A/N: I only have volumes 1-7 of the English editions of Happy Cafe, so this is loosely set in the timeline of those volumes.
It was a pleasant, sunny Saturday and Café Bonheur was already teeming with customers. Uru's favorite customer, a pig-tailed little girl, was eagerly looking over the strawberry desserts.
"This is our newest dessert, Sakura," Uru said. "Strawberry s'mores! See, a strawberry marshmallow and chocolate between two cookies!"
"Wow!" Sakura's purple-blue eyes widened and she turned to her mother. "I want that one!"
"One strawberry s'more, then," Mrs. Abekawa laughingly told Uru.
As the café's youngest employee wrapped up the snack and finished it with a bow that matched Sakura's eyes, Ichiro came in for his shift, but fell asleep immediately. Uru sighed. He must have neglected to eat breakfast. Again. She fed Ichiro a cookie from a tray she left lying around for just this purpose, and as soon as the lanky young man woke up, she told him just what she thought of that.
"How can you forget how to eat? More importantly, why? I have to remind Mitsuki to eat because she spends so much time studying and working, but that's not the case with you, I'm sure."
Insulted, Ichiro glared at Uru.
"If you must know, I've been working on a manga I want to submit for publication, and I was filling envelopes so I could mail them on the way to work. I hope a manga magazine picks it up. Wouldn't it be exciting for you to work with a celebrity? And I bet it would be good for business to know that a famous mangaka works here!"
"Slow down, Ichiro," Uru snickered. "Now, get to work before Shindo throttles you. You were supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago."
"I want to tell you about my manga…"
"You can tell me at lunch. Now, get! I happen to know you're behind on ordering supplies. We're getting really low on cake boxes!"
Ichiro hurried to the back office, glancing over his shoulder frequently as if terrified that Shindo would suddenly materialize and think of a punishment for his being late—he always came up with something new. The last time Ichiro had been late, Shindo—knowing how the former felt about Uru—had made him dress up as a French maid for "Maid Café Day". It had been weeks until Uru stopped teasing Ichiro for that.
When the midday rush was over, Ichiro and Uru collapsed at a table and sighed in unison. Their shift had been full of unusually angry customers. One woman had stomped out because Shindo couldn't make twenty cream cakes just one hour before a party the woman was holding, a man crankily demanded a refund because his chocolate cake was "too chocolatey", and the principal of the local middle school had marched in, demanding that the café not sell food to young children "because sugary food makes them too hyper."
"Hey, you were going to tell me about your manga," Uru said as she sipped a mug of matcha tea.
Ichiro's eyes widened.
"You're really interested?" he exclaimed as he raised a grilled cheese sandwich to his mouth.
"Of course! I like you, and I'm really interested in what you're doing. Don't worry, I won't tell Shindo."
Ichiro squeaked like a startled squirrel. "Y-you like me?"
Uru swatted playfully at her coworker. "Not like that, silly! Don't worry, I'm not dumb enough to ruin our friendship by thinking of something silly like being your girlfriend!"
Ichiro looked away. "Right. How silly of me to misunderstand."
"So, what's it about, this manga of yours?"
"It's about a guy who discovers how to teleport—only he always teleports to the wrong places. I call it Map Cheater. I know it sounds kind of dumb, but…"
"I think it sounds cool!" Uru said.
"Really? You're not just trying to make me feel better?"
"Have you ever known me to lie to make you feel better?"
The aspiring mangaka smiled sheepishly, remembering too well many incidents when he'd been the target of Uru's frankness.
"Thanks. I just hope at least one editor feels the same way!"