Chapter 14:

One day, the witch cafe had another new employee.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

It was a relatively normal day in Reingale, but what Pecan came back to at Witch Cafe Wisteria was not exactly the usual sight.

"Who the heck are you?" Pecan asked as a gut reaction to the guy standing behind the counter. Goodness, Derry must have accidentally let some weirdo into the cafe. Perhaps it was best not to leave Derry on her own after all.

However, almost as soon as she asked her question, she recognized the person's face. Well… just the face.

"Hi! Hello! I'm Yamada Doe! Hey-- I remember you! We went to the same school!" said the loud guy named Yamada Doe. Perhaps it was better to address him as the man with two last names.

"Uh, yeah…" Pecan groaned and looked around for Derry. "It's too early for this energy. Where's Derry?"

Doe nearly twirled to his right, pointing in that direction. "She left! To walk that way!"

Pecan stared at Doe, who seemed as chipper as could be. Our apprentice refused to go behind the counter with him just yet. "So why are you here?"

"I'm saving up money to go on a summer journey!!" Doe stated with a lightning bolt of excitement.

"Uh… so you're… here to rob the place to save up?" Pecan guessed, clutching her messenger bag to be on guard.

After realizing that he was, indeed, standing what would seem suspiciously close to the register, Doe shuffled away from it. "Nope! I'll be saving up by working here!"

Pecan smiled in silence for a while as Doe smiled back, but eventually Pecan said, “I don’t think I’d like that.”

Doe wasn’t exactly sure how to react, so he nervously kept his mouth shut as Pecan set her bag at a table instead of behind the counter. The apprentice did end up grabbing the broom from behind Doe to start cleaning, but other than that, she didn’t go behind the counter any longer than that.

Now, perhaps this could be seen as rude behavior by Pecan, but who was to say that this random former classmate wasn’t just making up something about being a new employee? Maybe he had stashed Derry away somewhere! Oh, the horror!

However, Derry arrived soon enough with a uniform in hand. “I’m back-- morning, Pecan!”

Pecan stared at Derry in annoyance. She saw the uniform and Derry didn’t seem to be too concerned with the new face in the cafe. It must have been just as Doe had said. He was a new employee alright. It was Derry’s cafe, so she couldn’t say much, but she felt she still had the right to be a little upset that after her day off, this random man would pop up. It seemed to her like it was some sneaky hiring.

“Here are... your new threads, Doe,” Derry began, “You can slip them on in the back room if you’d like...!”

“Thank you! Oh uwah, just don’t peek please,” Doe said with sincere concern.

Pecan sneered and scoffed in disgust. “Who’d want to?”

“Wow! So exciting! Workplace drama at my first job!” Pecan could hear Doe say as he closed the door to the backroom. Unfortunately for Doe, Pecan could hear the genuine excitement in his voice over such a situation. She couldn’t help but grip the broom tightly as if she were wringing Doe’s neck. So violent!

“So… before you get upset,” Derry began. Well, it was too late for that as Pecan was already quite upset, but Derry continued anyway, “I have a reason for this.”

Not that she had to explain herself for hiring someone to work at her own cafe, but Pecan was all ears. “Uh… and that is?”

“I actually wanted to get someone on board… in addition to Jade just so we could divvy up our work a little better,” Derry began to explain. “But then Jade left, so here we are…!”

“Uh we didn’t really need to do that, but--”

“Oh yeah we did. You’re down after a few cups. If it weren’t for Jade… well, I could handle it, but it could have been hella rough,” Derry pointed out.

Pecan sighed. Derry was right. Pecan knew she could only handle a few magical drinks in a day. Jade really was a great help in a way. A nearly dead employee, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly as helpful even if they could infuse magic.

“While Doe is here, I want you to get that energy control down,” Derry continued. “Let Doe focus on the small things...”

“Okay, but--”

“AND... know that this isn’t just for you. I want to have that extra help so I can get those classes running,” Derry said rather firmly. Pecan nodded to show that she understood, and Derry smiled in response. “Alright. So be nice. We’re going to get him hip to our recipes right now.”

Pecan couldn’t quite argue with that. She calmed down significantly and continued sweeping.

However, the man with two last names returned from the back room before she could get comfortable with that task. “Hi! Sorry! I couldn’t help but listen in!”

