Akena’s pupils dilated, revealing the full brilliance of her crystal sapphire corneas as the world around her slowed to an insignificant crawl. Peripherals tuned out, her vision narrowed to focus on one crucial individual.
Him—the exchange student.
Innocently attractive, his ocean blue eyes and curly blonde hair radiated with objective beauty, and his tall frame cast glowing shadows at the women nestling closer to him, eager for his aloof, child-hearted attention. His gentle smile mollified aggressors and made lovers’ hearts race. A foreign Adonis, his aura drew people near him like butterflies to sweet nectar.
But Akena wasn’t interested in him, per-se. Not the way he gingerly brushed stray curls out of his shimmering blue eyes, not the way his broad shoulders squared handsomely in his form-fitting school uniform. No. Akena was after something much more. The same thing he sought, in fact; an object that would make them incompatible as lovers, and suited to each other only as clawing, selfish rivals.
The food cart’s last pack of strawberry mochi icea cream.
It called Akena’s name like a moth to a flame, beckoning to her, promising to keep her cool in this unbearable summer heat wave. But he was looking at it too, his eyes glancing ever so often toward its place in the food cart window. And he was farther up in line.
Akena knew that he was going to take the last strawberry mochi ice cream. How could she stop him without seeming obvious? Time slowed as her mind raced, calculating possibilities and probabilities, her eyes desperately searching the area around her.
She had it.
Picking up a small pebble near her feet, Akena gently tossed it toward a nearby pigeon.
The pigeon flew up, consequently rustling the branches of a nearby urban tree, which spooked the squirrel perched on one of its branches. The squirrel darted down the tree and out onto the sidewalk. In order to avoid its jittery scamper, an oncoming biker had to brake hard and swerve left, not realizing such a move would put them on an immediate collision course with an absent-minded elementary schoolgirl pedestrian.
“Look out!” the biker shouted, and the schoolgirl’s eyes darted forward, just as she, too, darted out of the way, ramming with full-bodied force into a businessman waiting in line at the food cart near where “he” was standing. He was just about to purchase the last strawberry mochi ice cream. Nearly knocking the flustered businessman off his feet, the elementary schoolgirl was soon receiving a verbal browbeating from the man about how she should watch where she was going and respect her elders, to which the young schoolgirl began to cry.
And the tall, kind, blonde haired, blue eyed, nectar-sweet exchange student couldn’t help but see this girl crying and want to help.
“Hello there,” he said with a warm smile as he squatted down and nodded his head.
The girl looked back at him through teardrops and sniffles.
“Seems your having a rough day, huh?”
She nodded up and down, a wet, pouty frown on her face.
“Tell you what,” he said, giving her a little nudge on the shoulder, “how would you like to share some mochi ice cream with me?”
The little girl smiled slightly, and continued nodding.
“Great,” he said. He turned her attention to the food cart in front of them. “What flavor would you like? Looks like we have strawberry, green tea, and chocolate.”
The girl looked at him shyly, then finally managed to whisper, “Chocolate.”
“Well then,” the foreign exchange student stood up, his agile fingers reaching into his pockets for cash as the duo approached the front of the line, “chocolate it is.”
Reaching the food cart vendor, the exchange student ordered a pack of chocolate mochi ice cream for himself and the no-longer-weeping schoolgirl. They walked away to sit on a nearby bench and enjoy the summer treat.
From her spot in line, Akena smiled victoriously.
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