Summary: It was Valentine’s Day. Nate tried his best to make the perfect first date. Set in anime-verse, English-dub. - Embarrassingly, Nate had dreamt of this day since he was eleven. This: Nate finally having the courage to ask Katie out on a date (though with a bit of help from a certain fire-type yo-kai, but that was beside the point). This: Katie saying yes. This: Nate picking up Katie from her house and her dad giving him a glare when he opened the door but dude, whatever, because Nate was actually going on a date with Katie. Their plan was pretty standard for a first date. Movie, then dinner. And hopefully a kiss when Nate dropped her off. Nate had worn his best shirt and put on his best cologne. He made sure the rose did not have thorns, and his socks did not have holes. It was perfect. Katie smiled and put his rose in a little mason jar. She let her hair down. Their conversations were far from stilted and their silence was never awkward—Nate felt like they could talk for hours or watched a turtle walk from one end of the earth to another, and he would never get bored. But really, with how perfect it was, Nate should have been suspicious. Murphy’s law and all, right? Especially if one was dealing with supernatural creatures that caused one’s daily inconveniences. Especially then. Nate, however, was in cloud nine. With Whisper agreeing to scram until the date ended, it was almost as if Nate was not unlike any other boys of his age: playing soccer after school, avoiding homework, going on dates… and absolutely not befriending invisible little monsters. So yes, it did catch him off guard when a trouble appeared. It was supposed to be perfect, damn it. “You’re absolutely lucky! We only have exactly two seats left!” the lady behind the counter smiled. “And they’re on top of each other!” Nate stared at the screen in front of him blankly, eyes tracking the only two green dots amongst red. They said respectively: 18 B and 18 C. Beside him, Katie was doing the same thing. “Well,” Katie said, shrugging. “It’s a Marvel movie. On the first night it’s playing.” Nate cried a little bit on the inside. “…if you’re sure, then.” “I’ll take the top one,” Katie said. She looked unfazed to the fact that this was their first date and they were not sitting next to each other, like all first good dates were. Apparently, watching Chris Evans’ biceps flex was of a higher priority than their date. Nate felt like he should be offended, but he really could not. Katie nudged him, her grin wide. “Aww, don’t make that face. It’s not like we can talk during the movie. We still have dinner, okay? And I’ll be right behind you!” The sight of Katie’s smile helped. Nate could feel his mouth curve back in answer. This was better than nothing at all, wasn’t it? -- “You’re just in time,” the popcorn lady said cheerfully. “There are exactly only two medium-size buckets of popcorn left.” “We’d like the both of them, please,” Nate replied. It was twice the price of the ticket and caused a hole in his wallet, but it was fine. Nate had saved up for this. There were certain advantages when you had planned the perfect date since you were eleven. “Do you want them salted?” Nate looked at Katie, who nodded. “Yes, please.” Since Katie refrained eating her popcorn, Nate did, too. They walked side by side to the studio, too preoccupied with each other. Their arms brushed just so. Under the orange light Katie seemed to glow with her laughter, and Nate thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his entire life. They climbed up the aisle, Katie ahead of him. Nate missed her already. “So, this is me,” she said, standing by row B. “Ugh,” Nate groaned. “Aw, come on. I’m right behind you, you dork.” They were only three seats away from the aisle. Kate winked at Nate before making herself comfortable in her chair. Determined not to ruin the mood, Nate winked back, and sat down. The trailers were playing. Nate looked down to the popcorn in his lap. Quite forlornly he called upon an imagination: Katie and Nate, on their first date, sharing a popcorn. When it was dark and the movie was in the good part they would reach for popcorn at the same time. After apologizing they would stare at each other, and then they would kiss. Clearly it was not meant to be. Nate took a handful of popcorn, shoved it in his mouth, and chewed. He paused, kernels half down his throat. He mixed the popcorn and shook it around. He tried again. The popcorn was not salted. Damn. He turned around. “Is your popcorn okay?” Nate asked. Katie nodded. “Yea. Mine’s really salty, which is just how I like it. Why? Is it too salty for you?” “Mine’s not salty at all,” he said. “Huh, that’s weird. Try mixing them?” “I did, but there was no change,” “That’s some bad luck,” Katie remarked offhandedly, but the statement rang a bell inside Nate’s mind. Could it be… a yo-kai? Nate thought over the unlucky incidents happening on his date so far. They did not look much. Maybe they were indeed just a set of coincidence. Just some bad luck, as Katie said. Okay. One more unlucky incident, and he would take action. Only one more. “Nate, the movie hasn’t started yet, should we go outside and ask the lady to salt them again?” As if on a cue, the trailer finished, and the light dimmed. The couple beside him promptly took that as a sign to make out. Nate almost—almost—screamed in frustration. Enough was enough. Nate got out of his seat, motioning at Katie with his popcorn to stay in hers. It was difficult to discern anything in the dark of the studio; he stumbled over knees before a particular sunny scene lit his way down the aisle and outside. After making sure there was nobody in the hallway, Nate turned on his watch and pointed it around. “Buhu,” Nate said flatly, entirely unsurprised to see her around. “What are you doing here.” “I’m sorry, buhuhu,” the bird mumbled. “I forgot my destination again, buhuhu. And I saw you, so I follow you instead, buhuhu.” “Err, okay. Could you please go now? I have a really important date.” “I’m sorry that I ruined your date, buhuhuhu,”—“It’s not ruined,” Nate almost yelled, horrified at the mere thought—“But I don’t know where to go, buhuhu.” Nate sighed. “Find Whisper,” he said finally. “He’ll help you. If you still can’t remember where you’re going, come back and find me, but, like, in six hours, okay? Only after I’m done with my date.” Buhu acquiesced. After another push from Nate, she disappeared. -- Thankfully, the rest of the date went well. They had Chinese for dinner. Katie got a fortune cookie which said ‘the one you love is closer than you think’, so Nate took that as a good sign. They took the bus back to the suburbs. Nate walked Katie home. They spent the most of it in silence. Nate mostly lamented about how Buhu totally ruined his chance of getting a kiss or a second date from Katie. “So, that was fun,” Katie said once they reached her house. “I had fun, too,” Nate said. “Movie wasn’t as fun as dinner though. I’m sorry if my bad mood kinda ruined the movie.” Katie shook her head. “Nah, you were being kinda cute,” she giggled. Nate looked at her in surprise. “Really?” “Reaaally.” “Oh my god, I’m so glad.” Katie laughed at that. “We really should do this again.” “We should? Err, yes, I mean, we should! We totally should!” Laughing again, Katie said, “You’re really, really cute, Nate,” before pecking him on the lips. It ended before Nate could kiss her back. Katie grinned at his gobsmacked expression, though she was blushing herself. “See you tomorrow at school, Nate!” she said, running into her house. Nate could only watch her walk away dazedly. He snapped out of his reverie once the door closed behind her. He pumped his fist in victory. It was a perfect date after all. -------------------------------------------------------------------- A.N.: Thank you so much for dropping by! Any comment or criticism would be welcomed.