Title: Coffee, Black
The coffee was bitter, just the way she liked it. The strength surprised her, as she knew her taste was not one that was shared by the masses. The smile before her was familiar, and so was the face. Reika-san's boyfriend, and that was how she remembered him. She remembered that he had been a victim once too, someone they had saved and who had lost a bit of his memories. But she liked it better, remembering him as a co-worker's significant other than the alternative.
"Is it good?" he asked her, all hopeful smiles and half-knowing looks.
"Very." She nodded her approval and smiled a more elegant reply of thanks.
"Surprising," he grinned, "I only know one other person who likes that blend!"
"Oh, and who may that be?" She asked with only a small show of surprise. Most Japanese liked their coffee sweeter and creamier than she would prefer it to be.
"Chiba-san, Usagi-chan's boyfriend! Though, even he would prefer a very small hint of cream." Motoki grinned at her, whipping his hands on his apron and polishing glass. "I never thought I'd meet someone with his tastes. But then again, you are also not someone I would have imagined the girls would hang out with, being so sophisticated!" He looks a bit embarrassed by his own honest outburst, but she appreciated his bluntness. It's the type of boyish charm that she knew he unerringly used to win over quite a few of his female customers.
Setsuna smiled into her cup and kept the pity she felt for his chagrin and his ignorance from her eyes. It was strange, sitting across from him and having such a casual conversation. It was also strange that he could talk about the murderer of his best-friend like an acquaintance who was almost more. It was strange life worked this way, the ironies and unfairness it dealt out. Secret little shadows and half-remembered truths, hiding just beyond their sight.
"I've always had a deja-vu feeling since that time..." Motoki continued, trailing off. It's at the tip of his tongue and their game of masks and lies was almost coming out of the bag. "Ah, but it must be in the air, ne? Reika-chan tells me I have a very over-active imagination!" His smile was just a little dimmer than before. A bad feeling perhaps, warning him about the consequences of remembering what was best forgotten.
"That must be it," Setsuna reassured him.
And the moment passed. Setsuna drinks her bitter coffee, black and dark and filled with secrets. She kept him in a pleasant mood and acted like the acquaintance she should be: Well-mannered and impeccably groomed. It dazzled Motoki enough to keep his mind off of the gloomier subjects that had risen from their chat and her presence.
The truth, it sat between them like an uninvited guest, but Setsuna was the perfect hostess and she knew just how to ignore such a presence. She knew how to distract those small gut-wrenching feelings, softening the blow to a tap, even if it was sitting across from everyone else - staring (glaring) to be noticed. This was just the way she preferred it to be, bitter and clear and unadorned.
Even if she was the only one that preferred it that way.