Chapter 1:

Moving Day

Are You Happy?

*Disclaimer and TW: this story contains content relating to eating disorders. If you have a tendency of feeling triggered by such content, please do not proceed. Otherwise, please enjoy the story.Bookmark here

"Here's the last of your boxes, miss," the mover said, dropping a box next to a bunch of others boxes in a living room.
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"Thank you for your service," Makaira bows.Bookmark here

She shuts the door and takes a deep breath. Bookmark here

Wow, I can't believe I've finally moved to Tokyo. Maybe I should send mom and dad a message... Who am I kidding? They're too busy to care. I'll just find my books and laptop and find a café nearby. I can't wait to start studying...Bookmark here

Makaira walks down the street and spots a small, cozy-looking café with a sign standing outside which reads '24/7 bar-cafe'. Bookmark here

Hm, sounds cool, and a 24/7 cafe would be nice.
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"Welcome, lady!" a middle-aged man exclaims from the counter.Bookmark here

Makaira flinches at the attention that's now been brought onto her as she realizes how full this café is. The only seats left are one next to a man who looks too drunk for his own good and another next to a woman who seems to have been sending the young girl death glares since she walked in. Bookmark here

Perhaps the owner should consider opening a bar instead of a cafe.Bookmark here

Makaira bows at the man apologetically and turned around. Bookmark here

That would be a no for me. Bookmark here

Awkwardly stepping out of the cafe, she heaves out a sigh and shakes her head. She walks down the street where it's slightly more populated and sees a bright and decorative cafe, much larger than the bar. Bookmark here

I don't like lighting that's too bright, but it won't hurt to check this one out.Bookmark here

She slowly walks towards the cafe, but before she could take a closer look at the entire entrance, she is shoved towards the door when some guy runs past her.
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"I'm so sorry, miss! I'm in a huge rush!" he said, bowing down low before turning and dashing away.Bookmark here

"It's okay..." she says softly, even though he's long gone. She turns around to the entrance of the cafe and proceeds.Bookmark here

Ding!Bookmark here

"Welcome, master," a beautiful maid(?) greets. "Oh, my lady! Sorry, I didn't expect a girl to show up," she grins. 
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"A girl?" another maid pops out of nowhere. "Wow, you're so pretty! Welcome!" she smiles widely.Bookmark here

"I- Uh- Sorry, I think I'm at the wrong place!" Makaira exclaims and practically runs out the door immediately.Bookmark here

This is definitely not the one.Bookmark here

She continues walking for a while until she reaches a café at a street corner. This one a little smaller than the maid cafe, but bigger than the first. Bookmark here

Ding!Bookmark here

The sweet aroma of bread fills the air like music as Makaira steps into the cafe. She turns towards the corner where the counter is at and sees a whole range of bread and pastries in the display case. Bookmark here

Wow. My usual cafe back in Iwate only sold coffee. These look delicious.Bookmark here

She is allured by the delightful smell as she walk towards the counter. Looking around left and right, this cafe has plenty of vacant seats. Not only this, but the atmosphere is so warm and peaceful. Bookmark here

I know this is the one.Bookmark here

"Welcome!" a young-looking woman smiles at Makaira. "What would you like to order today?"Bookmark here

Makaira smiles softly and replies without a doubt, "I'll have an iced Americano, please."Bookmark here

"One iced Americano coming right up for you, miss! Take a seat and I'll bring it to you in a short while." the woman smiles again. Bookmark here

She's pretty.Bookmark here

Makaira sits down at the far corner of the café and takes out her laptop. College doesn't start till next week, but she wants to get ahead so she plans to self-study for now. Bookmark here

"Hello, here's your iced Americano," the woman sets Makaira's drink down, "I'm Hasegawa Akane, by the way. If you need anything, just call me," she says, winking.Bookmark here

"Thank you, Hasegawa-san," the younger girl smiles and mutters.Bookmark here

For the next few hours, Makaira sips on her iced Americano while reading pages and pages of her textbooks. Bookmark here

The increased difficulty in university is certainly astounding... There are so many new concepts I need to learn, but this is nothing I can't handle. I've always been high-achieving in school. I studied all day and night in the school library, my usual cafe, and at home, with rarely any breaks. After all, I had to make sure I would make it to the top university in Tokyo. And I did.Bookmark here

After several hours of reading and taking notes, Makaira finally glances up from her laptop, realizing that she's the only customer left in the cafe, Hasegawa-san isn't at the counter either. She peers at the clock on the wall. 8:00 PM. It's been 4 hours. Bookmark here

When does this cafe close? Back in Iwate, the old couple who own the café would let me stay as late as I wanted to and I would help them lock up before I go. Well, since nobody is shooing me out, I might as well stay for a bit longer and read a little.Bookmark here

At some point, Makaira decides to rest her eyes and looks at the clock. Bookmark here

Of course, I should have known better than to read without setting an alarm first. It’s been 2 hours, but I don’t seem to have noticed anyone show up and the cafe is still quiet.Bookmark here

She eventually decides to pack up and go home, leaving her empty glass on the counter for Hasegawa-san. Stepping out of the cafe, Makaira breathes in the fresh evening air, then turns around to check the opening hours. Bookmark here

‘Welcome to Café Moonlight! … Monday to Fridays, 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM; Weekends, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.’Bookmark here

Does Hasegawa-san operate this whole shop alone? Those are some pretty long hours for one person, but I haven’t seen anyone else today.Bookmark here

Makaira shrugs at the thought and heads home.Bookmark here

Once she gets home, she takes as shower and unpacks some of her boxes. As usual, she is still wide awake at midnight, so she decides to read. At some point in the middle night, her stomach growls and she realizes she hasn’t eaten all day. Bookmark here

It’s too late to eat now, so I’ll just go to bed and eat something tomorrow.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.