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Summary

Kaito Hattori - a pastry chef who owned a little bakery. Daichi Nakano - a wealthy customer obsessed with baked goods. A little tale about two men who came from different worlds but completed one another...

Genre:
Romance
Author:
Shintah02
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
9
Rating:
4.5 4 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1: Happy Birthday.

Bzzt... bzzt... bzzt...

Kaito Hattori begrudgingly awoke from his slumber when his six-thirty alarm went off, already feeling exhausted by the arrival of a new day.

He fumbled around for his cellphone and switched off the annoying tone before blearily skimming through the countless messages bombarding his mobile.

[HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG GUY!!!]

[ANOTHER YEAR NEARING YOUR THIRTIES! YOU’RE GONNA HATE IT...]

[HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DUDE. TIME SURE DOES FLY!]

[HAPPY TWENTY-SIXTH BIRTHDAY, HATTORIIIII...]

And so on and so forth.

It seemed everyone he knew had already sent him a birthday text so early: all except one person.

His mood slightly fell.

It can’t be helped, I guess.

With a nine-hour time difference between Tokyo and the United Kingdom, it really couldn’t be helped. The person he’d wanted to talk to was likely asleep by now.

After sending everyone a quick response of appreciation, Kaito got out of bed and prepared for his day.

**

“Our boss came in today? I thought for sure you were going to take the day off,” a familiar voice remarked as soon as a certain individual entered the locker room, where Kaito had already changed into his neat white and navy chef uniform.

Having thrown on a white beanie on his head full of thick short dark hair, Kaito fixed the blue cuffs of his sleeves while asking the newcomer rather coolly, “Why? Today’s a busy weekday like any other.”

“Right, I should have known,” the other person just laughed it off and moved on to some other topic while changing into his own uniform.

This person was Jiro Kawasaki; twenty-seven this year and Kaito’s best friend. He was a fetching tall and muscular man - since he worked out a lot - who preferred keeping his brown hair short and neat.

Unlike Kaito who maintained a clean-shaven face, Jiro kept a close-trimmed neat little stubble of a beard.

The two of then had been in the same baking department back in college and become close friends thanks to Jiro’s open mindedness and straight-forward character. His confident and hard-working personality was the main key which often won over a lot of people.

After graduating from college three years ago, Kaito had worked as a pastry chef at a famous restaurant before saving up enough to open his own little establishment. With the assistance he received from his family and friends who contributed in advertising, Kaito’s little bakery had actually become popular in the last year.

And now, at twenty-six, he was already well off living alone in the modest lodge he was renting. It was a cozy little place he’d especially chosen which was away from the bustling city. He’d even bought himself a car recently, which made his travelling to and from work so much easier. Kaito’s bakery had even earned him a considerable amount of followers on his social media accounts.

“So...” Jiro dragged the word a bit too long as he inched closer to his friend and gave him a nudge, a quirky grin crossing his lips, “What did the missus say?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know,” the other guy made a bad attempt at imitating a cute face by pouting his lips, “Didn’t you receive a sickeningly sweet ‘good morning, I miss you, I wish I was there’ text? It’s the first time spending your birthday as a taken man after all?”

True, but did that even matter if his lover wasn’t around? Today just felt like any other ordinary day to Kaito.

“I don’t see how that’s important. Today is just the same as all the rest,” Kaito said, closing his locker door and turning to leave the room. “Hurry up and come help me open up the shop.”

Jiro didn’t say more and let his friend leave. He watched as two more employees who’d just arrived exchanged a few birthday well-wishes with Kaito at the room’s entrance before coming over to join him at the lockers.

“You guys came early, as always,” twenty-five year old Hiroshi Inaba commented after exchanging his greetings with Jiro.

He had a tall slender build and a head full of dyed red shoulder length waves which was often kept in a ponytail at work. He had a dozen piercings on each ear, and despite his his extremely good looks people would often confuse him for a mobster whenever he was outside this shop; not that he was.

In fact, he looked like a completely different individual once he removed his tacky gangster clothes, slipped into his baker’s uniform, and removed all those mediocre earrings around his ears.

Even so, that guy would probably never grow out of that gangster stuff from high school, Jiro often suspected.

The other person who’d arrived with Hiroshi was twenty-one year old part-timer Shun Matsumura, who was a Second Year in college doing an accounting degree.

He wore black-rimmed spectacles which somewhat gave him the disposition of a serious young man, but his excellent people skills were major factors which had landed him the job.

Just like Hiroshi, Shun was also quite a looker. And though their temperaments were polar opposites, the two still managed to work well together.

