Okay, so there's a bit of a time skip between the last chapter and this one. I hope there isn't any confusion ^^

Chapter 3

It was about two hours later when Izuru and Midori finally made it to the Hime Pan-ya. It wasn't the fact that Midori had taken a long time to get changed; in fact, she had only taken about ten minutes total and that included changing her hairstyle and doing a light dusting of make-up. Actually, what had delayed them was the fact that Nikki had needed them to run to the convenience store for a few items and then she had needed their help around the house for a little while before they were finally able to leave. Nikki had paid them for their troubles, and Izuru hadn't minded helping Midori with the errands. He had even told her so countless times.

But that didn't stop her from incessantly apologizing.

"I mean, I didn't mean to use up some of your vacation time by doing something like that!" Midori apologized as she opened the door to the bakery.

Izuru sighed as he held the door open so that she could walk inside and he followed after her. "And I'll tell you again: I enjoyed helping you run those errands. So please stop apologizing, Midori-chan."


"Welcome to Hime Pan-ya!"

The cheerful voice drew their attention to the woman standing at the container. Orihime Ishida's eyes widened in recognition of the two newcomers to the bakery. "Oh, Izuru-fukutaicho and Midori-chan! This is a surprise! I didn't realize the two of you were dating!"

Both of their cheeks turned crimson and they tripped over their tongues trying to make a response of some kind, before Victoria's voice cut in, "Oba-san! Focus on taking their orders and not their relationship status!"

Orihime pouted, which was just a little odd on the woman's face, before she cheered up and asked, "Would you like to try the Couple's Special today? It includes two red velvet cupcakes, which are topped with homemade cream cheese and strawberry-flavored sprinkles, made fresh today from scratch and two hot dark chocolate cocoas with cherry syrup."

Izuru had to bring himself back to reality from envisioning the cupcakes and the hot chocolate. Midori had to do the same thing before she replied, "I think that sounds wonderful."

"I'll pay," Izuru cut in.

Midori opened her mouth to argue, but stopped and thought a second. Finally, she crossed her arms and pouted, saying, "Fine, but I'm picking up the tip."

Izuru only smiled and handed Orihime the money necessary for the purchase and Midori put the tip in the jar. As he was accepting his change, Midori walked further into the warm-atmosphere café, where she could see many middle and high school student couples situated in the booths and tables, and located the booth from where Victoria's voice had come. Victoria was still in her school uniform and she had her History book out, a pencil tucked behind her ear as she glared at the inanimate object. "Having issues, Victoria-chan?"

Victoria sighed and shut the book before stashing it and the pencil back into her book bag, which she was keeping under the table. "I'll just work on it later. Never liked History to begin with."

"To tell the truth, I don't either," Midori admitted sliding into the seat across from Victoria. Midori noticed that on the table there was a cup near Victoria and then a cup near her. She pointed at it. "Is this Kuro-kun's?"

Victoria nodded and took a sip of her drink. "He had to go to the bathroom shortly before the two of you got here. He should be back soon." She smirked devilishly at Midori. "But that aside, what took the two of you so long to get here? You two weren't doing anything travieso*, were you?"

"Anything what?" Izuru asked as he came up to the booth and sat down in the same row as Midori, who was as red as a beet.

Midori covered Victoria's mouth before she could respond to that. "I'll tell you later, Izuru-kun." She then tentatively removed her hand from Victoria's mouth.

Victoria pouted and crossed her arms, whining, "You're no fun, Midori-chan."

Midori sent a dead-pan stare her way. "To answer your question, we didn't. Okaa-san needed a little help, so we chipped in."

Kuro came up to the group then and sat down next to Victoria, grabbing his cup from in front of Midori. "Hey, guys."

"Hi, Kuro-kun," Midori returned. "How's college?"

Kuro ran a hand through his mussed-up blue hair that looked just like his father's had when he had been in Aizen's army. "A pain. At least they don't care what color my hair is at the seminars."

Victoria poked him in the shoulder. "You mentiroso**. You told me that your college classes were online."

Kuro's teal-ish green eye twitched in annoyance as he calmly drank the rest of his hot chocolate. "Baka. I still have to attend seminars at the local college to get credit for my classes."

She poked him again. "Meanie! You didn't have to call me a baka!"

"Stop poking me!"

"They certainly are a comedy duo, aren't they?" a voice that was similar to Orihime's, but slightly deeper, commented. Izuru and Midori turned to find Nurihime Sado, Orihime's twin sister and Victoria's mother, standing there holding a tray with two drinks and two velvet cupcakes. She placed the drinks on the table first, one in front of each of them, then the plates with the cupcakes on them. She then picked up Kuro's finished drink, put it on the tray, and gazed thoughtfully at Izuru and Midori. "You know…Orihime-neechan was right. You two do look cute together."

Both turned crimson and looked down at the food in front of them as she looked at Victoria and Kuro who was currently pinching and stretching Victoria's cheeks to their physical limit. "And make sure that you two don't break anything. Okay, Kuro-kun, Victoria-chan?"

"Shí, Okaa-shan."*** "Hai, Sado-san." With their answers, Nuri left to go clean the other tables. Midori had to hold back the drool threatening to pour from her mouth at the smells coming from the cupcake and the hot chocolate. So she took her fork and sliced a bit of the morsel, promptly placing it in her mouth. The taste that greeted her was heavenly! The cream cheese icing, the strawberry sprinkles, and the spongy velvet cupcake all melded together in a euphoric medley that had Midori abandoning her fork and eating the cupcake by hand.

When she finished it, she let out a deep sigh of happiness. "Sugoi~~! The flavors, the texture, everything! It's so delicious~!"

Izuru, who had just finished his own cupcake as well, could only nod and agree with her. "It was certainly delicious." That's when he looked at Midori and noticed that in her haste, she had left a good-sized crumb on her right cheek near her lips. "Um, Midori-chan. You have some cupcake around your mouth."

Midori blushed slightly and tried to wipe her mouth clean on an available napkin, but the crumb remained. Not really seeing any other option, Izuru reached over and plucked the crumb off of her cheek by holding it between his fingers. He resisted the urge to eat that crumb and instead placed it on the napkin Midori had just used to clean the rest of her mouth.

Kuro and Victoria watched that exchange with avid interest. The two of them couldn't help but agree with Nurihime's earlier statement.

The two of them did look cute together.

So you got to meet Nurihime, my OC for Chad. I could probably list all the OCs I have but it would take until New Year's XDD And one guess as to who Orihime's married to~

And the whole thing about the flavor of the cupcake was something I was able to experience for myself this past weekend~~ That was the best friggin' cupcake ever!

And about the school letting out at noon: I read online that some Japanese schools will hold school on Saturdays but that on Saturdays, they release school at noon~~ Just fyi~~!

* - 'travieso' is Spanish for 'naughty'

**- 'mentiroso' is Spanish for 'liar'

*** - Here, Victoria is trying to say "Si, Okaa-san" but can't say it properly because Kuro's pinching her cheeks XDD