Author's Note: This might remain a one-shot depending on what you guys think or if I am ever in the mood to do something more with these two. I might do it where I do just a bunch of snip-its or one-shots of them. shrug It really just came to me at one in the morning which I started it and then finished after I got some sleep. Please R&R!
My name is Kazutaka. It's not a particularly unique name. It is just a name my mother gave me before she died. When people ask that conversation starter question, what's your name? That's what I tell them. There is never any unusual expression that crosses their faces, perhaps a pleasant smile and their own introduction, but nothing more.
I don't really have a family name. I don't know my father or any true blood relative who could point me in the right direction. I don't particularly care either. I never offer one unless absolutely necessary. It says my family name is Hiroue, however, on my I.D. I need it for work.
For three years now, I have had a specific routine for every day of the week. I hardly change it, except for rare circumstances. Trust me though, they are rare.
I wake in the early morning around six. I take a shower then brush my teeth and then dress for work. I waste a few minutes staring at myself in the mirror. Dull dark hair that hangs limp to my ears, sad eyes, unfortunate pale skin, thin and lanky build, and a lame height of 5'6"; all of it pretty much sums me up. I can never find the right size suit, it's rumpled and looks like a size too big for my scrawny excuse for a male form. I look like your average no-body and I suppose I am.
Not that I am so depressed despite my "sad eyes" that I am thinking of suicide or something equally idiotic as that; far from it. I just know my life isn't sunshine and rainbows. Really no point in putting up false pretenses and thus I don't. I just do what I know and live this life on re-wind. I'm surprise I don't experience deja-vu everyday.
I leave my small home at about 6:30 or a little over. From there I walk to the end of my street and around the corner to my favorite place. I can never go a day without going to this special shop. Every time I open the door and hear the ringing of the bell that declares my entry, a weight seems to lift off my shoulders and my nostrils fill with sweet scents.
You must have guessed by now that this particular store is a bakery, a French bakery to be exact. Now I am not really a sweet-tooth but just have this soft spot for a certain flavor. It is a flavor that can be sweet or sour or both. This place makes the best Lemon Drop Sugar cookies and Lemon Crème Cake. During the week I get the former and on Saturdays I indulge in the latter. The bakery is unfortunately closed on Sundays.
The sign outside reads La Patisserie, it is French I know this but I am not sure exactly it's meaning. I have yet to ask.
It is owned by a single man fairly close to my age and he is also the reason why I go to this place almost every day. He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Upon my entrance every morning, he smiles at me while he is putting new pastries and cookies into the display case. It is a smile that wrenches my heart. "The usual," he'll ask. I only nod; I hardly ever exchange many words with him. He will go about preparing a dozen of my cookies into a white paper bag while I watch discreetly from the corner of my eyes. He folds the top and hands it over across the counter his smile never wavering. I in return offer the yen, which is always the same amount so I know before he even says though he always does. I never smile back at him but he doesn't seem to notice. I wish I just would, but I can never make myself do it. I don't understand why.
He then will wish my day well and wave as I leave, I sometimes feel his eyes on me but it could just be my imagination. After that I hurry to catch the next train at the closest station to work.
I sit at my desk and wait till the hands of the round clock on the wall seem to cut it vertically in half. Basically when the short hand is on the 12 and the thin one on the 6. Lunchtime. I immediately peer around as if expecting someone to come along to prey on my precious treats. Then I proceed to remove them one by one and indulge myself. I always take my time, savoring each taste. It's so good it takes all my might not to moan out in the pleasure. That would be far too embarrassing. Though would anyone notice the sad ordinary young man moaning over lemon flavored sugar cookies?
God, the lemon…the lemon…THE LEMON!
Perhaps I am a little eccentric. Just a little.
Today is Saturday and on these days I give myself the luxury of sleeping in an hour earlier. Then I wake at 7:00 and do the usual shower, teeth, and dress. I wear more casual clothes during the weekend of course. They are never anything overly fashionable or noticeable. Just a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and maybe my navy blue parka or a cotton jacket with hood depending on the weather.
I head out and take the subway train to a market to shop for groceries. I always do this which you might have guessed. I need to re-supply for next week. I get what I need and sometimes one or two things I want. After I get my shopping done, its time for my sweet treat ritual. However this day did not go as I have planned for the last few years.
I entered the bakery as if it were automatic. I didn't see my beautiful baker anywhere, unfortunately. I assumed he was in the back preparing more bake goods. I take my usual spot at a table near a window. I sometimes feel like I am the only one who comes here. Every time I'm here I see no one else except the baker. Do I ward them off? Do I pollute the shop with my ordinariness that no one bothers with this little bakery? It seems plausible to me.
I set my bags of groceries to the side and wait patiently for him. I hope he comes soon. My prayers seem to be answered because I hear movement and he emerges from the back through swinging doors. He seems surprised at first to see me and smiles. I nearly melt right there. He always has such a warm and sweet aura about him. And he is far from ordinary or plain.
