Chapter 3:

One Last Attempt

A Love So Sweet, I Get Confused

Most people would give up by now. Not Mitsu. He’s stubborn and determined to see this plan until the end. He took extra time to prepare for this next attempt; wanting to assure Akio was in a better mood next time and avoid the negativity. So once again, here he is; Mitsu is in full disguise, eagerly waiting his turn to be served by Akio. There was only one person in front of him currently being severed. Today was an unusually quiet day. Akio being the only person behind the counter while another barista cleaned the tables.

As the person in front of him got his drink from Akio, Mitsu got into character. Giving a bright smile and tucking a loose believe of hair behind his ear as he stepped forward to be served. The gentleman in front of him, got his change and turned to move to the other side, only his misjudged the distance between himself and Mitsu. Usually, a bump on the shoulder wouldn’t feel like anything, expect when you’re wearing heels for the third time and still unstable. Mitsu’s shoulder bumped into the gentleman’s, making him loose balance. Trying to think in the panic, Mitsu held his arm out to try catch himself. Instead of feeling the floor, his hand had found the tray of the barista who was cleaning up behind him. There was no saving him now.

Mitsu felt a sharp pain through his bottom as his impacted the hard tiled floor, followed by a waterfall of left-over coffee spilling on top of him. There were audible gasps from the few patrons and the barista who hadn’t help onto the tray properly. Mitsu shifted to try sit comfortably, feeling the wet fabric of his shirt sticking to his skin. He looked at his hands, feeling the liquid becoming sticky. He wrapped his hands around his chest, starting to sob slowly. “This is the worse,” He whispered to himself, bowing his head down to hide his shame.

Akio leaped over the counter, kneeling down to a sobbing Mitsu. Seeing the girl distressed in front of him, made him worry. He gulped, moving a hand a hand to pat Mitsu on the head. Mitsu looked up to see a comforting smile from Akio who continued to pat his head. “I’m so sorry,” The other barista bowed repeatedly.

“Please let me pay for the dry cleaning,” The gentleman customer offered also bowing.

Mitsu wasn’t sure how to respond to kindness everyone was showing him. He just completely humiliated himself, he would be expecting everyone to make fun of him. Instead, he was being shown such kindness, that was making his heart beat rapidly. Akio moved his hand to Mitsu’s cheek, wiping a tear from his cheek. The skin-on-skin contact made Mitsu tingle, his gazed focused only on Akio’s face, around him, seeing clouds to block out the rest of the world. What was this feeling? “I’ll go get you a staff shirt,” Akio’s worlds brought Mitsu back to the real world. “Let’s get you to the bathroom.”

Keeping one arm to cover himself, Mitsu was pulled up by Akio, hands locking as he was led to the staff bathroom. When Akio let go of his hand, it gave Mitsu a sense of emptiness. Mitsu looked at his hand confused, what was going on? What were these feelings surfacing? Akio handed Mitsu a spare shirt and left him to get cleaned up. Mitsu locked himself in the bathroom, starting to change into the spare shirt and fixing his crooked wig. A splash water on his face, he looked much more presentable. “I wonder,” He turned the tap off, looking himself in the mirror and admiring how he looked. “Does Akio help all girls like this?”

He sighed, packing up his ruined shirt and going back to the seating area. The barista who was previously holding the tray was now behind the counter while Akio was placing a drink and a slice of cake on a table. Akio gestured Mitsu over to the table. Mitsu was nervous as he sat in the booth, noting the mocha he would have ordered and a slice of chocolate cake in front of him. “What is this?” He asked, looking up to Akio.

“It’s an apology,” Akio laughed, making Mitsu blush. “So, what’s the name of the young maiden who has been asking for me?”

Mitsu’s mouth twitched, it seemed out of every inevitability he tried to plan for, his name was the one thing he didn’t think about. He laughed nervously, Akio patiently waiting for his name. What does he say? Images and words ran through his name until one just blurted out of his mouth, “Hana. M-my name is Hana.”