Thank you for reading this far! Also, thank you for putting up reviews and telling me your opinions and pointing out my mistakes. I'll try to keep the "feel" of the manga, and keep the characters "in-character."

Again. Thanks for reading.

For easier reading, I suggest you set the page view to 1/2.

Chapter 4 – Shopping for... You

Daisuke continued his morning walk to school while reminiscing about the past month. It was only two weeks ago that Hinako asked him to accompany her while she shopped. "Two weeks ago." He thought as walked.

****

Daisuke walked briskly towards the shopping district. He could remember Hinako's request clearly from the other day; she had asked him after class to go shopping with her tomorrow morning. He smiled and looked at his wristwatch on his left hand. It was ten till nine, a bit earlier than the time Hinako said to arrive at but he had intentionally left his house early so that he could be there before she arrived.

"Suwa-kun!" a familiar voice called.

"Aikawa?" His jaw fell slack a little as his heart skipped a beat. Hinako smile was bright as always and she was dressed in a glaring white dress that seemed to emphasize her petite body. It had blue laces on the sleeves and collar and had sleeves that traveled down to her wrist and flared out. The white dress ended at her knees and was molded closely to her upper body and waist. Daisuke also noticed that she was wearing straw sandals and a small handbag on her left shoulder. He closed his mouth and cleared his throat.

"I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long," he said. "That dress looks very cute on you."

"T-thank you," she said with flushed cheeks. "I just arrived a minute ago, so I didn't have to wait long."

He smile, "That's good."

The two walked together towards the center of the shopping district. Daisuke glanced over at Hinako and sighed. "I should have," he thought, "worn something else." He had on a simple blue jean and a t-shirt, and it bothered him because it was so plain compared to Hinako's dress. He admitted, however, that her dress was plain too, but it did not make him feel any better. He felt a tug on his left arm. Hinako smiled and held his hand.

"Want to go look at some clothes?" She asked.

"I'll go anywhere you want to go." He said in reply and smiled.

They entered a clothes store for women and were promptly greeted by a female attendant.

"Shopping with your boyfriend?" the attendant asked.

"N-no, he is - W-we're just looking that's all." Hinako stammered.

The woman laughed, "There's no need to be embarrassed. Girls like to bring their boyfriends along to show off their new outfit! Oh! We have a sale today of some very nice outfits. Follow me!"

The attendant left before they could reply. They looked at each other and laughed and followed the woman. They arrived at a place with piles of clothes that were on sale; some of the outfits were plain, others were interesting, and some were strange. "Alright, I'll leave you two here!" the attendant said and walked back to the front of the store. Hinako approached the piles of clothes and sifted through them. Daisuke also looked at some of the clothes. "These clothes," he thought, "are quite expensive even though they're on sale." He pulled out a strange outfit and stared at it. It had a white fancy collar and a pair of cat ears, along with a black and white maid dress that had a really short skirt.

"Suwa-kun?"

"Ah! Yeah?" He said as he quickly stuffed the outfit under a bunch of clothes.

"What's that?"

"No-nothing."

It is not that he has an interest in that kind of things; he just did not want Hinako to get the wrong impression. She looked questioningly at him and walked up to him.

"What are you hiding?" she asked.

"Nothing at all!"

Hinako was even more interested what Daisuke was looking at and reached for the pile of clothes. Daisuke gulped as he stepped back. "Not good!" he thought. "At this rate she will…"

She pulled out the outfit and stared at it. He waited nervously for her response.

"Aikawa-san, it's not-" He started.

"I think it's cute." She said as she lifted up her head and smiled at Daisuke.

Daisuke laughed uncomfortably and shifted his feet around.

"Suwa-kun, close your eyes for a while." Hinako said.

"H-how come?"

"Just do it, and no matter what, don't open your eyes until I tell you to."

"Fine."

Daisuke reluctantly gave in and closed his eyes. "What is she up to?" He thought. "I hope she didn't misunderstand me."

Hinako sneaked off quietly with the cosplay outfit in her hands and entered one of the stalls in changing room. She quickly closed the door, pulled out the clothes from its package, and carefully observed the outfit. It was a maid outfit, laced with fancy white laces and had the distinct black and white parts that made it look like clothes for maids. "It's," she thought, "very revealing and short. It even comes with a cat ears head band and a tail!" She rubbed the clothes between her fingers. "But, I want to make Suwa-kun happy, so I'll try this on." She quickly undressed herself and pulled the uniform over her head. She then placed the head band onto her head and attached the tail to the back of the skirt. She looked at herself in the mirror and blushed. The outfit barely reached midway of her thighs and the tails and ears made it even more embarrassing.

