Hello everyone!~ I'm RainbowKasai! (or just Rainbow) I haven't written fanfiction in a while, so I hope this isn't too bad. I hope you like!
Satou stood by his car watching the group of high school girls say their goodbyes. Seeing them in their regular uniforms was still foreign, though he worked with them every day. Yamada in her suspicious old gym uniform with the original name crossed out, Inami in a blazer and plaid skirt and finally Popura with a classic navy blue sailor uniform and skirt that came down to her knees. They all talked excitedly about the stories they had just heard and how scared they were. Eventually, Inami left with Takanashi while Yamada secretly stalked behind them. He suspected that she was too afraid to spend the night in the loft alone.
Popura turned on her heel and rushed down to the car. Just as she went to open the door, he poked the small of her back lightly.
"Boo," Satou said in his usual deadpan voice. The girl screamed and jumped. Her hair spun around as she did to face him. As he took a drag of his cigarette, hidden by long fingers, Satou allowed himself a smile at the expense of the young girl. She glared up at him.
"Satou-san is so mean!" her small voice squeaked. He stared at her large, brown eyes as she attempted to glare at him to the best of her ability.
"Just get in the car." He commanded and walked around to the driver's side. Popura situated herself in the seat as he placed the key in the ignition. Satou took notice of how small she was in proportion to it. Her tiny body must be no taller than 5'0'', he thought to himself. She kept her head turned away from him, pouting, as she looked out the window. He scoffed silently and taped the ash hanging from his cigarette out the window. The ride was silent, yet it wasn't an uncomfortable one. Taneshima always seemed to be chattering away or bouncing around with energy. The girl sitting beside him though was silent, her pupils reflecting the light of the city. When they reached her house, the girl stepped out of the car. After closing the door, she poked her head through the window.
"Thank you for driving me, Satou-san," she smiled. He glanced at her once before turning back and giving a small grunt in response. Satou kept his eyes trained on the road, refusing to allow himself to acknowledge the girl further.
"Satooooooou-san!" Popura's voice whined from across the restaurant. The chef ignored her and continued to season his dish. "Satou-san! Saaaaatou-san! Satou-san! Satou-san!" she continued to repeat his name until the noise rendered him unable to even think. He sighed and walked out to where the high school student stood in her maid/waitress uniform. She said nothing and merely pointed to the heavy crate of plates in front of her. Before she could open her mouth to explain, he spoke.
"I know," he sighed and bent to pick up the crate. With ease, he set it onto the counter. "Is that all?" Satou asked and looked down at her. Popura grinned up at him again.
"Yup! Thanks, Satou-san!"
"Yeah," he turned and walked back to his place at the kitchen. Working behind the scenes suited him much more. People and chattering were a nuisance. Here, bathed in the sounds and smells of familiar food, he found time to think. Nothing incredibly deep or philosophical ever crossed his mind, just mundane thoughts. He liked to observe the relations of the restaurant, though they never really concerned him. Yamada continued to come into the kitchen to eat her own snacks frequently. Occasionally, one of Takanashi's screams could be heard as Inami punched him. Yachiyo could be seen standing next to Kyouko's side, as always, handing her a parfait. Satou tried to keep his eyes away from that scene. He had convinced himself long ago that his feelings for her had ended. Even now he still feels a small tightening in his chest when the two are so close. The way Yachiyo hung on her every word and trotted around like a pathetic servant… She deserved better.
The repeating ding of the bell awoke him from his train of thought. He looked down to see Taneshima tapping the top of the silver bell over and over again as she looked up at him to grab his attention.
"Yes?" he said.
"I still need the dish for table 14." Satou nodded and turned back to grab the salad he had forgotten about. He felt her eyes staring at him intently. When he turned around, the small girl was bouncing impatiently. The moment the plate mn was in her hands, she grinned up at him. "Thanks, Satou-san!" And with that, she run off, long hair trailing behind. He took a moment to watch her before going back to his work.
