❯ Sakura Cafe – SakuraBlossom Cafe ( Chapter 1 )

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« Okay, now let’s watch it again! In French! » The blonde boy yelled, stretching his arms up to the ceiling. (t was a Friday afternoon, and the Sakura Blossom Cafe was totally vacant.
« I thought opening day would be more exciting than this, » Kiki yawned, brushing her dark brown hair from her eyes, « but I guess I was corrected. »
« No kidding, this sucks! » The boy grumled.
« Tari, hush, you probably don’t mind slacking off! »
« Not like this! I’m bored!! »
The redhead behind the counter with Kiki suddenly dropped his head into the puddle of drool, short red hair flopping over onto the counter.
Tari groaned, laying back on the white, blossom-covered table. Kiki was right. Opening Day was supposed to be exciting! But, the Sakura Blossom Cafe was empty, all but the three of them.
« Faaaaiirooo~. Do you like waffles? » Tari, grinned, speaking in an out-of-tune, singsong voice. The redhead lifted his head.
« Yeah, we like waffles! » He yelled.
‘We?’, Kiki thought, forming a little beaded sweatdrop.
They went on.
« Do you like pancakes? »
« Yeah, we like pancakes! »
« Do you like French toast? »
« Yeah, we like French toast! »
Kiki was about to speak, but was cut off by Tari and Fairo’s chorused singing. She just had to join in.
« Dododododo, can’t wait to get a mouthful–WAFFLES!! » They ended up screaming it, then laughed. Their laughter died as someone walked in, the jinglebells on the store door ringing. Tari sprang up, ready to run to the kitchen. He did start running, but the man who’d walked in caught him by the shoulders.
« Sabe, you’re late! » Kiki howled. The darkhaired man grinned sheepishly, waving a hand airily at her. She growled, but Tari glanced at her, and the anger died down. He smiled. Sabe was a tall man with lofty black hair, and emerald eyes that shined when he smiled. Although he had a large, cross-shaped scar on his cheek, his face was kind.
Tari wiggled against him, glanced up, then squealed. The blonde squeezed the other, yelling happily, « Nii-san!! » Sabe jumped.
« It took you that long? » Sabe snorted, grinning at the younger who now sported a sheepish smile.
« Tari, don’t yell so loud! You’re gonna scare away the customers! » The darkhaired girl said in annoyance. ‘His voice is so damned loud!’
« What customers? They’re all going to that bakery! » Tari pouted.
« What other bakery? » Sabe murmured, slowly letting go of his brother, who gave a childish whine. The blonde pointed out the door, to the sign across the street labeled ‘Antique Bakery’. Everyone groaned, shaking their heads.
« I knew that real estate guy was hiding something like this! » Fairo chirped. They all nodded in agreement, frowning. The boredom was taking toll on their nerves. Fairo lifted his head and blinked sleepily. « Maybe we should give them a welcoming gift… »
« A welcoming gift? More like Sorry-for-moving-in-across-from-your-store gift. besides, *we’re* the ones who just moved here! » Kiki snorted. « Maybe we should just be a coffee house. »
Everyone turned a slow glance to Kiki, and she quickly turned away quiet. Tari nodded slowly, letting go of Sabe and walked behind the counter, then to the backroom. it took him but 15 minutes before he came out with a platter of pink tarts. They were heart-shaped creampuffs of strawberry sponge cake with vanilla cream between, coated in a pink frosting with a vanilla flower design.
« Tari? » Fairo said, blinking at him.
« Welcoming gift. » he said, grinning sheepishly. He didn’t bother to remove his apron. Sabe walked to open the door, and Tari nodded to him in thanks, and walked out carefully. The boy waltzed across the street, barely dodging traffic with his odd swirving. Everyone in the cafe sweatdropped, staring out the window.
« One day, he’s going to get hit, and he won’t even know it. » Kiki said, smacking her forehead with a palm.

