Sakura Chiyo entered the stylish café first, being told by Nozaki-kun to go ahead and look at the cakes. After looking at the cakes, she heard a voice coming from one end of the cafe. The person in question seemed to be looking at a menu and was muttering a combination of words that were English and a language she wasn't familiar with. German? She supposed she was a foreigner. The waiter nearest her looked unsure of himself and Sakura didn't blame him. Well, her English wasn't bad, she thought, which had come in handy when Nozaki-kun had done that arc in his manga with the exchange student from England who couldn't speak a word of Japanese that Nozaki-kun wanted to portray realistically... and it might help Nozaki-kun later when he came in to ask the manager for permission to take pictures of the café...
"Excuse me, can I help you?"
The girl turned to her in shock. "You can speak English?"
"Yes, I'm fine with it" she said slowly. "Do you need help with understanding the menu?"
"Yes, please! Um... areeegato."
Sakura smiled. "Okay, what do you want me to explain?" She gave a smile to the waiter, who bowed at her in thanks before leaving.
"You saved me! I would have died from hunger waiting for Mr. Wright to come back and help me order, though he doesn't know Japanese much better than me."
Sakura smiled again; Athena's enthusiasm was infectious. "It must be hard to pick up Japanese when you know so many other languages already." She was awed that Athena seemed to be fluent in English, German, French, and Spanish, the latter three languages that she probably would never learn properly.
"Yes! But my mother learned it pretty quickly since she loves the culture, especially your kimonos..."
Sakura could read Athena's sudden melancholy with the mention of her mother so she decided it probably wasn't a safe topic to talk about. "So you're waiting for someone here?"
"Yeah, but he hasn't shown up yet! He was busy talking to one of his friends but then he pointed me here, saying that he'd follow..."
"Well, the food is pretty good here. Lots of people go here and it fills up fast." The café had been recommended to them by Mikorin, who said that lots of girls went there because of the food and especially the desserts. Nozaki had quickly decided that he needed to visit as soon as possible, hence why they were here.
"Are you here with someone too? Or waiting for someone?"
"Yes, I am." She pointed to Nozaki-kun, who had finally finished taking pictures outside the café and had gone in and talking to one of the staff. "I'm helping him out. My friend works as a..." She found the right word. "He draws comics for a living and is really good at it, though he's also a college student right now." Sakura said. "It's why we're here, actually. We're investigating the cafe for ideas for his new comic."
"That seems like a lot of trouble," Athena said. She wondered if all the people who drew and wrote comics here in Japan did that. With cameras, no less, she thought as she saw the boy take out his camera again.
Chiyo smiled as she turned to look at Nozaki-kun, talking to the manager of the cafe most likely to ask permission to take reference pictures of the staff and the cafe's interior for research. "It is, but Nozaki-kun is very dedicated to his work."
Athena could hear the love in the girl's voice for the boy she referred to; she supposed they were together. She could hear Simon's cautioning voice in her head, "Japanese people aren't at all blunt, Athena, so you should be careful when talking to them. Be vague." She tried her best to quench her curiosity. "It's nice of you to help him like this, you must be very close."
Chiyo shook her head. "Um, we were classmates in high school and now we're going to college together. I help him out with his comics at times, though."
"Sakura," called Nozaki suddenly, his eyebrow raising as he noted that Sakura was talking to what was most likely a foreigner. Strange clothing, he thought, maybe he could use it in another manga. He decided to note down the person's clothes as reference. "I got permission. Could you stay there for a while? We'll eat properly in a little while."
Sakura was smiling and her voice was cheery, but Athena could sense some discord. "What's wrong?"
Sakura gave her a bitter smile. "I wonder if Nozaki-kun sometimes just sees me as free labor..."
Athena looked shocked. "Free labor?" That sounded criminal. But there was no evil intention in the boy's voice when he talked to Sakura... quite the opposite, really. Maybe this was a concept different in Japan compared to Europe and America?
Sakura laughed self-consciously. "I guess you know too. Everyone knows my feelings for Nozaki-kun, I think, except Nozaki-kun himself" the girl confessed. "Nozaki-kun, when I confessed to him in high school, he just gave me an autograph and made him help him with his comic. I don't think he can ever see me as anything else."
"That's silly," Athena said decisively. "I can hear it plain as day. The gentleness in his voice, even if it is gruff." The boy reminded her of her Simon, who had a lot of emotions hidden under his harsh demeanor. One good thing about her gift was that it helped her see behind the harsh facade Simon presented to most everyone else. It would be too hard to explain it to Sakura here now, though.
