“Ah, how wonderful… Even her crying face is so cute!”
“Seriously Lily, you have a boyfriend.”
“Oh, Alan… Sweet, young, and stupid little Alan… He won’t find out, so it’s fine.”
“Hey, I’m not stupid! And I’m only two years younger than you!”
After a couple of minutes, I completely finished the donut and stopped crying. Valerie sent me to a small washroom where I fixed myself by washing away my tears and snot. I was back at the booth with Ren beside me and Valerie directly across. Other than my eyes being unnoticeably red, everything was the same. The restaurant was also a little more packed.
“V-Valerie, I’m so sorry!”
“Oh? What for?”
“For what I did a while ago. Crying in front of you… I’m so sorry!”
Valerie shook her head.
“Nah, it’s fine. Please raise your head.”
“B-But, I acted so improperly in front of you… I… Um…”
I looked down in shame and embarrassment… That was so disgraceful. That probably made Valerie think poorly of me, and it probably means that I’m not getting hired. It also probably altered the opinions of this bistro of other customers who witnessed my scene…
As I silently sulked, Valerie put a hand on my cheek — it felt warm and reassuring.
“Please stop, I really don’t like seeing other people look so gloomy. Seriously, it’s fine.”
I raised my head to face Valerie.
“In fact, I encourage it. To be able to express what you’re feeling so explicitly… It means that you can understand yourself quite well, and I think that’s pretty damn important!”
I was still showing a troubled face, and Valerie noticed it. She moved her two index fingers to the corners of my lips and raised them… She made it look like I was smiling.
Valerie returned my artificial smile.
“Cheer up, Camryn — don’t be distraught over being yourself! And besides, people who can express themselves the best are the most interesting people ever.”
Do I really know myself that well? I… I don’t know. I mean, I was happy when I ate that donut, but the crying was involuntary. I wouldn't say that I was expressing, but rather failing to suppress. Hm…
Valerie clapped her hands.
“Ah, okay Camryn, let’s change the topic, yeah?”
My thoughts of whether my knowledge of myself was enough were forgotten for now. I need to focus on what comes next.
Valerie went outside of the booth and signaled for me to follow. Ren also left the booth to let me through.
“Follow me to the back — we need to get you fitted with a uniform.”
The three employees overheard and also conveyed their disbelief.
I also left the booth and stood in shock. I was hired? But how? I mean, my spilling of tears couldn’t have been the cause, right? Well, she did say that she was flattered by it, but that’s ridiculous.
Valerie was about to explain, but the girl named Lily angrily walked towards us and cut in. Alan was trying to hold her back but to no avail.
“Valerie, what the hell!? You don’t mean the girl’s hired, right!?”
“L-Lily, please calm down.”
“Huh? Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean.”
Valerie peeked her head at me.
“Camryn, you’re hired.”
“Huh? Oh, um, t-thanks…”
What? I’m hired? But why? Don’t tell me that the crying was the cause? If so, then getting a job anywhere will be easy — I learned to cry on command…
Lily put her hand on Valerie’s shoulders.
“Valerie, you can’t be serious! She’s only been here for what? An hour? And she’s hired? C’mon, at least host an official interview or something.”
Valerie looked at me again.
“Camryn, what interested you in working at Alente Bistro?”
What? I have to answer that type of question? And it’s so sudden… Well, my primary reason was to gain experience on growing up and learn new life skills that my textbooks couldn’t. So…
“Oh, uh, well…”
“Oh, so it’s for the money? Yeah, that’s fine. You’re hired…”
Lily shook Valerie aggressively.
“The hell was that?”
“What? Everyone’s reason for applying for a job is money — and if it isn’t, they’re lying. Right, Camryn?”
I smiled doubtfully. Money, huh? Well, that wasn’t really my primary motivation… So what does that make me? Extremely rich? Heh, nope. A pretentious a-hole? Eh, maybe…
“That’s true, but that ain’t what I’m talking about. You can’t just hire someone like that — that’s just unfair! Or did you just hire her because she’s cute? How shallow can you be!?”
Pushing Lily off, Valerie laughed and wagged her finger.
“Ah, look who’s talking, Little Miss Falls-In-Love-With-Every-Living-Thing-She-Sees!”
Oof, what a counter! Someone, please get this girl some support before she loses and dies!
“And no. Camryn may be adorable, but that wasn’t why. Well, you see…”
Valerie gently shoved Lily to the side.
She smiled warmly and walked to Ren. A sentimental feeling radiated from her when she wrapped her arm around Ren’s shoulders, bringing him lower due to their height difference.
“You see, a big reason why I hired Camryn is that she’s acquainted with this guy.”
Lily stared at them, and I couldn’t blame her. Ren was why I was hired so easily? But why? I know that Ren and Valerie have been friends since high school, but they’re this close to each other? Even when Ren acts indifferent when she acts all chummy? Hm…
“The accountant? What, is he your ex or something?”
Alan put his hands on Lily’s shoulders.
“U-uh… Okay, that’s enough Lily…”
But Valerie continued.
“Ex? Nah, we were never in that type of relationship. However, we’ve always been good friends, right, Ren?”
Valerie wrapped both of her hands around Ren’s shoulders, almost hugging him.
“You see, Camryn was actually referred to here by Ren. And hey, why shouldn’t I hire her?”
Valerie turned her head to look at Ren.
“Ren is one of the most diligent, hard-working, and caring people I know. Don’t you think someone acquainted with that type of person would exhibit similar traits? I also trust Ren, so of course his suggestions will be good ones — and I don’t think I was wrong in trusting him!”
Yeah, I agree with Valerie. Over the time I’ve been living with Ren, I have noticed those traits of his. Caring… It’s hidden by his serious appearance, but looks can be deceiving. But right now, why did I feel some guilt in his expressionless face? I was really unsure if the feeling was real, but I still felt a really small hint of it.
“It’s still unfair… I mean, not everyone has Mr Morales to back them.”
Valerie walked towards the room behind the counter, bringing Lily along.
“Are you just mad you botched your interview with me even with your expressive dress? Meh, don’t sweat it.”
Valerie looked over at me.
“Camryn, come with me. We’ll get you a uniform and we’ll set up your schedule. We don’t supply the white shirt and black pants, so you’re gonna have to buy some.”
Valerie and Lily entered the room which I assume is the staff room.
“V-Valerie, this ain’t a personal issue I just think that everyone-”
“Yeah, yeah. Sort out your teenage hormones first, then we’ll talk…”
“W-What the hell!?”
As they disappeared from sight, Alan also left to tend to the front desk.
I slowly turned my head to Ren. He was, once again, caressing his right shoulder with his left hand.
“Oh, um… Congratulations on your first job… I doubt you will take longer, so I will wait here. Afterward, we will go to Beattie’s Heart to buy the other parts of your uniform.”
After our exchange, I walked towards the staff room.
This was definitely different from what I expected… I was hired because of Ren, and the only thing I did was talk casually with Valerie and cry, huh? It’s… odd? No wait, yeah, it is odd. But I guess that shows the nature of Valerie Capperman and her restaurant — laid-back…
Well, whatever. All that matters right now is that I now have a job at Alente Bistro…