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Hey.. I missed you. [Private][With Spring Plumb]

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The past few days have been nerve-wracking for the young hunter. After the disheartening end to their initial meeting, the poor boy had been worried sick about her. The tear-stricken face haunted his thoughts and his dreams, each occurrence causing a pain to course through his heart.

Every once in a while, for every single day since then, he would message her, asking if she was okay. Each time, her replies would come short. While saddening, it was not completely unexpected. He took slight joy in the fact that she was willing to reply and was doing fine - in her own way. Occasionally, the long self-depreciating messages would come back, and that worried the boy to death. The girl would not even reply for a while after those messages and the fox was left in concern with his fur a hue darker than normal.

Sighing softly, James looked out into the busy streets of Bellmuse, stirring his tea as he stayed shaded underneath the alcove of the cafe he frequented. He had a free day so he decided to take a walk around the city he made home many years ago. He considered seeing his sister, but she was most likely at school at the time. Maybe Ms. Belle? Shooting Star has played a large portion of his life, maybe he could do a showcase. The group has slipped slightly in the polling, and he couldn't help but feel it was due to his hiatus. A promotion by Kitsune does seem like it would help, but he will think about that later.

Finishing his tea, he left it on his table before standing up and stretching. Without a destination in mind, the fox wandered aimlessly through the streets of Bellmuse, his tail lazily swaying behind him.

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When the first message had appeared on her scroll Spring had almost screamed out in class. Whether it was in fear or joy she couldn’t quite tell. Part of her was happy that he had messaged her, but another part wasn’t. Sometimes his messages would cause her to worry. She didn’t want him to waste his time thinking about her or worrying about how she was doing. It didn’t make much sense to her that he would, but it seemed like he did.

Now what James, probably, didn’t know was her antics when she wasn’t in class. Using a special piece of software she had payed a lot of Lien for she was able to track his scroll. As well using a special camera that the doctor had given her she could get high quality photos from a long distance away. These two things she used to follow James and take plenty of pictures of him. Some weren’t that good, others came out great. The really good ones she would print out and save in a box she kept hidden with the notes he had left her and the silverware he had used when she first saw him.

Right now in fact she was following the snow fox prince. As he walked she kept a great distance behind him. She had gotten several really good photos while he was cafe. It didn’t matter to her where he was going or what he was doing, all that mattered was that she watched him.

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The streets were a blur. The sounds melded together and Bellmuse was just a cacophony of events to the white-fox, his mind still stuck on the girl. In all honesty, there shouldn't even be a reason why. They had just met, barely spoke a few words, and hardly know each other. But, there was just something about her. Something that made him feel attracted to her. He grinned lightly at the memory of her blushing.

She's so cute when embarrassed!

A beep from his scroll alerted him to a message and he quickly took it out. It was from Ms. Belle. Huh, it seems like she wanted to see him. With a short reply, the boy picked up his pace and headed towards one of the larger buildings in the city: Shooting Star Incorporated, his previous employment. Where the rise of one of Bellmuse's most popular artist emerged, Kitsune.

Idly wondering what his surrogate mother wanted with him, he entered the building. For the most part, not many people knew who he was. Only a select few were in the know and one of the just so happened to be the secretary present at the desk. With a smile, the woman let him through and the boy entered the elevator. Before the door closed, he could have sworn he saw a flash off in the distance, but played off as a trick of the light.

On the trip up, the boy messaged Spring once more.

Hey. I just wanted to check up on you again. I really miss you, you know. Funny since we just met, but I do. I hope I get to see you soon.

Soon after he sent the message, due to Ms. Belle's ego, the elevator opened up to her office and the woman he considered a mother sat there with a wry grin on her face. With a confused smile, the boy stepped into the room and took a seat.

Let's see where this meeting will go.

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It seemed like a lot of people were out to day. The city was pretty crowded and so to keep her nerves under control and to make sure she could still follow James Spring activated her semblance. In an instant she was all but invisible. People around her just stopped noticing that she even existed. It was nice being able to move around almost unseen. A few people looked directly at her and still never recognized her presence.

