Chapter 5:

First Date

A Love So Sweet, I Get Confused

Standing at the entrance of the store, ‘Hana’ couldn’t quite comprehend the chaotic noise in one ear and the quietness in the other ear. The store he was in was like a ghost town, in fact he was pretty sure he saw a tumble weed passed by him. This was the complete opposite to what was happening outside the store. Groups of teenagers and families roaming the mall, choosing much more interesting stores to visit. ‘Hana’ envied them in a way. Sighing, he leant against the wall, bringing his phone close to his face and decided to play a game to pass the time.

Today was the date with Akio, at least he thought it was a date. So here he was, Mitsu was ‘Hana’ today and was bored out of his mind. It appeared that Akio’s dream idea of a first date is a bookstore hidden in the back of the mall and leaving his date standard at the entrance while he runs off like a child running through the snow. ‘Hana’ whined, trying to get comfortable, his feet starting to hurt from standing for so long. Failing to get comfortable, he locked his phone, putting it in his jacket pocket and deciding to start exploring. He looked at the signs, situated above the shelves and finding his way to the manga section. “Might as well how well stocked it is,” he said to himself, hoping he might be able to find a missing volume for his collection.

Disappointed in the size of the collection, ‘Hana’ thought it couldn’t be helped, this particular store clearly specialised in older books so he shouldn’t have given himself hope. He used his finger to read the titles along the spine, taking extra care to check the volume on the bottom of each spine and then he saw it. A volume he had been hunting for a number of years. Except it was on the top shelf. He gulped, stepping up onto his tip toes, out stretching his fingers in effort to reach it. He groaned, feeling his whole body stretched. Just a bit more, he thoughted to himself. The tip of his fingers grazed the spine but it was for not. He sighed, flattening his feet and puffing his cheeks out in defeat. “Want me to grab it for you?”

‘Hana’ turned expecting to see Akio but was shocked to see a tower of books where Akio should have been. “Eh?” He squealed, leaping forward to take some of the books off Akio.

Akio laughed, hearing ‘Hana’ struggle with the books, almost loosing balance. He rubbed the back of his neck, speaking up again, “I guess I got carried away.”

“Just a bit,” ‘Hana’ answered back. He tried to turn his head, scanning the titles of the various books, wanting to get a bit more insight into what Akio liked without directly asking about it. He raised a brow; they were all cake related books.

Fortunately, this was a moment ‘Hana’ was glad for Akio to be so taller as he managed to get ‘Hana’s desired volume. Akio took the books back, managing to moving the books in a way ‘Hana’ could grab his manga. Akio felt a pang in his chest, feeling guilty over having made ‘Hana’ stand by herself for who knows how long. They went to the check out, Akio’s haul hitting the counter with a thump. Akio turned to ‘Hana’ grabbing the book and putting it with his haul. “What th-”

“It’s an apology,” Akio gave ‘Hana’ a bright smile, ‘Hana’ feeling his chest tighten and face heat up. “Besides, compared to my haul, what’s one more book?” ‘Hana’ felt touched by the simple gesture, playing with his hands to distract himself from the thoughts going through his head. “Is there anywhere you want to go?”

Akio had asked not even looking to ‘Hana’ as he paid for the books. Place a finger to his lips, ‘Hana’ hummed, pondering on the idea. Ideally, he would like to visit the arcade but based off the quiet bookstore Akio chose, that might not be the best idea. The sound of hum was interrupted by the rumbling in his stomach. He licked his lips, the sudden sensation coming to his mind. “I would like something sweet,” ‘Hana’ answered looking up to Akio, as he took the book.

“Something sweet huh?” Akio smirked, grabbing his bagged-up haul, and leading ‘Hana’ to get something sweet.

Akio had led ‘Hana’ outside. He gestured for ‘Hana’ to take a seat at the near by bench by the grassy area, leaving ‘Hana’ with the book haul as he ran off to a close by food truck. ‘Hana’ watched in wonder, anticipating what Akio could possibly be bringing back.

It was a few minutes before Akio came back over, carrying two delicious looking crepes. ‘Hana’ licked his lips, reaching out for the, what he presumed, strawberry flavoured cake. ‘Hana’ took a small bite, letting out a squeal at how the flavours tingled on his tongue. Finishing the bite, he immediately went in for another. “You certainly like sweet things huh?” Akio laughed, sitting beside ‘Hana’. ‘Hana’ nodded, eagerly taking another bite. “How about next time,” Mouthful, ‘Hana’ looked up to Akio. “I’ll make you something sweet.”