Chapter 3:

Meeting with Fate

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.Bookmark here

“Rimi,” Jin said with a smile. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”Bookmark here

“Neither did I,” Rimi said with a smile back. “I was shopping with someone, and we decided to stop by this cafe.”Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“So, who’s the girl?” Misaki asked Jin while elbowing his side.Bookmark here

“She’s just a friend,” Jin answered with a sigh.Bookmark here

“Hi!” I exclaimed happily. “We met at the CD store, but I never introduced myself. I’m Haruki.”Bookmark here

“I’m Rimi, it’s good to see you again,” Rimi answered. “Wow, Jin and you really are close.”Bookmark here

“Like two peas in a pod,” I said as I put my arm around Jin. “But I don’t roll that way.”Bookmark here

“Good to know,” Rimi said with a chuckle at seeing me cross my arms into an “X” sign.Bookmark here

“I’m Misaki, Jin’s older sister,” Misaki said with a devious smile. “I hope my brother has been treating you well.”Bookmark here

“Well, this is the second time we talked,” Rimi answered without even a hint of embarrassment. “But, he’s been doing good so far.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Hi there,” I said with a smile. “My name is Haruki, what’s your name?”Bookmark here

She took a glance at me and looked back at Rimi.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“Are you not her little sister?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Narika is actually my upperclassman,” Rimi answered with a small cough.Bookmark here

“Sorry!” I said as I instantly dropped to my knees. “I didn’t mean to treat you like a little kid.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine,” she answered as if she was used to it. “Get your head up off the ground, it’s unsightly.”Bookmark here

I got up and instantly hid behind the counter with Misaki.Bookmark here

“I think the intention is all that matters,” Misaki said with a wink towards me.Bookmark here

“So, what would you two like?” Jin asked.Bookmark here

“I’ll take whatever the server thinks the best drink in the house is,” Rimi answered.Bookmark here

“I’ll just have some water,” Nariki answered.Bookmark here

“I’ll get the water,” I answered immediately. I think it was the best way to make up for the blunder from earlier.Bookmark here

While Jin and I were preparing the drinks, Misaki took the time to socialize with the two female customers.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“I prefer to lie low as much as possible,” Nariki answered.Bookmark here

“Oh, how long have you two known each other?” Misaki asked.Bookmark here

“Since around elementary school,” Nariki answered. Bookmark here

“Wow, that’s the same as Haruki and I,” Jin chimed in.Bookmark here

“You’ve been friends with that guy for that long?” Nariki asked as she pointed towards me.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“I knew that,” I answered embarrassingly as I clicked the button.Bookmark here

“Like I always say,” Jin replied. “He always has his good moments even if it doesn’t look like it.”Bookmark here

“Here you go,” I said as I brought the water to Nariki.Bookmark here

“Thanks,” she answered without even looking at me.Bookmark here

“So, how long are you planning on working at the CD store?” Jin asked.Bookmark here

“Not too long,” Rimi answered. “I just need to make some income while I’m in college.”Bookmark here

“Makes sense!” I exclaimed. “Don’t want to be stuck with ramen noodles every second of the day.”Bookmark here

“What’s wrong with ramen noodles?” Nariki asked immediately.Bookmark here

“Nothing really,” I answered back. “I’m just saying that you wouldn’t be able to stop by a place like this.”Bookmark here

“Hmm,” Nariki responded. I must’ve offended her and her noodles.Bookmark here

“That’s true,” Rimi said. “This place really has a warm atmosphere to it.”Bookmark here

“Why don’t you think about working here then?” Misaki asked.Bookmark here

“Huh?!” Jin and I exclaimed.Bookmark here

“Really?” Rimi asked. “Well, I’m not going to just leave my other job when it hasn’t even been two weeks.”Bookmark here

“What about you, Nariki?” Misaki asked.Bookmark here

“More like what about me?!” I asked.Bookmark here

“You have an office job, stop acting like you need to work here,” Misaki said while waving me off.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

“I’ll think about it,” Nariki answered.Bookmark here

“Not fair,” I said with a pout.Bookmark here

“Oh cheer up,” Misaki said as she patted my head. “You can always stop by and help if you want.”Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“Well, I’ll see you around,” Rimi said as she grabbed her drink. “Now, we can decide who should visit who at work.”Bookmark here

“Sounds fun to me,” Jin answered with a smile.Bookmark here

Nariki stood up and gave a gentle bow as she headed out the cafe with Rimi.Bookmark here

“So, she’s an interesting girl,” Misaki said with a smile. “When are you going to ask her out?”Bookmark here

“Ask her out?” Jin asked. “I haven’t even decided if I like her or not.”Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

Jin looked straight at me, but he didn’t make any comments at all.Bookmark here

“And what about you, Haruki?” Misaki said as she tapped my side.Bookmark here

“What about me?” I responded confusingly.Bookmark here

“I really think that Nariki girl would be an interesting one for you,” Misaki said with a devious smile once again.Bookmark here

“Stop messing with him,” Jin said. “At least pick someone that would be a good match for him.”Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

Misaki started laughing while Jin put his palm to his face. A notification popped up on my phone.Bookmark here

“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.Bookmark here

“You really got to learn how to read in your head,” Jin answered. “Who was it from?”Bookmark here

“It’s from Okito,” I said as I started inputting a reply.Bookmark here

“You both still keep in touch with your underclassmen from the basketball club back in college?” Misaki asked as she swept the floor.Bookmark here

“Of course!” I answered. “Friends for life!”Bookmark here

“Adorable,” Misaki said with a smile. Grown ups really react oddly to different situations.Bookmark here

“I’ll go,” Jin replied.Bookmark here

“No, you won’t,” Misaki instantly answered. “You’re going to be working while I go out with my boyfriend on that day.”Bookmark here

“What?!” Jin asked annoyingly.Bookmark here

“And besides, you should be working on getting Rimi,” Misaki answered. “Not some random girl from a mixer.”Bookmark here

“Why is Haruki excluded?” Jin asked.Bookmark here

“Do you really have to ask why?” Misaki asked back.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

“You’re right,” Jin replied to Misaki. “I shouldn’t have asked.”Bookmark here

“Done!” I exclaimed aloud as I wiped off the sweat from my head. Texting sure is tiring.Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
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