A few minutes later.
After preparing the ingredients and returning to the counter, Flika looked at Ageha as if she was looking for help.
“Umm, isn’t that person a little too unwavering?”
“Well, it’s because keeping his cool is one of Toushirou’s merits.”
“I don’t think that’s considered as keeping one’s cool though.”
In front of Flika who was engaging in idle banter, Toushirou started laying out the bread, lettuce, ham, and bacon that were ordered.
“By the way, what is a panino?”
“It’s sandwich in Italian. The same goes for the names “bar” and “barista” and in fact, our menu is completely standardized in Italian.”
“Italy……Ahhh, the country of Berettas right? The guns there have little recoil and are easy to use. I even have two that I regularly use. I don’t know anything else about it though . ”
“Please stop saying things that make Italy seem like a country that has guns and nothing else.”
Speaking of the Berretta Company, it’s a famous Italian gun maker. Toushirou knew this much.
As he spoke, Toushirou skilfully used a cutting knife and sliced the bread into upper and lower halves.
Handing it over to Flika, he had her put it into the oven toaster.
“The grilling time is about a minute and a half. In the meantime, go prepare the plates and what not. For the panino, use the one with red patterns on it.”
As he gave out his instructions smoothly, Flika hesitatingly retrieved a round plate from the shelf.
“……Flika. I said the plate with the red patterns on it. This is blue?”
“Ahaha. My apologies. Which is the red one?”
“Again with you and your bad jokes.”
“Wait, this really isn’t a joke…..”
With a tinge or annoyance in his voice as though he has been made a fool, Toushirou was taken aback.
Although Flika gave her usual foolish looking fake smile, he could hear from her last sentence that she was really in doubt.
The plate with the red foliage design was just right in front of Flika. Even so, Flika’s eyes wandered around, unsure of which plate to take.
—It’s not that……she can’t see it right?
It wasn’t like she was trying to be funny, nor was it like she could not see it.
As he thought, Toushirou realized.
—Had she forgotten, even the name of colors?
If she could not even remember such things, it will probably be quite an obstacle in her daily life as well.
He felt that his head became a little clearer.
Hesitating for a moment, Toushirou pointed at the plate in front of Flika.
“It’s this plate. The one you took just now was blue, and it’s used for salads.”
With this, Toushirou explained the next step.
“For the napkin to go with the panino, please use that one.”
It was a napkin decorated with green laces. It was the perfect size whereby the design of the plate could just be seen through it, and it was Toushirou—not Shuuya—who took the painstaking effort to order it.
The bread was grilled in no time and this time, he took it out onto the chopping board.
“When the ham or bacon touches the bread directly, it loses its flavor. That’s why it’s put between the lettuces.”
Thinking back about how she did not recognize the colors, he pointed at each and every ingredient as he gave his instructions, to which Flika carried them out skillfully.
Swiftly laying out the lettuce, she put the raw ham and bacon on top of it followed by an even layer of dressing and a sprinkle of ground pepper. Then, after another layer of lettuce, it is then finally covered by the other half of the bread. It took less than thirty seconds to its completion.
—Her fingers, are like clockwork.
For that aspect, even Toshirou gave his honest approval.
“Now, we cut this into half. Not straight down, but slanted to a side just like how you would do for a French loaf. Also, do not take your time and do it in a single slice.”
Dragging her reply, she then cut the bread with her fluid knife handling skills.
Then, putting the finished product onto the decorated plate, the panino was completed.
The fragrant smell of the bread, the grease infused aroma of the bacon, mixed together with the fragrance of pepper, wafted through the room and was more than enough to make anyone drool.
“Sorry for the wait.”
As Flika brought out the panino, Ageha put it into her mouth satisfyingly.
“Not bad. Aren’t you more talented than Toushirou?”
Being commended by Ageha, Flika looked somewhat relieved.
Even though it was quickly covered up by her fake smile, he thought that it was the first natural facial expression that she had made.
