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tea and strawberry cream

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English was never Mai’s strongest subject. She would often beg Yasuhara to tutor her on her grammar and vocabulary days before a major test. He had asked why she didn’t just bother Naru for help, after all, he was a native speaker. When she responded with a blushing huff, Yasuhara knew exactly why she hadn’t asked.

 

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God would have to strike her down before Mai would ever bow down and ask Naru for help, especially when it involved embarrassing herself with her crappy accent. God--in this case, Yasuhara--had decided to devise another one of his wicked plans, the ones where they usually ended in disasters, or Naru shutting them down.

 

“Sooo… Boss.” Yasuhara droned out as he dramatically leaned against the boss’ desk. 

Said boy ignored the student’s grin, and called Mai for tea instead. Smirking, Yasuhara leaned towards Naru even closer, obscuring his mischievous smile with the back of his hands. 

 

“Mai huh?”

 

Naru glowered, setting down the case file in his hand. “What do you want.”

 

Magically pulling out a dainty lace handkerchief from out of nowhere, Yasuhara dabbed the corners of his eyes for non-existent tears.

 

“It’s such a shame…”

 

Naru huffed, “Get on with it, I don’t have time for your mindless shenanigans.”

 

“Of course, you only have time for Mai’s shenanigans.” The boy responded with a wink, any trace of his previous “sorrow” now replaced with a smug expression. Choosing not to respond, the black-haired boy took up his papers again. Not before taking a quick glance at the door. 

 

‘What’s taking that girl so long..’

 

Following his brief glance, Yasuhara’s smirk widened ever more. With a quick flick of his wrist, the glasses wearing boy brought the handkerchief back to his face.  

 

“You know, I had plans with Mai later on..” Yasuhara observed his boss’ reaction, noting how his face soured even more. “To study of course.”

 

“Study?” Naru raised a brow. 

 

“Ah yes, did she not tell you? Her midterm for English is coming up. “

 

“Is it?” Naru picked up his papers once more, appearing to be busy.

 

“Oho it is.” Yasuhara glasses seemed to gleam in the fluorescent light as he pushed it up the bridge of his nose. “She didn’t tell you?”

 

The sound of papers flipping and nothing else served as enough of an answer for the school president. Naru was saved from having to hear another snarky comment as knocking sounded from behind the office doors.

 

“Come in, Mai.”

 

“Mai?” Monk questioned as he stepped into the room. Yasuhara stifled a snicker from behind his dainty handkerchief as Naru silently went back to his papers.

 

Naru promptly ignored the shaking boy and glanced at Monk, “Do you need something important? If not then you’re wasting my time.” 

 

Monk hissed, “Yeesh harsh, I was just wondering if Mai’s free to go today?” 

 

“Why.” He responded with his face devoid of any emotion.

 

“Midterms are coming up, the poor girl needs a break from all the studying and work--especially from a slave driver like you-” Monk winced at the cutting glare sent his way, he cleared his throat. “Anyways, a small break would do her some good, Ayako’s outside asking her right now. She wants to take her shopping or something.”

 

‘So that’s why she didn’t come in… does everyone else know about her midterms? Why didn’t she tell me..’ 

 

Naru furrowed his brows in contemplation, that loud Mai who tells everyone everything, didn’t tell him about one of the biggest tests of the school year, despite how much she normally rambles about her day at school. 

 

“Earth to Naru? Hello?” Monk waved his hands around the boy’s face, he glanced at Yasuhara and shrugged. “I guess we can take her then..?” 

 

The pair jolted as Naru stood up, “No.”

 

“No?” They echoed, watching as the scowling boy marched over to the door. Monk in confusion and Yasuhara in excitement. Naru could hear Ayako’s voice coming from the doorway, “You need new clothes anyways, time for a breather.” He could hear the huff and annoyance in the girl’s voice. “What's wrong with the clothes I have now?” Ayako clicked her tongue and grabbed onto the handle of her backpack, “Out we go now.” 

“Where do you think you’re going, Mai.”

 

The girl in question glanced back at her brooding boss nervously, “In my defense, I tried to stop her-” 

 

“Let’s go.”

 

“Let’s go…?”

 

Naru pulled his coat over his shoulders, “You have a midterm to study for don’t you?” 

Mai flushed, ‘Who snitched on me?’ 

 

“What midterm? I don’t have any midterms, you must’ve gone crazy from staring at papers all day Naru.” Mai laughed nervously. 

 

Naru gave a deadpan stare, “Yasuhara.”

