Surprising Soma is no Easy Feat
”And then, we talked for twenty minutes! ”
”Oh no. You had a normal conversation with someone other than me. Sad. Traumatizing, even. ”
Yayoi had agreed to follow Soma to meet up with her friend Nakaga. The red-head convinced Yayoi that she needed her for moral support, but in reality, this was less of a meet and greet for Soma and Nakaga, and more of an intervention for the guest. Soma had become increasingly concerned about Yayois lack of friends. She could let it slide for the most part, but if she had to sit through another one of Yayois daily Chiiya rants by herself, she mightve not survived the year. And besides, friends are important for a high schooler. When shes out of college and drowning in debt, whose couch will she have to sleep on? Definitely not Somas, and that was her main concern today.
Soma opened the glass door to the café, allowing her friend to enter before her. The inside was generously sized with a dark and light brown interior. Plants hung from the walls and ceiling, and large windows wrapped around the room. Soma requested an outside table. The hostess handed them two menus and took them to a table for three outside the building. The girls skimmed through the menu as they waited for Nakaga to arrive. They engaged in idle talk until they heard the sound of footsteps approaching their table.
”Soma! Hey! ” Nakaga hit the girl in her shoulder twice, leaving it slightly red. Yayoi looked concerned, but Soma shrugged her off, knowing this was just Nakagas form of endearment. ”So how are yall doing? ” She looked directly at Yayoi with a wide smile on her face, anticipating an answer.
”Good… ” Yayoi responded, looking off to the side. She didn want to hold eye contact with Nakaga. Her smile was too brilliant, and her eyes were too expectant. She was too bright. It made things awkward, and it reminded her of someone shed rather forget. At least her hair wasn pink.
”Excuse her, I don know why shes so shy today ”.
”I am not shy! ”
Nakaga laughed. ”I can see you two are good friends already. Well, lets get you talking! What are you good at? Interests, hobbies, skills? Soma told me you were a na- ”, Soma cut her off with a kick to the knee. ”…natural speaker?! ” Nakaga pulled out.
”Oh! Well, Im a wonderful chef! I read on a college level; my test scores are comparable to none! Once, or fifteen times, I lose count, really, I placed first in my regional spelling bee. I can sew anything! You look like you need a touch-up on that god awful shirt youve got on, anyway. I am also the leader of the Ms. Kuga Fan Club! By the way, can you believe someone tried to run against me, Soma? Unfathomable! I also own land on several small islands off the coast of Madagascar, and it only cost me twenty dollars! Ha, I guess you can call me a lord! ” She laughed to herself. ”But alas, if I were to tell you the really good things about me wed be here all day. What can you do, Nakaga? ”
”I… ” Nakaga glanced over at Soma, who threw her hands up in a don look at me stance. ”I can play baseball… ”
”Oh! Are you a starter? ”
”No…I pass out water for now! But Im working on getting to be part of the regulars! ”
”Unfortunate ”. Yayoi shrugged her shoulders and looked around for a waiter to take their order. Nakaga couldn believe she was that uninterested. Soma spotted a server on the opposite side of Yayois line of sight, calling them over. The waitress put up her hand asking the group to wait, giving them a polite smile. She walked back to another table, leaning down to take an order.
”Thank you, Mikami ”, a man from the group of customers responded as she went on to the woman next to him.
”I got someone ”. Soma spoke up, pointing to the waitress over at another table. Yayois eyes widened. Surely Soma couldn have casually called her nemesis to serve their table, right? But Yayoi knew that bubblegum hair anywhere. Who else had the nerve to walk around like that in public? Of course it was Chiiya! She knew her friend didn care much for getting wrapped up in their shenanigans. But to call her over right in front of her face? Yayoi did not stand for this betrayal.
”Soma, do you know who that is?! ”
”Probably Chiiya. I don know. It doesn matter anyway, we
e getting our orders taken. ” How cold could she be? Yayoi sighed heavily and buried her face back into the menu as Soma shared hers with Nakaga. She mumbled incohesive things to herself, cursing the decision she made to come here earlier today. Maybe she should retire this life of being absolutely outstanding and become a NEET or something of the sort. It would provide a much better fit to her needs. But who was she kidding? She would never give up her life of being the best. Still, the mere thought of Chiiya ruining Somas meet-up idea irked her to no end.
