the door and chuckled at the bell as she entered. Nice touch. Her eyes darted about casually, accessing.

A woman greeted her immediately. The Italian extended her calloused hand and smiled. “I am indeed. Nika Raskov; a pleasure to meet you, Kiriena.” The other woman had about four inches on her, red hair where hers was buzzed and gorgeous green eyes to her blue. Very cute indeed.

Having come from work Nika was clad head to toe in Team Corse attire, aside from her jeans. While she wasn’t thinking about it, it could come off as a little douchey. That or she really liked Ducati. At least it wasn’t the bright red ensemble they wore yesterday but rather a black light jacket with a subdued logo embossed on the chest. It’s possible her name was on the other side too. Good thing she wasn’t thinking about it. “Lovely shop you have. Smells great in here too.” Nika was a sucker for things that smelled good.
Edited by Nika Raskov, Feb 26 2018, 10:10 PM.
((OOC: I apologize for the wait on this))

Kiriena smiled at the woman. The smell of gasoline exhaust surrounded her. It wasn't that it was overbearing, but Kiriena's nose immediately picked out the unfamiliar scent, even though Kiriena kept a reaction from appearing on her face. The other woman was shorter than she was, had a shaved head, and blue eyes. She wore some sort of a team attire. Kiriena didn't follow much in the the world of athletics, so Kiriena wasn't quite sure what it meant. This was all in contrast to the simple jeans and blue t-shirt Kiriena wore underneath her apron filled with simple gardening tools.

Kiriena shook the other woman's proffered hand, noting the calluses. Kiriena also had callused hands from her work. "Thank you,"
Kiriena said to the compliments given by Nika. "Kiriena Blum, nice to meet you as well. How about we do the tour first, that way you don't have to carry things around while we look."

Kiriena gestured and led the way into the greenhouse. "I keep the shop in a more decorative style, but the greenhouse is strictly utilitarian. Not that it isn't beautiful to look at."

The bright colors of flowers and other blooming plants were lined in rows. Sun lamps kept the place lit, while providing the appropriate light for the plants to photosynthesize.

"It is smaller than mass production greenhouses, but every plant here is taken care of individually. It takes a lot of work, but I love what I do."
She smiled, and noticing that one of the plants needed pruning, quickly did so, pulling out clippers from her apron and replacing them as she finished.

Edited by Kiriena, Mar 7 2018, 09:08 AM.
((Now I'M so sorry!))

Nika would have been mortified to learn she carried even the slightest hint of hydrocarbons. She did pride herself on good hygiene and in fact her mechanics were always giving her crap for wearing gloves when she was wrenching on something. Her reply was normally something sarcastic about their significant others’ having to be touched by dirty hands. Dumbasses.

The shop was amazing and she said so. The greenhouse was even better. Nika did appreciate an order to things and this was...felt...refreshing. Clean within reason, tidy. Nice. The assassin was impressed.

She let her gaze wander appreciatively among the rows of green in every shade. “Trees.” She said absently. “ you have trees that grow fruit too?” Hopefully that hadn’t come out as lame as it sounded after the fact in her head. She’d always thought fruit on trees was rather magical. Really. Because it all seemed so unlikely. A flower turning into a big-assed apple. Fanciful. The woman had always meant to visit an orchard, because she liked the order of the rows of trees...and even had looked into buying one at some point five or so years ago. Life distracts you though and with the weird climate in the last decade prices had shot up astronomically for any kind of farm-y type places of size. In truth her agent had been afraid the racer was wanting to retire and settle into #farmlife and had lied about the price. Nika had settled instead for a time lapse digital photowall of an orchard in the US State of Washington. It was in her den and every now and again she’d curl up in a chair with a book and stare at it as the seasons changed. Magic...but the good kind.

Nika smiled mischievously at her hostess for no outwardly apparent reason whatsoever. The woman was looking forward to visiting her den tonight. “Shopping without a list is also dangerous…” She laughed.
Kiriena smiled at the woman. She seemed taken in by what she saw, and Kiriena always loved it when people appreciated the beauty of plant life.

"My greenhouse is a little too small for having trees, but I do have a few in my yard at home. I grow apples and cherries, but it's still a little too cold yet to be in bloom."
she answered honestly.

Watching those trees grow as the season changed was one of her favorite pastimes. She would often sit underneath one, humming a tune as she read or just rested. Her neighbors probably thought she was weird, but they never turned down a gift of fresh apples or cherries.

Kiriena laughed at Nika's comment as well. "Once again, that's good for my business."
Kiriena grabbed a nearby basket, and handed it to Nika. "Is there anything in particular you are looking for."
Right, of course. She nodded, looking around as the other woman answered her ignorant inquiry. Too small for trees. Nika figured it would be unfair too, keeping something so big indoors and away from the sun. Always pruned and controlled.

The tail-end of winter. Ugh, of course again. Where was her brain today? If she were working she’d already be in the frame of mind the chill of pre-season testing brought along. Another truth about the world being smaller these days. Three days ago she was on a private beach in the Canaries. Then Italy for two days and now Moscow. Small world.

Nika smiled and took the basket with a polite dip of her head. “I’m just getting back into the city and my pantry is as bare as Siberia. I’ll take at least two of everything.” She frowned. “Except olives. Olives are not food.” Yes they grew on trees but Kiriena could also stock jarred foodstuffs. Nika didn’t know; that’s why she was here. “Yup, load me up and I’ll be out of your hair.”
Edited by Nika Raskov, May 7 2018, 06:36 PM.

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