1947 Chinatown

Left. Right. Left. Right. Leslie kept in perfect step with Kash as they made their way down a deserted street. The steady beat of their footsteps were only interrupted when Leslie came to an abrupt halt in front of a Chinese bakery. Kash was around the corner before he realized she was no longer at his side. He stopped and backed up to find her with her hands cupped near her face, pressing her nose against the window, looking inside the bakery.

Impatiently he shoved his hands into his pockets, praying she wouldn’t ask any more questions. He didn’t mind her inquisitive nature, but he wasn’t in the mood for it. Rather, he was in the mood for chocolate covered almonds; real and imagined. Maybe, he mused to himself, if she dressed more like a woman, she wouldn’t have to press her nose to the bakery window.

She glanced over at him and he was suddenly serious again, awaiting the inevitable. “What are those?” she asked, tapping the glass and pointing to the only things in the bakery’s display case.

Kash peered into the bakery at the objects, then back to Leslie. “Moon cakes.”

She anticipated an explanation, but instead he startled her by pushing her hat back on her head, revealing all of her face.

Suddenly his hankering for chocolate covered almonds was satisfied and he began to explain the Moon Festival. “Moon cakes,” he began softly, and then he stopped, more interested in the apparition before him than the content of his interpretation of the Moon Festival. She raised her eyebrows for him to continue. “Moon cakes are made for the Moon Festival or Harvest Festival. According to the lunar calendar, the full moon is always on the fifteenth day of the month. The Chinese celebrate the moon’s birthday each year, roughly at the end of September. Since the moon is a ‘Yin’ symbol, or it represents the female, this festival is obviously held at night. It’s a very private celebration.” He stepped closer, penetrating her guarded space. He liked the muted glow of the street light and what it did to her absolute and defined features, turning them dark and sultry. “And very romantic,” he concluded, his eyes smoldering.

“How do you know so much?” she asked, deliberately breaking their intimacy.

“I’m a native.”

“No native I know wears boxers,” she teased.

The drizzle became rain and fell a lot faster and harder. Kash gave a sigh of relief. “We’d better go before you melt,” he sharply threw back and headed for the confectionary and chocolate covered almonds.

Leslie’s dimples deepened at their exchange. Clenching her fist, she gently thumped her chest like Tarzan and then followed after him.

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