"He never told you?" It was easy to tell from the tone of his voice, no matter how little he had said in her presence, how much the boy cared for this girl next to her. For the millionth time Athena realized how convenient her gift was at times.
Maybe Sakura's Nozaki-kun was really like her Simon, who had trouble expressing his feelings even when he knew Athena could hear any discord in his heart?
"I sometimes think that if I wasn't good at helping him with his comics, he wouldn't even bother talking to me" Sakura confessed.
"Surely not," said Athena reassuringly. "I'm sure you're important to him, even if he doesn't show it right now."
At that moment, her boss came in the cafe, immediately apologizing as he entered to the employee he almost crashed into.
"Ah, Boss! Over here!" She waved at him, before blushing. She remembered that people weren't this noisy in Japan. She hoped people didn't think she was drunk or something.
Sakura smiled at her. "It's good that he's finally come."
"Oh, you've met someone?" Phoenix Wright turned to the girl Athena had been talking to. "Hajinemashite, Phoenix Wright desu. Ore wa..." He fumbled for the right words to tell her that he was a lawyer and Athena's superior. He normally knew the words but hunger was taking over his grasp of Japanese.
"Ah, it's okay, Boss! She speaks really good English!"
"I'm Chiyo Sakura," said the girl cheerfully, bowing a little in her seat. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix exhaled loudly, making the two giggle.
At that point, Sakura's phone beeped loudly. Excusing herself, she checked it.
"I'm done. I'm at the table in the back. - Nozaki"
"Oh, Nozaki-kun's done, so I have to go sit with him. Um, could I help you with choosing your meal before I go, Mr. Wright?"
"Yes, please! Thanks!"
After exchanging emails with Athena and promising to keep in touch, though blushing at the outspoken girl's whispered comment "especially what happens with you and your Nozaki-kun", she finally made her way to the table Nozaki-kun was sitting at.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Nozaki-kun" she said, reminding herself to finally switch back to Japanese.
"The girl you were talking to, she kept on using German words, some French. You understood her?"
"Yes, we somehow muddled along, Nozaki-kun." At least her learning English to help Nozaki-kun had helped immensely in ways other than in helping him with his manga.
"Yeah, the manager told me to tell you thanks for helping those two order their meals," he said.
"It was no problem," she said as their food finally arrived. She smiled at Nozaki-kun as he immediately whipped out his camera to take photos. Nozaki-kun was Nozaki-kun.
"Ne, Sakura, can we go to this next week after exams?" She blinked at the pamphlet for a nearby onsen he showed her. Maybe for research? Or maybe something else could happen? Who knows, she thought lightly, if what Athena said about Nozaki-kun was right? She had said she was a psychologist and a lawyer, she probably really was able to read people really well. And if they were going alone... Lots of things could happen at an onsen. Or maybe nothing. Hopefully nothing embarrassing like what Mikorin caught her doing what Nozaki-kun had asked her to during that school field trip, though...
She smiled up at Nozaki. One step at a time, she thought. "Okay, Nozaki-kun."
"I didn't know you read manga," said Simon Blackquill, his hand briefly on her shoulder before peering at the page she was on. His voice was cautious - he knew that Athena was still sensitive about the culture her mother loved (and how Athena thought that she had loved the culture more than her).
It was a relief to him to see her bright smile as she looked back at him. "I don't usually, but this one was sent to me by a friend." She pointed to the little post-it notes on each page. "She asked one of her foreigner classmates to help her translate it properly into English since she knew I'm not good with reading Japanese, though I thought she was pretty good at it when we talked in Japan."
"That was kind of her," said Simon. "There are English translated manga on sale here, though."
"Aa, I know, but this one just came out in Japan and it hasn't been brought over here yet."
"Yes. It's not my usual genre either," she said laughingly as she turned the page to see flowers surrounding one of the main characters and grinned at how Simon's eyes widened as he took it in. "But I do like it. She said she'd give me a recommendation list of the mangas she'd think I'd like soon by email, after she talks to one of her friends about it who knows more about manga."
Simon gave her a grin. It seemed like Athena was taking this better than he could have imagined. "That's good. Where did you meet her?"
"I met her at a cafe."
"Ah, when you were helping Wright-dono with that case in Japan?"
"Yeah." She gazed fondly at the page she was on, where the girl with a ribbon in her hair was embraced by the stoic boy she loved. "I think she's doing well."