Description: In which Jam's business is harmed by cranky schoolgirls, and a fight fails to break out (boooooo).
It's still winter break in the Southtown area, at least if you're one of the schoolchildren. Of course, they have been able to occupy themselves with organized violence against each other, with a thoroughgoing dose of medical attention.
But some... have faltered.
Sada Asai is not one of those who has continued on this particular branch of the champion's road. Her ambition to win a scholarship that she possibly did not need ended in between Tiffany Lords' meaty thighs, just like many other dreams. She has chosen, this evening, to drown her pain...
In Chinese food.
She has a menu open in front of her, but what's she doing to the waitress-slash-chef? Well...
"Anyway, so after I stomped that little weasel of a hairbow girl down, you would think that I'd be a shoo in right? That I'd be guaranteed to win what they SAID I would get, which was the honor of being prom queen, right? But I really think there's a conspiracy in the schools, because they didn't give it to me - OR to anyone else who makes sense!"
Sada is whining at her.
"If it had been Lords that would have made a little sense. Or if they found Kirishima or someone like that. Or I can think of a few other people... but they chose Kashiwagi. You were there, you saw it. She had no idea... they had a completely unprepared prom queen. I'm told she BROKE DANCED, instead of what you're supposed to do at a formal dance. Now they'll probably call it daring and exciting, because she is some kind of groundbreaking free spirit or whatever, when really she's just this shallow little nerd?"
Sada sniffs. "As if reading a book and practicing that stupid thing Dan Hibiki invented while he was pooping on a toilet is some kind of replacement for a personality. I'm FULL of personality, grace, style, and everything - but do they choose me? No, they go with HER. Ugh! And now this tournament they've set up, it's just as rigged. It's getting crazier and crazier. I really think it's going to be like that old movie, the Hunger Games, at this rate. We're all gonna go on a field trip and wake up on an island, and we're going to all starve to death while shooting each other with arrows!"
Sada exhales. "I just hope that when I get to the end, I'll be able to find a cute guy to team up with. Do you think he'd believe me if I said we should kill ourselves at the end to win? Anyway, I guess I should finish the appetizer order, huh. Ummmm... I don't know, I suppose." Her eyes turn up to Jam, who she has kept still for about four minutes, probably leaving other patrons at this odd hour to starve to death in obscurity. "What's good to eat here?"
The young woman known as Kuradoberi Jamu is not new to the restaurant scene. Okay! She was new to Southtown's restaurant scene, but Jam's no stranger to the business itself. For years now, she has waited on customers and listened to countless stories, pick-up lines, and unintelligible rants. But Sada's own tirade was still pretty impressive.
To Jam's credit, she did even manage to smile while she stood there at Sada's table. The still somehow smiling waitress/chef nods her head a few times and turns to shoot apologetic smiles at the various other patrons to her restaurant whom were all dying the slow deaths of starvation. Jam quickly does return her attention to Sada when she finally asks her a question. Aha, her chance has arrived!
"The Peking duck and glass noodles are personal favorites of mine! But you can't go wrong with the orange chicken either!" Jam announces happily as she points a finger up into the air before raising two other fingers as she names off various menu items. But suddenly, one of the more fed-up customers gets up to leave. The sight of a potentially unpaid for bill drives a stake through Jam's business heart. "Oh! I'm so sorry! I'll be right with you a minute and I'll be sure to add some meatbuns to your order on the house!" She calls out in a desperate attempt to save as many customers as she could.
The young chef in the long red-cheongsam turns back to Sada and offers her an exasperated smile before bowing at the waist. "Sorry! I guess some of my other guests are really hungry! So, what can I get for you?" She asks while praying to all the Chinese food spirits that Sada orders something....anything....and soon!
For Chisaki Tohsaki, winter break means working. This might, ostensibly, include working at her uncle's Nepalese import shop -- or hawking goods on the street, to the unfortunate people she meets -- but it also means working to become a serious fighter, and find the answers to a most unfortunate curse laid upon her. But today, she isn't seeking to better herself or make a quick buck (anymore than she usually is). Today, she is just hungry.
The door to the Lucky Dragon swings open, and in walks the brown-haired and red-eyed girl. She scans the room for a moment, before her stomach rumbles audibly, and then she looks at Sada. She caught, perhaps, about a sixth of that rant.
She doesn't know what it was about.
