The Master and The Angel that Appeared.
Bar【Shine】 operates on a shift schedule with two people in front and one or three people in the back.
Miki and her husband Shinichiro work every day except for the store’s day off, and the remaining shift is filled by part-time workers.
“Toma-chan, could you clean and take out the trash now?”
“Cleaning and taking out the trash, right.
It was currently 6:30 pm, still too early for drinking, and there were no customers in sight.
However, as a drinking establishment, customers gradually start to come in.
Knowing this trend, they try to finish their remaining tasks beforehand to avoid being overwhelmed.
Wearing transparent vinyl gloves, Toma quickly finishes the trash and toilet cleaning, washes his hands, and disinfects them with alcohol before returning to the front.
Toma has been working at this Bar for a year now.
He has become capable of efficiently completing the tasks assigned to him and is now a valuable asset to the establishment.
Apart from taking orders, serving food and drinks, Toma is also responsible for dishwashing and other tasks similar to those of a restaurant.
Although Toma is capable of making drinks, Miki, the owner, handles alcohol and simple snacks.
Miki’s knowledge and experience with alcohol significantly surpasses Toma’s, allowing her to provide tastier and more satisfying drinks that the customers love.
The same goes for snacks.
“Thank you for finishing cleaning and taking out the trash so quickly, Toma-chan.”
“You’re as always so fast.
Miki said with a smile as she carefully wiped the highball glass with a white cloth.
Although it may seem like a simple task, Miki’s refined movements while wiping the glass are admirable.
The jazz music playing in the background enhances Miki’s presence even more.
“Oh no, don’t mention it.
Oh, should I wipe the glasses instead?”
“Nah, I’ll do it.
It looks cool when a bartender wipes the glasses, doesn’t it?”
“I can’t agree more.
It suits you, Miki-san.”
When there are no customers around, the two of them converse with this level of familiarity.
They seem to have an equal and friendly relationship that might be mistaken for colleagues to an observer.
Although it is not an easy job, the workplace is accommodating and enjoyable enough for them to want to continue working there for many years.
“Oh, by the way, Toma-chan, do you like coffee?”
“Yes, I love it, but why do you ask?”
“I heard I might be able to get the Kahlua I was aiming for, so I’m thinking of making a bitter Kahlua milk cocktail next time.
Since you love it, would you like to try it?”
Kahlua is a type of coffee liqueur made from roasted coffee beans and sugarcane spirits.
Liqueur is a blended alcohol made by adding secondary ingredients like herbs for flavor and then adjusting the sweetness with sugar or syrup.
The bitter Kahlua milk cocktail that Miki mentioned is a cocktail based on coffee liqueur, with a high alcohol content but not too sweet.
It is an easy-to-drink and popular drink among women.
“Sure, I’d love to try it.”
Let me know what you think when you try it.”
I don’t think I can offer any useful feedback, though.”
“Don’t worry, just let me know if it was good or not.”
“There has never been a cocktail that you made that I didn’t like, Miki-san.
I’m looking forward to it.”
Toma didn’t have the goal of trying to please Miki; he genuinely felt that way.
He had learned about alcohol by drinking it, so Miki had made dozens of cocktails for him to try, and he had tasted them all.
The cocktails had a low alcohol content and were easy for beginners to drink.
There was nothing to complain about in any aspect.
If someone were to say that it was because Toma didn’t know much about alcohol, that would be fine, but since he was a regular customer, he was creating loyal customers who all had the same impression.
“Totally good at giving compliments, Toma-chan, you are.
…However, it’s interesting how even you get nervous around Sasaki-san.”
“Well, that can’t be helped.
When you’re with someone of the opposite s*x who’s been drinking, you have to be careful.”
“Why don’t you just sexually harass her?”
“That’s not even funny… And, Miki-san, you observe too much.”
“Well, it can’t be helped if you have the luxury of doing so, can it? Things would change if we had more customers.”