The waitress approached the table. ”Good afternoon! How can I- ”
”Listen, Chiiya. Stop playing these ridiculous games ”. Yayoi closed her menu and her eyes as she continued on. ”I saw you, you saw me. Don act dumb. I bet youd just love to pull out your little whisk and begin antagonizing me and my people, wouldn you? Youd love to go on and on about the days the Sugar Brigade was in its prime, huh? Announcing your ludicrous spells would be joyous to you right now. Well Ill have you know that I won stand for i-! ” At that same moment, Chiiya slammed her menu down on the table, standing up to meet Chiiyas eyes. And she did just that.
Except, this was a different Chiiya. Her eyes were a different color, and her face was oddly pale. ”Have you changed, Madam Soufflé? ” The waitress did not move an inch, afraid as to what her next move should be. Other guests stared at the table, intrigued.
”I, uh, Im not sure who this Madam Soufflé is, but I can get you one from the kitchen…on the house! If…if thats what you desire…! ”
”Do you mean to mock me?! ” Yayoi grabbed at her collar, pulling the shaken woman closer to her face. ”Don lie to me, Chiiya! ”
”C-Chiiya? Oh, Im sorry… ” The waitress held her hands and brought them down. ”My name is Mikami. You must be mistaken ”. You could not imagine the look of pure distraught written across Yayois face. Tears threatened her eyes as she sat back down in her seat. ”Sorry ” , she quietly whispered. Nakaga and Soma could sense the humiliation trickling down from her pores and out into the uncomfortable atmosphere. She shook almost unnoticeably, staring down at whatever was not the waitress. ”Im very sorry, Mikami ”.
Yayoi looked over to Soma with pleading eyes, who rolled her own in response.
” Soma signaled Nakaga to get up and the trio left the café without placing an order. The three girls stood on the sidewalk in front of the building, waiting for Yayoi to stop staring at the ground.
”Im getting tired of this. If we
e not getting kicked out of somewhere, we
e leaving early. Why can you just control yourself, Yoi? ”
”I don know! Its impossible for me ”. Yayoi responded, kicking a loose piece of concrete to the side. Soma nodded and grasped her shoulder gently. ”I don get it, but okay. Next time, just be more careful and properly think about your surroundings. What reason would Chiiya have to be in this area anyway? ” Soma looked towards her other friend.
”Sorry for dragging you into this, Nakaga. Would you like to eat somewhere else? ” Soma asked.
”Nah, its cool. Yayoi should probably catch a break, anyway. Lets go out again sometime, though!
” She flashed her beautiful, wide smile at the others. She waved, running off in the opposite direction as her house was nearby.
e pretty interesting, Yayoi! ” was her last remark as she disappeared around the corner. Soma and Yayoi said their goodbyes and began walking home.
Yayoi came up to the front door. She rummaged around in her bag for her keys, pulled them out, and fidgeted with the lock. It was obvious through her vexed expression that she was still angry with herself for the earlier mistake. She hoped her mother wouldn ask her how her day went. She didn want to experience the same thing again. The door finally opened, revealing a light blue interior with a quaint feel. Trophy cases lined the walls, filled to the brim with gold and silver awards. All from Yayoi of course, no one else in her household has won as much as a participation medal. An empty space reserved for this years cook-off medal stood empty.
She looked over to her living room, planning to throw herself into the couch and drown out her sorrow with the noise of her favorite show. She continued upstairs to her room before immediately rushing back down, staring back at the living room.
”Yes, Yayoi? ”
”Why are you in my house? ”
”Needed to stretch my legs. ”
”Yes, Yayoi? ”
”We live an hour away from each other. ”
”Okay! ” Chiiya threw up her hands. ”If you must know, I only came to survey your headquarters. I wanted to see where Myu-Pretzelle conjures her conniving crimes against my reign in person! ” She folded her arms.
”Yayoi! Is this your friend? ” Her mom said from the kitchen. ”Do you finally have a new friend? ” Her eyes glistened with hope at the thought of her socially inept daughter finally socializing properly.
