Chapter 38: The Continuation of the Double Date
Lunch was supposed to be a blessing for Kannei and Rhett since all they had to do was eat. However, they never anticipated to encounter so many troubles and most of them originated from Kannei and her list of pet peeves and dislikes. “No, I don’t want to eat burgers with onions and tomatoes,” she groaned at Rhett’s suggestion. “I don’t feel like eating burgers at all. We just had a roller coaster ride and eating those would make me vomit. Do you honestly want me to throw up?”
“All right, all right,” he huffed. “What do you want to eat then?”

That was a good question, which Kannei could not possibly answer. She only knew what she didn’t want to eat. “Can we walk once again to see what the possibilities are?” she asked. They were at the outdoor food court, but they split up into twos to order their food.
“We’ve already circled this place three times,” he complained. “You’ve already said no to Mexican food, Chinese food, Japanese food, Korean food, burgers, fries because they’re too unhealthy, and . . .”
“Oh!” she pointed to a sign. “What about this, Japadogs?”
Rhett scratched his head. “Aren’t those the same as Japanese food and American food, which you’ve already said no to?”
“No! It’s a fusion of two types of cuisine!” She stomped her right foot in fury.
 “O-kay.”
As they ordered their choice of hot dog and drink, she asked, “Oh yeah, you’re paying right?”
“Don’t I always pay?” He took out his wallet from his pocket and handed the cashier the exact amount.
She stretched her arms up into the air and added, “Good, just checking.”
While they waited for their orders, he disclosed, “Because if I don’t pay, then I’m somehow not being a gentleman and you can’t enjoy anything.”
“Wow, you’ve really caught on with me! Amazing!” She flashed him a warm smile, noting, “Usually I have to constantly remind other people about these things.”
“Precisely. That’s why I remember,” he sniveled. “I don’t want you to be complaining all the time.”
He’d rather listen to her commands than hear her complaints. Sure, she probably suffered from the infamous Princess Syndrome, where the lady believed that she could demand all she pleased, but she still agreed to his deal. Thinking about it, he didn’t understand why she’d ever say yes to his plan. They barely knew each other. They weren’t even related to each other. This wasn’t even a charitable act. Maybe, she was just being nice and . . .
Rhett saw a pair of arms swing by him. They were grabbing the large drink, and he realized that those hands belonged to Kannei as she dictated, “I’ll hold onto this jumbo-sized drink and you get some straws and the food.”
She scurried away before he could even argue. At least, she did something this time. Rhett, thus, dutifully held onto a tray of food and used his free hand to take a straw. By the time they had arrived at the table, Junsu and Naomi were already eating like typical loving couples. Naomi kept feeding Junsu with her fork and subsequently, Junsu welcomed her gesture with an open mouth. Whenever Junsu had crumbs at the corner of his mouth, she would wipe them away with a napkin. Then, she would comment, “Aw, you’re so cute, babe.”
Junsu would then blush from ear to ear. Part of him enjoyed the attention she gave him; the other part of him wished that he was the one complimenting her on her cuteness, not his supposed one. He never thought his way of eating was cute. In fact, the boys typically grimaced at him for causing disarray. Jaejoong would certainly scold him while tidying the table with a dampened table cloth.
Rhett was somewhat jealous of the way Naomi noticed the smallest details related to Junsu. He had always hoped that his girlfriend would do that; he would have been touched and if not, grateful. Instead, looking to his right, he perceived a sense of uneasiness from Kannei, who was trying to distract herself by munching at her food. He noticed at the corner of her mouth bits of bread crumbs and initially, he hadn’t wanted to reveal his discovery to her. However, he couldn’t help glancing back at the fault.
This caused Kannei to fuss, “What are you looking at? You keep looking at me as if I have something weird growing from my face.”
“There’s some food here.” He placed his finger close to his mouth.
“Here?” She tried to mirror him, yet failed. He shook his head, which prompted her to point to the other side. “Here?” she again asked and he nodded. At his nod, her hand hastily brushed her skin, hoping to erase all signs of food and embarrassment. “Is it gone?” she uttered.
“No.”
She attempted again, before sulking, “You know what? I don’t care anymore!”
Rhett, nevertheless, could not remain indifferent. Those tiny bits irked him, tugged at his brain cells. He had to remove such crumbs; thus, he leaned forward to his right, stuck out his thumb and wiped it across the area.
“There,” he could finally relax. “All better.”