Upon hearing Miki’s words, one might assume that she’s just bored.
However, precisely because Toma works at Shine, she can firmly deny that.
“I’m impressed that so many customers are coming to the bar…”
Shine is a bar with five seats at the counter and two tables, for a total of seven seats.
Even when the bar is 80% full, Miki has enough room to observe Toma.
Miki, who efficiently takes orders while providing friendly service, is undoubtedly skilled at her job.
She knows the most efficient procedures to use.
“Well, let’s take a peek again today.”
“Please, spare me…”
The only way to cure Miki’s habit of peeking is to make the bar busier by attracting more customers.
However, Shine is not a bar that relies on catchphrases or sales pitches to attract customers.
It depends largely on the customers.
Toma is prepared to be peeked at by Miki again today.
As dusk turns into darkness, the stars shine brightly.
About three hours have passed since then, and it’s now 9 pm.
The pleasant sound of the doorbell “Karan-karan” rings as customers gradually increase at “Shine”, and the regular customer, Sasaki, arrives.
Good evening,” said Toma, who was responsible for customer service.
Sasaki was wearing a beige blouse and pants, natural makeup, a leather bag, high heels, and silver earrings, and giving both femininity and sophistication.
The group of three men sitting at the table at Shine were captivated by her charm.
“Good evening, Mi-chan.
It’s been a while.” said Miki.
“It’s been a while.
Thank you for always taking care of me.”
Mi-chan replied (Sasaki) with a smile.
Sasaki and Miki have a close relationship because their parents know each other.
“Toma-chan, please show Mi-chan to her seat.”
Sasaki-san, please have a seat here.”
“Thank you,” said Sasaki as she moved to the seat Toma showed her, the one that was always reserved for Mio.
“If you need anything, please call me.”
Toma placed the menu in front of Sasaki and moved to the counter.
“Has your special someone arrived, Toma-chan?”
“What do you mean by ‘special someone’?” replies Toma, not understanding.
“I mean exactly what I said.
Go for it today.”
Miki said with a cheerful expression, trying not to disturb the atmosphere of the restaurant.
“Also, there’s one more thing I want to tell you…”
Miki said suddenly, her tone became serious.
The playful atmosphere disappeared, and Toma understood that something important was about to be said.
“Today, please provide customer service that brings Sasaki-san a little closer.
The atmosphere at the table has changed a bit.”
When Miki said “the atmosphere has changed,” it can be rephrased as her wanting to engage with the regular customer Sasaki.
Miki, who has seen various customers in the past, seems to be able to sense such things.
There may be no scientific evidence, but Toma always follows her instructions.
As a bartender, it is also their job to remove the source of trouble and create a fun atmosphere.
“Toma-kun, can you take my order?”
At that moment, Sasaki’s order came in at the perfect timing.
“Yes, what would you like?”
“I’ll have this.”
Sasaki pointed her long, slender index finger to a part of the menu.
“That would be the Rouge Cassis Orange.
Please wait a moment.”
Sasaki’s order was a foreign drink that used Luge Creme de Cassis.
It was a popular cocktail among women, with a combination of the sweetness of cassis liqueur and the sourness of orange.
“Miki-san, number 19, please.”
As you can see, the name of the cocktail is long.
To maintain the atmosphere in the store, the employees are instructed to use numbers instead of the name of the drink.
When Toma first started working there, he was struggling to memorize the names of the drinks, but now, with one year of experience, it’s a piece of cake.
Miki prepared a tall, cylindrical glass called a tall glass, which is used when enjoying a long drink, with a capacity of 300-360ml.
She seemed to have all the measurements in her head.
She added the deep red of cassis and the orange color to the transparent glass with precise and confident movements.
The two colors contrasted and created a visually stunning drink.
Miki placed the freshly made cocktail on a black lacquered tray with a “kon” sound, and Toma left the counter to serve it.
“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.
Here’s your Rouge Cassis Orange.”