“Is it just me, or does the boss seem a little down today?” Shun commented quietly, earning the attention of his seniors.

“Ah, so you noticed it too?” Jiro had actually wanted to mention it first.

“I didn’t see anything off about him,” Hiroshi shrugged without concern. He’d known Kaito for over seven months and had long since grown used to the other person’s semi closed-off attitude.

“It’s a little different today,” Shun stated.

“En, or maybe it’s still too early to tell,” Jiro who’d finally finished changing closed his locker door and said resolutely. “Let’s observe him for a bit longer. He might just be having the morning-bumps.”

...

Or not.

The trio which had decided to observe Kaito’s behavior could already conclude by lunch that something was obviously bothering the guy. Wasn’t he way more quiet than usual?

Even Hiroshi who hardly cared about other people’s conditions was starting to find Kaito’s mood suspicious.

Having watched him for most of the day, the three had noticed two important things:

First, Kaito - a person who was so dedicated to his job - never once let go of his cellphone today. He just carried it around with him like it was his lifeline, and whenever he had free time, he would scroll through it without typing or texting anyone.

Second, Kaito often spaced out for prolonged periods of time today. A person would have to call him at least three times just to snap him out of his daze, and it often made his co-workers wonder just what exactly was on his mind.

“You guys, he’s obviously having a fight with his partner,” someone confidently proclaimed later that day.

The team currently snacked in the staff room in preparation of closing the shop for the day. The one who’d made this bold conclusion just now was twenty-eight year old Kasumi Tachibana, a fellow female co-worker who also specialized in pastry-making.

She worked alongside two other women; Misa Fujiwara and Etsuko Okumura who were twenty-five and twenty-six years old respectively. There was another female part-timer who was still in college, but she was off today.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions yet,” Jiro already saw the situation going out of hand and sighed.

As the ‘director’ of this meeting, he held and pen and paper which he’d use to jot down some important points concerning his best friend’s strange mood.

“We’re not certain what happened yet so we can’t just conclude that this has something to do with his lover.”

“Kawasaki, you were dumped just recently, right?” Etsuko suddenly asked.

Jiro was baffled, “And why am I suddenly being attacked???”

“No, it’s not that,” Misa also seemed to sense where her colleague was going with this by bringing it up. “During your pre-breakup period, didn’t you often space out like Hattori sempai is doing right now?”

Shun pushed his specs further up the bridge of his nose, “That’s a good point. It makes this situation a whole lot more suspicious.”

“A fight huh? Doesn’t sound so complicated,” Hiroshi leaned back in his chair and popped a biscuit into his mouth. “If he’s fighting with his partner, then they should probably take each other other out to make up or something. I do that all the time with my girlfriend and she easily forgives and forgets.”

“Gee, Inaba, that’s a great idea,” Kasumi’s sarcasm couldn’t be hidden behind that smile of hers. “Sure Hattori’s lover is on the other side of the map, but what does that matter? They can easily go out to get a meal or something.”

Hiroshi intelligently shut his mouth.

“Uhm guys, I know this probably doesn’t matter.... but even if Hattori’s lover was around, would the ideas Hiroshi recommended even work in a case like this?”

Everyone exchanged helpless glances in silence.

From an outsider’s perspective, Kaito Hattori was just another tall and handsome guy who earned the attention and adoration of a lot of women. He had the physique of someone who exercised regularly and that snug chef’s uniform on him garnered so much attention from a lot of people without him doing anything.

But Kaito's lover was also a man - everyone was well aware. Not only that, but that man practically swam in wealth and had turned thirty-four this year. He wouldn't fall for cheap children's tricks like the one's Hiroshi had recommended.

No one outside Kaito's family or friends’ group knew that he was actually gay. And whenever he did introduce himself as being so, people would still find it hard to believe.

Snorting, Etsuko finally broke the silence and commented: “I’m a woman, and even I wouldn’t fall for pathetic games like that.”

“Same, same,” Misa and Kasumi agreed.

Hiroshi scoffed, “At least I had an idea. I don’t hear you guys coming up with anything.”

“You said they’ve been seeing each other since last May? And I’d say it’s been about nine months since then,” Shun contemplated for a bit. “I’ve never personally met the boss’ lover but the way you often talk about him goes to show just how much they care about each other. Isn’t it too soon for them to be having major quarrels?”

“Oh wow, I sure wish I still had that youthful mentality,” Kasumi groaned in her ‘near-thirty’ anguish. “But you’re right, they really did care about each other. But you know... distance can change people.”