Ah. Another eavesdropper. Perhaps Reingale was full of them.

“I’ll do my best to be a lot of help!” Doe said as he made his way behind the counter again. Pecan reluctantly walked behind the counter as well, placing the broom on the side.

Derry clapped her hands together once and giggled. “Right, so before we begin, let me introduce you two. Pecan this is Yamada Doe.”

“Yeah yeah, I know,” Pecan said, folding her arms.

Doe beamed, “We actually went to the same school!”

Derry nodded happily, “Oh! Then you two were friends?”

“Uh… no. Not at all,” Pecan began. “I was in the shunned group. He was with the cool kids.” It seemed as if she wanted to say a bit more about that, but she kept it to herself.

There was an uncomfortable silence which Derry soon filled with an even more uncomfortable laugh. Those always cleared the way. “Well… so you two… haven’t really met yet...? So here’s the chance for... a formal intro. Go ahead.”

The two former classmates stared at each other. Pecan, not wanting to waste any more of the cafe’s precious opening time, held out her hand first. “Murakami Pecan. I don’t exactly trust a person like you, but we have work to do, so… uh… yeah.”

Doe quickly grasped her hand and smiled. “I understand! Like I said before, I’m Yamada Doe and sorry about high school, but I really hope we can be on better terms!”

With that, they began working on teaching Doe the recipes despite any potential bad blood that might have been sitting with the two nineteen-year-olds.

“These are the ingredients… for the Good Luck Tea...! It’s one of our hottest teas…!” Derry explained.

Doe seemed confused. “What makes the temperature so much different from the other drinks?!”

Pecan smacked her face with her palm. “No-- like, most popular teas.”

“Oh!” Doe said, still looking confused yet still enthusiastic. This might have been a long session.

Derry hid a bit of her panic, suddenly becoming just a little self-conscious over the way she spoke. She continued but spoke a bit slowly, “You hit it with… you take one tablespoon… like this… and you… mix it…”

“Uh… Derry, just speak like you usually do. It’s his fault for talking to only like one type of person,” Pecan said, rolling her eyes at the man with two last names.

“Oh! Wait! But I do talk to more people! My friend group is starting to become diverse!” Doe said, being quite proud of himself.

Pecan clapped for Doe, rather sarcastically. “Wow. Look at you. Probably two whole new additional friends who aren’t like you.” It didn’t help that Doe nodded at that as if it was exactly the case.

“It’s fine…!” said Derry, wanting to keep the peace. “Just watch me.”

With that, Derry prepared the tea, measuring out the ingredients at her usual fast pace.

As Pecan noticed that perhaps it wasn’t going to be helpful for their new employee, she started describing what Derry was doing. “Teaspoon of dill, teaspoon of chamomile, tablespoon of bergamot…”

Suddenly, Doe whipped out a notepad from his back pocket, grabbed Pecan’s pen off the counter, and started writing everything down. Though she didn’t like the idea of him using her pen, she wasn’t about to start a fight over a writing instrument. That would have been immature!

Soon, the tea was ready to go. All it needed was that magic touch! Well, or at least that’s what Pecan thought.

“So that’s as far as you need to go. No magic for you. Just pour it in a cup and you’re balling… good… to… go…” Derry said, still self-conscious of her words.

Pecan grabbed a jar and filled it with ice then poured seed milk in. “And if someone uh... asks for it cold? Just add seed milk up to this mark on the jar and then add the tea to the rest.”

Doe wrote everything down and laughed jovially. “Thank you! Pecan’s even helping me!”

“Like I said, we have work to--”

“We’re going to be really good friends!” Doe exclaimed.

Pecan didn’t even protest. Not wanting to waste more time, she stepped away from the counter as Derry cleared the bowl and said, “Alright, Doe... I want you to try it…!”

Much of the day was spent teaching Doe the various drinks the cafe had to offer. It was a good day for any thirsty employee who might have wanted to quench their thirst since there were so many test cups made!

Between a few visiting guests, they managed to cover each drink with Doe successfully being able to brew them all. It was a productive day at Witch Cafe Wisteria. With an enthusiastic new employee under its roof, despite Pecan’s mistrust of the man with two last names, there was a hope that the cafe would grow from there.