The Taming of the Yandere
V2 Chapter 21: Trust in the Fitting Room
The mall’s wild assortment of shops and goods made me a little dizzy. Along with the vertigo came nausea and headache.
No, I need to sit down.
Scanning the area, I finally found a row of chairs to relax in. A couple of men were already resting there.
I set down the many bags in my hands, and completely reclined back in the seat. I breathed heavily in exhaustion.
I always thought that military training* was the most tiring thing in the world, but I’ve found that shopping with Mom trumped that.
*In China, middle school and high school students have to take mandatory military training. It’s not anything hardcore; you don’t learn to shoot guns and stuff, but rather you learn discipline, how to address superiors, code of conduct, drilling exercises, etc. I returned to America right after the start of middle school, so I didn’t do it. Kind of wish I did, though.
Most of military training was on the field, standing in the sun. Forward marching, interval marching, jog marching.
But shopping was different. You hold weights in your hands, dodge all sorts of obstacles, map your surroundings, and answer rhetorical questions.
“Fan, how does this dress look?”
Mom swept a Korean-style skirt from a hanger.
“Miss, this dress totally fits you, you look ten years younger while wearing it.”
A staff member seized the business opportunity, and quickly rushed over.
The skirt looked fairly refreshing, but it didn’t suit Mom. It seemed great for a newly-graduated college student, but it didn’t have the same effect on her.
“Mom, if you were ten years younger, I would definitely recommend you to buy it.”
I passively chuckled.
Hearing my words, Mom and the saleswoman each gave me a dirty look.
“I think those suit you better.”
I pointed at some business wear on the other side of the shop.
“I came here today looking for some more casual clothes, I won’t wear so formally except when I’m turning in my drafts to the company. They won’t be much use to me!”
Mom didn’t like clothes that were overly stiff. She grumbled at me unhappily.
My mind stood still, and I didn’t know what to recommend.
Choosing clothes for my mother’s age was a problem that I never considered before.
“Auntie, I think the ones over there look better on you.”
Jiang Muqing, who followed us all the way and watched our exchange amusingly opened her mouth and spoke.
She pointed towards a trendy casual wear store. The clothes on the mannequins were very cultured and artistic.
A white dress embroidered with a few pale leaves, or a short-sleeved shirt with a black orchid print. The clothes seemed to have the very essence of nature imbued in the fabric.
Jiang Muqing pulled Mom for her to try on a beige windbreaker, perfect for city dwellers.
When Mom wore it, she seemed as if from the 14th century, private-detective style.
But she didn’t seem too satisfied, she was more interested in clothes that made her seem younger.
So, Jiang Muqing pointed to another corner of the shop. The outfit included a white T-shirt, a sleeveless brown vest, and a pair of dark Bermudas. It looked very clean, adding a hint of liveliness and playfulness. It did make her look a bit younger.
Well, it looks like Jiang Muqing’s taste in clothes is really wonderful. Then I’ll let them do their own thing, and have a well-deserved rest.
Just at this time, my eyes wandered to a nearby store.
“Cuddle-Bears Women’s Clothing.”
A brand that used to specialize in children is now expanding to women? Times are advancing so fast.
Well, compared to making money off of parents buying for their kids, it’s much faster to just have them buy for themselves.
I picked up the bags, and trudged inside laboriously. I walked around aimlessly until I stopped in front of a long red dress.
The dress wasn’t red; rather, it was a warm orange color. It gave off a natural sense of comfort, and its shape seemed perfect for a teenage adolescent girl.
The teddy-bear logo that used to be on the sleeves of children’s wear was now hidden in the collar. Of course, if older girls were to have a bear cub woven in plain sight, it would be quite a pain and embarrassment.
Their clothes seemed more mature than before, they would fit great on girls older than Luo Xue.
“Fan, do you like this dress?”
Jiang Muqing materialized behind me.
“Ahh, I was just looking, haha.”
I dragged my eyes from the mannequin.
“She’s still choosing clothes in that shop, I came back after I realized Fan was missing.” The shoujo replied.
Jiang Muqing gazed at me, as if trying to read my mind. Then, she turned her eyes to the orange dress.
“Fan, I want to try on this dress.”
With help from one of the staff, the girl walked into a fitting room with the clothes.
I sat on a sofa to wait for her.
I’ve always been buying for Mom. I did say that I was going to come shopping with Jiang Muqing, and I haven’t bought a single thing for her yet. If she really did like the dress, then I’ll buy it for her.
While I was in thought, the fitting room’s door cracked open. The girl’s slender arm slipped out, and gestured in my direction.
She wanted me to come.
I walked over.
Suddenly, Jiang Muqing opened the door to pull me in. I received a shock.
“What are you doing?!”
I regained my balance, and tried to whisper as quietly as possible in the dark.
“The bra isn’t holding together….”
The shoujo replied awkwardly.
Then, I realized. In the darkness, I faintly saw what appeared to be a light undershirt. Besides the important bits, the rest of her body was all for me to see.
Her bra wasn’t held together, and she was holding it up with her hands.
“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!”
I quickly shut my eyes, although I had already seen all there was to see.
“Lu Fan, did you hear me? My bra… It’s not clipping right….”
The girl was starting to get agitated, and she sounded like she was on the verge of tears.
“Don’t worry, turn around so I can see.”
I quickly comforted her.
If she were to break down and cry, things would get ugly if people nearby heard her. The way we were right now, if someone were to see me, I wouldn’t be able to explain properly at all.
No matter what, I had to clip it on for her.
Jiang Muqing obediently turned around, and my hand lightly brushed across her smooth back until I found the two according buckles.
The sensation of my fingers made the girl shake.
“Pull yourself together, I’ll clip them together right now!”
A few tries later, I realized. A hole had ripped one of the buckles open, and it couldn’t hold together at all.
“It’s indeed broken; I can’t hold it together.
I couldn’t think of a solution.
“Then what do I do?”
The girl’s voice started to quiver.
“It’s alright, I’ll see if I can tie it together.”
If I pull the straps together, I can tie a simple knot.
But when I pulled just the slightest, the shoujo suddenly cried out.
“Stop being so loud, other people could hear you!”
I immediately clamped her mouth shut with my hand.
“Fan, it hurts!”
The girl whispered hopelessly.
“Then just don’t wear the bra, wear your shirt over until we get home.”
“No, people can still see me.”
Jiang Muqing wasn’t willing at all.
Indeed, the summer T-shirt Jiang Muqing wore today was very thin and flimsy. If she didn’t wear a bra, then her shirt will show every curve on her body.
“What do I do?”
The girl anxiously asked me.
In the cramped fitting room, the girl in front of me was nearly naked. On her was a broken bra, held together by her hands. Grasping at straws, she pulled me in, pleading for help.
With the failure of each solution, the girl’s heart grew nervous and despaired. Her pulse quickened, not knowing what to do; she could only lean against me and seek comfort.
“Don’t be scared, I’ll know what to do.”
I patted Jiang Muqing’s head, calming her down.