Starting a new job is never easy, but I think I lucked out.
Baking's always been a passion of mine, and frankly, working in a bakery as my first job is a dream come true; I hope to continue once I graduate from high school.
It's only been a few months, but I've been getting the hang of it. My boss is nice, he's this older gentleman named Eric who's owned the bakery for four decades. Our specialty is strawberry cake, it's known as the lightest and best-tasting confection within a 100-mile radius.
I've slowly been getting to know our regulars as the weeks pass; for a small business, it's important to maintain familiarity with customers.
I mostly work behind the counter, but as of ~today~ I also deliver orders to customers who request our delivery service. One of our deliverymen fell ill a few days ago, and my boss had to add a recurring delivery route to me. Temporary, of course, and while I like being in the bakery, it's nice to get out and ride around Bunkyo.
I couldn't help but notice that one location had a standing delivery throughout the work week, every single day they have quite a large order. It's addressed to an...Ouran Academy?
I hadn't been there personally, but I'd heard it was quite a luxurious school; it'll be nice to get to admire it.
Getting over there on my delivery bike wasn't difficult, finding the correct room was the hard part. Ouran Academy seemed to be vast, and I just couldn't track down Music Room #3! The fact they even had need for a third music room was crazy to me. I searched and searched, until finally I found the correct wing.
I used my back to push open the double doors, and was greeted with a large, empty room. Glancing at the delivery instructions, I noticed a man named Kyouya Ootori was supposed to sign for the delivery, though I didn't see anyone in sight.
I found a table to set the heavy load of sweets down on, then looked around. There were a few more sets of double doors at various points around the room, but no one around to receive the delivery.
A few minutes passed, and I was getting a little impatient. Was there some, specific detail I missed in regard to the delivery site?
I was just making up my mind to leave with the goods when I heard the entrance door open.
A tall, black-haired man entered; his glasses reflected the light coming through the windows.
"Terribly sorry for the wait; I was caught up in an engagement. You're new, I presume?"
I nodded stiffly; this must be Mr. Ootori.
"Yes, our current deliveryman is out sick. I'll be filling in for the next few days."
He nodded, then introduced himself; he was, indeed, Kyouya Ootori.
"I only ask that you always be punctual; our event begins on-time every day, and our guests certainly don't want to see a delivery person like yourself bringing in the pastries; it destroys the illusion."
I was taken aback slightly, but nodded. That seemed easy enough.
After a quick signature, we exchanged polite goodbyes and I was on my way. There were plenty more deliveries to hand off, and the day wasn't getting any earlier.
The next day I, once again, brought the sweets to Ouran Academy. This time, everything was pulled off without a hitch, and I left twenty minutes earlier than before.
The day after that, however, I wasn't so lucky.
This time, it was my fault. I overslept and was currently half an hour late to all of my deliveries; biking faster didn't help much, I would have to accept my fate and profusely apologize to all of our customers.
By the time I'd arrived at Music Room #3, I could hear voices from within. My nerves were already antsy from the other deliveries, but I had an especially poor feeling about how this particular exchange would go down.
I entered, once again carrying a large load of sweets in my arms. I had to turn sideways in order to take a look at who was in front of me; it was none other than Kyouya, and to put it mildly, he did not look happy.
Behind him, in the far distance it seemed, there were a group of boys of similar age to Mr. Ootori and myself. They weren't my main concern, though, as I was a bit busy trying not to appear afraid of the man fuming in front of me.
"What happened to being punctual?" He asked venomously, gesturing for me to put the sweets down on the nearest table.
"I apologize, Mr. Ootori, there is no one to blame but myself." It was true, but that didn't earn me any favors; from the look in his eyes, I was nothing more than a measly worm that could be crushed beneath his shiny, black shoes.
"Don't be sorry, be punctual. And don't think I won't call your superiors over this." He practically snarled, signing my clipboard, turning on his heel, and walking briskly away. The cold aura I thought I imagined dissipated as he left, leaving a room temperature-atmosphere in his wake.
I sighed in relief that the exchange was over, and turned to leave.
Suddenly, I felt a hand grab at my shorts.
"Don't be sad about Kyouya, he's been a huge grump today!" A sandy-haired, shorter boy was beaming up at me.
I relaxed slightly, relieved at his reassurance.
"Thank you, that makes me feel a lot better."
"I'm glad! I'm Honey, by the way. What's your name?"
What an interesting name. He certainly seemed sweet, though I was having trouble discerning his age due to the cutesy voice. The uniform was that of a high school student, but his voice was that of an elementary school kid.
"I'm Y/N. And I don't ask this to be rude, but are you in high school? It's hard to tell how old you are."
I couldn't tell why I was so thrown off by his response, but it alleviated a lot of confusion.
"I'm a third year student! I know I look a lot younger, and I'm not as tall as everyone else, but I'm all grown where it counts!" He grinned, and I could have sworn I saw a twinkle in his eye.
I gaped at him, trying not read into that last bit of information too much.
"I'm in my last year as well, really excited to be finished with school for good." I said, breezing by that suggestive tidbit.
His smile hardly wavered, but he looked a little confused.
I shook my head.
"I never planned on it. Always wanted to be a baker, and now that I have this job, I intend to stick with it for good."
