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Meant for you [BL]

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Chapter 2: A tale about how they met (The Past).

PART ONE.

~

Normally the older a person became, the more their sweet tooth seemed to fade. It wasn’t at all surprising to meet a thirty some year-old with no interest in anything sweet.

Others would love sweets from a young age, grow out of loving them as if going through a phase, then love them again in their old age.

But this certainly wasn’t the case for Daichi Nakano, who never once fell out of love with these sugary treats growing up.

His sweet tooth was outstanding, much more impressive than that of a child, and he often bought desserts and candies whenever he got the chance. Even those who were well-acquainted with him still found it interesting how his tastes clashed with his cold image.

In all his thirty plus years of life, Daichi loved pastries and cakes the most.

It didn’t matter what type, flavor or brand – as long as it could be considered baked goods. He was probably one of the few men who preferred sweet to spicy or sour.

However, it was specifically because of Daichi’s childish tastes that he came to meet Kaito Hattori more than a year ago.

Kaito’s bakery had just opened back then, and was coincidentally a ten-minute drive from the company Daichi worked.

Most of Daichi’s colleagues already knew about his particular preferences, thus some of his female co-workers mentioned a new bakery which had recently opened and suggested that they checked it out.

Such an obviously inviting offer, of course he wouldn’t let it slide.

And so Daichi picked a certain date with his colleagues to go have lunch there.

The little bakery didn’t have an outstanding exterior like those in hotels or famous eating parlors, but the interior had been modest and welcoming enough with soft relaxing music playing in the background to earn his attention. Most bakeries didn’t have eating parlors and often offered take-away or delivery services, but this little place had its own eating lounge - almost like a café.

Other than baked goods, there was also a variety of hot and cold beverages that people could enjoy with their cakes and pastries.

Though the establishment had recently opened, it’d already grabbed the attention of quite a lot of customers. During lunch hours, the place would often be flooded with them. The day Daichi and his colleagues decided to visit was certainly no different.

“This place is packed,” Yayoi, the female colleague who had recommended the place was also surprised. “Maybe it’s because the last time I came it was already late and there weren’t as many people here.”

“Should we just go somewhere else?” the other woman - Himiko - asked Daichi.

Seeing both women turning to him for confirmation, Daichi felt at a loss. He didn’t mind waiting personally, but the two ladies he’d brought with him obviously wanted to have a seat somewhere. They didn’t have much time for lunch after all.

And so they’d ended up ordering take-away so they could eat elsewhere.

After having a taste of the strawberry pie he’d ordered, Daichi had sworn that the week wouldn’t end without him returning to that bakery.

..

“Good afternoon, sir. May I take your order?” a friendly-looking female employee in a navy blue uniform attended to him with a smile.

Daichi had returned a day later. This time he knew better than to come during the cursed lunch hour and had brilliantly waited till around 3pm before making his appearance.

Sure enough his arrangements were perfect. The customers relaxing in the small cozy lounge were only a handful during this time.

Since he’d come alone he didn’t have to worry about holding back anything. However, browsing through all the delicious desserts on the menu, he simply couldn’t make up his mind.

“What would Miss Fujuwara recommend?” he asked the waitress, having stolen a peek at her name tag.

Misa Fujiwara laughed nervously, “I’m pretty new myself so I haven’t tried a lot of the desserts yet. But I’m sure our pastry chefs could give you a good recommendation, if you don’t mind.”

And so Daichi went with her idea and let the chef recommend something for him.

That waitress came back a few minutes later and served a large slice of vanilla cake decked with chocolate ganache then garnished with fresh raspberries – a masterpiece in Daichi’s eyes. On the side was a cup of expresso to wash this sweet dessert down with.

Too bad this place didn’t sell fancy alcohol. He’d have definitely gone with some white wine....

“The raspberry garnishing was just added to the menu,” the waitress explained, snapping him from his thoughts. “Our head chef hopes you enjoy. Would you like anything else?”

“No, that’s all for now. Thank you,” he politely dismissed her before plunging his folk into the soft and moist cake. Having had the first bite, Daichi almost shed literal tears. He took his time enjoying his dessert, savoring each bite despite his otherwise deadpan expression.

In less than ten minutes he was already resting in his seat, cup in hand, with a satisfied look on his face. I’m never leaving this place. Should I order another?

Daichi was a man of action, and so he ordered another as soon as he thought about it. It was only after finishing the second slice (of strawberry cake this time) that he finally felt refreshed.

As if on cue, that waitress from before returned and asked if he needed anything else while taking care of his cutlery.

