Kotone spread her arms dramatically, gesturing to the shop she was standing in front of. “This is the place, Fuuka! Dagashiya! Let’s go in!”
“Kotone-chan, wai-” Fuuka spoke too slowly; the red-eyed brunette was already inside the confectioner’s shop. With a sigh, she followed her inside… and stopped dead right past the door.
Now, Fuuka had never had occasion to go into a proper candy store before - certainly her parents had never taken her to one. So she was surprised to see it looked like something right out of one of the books she’d read about them in.
The walls were lined with shelves laden with glass jars, all filled with a riot of colourful hard candies. Lower shelves held sweets which were softer and more prone to spoiling - licorices, chocolates, and so on. Fresher goods still were held in bins in the middle aisle of the store, and right next to the till. Cookies, mochi, and even some petits-four. No larger cakes, but then this wasn’t the type of place for it.
Amazingly, Kotone wasn’t near any of that. Instead, she was standing at the back of the store, beckoning to Fuuka impatiently. The teal-haired girl hastened to the rear, seeing why Kotone was here and not elsewhere in the store.
Here, out of view from the street but just as lovingly displayed, was a wide variety of confectioner’s tools and supplies - raw chocolate of various kinds, assorted sugars and salts, fillings, and nuts, along with molds, pipettes, icing knives, and even cookie cutters. Fuuka stared in amazement as Kotone nodded, grinning widely.
“This is why I wanted to bring you here, Fuuka. I mean, the sweets are a bonus, but this is the important part. If we’re going to make chocolates for cooking club, we need the right tools and materials, right?” Kotone winked at Fuuka; her enthusiasm was infectious, and Fuuka couldn’t help but smile and nod in return.
“Mm-hm! Yes, this will be perfect. Let’s see, we’ll need molds, piping bags, white and dark chocolate… hmm. Maybe a ganache-type filling? Or would a cream be better?”
“Whatever you like, Fuuka. It’s all on me.”
Fuuka’s jaw dropped, and in the next moment she shook her head. “I-I can’t do that! We have a budget, Kotone-chan; we should stick to it.”
The SEES leader waved off the complaint with a negligent wave of her hand. “I’ve got more than enough cash from part-time work to cover anything we get, plus snacks for the dorm AND some sweets for just ourselves. Don’t worry about it, seriously. … if you’re really worried, we can cover the materials cost with the club budget, but I really want to buy you something just for you, too.”
Fuuka shook her head in confusion. “But why, Kotone-chan?”
“Well, it wouldn’t be a date if I didn’t use my own money, now would it?” Kotone’s matter-of-fact smile masked the important part of the statement for a moment, until Fuuka caught it.
“A DATE?! Kotone-chan, since when is this a date?!”
“… isn’t it? I mean, I invited you out… and I really like you, Fuuka. Not just as a friend.”
Fuuka reeled, forced to lean against Kotone for a moment as she processed this. “Kotone-chan… you’re doing this all in the wrong order. You’re supposed to confess first, then ask me out…”
Kotone blinked rapidly, then laughed lightly, hugging Fuuka. “Is that all you’re worried about? I never did like following the rules. Now come on… don’t tell me there’s nothing in here you don’t want to sample for yourself…”
“W-well…” Fuuka shyly looked back at the jars on the wall, a smile creeping onto her face. “Maybe just a few…”
“That’s the spirit!”