Finally it seemed like James reached where he was going. A palace called “Shooting Star Inc.” Despite being a citizen of Bellmuse her whole life she had never seen this building, in fact she had never even been to this part of the city. Almost her whole life she had lived in a much poorer part of the city. A curiosity began to build in Spring. She wanted to know what kind of place this was, and maybe that would help her understand why James was there.

She couldn’t just walk into that building though… instead she turned around. Across the street was a standard looking office building. Spring chose this as her means of watching. It was easy enough for her to enter. With her semblance up the secretary in the office building didn’t even notice her. She went for one of the elevators and took it to the top floor. As she was riding up her scroll vibrated. Almost panicked she pulled it out to find a message from James.

“Uh… okay...” Spring typed back into her scroll and sent the message off. As soon as she did she regretted it. She wanted to ask him questions, to have a real conversation with him even if it was just messages over a scroll. But she knew that now she had sent the message she couldn’t take it back.

At the top floor Spring left the elevator and found the stairs to the roof. Up here she could see the whole building. Good. She pulled out her camera and took a spot near the edge of the roof. Slowly and carefully she began to scan the windows of the building hoping to find James. It wasn’t until she reached the top of the building that she found him. It looked like he was talking with some woman. Far too eager to know what was going on Spring pulled out her listening equipment, another gift from the doctor. Setting it up so that it focused in on the room with James in it she plugged one end into her scroll to record and the headphones over her ears.

Aura : 260

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Beep. Beep.

In the midst of conversation, the fox boy's scroll decided to go off. Not wanting to be rude, he hazard a quick glance and simply read the message from the notification. A frown went unnoticed upon the receiving the short message, but it was no different from any of the past ones, so he paid it little mind.

The young hunter yelped in pain when the corporate head before him roughly yanked his tail. Looking at the offender with a half-hearted glare, he noted the pout resting on her lips and that cursed cheeky attitude hovering in those eyes of hers. "Pay attention when I'm talking to you. I haven't seen you in months and this is how you act? Your poor surrogate mother's heart cannot take this!" He rolled his eyes, used to the woman's flair for dramatics.

"Sorry, sorry. What were you saying?"

The woman huffed at him, before smiling and sitting in the seat next to the fox. "As I was saying, I wanted your opinion about coming back for a small benefit show. Proceeds will go towards supporting retired huntsmen and huntresses and I'm sure with Kitsune performing, we're sure to get plenty of attendees." Ms. Belle walked over to one of the bookcases lining the walls of her office and tugged on one of the books. A loud click was heard and the bookcase separated in half, down the middle, to reveal a wardrobe all too familiar to the faunus. Torn black jeans with crossing belts, a slate gray hoodie with over sized sleeves - his outfit of over five years.

His attention was drawn, however, to the black wig and fox mask hanging above his attire. These two items were truly what separated himself from his alter-ego. Looking back to his mother, he answered.

"Okay. I'll do it."

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Once everything was set up Spring got herself comfortable and watched. It seemed like he was talking with some woman. Hmmm surrogate mother? With one hand Spring pulled out a small pen and note pad and began to take notes. The more she knew the better after all. A benefit show… what was that supposed to be? In any case she continued to take notes. As the bookshelf began to open Spring’s jaw dropped. She had no idea what that outfit was but the fact that it was hidden behind a bookcase made it seem like something out of a superhero movie.

Whatever it was James agreed to do it. It was all so cool. Almost immediately Spring started to look up what she could on her scroll. Searching “kitsune” and “Shooting Star Inc.” quickly gave her the results she was looking for. Did this mean what she thought it meant? Was James really a star… not a pop star but other genres as well. “Oh my…. This is awesome!” Spring said with joy in her voice.

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Ah, there is that smile of hers. Like the cat that ate the canary, that viscous smile of a plan coming together. The cause was great, he was more than willing to do a benefit concert. What was unsettling to him was the fact he could practically see lien replacing her pupils. "Great! Oh, I knew I could count on you!" To emphasize her joy, the grown woman leaped into her son's arms - being hoisted up quite easily by the youth.

