“Are these the best ten that you choose?” Grandma Megu asked Tezuka while flipping through the ten candidates’ pictures. Ayase and Mrs. Fujimoto joined too. Tezuka studied his company’s debts. “Yes.”
Momoko Hinoi, their maid, came to the living room to join the conversation. “Are they pretty?”
“Hmmm....quite pretty...but-,”Grandma Megu looked at the pictures once more. She said, “Are these the best that you can choose?” Ayase, Mrs. Fujimoto and Momoko made mock faces whenever Grandma Megu switched pictures.
Tezuka pressed on his calculator to estimate his company’s debts. He adjusted his seat on the long, feather couch. “What can I do. It’s a blind date,” he said in an angry tone. Grandma Megu sighed. “You’re right. I can’t find my favourite here. It’s such a waste.”
“Not to master. He loves cheesecake!” Momoko gave compliment. Everyone laughed. Tezuka just kept quiet and continued to focus on his work. “But, to your guys knowledge, there’s a candidate who is older than me,” he told them.
“Huh?!” they gasped.
“Which one?!” Ayase asked. Grandma Megu and Momoko quickly looked back at the pictures. Tezuka placed his work on the coffee table and went to the kitchen. “The one with many ponytails,”he declared, opening the fridge and popped his head in to search for drink.
All of them stopped when they found the picture. Then, they zoomed in their views. The picture showed a girl in black velvet top. She smiled so sweetly. Her hair was tied into many ponytails using colourful ball-like hair bends. Her eyes were so big and round.
“Kawaii!” Ayase shouted.
“Sweet!” Mrs. Fujimoto praised.
“Perfect!” Grandma Megu cheered out. “Did she eat the cheesecake?!”
Tezuka poured some orange juice into a glass, “Yeah. She even did lick her fork.” Everyone’s jaw dropped open. Ayase jumped off from her seat and ran towards her brother. “Go get her!”
“Why did you do that for?!” Peppei scolded Maimi once she found her in her bathroom. The night was a bit frosty, embracing the old rented house’s scenery. Mrs. Kazui was preparing dinner for three but there were too less dishes. Only fresh lettuce, fried anchovies and rice. Despite the sadness of being poor, Mrs. Kazui felt a deep sorrow feeling whenever she prepared food for her family. Too poor.
The salary that was given to Maimi was not enough to support both of them. Mrs. Kazui did make a sell of her lettuce everyday but not too much she got as the result. But hearing her only daughter was picked to be the best ten Fujimoto’s candidate, she knew there was hope.
“Do what?!” Maimi asked in hesitant. Peppei grunted, “You shout in the middle of the cake shop, you eat the cheesecake vigorously and you humiliate Tezuka-san!” Maimi made faces “But I like cheesecake....it’s been a while since I eat it two years ago.”
Then, she quickly ran to the living room and sat at the Japanese table. “Itadakimasu!”
“Gyabo!” Maimi shouted as Peppei hit her head. “Now, now, girls. Have dinner first,”Mrs. Kazui said. Peppei rolled her eyes, “Duh!” She picked up her bowl and chopsticks then began to eat her rice.
“At least I was picked, okay?” Maimi teased.
“I know that but can’t you just be polite in front of a rich guy who will be your future husband, who knows?” Peppei said through mouthful. “Okaa-san!” Maimi began.
“Enough, girls” Mrs. Kazui said. She smiled and says, “It’s true with what Peppei told you, Mai-chan.” Peppei scoffed in proud. Maimi gawped at her. “But overally, I’m glad you made it, Mai-chan. I’m proud of you, dear,” Mrs. Kazui praised.
Maimi laughed slightly. She took a lettuce and ate them happily. “You? How ‘bout you, Pei-chan?” Mrs. Kazui asked. Peppei swallowed her last chopstickful of rice and sighed dreamily. “I’ve met someone today.”
“Hmm? Who?” Maimi asked, chewing.
“He’s in a rush so we just knew by name,” Peppei told them. “But I know he’s my destiny...ah!” Maimi exchanged look with her mother and burst into laughter. “What’s his name?” Maimi asked in curious.
“Reiya Matsumoto-san....,” Peppei answered. “Okay, whatever! We still have two more days before the ceremony so let’s practice cooking!” Maimi gulped, “Cooking?!”
“Um!” Peppei nodded. She grabbed her chopsticks and pointed them right in her best friend’s face. “Yes! I know there’ll be cooking test. You need to learn that in two days.”
“She’s right, dear,” Mrs. Kazui agreed. “You cannot be a wife if you can’t cook.” Maimi sighed. Mrs. Kazui grinned, seeing her daughter’s sulking face. “Okay, I’ll tell you what. Learn to cook one or two dishes for the contest. After you get picked, you can learn more.”
