Chapter 5:

Mr. Two-Timer

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

Every time a new customer entered, a pair of jingle bells above the door would ring a gentle chime. Within the short period I’ve worked here, It’s already become the most annoying sound in all of humanity. Bring in a bee’s buzz, the squeak of a door swing, or even the engine of a flying plane. Anything to replace the -


I twitched while listening to Rin’s endless blabber about her boyfriend Elias - he was all she could talk about. I never imagined that sitting across from such a pretty girl would be this suffocating. On top of that, the sounds of customers walking in kept occurring, and the café stereo never seemed to stop playing its century-old jazz track. I got so bored that I could even start smelling the different blends of roasted beans which filled the room; give me a hundred bucks and I could probably guess which blend was being roasted.

“Hey, aren’t you… going to change out of that?”

Huh? I thought and sighed in relief. She wasn’t going to ask me about my background?

“That shirt you’re wearing, isn’t it kind of dirty?”

I stopped midway from taking another sip from my cup, which Lora brought to the table for me. Rin pointed toward my shoulder, and I peered down to see what caught her eye. A small, round spot of light brown sat on top of my chest pocket; it was dry, but incredibly noticeable since my T-shirt was as white as snow. I blushed in embarrassment - normally one wouldn’t be that bothered, but for some reason, I found myself instantly clenching my fists.

“Haha, yeah I guess.”

I couldn’t possibly tell her it was because I was trying to save on laundry, which was why I wore the same clothes to work for several consecutive days at a time.

“And also…”

Her face stared blankly at my ears while moving from one side of my head to the other. She then moved her pointed finger, which was first directed to my shoulders, to the left side of my face. Haven’t her parents ever told her it was rude to point at someone?

“You had earrings before?” she asked. “How come you took them out? Did you think you looked bad in them?” she smirked with a pesky face. Her grin grew as wide as her mug.

“Ahaha, not really.”

Why this fucking…!

Imagining all the threats that I could have made at her (if I kept my status and wealth) brought me shots of dopamine. Just who did she think she was talking to?

Ignoring my tense face, Rin raised the brown mug and took a sip of her drink -


and immediately choked, spitting out parts of the liquid over the table and even on top of her eggs benedict, as if topping it off with extra dressing.

“W-What’s the matter? You okay?!”

“Dude, what did you make me? I thought you said it was just a latte!!”

I gulped, feeling a shiver down my spine. Did Lora do something weird when she made the latte?!

“Taste this shit!” She held the mug in front of my face. Her hazel eyes were no longer relaxed, but now a sharp glare. I could see her pink nails so clearly that the light from above reflected off them like glass. Her hand was silky smooth, but the way she grasped the cup was vicious.

A few seconds passed before my hands finally took over the handle of her mug. While slowly tilting it against my lips to take a small sip -


- nothing but a gag popped out from my mouth. Rin continued her glare with a frown over her face while crossing her arms. She probably got the reaction she was expecting.

“It’s…so salty…” I muttered, wishing there was a glass of water I could quickly chug.

Just what happened with this drink?

I covered my mouth with my hand in disgust as I slammed the drink back down on the table. Just when I was about to confront her with ‘I don’t know what happened,’ a lightbulb lit up within me, and I grasped my knees in worry. My brain had rewound itself to trace back the problem:

I accidentally used salt instead of sugar.

I had been so distracted from making the eggs benedict dish that I left the saltshaker on the counter when I was finishing her latte. Not only that, but I threw in a whopping two tablespoons, as if I was just feeding her pure lemon juice.

“So?” Rin asked. “What did you do with the drink?”

I sighed, gulped, and explained to Rin the mistake. My eyes closed halfway through the explanation, too scared of her reaction.



I couldn’t believe it; instead of being scolded, in front of me was a cackling Rin, who hugged her stomach, unable to stop her laughter.

“You’re kidding me!” she grinned, wiping a tear from the side of her eye. “Are you that stupid?”

You little…!

I scratched the back of my head in response and lifted my eyebrows innocently. No matter what happened, I had to continue apologizing.

“Haha, whoops, my bad.”

Turning my head slowly toward the counter, I peered at the scornful reactions of both Lora and Julian, who face-palmed at the same time.

“I’ll get you a new one.”

Just as I stood up, Rin’s next words took me by surprise: “Nah, don’t worry about it. I guess mistakes happen. Sorry I called you stupid. Do you mind if we keep chatting?”

Wiping her mouth with a napkin, she then picked up the fork and continued eating her meal. “Hey, your food is pretty good!”

“Thanks, I guess,” I replied, and sat back down. This girl really kept me on my heels, but she was still another customer. Treating her the right way was the highest priority, and I guess that started with a new topic of conversation. “So are you currently in school-”

“So is this your full-time job?” She interrupted with a palm against her cheek while the other hand played with her eggs benedict. I swear a vein was about to pop from my head, but I guess I was the one who turned her drink into a sodium party.

“Y-Yeah, you could say that, although I can’t imagine working here forever.”

“I mean, why not? You look fit for it.”

No way I’m doing this shit forever, you kidding me?

Ignoring her remark, it was my time to strike -

“Haha, do you do sports? You look fit!”