While he returned to his seat, she had to take some time to think of what had just happened. He had swiped his dirty hands on her face. Pimple galore. Aside from that thought, she felt her cheeks tint and warm. Was she blushing? No, there was no way she could be blushing because of this. Experiencing a squirt of anxiety, she rapidly reached for their shared drink to calm herself. Before she could take a sip, she noted that there was only one straw stuck in the drink. She remembered that he had drunk from this straw several times now, while she hadn’t touched it at all. If it were her straw, she would have made bite marks on it. This, this was definitely his.
She scanned the tray for an extra straw, but there was none. Gasping at Yunho’s blunder, she muttered, “You didn’t bring another straw right?”
“No,” he shot back with a raised eyebrow, “why would I do that?”
“Because I need to drink as well,” she reminded and made a face that seemed like she had sipped too much grapefruit juice.
“Just use mine.”
He was pushing the drink towards her hands, forcing her to accept his offer. Kannei slide the drink back to his side, and argued, “No. I never share straws. It’s gross. Plus, I get sick easily, so it’s not good to exchange saliva.”
“Oh come on,” he insisted. “It’s not as if you’ll die from this. It’s just a straw.”
“A used straw,” she corrected.
Junsu, afraid of the possible argument that could result, butted in, “I’ll get a straw. How about that?”
“No,” Kannei refuted. “It’s not your fault, Junsu, so you shouldn’t have to do this. It’s Yunho who should get this straw.”
 “You’ll have to get it with me then,” he countered her offer.
Rhett couldn’t understand why she had to act this way, why she had to create such a commotion. It was a tiny detail, one of those points that could not be ignored just like crumbs on the corner of someone’s mouth. It shouldn’t be anyone’s fault. This, thus, was his final offer. He couldn’t be docile anymore. Even his patience had boundaries.
Naomi suddenly interrupted, “Here, Junsu and I grabbed two straws. Just take one of ours and we’ll share.”
“Thank you!” Kannei shouted.
She truly felt thankful. Junsu felt sorry for Rhett, but lucky for himself. Rhett felt frustrated. He was sure that they weren’t acting much like a couple. Finally, Naomi felt happy because compared to Kannei and Yunho, Junsu and she were so much more cooperative.
What was the classic way to end a date at an amusement park?
“Ferris wheel!” Junsu cried out their last ride.
Everything was following according to his plan. He was sure that the other boys were beginning their preparations. All Rhett and Kannei had to do was to participate in this ride, and then excuse themselves because they wanted to spend more time with each other. Junsu was pretty confident that they’d love to be alone. Didn’t couples enjoy the romantic moments? That wasn’t true for Kannei and Rhett, thanks to Kannei. Romantic feelings were annihilated right when she entered the Ferris wheel.
“I haven’t been on a Ferris wheel before,” she confessed while skipping towards a seat. “I expected more actually. It’s kind of claustrophobic and . . . Ah!”
The machine was moving upwards, and her being acrophobic did not ease the situation. She held onto the railings behind her seat. However, she was silly enough to turn her body to face the outside world.
“Ah!” she shouted again.
Rhett sat comfortably on the other side, laughing at her folly. Luckily for Kannei, she had her share of laughs when she accidentally looked downwards and spied on Junsu and Naomi, who were in the midst of a passionate kiss.
“Yunho, Yunho, you’ve got to come over here!” She urgently waved her hand, beckoning him to come. “It’s Junsu and Naomi!”
“Stop stalking other people,” he sulked in his seat.
“It’s a once in a life time chance, so just come here!” she urged. Truthfully, he walked towards her not because he supported her statement, but because he felt humiliated by her behaviour. He had to pull her away before the couple discovered her. Just as he was about to drag her to his side, she thoughtlessly mentioned, “Oh wow, Junsu looks like he’s about to eat Naomi’s face off.”
“Ugh . . .”
“And I always thought the kissing in movies was sloppy.” She chuckled.
Feeling uneasy, he scolded, “I don’t think you should be so critical.”
He too had now looked at their embrace. Not too bad, Wes.
She turned to blab, “What? I’m being objective here!”
He discounted her remark and then imitated the voice of a bubbly female lady. “You’re supposed to say something like. . . ‘Wow the view is so beautiful here. Have you ever heard of this legend that if you—’”
 “If you kiss at the very top of the Ferris wheel, you’ll be together forever?”
“Oh,” Rhett huffed, “so you know about this too.”  
“Sheesh, what do you take me for?” She folded her arms. “I so know these things. I just don’t support them.”
“Why not?”
