Chapter 18:

Shopping Spree

Annika Says No!

Lyons Mall.

Also known as the biggest mall in all of UniverCity, located right by the heart of the city. The place may only have four floors in height, but its total area spans over half a million square meters, with over a thousand stores spread throughout its walls. With all the myriad of establishments one can buy from, this may very well be an avid shopper’s wet dream.

Naturally, the place was swarming with people, and beautiful babes. I must not let down my guard and keep my eyes loyal to Annika!


“Let’s check out this store next!” Annika pointed to a store nearby.

Her bright blue eyes sparkled like stars as she dragged me and Max around with unfathomable enthusiasm.

“Ugh, m-my legs…” Max cried as he wobbled on his feet.

“I’m getting hungry.” I said as I rubbed my stomach.

“Just a few more stores, I promise!” Annika clasped her hands together.

“We’ve probably checked over fifty stores by now,” I said.

“Two hundred sixty-nine to be exact!” Annika said.

I sighed and brushed up my hair.

Women can be the most chaotic creatures when given the opportunity. As someone who used to play around with them for the longest time, I would know. Sometimes, I wondered how I was even able to keep up with their energy.

Annika shuffled through the clothes like a speed reader and their books, picking out the best dresses and jumping from one shoe to another. Max and I took a seat inside the store and sighed, leaning on each other’s backs.

“This is tough!” Max complained. “Is that what men with girlfriends have to do on a daily basis?”

“That’s ridiculous. They’d all lose their minds if that happened,” I said. “No one would have the energy to shop everyday, unless they’re monsters.”

Despite all the struggle I had to go through following Annika with her shopping adventure, it was all worth the effort for me personally. And that was because….

“Kwan, how does this dress look?”

Annika came out with a light blue denim dress, twirling around like a spinning flower. The outfit seemed to align with her body perfectly, lining the shape of her hips without showing it off too much. The colors suited a lady of her personality, displaying a shade of gentleness and tranquility. It didn’t really matter what she wore though, since she looked good in all of them anyway. I simply enjoyed gazing at the white-haired beauty in different forms. My legs be damned if they faded into dust, as long as her presence was around, I would forever cherish these long-winding moments, even if I no longer deserved it.

Why did I betray her? Why was I such an idiot?

“Kwan! You’re spacing out again!”

“Ah!” I spaced back into reality. “Sorry, I was just appreciating how good you looked in that dress in my head.”

Max chuckled. “The man was starstruck by your beauty, boss.”

Annika gave me an expressionless face.

“At least voice out your thoughts, airhead,” she muttered and she looked away.

“I’m getting too hungry to think straight.” I scratched my head.

“Aw, poor baby.” Annika patted my head. “Sorry, I got carried away.”

“Stop that.” I moved her hand away.

Annika giggled. “Anyways, as promised, dinner’s on me everyone!”

“Free food!” Max raised his fist.

“You don’t have to,” I said.

“I insist.” Annika crossed her arms. “I’d feel guilty for making you put up with my shopping tendencies without anything in exchange, you know?”

She said that while giving me the pleading puppy eyes. I looked away and sighed.


After walking around an array of restaurants in the vicinity, we settled for a pizza place named ‘Hector’s Pizza’.

“Mhm! This pizza is so good!” Max said as he happily munched on the pizza with a satisfying crunch.

“It sure is!” I said, watching the mozzarella stretch out as I slowly picked up a slice.

I held it up in the air and took a bite, letting all the flavors run through my tongue. The eclectic mix of melted cheese, tomato sauce, olives, mushrooms, green peppers and pepperoni bits pleased my taste buds as I indulged into the slice. A pleasure such as this felt like a sin, giving me a similar high akin to that of my enticing addictions. At that moment, as I chewed on the piece in a gentle fashion, I realized that one didn’t have to enter the world of vices to enjoy life. There were so many things out there that were much more worth experiencing.

I was about to finish it off with its crunchy crust, when I noticed Annika’s eyes locked towards me. A tint of redness seemed to envelop on my cheeks as I realized she had been observing me the whole time.

“W-Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked.

Annika smiled. “The way you enjoyed yourself with that pizza with such innocence, it makes me happy. It’s like I’m seeing the cute little Kwan again.”

“I-I don’t get it.” I could feel my face heating up even more. “I’m no longer anything like Little Kwan. You’re just imagining things.”

“Maybe.” Annika rested her hand on her cheek. “Maybe not.”

An awkward silence rested between us. Max looked at the both of us, but he ignored the silence and continued eating his pizza.

“You haven’t even started eating yet,” I said. “Go get a slice already.”

“Hehe, alright.”

Annika picked up a slice and started eating with her utensils. She chucked the fork down into the cheese, and cut them into smaller pieces with the knife. She then picked up each piece with her fork and placed it at the front of her mouth, right before stopping to look at me again.

“What is it?” she asked.

“You’re eating pizza with a fork and knife.”

“I don’t want to get the oil in my hands like you two.”

Even the way she ate pizza was elegant. The small piece seemed to go through her mouth without ever touching her lips, and the fork came out in the smoothest fashion possible.

“Why are you still looking at me?”

I scoffed. “You just so happen to look cute when you eat as well.”

“You’ve always had a way with words, you know that?” Annika said as she stabbed on another piece of pizza. “No wonder you ended up being a ladies’ man, hehe.”

“T-That’s all in the past now!” I insisted. “I’m only going to use my charms on you from now on!”

“Really?” Annika raised her eyebrow.

“Really, really!”

Annika set down her fork.

“I’m sure there’s other girls out there besides me. You just need to look for the right one.”

I grimaced on the inside, and let out a smile on the outside.

“I guess so, haha!”

Is there really no chance for us to be together again? What am I thinking? Why am I hoping for it? Why am I still in love with her? As someone who broke her heart once, do I really have the right to love her anymore?

“You’re only allowed to tell me that again when you truly mean it, Kwan.”

That line of hers came back into my memory.

Maybe there is still hope.

I just need to make sure my love for her is truly real.

After filling up our stomachs with delicious goodness, we finally left the restaurant and was about to head home, right when Max suddenly kneeled on the ground.

“Restroom….I need to go to the restroom real quick!”

Max made a mad dash through the mall, finding his way into the nearest restroom he could find. I guess all the ingredients played a number on his digestive system. Annika and I chuckled and followed after him. When we made it to the restroom, Annika decided to go in as well.

“You also want to take a dump?” I asked.

“Was it really necessary to ask?!” Annika pulled down her shirt and puffed her cheeks.

“Aw, you don’t need to be so embarrassed about it. Everyone takes a number two. It’s all a part of our nature!”


She walked inside with her cheeks as red as the pepperoni, not even bothering to give me another glance. The girl is so fun to tease. I chuckled and leaned towards a wall. Guess I’ll check my phone. Those two are probably gonna take more than a few minutes.

When I opened my phone, I noticed that Frey had sent me a message.

“I wonder what Frey’s up to these days.”

[Frey: I saw the three of you at Lyon’s Mall today. It’s best that you leave now, as soon as possible.]

[You: Huh? Why didn’t you greet us then? And why are you telling us to leave?]

[Frey: Just leave now, for your sake.]

[You: What are you talking about?]

I scratched my forehead as I tried to decipher his cryptic messages.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t my beloved Kwan!”

A woman called out to me.

Her voice was the sweetest thing ever, gentle and hypnotic in its tone, yet hearing it was enough to make my heart tremble in a swirl of emotions. My jaw shivered as it tried to open its mouth, only capable of muttering her name.


F.C Fondness