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The Way to a Man's Heart is Through his Stomach

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"Artie, you really don't need to do this." Matt insisted, trying to free himself.

"Nonsense, Mattie. Besides, I can't have you wasting your life away indoors or getting into fights like your brother." Artie said, dragging Matt to the car.

W Academy students had been released for Winter Vacation, and Arthur was tired of the boys causing chaos around the holidays. So, Artie decided to have them spend some time apart. Al was working with Francis for the remainder of their vacation, while Matt would be working at a local bakery. As Arthur drove Matt to the Whiskview Mall, he began to explain his relationship with the owner. Arthur had grown up eating from Papa Louie's restaurants, from pizza to cupcakes. It was because of the Papa Louie chain that Arthur became a baker.

"For the past decade, a new family member would take over the restaurant. This year, Papa Louie's great granddaughter has taken over baking the pies." Artie smiled, parking the car.

"I really don't want to do this." Matt sighed, getting out.

"Once you meet Louie's granddaughter, you'll see how much fun it is." Artie said, following behind him.

"No! I am not working as a goddamn . . ." Matt began.

When Matt walked into the bakery, the scents the wafted past his nose seemed to silence his protests. The quaint design of the shop was interesting, however the one thing that managed to grab his attention was the darling young lady behind the counter. As she tended to her sweet smelling confections, she sang softly. Her long black hair tied up in a ponytail, her eyes softly accented with black eye shadow, and her black and red apron decorated with flour and pie filling splatters. As she sang, Matt turned red as she sang in his native language.

"Her name is Haru, and she's Louie great granddaughter." Artie smiled, "You remember Haru from Elementary school, don't you?"

Matt thought back to Elementary School, he remembered a young lady that sat across the table from him. She always wore her hair up in a peach colored bow and her dresses were always white button ups. Whenever the class went out for recess, she'd sit in the grass and play with the squirrels and birds that flew by. She was a quiet girl, but she was a sweet girl. Not a lot of people liked to bully her, but she was nice to everyone. As Matt stared at the young woman before him, he couldn't stop the blush forming on his face.

"Excuse me Haru." Artie said.

"Artie, how are you? It's been a while since the last time we've met." Haru smiled.

"Yes, indeed. However, today I'm not here for a pie. I'm here to help Mattie get a job." Artie smiled.

Hiding behind his sunglasses, Matt nodded at Haru. The calm expression on his face did nothing to hide his deep blush,which got worse as Haru took his glasses. Smiling at him, Haru closes the arms of his glasses. Haru patted his head, then placed the glasses in the pocket of his plaid shirt.

"So, you want to work here?" Haru asked, supporting her head with her hands.

"Y-yes. . . " Matt stammered.

"Okay, but you can't wear sunglasses." Haru said, "Also, you'll have to smile a bit."

"I guess . . .I mean, not that big of a deal." Matt replied.

"Great, I'll take Artie's word for your hard work." She smiled, handing him an apron and hat. "You can start first thing tomorrow."

"Alright, see you tomorrow." Artie smiled.

"I can't wait to see you again." Haru said with half lidded eyes.

The next day, Matt drove to work in his pickup truck. As he pulled up in front of the mall, the smell of cinnamon and chocolate was cruising through the mall. Matt ran towards the shop, it had just opened. As Matt walked up to the counter, Haru was in the back rolling out some dough.

"Good morning, Matthieu." Haru smiled.

"Yeah, hi." Matt blushed.

"Your job will be to take orders in the booths, and bring them back to me." Haru smiled.

"Fine." Matt said.

"If you're a good boy, I'll give you a special treat." She smiled.

Matt looked at Haru with a wide blush on his face, then hurried out towards the booths. As the bakery began to fill up, Matt was beginning to enjoy his job. The customers were nice, and he was beginning to enjoy walking back and forth just to meet Haru at the end of his journey. As he walked up to Eduardo, a small old man who loved the Plantain Crunch special, the old man told him something unexpected.

"Well, aren't you a handsome young man." Eduardo said.

"Thank you, sir." Matt said, cutting the pie.

"I can see why Haru would hire such a cute young man." Eduardo said, "Wouldn't you agree, Olga?"

"Indeed, Eddie. Haru needs a nice man in her life, and this kid is perfect." Olga said, "Don't you think Haru's pretty?"

"Pretty, oh please. She's a little slice of heaven." Matt said unconsciously.

"He's mad for her." Eduardo said.

"Head over heels in love." Olga smiled.

Matt walked away after slicing the pie, waiting for another order. As he stood at his post, Matt began to think about the first time Matt met Haru. It was back in Elementary school, and Haru was sitting alone when a group of new students walked up to her. There was Ashley Mallow, the daughter of Mayor Mallow, CJ, Rico's niece, Hayley, Quinn's little sister, and Xion, Xandra and Xolo's cousin.

"Well, well, well! If it isn't Lil Powder Puff." Ashley said.

"Hello." Haru smiled.

"Rumor has it that your mother has taken ownership of the bakery at Whiskview Mall. Are you really Papa Louie's great granddaughter?" Hayley asked.

"Yeah, I think so." Haru said.

"Well, isn't that nice." CJ said, taking Haru's ribbon. "Listen, Princess. We don't care who you're related to."

"In this school, Ashley is top dog." Xion smiled, kicking Haru down.

"Now, I want you to bring me a baker's dozen of chocolate cupcakes for school tomorrow. Is that clear?" Ashley asked.

"Y-yes." Haru said, fighting her tears.

"Hey! Leave her alone!" Matt screamed, holding a bucket.

"Get out of here kid, we're having girl time." CJ said.

"Oh really, then maybe you could use a mudmask!" Matt said, throwing his bucket on them.

Haru quickly moved out of the way, and watched as the mean girls were covered in mud. Haru and Matt laughed as the girls ran away.

"Thanks, kid." Haru smiled.

"It was nothing." Matt blushed.

"My name's Haruka Grey." She smiled.

"Matt Williams, nice to meet you." He said.

Snapping back to his senses, Matt grabbed his order pad and waited on the customers seated by the door. At the end of the day, Taylor left with his friend, Lisa. As Haru switched closed up, Matt wiped down the booths. It was a busy first day, and Matt was exhausted.

"Good job, Mattie." Haru smiled.

"Thanks." Matt blushed, watching her gather her things.

"Say, what time is it?" Haru asked.

"9:43 pm." Matt replied.

"S***, I missed the bus." Haru sighed.

"Want me to give you a lift? I mean, I'm parked right outside." Matt said, unconsciously.

"Would you really? That would be amazing." Haru smiled.

"It's nothing, come on." Matt said.

As Matt drove Haru home, they began to talk about their lives after Elementary School. They enjoyed each others company, and when Matt pulled up in front of Haru's house, they were sad to say goodbye. As she stepped out, Haru looked at Matt with soft eyes.

"Thanks for the ride, I had a great time." Haru said.

"It was nothing, in fact, take my number in case you're in a fix." Matt said, taking her phone.

"You're so sweet to me, Mattie. I'd like to take you out somewhere for your

"Yeah, see you tomorrow." Matt said, driving off.

Driving towards his family home, Matt could stop thinking about Haru. Perhaps Olga and Eduardo were right, maybe he was head over heels in love. As he walked into his home, Matt received a text from Haru. She had just gotten out of the shower, and was headed to bed. As she laid in bed, Haru took a selfie indicating she was snug as a bug in a rug. Matt blushed dark red, she was doing it deliberately to get a rise out of him.