Tari looked around for a bell or a knocker. No such luck. Finally, after standing outside the door with no recognition, he kicked the door, trying to knock. A voice boomed from inside.
« Don’t kick the door!! » it howeled, and a man swung the door open, nearly hitting the boy. Tari’s left eye twitched.
‘S–… Stubble..’ Was all he could think, staring at the man’s chin. The man leaned down and stared into Tari’s ice blue eyes.
« You got a problem? … Punk? » He growled. Tari shook his head quickly.
« Tachibana, leave him alone! You’re such a prick! » A boy, about Tari’s age, called.
« Shut up, Kanda! » Tachibana snapped.
From the back, a shy-looking man with glasses stepped out, holding a paper frosting tube. The man blinked at Kanda, who shrugged at him. Tari noticed the pâtissier and bowed to him quickly, holding out the platter of tarts.
« Ah! I’m sorry that I kicked your door! »
« Who are you? » Kanda spat, eyeing the blonde oddly.
« Uh… ! T-Tari! I’m from the Sakura Blossom Cafe… We, uh.. Accidentally moved in across the street from you. We’re a bakery, too. » he trailed off, smiling sheepishly again. The hand supporting the platter shook slightly, and the (*Ahem*) stubbly man snatched it up.
« How do you ‘accidentally’ move in across the street from another bakery?! And what the Hell are these? » He grumbled, eyeing the cakes as if they were suspected to be poisoned.
« Strawberry Creampoofies. I used to make them for Meirru all the time when I was little. » Tari said, blushing somewhat.
« And just how old are you? » The stubbled man said, wiggling his eyebrows.
« S… Sixteen.. »
« WHA-AAT?! And you own a cafe already?! »
« Well… it’s not just me. You see, last year Kiki and Fairo and me–well, we decided one day that we wanted a cafe, and we planned and waited all year. But, our real estate agent didn’t tell us there’d be another bakery across the street! »
« Then why didn’t you go check it out? That’s what you do before buying a house!! »
« That’s what we get for letting Fairo choose the place… » Tari reduced to a murmur, a pinky rubbing the outter shell of his ear.
« But, aren’t you still in school? » Kanda inquired suddenly.
« Yeah, that’s why we open later. We take shifts sometimes to stop and finish our homework. But, we only opened up shop today. I’d move the shop if we could, but our agent has already closed the deal! » He said, whining a bit, in spite of himself.
« It’s really no problem, calm down. » The man with the glasses said softly. He’d been watching Tari all this time–Tari didn’t blame him, since he *did* intrude, but needless to say he was creeped out by it.
« Th-thank you… I should go now, lest you have customers and I scare them away… Uh.. Bye!! » Tari yelled, bowing before scrambling out and back across the street (through oncoming traffic).
The group of men blinked at the door for a long time, then at the cakes.
« He… Forgot to take the platter back… »

Tari burst through the door, panting slightly. The redhead lifted his head, eyebrows raised. « How’d it go? »
« G-… Good.. » Tari managed, smiling crookedly. He glanced up at the heart-shaped, silver clock above the doors and sighed. Five o’clock. There were three more hours or so until they had to go home, and they hadn’t had a customer yet.
« We should probably close up shop soon… I don’t think we’re getting anyone today. » Kiki sighed, moving from the counter to a small door that blended into the wall. From the door, she produced a bucket with two sponges, a sweeper, and a broom. Time to clean up the shop.
Everyone else started moving in opposite directions; Fairo and Tari to the sponges and bucket, Sabe to the sweeper, and leaving Kiki with the broom. Just as Fairo picked up a sponge from the water, the door’s bells rang, and a small fluffy-haired blonde walked inside, smiling bright. He spotted Kiki and scrambled to her.
« Kiki Kiki Kiki Kiki Kiki Kiki Kiki!! » He yelled, bouncing on his heels. Everyone dropped their cleaning tools to hold their ears. This boy was LOUD.
« Martin! Want some candy, sweetie? We didn’t have any customers, so we have plenty left over! » Kiki said softly, ruffling the boy’s tussled hair. Martin’s face lit up, and he clasped his hands together. « Really really? Oh yaa~y! » He giggled.
Fairo and Tari exchanged glances, smiling awkwardly. They barely had to exchange words to know that the other was thinking the same thing. ‘If Martin eats all the cakes, there won’t be anything left for us!’ Their minds screamed. But, they quickly returned to cleaning the tables after a cynical glance from Kiki. Shiver-inducing.
As the two boys joked, occasionally hitting each other with the sponges, Kiki retrieved some colorful strawberry and cherry tarts from the display case. Martin climbed onto one of the stoools and happily ate, collecting crumbs on his chin. Kiki simply laughed, offering the boy a pink laced napkin. He almost ate that, too, but took it thankfully after finishing off his third tart, wiping his mouth off tactlessly around his wide grin.
« Okay, time to close up everyone! » Kiki called, putting the tray of leftover tarts on the counter, which was soon attacked by Fairo and Tari. Sabe and Kiki rolled their eyes.
After putting the equipment away and cleaning the single dish, Tari turned off the lights and locked up. The ‘staff’ left in a quiet bustle. Fairo stopped infront of the Antique Bakery, staring at it for the longest time.
« Come on, Fairo! It’s getting late! Slow-poke! » Tari called from ahead. Fairo stood for a few seconds, walked, then jogged to catch up with the group. Tari patted the redhead’s shoulder and they walked off.

