Chapter 35:

Christmas with Her

Would You Paint My Dunk

Our shopping trip was far from over. We strolled around the vicinity, looking for a decent restaurant to dine in. On our way, we saw a few people taking a photo in front of a well decorated Christmas tree. Shortly, she pulled my jacket and pointed to the well-lit object.

“Keith, let’s take a photo together.”


“Where else? Come on.”

She dragged me into the tree vicinity and held her phone high. Suddenly, she grabbed my arm, and her head was right beside me. To make it worse, we couldn’t fit both of us in the middle of the portrait selfie camera, so she pressed her chest into my body.

Ahh! She is touching me!

Before I could calm myself down, she continued.

“Keith, drop the shopping bags, let’s take a photo.”

Just right as I dropped the shopping bags on the floor, she opened her camera application and started to count down.

“Ready? Three, Two, One… Cheese…”

*Shutter sound*

Thankfully, I managed to compose myself in time and put on a good smile. The photo turned so well that it was comparable to real couple selfies. No one would have guessed we are not a real couple.

After we took our selfie, I loaded the shopping bags back into my arm. We continued to walk side by side as we continued to explore the mall.

Walking around, we saw a bunch of huge baubles stacked up in a pyramid, imitating a Christmas tree. On our right, there are a few white wireframe reindeers that were wrapped in white string lights. A lot of people wanted to take photos on the spot, and she is not an exception.

“Keith, want to take another photo?”

Hearing her question, I wanted to respond with ‘yes’. But before I could answer, her stomach growled, and she hid her face in embarrassment.

“Oops. Jess, we better go for lunch.”

“Well… Yeah… Let’s do that.”

She snapped herself, swiftly regained her composure as we continued to walk side by side.

We browsed around, and we eventually ended up eating in a Japanese restaurant. She ordered a katsu don and iced ocha, while I ordered a ramen and lemon tea. As an addition, we ordered a platter of sushi and a serving of gyoza.

As the food arrived, she closed her eyes and prayed. Seeing her pray for her food, I decided to pray as well. After we finished our prayers, she took a spoon and looked at me.

“Keith, let’s eat.”

“Sure, likewise.”

Without further delay, she took a spoonful of her katsu don into her mouth.

“Hhmmt… It’s dewichious.” Her voice was muffled as her mouth was stuffed with food.

Looking at her enjoying her food, I am getting more interested in her. Not because of her beauty, but because of her being transparent to me.

No, I don’t mean that kind of transparency when your clothes get wet or something, I mean that she is showing her true nature to me.

Normally, you would try to protect your image when you hang out with friends, but she isn’t doing that right now. There was no speck of elegance in her, as she was eating her meal without thinking about her appearance in front of me.

I could only speculate on the reason. Maybe she got comfortable enough around me to drop her guard, maybe she trusts me enough so that I could see on this side of her, or maybe both. But either way, I’m happy to see her enjoying her food.

“Yep, it is. This ramen also tastes great.”

“Is that so? Can I get a little taste, Keith?”

“Sure.” I nodded.

She held chopsticks in her right hand and took a pinch of my portion of ramen to her mouth.

“It tastes goowd.” She is nodding softly as she chews her food.

Shortly, she took a spoonful of her katsu don and offered it into my mouth.

“Keith, here, try mine.”

Thinking that this is pretty much a kind of affectionate gesture that is usually done by couples in love, I became flustered.

But she didn’t back down. She smiled and tilted her head, and I could see her determination in her eyes as he offered the spoon once more.

I finally decided to give in and opened my mouth. But right before I could take a bite, she pulled her spoon back and put it on her mouth instead.

I have been played by her.

After she did her playful prank, she snickers while chewing the food on her mouth. Then, she took a big gulp of her ocha tea before swallowing everything down her throat.

“Ha-ha-ha. Keith, you are so fun to tease.”

Her action didn’t sit well with me, and I decided to show her my displeasure. Looking at me, she snickered once more.

“Aww, come on, don’t make that look. I’m just joking around.”

She took another spoonful of her katsu don and offered it to my face for the second time.

“Keith, this is my apology for the last time. Say ahhh!”

No, I refused to be fooled twice. She played me like a fiddle, and there is no guarantee that she won’t do it again. I won’t embarrass myself anymore.

I put my hands up and turned my head away in rejection.

“No than…”

Before I could finish my sentences, she shoved the spoon into my mouth. Apparently, it wasn’t a prank this time.

