Once they arrived at the mall Rose climbed out and walked towards the large building without waiting for the others. Michael jogged to catch up with him, having to speed walk to be able to even keep up. Lily and Chad took their sweet time making their way inside. Michael grabbed Rose’s arm with a gentle hand “Rose slow down, please, tell me what’s wrong.”
Rose stopped and took a breath “it’s nothing Michael, really..” his voice may have seemed reassuring but his eyes told a different story.
Michael sighed heavily “alright well if there ever is anything you can always tell me..” he said his tone soft and caring. He cared a lot about Rose even if he was too love struck by Lily to see it. Michael’s gaze was soft and kind and Rose felt a flicker of a familiar feeling light in his chest. He pushed the feeling away and breathed in deeply through his nose letting it out through his mouth.
“Thank you Michael..” Rose smiled softly and he was about to confess to Michael all the things he had wanted to say to people for years but stopped himself when he saw Lily and Chad coming towards them. “It’s nothing,” he said quickly, giving the other a tight smile before stepping a bit away from him.
Lily smiled as they got close enough and wrapped her arms around Roses shoulders making him smile and relax into the touch “So which stores should we hit up first?” she asked looking around at the group. Rose stayed silent through it all as the others discussed. He could feel Michael’s worried eyes on him and it was driving him crazy. When the store they were stopping at first was decided they made their way there although Rose hadn’t been listening so he wasn’t sure where they were heading. His suspicions were put to rest when they arrived at a bookstore. He didn’t mind the book store but he knew this was most likely Michael’s choice in places seeing as Lily and Chad weren’t big on reading books. Rose figured they were all going inside but he then realized that Chad and Lily began walking over to a different store. He didn’t follow them; he needed a few moments to regain his composure anyway so he might as well just go into the book store with Michael.
Michael led the way into the book store as Rose followed close behind him. Rose and Michael both preferred romance over most other genres of book so they both headed to the same section of the store.
Michael glanced up from the book that he had been looking at. He looked as though he was embarrassed because of the light blush that tinted his tan skin “Uh yeah just about” he said before finishing up reading the book description. Michael tucked the book under his arm with a couple others and smiled a bit “alright im ready” he nodded and together they walked up to the counter. Rose checked out first since he had only two books then Michael who had four. Once they were completely checked out they ventured out of the book store to find the rest of there group. Together Rose and Michael sat on a bench beginning to read the books they had just bought. It was a comfortable silence between the two as they drowned out the sounds of the people scurrying around the mall with the words inked onto the pages of the books. Rose didn’t notice Lily and Chad coming towards them, He was to entranced in the novel he was reading. He was at a part where the main character was confessing there feelings for another in a park. It was the perfect place to do it, he stored it in his mind for later. Rose finally noticed the others when a hand waved in front of his face. He jumped a bit in surprise and looked up to see the others standing around him.
Rose flushed in embarrassment “sorry...” he mumbled out, putting a bookmark on the page he was reading before closing the book. He hugged the book to his chest as the others talked. Rose wanted to go home still but he didn’t know what his excuse to leave should be. He only tuned in at the end of the conversation so he wasn’t sure quite what was said but from what he heard they were going to go to one more store then stop for lunch. Rose didn’t know what store they were planning on going to so he would just follow along. Much to his surprise Lily took hold of his arm and led him down the hall of stores.
“Alright Rose we’re going to stop at a store where you can get some new bras because the one you have on isn’t doing your chest any justice, aren’t you suffocating in that?” Lily said reading the signs for all the stores in search of the one she wanted.
Rose frowned deeply but nodded “ok..maybe a little..” he would do it because he got to spend time with Lily. His chest made him uneasy and displeased with his appearance.For the rest of the walk Rose was dragging his feet trying to delay the inevitable. Why couldn’t he just tell Lily how he was feeling? Who he really was. He sighed heavily when they reached the store that the other had been searching for, as they entered Rose looked around uncomfortably. He felt the dysphoria creep over him squeezing around him like ropes tied around his skin. Just being in here made him uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to stay in here very long.
The two made their way through the store Lily chatting away about things that would look cute on Rose and what not, but Rose wasn’t listening; he was working on keeping himself from walking right back out the way they came. Lily was the one to choose things for him to try on. Rose didn’t have much say. He was visibly uncomfortable with being here anyone who was paying attention should have been able to tell. Rose went into the changing room and let out a breath. He looked at his pale features in the room’s full body mirror. All he saw was female features. His chest, hips, thighs. Everything about him just reminded him that he wasn’t who he wanted to be. Rose’s breath became a tad bit labored as he dropped the items he was supposed to be trying on. He didn’t want to have a panic attack here. It would be too embarrassing. He racked his mind trying to figure out what he should do. Rose heard a knock on the changing room door and Lily’s voice carry through it but he didn’t hear the words. All he could hear was the sound of his own heart threatening to beat out of his chest. In a moment of sheer desperation he opened the door and took off running out the store’s doors. He needed to get out of there he needed to be alone. He heard Lily’s voice call after him and her footsteps following after him. Rose ran past Michael and Chad who had been talking as they waited. He heard Michaels’ worried voice and then multiple pairs of footsteps following him. He ran out of the mall not worried about the looks of confusion from the other people who had been inside or out in the parking lot. Rose ran and ran until he reached a park. The sky had been painted over with dark angry looking clouds. He heard the sound of breaks being pressed and a car door opening. Soon Lily was there standing beside him, glancing over at the car he saw Michael standing beside it with a worried expression. The same one was on Lily’s face.