"There's no valet here?"
Candy chucked, thinking he was joking at first, but his face read total sincerity. "Umm, no, your highness. We park and walk like regular peasants here."
Kevin raised his eyebrows and complied, the wheels squealing into a parking space. The interior of his car smelled of lemons and leather. The seats were plush and the dashboard flashy. He'd bought it new a few weeks back. "Silly move," Candy had scolded him, repeating what her dad had always told her, "A car loses 50 percent of its value when you drive it out of the lot." Her dad hadn't been much of a father, but he'd taught her a few bits of handy financial advice when he'd been around.
Still, Kevin hadn't seemed to care that his car had lost any value. "I like things in mint condition," he'd shrugged in response.
Candy hopped out of the passenger side and took in the huge structure before her. It had been a while since she'd laid eyes on her favorite teenage haunt. She used to come here every weekend with Lacy, usually when they were bored and feeling naughty, which had been most of the time. Inside the drugstore on the right was where she'd shoplifted (she'd only ever stolen small things, like gum and hair dye). Outside in the bicycle parking area was where she'd tried her first cigarette. In front of the upstairs cinema had been where she'd had her first kiss. Candy was intimately acquainted with this mall, and she was looking forward to showing Kevin around it.
She knew exactly where to take him first. They strolled towards the front entrance together. Candy glanced at Kevin. His mind was still somewhere else. "Hungry?" She asked, trying to reel him back into the present.
"Yeah, I could eat."
"Awesome. I'm gonna take you for fro-yo. Best in town on the third floor."
"Frozen yogurt!" Candy couldn't believe he didn't know what fro-yo was. But she remembered they may not have it in where he came from.
"That sounds weird. Why would you freeze yogurt?"
"It's just like ice cream, but healthier, with real fruit mixed in. It's sooo yum. Come on!" She skipped her feet together in excitement as they walked through the glass doors.
The interior of the mall sprawled out before them as they entered the monolithic structure. Stores upon stores lined the perimeter--most of which Candy was familiar with, but some were new--and temporary pop-ups dotted the middle pathway. From the entrance, just four of the seven levels were visible, with the option of either shiny escalators and glass elevators to whisk patrons from floor to floor.
"Let's take the escalator, so you can get a good view," Candy suggested, taking Kevin's hand, who was looking around in wonderment, with wide eyes. As they scaled the escalators up to the third floor, Kevin was mostly silent. "So...what do you think, so far?" Candy asked eagerly.
"It's...something! Very...vibrant," he nodded.
Candy couldn't read his face to tell if that was good or bad. She shrugged and decided not to fret. Everyone loves the mall, she reassured herself.
They strode to the food court, up to the fro-yo stall. "OK, pick your fruit! You can have up to three flavors," Candy explained, pointing to the frozen tubs of fruit in front of them.
Kevin selected mango and passionfruit. Candy got blueberry.
"OK...this is delicious," Kevin admitted, as he licked his fro-yo cone. "Are you sure this is healthy? It tastes like ice cream!"
"I know! But yes, it's healthy! Cool, hey?" Candy was thrilled he liked his snack. She giggled to herself--he seemed almost childlike, seeing and trying things for the first time. "OK, now, I noticed you don't have a lot of casual clothes. Since you're gonna be working from home, why don't we get you some more relaxed outfits? I know just the place."