"The quiet," she says with a groan to Sada. "It's so damn delicious, you don't even know. You should try it sometime. Great for an appetizer, dinner, or dessert." Then, she turns to Jam, and grins at her with a cheerfulness like she didn't just chew out one of the other customers in front of her and the rest of the restaurant. "Aw hell yeah, meat buns!"
She claps her hands together, red-flecked eyes lighting up with glee.
"Those are the best!" she says. "Can I totally get some meatbuns? Uh, hey, can I sit here, too?" She grabs a chair, flips it around, and sits down at a random table. It may be reserved. "I'm gonna eat me some meatbuns~!"
Sada muses, "But duck's really rich in fat.. and the noodles, they have lots of carbohydrates, don't they? Hmmm, but orange chicken... even so..." as Jam turns to talk to other people.
She's frowning slightly. "Well, I hope after that I can place a meatbun with my order. But I've decided what I want." With a sort of sigh and a roll of the eyes that show this is totally not expressing what it seems to say: "Thanks for putting up with me. What I want is..."
Apparently what she got was backtalk.
Sada falls silent for a full second. She pivots in her seat to look towards Chisaki.
"I beg your pardon? I'm not sure that I heard your suggestion... What was the name of that dish you recommended that I try...?"
Her voice is oozing with malice under a sugary exterior. On the up side, she /did/ order something, didn't she??
The door to the Sleeping Dragon might seem oddly new and freshly constructed in comparison to the rest of the restaurant. The general appearance of the place seems a little run down and there seems to be numerous amateur repairs made all over the place.
Chisaki's entrance to the scene causes Jam to turn and offer a happy bow towards her. "Welcome to my restaurant! Feel free to sit wherever you would like!" She calls out as the newcomer approaches. The young Chinese restaurant owner was always happy to see a customer be excited about coming here. Those were exactly the kind of customers that Jam enjoyed, but sometimes you get a customer that needs a little more help and effort to find out what they want.
Jam refocuses her attention on Sada when she starts to think aloud about what she might want. "No problem! I would recommend one of the vegetable based dishes then! They are really good and all the vegetables are locally bought here in Southtown!" Which means they were most likely imported from some other part of Japan. But what can you expect from a Chinese food restaurant in the middle of Chinatown, Southtown.
The waitress' brown eyes open wide when she sees the growing sparks between Sada and Chisaki. But thankfully, they both mentioned meatbuns and that was an easy enough thing to go get! "Some delicious meatbuns coming right up!" And with that, Jam does her best sprinter impression over to the entrance to the kitchen where she grabs her pink apron of a nearby hook. She throws this on over her cheongsam and gets quickly to work. Hopefully, by the time she comes back out....Sada and Chisaki haven't murdered each other or burned her restaurant down.....she was going to have to cook fast!
"Sounds great!" Chisaki calls after Jam, with a quickly flashed thumbs-up in her direction. A little cheesy, perhaps, but she likes meatbuns a lot. She looks back at Sada, then, and considers for a moment. Perhaps she is weighing whether she wants to get into it here, whether that would be polite and wise -- this is a public establishment, another person's property and belongings that would be at risk.
(Actually, she is taking a moment to appreciate the very idea of the meatbun.)
So instead, while Jam works up a figurative dustcloud in the kitchen, she looks back at Sada and provides her very best shit-eating grin, followed quickly by a shrug of her shoulders. "I said you should be quiet!"
Then her expression becomes withering. "You were disturbing these people. They're eating their meatbuns! You gotta think of people eating meatbuns and--holy wow, that stuff smells good."
"Oh, that sounds good," Sada says as Jam talks about vegetable based dishes. This surely won't put Jam under pressure to pick something and then hope Sada doesn't refuse to pay or cause a scene over it. Nope.
But Sada's own attention rests on Chisaki as she gets called back.
"Oh... Really? I don't think most of them were eating," Sada points out. "So your criticism is not very valid, is it...? Do you commonly go around telling people to be quiet...?"
Sada adds, with tones of GRINDING IT IN, "And your Japanese is very good, though! Are you studying at Pacific...? It must be very difficult to be here and away from your home country."
Having successfully escaped, Jam uses the downtime in cooking up some more meatbuns to take care of all the business that she had to let go while waiting for Sada to make up her mind. Sada and Chisaki both might notice a blur of red going in and out of the kitchen as she delivers food to the other tables as quickly as she can.
Eventually, she ventures forth from the kitchen with a massive tray of freshly cooked meatbuns. Jam profusely apologizes to the various tables as she desposits apologetic meatbuns here and there before finally arriving at Sada's table with a small side order of meatbuns and then at Chisaki's table with a much bigger order. "Can I get you anything else?" She asks cheerfully.
