Title: The First Annual Mama Bake-Off!
Fandom: Happy Lesson
Summary: A baking contest between the moms and Chitose has to try all five confections and choose a winner. It won't be easy though, with five moms to choose between!
Disclaimer: This is just a work of fiction. Everything pertaining to Happy Lesson belongs to Mutsumi Sasaki.
"Man, what an incredibly long week that was!" Chitose said with a sigh as he stretched out on the sofa. Of course, while it was exhausting, it was also a lot of fun as well.
Two Days Earlier
The portable alarm clock on the table awoke Chitose from his somewhat peaceful slumber. Of course, with five moms, things were never truly peaceful, Chitose thought to himself as he got ready for school. "Well, at least its Friday," he said wearily as he left to catch the bus. When Chitose boarded the bus, he saw that all five of his teachers were already seated. "Without fail, I swear!" Chitose muttered under his breath as he took his seat. I don't think I'll ever get used to the fact that these five teachers are also my moms, Chitose thought to himself. School was, as always, rather uneventful. Well, except for the usual barrage of questions from Fumitsuki. She really is quite nosy, but I guess she's just trying to be considerate.
After school was over, Chitose headed home hoping for some peace and quiet. Stopping dead in his tracks, he started laughing at the thought, "Yeah right! Like that will ever happen!" After fishing through his pockets to find his house key, Chitose stepped inside and let out a relieved sigh. I'm so glad its Friday! For some reason, I'm very tired. As soon as he set food inside the door, he heard frantic footsteps coming closer.
"Oh Chitose! You're home! I'm so glad! Did you have a good day at school?"
"Umm. . .hi Mamma Matsuki. Yeah school was okay, I guess. Nothing too spectacular. Are the other moms home yet?"
"Everyone except Satsuki. The swim team has a meet coming up so she's working her girls extra hard."
"Wow, I feel sorry for them." Chitose said, shaking his head. Mamma Satsuki really works her swim team very hard. I really don't understand why she's so hard-core about it. Oh well, not my problem. "So, when's dinner going to be ready? I'm starving!"
"Well, we can't start dinner until everyone is home, Chitose! That wouldn't be right at all!" Mutsuki said with a smile. She proceeded to start bustling around the kitchen, getting everything prepared for dinner. Chitose decided to relax a bit before dinner so he grabbed his headphones, put them on and stretched out on the couch. He had just closed his eyes to catch some shuteye when he heard loud screaming coming from the kitchen. Realizing that his music wasn't going to drown it out, Chitose gave up and went to see what the racket was about. Proceeding with caution, he walked into the kitchen to see Mama Satsuki and Mama Uzuki having their nightly argument. Wondering what it was about, Chitose decided to step in.
"Hey, hey! What's going on here! Geez can't a man get a moment's peace?" Chitose could tell he was yelling rather loudly but at the moment he didn't really care.
Satsuki and Uzuki stopped fighting and just looked at Chitose with their mouths wide open. "Boy Chitose," Satsuki said with a grin, "what's got you all worked up?"
"Are you kidding me? What's got me all worked up? I don't know--maybe it's because you two are constantly fighting like five year olds! Why can't you two just give it a rest?"
"Well, Chitose, since you're here maybe you can help me with something, okay?" Uzuki said with her usual goofy grin.
Geez, I don't think she even heard one word of what I said! Unbelievable! "What could I possibly help you two with? The kind of help you two need is more than I'm qualified to give."
"Now Chitose, be nice. Satsuki and I were just talking about having a little contest tomorrow. I've already talked to the other moms, and they've all said it's a wonderful idea. Satsuki seems to be the only one against it. I was hoping you could convince her for me."
Knowing this couldn't possibly end well, Chitose weighed his options. On the one hand, all of the other moms had already agreed to it so it might not be half bad. On the other hand, Satsuki could pound him into the ground if he forced her into this so that would definitely be bad. Deciding that he needed more information, he tried to get more out of them.
"Listen, Mama Uzuki. Just what kind of contest are you planning exactly? It would be nice if I was informed."
"Oh, silly me! I guess I forgot to tell you, didn't I? It's a baking contest!" Uzuki said cheerfully, expecting Chitose to agree with her.
"Riiight. A baking contest. And just who exactly will be participating in this contest? I sure hope you don't intend on making me do it. I suck at baking."
"No no! It's going to be a contest between all the moms. We will all compete, and you will judge the best dessert. Isn't it a great idea?"
"Oh sure, uh huh--HOW IS THIS A GOOD IDEA!" Chitose screamed. "You do realize what kind of position you're putting me in, don't you? That's a lot of pressure! Geez, did you stop to consider that at all?"
Uzuki looked stunned at Chitose's anger. "Umm, well I guess--I just thought it would be fun that's all." Chitose saw tears starting to well up in her eyes and felt really awful for yelling at her.