It was true, I was wholly content with my plan, and couldn't wait to advance in the ranks at my bakery. Learning to bake signature pastries, becoming manager of other employees, overseeing deliveries and large orders, even supporting our catering extension would be a dream.
Honey nodded, suddenly brightening.
"Do you make the strawberry cake I eat every day?"
That was very specific.
"I haven't yet learned the recipes for our pastries, is the strawberry cake your favorite?"
"It's my very favorite! I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, and I wouldn't get tired of it! If all the remaining food in the world were strawberry cake, I would-"
Honey was cut off before he could elaborate further.
"-I think that's enough."
I gasped, having not noticed the tall figure walk up to the pair of us. He was very stone-faced, his eyes dark.
"Takashi! Look, look! It's the person who brings us our cakes! She's really, really nice!"
Honey giggled as he described me to his friend 'Takashi', who nodded at me in response. Not a very chatty type, though it seemed Honey could do enough talking for the both of them.
"Yes, I agree, Mori. It's time for Miss Delivery-woman to go; it's really rather unprofessional she stayed to chat. I hope to see improvement in the future."
I grimaced. Mr. Ootori was back, and his harsh words were just as venomous as before. Bit of a bummer, as he seemed like someone whose bad side I'd want to steer clear of.
"I apologize, Mr. Ootori. It won't happen again. Have a good day."
And with that, I took my leave.
It was difficult to shake my mind of Honey, though. I smiled, remembering our conversation.
Maybe I could bring him a present.
"You want me to slip in a specially decorated strawberry cake in with Ouran's standing order? Just for tomorrow?"
My boss was looking at me, dumbfounded.
"Please, Eric! It's for one of the boys in the host club, he was really nice and strawberry cake's his favorite. I'll pay!"
He sighed, shaking his head.
"You kids and your flirting. Fine, I'll do it."
I blushed at the 'flirting' comment. It wasn't flirting, it was a token of appreciation. Though Honey was really cute, and I certainly wouldn't turn him down if he asked me on a date.
"Thank you, Eric."
After ensuring he was paid for his effort, I turned back to the counter and organized the pens in their holder.
It was a bit of a slow day, but after meeting Honey yesterday, I had a lot to think about.
I felt a twinge of regret as I realized I likely wouldn't see Honey again. There was no reason for me to visit Ouran except for the deliveries; I wasn't a student there, and I no longer would be dropping off their pastries.
Our regular deliveryman had returned early from his sick leave. He brought today's sweets orders to all of our customers as though he'd never left, and he would do the same tomorrow, and the next day. I'm sure Mr. Ootori was glad of that; I certainly hadn't met his standards.
I sighed, wiping down the refrigerated case with cleaner. Such a slow day.
The door bell jingled as it opened, and I turned to welcome the customers with our customary greeting.
But I couldn't finish, as I was viciously attacked with a hug from a small person.
"Y/N! I missed you so much, I couldn't help but visit you!"
That cutesy voice...it was Honey!
I had just seen him yesterday, though?
"I saw that the deliveryman wasn't you and I got really worried! I'm so glad you're okay, Takashi and I rushed over here right after our club meeting."
Honey was crying a little bit, and I looked helplessly at Mori/Takashi, his same dark-haired, dark-eyed friend from yesterday. He shrugged, in a 'this one's your problem' kind of way.
"I'm perfectly alright, Honey. Thank you for checking on me, that's very sweet of you."
I hesitated, before following with,
"My break's coming up. Won't you two have some cake with me?"
Honey looked up at me, tears gone and replaced with a smile that nearly blinded me.
"Oh, Takashi, can we? Y/N's so nice and pretty and I would love to have cake with her! It doesn't even have to be strawberry, we can have whatever she likes!"
Mori/Takashi nodded, and they went to sit at one of our tables to wait.
I was still blushing at Honey's 'pretty' comment as I walked behind the counter, my cleaner and rag from earlier in tow. Eric took one look at my rosy cheeks and laughed, granting me leave to go on my break. He also cleared his throat and glanced at the back counter, and I looked over.
The decorated cake I had requested half an hour prior was sitting there, perfect and saying 'Thanks for being you!' in bright blue icing.
I suppose I didn't have to slip it into tomorrow's order, after all.
Taking off my apron and hanging it up in the back room, I fixed my hair before grabbing the cake and reemerging.
Takashi and Honey were sat at a far table; Honey's legs were swinging, as the chairs were slightly too high for him to put his feet on the ground. I smiled, going to join them.
"A gift, for lifting my spirits yesterday."
Honey gasped, eyes shining.
"What pretty icing! And it's strawberry, my favorite!"
I laughed, sitting down with them.
My heart rose at the thought that this pair came to visit me, and I was certainly glad my thoughts about Honey weren't one-sided. He appeared to be interested, and the bribe of cake didn't hurt things, either.
I looked over to Honey, reveling in the realization that his eye color was the same as his name; a honey-amber hue.
The boy looked to his friend first, who nodded in support.
"Would you...want to maybe...split this cake with me?"
I blinked. I was expecting to be asked out, but sharing cake is probably huge for an avid fan like Honey.
"I'd love to!"
"And...would you like to go out with me sometime?" The boy added, a pink tint crossing his cheeks. As if he wasn't already cute enough.
There it is. Much better.
I blushed, smiling involuntarily.
"I thought you'd never ask."
Honey beamed, and I went to grab an extra fork.
Thank you, strawberry cake.