Lena had received the menu handed over by the waiter wearing a Christmas cap, and had been staring at it for almost twenty minutes.
From time to time, her face looked perturbed, or unwittingly everchanging. Shin too sank into deep thought as he witnessed so.
She either frowned, dropped her lips, tilted her head left, right, or pursed her lips. For the time being, he ordered some tea and coffee. Her tea was left aside, gradually turning cold, while he was almost done with his coffee, but he was not frustrated in the slightest, for he could keep looking at her cute, gaudy expressions.
Who are you making excuses for? He could hear his brother’s retort, somehow (though it was a hallucination), but he paid no heed to it.
They were at a cafe next to a train station, closest to school, facing the courtyard of the department store, seated by the window. The sky got darker with the fading sun outside the window, and the fake candle wax decorations of the large Christmas tree shone upon the happy pedestrians. It was Christmas, and there was a sweet atmosphere in the cafe. An aged waiter was dressed in traditional old clothing, wearing a Christmas cap, smiling at the young lovers
Lena continued to frown, looking troubled, so Shin quietly lent assistance.
“If you can’t make up your mind, how about we order both and share half?”
He could never get sick of her varied expressions. It’s Christmas, just days from the winter solstice, and the nights were long. Naturally, he intended to send her home, for her family would be worried if she returned home too late.
For some reason, Lena’s expression resembled a mouse that had fallen before a cat.
“Eh, ho-how do you know that I’m wondering which Christmas cake set to choose!?”
Twenty minutes passed, and Lena had been looking at the page showing the limited Christmas cake set (two types). Anyone could tell that she had been comparing the black cat santa whatever set and the white cat santa whatever.
The whatever part should be the cake name, and Shin had been wondering what it was, but he could not tell due to the attached photos, but it was fine.
“…But, is this really fine? I do want to eat both though…”
“I don’t really know what to order.”
“And Shin, you don’t like sweets…”
“Doesn’t mean that I don’t eat them at all.”
The reason why Shin disliked sweets was because of his neighbor and childhood friend, whose baking had left him traumatized. He would not buy anything, but he would eat some sweets made by his bad friends.
Lena however seemed a little guilty, and started to feel frustrated.
Shin chose to ignore her, and called for the waiter.
“Ah, so delicious…~”
The white rabbit set contained ripped sweet white peach with powdered sugar, and certainly felt gentler compared to the black cat set that had bitter chocolate and Western liquor/ The cat and rabbit too were cute, decorated with Christmas hats made of almond paste.
Lena’s eyes were blaring light as she flailed her fork, and she finally put it down, leaning forward.
“Erm, Shin, can I ask you to accompany me later for shopping? Or…well, if there’s anything you want, I’ll buy it as a present.”
Shin put down the second cup of coffee, and nodded.
“I was going to ask the same, actually. Well…if there’s anything you want, mind if I get it as a gift for you?”
“My plan got ruined because he suddenly said that…”
In any case, they had planned to buy presents the previous day, but they could not as their classmate Daiya suddenly yelled “We’re having a Christmas party today! No objections!” and they were practically dragged over.
They were relieved, and sighed at this mutual friend of theirs, giving wry smiles.
“Actually, I do not know what to give a boy. I have been wondering.”
“I don’t know what a girl likes either. I spent much effort looking for one.”
The almond paste cat and rabbit on the tray collapsed, seemingly overwhelmed by the surrounding mood, but the duo did not notice so.