Chapter 56:

A Date with Bailey Part 1

New Leaf!

One day Bailey asked me to accompany her shopping after our shift officially ended. Why? Well, she never told me. We are not only going to the Beattie’s Heart Shopping Centre, but we are also going to explore the surrounding area.Bookmark here

We were riding on the subway, both wearing our business attire. The car that we are riding has a lot of people, so we are standing.Bookmark here

“Hey Ren, thanks for coming with me.”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“You usually spend additional hours at work, so you probably aren’t busy, right?”Bookmark here

I nodded again. She was not wrong. I can go home right when the shift ends, but I usually leave two hours after that. And I don't really have much going on at home that I need to attend to — I can tend to Camryn, but she is working at Alente Bistro today.Bookmark here

After a few minutes, after arriving at a stop, some passengers got off. Not a lot of people got onto the subway, so some seats were vacant. Some other standing passengers filled those seats, but a single seat was free in front of us.Bookmark here

I turned to Bailey and gestured towards the free seat.Bookmark here

“Bailey, do you want to sit?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

Bailey looked like she was already inching towards the seat. When I asked her, she stopped and turned to look at me in slight shock.Bookmark here

Maybe she did not hear?Bookmark here

“Oh, I asked if you wanted to sit, but it looks like you were already going to.”Bookmark here

“I see… Um, yeah…”Bookmark here

Bailey stared at me and squinted her eyes in puzzlement. Well, we have been standing for about ten minutes, so of course, someone would want to take a break.Bookmark here

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After a while, we arrived at the Beattie’s Heart Shopping Centre. Bailey led me throughout the mall and to a clothing store with various types of clothing. The size of the store was not large like Univear or the department store, but it was not the small typical size of other stores here.Bookmark here

While looking through a circular rack with tops hung on clothes hangers, Bailey pulled one out.Bookmark here

“Oh, this one’s cute…”Bookmark here

It was a mainly blue and pink blouse with flower designs on it. Bailey put it up to her chest and turned to face me. Bookmark here

“So Ren, what do you think? It suits me, yeah?”Bookmark here

What I think, eh? Um… It is a blouse… It fits her… It is… blue and pink… What else can I say?.. She is asking for my opinion, huh? But… I don't really have one. Should I just agree with what she said?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, y-yeah… It looks cute on you…”Bookmark here

When I declared that, Bailey looked at me again with the same look she gave me on the subway — squinting in puzzlement.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry, I said it looks-”Bookmark here

“Yeah!”Bookmark here

Bailey briskly slapped me on the back of my head. The hit was hard, but I was not really bothered by it — it never did, and she also does it often.Bookmark here

“S-Shut up, idiot! Yeah, I heard you!”Bookmark here

Hm?..Bookmark here

She quickly turned from me and hung the blouse over her crossed arms. She was crossing them tightly and lowered her head.Bookmark here

“Hmph! Whatever, it’s not like I let your decisions influence the things I buy!..”Bookmark here

Hm? Is she mad? Well, whenever she acts like this, she usually says that she is not mad… And at that moment, was I sensing that she was a bit bashful? Well, she was acting angry, but her body language hinted at her being coy. Hm… Bookmark here

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We were walking through the mall, and Bailey was holding the bag of clothes she bought. Bookmark here

While I walked beside her, I turned.Bookmark here

“Bailey, would you like me to hold that?”Bookmark here

“What!?”Bookmark here

Oh, is there something wrong with her ears today? Well, there are a lot of people here, so it can be sort of hard to hear.Bookmark here

“Oh, I asked if-”Bookmark here

“Ren, I’m not freaking deaf! Idiot!”Bookmark here

She sharply turned her head from me and quickly shoved the bag towards me.Bookmark here

“F-Fine! If you want to hold it, then fine… Oh, and, um… T-Thanks…”Bookmark here

Despite seeming angry and being assertive, she turned a little timid. Bookmark here

“Sure…”Bookmark here

I took the bag.Bookmark here

“Hmph!”Bookmark here

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After a while of shopping, we decided to eat at the food court — earlier, I texted Camryn that I would not be eating dinner at home. We were seated at a table for two people, and we both had food from the same restaurant. Bookmark here

While eating, Bailey started a conversation with me.Bookmark here

“Hey Ren, how are you holding up?”Bookmark here

I looked up at her.Bookmark here

“With this shopping trip, I mean. I’ve been dragging you through this huge mall, so you’re probably tired, right?”Bookmark here