The others fell into deep contemplation when the woman raised that point.

Of course Shun hadn’t met Kaito’s lover since he started his part-time just recently. The man had gone to overseas for work three months ago and it wasn’t certain when he’d be back. Kaito’s lover had been one of the bakery’s first regulars since over a year ago, so of course everyone else knew him well.

It was because of this place that he and Kaito had first met after all.

Rubbing the space between his brows, Jiro finally gave up. “Fine, whatever. Let’s just leave him be for now. I’m sure Hattori will tell us when–”

He trailed when the staff room door opened, revealing Kaito’s figure which stood there. Everyone froze.

Sensing the strange air in the room, Kaito placidly asked, “What’s wrong?”

Stealthily slipping that sheet with ‘Points on how to help Kaito feel better’ under the desk, Jiro smiled and shook his head. “It’s nothing. We were just discussing on... new ideas for the menu.”

Everyone bobbed their heads in agreement while wearing the same strange grins.

With such obvious reactions, of course Kaito didn’t believe a word. But he felt too lazy to investigate and thus let them be.

“Alright, if you guys are done it’s about time we closed up the shop,” he told them while distractedly typing something on his cellphone.

“Does senior have something planned today?” Misa suddenly asked, causing everyone’s curious eyes to land on Kaito.

“No, not really,” he shrugged.

Perfect, the group thought in unison.

“We were thinking of grabbing something to eat as a group after work,” Kasumi shared exactly what everyone else was thinking, “It’s your birthday after all.”

“And maybe grab a few drinks too,” Hiroshi added.

Kaito looked unwilling, “I don’t really....”

“Nope, not today,” Jiro stood up and approached the person at the door before wrapping an arm around Kaito’s shoulder. “You can’t bail today. Any other day’s fine but ain’t no way we’re letting you go home sober on your birthday, bud.”

Kaito really wanted to decline but their insistence was on another level. In the end, he gave in and went out with them after closing the shop.

**

Leaving his car in the safe space of the bakery’s parking lot had been a good call, since Kaito could hardly see the where he was going after that mini party with his co-workers. He really wouldn’t have been able to drive in his current state.

The trains had stopped running a long time ago, and managing to find a ride at all this late at night could honestly be considered luck. However, he didn’t go straight to his place after parting with the group. Instead he’d asked the cabbie to drop him off at a familiar park near his place, wanting the cool breeze to sober him up a little.

With a bag slung over his shoulder, he unsteadily walked on his lonesome through the park.

The world seemed to be spinning below his feet at first, though it didn’t take long for him to finally adjust to the swaying feeling and change of environment. Soon enough his steps stabilized enough for him to properly walk upright.

Kaito thought about a lot of things. He thought about his single mother and younger sister who lived on the other side of town; he even thought about his friends he’d just parted with a few minutes ago.

And he thought about Daichi, his lover.

Maybe today... wasn’t all that bad, he gazed up at the beautiful starry sky when the cool breeze picked up, gently brushing his bangs from his forehead.

He loved walking through this park at night, since it was only then that he could clearly see the stars without the disturbance of city lights. He often liked coming to these kinds of places with Daichi back when he was still in town.

Fishing his cellphone from his hood pocket and almost dropping it twice, Kaito switched on his back camera and pointed it to the sky to capture the aesthetic scenery. He only felt satisfied after the fifth snap, and seeing that the quality was good enough, he thought about sending it to Daichi.

He wondered if the other person would like the picture after receiving it...

Yet his hand hovered over the send button after he opened their chat interface.

It’s probably afternoon where he is. Would I be disturbing him if I suddenly sent this?

Their last real conversation had been some days ago since recently they'd just been sending each other morning and evening greetings.

During the first month of Daichi’s absence, the distance hadn’t seemed like much since they still talked a lot. And when they ran out of major things to talk about, they moved on to those small unimportant matters.

But it seemed these days Daichi was busier and busier, so much that they hardly had time to chat. It could be considered a miracle if that man called at all.

Kaito hadn’t wanted to face facts before, but the distance really was too unbearable. He’d always known it since day one.

To think so much would change within a measly three months.

Kaito ended up not sending that picture. He wrote Daichi a simple ‘good night’ text and closed their chat before replacing his phone in his pocket.

This really is the worst.

But he at least had to hang on until Daichi returned.

Kaito prepared to continue home, but he’d barely taken two steps forward when his cellphone started buzzing. He wondered who would call him so late.

He’d even thought about ignoring it at first, but after squinting his eyes enough to make out the caller ID, his heart instantly raced. He answered it without a second thought.