He has thick black hair, so rich and full and long. I'd say it reaches his shoulders. I always just see him with it pulled back in a tie with some shorter pieces free and framing his face. His skin has color and warmth, makes him glow. The baker's eyes are not sad and cold like mine but a sort of dark brown and full of life. They seem to smile when he does. Though his body looks lean I have a feeling he's toned despite his chef-like clothing that prevents me from knowing. I can tell by his strong and well defined arms and hands. He's much taller too. I would guess at almost 6 foot. In conclusion, he and I are complete opposites.
He would never notice me other than as a customer and I'm too shy and self-conscious to approach him. Besides, we are both men. Yes life is cruel and my life is truly bittersweet.
"You again," He says but not in an informal or mean way. He's still smiling after all and such a pleasant voice.
I nod curtly in his direction but say nothing.
"A slice of Lemon Crème?" He asks already taking out a plate. I nod again, mouth still closed and unmoving. I still don't smile in return.
He wanders around the counter and sets the plate with the slice of Lemon Crème cake sitting beautifully upon it on my table. He then sets a delicate silver fork beside my plate and winks at me. It takes everything I have not to let blood rush to my cheeks. He's never done that before. He walks away.
I stare down at the treat in front of me. It seems so perfect from its crust to its yummy lemon filling to the whip crème on top to the little coconut shavings done like an edible garnish. I almost don't want to break into it and devour its beauty. But a small pain in my stomach thinks otherwise. I life the fork and take the first bite. It makes me moan out just a little. I stop myself quickly when I realize and hope he didn't hear that.
I then proceed to slowly eat it, savoring each morsel cut with my fork. It is beyond delicious.
As enjoy my cake, I hear a clearing of someone's throat beside me. I peer up to find him standing beside my table again with a glass in hand. Inside is a yellow liquid and ice. "Would you care for some lemonade?"
I do manage to say something this time despite my surprise. "Sure." I have never ordered a drink nor has he ever offered till now. He puts it down on the table and wanders off again. I take a careful sip and know immediately it is freshly squeezed and oh so good. It's nice to be washing this all down now.
While I eat, I peer out the window casually and notice it has become kind of misty outside. I narrow my eyes and then sigh in defeat. It is lightly raining now. With my luck it will get heavy when I'm all done and ready to head home. I glance at my groceries down at my feet.
I begin to eat the cake painfully slow, my body slumping slightly.
"You have a little crème there," my head shoots up to find him pointing to one corner of his mouth. I don't do anything at first but my brain finally catches up and my tongue sneaks out of my mouth and begins to sweep over one corner. I can't find any crème. Is he toying with me? Making fun?
I'm still staring at him while I attempt in vain to taste any crème that might be in the corner of my mouth. He laughs and shakes his head which makes my tongue jump back into the safety of my mouth. He comes closer and closer and leans forward over me. My heart picks up speed and pounds in my chest ready to rip through my ribcage. What is he going to do?
To my horror and perhaps absolute pleasure, he uses his own tongue and licks the other corner. I pretty much felt that pink wet muscle slip over my lips. I shiver and feel goose bumps rise all over my pale skin. What just happened? Did he really just do that? The baker who I am completely infatuated with just licked my face. I have a feeling I resemble a guppy right now. My mouth is moving but no sound is coming out.
He stands straight and stares down at me, licking his smirking lips. "For a few years now you come in everyday and order the same things. I started calling you the Lemon Man since I don't know your name-"
"It's Kazutaka!" I suddenly spit out cutting him off.
He grins and tilts his head, folding his arms across his chest. "Ah, is that so? Well then it is only fair to tell you my name is Marushi."
"Marushi…" I find myself saying out loud.
"Kazutaka…" I lift my head when he says it. I watch as a nervous uncertain look crosses his features. "I have wanted to know for so long. You were so peculiar and intriguing, coming in everyday to order my lemon flavored goods. Always lemon too and you always had this sad look in your eyes. I contemplate on it all when there were no customers and I was alone. Sometimes when I was baking…Why? I would ask myself."
I really could not believe what I was hearing. I intrigued him? That doesn't make sense, does it?
"I suppose I should have just asked for your name a long time ago and asked you why. I guess the truth was I liked the mystery in it all but now…No more. I want to know everything about you, Kazutaka." He beams down at me.
I can't take this anymore. My body feels numb and yet my heart aches at these words. I shake my head, "I don't see why. I am nothing special." I stand up then and dig out some money to place on the table for the cake and lemonade. I gather up my groceries and walk quickly to the door, wanting to escape this dream because it scares me and I know it really can't be true. I stop at the door to find the words OPEN facing me instead of the other way. When did he do that?
I spin around and find Marushi standing right in front of me with a gleam in his warm eyes. My mouth falls open slightly for a minute before I close it quickly. He takes the groceries from my arms and sets them down on the ground. After he stands back up, towering over my small height, his hands gently grab the sides of my face. I can feel my heart in my throat and hear it beat in my ears.
He presses are lips together.
"You taste like lemons," He says after breaking away, but remaining inches from me.
"Really? You taste like heaven," I reply and feel the corners of my lips stretch and I realize I'm smiling.
"Wow, you should smile more often," he then kisses me again.
My life is now no longer like a broken record or stuck on re-wind. It is much sweeter and a lot less bitter. It is not ordinary.