Peppei nodded again and gave her a thumbs-up. “I’ll deal with it!”
Ayaka walked solemnly in the hallway of the big, silver-coated building named The MGS Company. It was a shining Thursday. A day that worth waking up early to start the day. She can see people’s smiling faces whenever she walked pass some staffs.
“Good day,” she told herself. She was Tezuka’s personal assistant since two years ago. Her perfect and dedicated work had been seen by many clients. She was the only and first person to get the job. She was respected by everyone under her.
She got sleek, curly red hair with matching eyes. Besides Tezuka, she was one of the persons who people scared most and was very well-educated plus, knowledgeable. She spoke based on facts.
The only person that she bowed to was Tezuka. In which, she had a crush on him. Ayaka got that feeling at the first time she applied for work at the share company. At first, this woman was a clueless girl back then but Tezuka was the first person to admonish her and gave her hope to continue working.
All this while, she kept her feelings. She knew her boss well but she just needed time to say it. “You know what? The blind date was over yesterday. Tezuka senpai has chose best ten,” a lady clerk mentioned to her friend at the counter.
Ayaka froze. “Blind date?” she whispered. Her eyes darted at the two staffs.
“Really? Are the chosen one pretty enough to be his wife?” the counter girl asked curiously. Ayaka’s heart thumped. She neared the girls. “Hey!”
Both of the girls looked up and quickly stood up straight. “Ohayo, Sudou-sama!” Ayaka glared at them. “What’s all the fuss? A blind date? Who? When? Why?” she took a glimpse at both of their tag names. “-Sudoku-sama and Nakata-sama?”
“Um...nothing! Really!” they said together. Ayaka grabbed the girls’ blouse collars. “You both better tell or- “
“Okay, okay!” Nakata-sama surrendered. “It was Tezuka senpai. He-he-he- went for a-a-a b-b-blind date yesterday.”
Ayaka let their collars off. She put her hands on her hips. “And?”
“Um....he picked ten girls for a test before one of them gets married,” Sudoku-sama explained in hesitant. Ayaka was shocked. It can’t be! Tezuka’s getting married?! How come I didn’t know anything?
Just then, she noticed Tezuka came out of a lift and took his right. Ayaka quickly ran towards him. The clerks sighed in relief.
“Tezuka-sama!” Ayaka called out. Tezuka stopped.
“Um, sorry if I ask this. Um...how would I put this...hmm....-“
Tezuka did not say a word and left. “Wait!” Ayaka pulled him,“Okay, okay. Here goes. Um, you went for a blind date yesterday?” Tezuka nodded slightly.
What?! Ayaka alarmed herself. “Oh, um, did you find someone ideal?” she demanded.
A pile of files were slammed on the desk abruptly. Tezuka sat on his big, leather seat in his office. He just finished from meeting with a CEO from an Europe company. Everything went well as he began his speech of the upcoming share income but when he served his company’s worksheets to the clients, they marked it as if there was something wrong.
Again. Those cases happened triple. Tezuka was clueless. He had no idea about what was wrong or the weaknesses. He just could not think about any of it.
Tezuka pulled off his glasses and put it on the desk. He cupped his face and sighed for many times and he could feel the burden weighed more when he thought about the blind date on coming Saturday. This young manager was facing problems about the company, but now, he needed to face one more problem. Marriage.
Why? Why did he have to marry at the same time? He kept asking the same question. Anyway, he followed his grandmother’s options just because of his promise with his grandfather. Tezuka was given a promise by his grandfather about marrying and having a child before his beloved grandfather dies. He must grant his promise because he loved his grandfather. So, he went along for the blind date on purpose.
The door was knocked. His heart jumped. “Come in,” he replied coldly. Ayaka came in. She sat on the customer’s seat and smiled brightly. “How’s it?”
Tezuka back-combed his hair. Actually, that was not the point she entered the room. She was going to ask about the blind date again. “Um, what’s going to happen this Saturday?” she asked, watching his boss’s perfect, handsome face without glasses. Damn sexy!
Tezuka shot her a glare, “Nothing. Just another stupid blind date.” Ayaka gulped. His answer was too straight. He grabbed his glasses and wiped it with his handkerchief. “You don’t need to follow this time.”
Ayaka widened her eyes. “Huh?”
“This is my family ceremony,” her boss added. He put on his glasses back and got up. “Message me if there’s something wrong with the shares.” He walked out of his office flaintly. Ayaka was taken back. That was the first time she was not needed to accompany her boss.