It’s a good weather for Christmas.
It’s cold, but there’s no rain, snow, or hail.
Since I have to deliver the cakes in front of the store, it’s a matter of life and death for me.
It’s because the clothes I’m wearing are cold.
It’s a Santa costume the store used last year.
It’s cute, but isn’t good for insulation.
Besides the cold, the part-time job is no problem at all.
All I have to do is give the cakes to the people who ordered them, and help seat the eat-in customers. Most of the reservations are prepaid, so I don’t have to make any complicated calculations.
Microwave comes in during my part-time job.
He brought some mafia-looking foreigners, all of them wearing masks and sunglasses.
「You’re working hard despite the cold.」
He’s saying something to the foreigners in English.
I have no idea what he said, but I heard the words “Under Sweets” and “Pistachio”.
They’re probably involved with the Underground Sweets.
I feel bad for mistaking him for a mafia boss.
All the reserved cakes were collected early, and the cakes in the store were sold out early too.
My shift is supposed to last until 8 pm, but it ends at 7:30.
The eat-in customers also left early, so it helped us close early.
There’s not many reservations for the 25th, so it’s not as busy after Christmas Eve.
My part-time job ends up lasting only for a day, but Maruta-san thanks me over and over again.
I get the Christmas cake and part-time pay.
And a madeleine as a bonus.
I hold the cake with extra care, and head to Mizuhara’s place.
「Whoa! Those cakes look great too!」
The 3 cakes that Mizuhara collected are extremely tempting too.
The chocolate cake looks simple, but the chocolate icing makes a seductive coating, and gives it a look of high quality.
On the cake with whipped cream is a bunch of big strawberries, giving it a lavish finish.
The fruit tart has some fruits on top of some gelatin cheese, and on the very top is a Santa sitting on a meringue seat. It looks surreal and cute.
But my favorite is Maruta-san’s Bûche de Noël, with a short stump tangled with ivy, and with a Santa sitting on top of that. The whole thing looks tasty.
Next to Santa is a chocolate axe.
「This cake looks like it’s telling a story. Like he’s actually a woodcutter, and his job of giving presents is just a modern spin. It’s interesting.」
「Isn’t he cutting the wood to make his sled?」
「I guess you could see it that way.」
I’ll ask Maruta-san about the true story next time.
「Aren’t you going to eat the cakes?」
「Not yet. I wanna share them with Dad and Mom too.」
「I see. I’m sure your parents will be happy.」
They were able to go on their trip to France and Germany in November. I told them how Mizuhara helped me earn the hotel fees.
Mom was moved to tears, and Dad had to soothe her while not being able to hold back his own emotions.
Before their trip, they asked me what Mizuhara liked, and I replied 「Snacks and elves.」
They came back with loads of souvenirs.
The snacks they bought in France and Germany were enough to satisfy Mizuhara for a while, and the elf coffee mug they bought in the German Fairy Tale Route made him really happy.
He took so many pictures of it, like it was his firstborn child.
Since then, Mizuhara has been especially fond of Dad and Mom, even though he hasn’t met them.
「Your place is cold as usual.」
I pour some black tea in the elf mug and my favorite mug, and enter the cold kitchen.
The only heater he has is a hot carpet.
His place only has an air conditioner, which he uses in the summer.
「Really? I’m still feeling the heat from below.」
「I can’t do that, I’m not a plant.」
I’m still wearing my coat. In contrast, Mizuhara seems comfortable even though he’s lightly dressed.
「I got some candles while I was getting the cakes. You can take some home if you like.」
He hands me some Christmas candles that are lightly wrapped. We don’t need them though.
Since he got them anyway, I try lighting some here.
Watching the dancing flames, I start thinking of marshmallows.
「Do you usually roast marshmallows with candles?」
I take a marshmallow and poke a bamboo skewer through it, and turn it over the candle fire.
「It’s nice to eat marshmallows like that, but they go well with some coffee too. It turns the coffee into mocha.」
「Make some for me too.」
I make some hot coffee and put in some melted marshmallows.
I spent some time having fun experimenting with different roasting time lengths and ways to enjoy marshmallows.
I put some dry ice with the cake and prepare to go home.
Dad and Mom may be home already.
I get on the train while holding the cake carefully, and open my phone.
I have 8 messages.
Most of them are from the club members.
They’re definitely drunk messages.
【Is it really okay to treat a reindeer like a light car (cry)】
I don’t know why he’s crying.
There’s a photo attached too, but it’s too blurry.
【Merry Xmas! Kinoshita-san is so far away… but I’m looking forward! Die it’s Christmas】
I think he was trying to say 【Cos it’s Christmas】 so I let it slide.
It’s a different story if he said it out loud though.
【You must be tired from your part-time job. Next time we meet will be New Years. Be careful not to catch a cold. Merry Christmas.】
It’s from Kinoshita-san.
She seems considerate enough that she’s probably not drunk.
【Avec tous mes voeux de joyeux noël】
Michel sends a message in French, probably because he’s drunk.
I only understand the noël part.
【Arioka-senpai is mean. I wanted a beef set but he made me eat tomatoes and cucumbers. I thought he was joking, and he laughed, but became all serious.】
I would’ve done the same as Arioka-senpai.
【Happy Christmas. Be careful not to kill any weirdos approaching you on a quiet street.】
Arioka-senpai seems to have guessed I was working at Bûche de Stage. He visited once, and knows how deserted the streets can be.
I’m definitely not going to kill anyone though.
Well, I haven’t actually done it before so I wouldn’t know, but I may overdo it a little.
【The angel is eating green soybeans while smiling at me from above.】
He’s making it sound like she’s dead.
It’s from a club member who lost to Kinoshita-san during a scramble. Stop sending me messages and try again.
【The Christmas blind date was horrible. The guy was a horrible organizer and super stingy. He only paid single digits for the meal. He even asked to meet again. I’m not giving this annoying guy a second chance.】
I can feel Chii-chan’s rage.
I quickly reply to the messages and get off the train.
Another Christmas, still single.