Toma puts the glass on the table quietly.
Since no customers have come in since earlier, Toma’s remaining work is just to communicate with Sasaki, his customer, unless there is an additional order.
“Sasaki-san, did you come from university?”
“Yes… Toma-kun, are you working after a date with your girlfriend?”
Sasaki takes a sip of her cocktail, giving a sidelong glance.
The sound of ice and glass is clear.
“W-Why do you always bring that up…? I’m also a university student, you know that, Sasaki-san.”
Is this our usual conversation?”
“It would be helpful if we could change it.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible, I’m afraid.”
Sasaki seemed to be looking forward to talking with Toma, and despite her mature atmosphere, her expression was lively.
Her gentle smile was so charming that it was hard to look away.
“Toma-san, don’t you work more shifts at this shop? I think it was only two days a week, right?”
“Yes, it’s only two days, on Mondays and Sundays.
I want to work more, but I’m afraid it will interfere with my studies, so I’m saving it.”
“University is a busy time.”
“I’m desperate to keep up with my studies… Sasaki-san, you don’t seem to be as busy though.”
“Oh, is there a reason for that?”
“I don’t know… Just a feeling, I guess.”
Despite being unable to express himself well, Toma finds Sasaki studying after school.
The answer she gives is not wrong.
“Hehehe, that’s quite vague.
It might be true since I don’t hate studying.”
“May I ask about your grades out of curiosity? I was thinking of comparing them with mine,” Toma asked.
“Well, just comparing them wouldn’t be interesting, would it? Since we’re at it, how about we make a bet and compete with our grades?”
“I don’t mind, but what do you mean by ‘bet’?” Toma asked, showing his bartender-like calmness and attention to details.
“Well, how about this? The one who loses based on their grades must fulfill a request from the winner.
How does that sound?”
“I’m sorry, but using the word ‘must’ is a bit…”
As a bartender, Toma values calmness and composure.
Using the word “must” implies that it has to be done without fail.
Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do only creates a negative atmosphere.
To entertain customers, they shouldn’t resort to that.
“Don’t be so tense.
It’s just a simple request that anyone can do… that will be the condition.”
In that case, I don’t mind.”
“I’ll let Toma-kun go first.
Let’s base it on the most recent grades, shall we?”
Then, I’ll go first… I got an ‘A’.”
At universities, the grades range from A (100-90), B (89-80), C (79-70), D (69-60), and F (59-0).
If you get an F, you won’t be able to get credit.
“Well, I’ll go along with this competition.
But it’s not a great grade, is it?”
“It’s just slightly above 80, isn’t it? What about you, Sasaki-san?”
“I got an ‘S’.
That’s equivalent to ‘A’ for your university, Toma-kun.”
The grading system at Sasaki’s nursing school ranges from S to D, and it’s the same as Toma’s university’s grading system except for the use of letters.
“Now, since I won… what should I have you do for me?”
“W-Wait a minute.
A-Are you really telling the truth that you got an ‘A'(S)?”
As can be seen from the numbers, there are a limited number of people who can score in the 100-90 range.
Even if she’s a regular, it’s hard to believe.
It seems to be a problem caused by an excellent grade being too good to be true.
“Hehe, I have my report card at home.
Why don’t you come over and check it after Toma-kun finishes his shift?”
I’ll believe you.”
As expected from a mature person, he said something like “I have no choice but to believe her.” But looking at Sasaki’s confident attitude, it seems that her ‘S’ grade is true.
“So… what kind of request do you have for me?”
“Well, let me think about it until I finish this cocktail… be prepared for a surprising request that will make you surprised, Toma-san.”
I’m looking forward to it.”
And then, after about 25 minutes of sipping her cocktail, Sasaki calls Toma again and suddenly makes a request that no one could have predicted.
“About the request earlier… I want you to confess your feelings to me.”
Whether it’s because of the alcohol or not, she blushes and shows a seductive smile.
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