—Perhaps this girl’s just audacious on the outside.
Noticing it, Ageha said deploringly,
“However, even though this panino is of passable standard, why is the cocoa you make always of “Toushirou” standard I wonder?”
“How many times do I have to tell you that we are a shop that specializes in coffee before you can understand?”
As soon as Toushirou retorted, there were handful of pedestrians standing at the entrance of the shop, something that rarely happens.
……Well, that’s to be expected.
Because even though the big hole in the wall was being covered by a blue sheet, it was Strada’s current reality.
—And once again, the customers will begin to disperse……
It was at that moment when Toushirou felt a pain in his gut.
With a clang, the door opened and a middle aged man popped his head out as though he was right in the middle of work. He did not have a coat and wore a business suit while carrying a business case.
“Is this place open today?”
“Well then, time to take a little rest.”
It started the ball rolling and a number of pedestrians who stopped made their way inside. It was already past lunchtime and there were many young people, students, young adults and the likes.
It was the first time this many customers came into the shop, and Toushirou’s eyes widened in surprise.
The majority of them clustered around the counter, and the man who first entered came to talk to Toushirou.
“She’s really pretty. Is she always here at this time of the day?”
As soon as he realized it, he found himself listening to that same question from every one of the customers.
It seemed that one way or another, their purpose there was Flika.
It was true that her white hair stood out. Even her appearance was so enchanting that Toushirou mistook her for an angel even if it was just for a split second.
Although one couldn’t tell with her coat on, the barista uniform traces the silhouette of the young girl’s body beautifully. Even though she was petite, her chest was well suited for someone her age, combined with thin slender waist, and below that, a puffed up skirt and flowing curves.
With such a young girl right in front of them, there probably wouldn’t be anyone who would not pay the slightest bit of attention to her.
Surprised by the huge hole in the wall and stopping to take a look, one would see a young girl inside the shop serving coffee. It seemed to have the effect of stimulating the curiosity of the passers-by, causing them to want to stop by if they have the time.
Stealing a glance at Flika, she stuck her chest out with a triumphant look on her face as if to say to him, “How’s that?”
—What’s up with that annoying face?
Those words almost came out of his mouth, but Toushirou managed to swallow it down.
“It’ll be hard for me to answer such a question, but I’m always ready to take your order.”
“Whoops, my bad. First, get me a coffee.”
It has been a long time since he got someone to order coffee and Toushirou was so overwhelmed with emotions that he was almost moved to tears.
“Here is the menu.”
“Ehhh, it’s rare to see Costa Rican coffee.”
“It probably isn’t a name you’ll hear a lot in Japan, but the soil in Costa Rica is of fine quality and pretty famous, and it produces coffee beans of high quality. As for the taste, its bitterness would probably be towards the strong side.”
“If that’s the case I’ll have this.”
“Give me an expresso.”
“I’ll have a cappuccino.”
The orders came in one by one, and the aroma of coffee wafted throughout the shop.
“Flika, bring this coffee over to table three, and then bring this cappuccino over to table two.”
Giving her a simple breakdown of the arrangements of the tables and passing the tray and cups over to her, Flika held the tray in both hands and carried them over to the tables.
Her sense of balance seemed to be unexpectedly good, and her movements were not the slightest bit precarious as she walked up and down in the shop.
“Excuse me, sorry for the wait. Please enjoy.”
“……Ohhhh, this is the first time that I’ve seen such an obvious fake smile.”
Seeing her never changing fake smile that she couldn’t bother to wipe off even in front of customers, the middle-aged male customer was taken aback in shock.
“For a smile in our shop, that would be a million dollars so……”
“Don’t just go on and start your own business Flika!”
“I see, so this is what’ll happen when the place isn’t a fastfood restaurant.”
Laughed the customer heartily as Toushirou yelled over the counter.
That day, was the first time Strada had a roaring business ever since Toushirou started working there.