“D-Daichi...”

“Happy Birthday, Kaito,” came a familiar soothingly deep voice from the other end, causing his heart to tremble.

For a moment, Kaito just stood in place with no real reaction. Perhaps he was still having a hard time believing that the person he’d wanted to talk to the most had finally contacted him.

“Am I too late?”

Snapping from his daze, Kaito took a quick glance at the time. It was three minutes till midnight.

“No, you made it,” he smiled to himself as his racing heart strangely felt at ease. “Thank you.”

***

Hearing those words, Daichi Nakano finally seemed to relax and let out a relieved sigh, “Then that’s good.”

Despite his calm exterior, Daichi had been nervously thinking that perhaps Kaito was displeased and would start blaming him for being such an inconsiderate boyfriend.

It sounded childish, sure, but that really was all he could think about. And Kaito slight delay in picking up had made Daichi start thinking all sorts of crazy things...

Daichi currently stood by the large French windows of his large office while gazing out into the city with one hand in his trouser pockets. He couldn’t believe he’d mixed up the dates for Kaito’s birthday. This entire time he’d assumed it was tomorrow!

It wasn’t that he’d forgotten the date; he’d genuinely lost track of time because of how busy he’d been these last few days. It hadn’t been until just a minute ago that Daichi realized what date it was after Kaito had sent him that ‘good night’ text.

“Just so you know, I didn’t forget,” Daichi was uncertain of what the other person was currently thinking, so he decided to clarify.

But what came from the other end was Kaito’s laughter as he said, “Even if you had, I wouldn’t have been angry, Daichi. Well... maybe a little sad.”

Running his free hand down his face, the man in the dark grey suit felt a little guilty, “I swear I didn’t. Don’t laugh.”

“Fine, fine,” Kaito said and moved on to another subject. “But enough about me, how’s your project? Is your partnership going well?”

The reason he’d come this side had been to oversee a certain project his Company was financing, and as the Project Director he’d been sent as the main representative by his direct superiors.

“What do you mean ‘enough about you’? I want to hear how you spent your day,” Daichi strongly disagreed. “And I could really use the break from all the nonsense here.”

“If you’re not busy then alright,” a few chuckles reverberated through the receiver as the other person shared the events of his day.

It was just a regular run-in-the-mill description of every other boring an uneventful day but Daichi seriously listened and occasionally pitched in a few petty remarks here and there, expressing his envy towards those colleagues who’d managed to give his boyfriend a better birthday than him.

“This place, huh?” Daichi begrudgingly grumbled while scrolling through the pictures Kaito had sent him of his little get-together with his colleagues. The place they’d chosen wasn’t bad at all. I still would have picked an even better place. He then added casually, “Did they gift you anything at the end?”

“Yeah, but I haven’t taken the pictures. I’ll send them once I get home, it’s too dark here,” Kaito spoke from the other end.

“Still out partying?”

“No, no, the party ended ages ago,” Kaito laughed drunkenly. “It’s already past midnight.”

“I’m sorry I called so late,” Daichi felt a little bad. “You must be tired.”

“A little, but don’t worry. The breeze outside is helping me stay awake so don’t hang up just yet,” Kaito immediately assured.

Daichi laughed powerlessly, “You shouldn’t hang out on the balcony so late, you’ll catch cold. Hurry up and go back inside.”

“Not on the balcony.”

“I thought you were home. Where are you?”

“Hehehe, you know that park near my place?”

Daichi would have felt less displeased if Kaito had said he was still partying, because at least he’d be in the company of other human beings even if it were late.

But now this crazy person was talking a midnight stroll in the park? Wasn’t this clearly looking for trouble?!!

And judging by Kaito’s slurred speech and constant giggling, Daichi had already made a rough estimation of how drunk the idiot was.

Massaging the space between his brows, Daichi tried hard to sound composed as he spoke his next few words:

“It’s after midnight and a drunk man is strolling around the park like it’s no big deal. Are you trying to make tomorrow’s headlines?”

“Uhh...” it took Kaito a while to process the meaning behind those words, and when he did finally understand, he broke into a laughing fit. “Don’t worry about me. I’m a grown man, I won’t suddenly be attacked.”

“Hurry up and go home,” Daichi wasn’t ‘asking’.

“Hehe~ Yes sir.”

~~~~~~

[Author: Hey y’all! This is probably gonna be a short book (in my opinion), maybe 8-10 chapters max. And it’ll be a light read and pretty straight-forward so I hope you’ll enjoy...]

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