As Clueless As Can Be
I’ve always wondered if it was coincidence or fate whenever your love interest shows up out of nowhere. You could be shopping at the weirdest place in the world, but they’ll be there as well. It’s like you’re buying a plate from the mall, and they’ll just happen to stroll by at the same exact time. Either they’re a stalker or the power of love is just so overwhelming that the universe has to succumb to love’s demands. Well, it’s never happened to me before, but I always see it in movies.
“Rimi,” Jin said with a smile. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Neither did I,” Rimi said with a smile back. “I was shopping with someone, and we decided to stop by this cafe.”
Next to Rimi was a girl with short black hair that reached up to her shoulders. She reached around my chest area, and she looked like a little kid who was probably Rimi’s little sister. She wore a black dress, and it really looked charming.
“So, who’s the girl?” Misaki asked Jin while elbowing his side.
“She’s just a friend,” Jin answered with a sigh.
“Hi!” I exclaimed happily. “We met at the CD store, but I never introduced myself. I’m Haruki.”
“I’m Rimi, it’s good to see you again,” Rimi answered. “Wow, Jin and you really are close.”
“Like two peas in a pod,” I said as I put my arm around Jin. “But I don’t roll that way.”
“Good to know,” Rimi said with a chuckle at seeing me cross my arms into an “X” sign.
“I’m Misaki, Jin’s older sister,” Misaki said with a devious smile. “I hope my brother has been treating you well.”
“Well, this is the second time we talked,” Rimi answered without even a hint of embarrassment. “But, he’s been doing good so far.”
The girl next to Rimi looked as if she was hiding. I walked to her and crouched down a bit to reach her eye level to make her feel comfortable.
“Hi there,” I said with a smile. “My name is Haruki, what’s your name?”
She took a glance at me and looked back at Rimi.
“Why is this boy talking to me like I’m a little kid?” the girl asked Rimi. “He’s even crouching down when there’s probably 2 inches of difference between us.”
“Are you not her little sister?” I asked.
“Narika is actually my upperclassman,” Rimi answered with a small cough.
“Sorry!” I said as I instantly dropped to my knees. “I didn’t mean to treat you like a little kid.”
“It’s fine,” she answered as if she was used to it. “Get your head up off the ground, it’s unsightly.”
I got up and instantly hid behind the counter with Misaki.
“I think the intention is all that matters,” Misaki said with a wink towards me.
“So, what would you two like?” Jin asked.
“I’ll take whatever the server thinks the best drink in the house is,” Rimi answered.
“I’ll just have some water,” Nariki answered.
“I’ll get the water,” I answered immediately. I think it was the best way to make up for the blunder from earlier.
While Jin and I were preparing the drinks, Misaki took the time to socialize with the two female customers.
“So, how have I never seen either of you here before?” Misaki asked. “I feel like we’re a popular enough cafe to have young people stop by.”
“I actually moved to this area for college, so I’m still fairly new with the surroundings. Luckily, Nariki was already in the same college that I applied to,” Rimi answered.
“I prefer to lie low as much as possible,” Nariki answered.
“Oh, how long have you two known each other?” Misaki asked.
“Since around elementary school,” Nariki answered.
“Wow, that’s the same as Haruki and I,” Jin chimed in.
“You’ve been friends with that guy for that long?” Nariki asked as she pointed towards me.
I was standing in front of the machine trying to figure out which button would give the water. I managed to find the ice, but I wished there was a clearer sign that said “Water” to distinguish which was the water. Misaki’s hand popped up next to me and pointed at the smallest button that showed a picture of a water droplet.
“I knew that,” I answered embarrassingly as I clicked the button.
“Like I always say,” Jin replied. “He always has his good moments even if it doesn’t look like it.”
“Here you go,” I said as I brought the water to Nariki.
“Thanks,” she answered without even looking at me.
“So, how long are you planning on working at the CD store?” Jin asked.
“Not too long,” Rimi answered. “I just need to make some income while I’m in college.”
“Makes sense!” I exclaimed. “Don’t want to be stuck with ramen noodles every second of the day.”
“What’s wrong with ramen noodles?” Nariki asked immediately.
“Nothing really,” I answered back. “I’m just saying that you wouldn’t be able to stop by a place like this.”
“Hmm,” Nariki responded. I must’ve offended her and her noodles.
“That’s true,” Rimi said. “This place really has a warm atmosphere to it.”
“Why don’t you think about working here then?” Misaki asked.
“Huh?!” Jin and I exclaimed.
“Really?” Rimi asked. “Well, I’m not going to just leave my other job when it hasn’t even been two weeks.”
“What about you, Nariki?” Misaki asked.
“More like what about me?!” I asked.
“You have an office job, stop acting like you need to work here,” Misaki said while waving me off.
At the mention of an office job, Nariki looked at me with a blank expression. I couldn’t tell if she was impressed or surprised.
“I’ll think about it,” Nariki answered.
“Not fair,” I said with a pout.
“Oh cheer up,” Misaki said as she patted my head. “You can always stop by and help if you want.”
The conversation continued for a bit longer with laughs and jokes from both parties. Nariki was the only one that didn’t talk as much, but she chimed in here and there. I hope my ramen noodle comment didn’t offend her too much.
“Well, I’ll see you around,” Rimi said as she grabbed her drink. “Now, we can decide who should visit who at work.”
“Sounds fun to me,” Jin answered with a smile.
Nariki stood up and gave a gentle bow as she headed out the cafe with Rimi.
“So, she’s an interesting girl,” Misaki said with a smile. “When are you going to ask her out?”
“Ask her out?” Jin asked. “I haven’t even decided if I like her or not.”
“You got to stop messing around, Jin,” I said. “I think Rimi is a good girl, and she’s a college student, so she definitely has a goal in mind.”
Jin looked straight at me, but he didn’t make any comments at all.
“And what about you, Haruki?” Misaki said as she tapped my side.
“What about me?” I responded confusingly.
“I really think that Nariki girl would be an interesting one for you,” Misaki said with a devious smile once again.
“Stop messing with him,” Jin said. “At least pick someone that would be a good match for him.”
“You think she got mad that I made fun of her noodles, or was it because I thought she was the younger sister of Rimi?” I asked.
Misaki started laughing while Jin put his palm to his face. A notification popped up on my phone.
“Hey Haruki, do you and Jin want to come with us to a mixer on Saturday?” I said as I started reading the text aloud.
“You really got to learn how to read in your head,” Jin answered. “Who was it from?”
“It’s from Okito,” I said as I started inputting a reply.
“You both still keep in touch with your underclassmen from the basketball club back in college?” Misaki asked as she swept the floor.
“Of course!” I answered. “Friends for life!”
“Adorable,” Misaki said with a smile. Grown ups really react oddly to different situations.
“I’ll go,” Jin replied.
“No, you won’t,” Misaki instantly answered. “You’re going to be working while I go out with my boyfriend on that day.”
“What?!” Jin asked annoyingly.
“And besides, you should be working on getting Rimi,” Misaki answered. “Not some random girl from a mixer.”
“Why is Haruki excluded?” Jin asked.
“Do you really have to ask why?” Misaki asked back.
I was slowly typing back to make sure that I didn’t miss any sort of punctuation mark. It’s always best to make sure that your replies are coherent, because it’ll make it easier for everyone to understand.
"I will be there, no worries," I said aloud. After 2 minutes, I finally sent out the reply that only I would be going.
“You’re right,” Jin replied to Misaki. “I shouldn’t have asked.”
“Done!” I exclaimed aloud as I wiped off the sweat from my head. Texting sure is tiring.