Daisuke was still waiting for Hinako to tell him to open his eyes and stood tapping his foot impatiently. "What's taking so long?" He thought as he shifted his weight to his left leg.

"Suwa-kun? You can open your eyes now." Hinako's voice rang in from the darkness in front of him.

He opened his eyes.

"It's about time Aika-" He stopped midway in his sentence. His mouth became slightly ajar as he stared at Hinako.

"H-how is it?" Hinako stuttered as she looked off to the side, embarrassed. He thought she looked very cute in the outfit, and her innocent face only made it cuter. Although he wanted to keep looking a bit longer, he knew it was not right and quickly came back to his senses.

"Aikawa! What are you doing?" He blurted out. "Take those off already!"

"You don't like it?" She asked quietly.

"No! I mean, yes! No!" He cried out in anguish as he turned around to hide his face which was becoming redder by the second. "Just take them off already!"

Hinako turned her gaze to the ground and shuffled her feet.

"Sorry. I thought that.." She stopped as her eyes began to water. "I'm sorry!"

She turned and began to run when a warm hand grasped her hand.

"I-D-I-O-T." He said softly.

"Suwa-kun?" She said tearfully as she turned around.

"No, Aikawa, it's my fault, not yours." He said and pulled her close and embraced her. "I'm sorry. You look very cute in that. But please change back into your dress."

Hinako looked up at Daisuke and sniffled. He wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled.

"Your dress suits you much better than that!" He said cheerfully.

She smiled, and tears came to her eyes again, but they were for a different reason.

"Thank you, Suwa-kun."

After she changed, she tried out three more dresses before they left the store and continued walking around the shopping district. Daisuke looked around and noticed that the sun was much higher now that the morning had past. "Time flies when you have fun," He thought. "Even though we were enjoying ourselves and trying out clothes, we spent the morning already."

"Where do you want to go next, Aikawa-san?" Daisuke said as he held her hand.

"Hmm. How about we eat at that Dango shop?"

They pushed open the doors of the shop and walked in and ordered some of the white pastry with red bean paste in it. The food arrived at their table within a few minutes. Daisuke at one of the white pouches and looked over at Hinako who had not eaten yet.

"How come you're not eating?"

"Um. Suwa-kun, can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"Can I try calling you by your first name?"

Daisuke laughed, "Okay. Let me try it too then… Hinako-san."

Hinako's cheeks flushed. "Dai… Daisu… Daisuke."

He smiled and placed his hand on her shoulders, "There's no need to rush. If you're not comfortable with it, you don't have to put up with it."

"But I-"

Daisuke shook his head, "Don't worry about it. It'll take time. Even I feel a little strange saying your name."

"Really? Is it okay?"

"It's fine. Now hurry up and eat your food. There are more things that we could do."

Hinako smiled and nodded. After the two finish their dishes, they left the store holding hands and continued walking around.

"Aikawa-san," he asked, "have you ever played at a game arcade?"

"Nope."

"Well, then let's give it a try!"

They walked into the game arcade and looked around. A cascade of sounds drummed at them as they walked around the arcade looking at the games people were playing.

"What kind of game is that?" Hinako asked and pointed at the people holding plastic guns.

"Hm? Those are first person shooters, but I don't think you'll be interested in those things. Let's try the grapple machine game."

He led her to a corner where a machine in which many colorful stuffed animals were jammed in.

"Give it a try. Just move the arm around, and then hit that button to make it grab for something."

He placed a few coins into the slot and the machine whirled to life. Hinako looked at him for further instructions but he just nodded and guided her hands onto the joint stick. He helped her move the arm until it was over a small, pink and fluffy kitten. Together, they pressed the crimson button on the joint stick and watched as the metal claws reached down on the toy. It gripped the object, and picked it but unfortunately it fell out on the way back. "Oh no! I'm sorry, Suwa-kun." Hinako cried out. Daisuke laughed and placed another coin in, "It's not your fault. These games are made to make us waste our money. But I'll absolutely get it this time for you. I mastered this with my sister when I was little, so it'll be alright."

Daisuke expertly handled the joint stick and again aimed the metal claw at the cat. This time it was a success. He caught the cat as it tumbled out of the door near the bottom of the machine and handed it to Hinako.

"There you see?" He said.

Hinako blushed and hugged the pink toy tightly against her chest.

"Tha-thanks!" She said shyly.

They walked out of the arcade and looked around again at the stores.