 

Mai groaned, ‘That darn blabbermouth..!’ She forced a wry grin and managed out, “Yasuhara huh…”

 

Naru watched in mild amusement as Mai devised plans to boil the poor school president alive. Not far from the office was a quiet cafe that he frequented for quick breakfasts, their tea wasn’t awful and not many people entered. Perfect for a study session. After finalizing the location, Naru walked past the fuming girl and tilted his head back, “Are you coming or not.”

 

Mai perked up, “Yes! I’m going!” Ayako protested but was quickly hushed by a sharp glare coming from the young boss, she muttered something about being selfish and hogging Mai, to which Naru had ignored. 

 

The crisp air blew past the two as they made their way down the relatively empty street. Mai filled the brief walk with endless chatter of how one of her school friends had somehow mistakened pieces of chalk for chocolate and ate it. The doors chimed overhead as Naru held it open for her. On their way to an open table, Mai ended the story with the friend going to the ER. The cafe had a nice atmosphere, soothing. A slow jazzy melody played over the speakers as sounds of porcelain cups clinked against each other. Naru smirked as he watched Mai fuss over the multiple options available for desserts and drinks.

 

“Don’t forget about the reason why we’re here, Mai.”

 

The girl pouted in response, “Of course I remember, but choosing the right cake is more important!” 

 

Naru raised a brow and skimmed over the menu, “Just order anything you want.”

“But they all look so good, I can’t order everything Naru.”

 

“Why not?”

 

Mai glowered at the boy sitting across from her, “You know why.”

 

“Who said that you were the one paying?”

 

“Really?” She brightened up, but quickly deflated, “You don’t have to, Naru, I can pay for myself.”

 

He scoffed, “You’re not going to make me bankrupt over a simple meal, you need the fuel for that tiny brain of yours anyways.”

 

“You..!!!” Mai pointed a finger at him shakingly, “Fine! Don’t cry if you go broke!” 

 

Naru sighed and shook his head, signalling a server to come over to their table. The underpaid server smiled, “What can I get for you two today?” 

 

He gave the cutely decorated menu a final look over before ordering a pot of Earl Grey tea. Mai looked at the boy incredulously, “You drink that everyday at the office, why not change it up a bit?” 

 

“I’ll take what I know is good.”

 

The server turned to Mai, raising their notepad up. “And you miss?”

 

“Mmm… I’ll have a strawberry float with extra whipped cream please!” 

 

“Any desserts? There’s a couples special on page 2 for our ongoing promotion.”

 

“Couple-? Oh- uh- W-we’re not a couple!!!” 

 

“I’ll have a blueberry scone.”

 

Mai tried to calm her blushing face and quickly brought the menu to her face, strategically obscuring her face. “U-um the jasmine peach jelly please-!”

 

The server thankfully did not comment and quickly took their menus away, with a promise that their drinks and food would be ready shortly. 

 

“...What is your next test covering?”

 

Thankful that he didn’t tease her, Mai pulled her school books out of her backpack, slowly recollecting her composure. 

 

‘Of course Naru is unfazed, nothing affects that guy.’


She laid them neatly on the table, flipping open a notebook full of English notes that she had compiled as a study guide. 

 

“Mm we’re reviewing lesson 15 grammar in class now…”

 

They settled into a nice back and forth; Ever so often, Mai would stick her tongue out in retort to some snarky comment Naru had made at every wrong answer she gave. Mai tried not to blush over the tiniest of smiles that he gave when she answered correctly with confidence. The server politely interrupted to deliver them their food, Mai gushed over the cuteness of her drink and dessert. 

 

“Look how cute it is!”

 

“It’s food, what’s the point of making it cute.”

 

“Party-pooper.”

 

Naru glared at the girl with no real malice, “You’re not doing as bad as I thought.”

 

She nearly choked while taking a sip. Directing her cough and embarrassment to her side, Mai grinned, “Really?”

 

“It’s not an oral test so your poor accent won’t affect your grades.” She pouted at that. Naru resisted the thought of it being cute. “But your grammar and technical writing will do just fine.” Mai’s face lit up upon hearing his rare praise. Once again, the boy grit his teeth and pointedly took a sip of his tea. 

 

Mai fussed while Naru paid for both their food and drink despite her earlier statements. He pretended as if she were invisible and the server took his card. 

 

“Would you two like a picture for the event?” The same server asked as they held a small camera up before the pair had left the cafe.

 

Mai flushed and tried to stammer out an answer or explanation that they were not dating -even though she wished they were-. Silently, Naru took a hold of the blushing girl’s arms and pulled her close. 

 

If anyone asked, he was most definitely not blushing. And a copy of that picture is not framed in his room despite what Lin sees while cleaning up the apartment.