Chapter 23 - It Seems a Bit Short Today
“Well, I do have them, but… I don’t know her size, so…” Dylan trailed off once more. “If it’s not too much trouble, could you help me out?”
Rin looked at him, a tremendous idea popping into mind. She walked to a chair inside of the shop. Taking off her high heels, she shyly lifted her bare feet from beneath her skirt.
Dylan knelt down on one knee before her. “Excuse me, then,” he said, as he grasped her foot with his bare hands.
At his touch, Rin flinched slightly, a shiver running through her. His large hands explored every inch of her foot, exciting a ticklish feeling upon the skin found there. It seemed almost as if all sense of feeling had collapsed outside of where his hands lay upon her. Rin stared at them and the powerful veins that crossed their backs, swallowing back her saliva.
However, these strange sensations didn’t last long for her. The store owner came over, ignorant of the situation playing out. “Now then, do you think you have a general idea of the size?” he asked.
Dylan carefully placed Rin’s foot back into her heels. “It looks like a palm’s width would be fine,” he said. Rin’s foot seemed longer and wider than Anna’s.
Just as Dylan was about to pay for the shoes, Rin slid into place beside him. “Thank you,” he told her. “I was able to order a proper pair thanks to you.”
“It wasn’t like I was helping you out for free, though.”
“I’m not a merciful enough person to stop in the middle of the street and give up my time for nothing in return.”
Rin’s unexpected deceit made Dylan confused and flustered. Seeing him in such a way drove her to laughter. “It’s a joke! You don’t need to get all out of sorts,” she said.
“No, you were right. Since I’ve received your help, I definitely need to pay you back. I have nothing to give right now, so… would you like to pick a shoe?” Dylan gestured to all the shoes that were on display.
“I’m not one for declining people’s gifts, so I’ll go ahead and accept your offer,” Rin smiled. She chose the neat little red pair that had been catching her eye for a while now. However, while they were nice, she knew she couldn’t choose the shoe she truly wanted, for it was expensive, extravagant, and definitely not the right thing to pick in a situation like this.
Seeing that Rin had settled on the shoes he had been trying to recommend to Dylan earlier, the owner of the store gave her a thumbs up for her discerning eye. “You really have a knack for spotting great shoes,” he said to her loudly, as if purposefully intending for Dylan to hear.
However, Dylan was only focused on inspecting the black shoes he’d bought for Anna. They were packed into a box after he finished paying for both pairs, including Rin’s. He didn’t seem to care much about the shoes Rin picked out, so a pang of sadness secretly struck her heart.
She fell into step beside him after they exited the store. “Do you think these will look good on me?” she asked him.
“There’s nothing that wouldn’t look good on you,” Dylan said, and only then did Rin’s smile return.
‘Since you bought me these shoes, I’ll buy you a meal,’ she was about to propose, but Dylan spoke sooner than she could.
“Then, I’ll be taking my leave now.” He bowed slightly toward Rin. They reached a fork in the road, and on his face was a tender smile. Rin couldn’t take her eyes off him, mesmerized. “See you next time.”
After a moment, Rin finally came back to her senses. She managed, at least, to bend her knees and curtsy a bit in farewell.
“Get some sausages before you go!”
Anna had gone out to buy ingredients for dinner. One of the store owners’ cries had caught her attention, so she walked toward their butcher’s stand.
She stared at the sausages hanging off the ceiling of the stand. While trying to gauge whether or not they were fresh, it occurred to Anna how similar they looked to Dylan’s own ‘sausage’. “Absolutely crazy,” she mumbled to herself.
The woman tending to the butcher’s stand raised a brow. “What’d you say?” she asked.
‘Ah, I didn’t mean it like that!’ Anna thought. She practically ran away then, fleeing to a vegetable stand instead.
Releasing a sigh of relief, she recalled her mother’s earnest request to pick up some asparagus. As she began to do so, a middle-aged woman looking over the carrots beside her decided to comment on them.
“These carrots look particularly strong and sturdy today!” she said.
That was right. Master Dylan’s shaft was just as sturdy as the carrot that the middle-aged woman held in her hand.
No, actually… Master Dylan’s looked just a bit stronger…
“Crazy. Insane,” Anna murmured.
The middle-aged woman heard Anna. She put the carrot back with the rest of the carrots on display. “Are you really calling me that?” she asked, folding her arms in annoyance.
“No, I was just talking to myself,” Anna explained quickly. “I was distracted and…”
Once again, Anna couldn’t do anything but hurriedly leave the store. She tried her best to focus solely on the question of what she should buy for dinner that night.
“Freshly baked baguettes, here!” someone yelled.
“Yep, just as I thought. Bread is the most convenient.”
A crowd of people was forming, drawn by the scent of freshly baked bread. Anna joined them. The length of the baguettes seemed to stretch all the way from the tip of her finger to her elbow.
One of the people in the crowd spoke up. “They seem a bit short today for some reason?”
Anna’s inner thoughts shot out of her mouth. “Wha—you call that short?” she blurted. Hot glares descended upon her from people all around.
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