I shook my head.Bookmark here

“Not really.”Bookmark here

A small moment of silence fell between us.Bookmark here

“U-Um… T-Thanks for your concern…”Bookmark here

Bailey opened her eyes at me. She was not completely surprised, but just caught slightly off guard.Bookmark here

“Huh? O-Oh, yeah… Whatever…”Bookmark here

More silence fell between us.Bookmark here

I should continue this conversation, right? But what should I say? Ask a question? About what? Hm… We have been acquainted with each other since high school, so there are a lot of experiences we have in common. However… I am not sure I have enough knowledge about those topics to sufficiently continue a conversation about them — I guess I had little interest in them…Bookmark here

I started to stroke my chin.Bookmark here

“Um… It sure is hot outside, right?”Bookmark here

“The hell?..”Bookmark here

Bailey looked at me with the same expression that I became familiar with — puzzlement and shock. However, there was a slight display of disgust.Bookmark here

Oh, did you not like that? Well, sorry about that — it is a rather dull topic, right?.. But seriously, that was all I could think of — I do not have sufficient knowledge of things that may interest you. I do not think we share the same interests, so of course, I won’t spend time learning about them… But regardless, I am really sorry…Bookmark here

“Um, yeah…”Bookmark here

I put my hands down and looked up.Bookmark here

“Yeah, it sure is getting hotter out there. It’s summer, so I guess we should expect it…”Bookmark here

And so, our conversations continued. Bailey spoke as if she were disinterested in the topics, but I couldn't help but feel the opposite…Bookmark here

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On the way upstairs, we were walking past a store that Camryn and I bought from when we visited.Bookmark here

“Authen-Berry… Hey Bailey, do you want some?”Bookmark here

Bailey was ahead and stopped walking. She went towards me while caressing the back of her neck.Bookmark here

“Authen-Berry? Um… Sure, yeah, I guess I’ll get some…”Bookmark here

She sounded surprised at first.Bookmark here

“Okay. I will order, what would you like?”Bookmark here

She shook her head.Bookmark here

“What!? No, I’ll pay for myself…”Bookmark here

I tilted my head.Bookmark here

“Really? No, I insist — I will pay.”Bookmark here

“Stop! Ren, our salaries are the same, so I can afford my own…”Bookmark here

“I know that our salaries are similar, but I insist. Really, this is not a big loss or hassle for me.”Bookmark here

Bailey sighed deeply at me and shook her head while putting her hand on her forehead.Bookmark here

“Wha- What are you saying?! You know, I can afford my own stuff, thank you! So stop!”Bookmark here

What? Why was she resisting so strongly? This is a polite gesture to buy things for others, right? But since she seems annoyed by my tenacity, I guess I should stop…Bookmark here

Bailey started walking towards the store while I stayed in that spot. After a few seconds, she turned to me.Bookmark here

“Hey, why aren’t you coming?”Bookmark here

I raised an eyebrow.Bookmark here

“You’re the one who suggested it to me, so aren’t you getting something?”Bookmark here

I shook my head.Bookmark here

“Oh, I didn't really plan on getting anything… I was mainly asking if you wanted to get.”Bookmark here

“Oh, what the hell, man!?”Bookmark here

She ran back to me and slapped the back of my head.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to be the only one getting something!”Bookmark here

“Oh? I-I hear the drinks sold here are good…”Bookmark here

“What!? Hell yeah, they are!”Bookmark here

“If you like them, you should get them.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, but… Um… It’s like… I-I can’t because… Um…”Bookmark here

She slapped the back of my head again. She’s usually is not angry when she does this, but this time, she seems to be.Bookmark here

“You know, just forget it!”Bookmark here

She started walking back towards the shop. I saw that the servers behind the main counter were smiling sincerely at us.Bookmark here

“I’ll just buy something for you! Everyone likes chocolate, so I’ll get you a chocolate milk tea…”Bookmark here

“O-Oh, that is not necessary.”Bookmark here

“Shut up, it is…”Bookmark here

She quickly turned around to face me. Her face looks a bit red — is she tired because of the shopping trip.Bookmark here

“Wait, no, it is not necessary. But, I’ll just get it anyway…”Bookmark here

“Oh, then I will reimburse you-”Bookmark here

“No, keep your money! I-I, um, I’ll pay — m-my treat…”Bookmark here

Bailey quickly turned around and walked towards the counter — her walking seemed off to me. Bookmark here

So I am getting chocolate milk tea… It is not that I dislike that flavour, I am actually okay with chocolate. But since someone else is getting it for me, I should enjoy it...Bookmark here

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