Chapter 6:

My Coworker Loves Black

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

I jumped across various puddles around the corner where my café was. It had been raining cats and dogs lately, and my umbrella was already wearing down.

It had been a week since the whole fiasco with Rin and Elias, not to mention the entrance of Lily Meyer, the girl who Elias brought into the shop for a date without realizing Rin was also there.

“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?!”

Just thinking about the tantrum she threw in front of all the customers made my blood boil.

Loud honks filled the wet roads, and flocks of people with umbrellas paced in and out of the park nearby. Some parents were pushing baby strollers that had small umbrellas or roofs attached on top. I sighed just when I finally reached the door to Muller’s Blend. It took a whole week of peaceful working for me to regain my reputation with Lora and Julian, and even among the shop’s customers who recognized the “Darak” name.


“Hello,” I greeted Lora and Julian like usual, who were behind the counter working away. My eyes darted around the shop, noticing the increase in customers occupying the tables. Perhaps it was that “coffee-under-rainy-weather” vibe that attracted more people recently. The house plants and paintings which decorated our interior also played a role. The shop was simply warm, cozy, and welcoming.

“Ah, Kai! We have a new barista with us today,” said Lora, who was brewing a new batch of coffee in the pot.

Wait, what? I thought, widening my eyes at the news. I’ve only been here for less than two months, and they’ve already hired someone again?

“C’mon out and introduce yourself!” Julian hollered from the front with his gaze directed at the storage room in the back. I gulped, waiting to see who it was.

“Um, hi, nice to meet…” I reached my hand out at the person coming out, and instantly froze in shock. “Wait, it’s you!”

My eyes blinked repeatedly, as if confirming the person’s presence: it was none other than Lily, who crossed her arms with a wide smirk. Her hair was tied up into a ponytail, but under her apron was a plain black shirt instead of a dress like last time. Her shoes were still black, and so were her tights.

“What?” Lily answered. “What’s with that weird look? I’m a new employee here, so please treat me well.”

I backed up with my arms hanging out like a tree. Was her heinous act last week just a dream then?

“Wait, Lora, Julian, she’s the same one who yelled at me the other day-”

“Kai,” Julian interrupted with a glare across his face. His ears were visibly red. “Don’t just accuse people of such nonsense. She said she’s more than sorry for before and was just shocked. You do have a bad reputation, so it’s easy for anyone to react the way she did.”

“Also, she has a lot of experience under her belt,” Lora chimed in, and I turned toward her with the same desperate expression. “She’s worked at Sternbicks before and was also a waiter at a famous hotel restaurant in Febai! You ought to learn from her!”

Are you kidding me?!

“I heard you’re also studying to become a doctor, right Lily?” added Julian.


Lily reached out her hand for a handshake, and I accepted it while staring at her in fear. After the commotion she caused last week, she had darted out of the shop without batting an eye. Now, she was back here acting like nothing ever happened.

“Well, Kai Darak, let’s get working then,” she smirked. But I could feel a tight squeeze against my hand as she shook it.

“F-For sure…” I muttered.

What surprised me, however, were the skills she displayed. Despite the intimidation, Lily worked calmly as fast as I usually did, creating lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso drinks at a pace far from just a beginner.

She’s…good at this… I thought, watching her while I handled orders at the front. Drinks were made instantly after I billed the customer, and the usual line that built up at the pickup spot had dissipated into the abyss. Before I knew it, it was almost lunch time.

“Hey, why are you serving us and not her?” A biker gang showed up at the counter; their tattoos and earrings as visible as their frightening glares. “Get the cute girl to serve us and we’ll order.”

A drop of sweat flowed down the side of my head. I stood at the counter with my hands against the table, unsure of what to say.

“U-Uhm, I think she’s busy making drinks at the moment.” I scratched my head with a weak smile. What was I supposed to do in this situation? “I’d love to help out with your-”

“Well then, make the drinks for her instead!” replied the leader. “I wanna talk to hot people only.”

“Hey Tomas, the dude’s not bad-looking either though,” said the gang member behind him. I swear, they all looked the exact same: scars and wrinkles across their faces, not to mention more chest and arm hair than a bear.

“Fuck off, Yannick. I’m trying to get that girl’s number, not this guys.”

The odd, rural accent they spoke was only the cherry on top. Could these guys just please leave?

“Hey, isn’t he the son of that millionaire who was on the news?! The one who was arrested and owes a crazy amount of money?!”

Ah shit, I thought. Of all the people who would call me out like this, these types were the worst.

“My fucking god, you’re right! Wasn’t your name Dai Karak or some shit?” Tomas rested his hairy fingers against his chin, leaning in to observe me up close. I stepped back in response, thanking God for the thick table counter that separated us. A few customer heads around the café turned, their eyes gawking at me and the biker gang.

“Uhm…” I muttered. It was almost time for my break, and now I had the entire shop’s unwanted attention.

Finally, after a few seconds of staring down, a palm rested against my shoulder, calming me. Julian arrived at the counter with a fearsome grin between his cheeks, and several veins popping from his forehead. “Excuse me, what can I do for you?”

His tall stature towered over the three bikers, who backed off with hands in their pockets. Julian packed more muscle on his body than all three of the gang members combined; his wide shoulders were enough to block the view of Lily from behind.

“Ah…n-nothing, sir,” Tomas replied, his eyes trembling as much as his arms. “B-Boys, let’s get outta here.”

