She was done soon enough and drained her orange soda, humming in satisfaction before smiling at him, "Yum! Cravings satisfied." Peeking at her phone, she realized the date. "OMG it's pocky day today?! We should totally buy some snacks!" she perked up, excited again.
"More snacks? B-but we just had..." he was interrupted by Rosa grabbing his hand and pulling him along, making a beeline to the nearest Target Express. 'What's a pokki anyway?' he wondered to himself.
"Oh come on River, there's always room for sweets!" She then entered the store and looked through the aisle, picking flavors for both of them. "Here, look this is a Pocky!" she grinned, shaking the box a bit.
He leaned over to take a closer look, "Okay..." noting the biscuit sticks coated in... colored chocolate. "And you're saying today is an... occasion for this?"
"Yeah! Imma just pay for this, you go right ahead and sit. I'll be back in a sec." She did just that and returned to him with a skip in her step. "Here you go! Try it then I'll show you how they celebrate it." she giggled playfully.
River watched Rosa approach. The bracelet was doing its job cloaking her in human form, but he could never forget how cute her turtle form was and easily imagined her in it. "Haha ok, ok!" River laughed easily as he leaned forward to help himself to a stick of Pocky she offered.
"So how is this 'Pocky Day' celebrated?" He asked her before happily popping one end of the sweet treat into his mouth.
She stepped closer, smiling as a slight blush dusted her cheeks, and bit the end of the stick.
"Like this💕," she smiled, feeling shy. "Then you and your partner start to bite down and see who... pulls away first. They lose if they do. If they end up kissing its a tie," she whispered.
His eyes widened in surprise, he felt his face heat up at her sudden proximity. Frozen in shock, he wasn't sure what to do, mind racing with questions he could not voice out as his lips were presently occupied. His brain shut down as he was enveloped in her scent again...
She opened her eyes, making direct eye contact. The memories of them making out in the lab came flooding back into her mind and she blushed hard. She pulled away, eyes averted, "O-Oh... Sorry River... I didn't mean to make you uncomfy..."
The Pocky stick fell off his mouth, slack jawed and frozen. After a few seconds of mute blinking his brain finally rebooted and he sputtered, "Oh-hey-whoa-no, don't worry," recovering with a hearty laugh, "You got me good! Maaaan I walked right into that one, didn't I??"
"Oooh I'll getchu for this!" with swift movements, he plucked another stick out of the box, planted a chocolate tipped end into her mouth, then bit halfway. Straightening back up, his eyes sparkled with a bright smile, "There! Now we're even!"
Rosa's eyes went wide as she watched him bite into the stick then blushed harder, remembering how his lips felt on hers. "I uh..." she mumbled and quietly finished the snack. "Yeah you got me good..." she mumbled softly, finally sitting next to him, nibbling on another one.
Turning to face Rosa, he asked in a softer voice, "Did I go too far? Are you okay? I'm sorry..." he leaned down to look into her eyes as his brows furrowed with worry.
She shook her head. "You didn't... I liked it." she confessed softly, still nibbling at the cookie, gazing off to the side after that tiny reveal of her feelings.
"I'm... glad," he finally said after a long pause of repeat-reciting the mental mantra 'She's vulnerable, I shouldn't take advantage,' reminding himself she's still recovering from... turtle-alien-costume guy. He sighed, then laughed, "Thank you for enlightening me about Pocky Day. I had fun!"
"O-of course!" she looked at him with slight longing before standing up, smiling at him. "I'm glad you had fun... And thank you for hanging out with me." She idly twiddled her fingers, "Let's uh... Do this more often?"
He nodded, "Yeah... let's." River stood up, running yellow fingerless-gloved hands down his black cargo pants as he gazed down at her, smiling, "May I walk you home?"
"Uh.. Sure! Hmn... You always walk me home, I'm not used to it... Donnie-- uh, my ex never did that." she mumbled with a chuckle, leading them out of the convenience store.
"I wanna be sure you get home safe," River said as they walked along 3rd Avenue, finally having the name of the one he secretly called PTAS (Purple Turtle Alien Scum). His longer legs had him slightly ahead of Rosa. He stopped, hands pocketed, to look back at her, "Need to talk?"
She was following behind then, and looked back at him, "I, uh... Yeah... You did saw me cry last Halloween... I guess you deserve full context." She nervously smiled, "It's just..." she told him everything that transpired between her and Donnie, as they walked side by side.
"You owe me nothing, but I'll listen if talking it out helps you feel better."
Rosa told him everything as they walked, both of them looking straight ahead.
"Did you ask April? As his best friend she might be able to help you understand him," …admittedly not as tempting as demonizing him.
She sighed, "April did try to explain and such... And even tried talking to Donnie... I guess, I don't know?? I'm not really worth his time." She looked down with a sad smile as she walked.
River smirked, shaking his head, "That's no way to measure self-worth," he said absently. Hands still in pockets, he followed her pace, "I trust you did all you can to know in the end that leaving him is for the best. At the very least you deserve to remove yourself from that painful situation."
She hugged herself, then nodded. "Yeah, I knew I deserved better..." she sighed and looked up at him, "Thanks for listening to my woes, you've really been so good to me... Thank you."
They stopped in front of the stairs leading up to her apartment. Hands still in pockets, River stepped forward, facing her. "I'm here for you," his voice was soft, "If you ever need me..." almost a whisper, but he was mere inches away she heard him loud and clear.
She made sure to step up the steps so that they're at least at eye level, looking at him with a soft smile. "You're too kind... I really am thankful I met you, River," she cupped his cheeks before kissing his lips, chaste and soft.
River barely registered Rosa going inside the building and closing the door, before stumbling back as he recovered from his catatonic state with a sharp intake of breath. Mentally kicking himself for standing like an idiot instead of... well what should he have done anyway??
Shaking his head with an annoyed huff, he refused to follow THAT train of thought, still trying to forget a certain deleted CCTV footage. As he walked home, he took out his phone to message Rosa about scheduling a check-up. The data he's been getting from her cloaker was hardly reassuring and he needed to get to the bottom of this.
Rosa jumped on her bed with a soft sigh, blushing lightly. Soon after she heard her phone beep, she looked to it was River's message. She sent an 'Alright, see you soon❤️️' and held on to her phone tightly.