When Jacob reached the temple, he heard a loud voice in the distance.
-“Jay! Over here!” Jeremy shouted, flailing his arms.
Kath was standing beside him, looking down, awkwardly twisting her mittens.
Jacob approached the two of them quietly. Jeremy welcomed him warmly while Kath stayed quiet. Soon, they were walking the temple’s alley. All around were stands selling food, drinks, chocolates, flowers, charms and offerings. Some were selling necklaces and rings and all kinds of bauble.
The trio headed to the temple’s altar first. Jeremy and Kath climbed the steps and stood next to each other to pray. For this holiday, most people prayed, offering common coins but some would offer flowers. Some other would offer white, pink or red pieces of cloth.
Jacob stood awkwardly next to the temple while his two friends were holding their hands together. Jeremy was soon done and turned around.
-“Jay, what are you doing? You’re supposed to pray.” His friend said.
-“Pray for what?” Jacob asked with a frown. “There’s nothing I need to pray for.”
-“Stop being so stubborn.” Jeremy said, pushing an handful of coins into his hand.
He tapped Jacob on his back and pointed at the altar. Jacob sighed and climbed the steps. He stood nervously next to Kath who was still asking for favors, her eyes closed. Quickly, he flicked one of the coins into the large wooden box and joined his hands together. He closed his eyes only for a split second. “Please, like me too.” He wished, suddenly feeling really embarrassed about his own wish.
Reopening his eyes, he was met by Kath’s gaze on him. She looked strangely speechless. Not knowing what to say, he turned around and flew down the stairs. Kath followed close behind.
They went around, looking at all the stands, buying stuff here and there. Jeremy walked up to a rose seller. He pointed at the flowers with a grin.
-“How about I buy you one, Kath?” He asked.
-“I’d rather choke on it.” She answered with disgust. Jeremy laughed.
Jacob approached the stand next to them. He felt Kath’s gaze on him. She most probably wanted one, just not one that came from Jeremy. The roses were all really bright and fragrant but one stood out to Jacob. It was a deep red and it’s petals weren’t completely deployed yet. He handed money to the lady and pointed at the flower. The lady gave it to him with a smile and he took it, bringing it to his nose.
The reason why he felt so intrigued was because it was so red but the petals near the stem were white as snow. It actually looked as if the flower had dipped into blood and gorged on the content, tainting every part of its petals a vivid red. Jacob made it turned between his index and thumb, his head tilted to the side when he heard Jeremy.
-“C’mon guys, we still have lots of stuff to check out.” He said joyfully and Jacob followed him.
After having checked every stall and stand at least twice, Jeremy decided that it was enough for him and took his leave.
-“I’ll be going, I got quite a long walk back home. Jay, you take Kath home, okay?”
Jacob nodded and Jeremy left, turning one last time to wave at them. Jacob headed silently to a bench and sat.
-“We should go soon. It’s getting colder.” He said. Kath nodded, transfixed on the rose.
-“Can I have it?” She pointed at the red flower.
-“I don’t think so.” Jacob frowned.
-“Ah~ Really? Why do you like it that much, anyway?” She asked, pouting.
-“Not saying. You’ll think I’m crazy.” He said.
-“Come on.” She pleaded. Jacob sighed.
-“It looks like it gorged itself on blood.” He said, handing the flower to Kath. She took it and observed it for a moment.
-“Wow… That’s weird.” She said. “And a little freaky.”
-“I know. It’s strange.” He said, leaning to get his flower back. She took it farther in the other direction.
-“I’m keeping it.” She said with a grin.
-“No, it’s mine.” Jacob said leaning even more. “Give it.”
Jacob was much taller and his arms were much longer than Kath’s. Soon he had the rose between his fingers again. Only… When he turned to sit back to his spot, he realized his face was right in front of Kath’s. She was staring into his eyes, completely flushed. Jacob could hear his heart beat so loud it was about to explode… or was it hers.
Jacob recoiled and looked away. Kath opened her mouth to say something when they heard an explosion. The fireworks had started. They were pink and purple and red and white. Some were shaped into hearts and flowers. The show went on for a few minutes. When it was finally done, Jacob turned to Kath.
-“It’s cold, we should go home.” He said, but she stayed transfixed on the now empty sky.
-“Kath?” He asked once more. Seeing that she wouldn’t even react to her own name, he grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to the street.
When he saw she would follow obediently, he let go of her hand. He kept walking when he felt a hand grab his again. He turned to see Kath had caught up.
-“It’s just~ I~” She blurted out but trailed off.
Jacob said nothing, he just kept walking, holding tight. Finally, a few minutes later, they were in front of Kath’s house. This time Jacob let go of her hand and she shoved it into her pocket.
-“I’ll be going, then.” She said, turning around to enter her home.
-“Kath?” Jacob stopped her. She looked back at him.
-“Huh?” She stared at him, head tilted.
-“Here.” He said, raising the rose towards her. “Maybe you weren’t with the person you liked today but at least, you’ll be able to say you got a flower from a boy.” He wanted to grin but failed. She frowned.
-“I thought you wanted to keep it.” She said.
-“That’s because you were asking for it.” He said placing the flower in her mitten. “I think it’s much prettier in your hand.”
Jacob didn’t wait for an answer, he just turned and left. He felt Kath’s eyes on his back. After a while he heard what he assumed to be her mother, telling her to go inside and a door close. He sighed. “I probably messed up again today, huh?” He told himself, staring at his own hand.