「It’s hot outside. It really feels like summer.」
I enter Mizuhara’s place while wiping off the sweat.
Mizuhara gets warm pretty easily, so he turns on the air conditioner at full blast.
It’s the perfect temperature for making snacks in the kitchen, but it feels like winter.
「Did you say you were going to club today?」
It looks like he’s been writing an essay. There’s a pile of complicated technical books to the side of his computer, and they’re all in English. Just looking at it is enough to give me a headache.
「Yeah, I’m planning to go soon. I just wanted to pass this cake to you. It’s convenient since your place is close to school.」
Mizuhara immediately moves to the table upon hearing what I said.
It took some effort to make this cake.
It’s Mizuhara’s birthday today.
I comment that it must feel lonely to be unable to celebrate his birthday with friends during summer break, but he replies that it doesn’t bother him since he doesn’t have friends.
I’m impressed that he really doesn’t feel lonely.
He looks satisfied living in his own world.
「You’re getting a fourth.」
He said it even before opening it up.
He tends to hog all the snacks to himself no matter what I say, so we made a rule the other day. I get a fourth of the total, and Mizuhara is entitled to three fourths.
That time, we childishly fought over the snacks, and I won thanks to my karate moves. I argued for my minimum share, and Mizuhara finally agreed.
「I’ll have some barley tea.」
I put some ice into the glass while pouring the tea.
I came here quickly under the hot sun, so I was sweating quite a lot.
It’s above 30ºC outside.
[1. TL Note: 30ºC = 86ºF] Even with cooling packs, I had to walk carefully while carrying the snacks.
This was a decorated cake, standard for birthdays.
It’s a secret recipe I made with Mom through constant trial and error.
You bake a moist sponge cake, and put in some cream and strawberries.
Then you apply some strawberry gelee. That’s a defining quality of our recipe.
I decorate the cake with whipped cream, and it’s Mizuhara from here on.
I make a strawberry elf.
I cut out a third of a well shaped strawberry.
I use the bottom two-thirds of the skin for the body, make a ball for the face using whipped cream, and put the remaining third on the top to make a pointy hat.
I use a chocolate pen to draw a face as well as a clothing design on the body to make it resemble an elf.
I tried to make a pair of shoes for the strawberry elf, but sadly it was too difficult.
I had intended to use strawberries of about the same size, but they didn’t match the one I made. Still, it gave the elves a little personality.
While she was watching, Mom melted some chocolate and made a pair of glasses.
It resembled Mizuhara’s black rimmed glasses.
I can’t make this one an elf! I fussed as I made a sugarcraft Mizuhara.
Thanks to Mom’s help, I can quickly move on to the next thing.
I’ve made sugarcraft Santas for Christmas cakes before, but this was the first time I made a Mizuhara.
Suddenly remembering his sarcasm, I drew the face accordingly.
Just dots for the eyes.
It’s easy with the chocolate glasses on it.
I asked Mom to write Sweets Maniac on the sugarcraft Mizuhara, and wrote some words on the chocolate plate.
After writing Happy Birthday Mizuhara 21 with a white chocolate pen, I decorated the rest with a pink chocolate pen.
After drawing a book and pen, I let out a sigh of relief.
I looked at Mom’s side and became dumbfounded.
I asked her to write Sweets Maniac, but she wrote Sweets Master instead.
[2. TL Note: in Japanese, the word 狂 (Maniac) and 卿 (a respectable person or noble) share the same pronunciation (kyô)] 「M-mom, no! It’s Maniac! Sweets Maniac!」
「Eh? Really? Sorry, I thought since there’s a Sweets Prince, there should also be a Sweets Master.」
What a painful mistake!
There’s so many strokes on the kanji, but she wrote it so beautifully.
As expected of a professional.
I placed the chocolate plate in the middle. Then I put the sugarcraft Mizuhara in front of it, and surround it with the strawberry elves.
After adding more whipped cream and fruits as decorations, I finished my work.
It took some time and all my effort in making this cake.
I made some cookies as an alternative.
I mixed some pink colored dough with normal dough to make it look flowery, then added decorative chocolate as petals.
It appeals more to girls, so I don’t know if Mizuhara will like it or not, but I had fun making it anyway.
Upon opening the box and seeing the cake, Mizuhara becomes completely still for a while.
「I’ll cut the cake. It’ll fall apart if you do it.」
Instead of letting me have my share, Mizuhara denies me vehemently.
「Hey! This is my cake! You made it for my birthday!」
「And you’re trying to eat it?!」
「Come on. I haven’t even tasted it. It took a lot of time and effort so I want some too.」
Mizuhara makes a fuss when I try to cut the cake with a knife.
I see him get upset when defending his snacks with his life pretty often, but this time was the worst.
「Stop! It’s my cake! I’m eating it! It’s all mine!」
He’s throwing a childish tantrum.
「You don’t have to get so upset.」
I give in to Mizuhara and put the knife down.
It would be dangerous if he put his hand in the way while I try to cut the cake.
「There! Yeah, I’ll let you have that! It’s a brandy chocolate cake that arrived yesterday. It cost 20,000 yen and took 4 months to get here. You may never get a chance to eat it if you’re struggling to earn 100,000 yen! Have as much as you like.」
[3. TL Note: 20,000 yen ≈ $180 USD]
「That’s expensive for a cake… and I can have it?!」
「Yes, so stay away! This cake with Sweets Master Mizuhara and the seven Jumbo Elves is all mine!」
「You’re sharp… you even noticed the words…」
It’s the first time Mizuhara offered to share his pastries.
An expensive cake no less.
If you’re willing to let me have this cake, you might as well let me try some of mine.
The price is way different, and the taste is beyond comparison.
「Then I’ll have some before you change your mind.」
It’s 20,000 yen.
I can’t bear to eat more than 1 cm. He might have bought it for his birthday.
「Those? Cookies. Flower cookies.」
Whoa. It’s a 20,000 yen cake alright. I could tell it’s high quality with one bite.
While I’m chipping away at the cake, Mizuhara stands beside me eating some cookies.
He stored the cake in the fridge.
「Huh? You’re not eating?」
「I don’t feel safe eating it with you around.」
「Nah, I’m eating this cake here so I’m not gonna eat that one.」
「I can’t let my guard down around you.」
He doesn’t trust anyone.
Mizuhara’s always bragging about where he got his limited edition snacks from, but I made the cake this time.
He doesn’t have to be so stubborn.
「This cake has a really thick taste.」
I’m satisfied with my first quality snack, so I clean the plate with a good mood.
「By the way, was the money enough for the ingredients?」
I used a lot of fruits for this cake. Mizuhara probably picked up on that.
He’s surprisingly righteous in some ways.
「Yes it was.」
Mizuhara frowns as I wave my hand.
「But the cake this time…… I should compensate you accordingly…」
「No, it’s your birthday cake, so there’s no way I could use your money for it.」
It was intended as a present after all.
It wouldn’t be much of a present if I used his money for it.
「See you later.」
I wave goodbye from the front door.
He’s walking while holding the cookies for some reason. It looks simple but has wrapping paper, and it’s a fancy box I don’t use often. It looks weird when he’s holding it.
I turn back to him even though it feels wintery inside.
I almost forgot to tell him.
「Oh. Happy Birthday, Mizuhara.」
Mizuhara smiles shyly in response.