Still spying on the other couple, she moped, “You’re supposed to create your own romance, not follow someone else’s. You know, there should be copyright laws for this.”
“So, you’d rather be kissed in a port-a-potty?” he teased.
“Ew, no!” She gave him her signature death glare. “How unhygienic.”
“Then what would you want to do?” He now relocated to a spot next to her.
“Well, if a guy asked for my permission to kiss me, I’d probably consider it.” She then took her seat and looked at him. “That is if I have feelings for him or if I’m touched by his sincerity.”
Her explanation was the basis of his curiosity. To quench his pondering mind, he posed, “So if I asked you, can I kiss you, you’d be okay?”
“Well, you can’t ask it in that dull tone. It has to be soothing to my ears.” She held his hands, widened her eyes to mimic a combination of worry and timidity, and said, “Here, I’ll show you.” Taking a breath, she whispered, “It’d be like this: can I . . . please kiss you?”
She then loosened her grasp, and placed her hands on her lap. He was somewhat disheartened by how quickly she could recover from acting. Her words were always so straightforward that sometimes, he wished that she lacked the boldness to speak her mind. Subsequently, he often became the one who excavated her words, attempting to find meaning within those fragments.
“So emphasis on the please.” He played along, wanting to know if it were possible for her words to hold meaning.   
She nodded with an impish smile. “That’s right.”
Rhett returned her smile, sensing that need and longing to refine her question. He yearned to see that scantly imperious, yet authentic smile and the way to witness it again was to follow her orders.
“So, can I . . . please kiss you?” He impersonated her tone, her accentuated words, and her pause. Sincerity was infused with every part of his replication. It wasn’t a performance at all; it was his feelings.
Indeed, Kannei applauded his efforts. “That’s  . . . perfect aha!” Rhett guilelessly peered at her. Her question had become his question and all he wanted now was for her to give an answer. His abrupt silence stunned her, and prompted her to ask, “Why are you looking at me like that? Are you . . .”
This was his earnest, pensive look. She understood from the way he just stared, tranquil and unwavering, but she had trouble accepting his approach. He was supposed to be quarreling with her, dissecting her question till she suffered from aggravation. Instead, he repeated, “So, can I . . . please kiss you now?”
The possibility of his joking was erased from her mind. He was serious, but was she ready for this? Did she want this too? Her heart pounded loudly. She couldn’t think anymore; she had decided to blurt out whatever she felt as she stammered, “I . . . I . . . I suppose.”
From the way she faintly backed away, he knew she was nervous. He never intended to place her in an uncomfortable situation. He never planned for this to happen, but now he wanted it to happen. He gently removed her glasses and held onto them in one hand. He positioned his head to a side and inched closer and closer until she mumbled, “Ahh, I’m getting blinded by the sun.”
The sun was just setting ahead, beaming its rays into her eyes. She had to turn her head the other way and shielded the sun with her hand.
“Just close your eyes,” Rhett uttered.
He delicately pulled her cheek towards him. Surprisingly, she listened and shut her eyes until she felt something crushing her lips. It was his lips. Closing her eyes again before she became blinded by the sunlight, she could feel nothing but his chapped lips. She did nothing, but wondered about the moment. So that was what a kiss was like, she thought. Rhett, in contrast, wanted more. A simple peck was astoundingly insufficient. He felt deprived of an answer. He had expected more of a response from her; he wanted her to disintegrate in front of him. That meant what she had asked mattered to her, and under such circumstances, he mattered to her.
He reared a bit and thus, decided to verify, “Is sharing saliva gross then?”
“Yes,” she answered too inconsiderately.
 “So even this was gross?”
 “Yes . . . N-N-no, maybe . . . I mean, you better not be sick and if you’re not sick then . . .”
She did not know what she was trying to say. She hated being incoherent, but in this case, Rhett rejoiced in her blunder. That was precisely what he wanted. He lightly chuckled in hopes of easing the awkwardness.          
“You’re funny,” he ended up saying.
“Good I’m glad you didn’t add that word, looking.”
Fortuitously, the Ferris wheel ride ended after her remark. Kannei scampered to escape from this situation. She needed time to think. Why had she so simply agreed to his request? Why did she feel so embarrassed? She desperately wanted to run home, yet the two still had a responsibility. They had to help decorate the setting for Junsu’s romantic dinner with Naomi. “Hurry! We have to finish the decorations!” she turned her head back and hollered.
Rhett still kept to his pace. With his hands in his pockets, he too was thinking.
Perhaps, Jaejoong was right.
He was falling in love with her. 
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