The Careful Ones Fall in Love, Too

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1-on-1 with Artificial Sugar Artificial Sugar

"Welcome to Burger Ball, Master. What should I prepare for you?" a male voice asked politely through the drive-thru speakers.
A few girls' voices giggled in reply, and their father sighed.
He placed his order and conveyed his daughter and her two friends' orders, as well.

The voice confirmed the order.
"Thank you, Master. Your payment will be accepted at the next window and the food will await you at the following window."
Once again, the voice coming from the speakers elicited a few giggles.

The owner of the voice was quite used to this reaction at this point, and he watched the monitor with no expression on his face as the car drove off to collect the food.
He punched a few buttons to send the order to the next station, trying not to be distracted with his thoughts.

He was wondering what his new co-workers would be like.
There were two new employees coming in soon, and apparently one of them had a shift that would overlap with his own.
It was told he'd personally be responsible to show them the ropes.
The new employee should be there any moment.
He listened for the employees-only door to open, his face not showing his mild curiosity as to what this new worker would be like.
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Shina was starting work today, at Burger Ball of all places. She was slightly embarrassed about it, and not looking forward to it at all.
She was already teased at school, and now, once her schoolmates found that she worked here...
It was going to be Hell for her.

Sighing, she opened the door marked "Employee's Only" and entered the backrooms, heart pounding hard.
Looking around, she was glad to see that they kept it clean.
A lot of fast food places didn't seem very tidy.

Spotting a young man in a butler's uniform, Shina bowed. "Ah, H-Hello! I'm the new worker!" She said quietly, cheeks bright red.


"Weak." That was the first word that quietly slipped out of his mouth.
He hid his first reaction from himself with this word.
He took a deep breath and clasped his hands behind his back as a somewhat harsh expression crossed his features.

"You're Shina Iwagata, correct? I am Tsukia Aozora. You will address me as Aozora, or Sir, whichever you feel appropriate. I've got the pleasure of being your superior.
To start, get changed -- there are lockers in the back, and your uniform will be found there,"
he instructed with a hint of sarcasm.
He crossed his arms, appearing to be very displeased with being burdened with the task of instructing her.
Yes, this is the side of himself he showed to strangers -- a cold and unfriendly personality. He waited with an impatient expression for her to follow the orders.

((Look what I found!))
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Shina looked at him for a moment before nodding and silently making her way to the lockers.
He wasn't very nice, and she could already feel tears pooling behind her eyes.

How lame.

Sighing, and sniffling, Shina pulled out her uniform and slipped into it, looking at her reflection in the mirror.
She looked ridiculous. This maid outfit was silly.

Wiping her nose on a tissue she'd pulled out of her purse, Shina took a deep breath and calmed herself before stuffing her purse back into the locker and locking it.
Nodding to herself, she made her way back to Tsukia, who she figured was always angry.
"What can I do now, Sir?" She asked, voice wobbling with nerves.

((1- Do you role play on that site, too? 2- I'm really bummed, that partner hasn't replied all day, though she's been online.))


Shoot, was she seriously about to cry?
No one had handled him that badly since junior high, but in that particular incident, he'd been sent to the office for bullying.
Was it worth easing up a bit, when that might be a little out of character for him..?

Aozora shifted his posture and watched the floor in thought as he waited for her to be done.
When she finally came back out in her uniform, he was surprised to hear her take him seriously and call him 'Sir', and he noted that the uniform didn't look too bad on her.
It could be worse, like how Yukina wore her outfit -- folds of fat did not look great with ruffles.

"Since it's your first day," he began, carefully maintaining his uncaring tone, "I'll show you around the workspace."
He decided it would be best to start with the kitchen, which, unlike in most fast food places, was separated from the ordering area with a wall.
He turned in its direction and started walking slowly enough for most people to catch up, expecting he wouldn't need to ask her to follow him.

((1- I don't, but I almost joined once. 2- Aww, darn, that's no fun... Although I'm guilty of doing that to people, myself. *drowns*))
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His voice was very cold, and it was obvious he didn't care about much.
Shina wasn't used to people speaking to her this way, but she knew she couldn't cry about it.
Otherwise, she'd lose her job, and be forever known as the crybaby.

Sniffling quietly, she followed him to the kitchen, looking around with wide eyes.
It was large, and spotless. Perfect for cooking!

"This place is very clean. I approve!" She said, laughing. She herself had OCD, and loved cleaning.

(( Oh, I see. It's a pretty nice site, for the most part, though there are a lot of flakes. I try really hard not to do it to people, lol, but sometimes I do.. >>))


He heard her quiet sniffles and made sure he didn't let his guard down.
What would the other co-workers think if he suddenly went easy on a newcomer, and especially one as weak as this?
He was slightly concerned when he heard her go quiet, and turned a bit to see what she was doing.
Aozora was quite surprised when he heard her laugh -- what a dramatic change.

"Who needs your approval?" he said before he could restrain himself, his nature kicking in automatically.
He was quite worried for a second that he'd done something wrong, though he didn't show it, and then he realized that this was perfectly in character.
He still felt the need to say something anyway, for his own peace of mind.
"Excuse me," he added in an only slightly less harsh tone.

