First Published on Ainushi
—————- I recovered marvelously from the cold.
So I was well enough to come in for work today.
However, the porridge Tachibana-kun made yesterday had a funky taste to it.
That sure was an effective punch to the gut.
But, given that he came to check up on me worriedly and did his utmost best to make that porridge, I do feel grateful towards him. Hence in the morning, in high spirits I made the cream croquettes that he previously requested from me.
It’s my thanks to him so I made it relatively huge. And in great amounts.
Obviously, it would be too extravagant to put crab meat into it so I filled it up with corn.
I wonder if he’ll be pleased with it?
I slipped the lunch I had cheerfully made for Tachibana-kun inside my bag, and left for work.
Changing into a suit in the locker room, I headed to the store front.
As I carefully polished the showcase at which I was posted,
「Good morning, Kiuchi-san」
Lively as ever, Tachibana-kun patted me on the shoulder.
Thank the heavens. Tachibana-kun didn’t catch my cold.
「Good morning, Tachibana-kun」
When I looked up to face Tachibana-kun and greet him in return, he smiled sweetly.
He had an adorable smile today as well.
It’s Saturday today.
A day we can expect a lot of customers to stop by.
I was absent from work yesterday so I absolutely have to bring in more sales today!
After the morning assembly ended, it was the opening hour and immediately, I spotted an affluent lady walking into the store.
Just as I was telling myself, “Alright! Time to serve the customer!”, Tachibana-kun pounced on the lady as swiftly as the wind.
Accompanied by his trademark charming smile.
He completely and firmly captured the lady’s heart, succeeding at persuading her to buy a necklace.
And, having successfully sold that expensive diamond necklace, he buoyantly stood beside me and began wrapping it up.
「Tachibana-kun… I was hoping to serve that customer…」
I glared at Tachibana-kun, who seemed pleased with himself again like the cat that ate the canary.
「I’m aware. But I imagine that lady would much prefer a young and energetic man like myself to serve her compared to you. I made the sale, didn’t I? Can you confidently say that if you were in my place, you’d have sold it?」
He seriously has no shame at all.
This. Jerk. That’s not cute at all.
「I’ll be serving the next customer that comes in so don’t get in my way!」
Finished with the wrapping, Tachibana-kun took a light jab at me with, “It’s just the first day of the month and I’ve achieved my quota~” and returned to his customer whilst I gave him the death glare.
I’ll earn it with the next one!!!
The next to enter was a male customer.
The word ‘Welcome’ was stuck in my throat.
Tachibana-kun walked past me as I stood there frozen in silence.
It seems God has no mercy on me while I’m on the mend.
The person to walk into the store was Satoru.
Why has Satoru come to the store where I am working?
「… Ah, is that Satoru-kun?」
Momoka spotted him, and came over to me.
He has never once bought me jewelry.
「Why is he here? Isn’t Satoru-kun being utterly thick-skinned?」
It was only because I wouldn’t kick up a fuss that Momoka was angry in my stead.
He was probably here because he was going to choose something for his new girlfriend.
Although, to purposely come to my store to buy it, what a devil!
Shortly thereafter, with furrowed eyebrows, Tachibana-kun came towards us.
「I prefer a female salesperson.」
Satoru had dismissed Tachibana-kun from serving him.
「Then I’ll go. I’ll force him to buy the most expensive item.」
Having flared her nostrils, it was Momoka’s turn this time to go to Satoru.
Momoka, who was upset on my behalf.
Even though it was not good for her to be irritated whilst pregnant.
However, not even one minute had passed when Momoka returned.
「He said he wants you to serve him, Sakura. How do you want to handle this? If you don’t want to, just give me a reason and I’ll reject him for you.」
“It’s not unreasonable to do so. He may be a customer but you shouldn’t pine over him.”, said Momoka, who was being worried for me.
「You don’t need to go.」
Tachibana-kun grasped my arm, shaking his head.
Even Tachibana-kun spoils me this much.
What am I doing, being dependent on both of them.
How can an adult run away from their own matters?
No matter who the customers are, I should be serving them. Besides,
「I’ll go. I’ll force him to buy the most expensive item.」
I really want to see what sort of jewelry Satoru will choose for his girlfriend.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” and with slightly raised lips, I headed towards Satoru.
「Welcome. What are you looking for today?」
As I made use of that business smile I’d cultivated through daily practice, I greeted Satoru.
I wonder if I’m smiling properly right now.
「I’m looking for an engagement ring…」
Upon his words, the back of my throat stung.
Satoru is going to marry his girlfriend.
Not the me who had been with him for three years but his new girlfriend.
I frantically held back the tears that were threatening to ooze out at any time.
「You’re getting married? Congratulations!」
It’s the first time I have ever uttered “Congratulations” without meaning it.