Turning around in sync, the bikers hurried out of the café with their hands pocketed away. I couldn’t help but watch until the very last jingle from the hanging bells once the door closed behind them.

“You alright?” Julian looked down at me, now wearing a frown. His hand slid off my shoulder.

“Yeah, thanks.”

I wasn’t particularly scared, but the ordeal was quite annoying. Julian’s giant demeanor inside the shop was enough to scare anyone away if needed.

As everyone behind the counter got back to work, Lily tapped on my shoulder while I replaced the receipt paper in our credit card machine.

“Hmm? What is it?” I asked, looking at her in confusion.

Lily lowered her finger and gazed down at the floor, which puzzled me more.

“It’s… nothing.”

Why’d she tap my shoulder? As the thought lingered in my head, I walked back to the storage room to grab my phone from my jacket.

“I’m going out to buy some lunch!” I hollered at Julian and Lora.

“‘Kay!” they both replied back, as per usual.

Throwing on my coat, I checked the time on my phone and hurried past everyone behind the counter, ensuring I had enough time to grab a bite outside nearby during my half-hour break.

“God, It’s still cold.” I murmured, puffing out balls of warm air once I made it outside in the light shower. Because it usually rained a lot, I usually stuck with a small sandwich shop nearby across the street, but this time -


In the corner of my eye was a hotdog stand next to the park entrance, under an umbrella as large as the roof of our café. The stand itself was a metal cart which could be pushed around, and the umbrella was so big that even customers lining up could be sheltered from the rain. Next to the cart was a large sign that read:

1 Hotdog - 1 don

2 Hotdogs - 1.50 don

“Ketchup, Mustard, Relish Free”

What a steal! I hurried over down the crosswalk to the park entrance. There was no way I was going to miss out on such cheap, delicious food.

Luckily, no one else was in line. Once I reached the cart, my eyes caught the happy gaze of the cart-owner, who held his hands together in front of him politely like a politician. His brown beard was thick, and his gray hair appeared dyed. Barely any wrinkles covered his face, which led me to assume he was probably in his late thirties or early forties. His face gave me a sense of déjà vu, but I paid it no mind.

“Hi,” I began. “Can I grab 2 hotdogs with all the condiments on top? Ah wait, scratch that, all the condiments on top for one, and just ketchup on the other.”

“Sure,” the man replied. “That’ll be 1.50 don with tax, please.”

“Here you go.”

The man took my cash and in just a blink, he had the hotdogs ready in two paper containers on the table next to me.

“Thank you!” Just as I reached for the food, his voice perked up once more -

“Kai Darak, it’s been a while.”

- this time giving me endless shivers down my spine. I slowly cranked my head toward his gawking face, which was straight and emotionless.

“Uhm, do I know you?”

The man then smiled and shook his head.

“No, I’ve only heard about you in the news, please forget about it. Enjoy your hotdogs.”

I tilted my head, utterly perplexed. How does he know me, but then doesn’t want to explain?!

I itched to know if I knew him from anywhere but gulped and took the two hotdogs instead. Just when I turned around to make haste with my leave, a more familiar face made an arrival.

“Hmph,” Lily in her usual arms-crossing-stature, had a wide grin on her face. “Why are you eating such cheapass food? Oh, I know why, because you’re millions in-debt, you low hanging fuck.”

“So outside of our shop is when you show your true colors.” I scoffed, closing my eyes while walking away slowly. “Plus, who cares, as long as the food’s delicious?”

“You haven’t even tried it yet- hey where are you going?!” Lily growled, following me from behind. I halted and turned around at her.

“You’re not going to order anything?”

With the cockiest expression, Lily crossed her arms once more and answered as if looking down on me: “Hmph, a few hours of work doesn’t make me hung-”


A small growl erupted from her stomach. Oh, what perfect timing.

Lily’s face Immediately enveloped into a rose red, and she looked down in embarrassment.

“T-T-That’s…” she stuttered. “Not cause I’m hungry! It’s just something bad I ate earlier today!”

Ignoring her excuses, I sighed and held up both paper containers.

“Do you like mustard and relish on your hotdogs, or just ketchup?” I asked with a stern look, avoiding any needless laughter.

“Why would I eat something that you got for yourself?!” she retaliated.

“Because I didn’t get it for myself. I got it for the both of us…we’re on break together, aren’t we? I got one without mustard and relish in case you didn’t want any on yours.”

“Well why would you think a pretty girl such as I would eat such gross street food?!”

A small scoff popped out from behind us; the old man behind the stand could still hear everything.

“Fine,” I replied, tired of her chatter. “I’ll eat both of them myself later.”

“W-Wait!” yelled Lily, who trailed behind me after I proceeded back to the shop. “I’ll take the one with mustard and relish.”

Meanwhile, the mysterious man at the hotdog stand grunted, and as I peered back one last time before leaving, his eyes appeared to be wide as a billiard ball. Was he surprised about something while overhearing our conversation?



Lily and I turned around; both of us munching with the first bite on our hotdogs. The man behind the food stand kept in his spot, but it most certainly was his voice which hollered out at me.

“I’m Mila’s father.”

I dropped the rest of my hotdog on the ground, immediately getting it soaked in the rain, and the ketchup faded away with the rainwater. My hands froze still, holding nothing but air up against my opened mouth.