Jam then inches over so slightly over to Sada's within throwing distance table. "I think I know just what you can order as its the best thing on the menu! One Sleeping Dragon Special!" Jam offers as she makes up a dish on the spot that she will then throw together in the kitchen for Sada. She now looks between Chisaki and Sada's tables. Phew, no fisticuffs yet! The young woman breathes a sigh of relief as she takes a moment now to finally catch her breath.
Chisaki's expression darkens at the question about her Japanese being good, her eyes narrowing angrily. Fisticuffs may be imminent. She eyes the blur of red briefly, while Sada goes on, and turns back to her. Her mouth opens up, to issue some manner of furious protest -- perhaps a challenge for battle, on the spot! -- until her nose wrinkles, as she gets a whiff of something:
She fills her open mouth with one of those meatbuns, her right hand acting on its own to just throw a meatbun into it. She scarfs it down nearly whole, in just a few seconds, and then she flashes a bright grin in Jam's direction. "Those are great! Can I get some oolong tea or something to go with it? Those are the best."
Then she looks back to Sada, and smiles sweetly at her. This may be a problem.
"Oh, I guess most of them weren't, huh?" Chisaki asks, rhetorically. She looks around the restaurant -- at the other customers -- and then back at Sada. Her expression becomes flat, bordering on a scowl. "I guess all your yapping made them lose their appetite, huh?"
Sada's lips curl up into a thin fake smile. She may be welcoming the impending attack, so that she can use her secret tricks on this strange girl to -
Sada picks the meatbun up and takes a bite out of it. This causes a truce, however momentary, and leaves tensions to spin where they will, which seems to be downhill. She looks up to Jam, then, as she makes a statement as to what the Best Thing On The Menu is. "Oh, yes, definitely - give me that, and a little pork fried rice with it. Just a little bit, though - I don't want to have to take too much home."
Then she looks around Jam, to Chisaki. "I'm sorry - did you say... Yapping? Is there something that made you choose, that particular turn of /phrase/?"
Hugging the now empty tray in front of her, Jam nods her head towards Chisaki when she asks for some tea. "Of course! Right away! Enjoy the meatbuns!" She says in earnest hope that those meatbuns will keep the truce between her two customers. There has already been so much trouble over meatbuns in her restaurant but she dares not remove them from the menu!
The young restaurant owner looks increasingly panicked as the truce is quickly put aside. Uh oh! What to do?! She looks to Sada whom was already looking very intently at Chisaki. Jam then turns on her booted heels towards Chisaki whom was already looking heatedly back at Sada. The young chef places a hand on the back of her neck and laughs nervously. "So aren't those meatbuns good? I'll go get some tea and get to work on that order right away!" She announces before making a hasty retreat to the kitchen to go work on this new order.
The cheongsam wearing Jam does return a moment later with one little kettle of tea and two teacups. She's also still wearing that fluffy pink apron of hers that has red hearts woven all throughout it. Placing the teacups down at the most neutral space between Sada and Chisaki, Jam soon declares, "Uh, well, I only have one thing of tea left and you two...might just have to share it!" She quickly abandons the tea behind and runs for the kitchen, hoping that World War Meatbun doesn't erupt behind her.
"Yapping? I think you know, it's lik--" Chisaki's jab is cut short as Jam returns to declare the meatbuns are good, and then she turns her head, peering briefly towards her. Is she angry that she was cut off, before she could finish remarking? In this case, no. She grins at Jam.
"Yeah, these are good! I'll have to come back!" she says. "And thanks for the tea, that sounds great. Really goes well with it."
She lets out a sigh, then. Until Jam is back, and coming back so quickly cannot bode well. She hears the announcement; her eyebrow twitches, and she looks at Sada. She opines, simply:
Sada smiles with poisonous ease.
"Would you care to pour? It's polite here to pour tea for your table guests," Sada points out in a way which is totally not picking a fight, oh wait yes it totally is. "And we've only just met, too. I'm sure we'll be the best of friends, once we get to know each other... where /do/ you go to school, Miss?"
Jam breathes another sigh of relief as she returns to the kitchen and redons her apron. She didn't hear any breaking ceramic or the crash and crunch of broken wood which was a good first sign. Maybe it was a good thing that she was low on tea supplies or maybe she should really just get to the building up pile of dirty dishes in the back of the restaurant. Jam glares at these dishes for about two seconds before shrugging her shoulders. Eh, those are a problem for future Jam!
