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May I take your order?

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“Is everything alright, Keita-dono?

His co-worker's voice startled him, making him jump and almost throw off the box of tissues on top of the counter. He looked at the girl, who looked back at him with big and innocent brown eyes. He simply sighed and pointed to a certain table with his finger.

A familiar voice joined the conversation. “Oh, it's that guy Keita likes.”

“I don't like him!” Keita whispered, tried to conceal that he was there at all. “I'm just... curious, is all.”

Next to him, Maiko rolled her eyes. “Yeah, whatever. I don't think you're fooling anyone hiding like that though.”

He groaned, because he knew she was right. There way no way he hadn't seen him, considering he and Keita had held gazes for like five seconds the moment he'd entered the café, before he decided to hide.

He hated to admit it, but Maiko was right. In both things. There was a reason he was hiding like that, a reason his face was blushing the moment he saw that boy. The boy he liked. Katsuo.

It all started when him coming and ordering here became an habitual thing. Always on the same days and the same time, always wearing sports clothes, and always looking like he could still run two more marathons. It just so happened that more often than not, it was Keita who took his order. He learned his name after a few times, and just a few weeks later he found himself looking at the clock, wondering when he'd show up.

The problem was that he usually came alone, asked for a drink alone, and sat alone. When he was done, he'd leave alone. Him and Keita didn't have much of a conversation besides "may I take your order?" and "the weather's terrible today, huh?". Keita could handle that much, without wanting to hide or run away.

Today, however, he came sooner than usual. That was enough to catch Keita off guard, but then he noticed he had bought four more people with him.

...And that's why he was hiding behind the counter, until Maiko had intervened.

“That's an unusual crowd.” His sister noted as Keita emerged from the counter, trying to look as casual as possible. “And they're looking this way.”

Keita jumped at that, frantically trying to make Maiko turn around and stop looking with just an alarmed look.

“They're WHAT!?”

“Look, that girl with the ponytail is definitely judging you.”

He dared look beyond Maiko, towards a small table at the other side of the café, where Katsuo and his friends had been sitting and talking for around five minutes. He saw a girl with a ponytail staring right at him. Well, more than staring, it felt like she was looking inside of his skull. He looked away, back at his sister.

“Oh my god.”

“Isn't yond a good thing?” Seraphina inquired. “Maybe he hath bought them because he likes thee.”

Keita chocked on air when he heard that. “It-!” He couldn't find anything else to say, his face burning red.

“Oh hey.” Maiko said. “Time to work your charm, Romeo.”

Keita felt his face go blank when he looked at the table. Katsuo was walking towards him, trying not to look at his face. Next to him, a tall boy with a long white braid said something, but he was too far for Keita to hear.

I'm going to die. He felt his cheeks burn so hard he wouldn't have been surprised, had he spontaneously combusted. Which he didn't, so he had to keep a straight face as Katsuo and his friend walked towards him. Maiko signaled Seraphina, telling her to get to work and act natural.

“Hello!” The white haired boy smiled, bright as the sun. He looked so calm it just made Katsuo's refusal to look at him more obvious. Which in turn made Keita more nevous than he already was.

He managed to say “Welcome!”, too many years of customer service behind him to make his voice show how much he just wanted to back hiding.

The two boys stood there in silence for what felt like years, the taller looking at the menu above Keita's head. Finally, he said “I''l take an iced green tea. What about you, Tom-”

Before he could finish, Katsuo hit the boy's side so fast and so hard it made Keita jump by the surprise. The victim of the attack didn't protest much though, and instead just looked towards the table with his other friends, still smiling.

Finally, Katsuo spoke.

“Black coffee.”

He said, looking up for the first time since he'd come in, and something inside Keita fluttered and made his heart skip a beat.

“Ah-” He opened his mouth, not really saying anything. He didn't know what to say. Or what he was doing there. His eyes were locked on Katsuo's small, yellow eyes, for who knows who long.

Until he felt a pain in his back, and turned around to see his twin sister staring at him dead in the eye. He suddenly remembered who he was and what he was supposed to do, and took two transparent cups from behind the counter.

“A-Alright! An iced green tea for...”