And sure enough, her katsu don was delicious. It was enough to make me forgive her mischief.

“See? I told you it’s delicious.”

“Well, yeah, you are right. You didn’t have to prank me though.”

“Oh, come on, we need to have some fun. Don’t be mad about it.”

I exhaled deeply. She had led me by the nose all this time, and she probably continues to do so. And now, my wisest option is to let her continue to take control for today. I just need to follow her lead.

We continued and finished our food. This time, I went to the cashier first and paid before she knew anything. As I paid for our food and took the receipt, she approached me and hit me on my back.

“Keith!!! Why are you the one who pays for everything? Let me pay for my own food.”

“Jess, we shared that sushi and gyoza, so I couldn’t tell how much your own food was. Anyway, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”

“If that’s the case, then let me pay half of it. Here, take it.”

She shoved a few paper bills to me, but I decided to refuse and returned it back.

“No, Jess, just think of this as my treat, will you?”

“Agh! Fine, but the next one is on me.”

“Huh? Jess, what do you mean by next? You aren’t telling me that we are going to eat in another restaurant, right?”

“Keith, are you trying to make me fat? I can’t handle another portion, oh my God.”

“Oh, then you meant that it’s for the next time we go out?”

She shook her head in response.

“No, I’m talking about today. It’s desserts, Keith! Desserts! An ice cream would be perfect to close things up.”

Hearing her response, I was left in shock.

She is craving ice cream after eating all of that? Talk about how she has a huge appetite with her slender figure. At this point, I think all the ladies in the gym would want to know her secret to keep herself in shape even if she eats a lot.

Well, I just gotta ask her if she really wants an ice cream now.

“Wait, didn’t you say that you are full? Then why are you asking for ice cream?”

“Seriously Keith, I have a separate stomach for desserts. Don’t worry, I’ll pay this time.”

How does it make sense? A separate stomach? You have only one stomach. Ah well… At this point, it’s no use thinking about it. She has surpassed my common sense and logic.

And sure enough, we ended up arriving in front of a famous and expensive ice cream vendor. She stared at the glass and looked at the flavors.

“Keith, what flavor do you want?”

“I’m full, Jess. Thank you. Besides, you can see that my hands are full at the moment.”

“Ah, it’s a shame. Well, then I’ll just order a cup, then.”

Turned her head around and looked at the shop’s attendant.

“Excuse me, one cup of vanilla chocolate chips, please.”

In the end, she was the only one who bought an ice cream. We strolled around as she held the cup in her hands, enjoying the ice cream alone as I carried the shopping bags.

“What’s wrong Keith? You want to try?”

“Nah. I just love to see your smiling face.”

She blushed as I flattered her.

“Aww, that’s so sweet. Your words are even sweeter than this ice cream.”

She scooped the ice cream with the small spoon on her hand and offered it to me.

“Since you are such a sweetheart, then I shall return the favor. Here, try it.”

I let myself be fed by her. Her sweetness to me didn’t lose out to the ice cream’s.

Hold on… Is this her signal to me? Is she trying to tell me that she is interested in me as well? If our feelings are mutual, then… I just need to have the courage to ask her out for real. It’s time to make this fake couple into a real one.

Well… Now I just have to find the best time to confess…

We continued to walk around as the day turned into night. After a while, we finally arrived at the parking lot.

A lot of lamp posts showering its light, illuminating the scene, and strip lights that are tied between them are blinking red and green. Also, there are a lot of cars going left and right, and their spotlights enlighten the scenery further.

In front of us, there stood a giant Christmas tree. It was shining brightly white, and people were crowding there to take a picture.

As we looked at it, I suddenly felt something cold hit my hair. And soon enough, we are watching a few white particles raining from the sky.

It’s snowing.

Weird, it’s very rare for San Francisco to have snow. It had been a long time since the last one…

Shortly, she looked at me intently.

“Keith, I…”

Her sentence was interrupted by a loud ringing noise in her pocket. She took her phone and answered.

“Hello? Mom? Oh yes, I’ll come back home shortly. Sure, I love you mom.”


It was the end of the call. She pocketed her phone and sighed.

“Well, Keith, I need to go home. I’m sorry, but we have to end things today.”

Ah, I guess it's not the best time to do that. I guess I could be patient for another chance.

“Sure, let’s go home.”

I booked another online taxi service, and we ended up looking at the Christmas tree for a while before the driver arrived.

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