Chapter 215.
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Chapter 215. Valentine’s Day: Afternoon. (1/7)

With the time I’d wasted, the stores in the mall were finally open. I headed inside and looked for stores with things that might be suitable to give to girls.

I saw a florist shop in the mall that sold bouquets of roses and other flowers. I considered it an option… but I really didn’t want to go and buy multiple bouquets of flowers. Carrying them around in public and on a bus felt too awkward. Maybe in the future, I’d consider it as an option. Personally, I thought such gestures were a pointless waste of money though. The flowers would inevitably wilt and die, whoever thought of such a gesture on Valentine’s Day was no doubt a scam artist.

Not only that, with how bad our winters were, by the time I got home with them, they’d likely be ruined from the cold.

Bouquets of flowers weren’t a viable option for me at this time in my life. What else was there then?

I saw a jewelry store but immediately rejected the idea, like hell I could afford that. That was way out of my budget. 

I wandered into a store that sold bath and sleep attire. Something like bath salts wasn’t a bad idea I felt, but getting bath salts for everyone felt pretty bland. 

My eyes were eventually caught on some fluffy soft robes that could be worn after a bath and to bed. I honestly felt such an item wasn’t a terrible idea, but when I saw the price tag on them my heart stopped and I ran out of the store without looking back.

It cost about $200 for a single one of those, like hell would I spend that kind of money. Do I look like I’m rich? Damn though, finding an item wasn’t that hard, the problem was finding something appropriate within my price range that matched whatever I received from them.

Bath salts were in the price range, but to just give each one of them their own bath salt or the same one showed how little thought I put into it.

I went through all sorts of stores, from bedding items like sheets and pillows, kitchen appliances, clothing and winter accessories they could wear, purses, make-up, etc. In the end, they were all things I couldn’t bring myself to buy. Either they were too expensive, or I didn’t know what they would like the best from the large selection of different items. I only now realized how clueless I was about these sorts of things.

I’d made it to the second floor of the mall and I’d just walked out of another store. I looked around to the left and right as I walked and my eyes suddenly caught on a store I’d completely forgotten about.

It was… a chocolate shop. I know I’d crossed chocolate off from the very beginning, but I remembered something my mother used to occasionally buy from this particular chocolate shop.

My eyes lit up as I remembered the taste of it. I didn’t remember this shop for their chocolate, what I remembered them for was their fudge.

The fudge they made was out of this world. I don’t think many people knew about just how tasty it was. It was sickeningly sweet, but it was damn good.

I gulped when I remembered that flavor. I wasn’t much of a sweets person, but this fudge was just that impressive. It would make one salivate.

This is it! People might consider fudge and chocolate as being the same thing, but they weren’t. Fudge had many different flavors, one of which included chocolate. Chocolate was smooth, hard, and shell-like while fudge was soft and spongy. Chocolate used cocoa while fudge didn’t necessarily require cocoa at all.

Still, chocolate fudge from this place was definitely my number one favorite.

I stepped into the store with a feeling of nostalgia as I squatted down and looked at the nicely wrapped up blocks of chocolate fudge in bags made out of transparent plastic. They were tied with a nice ribbon and looked very presentable. Though it was such a simplistic design, it was obviously a professional’s work.

I picked out five pieces of individually wrapped blocks of fudge, one for myself, and four for the women I had to give them to. Rosa, Alicia, Irene, and Wisteria.

The price was right in my range too. This fudge was something I felt each of them should definitely try. No, the entire world should know about this chocolate shop’s criminally underappreciated fudge, it was the best fudge I’d ever tasted in my life as a child.

I approached the counter with my items and handed them over to the cashier. 

“Did you find everything you were looking for today, sir?”

“Yes, I actually did.” It felt weird being on the receiving end of such a greeting, but I responded out loud instead of simply nodding since I was in a good mood after I’d rediscovered this chocolate shop’s fudge from my childhood which I’d long forgotten.

“You’re buying quite a bit of our fudge, most people are satisfied with just one with how sweet it is.”

“Haha, well, I’d completely forgotten about this place’s fudge for several years now and only just stumbled across it by chance.”

“Are you buying some for your girlfriend or loved ones for Valentine’s Day?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Heheh, I’m sure they’ll like it. Though the fudge we sell isn’t well known, I’m quite confident in its taste. In fact, the only reason I wanted to work here was because of how good the fudge was. Employee discounts are a lifesaver~ I just can’t get enough of the sweets we sell. Without discounts, I’d be bankrupt.” The cashier placed her hand on her right cheek, closed her eyes, and swooned over how much she loved this shop’s sweets.

“Oh, I’m so sorry! I got completely carried away! Your total after tax comes up to $51.83. How would you like to pay today?”

“Debit.” I knew it was expensive, on average about $9-$10 for the half-pound of their fudge in each bag, but it was worth it even if it was more than double the price of the ingredients used to make it. I tapped my card on the payment terminal and ignored my bleeding wallet.

It was a much cheaper price to pay compared to a lot of the other items that caught my eye. 

“Would you like them in a bag?”

“Yes, please.”

She bagged them up, handed them over to me, and said with a friendly smile, “Thank you for shopping with us today, please have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, sir.” After I received my bag from her, I exited the store satisfied with my purchase.

I could at long last rest easy and not worry about Valentine’s Day. Hell, I didn’t need to worry about any future Valentine’s Day with this place around from now on. If they like the fudge and don’t know about this place already, I’ll definitely keep it to myself so I can keep using this chocolate shop for Valentine’s Day every year without needing to worry about them getting tired of it.

Ah, the wrapping had a sticker with the name of the store on it. Phew. Good thing I remembered that. While I walked through the mall, I opened the store bag and carefully removed the stickers with the store branding from the plastic bags the half-pound blocks fudge were wrapped in.

“Hey, watch where you’re going.” I hadn’t paid much attention to my surroundings as I walked focused on removing the stickers and I bumped into someone who’d just rounded a corner.

“Sorry... about... that.” I looked up when I suddenly registered the voice of the person I’d bumped into and grimaced over how small the world was. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the crazy goth chick.

“Hey, are you really not stalking me?” I was the first to ask that.

“What the? Why’d it have to be you of all people I bump into again? And who do you think would ever want to stalk a weirdo like you? Aren’t you actually the one stalking me?”

“No thank you, I have no interest in scary-looking women like you.”

“Hmph! Sure you don’t.” She genuinely didn’t believe me.

“Well, I’ll be heading home now that I got what I wanted so there shouldn’t be any way we bump into each other again.”