“Akie.” The taller boy said, and Keita wrote down the name.

“Right, Akie-san. And...” He stopped for half a sacond. And then, a sudden surge of courage overcame him. “Black coffee for Katsuo-kun, right?”

That took Katsuo for surprise, Keita could tell. He just stared at him for a moment. Then muttered “Yeah” and went back to not meeting his face.

Damn it... why did he have to act like that? It... it was really cute.

“Alright, then please wait over there and we'll call your names when they're ready.”

The two boys nodded, and then Akie said something Keita didn't quite catch, but made Katsuo's expression turn angry and walk away. The white haired boy was still smiling, as if he couldn't tell how tense everyone else was.

He looked away and gave the two cups to Seraphina, who started working on the iced tea.

“Please take over me.” He whispered to Maiko when he was sure the two clients couldn't listen anymore. “I feel like I'm going to die here.”

“That's too bad.” Maiko brushed Keita's hand off her shoulder. “Keita, you've had a crush on this guy for months.”

“Not months!” He protested. Maiko just raised an eyebrow.

“Whatever. Look, I'm not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't do... But you should take this chance and make a move once and for all.”

Make a move... He opened his eyes, almost offended at what Maiko was most definitely implying. Maiko? The Maiko? The same Maiko who didn't let him listen to music when he washed the dishes because it was too unprofessional? She wanted him to... Maiko?

“I'm not–“

But before he could say anything, he felt a cold touch on his left shoulder. He looked and saw Seraphina, who had finished preparing the drinks.

“Give me that cup.”

Keita panicked when he saw Maiko's hand, decisively aiming to catch the cup of black coffe. He acted on instinct, taking it before she could and extending his hand so that it'd be out of her reach.

“Are you out of your mind? I can't- I'm not going to give him my number!”

“Why not? You like him, and it's pretty obvious he's interested in you.”

“It's not...” He lowered his hand and his voice, suddenly aware of the scene they were making. This was being a pretty slow day, the café almost empty, but that just made it worse. It meant Katsuo had more chances of actually noticing if he did anything stupid. “Listen, just let me handle this, alright?”

With a deep sigh, Maiko crossed her arms.

“Don't come crying later if you feel lonely.”

I won't. He thought annoyed, and turned around. Akie and Katsuo were just where he expected them to be.

“Sorry for the wait! Here you have.”

Akie handed him the money, and both of them took their cups. Akie smiled and thanked him, while Katsuo just nodded and whispered a “nks” before both of them going back to their table.

He sighed, watching them go, and followed them with his eyes until they had sit down. Katsuo's seat was facing the counter, so he could see him sipping the coffee way too bitter for Keita's own tastes. He always ordered things like that, with hardly any sugar on it. That worried Keita, since it definitely couldn't be healthy. Katsuo seemed like the type to get up at five to run around the block, so he should need to replenish a fairly big amount of sugar. He couldn't help but worry about the rest of his day. Did he eat properly, or did he just swallow a bunch of protein bars and called it a meal? Maybe he was a picky eater, and that's why he never asked for certain drinks...

A pair of yellow eyes woke him up from his trance, and he realized he had been staring at Katsuo this whole time.

What was worse is that not only had him realized, but also all of him friends. Five pairs of eyes were looking at him, expressions varying from amusement to surprise.

He looked away, pretending to take care of some super important stuff that was happening at his feet, while he felt the red creeping on his face and ears, head steaming hot.

It's that boy Keita likes. He hated accepting Maiko was right, but now he had to. Yeah. He liked Katsuo. So what? That's normal, everyone gets crushes!

Maybe he hath bought them because he likes thee. No way. That was crazy... Could Katsuo really have bought his friends along because he liked him? Keita Narabuko? The guy who couldn't as much as look in his direction without making a fool out of himself?

You've had a crush on this guy for months. Not months! Just... weeks. Many weeks. Enough weeks to make a few months, maybe.

You should take this chance to make a move once and for all.

Maiko's words resonated within his head, and suddenly something overcame him. He grabbed a cup, a permanent marker, and prepared his mind for what he was about to do. He took a deep breath... and started writing.

