"Aww, it's fine, Shuuya, it's not like anybody's gonna notice!" Ayano's cheery grin almost, almost made him feel better as she applied the bandages to his face. "Besides, they're just cat scratches, and I'll make sure to give anyone a stern talk to if they look at you funny, okay?"
"It's not like they're gonna know they're cat scratches, though," the blond sighed, throwing his hoodie on, despite the scorching heat. "Dammit, why does this always happen?"
"Maybe you're just petting the wrong cats," the girl suggested. "Maybe they just don't like you! Well, even though they totally should, 'cause who wouldn't like you?"
A small smile tugged its way out from the corners of his mouth as she smoothed over a bandage across his nose. "Ah, they just don't realize my charm, is all."
"That's the spirit!"
"They're still going to stare, though," he said that in a far quieter tone, yet his sister picked it up all the same.
"Hey, but it's okay, right?" she gave him an encouraging smile, one that held all the summer's warmth and then some. "Even if they do, it's not like they're not gonna like you! They're just curious, I'm sure."
He wasn't so sure about that.
"Shuuya," Ayano said, in something between a whine and a mockingly stern order. "I want you to at least try and make friends with more of your customers, 'kay?"
"No buts!" she quickly declared. "Just get comfortable, get to know everyone! I know you have it in you!"
Doubts still clouded him, even through the bright look in the girl's brown eyes, but he decided to grin back anyways.
"Yeah, I can probably do it."
A lie, as always.
Another faceless person gone and dealt with.
"Shuuya, I gotta go now!" Ayano called from a seat in the corner. One that she'd basically claimed as her own.
"Are you going to see that Shintaro guy again?" he hardly refrained from wrinkling his nose as he imagined him and his sister.
"Nope, just Takane!" the brunette giggled as she lifted her phone from the table.
She basically bounced up from her seat as she rushed to the door.
"Huh?" Ayano tilted her head back to look at him. "What was that?"
"Ah, nothing," sheepishly, he laughed.
"If you say soooo," a small grin bloomed on her features as she pushed the door open. "Remember to try and at least talk with others, okay?"
He nodded as she gave him a thumbs-up, before bursting out the door in what seemed like infinite eagernes. The reds of her scarf flailed behind her like ribbons as she sprinted away.
Ah, surely it was draining to be that happy all the time.
Slouching back down onto the front counter, he sighed. It was a pretty slow day, and those were pretty common, sure, but he was at least hoping Kido, Seto, or even Mary would stop by. Or maybe if he was lucky, at least Momo, since she was apparently on break for a couple weeks.
Intently, he attempted to ignore the memories of stares and odd looks worming their way back into his brain. He pushed down the image of that tall lady's judging gaze, and the pitying glances from that man earlier, and instead replaced them with whatever else he could think of.
Quietly, he imagined what it would be like if everyone else were here, all sharing drinks and laughs and smiling all the while. Kido with coffee that he was sure needed more caffeine, Seto's blend fairly sweet, Momo's with all the bizzare things he could never imagine someone would put in their drink....
"This is a cafe, right? Should I come back another day?"
Immediately, he snapped back upright as he finally took notice of the teen with a bored look on his face. The other had headphones and jarringly bright yellow eyes. He looked calm, not desperately trying to find some space on the wall to gaze at, not stealing small glances at him when he thought he wasn't looking, not staring with a look that pierced straight into his very soul, just standing there.
"No, sorry, I was just distracted is all," he desperately tried to catch his casual tone, which was slipping like water between his fingers, as he struggled to keep himself steady. "What would you like on this fine day?"
"Er...." the stranger squinted his eyes as he searched the menu perched above him. "Hmm, whatever you want, I suppose."
"Wh- come again?" he sputtered as the others gaze shifted back down to him.
"I don't have any preference, and I haven't really tried... much, so it's up to you," the other said simply.
He stood completely dumbfounded as the other turned away, seating himself in the same corner that Ayano had been mere minutes ago.
He fumbled with the options in his head as he awkwardly stepped back. Up to him? What the hell was even up with this guy?
Thankfully, the other was looking out the glass windows and onto the streets, so he probably wouldn't be caught staring, but from just looking at him, he couldn't pinpoint even a vague idea of what to prepare. Wasn't cost going to be an issue?
Whatever. Simple coffee it is.
"One coffee for, uh...." right, right, he hadn't been given a name to work with, of course. "...You?"
It probably didn't matter whether or not he'd gotten a name, since the black clad teen was the only other person around, but he still stumbled anyway. Thankfully, he was any extra trouble as the taller came over to face him again.
"Black coffee," he said- ah, maybe a bit too matter-of-factly? At this point, he wasn't even sure.
No, it was fine, this was fine, completely fine and normal and all things in between, he reassured himself as he stared at the cup sitting, like it was smug and judging, in front of him. Ah, it was such a shame that their last mug had been carelessly shattered by the employee before him. Hopefully, the other didn't mind too much. With scarred and scraped hands, he slowly slid the container over.
The stranger didn't even seem to spare a second glance at the questionable state of his hands as he reached for the cup....
"Oh, but careful before you drink! That's really-"
...and downed a large gulp.
"What was that?" still, those yellow eyes remained unfazed as they looked back at him.
"Nothing," he dismissed, ignoring the steam rising above the dark surface of the coffee. "So, what do you think?"
"I think this is how I like it best," a satisfied grin stretched on the taller's features as he lowered the bitter drink. "You must have good taste."
Actually, he just took the shortcut and made the simplest, next to no-effort thing off the menu he could think of, like most probably would in his place. Still, though, he somewhat accepted the compliment. After all, receiving one- even if the taller's grin was just a tad unsettling- was... nice.
"I've just been working here for too long, that's all," he chuckled as the other took a few more sips.
"I'm sure it must be boring, doing all the same things and filling out the same bland orders everyday," the other muttered.
"Sometimes," he mused. "But hey, there are exceptions every now and then, like y- uh," quickly, he caught himself. "Like when the customers are interesting! You know, like when they're just nice and friendly, and are up for a nice chat, like friends!"
"And how often does that happen?"
He laughed, but even to him it sounded too hollow and sour. "Pretty much all the time!"
Ah, and there goes another one.
"Is that so?" the other muttered, briefly flicking his gaze back down to him. Eventually, a smile appeared on his face. "In that case, I'll be sure to return tomorrow... Shuuya."
"I'll be looking forward to s- that, too, uh... name?"
A small pause replaced an answer.
A bit too close to sounding nervous, he laughed. "What, is that up to me, too?"
"Works?" dumbly, he tilted his head.
"Saeru," he repeated. "I'll look forward to seeing you again tomorrow."
His mind hadn't even properly registered when the other left, nor had it registered how he'd managed to let payment slip from his mind.
Nee-Chan would really get a kick out of this one, huh?