I wasn’t wrong - she wore black sports pants the last time she came in, and her physique was thin but well-developed. I silently gulped, waiting for an answer.

“T-Thanks…” she muttered while staring down at her food, avoiding my gaze. Her face flushed a tomato red, and her utensils were scattered all over the table. Were my words that nice? Without glancing back up, she continued: “I play competitive soccer. I’m the captain of my university’s soccer team, as well as our national team.”

What was first an embarrassing blush turned into a wide grin across her face. I could tell she was proud of her title. I placed both hands back against my lap politely and smiled.

“Wow, that’s awesome! I played table tennis back in high school, but was never good enough to turn pro. I reckon you plan to play full-time?”

A brief silence surrounded our table as I waited for her to answer. I rapidly blinked, staring at her in confusion as she began eating her food again. In-between bites of her eggs, she answered:

“Well, it’s been a poor season for us. We lost the championship by one point because of a controversial call the ref made, and they rewarded their team with the winning goal.”

I stopped my hand, just as I was about to sip from my cup of coffee. The silence returned, but it was my time to process her words carefully. There was a line spoken by Nancy - the executive from the police station - that shoved itself back into my memory:

“Your father has also been betting on sports events, and he’s been bribing the referees of our national soccer league.”

“No way…” I muttered under my breath, and began trembling, forcing myself to place the jittering cup of coffee back down. There just had to be a connection - if my old man bribed a referee during a major soccer match, that referee must’ve been the one who was biased against Rin’s team during her game.

As I thought more intensely, a sweat drop emerged on the side of my head; even the thickest A/C wouldn’t have cooled my nervousness away. Never would I have imagined that the impact of my old man’s actions would be this close to me. Hearing those words from Nancy was one thing, but to witness its effects was something else.

“Hmm? What’s the matter?” Rin asked, continuing to chow down on her food as innocent as a cute fawn eating grass.

I clenched my fists under the table.

Do I tell her…?

How much of a shock would this be to her, from a man whom she’s just met?

Just as I lifted my head to answer -


In came Elias - Rin’s boyfriend - with the hands of another girl wrapped around his arm. A giant smile engulfed both of their faces as they closed the door behind them. The girl, almost as tall as him, wore a black, gothic dress underneath a dark coat, which also matched her black boots, painted nails, lipstick, and hair. Jeez, I wonder what her favorite color is?

Both laughed loudly during their conversation, until…


Once Elias caught sight of Rin and I at the table together, his wide grin dropped into a teeth-clenching shock. His eyes widened, and his arms pulled away from the girl’s waist faster than light itself.

“R-Rin! W-What are you doing here?!” he yelled, hands now clenched into fists. The girl he was with brought her hands to her chest, full of confusion.

“And this was the urgent thing you mentioned?! Cheating on me?!”

“Y-You said you were going back home!” said Elias, who pulled both hands out of his coat pockets in protest. “You also said you weren’t coming back here ever again! So why are you here eating with another guy as well?!”

From just his defending reaction alone, I could tell that this dude was as big of an asshole as I was, perhaps even worse. He peered at me, desperate to continue his argument. “Isn’t he the guy who slapped our drinks and spilled them all over the place? Are you into him now or some shit?!”

Jeez, talk about coming up with things to say…

“He… he’s just a stupid barista! He invited me to a free meal to make up for last time!”

Just a stupid barista?!

I took a deep breath while watching the two hack out excuses at each other. They developed quite a commotion in the café, causing several other customers to turn their gazes at us. Lora and Julian directed their eyes at us as well, shocked at the sudden explosion of shouts. Lover’s quarrels were the most daunting thing to witness - I swear I’d rather watch golf on TV.

However, I was the one who had an apron on. Even though I wasn’t working at the time, perhaps it was best that the guy with the working outfit be the one to stop them. I launched up from my seat with both hands waving at them and closed my eyes in anxiousness.

“You two, please take your argument outside our café!” I yelled.

Elias and Rin turned at me, and then gawked back at each other while pouting at the same time with their arms crossed. Rin then reached for her jacket and bag from her seat.

“Hmph. You have fun with this woman with you. Goodbye,” she said, and paced herself out of the café door with her head down.

“Argh…” Elias growled, and then turned to the woman in black. “Sorry, I guess we’re found out. Let me go deal with her and we can meet up some other time, okay? Go buy yourself a new bag or something and I’ll pay for it later.”

Without looking at me, Elias bolted out of the door as well, shaking the jingle bells above the door so hard they almost fell. The woman, sighing as the bells continued shaking, then directed her gaze at me with her arms crossed, and frowned. This was quite frankly one of the most awkward situations I’ve ever been in. Was she about to direct her anger at me?

“Uhm, what’s your name?” I asked, doing terribly to break the silence.

“Lily,” she responded while sharpening her glare. She was obviously uncomfortable, but not for the reason I thought it would be. I held my hands together in front while standing straight. Out of instinct, I began greeting her as a guest:

“Uh, nice to meet you… Lil-”

- Lily grabbed my collar, pulled me up close to her face, and scowled into my soul with a piercing menace. She growled underneath her gritting teeth.

“I know who you are, Kai Darak. What are you doing here in this coffee shop?! Why don’t you rot in a hole instead, just like your father?!”