"Look Mama Uzuki. I'm sorry for yelling like that. But I just don't think this can end well. I'm with Mama Satsuki on this one. I'm sorry."
Musuki and Yayoi came rushing into the kitchen, obviously because of all the yelling going on. "What on earth is going on here? Why are you yelling like that Chitose?"
"Oh, Mama Musuki. I guess I got a little carried away. I just found out about this little baking contest you guys have concocted up. I don't think it's a good idea. Mama Uzuki was trying to get me to help convince Mama Satsuki to participate."
"You never know, Chitose. It could be really fun. If you're worried about hurting our feelings, don't be. We're not going to take this seriously. It's just a way to let loose for a few hours."
"Oh sure, you say that now. But I know as soon as I pick a winner, the other four will be really upset at me and probably won't speak to me ever again. No thank you!"
"Listen Chitose, I have to agree with Musuki on this one." Yayoi spoke for the first time since she entered the kitchen with Mutsuki. "Maybe you should reconsider it some more before making a hasty decision."
"There's no profit in it for me. I really don't see an upside, Mama Yayoi." Chitose turned to leave when all of a sudden he saw a flash of silver and realized it was Yayoi's sword.
"Now I know you'll reconsider, Chitose."
"What is this? Am I allowed to make any kind of decision around here? You can't threaten me like that!"
"You really need to think about saying yes, Chitose." Kisaragi said, appearing out of nowhere like always. "It will be better for you if you just agree to be the judge."
With a heavy sigh, Chitose realized that there was no way he was getting out of this one. I guess I have no choice but to say yes. Geez, I don't have any say in this house. And it's my house! "FINE! I'll do it just this once!" Realizing he might regret this later, Chitose sulked back to the living room and stretched back out on the sofa until dinnertime.
Dinner was unusually quite that evening, and Chitose was really starting to regret deciding to judge this baking contest. Sure, Mama Mutsuki says it's all for fun, but I just know that when it's all said and done, feelings will be hurt. Finishing his dinner in record time, Chitose excused himself and went back into the living room to contemplate his plan of attack for tomorrow.
Chitose didn't need an alarm clock to wake up the following day. He awoke to the clanging of pots and lots of excited and anxious voices in the kitchen. Letting out a big yawn, Chitose rubbed his eyes and walked sleepily to the kitchen. Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw before him. All five moms were there, bustling around and grabbing different ingredients. They all had an assigned section and were too busy working to notice Chitose standing there. I'd better let them work, Chitose thought to himself. Since he had nothing to do but wait, he decided to take a shower and get dressed. Once he was dressed, he made his way back down to the kitchen to see how the moms were making out.
Chitose had to use all his strength to suppress a laugh when he saw the moms covered in flour and sugar. It looked like Mama Mutsuki was the furthest along with her concoction. He knew from experience how delicious her cooking was so he wouldn't be shocked if she made the best dessert. Of course, Chitose couldn't let that get in the way of judging. He had to be totally unbiased. Oh man, what have I gotten myself into?
"Umm--hello. How are you all doing?"
Mutsuki looked up at him with a mixture of surprise and anxiety on her face, "Oh Chitose! You shouldn't be here! Why don't you go hang out in the living room for a while? We'll let you know when we're all finished!"
"Fine." Chitose sulked off into the living room and decided to play some video games to pass the time. Of course, it isn't as fun when I'm playing by myself. The minutes ticked by extremely slowly and Chitose started to wonder if the moms were all right in the kitchen. After about two more hours, Mama Musuki came out of the kitchen. She looked very frazzled but happy at the same time.
"Okay Chitose. We're done!"
"So is it safe to come into the kitchen now?"
"Yes! I really hope that you like all of the confections we've come up with. I know you'll pick the one you like the best!" Mutsuki said with a smile.
Chitose followed her into the kitchen, his nerves starting to get the better of him. What if I don't choose the best one? What will the moms say? Damn, I should never have said yes to this!
As he stepped into the kitchen, Chitose saw all the moms standing there with smiles. Well, smiles for the most part. Mama Satsuki looked like she was ready to hit something. I can only imagine how this was for her, Chitose thought to himself. Chuckling at the thought of her with an apron on, Chitose walked over to the table where the five desserts were set out.
"Yes dear? Is there something wrong?"
"Well, how am I supposed to know which dessert belongs to which mom? Won't that make it hard for me to judge?"
"We decided that it was better if you didn't know who made each dessert. That way, you are unbiased in your decision." Mutsuki handed Chitose a sheet of paper and bustled all of the moms out of the kitchen, leaving Chitose alone. When he looked down at the paper, he saw that it had been divided into five sections, one for each of the moms. The scoring system looked easy enough. "Let's see. There are three categories for me to judge. Presentation, originality and most importantly, taste." Looking at the desserts, Chitose decided to get started.
