Chapter 10:

Enter CIMEDE (Part V)

CIMEDE Chronicles


I could hear the noise of simple bells ringing. That ringing was the sound of the tiny bells that were placed above the glass doors entrance, alerting the staff of incoming customers.

I casually pushed the glass café door open and held it there for the two girls that were accompanying me. After they walked through, I also entered the small interior space that I had never been in before.

“This place looks… uh… different…” I said, trying to figure out what this café’s theme was going for.

Yes, apparently, we, as in I, Saburi Keisuke, and two other girls, Chikaoka Oka, and Ichimori Sachi, were going to a café, due to the said girls making plans for such an event.

The real question is, why am I here with them? In fact, I had no such plans of going with them, but as you can see, I ended up getting dragged along for no particular reason anyways.

I was initially going to meet up with Isami, my childhood friend, and figure out our next move to find Doc, who was my parental guardian, as well as Isami’s grandfather, but it looks like another detour had been made.

How did I actually come to end up in this café? Well, let's take a look back.

I was stopped at CIMEDE Academy’s entrance gate by the two girls that I am currently with. After some awkward moments and two red faced girls later, one of the girls, the red haired one, sent a punch straight into my fairly empty stomach. It gurgled. She must have held back because it didn’t hurt like I had thought, actually that would be normal for me to think of a high school girl’s punch being light, but let's remember that this same girl beat me up quite a bit on our first encounter.

I made a sort of mistake by mocking her after the punch, although I don’t regret it a bit… then again that very mocking is what led to her sending a quick kick to my unprotected man sack… That shit hurt! If Isami was there, I could already imagine him dropping to the floor, rolling around, and holding his stomach in uncontrollable laughter.

After that inconvenience, Ichimori Sachi, the kind soul, had come over to my trembling body and help me up with a smile and apologized. She did nothing and still apologized, that girl is a real angel.

After we walked through the academy’s entrance gate, I listened to Ichimori ramble on about her day, her favorite foods, and other random facts she let slip that I didn’t much care to know. Sure, it might have been rude to the girl that was so kind to me earlier, but she was also interacting with the girl who committed manslaughter, so I wasn’t her main source of conversation, and above that, I already had plans that were now ruined. I ended up letting what the two girls said go in one ear and out the other, while I nodded and replying with “uh huh” and “yeah” and short responses of that sort.

The closer the department store came into view, the more I was internally jumping for joy. Finally, I don’t have to listen to these girls anymore!

It’s not that I hated being around these girls, or talking to them, I was just ready to be alone and recharge my mental batteries. I mean, there’s only so much of annoying people I can tolerate in a day. Then again, I tolerate Isami, who is very annoying… actually, I still need to meet up with him today. My brain started to mentally calculate the time left before we would approach the department store’s entrance.

Five…. Four…. Three… Two… One… FREEDOM!

There’s no reason that we need to walk around the store together, I can just say that I'm going to get my own things, while the two girls go and buy whatever it was that they wanted. I let a cheeky grin sneak across my face as I reached my hand towards the department store door, but I was interrupted.

“Uh Saburi?...”

What! Why are you talking? I was just happy for a moment… I let the hand I had reached out sneak its way to the back of my head in an act of ruffling my hair as I responded. “Huh? What is it, Ichimori?”

“We were going to a café first, remember?”

Damn it! I already forgot about the café…

Ichimori gave me a face that was too cute to refuse. I let out an inaudible sigh and gave my most realistic false smile and responded. “Uh… yeah, sorry”

“Come on, slacker” interjected Chikaoka with a smile.

Whaaaat!? Even Chikaoka gave me a smile? I thought that she didn’t want me along at first... did that change at some point? Well, regardless, I am kind of hungry anyways, so I guess stopping at a café won’t be too bad.

And that is what led to us arriving at a café. Now that I think about it, this is actually the first time that I had left school with girls before. Actually, there was this one time that Isami had offered to walk a girl to the train station, and I kind of tagged along, but that was just awkward. Not only did Isami not talk to the girl that he had asked to walk with, but he decided that it would be a good idea to talk to me the whole time since he was nervous. That was rude and made me feel embarrassed. I was so humiliated that I actually apologized to the girl the next day.