“I’ll take three more of these as take-away to go. And throw in two milk tarts too.”

“Yes sir,” Misa left shortly afterwards to report to her colleague behind the counter.

Daichi only had to go and collect his stuff once he was ready to leave. He encountered a familiar face behind the counter; it was the young lady who’d served him the last time he visited this place.

“I’m relieved to see that sir came back again,” the woman with a short brunette bob smiled, handing over the neatly packed goods.

“You know me?” Daichi was a little surprised.

The lady became uncertain, “Oh, I’m sorry. I assumed you came here the day before yesterday, with two other ladies....?”

“With so many new faces you see everyday, I didn’t think you’d keep track of your customers,” he was impressed to hear that her recognition of him hadn’t just been a fluke.

“Well, it’s not everyday that very handsome important-looking individuals come to this humble place,” she joked. In other words, she meant he didn’t have an easily forgettable face. Gesturing to the packed desserts, she asked, “These for your family?”

“I’m unmarried,” he said with a straight face.

The lady: “....Oh?”

“Please pass my compliments to the chef,” he finally added and turned to leave the shop.

That woman stared after his walking figure in a daze, and it was only until someone snapped their fingers in front of her face that she came to.

“What’s wrong?” Misa who’d just returned from serving another customer curiously asked.

Kasumi pointed towards the already closed entrance, “Did you see that handsome man in the suit just now? He just said he’s unmarried.”

The other woman gasped, “No way. I had the honors of talking to him like three times, and he even called me by name! Do you think he has a girlfriend?”

“There’s no way he doesn’t have a lover at least,” Kasumi confidently assumed just as their head pastry-chef walked out of the baking studio and joined them at the counter.

Kaito Hattori slumped onto one of the high stools and drooped against the counter with a groan. “I’m exhausted.”

“Sempai worked hard,” Misa thoughtfully began massaging his aching shoulders.

Kasumi clicked her tongue and reprimanded, “I told I could help out. I know I’m a little rough on the edges and not a pro-baker like you, but I would have helped plenty in there.”

With a powerless laugh, Kaito shook his head, “Misa’s still learning the ropes. We couldn’t leave her here out on the field with so many people to serve.”

“I-I’ll work harder,” Misa mumbled.

Seeing the younger woman look so pitiful, Kasumi started feeling a little guilty about her words. She pretended to admire the scenery outside while stating, “No one here is at fault. It’s Jiro, that dumbass, who decided to catch a cold on a busy weekday. Next time I see him, he’s dead meat!”

Misa was completely in the dark, “Jiro?”

“He’s the other chef who helps out in the studio,” Kaito explained. “In the future when we hire more people, Tachibana’s also gonna move from the counter to join Jiro and I in the back.”

“Oh,” Misa nodded in understanding.

“That ‘future’ better be before the month ends,” Kasumi reminded the man. “With just the four of us we wouldn’t be able to survive the Valentine’s event next month.”

Of course Kaito knew that more than anyone. He’d never expected the bakery to earn this much recognition after having been open for only more than a month, so he could only imagine how packed the Valentines week would be.

But it wasn’t like he could just hire anybody. These kinds of decisions had to be carefully considered.

“How many applicants so far?” he asked.

The older woman replied, “Last time I checked, seventeen.”

“Woah, so many...” Misa was baffled.

“Yeah, but unfortunately,” Kasumi sighed helplessly, “Boss here wants a long-term crew. Most of the applicants are only looking for part-time work, which makes this whole things a lot harder.”

“How about waiting until the Valentines event is over to hire permanent staff,” Misa suggested.

Kasumi instantly snapped her fingers, “See, Kaito? I’m not the only one thinking it. Let’s wait until later before hiring permanent staff.”

But the guy stubbornly remained quiet, neither agreeing nor complaining. It was as if he’d gone deaf.

“This guy really,” Kasumi shook her head and clasped her hands together. “Anyway, we ended up making a compromise on two part-timers and two permanent staff since Kaito kept complaining. He’ll deal with finding people he can trust to join the permanent team. ”

Everything finally became clear to Misa.

“Oh, I almost forgot, you remember that handsome man in a suit I told you about the day before yesterday?” Kasumi inched closer to the man sleeping on the counter as a huge grin spread across her lips. “He came by again today.”

“Which one? You mentioned almost six of them recently,” Kaito didn’t look all that thrilled about the topic.

“Come on, I only mentioned one guy in a suit. I know you’re just playing dumb.”

Sometimes Kaito really wished he hadn’t told this fujo woman about his gender preferences and type, since every now and then he had to fall victim to her crazy head-canons. She always pulled stunts like this whenever a handsome man visited the store.