"Aikawa-san, do want to try some ice cream at that shop?"

"Okay."

They bought two vanilla ice creams on cones and sat down on a nearby bench in the shade and ate their ice cream quietly. The sky was blue, and the sun was high up in the sky; it was afternoon already but the weather was perfect. "Today," Daisuke thought as he licked the snow-like ice cream, "was very fun. This is the first time I went alone with Aikawa, and it's probably one of the few times I got to know about her and her interests." He glanced over at Hinako and smiled; she looked cute when eating ice cream even though some of it got on the side of her lips.

"Hold up." He said and pulled out a napkin and wiped her mouth. Hinako blushed a little and thanked him.

"I'll be right back." He said, "I'm going to get us some more ice cream."

He left her and walked around the corner towards the ice cream cart. Hinako continued looking at his back until he left her vision. She smiled. "Today," she thought as she continued licking her ice cream, "was very memorable. I want it to never end." She closed her eyes but she soon opened them when she heard footsteps coming towards her.

"Suwa-kun?" She stopped when she realized it was not Daisuke but a man in his twenties. The man was in a business suit and was slightly overweight.

"Little girl, you shouldn't be alone on a day like this. Would you like a drink with me? I'll pay for it all." The man said.

"No," she said nervously and shrank back. "No thanks."

"Why not?" The man came closer to her and reached out with his hand. "I'm harmless don't you see?"

Hinako could feel her heart beating and a chilling dread that crept up her spine. She was scared and her hands shook a little.

"Suwa-kun." She thought as she shut her eyes tightly. "Please come back already!"

The man drew closer to her, "What's wrong little girl?" He reached out and touched her on the shoulders. Hinako acted on instinct and pushed the man away and threw her ice cream at him.

"Look what you've done!" He yelled as he regained his balance. "You got my suit dirty! How are you going to pay me back now?"

"Ah, I'm so sorry! I – I didn't mean it!"

"That's not good enough! This is an expensive suit you know? I know, pay me back by having a drink with me. Then just maybe, I won't charge you for assault."

Hinako stayed quiet and continued to tremble.

"What do you say?" The man said and reached at her again.

"No!" she said as she slapped his hand away and tried to run away. The man, however, was stronger and was able to stop her.

"You have to pay me one way or another."

Tears came out of Hinako's eyes. "I'm scared, Suwa-kun." She thought, "Please come!"

Hinako heard a loud thud and a string of curses in front of her. She opened her eyes and saw that Daisuke was now standing in front of her.

"Keep your damn hands of her." He said dangerously.

"You damn kid!" the man cursed. "You will defin-"

"What? Huh? You're going to call the police? Or should I call them and tell them that they have a pedophile here?"

"They won't believe you!"

"Really? You want to try it?" Daisuke raised his fist up, "Are you willing to risk it?"

The man's eyes widen in fear as he took a step back. He quickly scrambled away and left them. Daisuke exhaled and turned to Hinako.

"Are you alright?" He said and extended his hand to her.

"I'm fine, now that Suwa-kun came." She stuttered as she wiped her tears and took his hand. He smiled in reply and picked up the two dropped ice cream cones that he had just bought. "What a waste," he sighed as he threw them in the trash can. "Let's go home now Aikawa-san."

"Suwa-kun." She sniffled.

"Huh?"

"Thank you, again." She said and hugged him. He was a bit surprised by her sudden hug but he hugged her back anyways.

"I'm here for you always." He said while running his fingers through her hair.

They walked out of the shopping mall and headed towards Hinako's apartment. They walked silently together for a while, enjoying the orange drenched sky that used to be blue. It was pretty late when they arrived at Hinako's place. "Well, here we are." He said as he handed her the fluffy cat figure they had won earlier. She took the stuffed animal and held it close to her body.

"Um, Suwa-kun?" She said.

"Yeah?"

"Thank you for coming with me today. It was really fun and I had a great time with you."

Daisuke smiled and nodded, "Anytime."

Hinako's cheek flushed red as she stood there.

"I'll see you tomorrow!" She said hastily and gave a small kiss on Daisuke's cheek. She quickly turned around and ran into her apartment before he could react. She entered her room and placed the stuffed animal down on her desk and collapsed down onto her bed. She smiled and rubbed her face against the soft pillows on her bed. She was really happy that they had spent the entire day together for the first time.

Daisuke touched the spot where she kissed him and smiled. "I'm going to regret washing my face." He said as he turned to walk home. He remembered when she first kissed him. Although it was not really a kiss but more of an injury, he still treasured it and hoped that it would not disappear.