Anyways.

After entering the café, Chikaoka and Ichimori picked a booth and sat side by side, while I took my seat opposite of them and began skimming over the menu. If I was stuck at a café, I might as well make the best of it.

“Sooooooo they’ve got quite the selection here don’t they” I said, trying to bring slight conversation to the table.

The two girls both shook their heads earnestly in agreement without even lifting their menus. I suppose they really like this place enough to not look at the menu to know what’s offered. I thought, as I continued to look over the menu. The prices listed under the old-fashioned picture menu was actually refreshing since I didn’t have money on me, and the girls were supposedly buying. As my eyes finished studying the back page of the laminated picture menu, a waitress came from the counter to take our orders. Sweet timing!

Not caring about manners, I generously gave the waitress my order first before gesturing to the girls that were sitting across from me.

“I’ll have the classic cheesecake, and the Sweetened milk coffee”

“…”

Chikaoka crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks giving me a look of disapproval before reciting her order, followed by Ichimori, who reciting her order with a smile.

“I’ll have the Caramel custard pudding, and the Caramel coffee”

“May I have a castella, and your milk black tea please”

The waitress gave us a smile and then bowed before returning to the counter.

“So, have you two come here before?” I asked, filling the awkward silence.

The one who responded was not Ichimori, who I had expected to answer, but Chikaoka. “This is actually one of our favorite places to get a quick light snack or drink. We asked you on the way here what you like to eat, but you just shook your head and said ‘Yeah’ with a dazed look on your face.”

Wait what? I guess me just nodding and agreeing was a little too much. I should have at least paid attention to some of what these girls were saying… what if I agreed to something that I didn’t want to agree to!?

I turned my head to the counter and saw the waitress pouring our drinks into glass mugs before she started this way.

“Sorry, I wasn’t really listening to be honest, I was just caught in thought for a bit, thinking about this assignment.” Then I quickly added in panic, not being completely sure of myself. “I didn’t agree to anything did I?”

Due to my panic or maybe some other reasons, the two girls broke out laughing and Ichimori spoke up.

“I actually asked if you would like to move into the female dorms since you’re working with Oka here. And you shook you head and said, ‘uh huh’.”

Chikaoka’s face turned bright red as she vigorously shook her hands in protest. “No, she didn’t! She’s lying! She never asked anything of the sort, and I would never allow that to happen even if you did agree.”

I was able to crack a small smile because the flustered girl, who was red up to her ears, and protesting with a passion, had started making a scene in the café by shaking Ichimori’s fragile looking shoulders, all while Ichimori was nodding her head against the horizontal attack and repeatedly saying “It’s true! It’s true! It’s true! It’s true!”

I didn’t know who was honestly telling the truth, but my gut was saying that Ichimori was just messing with Chikaoka.

I took my eyes off of the two girls and looked down at the table. Huh? What I saw was the mug of coffee that I had ordered, along with my cheesecake. I wonder when the waitress had put these here, I thought as I looked back at the counter.

While the girls were still making a scene, I lazily lifted the glass mug to my mouth and breathed in the sweet aroma before taking a swig of the sweetened bliss. I stand by this, no drink compares to very sweet coffee, it’s just an unbeatable taste and smell. My back relaxed and I let out a sigh of satisfaction.

At some point when I was eating my cheesecake, the two girls had stopped their… whatever it was they were doing, an argument? A game? I don’t know, but it seemed normal to them. Anyways, the two girls were now sending spoonful after spoonful of their dessert like snacks straight into their little mouths. Like when a mother feeds a child with the airplane method.

The three of us continued to eat in silence until Ichimori broke the silence.

“So, Saburi, what got you started in the life of crime?”

The moment that I heard that question leave Ichimori’s mouth, I froze up. It’s not that I didn’t expect that question to be asked at some point, I just didn’t expect it at this moment.

