The Insensitive One?
The sun had already turned a persimmon-like color and was about to finish its daily duty.
The current time was 5:50 PM.
Toma’s shift at Bar [Shine] was approaching.
Bar [Shine], hidden amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, was called a secret hideaway that nobody wanted to reveal and had maintained its secret popularity.
Beautiful shakers were placed on the counter, and a wide variety of liquors such as whiskey, brandy, and liqueur were available at the back bar.
Rare bottles were placed on large display shelves, serving as both storage and display, creating a beautiful and cohesive look.
The interior of the shop was dimly lit by candlelight, and jazz piano music from decades ago softly flowed from the ceiling speakers.
“Good morning, Miki-san.”
Today’s your shift huh, Toma-chan?”
This was the staff room.
Miki, who was spinning around on a stylish black leather chair, was the owner of this bar.
Miki has a good figure and wears a suit.
She is in her late 20s.
She ties her long black hair neatly and wears light makeup.
Her sparkling eyes are filled with the light of the first star, and she exudes an atmosphere of someone who is good at her job.
I’ll go change now.”
Toma took out his work clothes from the locker and immediately changed in the dressing room.
He wore black pants, a white shirt, a navy blue vest, and a black bow tie, which was the typical attire of a bartender.
After changing, Toma puts his regular clothes in the locker and adjusts his bow tie while looking in the corner mirror.
Finally ready to go out, Toma greets Miki again.
“Please take care of me today, Miki-san.”
“The pleasure is mine, Toma-chan.
That uniform looks good on you again today.”
It’s a greeting he’s probably heard many times before, and Toma seems completely used to it.
“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.
Sasaki-san, a regular, has a reservation at 9:00 PM tonight, so could you please attend to her when she arrives?”
Miki brought her hands to her cheeks and gave a cute wink.
It suits her so well that it’s easy to find her adorable.
“Um… I always think about this every time, but is it okay for me to spend that much time on serving Sasaki-san? I feel like I’m burdening you since I can’t leave customers, Miki-san…”
“It’s okay, there’s no problem with me.
Sasaki-san also talked to you according to the situation in the store.”
As a way to spend time in a bar, it’s important not to monopolize the bartender.
There might be other customers who want to talk to the bartender.
The store may be crowded and hectic.
In such cases, monopolizing the bartender would create disgust towards that customer.
Consideration for other customers is also important in a bar.
“Toma-chan, you probably know, but my mother and Sasaki-san’s mother are close friends.
I’m grateful to you for serving her daughter well.”
“I-If that’s the case, then it’s fine…”
Toma sometimes spends more than an hour serving Sasaki, who is a regular customer.
Normally, it’s not possible to use that much time with one customer if there are other customers in the store.
It’s due to the special treatment because the owner Miki and Sasaki’s mother are acquaintances.
“But, can I ask you one thing, Toma-chan…? Serving Sasaki-san is quite beneficial, right? After all, I think Sasaki-san is the most beautiful among the customers who come to this store.”
“I… I won’t deny that.”
That girl always clings to you, Toma-chan.
I don’t know if it’s because of alcohol or what… it’s really tough.”
The word “tough” here includes not only taking care of a drunken person but also maintaining self-control.
There are individual differences in the actions of drunken people, such as those who fall asleep or suddenly start shouting, or those who touch others’ bodies.
Sasaki sometimes falls into the latter category.
“If you like, you can take Sasaki-san home after work.
Toma-chan, you are also a college student, and I think one of your major desires is already awakening.”
“What do you mean, ‘if I like’? Miki-san, if that statement reaches Sasaki-san’s mother, you’ll be in trouble.”
While Toma seriously warned her, Miki was not making a frivolous statement.
“It’s okay, I’m absolutely sure I won’t get in trouble.
I can bet my life on this store.”
Toma realized that Miki was not bluffing or pretending, but really meant it.
Why she had so much confidence to stake her store on it… that’s a story for another time.
“Why… why are you so sure?”
“Oh my… if I tell you, it won’t be interesting, right? …It’s not respecting Sasaki-san’s feelings…”
Speaking with a naturalness as if breathing, Miki muttered to herself in a way that didn’t reach Toma’s ears.
“Just, Toma-chan, you need to be a bit… no, a lot sharper.
Your consideration is perfect, but in that area, it’s lacking.”
“Well, that’s just Toma-chan’s way of doing things… For now, just show your usual communication skills and do your best, okay?”
I’m getting paid a lot of money, after all.”
Toma couldn’t quite understand what Miki was trying to say, but he didn’t pay it much mind.
“You’re so serious, Toma-chan.
You should relax a bit more… but if I say that, my husband will get mad at me.”
“I can’t afford to make mistakes while working.
I’ve been helped by you, Miki-san, many times before.”
“I can see your effort, so I won’t get angry.
It’s only natural as a business owner.”
The hourly wage at this bar, Shine, is quite high at 1,200 yen even in the evening.
It’s thanks to Miki’s good nature and her valuing each employee that they need to show their worth to match the wage.
“Well… let’s finish this small talk and head out front.
I’ll be heading to the counter soon, so could you tell my husband to go to the back?”
Toma immediately switched on his work mode and responded with a different tone.
And then he left for the front before Miki did.
“Mi-chan… She seems to be having a hard time.
She’s making such obvious attacks, but Toma-chan doesn’t even seem to notice.”
Miki showed an indescribable expression as she looked at the closed door where Toma left.
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