Taneshima Popura was one of those people that got along with everybody. She always knew how to comfort a friend. Despite her small body, the girl was always filled with energy. She worked hard too, always diligent in waitressing tables. With a smile tattooed to her face, it was hard for her to not become a favorite of many.
"Hello, sempai." Takanashi greeted the small girl as he tied his apron.
"Hello, Katanashi-kun.~" she replied. Having been used to it, he didn't react to the obvious mispronunciation of his last name. Besides, who could scold someone with a face like hers? He simply returned the smile and went straight to work. Popura hurried to the front of the store, where she would wait patiently for a customer to come. It was amazing how such a bubbly, bouncing girl could stay still for such a long period of time. All her contained excited though was released in one exuberant greeting for a lucky customer.
"Ah, I wish I could be a customer so sempai would greet me…" Takanashi wondered aloud to himself.
"Do you like Taneshima?" Soma said, having overheard (as always.) Yamada appeared from behind him as well and nodded along. The other part-timer laughed.
"I don't like her like that. I'm just in love with how adorable she is.~"
"Pedophile…" the small, dark haired girl hissed.
"W-What!? Am not!" Soma rolled his eyes when Yamada hid herself behind him.
"You can't blame her, you know. It is creepy how you love cute things."
"Takanashi always pays attention to Inami and Popura, but not to Yamada…" she pouted. The chef patted her head to comfort her. Takanashi sighed.
"It's just that none can compare to the tiny cuteness that is sempai," he explained. Suddenly, the group of three jumped when the sound of a plate being broken hit the floor.
"W-What?!" Popura's voice quivered.
"Yes! Yamada didn't break the plate this time!" she cheered for herself.
"I'm not cute and tiny! I' m almost out of high school! I'm your sempai!" the tiny girl protested continually. She stopped however, when a hand suddenly placed itself on the top of her head. Popura looked up to see Satou standing behind her.
"Oi, what are you doing? I'm the only one allowed to tease Taneshima," he said.
"N-No one's allowed to tease me!"
"It's all right, Satou-san. We weren't teasing her." Takanashi explained. The tall man nodded and looked down at the broken plate.
"Look what you did now…" he sighed and took a drag of his cigarette. Popura glared.
"It's not my fault! He was calling me 'tiny' and 'cute'!" she exclaimed.
"But you are tiny and cute." Satou said and patted her head "Come on, let's go put it on the damage list." Taneshima continued to glare at him to the best of her ability before trotting along after the chef. The pair stopped when they reached the break room. Satou leaned against the doorframe and continued to smoke. The damage list filled with Yamada's signature was about as high as his head. Popura stared up at it determinedly.
"Go ahead," he teased "Write your name."
"I-I know!" she retorted quickly. Taneshima clenched her jaw. She barely came up to Satou's chest, much less his head. The list was only half filled though, and about five inches higher than where her outstretched arm could reach. Still, she tried standing on her toes. Her eyes clamped shut in concentration. Popura reached her hand as far as it was willing to go. The girl's entire body quivered as she struggled to reach even the bottom of the list.
"Want some help?" he offered.
"No!" Popura answered quickly "I have to do this myself!" She turned back to face the list for a few moments. Her face suddenly lit up and she ran off. It wasn't even a minute before she returned with an empty crate. The girl, proud of her ingenious idea, set it down in front of the list and took a step onto it. If it had been anyone else, the box would have broken quickly, but her small form did come in handy sometimes. With great pride, she signed her name quickly and turned to face Satou.
"That's cheating," was all he said and the smile melted off her face.
"No it's not! You're just jealous you didn't think of it!"
"You're not gonna grow if you cheat like that." Popura glared.
"Hmpf!" was all she said before pivoting and marching out the door. Satou watched her. He wondered briefly to himself why he always picked on her. His feelings for Yachiyo had long dissipated. Though he still wished to be close to her in some way, it was the wanting of friendship, not love. He took a drag of his cigarette and sighed before going back to work.