James sighed softly at the antics of his unofficial caretaker and gently lowered her back on her feet. Dusting herself off, the woman quickly closed her secret compartment and told the youth the concert would be later tonight in the streets of Bellmuse Central. His mouth agape, the boy scolded his mother for telling him last minute, expressing his own displeasure at having no time to prepare.

At least she had the decency to look sheepish.

Pinching the nose of his bridge, he told her that he expects his dressing room ready on-site and his old team together. Quick to agree, the two shared a familial hug, and departed. There was still plenty of time till then, so he wanted to relax. Leaving the building, he decided to head towards the park for a leisurely walk. Immediately taking out his scroll, he messaged the one constantly on his mind.

Hey. I'm going to head to the park, if you want to meet up. I would love to walk under the trees with you.

Hitting send, the boy continued in his stride, sending friendly smiles to all those passing by and several high fives to energetic children.

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This was maybe the last thing that Spring had ever expected to find out about James. In fact it hadn’t even made the list of things she expected. But this was so much better than what her mind could have come up with. She didn’t know why she liked it, all it really did was make her realize how far out of her league he was. But then again everyone is out of your league when you are literally the bottom.

Lost in her own thought she almost didn’t realize it when James left the room. In a panic Spring began to pack up her listening equipment, making a mental note to plant some cameras and microphones in that building later. With that done she ran for the stairs back into the building. Activating her semblance once more she took the elevator down. As she did her scroll went off once again and once again she almost panicked as it did. Pulling it out to check caused her entire body to go stiff and butterflies to all but burst forth from her chest. Her hands began to shake and she was unable to write any kind of response. With a ding the elevator made its way to the bottom of the building. Startled by this she put her scroll away without answering, a bit strange considering she usually only didn’t respond to James’ messages after she went on one of her self deprecating rants.

Leaving the building she didn’t see James. While she did know that he was going to the park she didn’t know where that was. Luckily her scroll could navigate her there. Beginning her journey to the park she began to come up with reasons why she was carrying such a large bag. Of course it was filled with equipment for stalking people, while her camera hung around her neck, the long range lense tucked away in her bag.

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It's been well over the time frame the girl usually answers, and there was still no response. Sighing, the fox decided to count his losses and stowed away his scroll, fully believing that the scarred girl who captured his heart is still unwilling to see him. Every once in a while, he would get the feeling that she was around, but it was fleeting - he never once saw her.

Little did he know, the girl just so happened to stay just out of the range of his senses.

Enwrapped in his own mind, he barely noticed that he had entered the park. Blinking, he took a quick check around the environment to confirm. Huh. That's odd. The walk from the building to here is usually much longer..

A fleeting thought, the boy shrugged off the oddity of the distance and and began his stroll. The park was relatively quiet at this time of day - not many people out. The walk was pleasant, if not a bit lonely, and the leaves flying in the wind was certainly a lovely distraction. The whistle of the wind blowing through the foliage of the trees entered his ears and he closed his eyes in contentment. As he was contemplating practicing before the show, a new sound entered.

A soft patter of something hitting against another.

A light, faint, rhythmic footstep - of which, he knew only one to have.

Swerving a full one-eighty degrees, the boy listened as the sounds grew louder and the familiar head of hair emerged from the horizon. A heat rose in his cheeks as he watched the girl, who has been dominating his mind, heading towards him.

...

Was that a camera?

It seemed the girl had quite the equipment with her. Without a second thought the fox met her halfway and proceeded to take her bag from her. "You have quite the load there, Spring. Let me hold onto this for you." He flashed her a smile, his aura radiating waves of joy at seeing his fellow schoolmate in front of him.

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For almost the entire walk her thoughts were on reasons why she had such a large bag with her and the camera. No normal person walked around with a camera. The more she walked the more nervous she got. Before she realized it she was at the park. Spring froze. What was she doing here? There was no way she could be seen in public with James. What if people started talking? They would say bad thins about her, but she didn’t care about that. She was more worried about what they would say about James. Spring could never forgive herself if people started to talk bad about James because of her.