"In any case, you might work here, or somewhere along the Drive-Thru line," he said, turning to show her where he'd been working just moments ago.
"Depends on what you're good at."

Once again, he left without instructing her to follow him.
He wouldn't allow himself to be honest with himself -- especially not at work.
But he was sort of... curious... about the new employee.
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Shina looked up at him, eyes wide, shocked at his question.
But really... Who needed her approval? It was just something silly she said, sometimes.
Here, though, she had to remember, she wasn't around friends who understood her jokes and weirdness..
"I-" Before she could say she was sorry, he was excusing his comment.

She looked at him for a moment, wondering if he might possibly be bipolar.

"I'll try both, then, I think.." She mumbled, shrugging. She wasn't sure which she'd be better at.
She wasn't really good at too much.

She noticed he'd begun walking off, and she jumped, jogging to catch up with him.


He led her the not-so-far distance to the first room on the Drive-Thru.
"If it wasn't obvious," he began, "this is where we take customers' orders."
"We address people as 'Master' or 'Mistress' according to their gender;
do you think you could tell them apart from this monitor?"

He assumed she couldn't -- it usually took a lot of practice to get that right.

He continued his strictly-professional facade as he moved to the second room.
He looked back to listen to her comments as he walked, with a plain expression.
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Shina followed, nodding as he explained everything.
She wasn't stupid, she knew that this was the drive-thru, but she let him talk anyway.
Standing forward, she looked closely and nodded. "There's two women and one little boy in the car."

Shina smiled, following him onto the next room.
His expression was very bored, which she'd figured out by now was probably his only expression.


Well, she seemed to have calmed down a lot since seeing the kitchen.
Maybe the best place for her would be to do something there.
As he led her to the second area, he pointed to another window.

"This is where the customers can pay. We accept most credit cards, cash, and BioTickets."
He watched her to make sure she'd heard the list of accepted payment methods.
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"Cash, credit cards, BioTickets."
Shina repeated this quietly a few times, and then nodded, smiling.

"Got it."
She could easily remember things if she said them a few times to herself.

Shina wasn't worried about forgetting, but she was worried about messing something up.
"So... Will I just be taking orders then? I don't cook, right?"
She didn't cook well... Baking was another story- she was a great baker- but cooking was just not going to end up well.


Aozora didn't want to limit her options; she had potential he didn't want to waste.
"You will try both drive-thru and kitchen duty, and we will see what suits you better."
His voice still sounded cold.

The tour was almost over, and he turned to show her the last section of the drive-thru.
Once there, he gave the guy working there a glare that said 'get it right'.
"Finally, this is where the orders are delivered to the customer."
He didn't look straight at her as he continued speaking, a very serious expression on his face.
"Mess up one thing here... and you'd be fired at the end of the week."
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Shina nodded, looking at the floor.
"Yes, Sir." She said quietly, already terrified of how bad she would do.

"O-One thing?" She asked, fear making her voice wobble.
Great. She'd be fired by the end of the week.


And, she was jittery again.
It seemed she had calmed down a bit over the course of their tour, but now she was back to being weak.
She would probably have to be kept away from the last drive-thru window, or the manager might really fire her.

Wait, why was he even concerned about this?!
He might lose his cool if he wasn't careful with this one.
"What is it? Spit it out," Aozora said calmly.
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"I'm afraid I'm going to be fired by the end of the week."
Shina answered, hands gripping her skirt tight.
Her heart was pounding in her chest and she could feel herself getting dizzy.


"You know what? You probably couldn't handle this part anyway," he began.
"Excuse me, but I don't think you're worthy of this last window. You'll stick to taking orders, and to kitchen duty for now."
He wasn't looking her in the eye, but rather he was looking a little down and to the side.
He said it as if talking down to her, but he didn't want someone like this getting kicked out so harshly.
Really, it wasn't as if he cared or anything, he told himself; it was just...
Just what?

"As for right now, hang around the first two windows and the kitchen."
"Observing your superiors might give you a better idea of how you should behave."
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"Yes, of course.. I never thought of that." Shina answered, laughing nervously.
She really should have thought of it, but.. Her nerves and anxiety kept her from thinking clearly.
What a lame excuse.
Plus, boys always made her nervous.

"Thank you." She whispered.


What was that he just caught?
Surely he'd misheard -- she couldn't have expressed gratitude towards him.
He was trying to look like a jerk; was his acting that bad?

"Whatever. I'm getting back to work, so go look at stuff or something," he said, fumbling with his words a bit at the end.
He turned away from her to return to his post at the first window.
What if she chose to watch him?

"Welcome to Burger Ball, Mistress," he said to a returning transgender customer.
This is one of the reasons he didn't expect people to get genders right on their first try.
"What should I prepare for you?"
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Shina looked around, nervous, unsure of what to do now.
Biting her lip, she stood back, out of the way, to watch him work.
She felt that maybe if she watched him, she would learn what to do, as well.

As a customer walked up, she could see it was a female, and she was right.
Smiling to herself, she felt at least confident that she could tell the gender of customers.
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