「No, I haven’t proposed yet. I’m going to do it after this.」
Proposing while giving the ring at the same time…Today, I learned that he was someone who did romantic things.
Even though, he forgot things like my birthday.
「I see. I’m sure it’ll go well. Good luck.」
On top of that, to have me root for the proposal of the man who jilted me…
「If it goes well.」
Satoru’s expression hardened slightly.
I wondered if he’s nervous?
He must be proposing today.
「Then, let’s choose a ring. Which design are you after? How about choosing whichever brand that your girlfriend likes?」
I guided him to the showcase for the rings.
Never would I have imagined the day would come when Satoru would choose a ring for his girlfriend.
「Which one do you like, Sakura?」
He returned my question with a question.
I took offense to his insensitivity.
There isn’t a woman in this world who would want a ring chosen by a former girlfriend.
「Our most popular design is this one over here.」
Even though I’m irritated, for now I will show him a ring that sells well with customers in their twenties.
「Do you like this as well?」
His senseless words continued.
Even if it’s a customer who said it, I was irritated by Satoru’s questions.
「Yes, I find it pretty.」
But my smile didn’t break.
After all, this too is part of the job.
「Then, I’ll have this.」
Even though it was an engagement ring that he was buying, Satoru didn’t even give it much thought before quickly deciding to buy it.
The ring that he purchased wasn’t the most expensive but it certainly fetched a high price.
Seems like Satoru wasn’t hesitant to splurge when it comes to his girlfriend.
「What is her ring finger size?」
I asked, looking at the computer whilst checking our inventory. If it was available, it could be purchased on the spot. Given that it was Satoru, he probably wouldn’t be aware that it would take time should he require an engraving on the ring.
「What’s your size, Sakura?」
Reflexively, I nearly spouted, “Haa?!” at Satoru’s question and though the sound never escaped my lips, my mouth was wide open.
I thought, You’re a bloody idiot, aren’t you?
It’s unlikely that his girlfriend and I have the same ring finger size.
「My ring size isn’t necessarily similar to your girlfriend’s…」
Even the smile that I was trying my utmost best to maintain was already close to cracking.
「What’s your size, Sakura?」
And yet, that dumb jerk repeated his question.
Does he think that all female fingers have the same thickness?
「… I’m a size 8 but …」
I didn’t know how best to handle this so I told him my ring size, and
「Then, make it a size 8.」
He told me to get a ring that was the same size as mine.
Seems like he does think that all female fingers have the same thickness.
Even if the size was incorrect, he would still need a ring when he proposed so for the moment, I checked the inventory and thankfully, there was a size 8 in stock.
Fetching a size 8 ring from the shelf underneath the showcase, I displayed it for him to see.
「Here it is. You can take the ring as is, but we do offer an engraving service where we can engrave your name or any phrases that you like on it. Would that be of interest to you?」
While I had it in mind that he would refuse, Satoru pretty much confirmed it.
「I need it today so it’s fine as it is. We can have it added in later if need be, yes?」
Looks like he really wanted to get a ring and propose today. As I thought, he was trying to tell me that.
「Certainly. Then, I’ll have it wrapped in a box. Can we settle the bill before that?」
「Oh, sure. Swipe it twice.」
Taking his card, I asked Momoka for her assistance to charge it whilst I handled the wrapping.
「I’m done with the bill. Done with the wrapping?」
Momoka, unable to control her anger, had coldly rung up the bill quickly and returned the card to Satoru.
「That was fast, Momoka. You could have taken your time with it.」
It’s not as if I can rush the wrapping.
「You don’t have to make it presentable.」
Quipped Momoka, and standing beside her,
「Instead of a ribbon, it would have been better if you had left a booger.」
Even Tachibana-kun chimed in vindictively.
Oi oi oi oi!
I’m happy that the both of you are angry for my sake but I’m not stooping that low, you two.
I finished the wrapping in haste and returned to where Satoru was with it.
「If the size doesn’t fit, you can come back anytime and we can adjust it.」
It definitely won’t fit though, I thought as I handed over the box with the ring to him.
「It’s fine. It’ll definitely fit.」
He looked me in the eye.
I couldn’t avert my eyes from his.
And then, he took out the ring that he had just bought and presented it to me.
「Sakura, come back. I want to eat your cabbage rolls. Will you marry me?」
Overwhelmed by Satoru’s unexpected action, I instantly blanked out.
「WHAT THE F*CK!? ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME!」
Captured by that serious look from Satoru, it was Tachibana-kun’s voice that brought me back to my senses.
Momoka and the store manager held an enraged Tachibana-kun back.
Despite the situation unravelling like this, I remained petrified.
Only, my tears came trickling down.
For what laid out before my very eyes was what I had always yearned for.