After grumbling something to himself, he finally feigned enthusiasm, “Wow, so this guy in a suit came by today. Hooray.”

“You just haven’t seen him, that’s why you’re not excited. He even asked me to pass his compliments to you. He might even become a regular...”

Seeing that the conversation had taken a strange turn, Misa became confused again. Why was Kasumi so insistent on telling Kaito - who was also a man - all about some other dude? Wouldn’t it make him uncomfortable?

“Oh, just so you know,” Kaito, who’d noticed the number of question marks hovering over the new employee’s head, suddenly spoke while gesturing to himself, “I’m gay.”

Misa: “.... Eh??”

~~~

PART TWO.

~

True to Kasumi’s suspicions, the ‘handsome man in the suit’ really became a regular at their bakery for the subsequent few weeks. He would show up at least three times a week at the store, and each time he ordered, he chose the chef’s recommendation.

It became such a normal habit that even Kaito’s interest was piqued.

“A recommendation again?” he didn’t even stop what he was doing when Misa peered through the door and told him ‘the usual’.

“Why do you sound so surprised?” Jiro laughed. He was frosting some vanilla cupcakes which had finished cooling to prepare them for display.

Kasumi on the other hand immediately stopped what she was doing and prepared to go out and have a quick peek when Kaito suddenly burst her bubble.

“Have you forgotten you don’t belong behind the counter anymore?” he raised a brow.

They’d hired two temporary staff a few days ago, which meant Kasumi had finally joined them in the studio.

“Come on, I need the eye-candy. You think I like being stuck in here the entire day with you guys?” she grumbled, earning a complaint from Jiro. “No offense, but I’m just too used to your faces.”

“So, uhm.... no recommendation?” Misa asked, seeing that Kaito still hadn’t taken action.

...

Daichi was scrolling through his phone when plate containing a mini red velvet cake with vanilla frosting and strawberry garnishing was placed in front of him. He seemed to be reading something important, thus he distractedly muttered his thanks, handled his fork and started to dig in.

His movements paused after the first bite. However, it was a barely noticeable reaction since he continued eating again soon afterwards.

“Would you like anything else?”

It was then that Daichi shifted his attention from his screen, having discovered that the person who’d served him still hadn’t left. It turned out to be a different man from the one who’d attended to him first.

Another new employee? It was Daichi's first time seeing this face.

Daichi assessed the tall man who stood before him with handsome features and broad shoulders. A black half apron was tied around his slim waist, and his slightly tousled jet black hair was clear indication that he had just removed some head gear - a hat perhaps. And he wasn't wearing a name tag either...

Returning the same ‘friendly’ smile that the other wore, Daichi responded with a, “I’m good for now, thank you.”

Kaito nodded and turned to leave. He’d hardly taken a step when the man in the dark suit suddenly piped up again:

“However, is your head chef not around today?”

Puzzled, Kaito faced the man, “What makes you say that?”

“I could say by now that I’ve gotten used to the taste of his creations, which is why I can easily tell that the dessert you served me isn’t one of them,” though Daichi ate while having this conversation, he was still mannered enough to swallow before each sentence. “That’s why I’m asking if he’s around or not.”

It was true that Kaito really hadn’t served him one of his own creations, but he also hadn’t expected the man’s intuition (taste buds) to be this superb...

“Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all the desserts made here and I believe every chef has a unique talent,” Daichi decided to explain after seeing the pensive look on the poor guy’s face. His gaze locked directly onto Kaito’s when he added his next words, “Just like how every person has their own tastes.”

This - this was still a conversation about desserts, right?

“Are you perhaps the renowned head-chef?” the man in the suit suddenly inquired, startling Kaito even more. “Judging by that expression, I must be right.”

“... Yes, you are.”

“So I’ve finally managed attract your attention,” Daichi scanned him up and down, “You’re a lot younger than I anticipated. How many years of experience do you have as a pro?”

“Just one–” Kaito’s mouth moved before he could think but he quickly snapped out of it and demanded. “Hey, were all those ‘chef recommendations’ a way of sniffing me out??”

“I’m a little disappointed you’ve only acknowledged my existence today.”

Hearing such, Kaito became a little incredulous. Disappointed? How was I supposed to know he was looking for me? Wouldn’t a normal person just go ask for me at the counter? Did he assume I was so petty and wouldn’t want to meet my valued customers???

Clasping his hands together, Kaito ‘smiled’, “I apologize for failing to acknowledge you until now. Was senior looking for me because he has complaints about my cooking?”