Wait… why was she walking again. Some time during her panicked thoughts Spring had started to walk. It seemed like her body had started to move without her mind. This had never happened before. Why was this happening? No she couldn’t. But before her mind could stop her she saw him. The white fox was facing her, more than that he was walking towards her. She could still run away…

“Oh… um… hi” She said averting her gaze to the ground as James approached her. A small panic began to fill her as he started to take her bag. “Oh n.. n… n… n… no you…. don’t… have….” She began as she tried to take back the bag and dropped her scroll at the same time. As it hit the ground the screen changed from the navigation to the park to the research she had open, specifically a picture of the famous Kitsune.

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Ah.

This was...unexpected.

There, on the floor, was the girl's scroll. Present on the screen was a picture of himself. Or well, of Kitsune. Honestly speaking, he didn't expect this at all. While his fans range from far and wide, he never figured that someone like the one before him would be one. Blinking several times, he let the scarred girl take hold of her bag before he leaned down to pick up the scroll from the ground. Looking at the picture under the guise of checking for any damages to the phone, he nodded to himself before handing the device back to Spring.

With a smile, he addressed her. "Nothing seems to be broken. I didn't know you liked Kitsune! I heard he's kinda popular around these parts." In the back of his mind, the boy's mind was racing. From the first interaction, he knew the girl to be somewhat of a shadow - following someone of interest. While he was flattered and happy, it was worrisome of the possibility of her making the connection. Kitsune, despite being an artist, still had enemies in the form of rival artists wanting to dethrone him, and he doubted they would not stoop as low as kidnapping and extortion to force his hand.

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Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! This was bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. What if he found out she had been following him? Not good. As James reached down to grab her scroll a thousand excuses ran through her head. A lesson her older brothers had taught her long ago popped into mind. If you were going to lie then the best way to get away with it was to simply tell a selective truth leaving out what you didn’t want them to know. Preparing her response Spring smiled ever so slightly as she took back her scroll.

“Th… th… thank you. I… uh… I hadn’t really…. Um… heard of h...h...him until… today,” She said before realizing that this could probably spark a conversation that she wasn’t ready for. If he started to ask questions about how she had found out about Kitsune or why she was looking him up she didn’t have answers for that. Her face began to redden as her breathing became faster. She worried what he might ask, what he would say if he found out she had been following him. By now her panic was starting to become obvious.

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Hoh? That just makes it even more suspicious. Then again, news about Kitsune performing did spread fast, so he wouldn't be so surprised if that was the case. His concern sparked when the girl's breathing became rapid and only grew upon seeing the panicked look cross her delicate features. Moving quickly, the boy gently grabbed hold of the girl's hand - which one, he didn't know - and squeezed it lightly. A small disarming smile, the fox spoke. "Hey now, deep breathes. You're okay, you're okay."

She knew.

That reaction, while probably common to the poor girl, only came about to when he regarded her knowledge about Kitsune. How she knew, he could hazard a guess, but he wouldn't make a scene. Not like it would make a difference anyways. All he could do now was make sure no one would harm the girl. Tugging the girl along, he decided to get started on their walk under the trees. "Come on now, let's get started on our walk. It's a nice day out."

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Yeah, yeah, just do as James said and take deep breaths. Spring did her best to try and calm her breathing. So far it seemed like he hadn’t caught on to her. She could probably relax now. Everything would be fine… just so long as he didn’t see the pictures on her camera… or the equipment in her bag. If anyone were to look in that bad they would assume it belonged to a spy of some sort not a scared little girl.

It wasn’t until James started to tug on her that Spring noticed that he had taken her hand, her left had. A bolt of fear spiked up her spine. She had to fight back her natural instinct to jerk her hand way from him. Inside she worried that he would think that her hand was weird and gross and end up realizing what he was doing and let go of her in disgust. It would only be natural. After all what was left of the skin in that area was severely scared and probably felt like bad leather. Most of her scars were covered by her long sleeves and the stockings she wore, though her face and hand were exposed today. “I knew I should have worn my glove and bandages today. Stupid girl.” She quietly berated herself as she walked along with James.

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In true honesty, the fox was well aware now of what hand he had taken hold of. The textured hand a dead giveaway. Even still, it did not bother him in the slightest. Just holding hands with the shy girl was an achievement in of itself. The last time resulted in her running away, so progress was made. His ears caught the tail end of her self-scolding and he frowned slightly. He decided to nip this in the bud.

