After that, Holmes-san started becoming busy with the birthday party preparations as well as his studies, so he stopped showing up at Kura.
The person in charge of the store was mainly Manager.
Whenever Manager was stuck on a piece of writing, he couldn’t continue while staying in the same place, so he’s had to leave the store on multiple occasions already, but his pen has been flowing smoothly in recent times. As a result, he’s left the shop on a lower frequency, and was usually able to put his story to words at the counter with undivided attention.
Today, he didn’t even notice when I entered the shop and said, “Good morning.”
That was some amazing concentration. Although I’m not sure how useful that would be for someone tending the shop.
I silently giggled, then started doing the cleaning as quietly as possible, so as to not bother Manager.
There were many types of goods, so it was tough work dusting all of them.
I cleaned as Manager’s pen skittered across the page. I didn’t mind spending time like this, too.
After a while, he stopped writing, stretched and muttered, “Alright”.
It seemed that he’d reached a stopping point in his writing.
I was still in the middle of my cleaning, but I immediately headed to the pantry to prepare some coffee.
“Here you go.” I placed the coffee cup on the table, causing Manager to come to his senses and look up.
“—Ah, Aoi-san, thank you very much,” he replied happily with a sweet smile.
“Did you manage to reach a good stopping point for your draft?”
“Yes, it was just a short passage, but I managed to complete it.”
Manager mumbled a word of thanks, then slowly sipped his coffee.
That action there really resembled Holmes-san.
Noticing my gaze, Manager shot me a quizzical look.
“Is something the matter?”
“No, I was just thinking that it’s going to be Owner’s party soon.”
I replied, causing Manager to shift his eyes towards the calendar on the table and sigh weakly.
“Yes, so it is…”
He didn’t seem to be too thrilled about it.
“Are you having trouble with your work?”
“No, no, it’s just that I’m not very good with appearing in front of people. Since it’s my father’s birthday, I’ll have to greet everyone, right? I’m so nervous that my stomach hurts.”
He let out another gloomy sigh. It might be impolite to say this, but I think Manager’s quite cute this way. He’s different from Holmes-san and Owner in this respect.
Even though Owner had appeared on TV already.
“…By the way, I heard from my friend that Owner has made appearances on TV. Is that true?”
“Yes. Did you not know, Aoi-san?”
“I didn’t. No one told me about it.”
“My apologies for that, I thought it was common knowledge. On top of that, he hasn’t appeared on TV since two years ago.”
“He hasn’t appeared on TV after that?”
“Yes, he has been invited, but he has always rejected them.”
“That’s a shame. I wish I could have seen Owner on TV, too.”
Manager chuckled at my display of disappointment.
“On TV, he looked so prim and proper that he seemed like a different person entirely.”
“I’ve also heard about that from my friends. Why does he reject the invitations?”
“Well, that’s… there are a few reasons for that,” he responded vaguely, causing me to squint and reply with “Hm?”, when the door opened with a tinkle.
“Wow, what a beautiful shop! It’s just like an antique café.”
“I think I’d like to get some ceramics.”
Two customers that looked to be tourists entered the shop.
“Welcome! Please take a good look around!”
I hurriedly faced the door and quickly produced a courteous smile.
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