”I have plenty of friends! And this, ” she pointed Chiiya up and down ”, is not one of them! ”
”Aw, thats too bad. Even though shes your classmate? No matter, shell be staying for dinner tonight. I already promised her! How could I not? Shes such a sweetheart. ”
If there was a readily available ditch, Yayoi would crawl in it. If there was a 10-story building, she would jump off it. If there was a toaster, she would soak in the bath with it, and if there was anything else that could end her suffering right now, shed do it. Seeing Chiiya at school was one thing. She was enrolled there. It was only natural. But in her house? The house shed never seen, the one in which she lived an hour away from? Unforgivable. She shouldve expected it, though. Her mom would let a thirty-ton, 93 behemoth sleep in her bed if it asked politely enough. Dinner for one normal-sized teenager was nothing to her.
Chiiya walked into the kitchen to assist Mrs. Yada, leaving the living room to Yayoi. The silently fuming girl now forgot all about going upstairs to her room, and instead plopped on the couch with an exasperated sigh. She flipped through the DVR, finding the latest recording of Ms. Kugas Office Adventures. The theme song blared as Yayoi moved her head to the beat, mumbling the lyrics. The noise of banging pots and pans didn bother her at all; she ignored it, simply turning up the televisions volume. That was until Yayoi sensed a disturbance in her force.
Something felt off. The noise of clattering stopped and was replaced with a sound of harsh bubbling. If her mom couldn make toast correctly, why would she leave her in the kitchen with Chiiya of all people? She rushed off of the couch and cursed her ignorance. She pushed open the kitchen door, eyes gluing themselves to the cooking sin being committed in front of her.
In her precious skillet, Chiiya had created what was supposed to be a tomato purée. The substance was instead thick, sticky, and gooey. Not to mention, you should never put tomatoes in your skillet.
”The acidity ruins it! ” Yayoi scolded those in the kitchen. ”How could you let her of all people use my new skillet? ”
”Whats even the problem? ” Chiiya interjected, wiping sauce off her face with a damp cloth. ”Its just a pan. ” Just a pan? Yayoi had spent countless nights on bidding websites for just a pan. Day after day, shed watch the price of the skillet rise and fall more than the Roman Empire, and all for a cooking novice to say just a pan?
”And that is precisely why you
e just a baker. Stick to it. ”
”Hey, whats that supposed to… ” Chiiya was cut off as she felt extreme heat rise up from her left. ”Uh…uhm, Yayoi?! ” she quivered, backing away from the stove. A fire rose up from a pot of now blackened vegetables left on the stove. Yayois mom scrambled to fill a cup with water.
”Idiot! Thatll spread it more, its oil! ” Yayoi shouted from the threshold.
”How about this instead?! ” Chiiya said, pulling out the gallon of apple juice from the fridge. Yayoi had not the time nor patience to question it. Her mom snatched the drink from her hand, ready to put out the fire. ”Wait, wait! Shes looking at us like weve lost it!! Don do it! ” Chiiya stopped Mrs. Yada from pouring the juice over the fire. She stumbled into a countertop with the juice, spilling it all over her purple apron.
”Mrs. Yada! ” Chiiya ran over to the paper towels and wiped the older womans apron as well as she could. ”What are we going to do about this fire… ”
”I haven the slightest clue, dear ”, Mrs. Yada chuckled, looking over to the now roaring flame emerging from the stove that threatened to reduce her home to ashes. The two laughed at the statement. ”Maybe we should do something about it ”.
”Why are you chatting?! Just put the lid on the pot for Christs sake!! ” Yayoi shouted, hands gripping the top of her head. Chiiya ran over and followed her instruction.
”Ha! Crisis averted ”, Chiiya said, taking her hair out of a ponytail and resting her hands on her hips.
”Yes, Yayoi? ”
”The entire stove is burnt to a crisp! What do you mean, crisis averted?! ”
”Does this mean no dinner, then? ”, the girl nervously chuckled, looking at Mrs. Yada for confirmation.
”Yes, Yayoi? ”
”Get out. ”
”Yes, Yayoi… ”
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