"Listen, you shouldn't put yourself down so much. You are not stupid. And you are a gorgeous young woman."

To emphasize his point, the boy released his hold on the hand, stepped closer to the girl, and wrapped his arm around her waist. "Do not doubt yourself. You have all the makings of someone wonderful." He smiled lightly at her, the sun beaming through the leaves and reflecting off the fox's white fur. The two briskly walked in silence. Releasing a soft sigh, his hold on the girl grew slightly tighter as he faced forward, his eyes not leaving the stretch of concrete before them. "I really missed you, you know.."

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Why? Why was James so nice to her? Did he really believe those things he said to her? Even though part of her wanted to believe them too, she couldn’t. Spring could not just have faith that people didn’t feel disgusted when they looked at her. She couldn’t just feel like people would want to talk to her because they thought she was interesting. If they did want to talk to her they probably wanted to make fun of her, to tell her she was a broken toy and that when things break you throw them out.

Spring blushed as James pulled her closer to him. She had never even talked to a boy since the fire, but now she was being held by one, really close. It was like something out of a romance novel. Spring had read a lot of those. They usually made her cry, knowing that anything like that would never happen to her. “Y… y… you m… m… m… missed me? B… b… b… b… but w.. why?” Spring asked. “Why would James miss me? It doesn’t make any sense. No one would miss me when I left. I mean most people would wish that I never even came back, so why miss me? It’s not like I’m anything special or anything...” She said not realizing she was speaking her mind aloud.

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Turning his head slightly towards the girl, he quirked an eyebrow. Did she really not know why? Then again, he mused, the girl did not seem to have the most positive of experiences with other people - probably stemming from her burn marks. The thought that people would treat the scarred girl as trash due to something out of her control filled him with such disappointment, wondering what happened to simply showing compassion to others.

"Silly girl, of course I missed you. Is there any other reason to have other than I like to be around you? Though we haven't talked much, I enjoy what words have need said. I enjoy hearing your soft voice. I enjoy the feel of your hands. I like the look in your eye. So, yeah. I can confidently say that I missed you."

Throughout the entire time, the breeze grew a tad stronger, enough to blow the leaves off of the branches and to lift them from the ground. Following the path drawn for them, they floated around the two before leaving.

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Spring’s eye went wide as she realized she had just been speaking out loud. As James turned to look at her she dropped her face to stare at the ground in front of her. Now she was making herself look like a fool in front of James. Just one screw up after another. At this rate she would go home today and he would probably think even less of her. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. He deserved better in his life than her.

“I… I… I… thank you,” Spring said holding back her thoughts this time. She wanted to tell him to leave, for his own good. That he shouldn’t involve himself with her. She wanted to run away now and hide. It was nice, being here with him like this, but she didn’t feel like she deserved this. This wasn’t something she was meant to have, this wasn’t something she should have. Unbeknownst to her a single tear began to fall down spring’s cheek. Not having much experience dealing with people she was just as bad at keeping her emotions from showing meaning her face was… sullen.

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"There is no need to say thanks. I'm only speaking my thoughts."

The boy noticed the shift in atmosphere and he looked down at the girl in his arms. Without hesitation, he wiped away the tear that was trailing down her face, and lightly began to stroke her hair. He had no idea what spurned on the waterworks, and to be frank, he could not help but think that he was the cause. Maybe she truly did not know how to interact to such positive intentions and does not know how to handle.

"Hey now, none of that. Your tears should only be shed for joy. I want to see you smile."

Watching as sunset drew near, the boy stopped the couple from continuing their walk and reached into his back pocket to take out two tickets to the Kitsune concert. Ms. Belle had given him the two as a complimentary for deciding to perform so last minute. He fingered the tickets for a bit, contemplating his next moves, before offering them to the girl.

"Here, I have two tickets to go see Kitsune tonight. I would have gone myself, but things came up. There's two there so you can invite a friend!"

Hopefully, she took them. He was kind of excited to see her, if she did.

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Spring jumped a little bit when James reached down and wiped away her tear. Her heart began to flutter as he stroked her hair. Part of her wanted this to never end, to believe that she could be happy one day. But no this is the real world, not romance novel. The real world is cruel and callous.