Keita

090-xxx-###-1593

call me

“Seraph-chan!” He screamed, and the noise startled the small girl. “Give me a americano!”

“A-Aye sir!”

She took the cup from his hands, which he then noticed were shaking. Not like that was any surprise. With how fast his heart was beating, it would have been stranger if they had been just fine.

He saw Maiko smile at him, arms still crossed, when he heard something.

“Go for it, Tomoda!”

“Shut up!”

The noise of a chair moving, and a few cheers. When he looked in the direction of the noise, he saw Katsuo. Walking towards him. With a cup on his hand.

He stared at the boy, then looked at Maiko in panic. This wasn't going the way he had intended it to go.

Why is he coming here!? He screamed mentally, at which Maiko seemed to answer “Don't ask me!” with her eyes.

He reached the counter before Seraphina could finish preparing the coffe, and Keita felt his heart either stop, or race too fast for him to even notice. Katsuo was in front of him, empty cup on his hand, and he looked like he was trying to say something.

“Uh...” He muttered. Keita didn't say anything.

He knew he should but he just couldn't think of anything to say.

Then, suddenly, Katsuo slammed the cup against the counter, making a startled Keita jump. It made a “thud” sound, loud enough for Seraphina to look away and almost hurt herself spilling the hot drink.

“I uh...” Oh my god. Now he was looking at him, and that was ten thousand times worse than being caught staring. Because now he couldn't hide, and while he really didn't want to look away from Katsuo's eyes, he felt like he was going to explode if he kept this up any further. “Take this.”

Finally, he found the strength to break eye contact and look at the cup.

“Is there... anything wrong with it?” He managed to say.

Katsuo seemed to be caught off-guard, like he didn't expect that question, or an aswer at all. He looked back at the table, visibly looking for help, but his friends simply gestured him to go on. Keita couldn't believe this was happening to him.

“Yeah, actually there is.”

Oh my god.

“It doesn't have your number in it.”

Oh my god.

Keita felt his face go completely red, and he wasn't sure what to do, where to look, or what to say. He wasn't even sure this was real at all. Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe he was dead.

“I-I...”

He looked at the cup. He saw Katsuo's name, written by Keita just a few minutes ago. And just bellow that, in a shaky curve, was a string of numbers.

Katsuo had written him his number. On that cup. And he was giving it to him.

And the worst part was that Katsuo only seemed slightly bothered. He didn't know if his face just didn't blush as much as a normal person's would, or is he was just incredibly daring. Even though he wouldn't even meet his face before.

Just then, he felt something hot touch his back, and heard a small voice call his name. “Keita-dono.”

Right! He turned around, grabbing Seraphina's cup, an mouthed a bit “thank you” before turning around again.

“Y-You know I'm the barista, right?” He managed to say, although he was afraid his voice might give away how nervous he was.

Katsuo looked away, scratching the back of his head. “Ugh..." He looked like he hadn't considered that little detail as part of the plan. "My friends... wouldn't leave me alone, so...”

“W-Well, ah... I still have to work, but...” With what he thought was his smoothest move of the evening, Keita put the cup he was holding down, making sure his writing was facing Katsuo. “If you want, you can send me a message.”

He saw the other boy's eyes open in surprise, and he looked at him. Then the cup. Then him again. Keita's heart wasn't going to last much longer if he kept doing things like that, and his cool act was starting to fall apart.

And then Katsuo did something that turned his whole world upside down. He grabbed the new cup with both his hands, not seeming to care about the heat, and read the words. Then, he smiled.

“I will.”

That sight alone was enough to make Keita feel things he hadn't ever felt before. A fluttering feeling in his stomach, something like butterflies or sunshine or any of that stuff all bottled up inside of him, going crazy.

Katsuo walked away, back to his table. A round of cheers followed soon.

Turning around, Keita stared at Seraphina and his sister, both smiling. Seraphina seemed completely fascinated by what just happened in front of her own eyes, while Maiko had that “told you so” smile that always pissed him off.

Except now he was too flustered to get pissed off at anything.

“I'm gonna take a break.” He announced. No one complained, so he went ahead.

Just as he was walking towards the break room, he felt his phone buzz inside his pocket.