Chapter 22:

sceNe 22 - ꜱʜoᴘᴘiNg ᴅaᴛe

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

I had spent so long looking at Cryztal on my tiny little phone screen that I barely had any chances to simply look at her beauty in-person. At least, until I asked her out. That was super cool, right? And her face when I said it? She was so flustered! I wish I could have taken a picture!

But I don’t need pictures anymore! Now I can sit by her any time I want and look at her. Her hair always looked so soft, but it's really more like…feathery? Yeah. Very fluffy and fun to bury my face in! I really could just rest my head on her shoulder forever. I’ve resisted for some time, but I want to kiss her smooth neck. Not to mention her hands! I’d seen her give herself manicures while streaming, but her nail beds are so tidy and her nails so clean! Holding her hand makes my fingers feel stumpy, but comforted. Such slender fing–

“Hello? Nai-bu?”

Oh! Her voice! Her smokey voice! She always growls when it's a natural reaction, good or bad!


And those eyes! So big, and sharp! I can feel them gazing deeply into my own! Not because she’s looking at a camera, but because she’s really looking right at me. Right at me. Oh shit!

I snapped out of my trance. Cryztal and I were sitting at the mall’s food court and I was so swept up in her radiance that I lost focus. As I was coming back, she looked a little annoyed with me.

“Earth to Nai-bu!” She said, waving her hand in front of my face. “Are you back now?”

“Yeah! Sorry! I was just thinking about how hot you are.” I said, smugly.

She sighed. “That’s always your excuse. I was trying to ask if you wanted anything to eat. My treat.”

“Oh! No thank you. I think I’m good.” I wasn’t very hungry yet.

“Cool. I’ll just have a snack then we can keep shopping.” Cryztal said this, then took out a piece of the jerky she always eats.

“Why don’t I get you something different for a snack? You’re always eating the same thing.”

She shook her head. “It’s fine. The taste is kinda comforting. Helps me keep my cool in crowded places, ya know?”

That’s right. When we reconnected she mentioned being bad with crowds. And the time after that at the park even made her transform. It was probably for the best that I didn’t pry, but every time she chewed on jerky, I looked forward to cooking for her. Whether it was repurposing some leftovers from work, or going out of my way to make something, I wanted her to have something nicer than just some jerky and to-go food. Streamers need to eat better!

When Cryztal finished her snack, we started walking to the next store we wanted to check out. Cryztal wanted to go shopping for clothes as a date because she hadn’t gone clothes shopping in-person since she was a kid. I asked her about how she got clothes when she started transitioning in high school, and she said it was mostly clothes loaned by friends. But asking more, she didn’t really open up.

“Why don’t we meet up with your high school friends some time?” I asked, curious.

Cryztal looked unamused. “I don’t really keep up with them anymore. They went off to college and we sorta fell out.”

“There’s no one you could just hang out with?” I pressed.

“Other than Jason? Nope.” She had a tone that made it clear she wasn’t going to give me more.

All of the stories from high school that she shared always included Jason, and she never named any of her other friends. I could ask Jason sometime, but I should definitely leave it alone for now. I still wished I was in her life when she started to notice these things about herself. I could have helped! But maybe I would have ended up like those high school friends…

We got to the store and I immediately wanted to pick something out for her. I wanted her to wear more dresses, but she was a bit hesitant. I didn’t realize it, but she seemed to prefer keeping her arms and legs exposed, and since she had transformed a few times since we saw each other, she didn’t want to risk ripping a one-piece outfit when her tail sprouted. I managed to convince her to try on a swimsuit, something she had been avoiding for sometime, but I felt would be necessary so we could try going to the beach or something.

As she entered the dressing room, she stuck her head out and pointed at me.

“No peeking.”

This was not said playfully. At the first shop, I went into the changing room with her, and ended up just watching her undress before she kicked me out and insisted we use separate changing rooms. How could I help myself? Isn’t the best part about having a girlfriend being able to avoid getting funny looks when you sneak off together? Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Cryztal put her hand out of the dressing room, saying she was done changing and I could look now. And just like at the food court, I was standing there, lost once again. Engrossed in how gorgeous my childhood friend really had grown up to be.

“H-How does it look?” She asked, more embarrassed than I expected.

“I wish I could take you to the waterpark today.” I said, absolutely staring.

“Oh?” She sounded happy to hear that.

“But I also don’t want to let anyone else look at you.”

She put her hand over my eyes.

“Don’t be gross.”

That time she was being playful.

I convinced her to buy the swimsuit and tried to get her excited about all the cool places we could go, and she seemed like she was getting excited. The whole day she walked really close to me. Maybe she was scared? I desperately wanted to hold her hand, but I wasn’t sure if it was too soon to be doing that. Would she even like PDA? This was our first real date, and already a sign we had plenty of steps ahead of us.