I never talked about my past much since I, myself, didn’t even know about it. So, when a question would come up about my past, I didn’t have a true complete answer, nor a response to clearly convey how I felt about it. And so, my response here might be rather vague, but that’s only because of how Ichimori’s question was asked.

“Well, I wouldn’t say I live a life of crime, I would call it an extraordinary lifestyle where I take things that I don’t have, but even I have morals of what I will and won't do. And the question of what got me started? All I can say is that it’s all I know.”

“All you know? But why would you continue to do things that you know are wrong? I’m glad that you say you have morals of things that you will and won’t do, but committing a crime is still committing a crime. And if being a thief is all that you know, then are your parents that lacking in dignity that they raised a thief?” Ichimori’s tone got a little more irritated as she questioned me, but at this point she had already gone too far.

I slammed both of my fists down on the table and shouted at the bob haired girl in an orange sundress. “My parents have nothing to do with this! You don’t know anything about me, and I have no interest in getting to know anything about you!”

I was overwhelmingly angry that this girl would bring up my parents as a reason for the way I am since I have no idea who my parents are. Of course, she had no idea of that, but by the time she had already mentioned them I was already standing from my seat in the booth and slamming my fists on the table, shouting at her in anger.

I almost thought that a tear had rolled down my cheek and onto the cafe's wooded table, but I wasn’t about to admit it.

After I shouted at the girl, I walked towards the door that worked as both an entrance and an exit. There was a man coming in the door just as I was leaving. For that reason, we happened to collide, bumping shoulders as we crossed paths. The man did not turn to apologize, and I was in no mood to apologize to him either.

After leaving the café, I walked around a corner so that I couldn’t be seen. Once certain of that, I pulled a phone from my pocket and went to the number dial screen. Now I didn’t have my actual phone at the moment, so the only thing that I could think of would be to borrow someone else’s phone. That someone that kindly allowed me to borrow their phone was the man that I bumped into while leaving the café. Although rather than borrowing it, it was more like I swiped it from his pocket while we collided.

After opening the dial screen, I dialed one of the numbers off the top of my head, but only got a voicemail.

“This is my other, other, other phone. I’m obviously not here so call my other number dumbass! teehee”

Ugh damn it Isami! Isami has like five phone numbers, and he doesn’t keep them all with him at one time. I honestly don’t know which one he has on him at the moment, but because my phone has a contact book, I don’t really need to memorize any of his many numbers. I do however remember two of his numbers. And so, I called the other number that I had remembered.

“You’ve reached my other, other phone, I’m obviously not here, so call me with another number. Teehee”

I cursed again and started to think about what to do. During moments like this when you can’t remember someone’s phone number and you’re trying to reach them, what do you do? The answer that came to my mind was quick and unreliable. The reason it was unreliable was because it could only have the possibility to work in my current situation.

I dialed another number, and this time there was an answer.

“Who is this? Keisuke is not here right now, so call back later. Teehee”

“Isami! It’s me, Keisuke! Don’t hand up.”

“Keisuke!? Where the hell are you? I lost track of you after your crash-landing last night.”

“Hey, I’ll explain it all in person. listen closely. I need you to get me a bag of clothing for around a week's worth, and the toiletry necessities that I’ll need for that time also. Then meet me at our usual mall spot. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.” In a rush, I ended the call and tossed the borrowed phone into a nearby trash barrel before walking in the mall’s direction.

******

Chikaoka stared at the back of the boy dressed in t-shirt and sweatpants as he left the café, plowing right through a man entering at the same time.

She let out an audible sigh and turned her face to the girl sitting right next to her in the café’s booth.

“Sorry to cut things short, but I should go look after him.”

The sundress bob girl responded in turn. “Do you want me to come along too?”

“No, that’s fine. It looks like you hit upon something personal that he’s struggling with… I’ll see you at the dorms sometime.”

The red-haired girl in a one shoulder tee, waved back to the sundress bob girl, and walked towards the café’s exit. 

Keifuji
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