"Aoi-chan! I called my parents and they said it's okay!" Inami said.
"My parents are fine with it too.~" Popura added. Yamada's eyes began to sparkle with excitement. Both girls's parents had agreed to let them stay in the café overnight with her. She was so excited for her first sleepover. The girl was practically bouncing.
"Aaah! Yamada is nervous…but happy too!" she breathed.
"What's going on?" Kyoko asked as she ate a spoonful of parfait.
"Inami-chan and Taneshima-chan are sleeping over at the café!" Aoi announced. The manager of the café simply nodded.
"Don't break anything," was all she said before leaving. Popura turned and grinned at the other two. Though her face was a bright red, Inami was smiling softly as well.
"Yamada will meet you two in the break room when everyone leaves!" and with that, she scurried back to work.
"Yo." Satou appeared and tapped Popura's head "You need to do the dishes."
"Whaaa?! But I did them last week!" she whined "And I don't have anyone to do them with me!"
"Have fun," he said as he turned around. Taneshima sighed and pouted. Satou could be so mean sometimes…
"Everyone gather for the Wagnaria sleepover extravaganza!" Yamada announced. Inami had gone home and changed into her casual clothes, bringing a pair of pajamas. Popura, however, lived much too far away to go back home for a change of clothes. "Okay! What do you do at sleepovers?" her dark eyes blinked, expectant for an answer.
"W-What!? I thought you knew!" Inami squeaked.
"Haven't you gone to a sleepover before, Inami-chan?" Popura asked.
"No…I've always been afraid of punching the girl's fathers…" she admitted.
"Yamada thinks we should change into our pajamas! Yamada has an extra pair for Taneshima!" The girl then proceeded to pull down the ladder leading to the loft. She returned with an extra school gym uniform with the original name crossed off and 'Yamada' written. "Taneshima can wear this! Then we'll match!" she grinned proudly.
"Ah…will I fit?" Popura wondered quietly to herself. Her and Inami went to the back room to get changed. The red head emerged easily, wearing a light green camisole and capris.
"Yamada wants to take pictures of her first sleepover!" she said and ran to grab a camera. Inami posed shyly for the picture, but allowed it to be taken anyway. "Taneshima?" Aoi called for the other girl. No one exited the bathroom.
"I-I'm not coming out!" came a small voice.
"T-This is way too small!"
"Yamada promises not to take a picture of Taneshima!" Half of a head peeked out from the door.
"Promise?" she asked softly. When Aoi nodded her head in response, the door swung open. Standing there was a red faced Popura wearing a gym uniform that barely fit over her large…assets and pair of bloomers that rode up and pinched her skin. The girl holding the camera snapped a picture quickly. "You said you wouldn't take a picture!" she squealed.
"We will now commence with the telling of secrets!" Yamada announced. The group of girls sat around in a circle inside the small loft that Kyoko had confined them to. "Yamada would like to know who each of you like."
"W-What!?" Inami turned bright red. Popura tilted her head.
"But I don't have a crush on anyone," she said.
"Then we will figure out who likes who in the restaurant!" The two girls nodded in agreement. "We know that Yachiyo likes Kyoko."
"But it could be as just friends…" Inami added. Yamada nodded and continued.
"Takanashi has a strange obsession with Taneshima, but it's not love. And Inami likes Takanashi." Inami blushed furiously and punched the floor.
"I-Inami-chan! You can't go around punching things when you get embarrassed!"
"C-C-Can we please not talk about Takanashi or I?!"
"Wait…then who likes me?" Popura tilted her head.
"Yamada's mother told her once that when a man teases you, that means he likes you!"
"Then Satou-san…" Inami said softly. Popura's eyes widened and a small blush crept to her face. She soon laughed it off though with a wave of her hand.
"N-No…Satou-san would never like me like that! We've been coworkers for way too long!" Yamada and Inami stared for a moment before nodding.
"Yeah, I guess so…"