During their short back and forth, Daichi had already consumed the entire cake piece and was now finishing off his warm beverage. “It seems my entire speech about different tastes just went through one ear and left through the other.”

Kaito’s ‘smile’ stiffened even more. Sir, why don’t you tell me directly what you mean? It’s not like you clarified whether or not you liked my desserts!

“In any case, I’ll get straight to the point,” Daichi set the now empty cup down and smiled. “I wish to borrow your crew this weekend.”

**

“Just like that?” Kasumi couldn’t contain her excitement when Kaito finally explained the situation. “What did he mean ‘borrow you’? Kinda sus...”

“Whatever you’re thinking, please stop thinking it. And he was talking about borrowing the entire crew,” Jiro eyed the woman strangely before seriously asking his friend, “How did you respond?”

“I asked him to give us some time to think about it,” Kaito was playing around with the small business card Daichi had offered him which contained his name and contact info. “It’s some birthday event being held this Saturday so he asked us to carter the desserts for it.”

“Those two part-timers won’t be available during the weekend,” Kasumi reminded. “You sure we’ll be able to handle it?”

Kaito thought about it and nodded, “We most likely won’t be the only dessert caterers there. It’ll be fine.”

“How’s the pay?” Misa asked, earning strange looks from the rest of the group. “Come on, I know everyone’s thinking about it.”

“Well he does look like a pretty wealthy man. I don’t think the pay would be something to scoff at,” Kasumi contemplated.

Kaito agreed. Yeah, he did seem wealthy. Not only that, Kasumi was right about his looks; he’s really handsome. And he looked mature too...

“Then let’s take the job. The bakery doesn’t open during the weekends anyway,” Jiro suggested.

“Yeah, and we’ll have to close up early on Friday to start with the event’s preps,” Kasumi agreed.

Misa didn’t have much to say though she was fully on board and so the decision was made that they’d be catering the desserts for this important event.

***

The group already suspected that the man named Daichi Nakano was wealthy as an individual, but their jaws completely dropped after beholding the wealth of the Nakano family.

Apparently the family owned several popular car manufacturing Industries, and that in itself needed no further explanation. The big event that Daichi had asked them to cater for was actually his younger sister’s twenty-first birthday which was held in the grand Nakano mansion.

The group of four felt so out of place just being there.

Luckily, the other attendees w more welcoming than the group had anticipated, especially after Daichi had properly introduced them as ‘honored guests’. Their delicious desserts had earned them more favor as well from the rich folk.

But of course, the four decided not to stay long that evening since it was just another work day for them. Thus as soon as their job was done and they’d been paid, they left the mansion in Jiro’s small convertible.

“Kudos to our honorable boss for landing us an awesome job,” Kasumi praised while scrolling through her account with satisfaction. “I don’t think I’ve ever had this much cash before and be able to confidently say it’s mine.”

“So many zeros...” Misa was scrolling through her own phone as she mumbled this.

“I can pimp my ride with this much,” Jiro was also pleased, and the three continued to discuss all the exciting things they planned to do with their pays.

Kaito just sat in the passenger seat without contributing much to the conversation, since most of his attention was elsewhere.

A few minutes after they left the mansion, he’d suddenly received his very first text from Daichi. The two of them didn’t know each other on a personal level, so of course Kaito had never messaged him first despite having his number these past two days.

And why would he? He only ever used it for quick calls since Daichi had hired his crew for the event. Now that they’d done their job, Kaito had been certain that would be end of it.

Until Daichi suddenly sent him this text:

[I need to borrow you again.]

After staring at the message for a while, Kaito decided to ask the other person: [For another event?]

It didn’t take long for a response to be delivered: [No, I’m not asking for the entire crew. It’s a personal request.]

Seeing those words, Kaito’s thoughts instantly buzzed.

He was just about to respond when Daichi sent another message: [Are you free tomorrow? I need you to do something for me.]

[What is it?] Kaito wrote back.

It took almost five minutes for Daichi to finally respond: [I’d rather not say for now.]

The hell did that mean?

“...And what will you do with your pay, Hattori?” Kasumi’s sudden voice almost made him flinch. Everyone was waiting to hear what he had for his cash.

“I’m saving up to buy a proper car,” he stated after some thought.

“Did you have to add the word ‘proper’? I feel so attacked,” Jiro mumbled in dissatisfaction.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Kaito chuckled before turning back to his phone screen.

[Alright.]

Having sent that simple response, he tucked away his cellphone and joined in on the conversation with his friends.

~~~~~~~

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