In repose to James’ words Spring looked down at the ground. She didn’t know if she could smile. Once when she was younger she smiled a lot. But now… now she didn't know how to smile any more. She was about to ask him if she should leave when he stopped them and pulled out a pair of tickets.

“I… um… I don’t really have any friends…” Spring said before once again going off on one of her long tangents, “Well I mean I do have one friend but she left a few days ago to go do something so really I have a friend but not one that is here right now.”

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James hummed to himself as he took in the girl's words. Internally, he frowned at the fact that she only had one person to really call a friend, and said person was currently out of town. He truly emphasized how isolated she was from social interaction and it made his want to be closer to the girl grow. He wondered if he could still somehow convince Spring to go to the concert, as to bring her into a situation that may prove exciting for her - all things assuming that she did make the connection between him and Kitsune, of course.

A small smile breaking it, he gently placed the tickets into her hand. "Why don't you take them, anyway. It may be a nice experience and it would be meaningful to me if you do go, so I know they weren't a waste. Besides, since you're interested, what better way to get to know Kitsune than by going to his concert?"

Maybe he was being too forceful?

"Of course, only if you want to. I don't want you to force yourself."

There, much better.

Better to give her the option than make her feel obligated to, otherwise she would go and not enjoy herself.

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Spring didn’t know what to do when James put the tickets in her hand. She could have gotten into the concert without them anyway, but it’s not like she could just tell him that. And even if she did take them then she probably wouldn’t even use them, big crowds weren’t her thing. Not that she wasn’t going, no she was going to be there, just not in the audience. But James was giving them to her… he shouldn’t have been but he was.

“Okay… I… I’ll t… t… t… take them,” Spring said closing her hands around the tickets.

A realization fell over her as she took the tickets. She needed to prepare for this. What she had in her bag now might not be enough to properly watch the event. Spring had to go get more cameras, and microphones.

“I… I… I should probably be… um… g… g… going now,” She said turning to leave. She needed to prepare for this. Lots of research needed to happen before she would be ready.

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A larger smile formed as her words were processed and comprehended. At least she took the tickets, so that told him that she was willing to go. Of course, there was no doubt that she would have found a way to watch without the tickets, but it warmed him on the inside to know that she was willing to take what he offered. Without thinking, he did something that he may or may not regret later.

He leaned in and gave a small peck on the cheek. Short and sweet.

Pulling back, he smiled softly before pulling back and nodding at her words. "I understand. I'm sure you have other things to do, huh?" Truthfully, he didn't want her to go, but he knew he had to. "If you ever need anything, call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me. I'll hang out around here for a bit longer."

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There was so much to do. The cameras she had weren’t that high quality so she would need to get some HD ones. Plus microphones with better quality. And of course all of these would have to be networked so she would need a hub to run everything from. And then there would be…

Spring froze as James leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.

“I… I… I… I...” Spring said with her entire face turning bright red, “I should be going!” Spring bowed to James before turning around and running from the park. Though this was a considerably better exit than she had made last time she still felt bad. She mentally made notes about how she had messed up this time and what to do next time to correct them. If there ever actually was a next time. It still didn’t make sense to her that James would want to spend time with her. She liked it, but it still made no sense.

[exit]

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He chuckled lightly as the girl froze from his action. In hindsight, probably not so clever to do, but it was worth it. Seeing the girl bow to him, however, was unexpected. Honestly speaking, the fox never had anyone bow to him, so the feeling was...

Weird? He was not sure how to phrase it.

Before he had a chance to respond, the girl turned tail and ran. Blinking in surprise, he could not help the small little sigh from escaping his lips. The scene was familiar to him, but this time around seemed to end on a higher note - of this, he was glad. Humming to himself, he raised a finger to his lips before smiling lightly. Turning a full one-eighty, the fox walked towards the area where the concert would be taking place. He had much to do, things to prepare. Tonight was certainly gonna one of the funner ones. His destination in mind, the wind blew through his hair as he strode forward, a single thought on his mind.

Today sure is interesting..

[Exit]

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