 

Soon morning came again, and for most it was a sleepless night. The group sat with their desks in a circle, talking silently amongst the other bustling students, who shouted and cackled with laughter. Tari leaned back in his seat, his blue school jacket unbuttoned and his white undershirt untucked. He groaned, an arm thrown over the chair.
« I can’t believe someone could do that! And right across the street… Why wasn’t ours hit, too? »
« Why are you complaining? You should feel lucky our store wasn’t hit!! What’s wrong with you?! » Kiki said, her voice raising. Fairo and Tari exchanged glances then scooted back from Kiki’s desk. She laughed.
« No, we should be thankful… » Sabe spoke, calmly and collectively, making the circle of friends stop. « It will take them a while to rebuild, and in that time we’ll get more business. » He trailed off.
The group looked at one another, then nodded. Sabe was right (of course). But, then again…
« But, it’s only our second day. We don’t know how to act yet, or who’s doing what! » Fairo whined, bringing up such a good point that they all stared at him. Fairo blinked vacantly. « What… ? »
They shook their heads in unison, as if saying ‘Nothing.’
They all were quiet, some eaves-dropping on people nearby them. Study hall was a good time to talk. Tari threw his fist down on his desk, making everyone jump.
« We need more staff! » he exclaimed.
« What? We have plenty of– » Kiki started.
« We have FOUR!! »
« So? The bakery across the street used to have four people too! »
« We need one more person… »
« For what?! »
« For a waitor, d’uh! » Fairo huffed. Tari nodded and looked back to Kiki, who seemed thoughtful of it.
« Fine, » She said with a sigh, « we’ll get a new staff member. But, where’re we gonna find one we trust? » She leaned back.
« I got the perfect person.. » Tari purred, steepling his fingers and glancing to Fario with a wicked smile, which was only twinned by the one on Fairo’s face, both looking oh-so snarky and so smug.

The school bell rang, making Tari wince slightly, and Fairo jumped awake, lifting his head with a jerk from the puddle of drool on his desk. Kiki laughed softly at this. Rushing to their lockers, they grabbed their things and shoved them into their bags as they walked out. On the bus, they all sat in the front seats, waiting to be dropped off by the cafe. it was a special request since the beginning of last month, and a bribery of four cupcakes each week, they were gladly dropped off separately.
Bidding the dirver a goodbye, they hopped off the bus single-file and watched the bus truck off down the street. As the dust settled, they saw the Antique Bakery in shambles. They gawked. Fairo blinked, then cleared his throat.
« Well! Let’s go, time to open up the shop! Nee? »
Tari turned around, then nodded. He shrugged each shoulder, stretched, and walked to the door. Tari lifted a foot and retrueved a bronze key from inside his shoe. He unclocked the Sakura Blossom Cafe’s door and pushed it open with the foot.
Flicking on the lights, the pink and crystal white shone, causing Fairo and Tari to cover each other’s eyes, as two of a pair.
« My eyes!! » They yelled.
Kiki pushed by them, mumbling slightly as she walked behind the counter. « Stop whining, you guys! »
Relaxing, the two boys lowered their hands, their eyes squinted. They sighed with relief. The « blinding light » had died down. Tari smiled sheepishly.
« So, who’s this girl you were thinking about employing? She’s gonna be late. » Kiki murmured, yawning.
« Oh, they’ll be here… » Tari said, grinning.
« How are you so sure? »
« ‘Cause no one can stay away from me! » Tari shouted, flexing slightly. But, it was useless–he was too limber!
« You know you have no muscles at all, right? » Kiki smacked her forehead. Tari only nodded.
From outside, beyond the door which was slightly ajar, they could hear vague footsteps, shuffling along the usually empty sidewalk. They scrambled to their spots; Tari and Fairo peering through the window of the backroom, Kiki leaning over the counter, and Sabe at the door.
Through the pearly doors walked a boy with shimmering onyx eyes and raven hair with white bangs. He looked around, then came upon recognizing Tari and Fairo through the rectangular window hole. They both waved at him, smiling. Tari hurried out from the backroom and nearly tackled the darkhaired boy to the ground. « Takai!! »
The smaller boy yelped, struggling against the one who’d glomped him. Tari laughed softly, giving Takai a squeeze before letting go.
« She’s a He?! Tari, I thought you said it was a girl! » Kiki huffed, flailing.
« No no no! I said they were pretty, not feminine! » The blonde whined.
« Only girls are pretty! Boys are cute, handsome, or hot. »
« N’uh! » Tari stomped, pouting childishly. Fairo leaned out of the window of the kitchen, towards the counter.
« Boys can be pretty! What about those really feminine uke’s, huh? They’re pretty! » The redhead protested.
Takai nodded, starting up with the two. « Yeah! Everyone knows uke’s are super girly! »
Sabe sighed and shook his head, glancing to Kiki with a raised brow. ‘You shouldn’t have got them started,’ He’d think, ‘You should’ve just agreed.’ Kiki nodded, as if understanding Sabe’s silent words.
By this time, Tari, Fairo, and Takai were swooning incessantly over uke’s, seme’s, and yaoi and the overly feminine figures so idolized by rabid fans. Kiki smacked the service bell on the counter.
One… Two… Three times. It took five times until it finally caught the group’s attention. They all blinked, simultaneously and vacantly. They laughed nervously.