Taking a seat at the table, Chitose looked at the first dessert. The name card next to it said it was called "Out-of-this-World Angel Food Cake." It looks more like a big pink fluffy cloud to me, Chitose thought as he cut himself a slice. When he cut into it he noticed that not only was the icing pink, but the cake as well.
Swallowing hard, he took his fork and broke off a bite. "Hmm--it's very light and moist. It's also--very, very sweet. How much sugar did she add?" Chitose walked to the sink and filled a glass with water, taking a big gulp. "Okay, time for dessert number two. I wonder what this one is called."
He looked closely at the name card and saw that this one was labeled "Sweet Tea Cake with a Twist." Wondering what the twist was, he cleaned off the knife and cut into the cake. Inspecting it carefully, he saw that the cake had little flecks going all throughout it. Well it is teacake. It's probably tea leaves. Sinking his fork into the cake, he put it into his mouth and chewed slowly. "Interesting. It tastes like green tea. There's something else though. There's a distinctive bite to it." Chitose bit into one of the flecks he thought was tea. An alarm went off inside his head and he realized at once what the flecks really were. "Hot--peppers!" He ran to the refrigerator and took out the milk, taking a swig right out of the carton. Geez, whoever put that in has got some nerve. Once his mouth was extinguished, Chitose wearily went on to the third dessert.
"Well this one looks safe. It's called 'Simply Divine Lemon Meringue Pie.'" Sweet! I love Lemon Meringue! Chitose eagerly cut himself a slice of the light and fluffy confection and took a huge bite with his fork. "Awesome! Wow this is excellent. It tastes like something Mama Mutsuki would make--hey hold on a second." Chitose looked at the names of the cakes so far and smacked his hand on his forehead. And they wanted to remain anonymous? I should have realized sooner that the cake names relate to the moms who made them. Not wanting this realization to skew his decision, Chitose just swallowed his pie and moved on to dessert four.
Chitose didn't exactly know what to make of this one. It was an unusual shade of green and he swore that he saw it move at least three times. Approaching with caution, he looked at the name card. "Mystery Cake, version 4.0." Well I know who this cake belongs to. He prodded it with his fork, hoping it wouldn't come alive. He was all set to cut a small sliver of this one when he realized that Mama Kisaragi would notice if he wasn't fair to her. Sighing, he cut a decent slice of her cake and took a small bite. Oh God, I hope this isn't another one of her crazy experiments!" He had to be careful not to spit this one out. There's no sugar in this! What kind of cake has no sugar? Swallowing as fast as possible, Chitose took another long gulp of water from his glass and let out a heavy sigh. "Well, at least I'm almost done. Only one more cake left and I know whom it belongs to. I only wonder how it came out."
Looking at it, Chitose realized that it didn't look half bad. "Slam-Dunk Chocolate Cake!" Chuckling to himself, Chitose cut a piece of Mama Satsuki's cake and put it onto the plate. It's only chocolate cake. How hard can that be? He broke off a piece and popped it into his mouth. "Wow! This is--really good! Moist and full of flavor. Sweet, but not too sweet. Just the right amount of chocolate. I didn't know Mama Satsuki could bake! You'd never guess that. It's like her hidden talent."
Chitose took out his scoring sheet and began the tedious process of judging all five cakes. He had it narrowed between two of them, and while it should have been a tough decision, Chitose knew exactly whom he was going to choose. He walked back into the living room, where he saw all five moms looking very anxious. "Okay! I'm all done!"
Mama Mutsuki looked up at him and beamed. "Oh I'm so glad! Well, have you decided on a winner, Chitose?"
"Actually, I have. Now I have your word that you won't get upset, right?"
"Of course, Chitose! After all, this was just for fun!" Mama Uzuki said with a smile.
"All right. The winner of the first annual Mama Bake-Off is--Mama Satsuki!"
Satsuki looked absolutely stunned. It was almost as if she didn't expect to win. "Chitose, are you sure you haven't made some sort of mistake?"
"Nope! Listen, Mama Satsuki. I don't know why you were so hesitant to do this in the first place. Your cake was awesome! All this time I had no idea you could bake. I wonder what the swim team would think."
"Now listen, Chitose. I'm sure you won't let this little secret get out. How will I keep up my tough image? Please, please don't tell anyone, okay?"
Chitose grinned, and while he was thankful it was over, he actually did have a fun time. He looked over at the moms, and realized just how blessed he really was to have such loving and caring moms. Letting out a big yawn, exhaustion came over Chitose like a wave. "Wow I'm tired! I think I'll take a little nap until dinner time, okay?"
Mutsuki nodded and smiled, "Sure Chitose. We'll go clean up the kitchen. Just think, now we have all of those yummy desserts to choose from after dinner!