She then gets back to business by finishing up with Sada's meal. Rice, check. Veggies, check. And then some pork, finished! Jam loads up a much more reasonably sized loading tray and heads back out to deliver the finished product to Sada.
With a twirling flourish, Jam places Sada's meal down and then some chopsticks. "Please enjoy it!" The young woman then sneakily begins to back pedal a few steps back to a polite distance away. She raises her tray up to mostly block her face, attempting to see if operation: peace tea-drinker was a success or not.
"Whatever," Chisaki says, but she pours the tea anyways. She gives Sada a long look while she does -- and then she sets the teapot down. She pauses a moment, letting Jam provide the pork and rice, before she glances at her. "Thanks! I'm definitely gonna."
Nevermind that she may have meant Sada more than that.
Afterward, she looks back at Sada. "I'm Chisaki. Chisaki Tohsaki." Her face scrunches up, and she glances momentarily at Jam -- is she hiding behind a tray? -- before she looks at Sada. "Yeah, it rhymes because life is bullshit. Don't laugh."
She pours her own tea and sips, before she looks in Jam's direction and calls out: "Hey, this is great! What's your name?" she asks. "I should come here and bring my friends. I could eat this all the time!"
The operation's success is a... maybe?
Sada returns the look. The tension spikes up again when
This, truly, is a cook's power.
"My name is Sada Asai," she answers Chisaki even though she wasn't addressed. "I go to Seijyun... you should come by sometime. Don't worry; I don't think they'll mistake you for a boy, especially if you wear your school uniform."
After this, she digs into her food... and seems, somehow, obscurely annoyed by it, though she's still eating.
'Ugh,' she thinks: 'I can't just skip out on THIS... this is great.'
Jam looks visibly startled when Chisaki asks what her name was. She balances the empty tray behind her back with one hand before smacking her forehead with the other. In a complete and utter failure at waitressing, Jam had forgot to introduce -herself-. Placing both hands behind herself now, she grins sheepishly at Chisaki. "I'm Kuradoberi Jam! Owner, head chef, and star waitress of the Sleeping Dragon!"
At Chisaki's insistance at bringing friends and Sada's liking of her food, Jam is all smiles again. "Great! Tell everyone you know to stop on by! I'll offer a free meatbun for every person that mentions your name!" The young girl in red thinks for a moment. "Oh! That goes for you too! The same deal applies! I honestly could use all the business I can get!" Jam glances upwards at the patched hole in the ceiling. "Because I don't think that patchjob is going to last forever."
"You want me to come to Seijyun," Chisaki repeats, flatly, to Sada. She scowls at her -- and then shrugs, because who is she to back away from a challenge. "Sure, yeah, we'll go with that. It's good to see how people outside of Taiyo live, sometimes."
She throws another meat bun into her mouth. It is practically inhaled once more.
She looks sideways, then, at Jam -- and grins even brighter. She can do that! Just tell everyone who comes to the shop to run over here and mention hr name. How could this go wrong? "Leave it to me, I'll getcha a bunch of customers. You'll patch that..." Hole? Why is there a hole? "...hole in no time."
Sada says nothing, as she eats instead.
She makes a wordless exclamation about a minute later, having probably just thought of the perfect zinger to Chisaki's remark about holes. She eats angrily thenceforth.
Jam looks back up at the ceiling as Chisaki offers her words of encouragement. Just how was she supposed to explain that? She glances back down at Chisaki and just smiles at first. "Um, yeah! Good! Bring as many customers as you can! The more the merrier!" She thinks about just avoiding the topic altogether, but Sada's relative silence provokes Jam into rambling on. "You see, I had a customer..." Jam pauses. "...this no good deadbeat cheapstake think that my ceiling was the front door and came crashing down through it before skipping out of paying for anything!"
Jam was pretty much all smiles until now. She suddenly had a very, very fired up look on her face. It seems that whomever this mystery no good deadbeat is, Jam doesn't like him one bit!
Chisaki's expression is initially nonplussed. She looks up at the hole, sizing it up for a moment longer, before she looks back at Jam. The transformation from cheerful waitress-slash-hostess-slash chef to vengeful proprietor is a little scary, really. She nods and bites into a meat bun.
"Deadbeats suck," she declares. "Kick his ass if he comes back!"
Log created on 20:10:19 01/04/2015 by Sada, and last modified on 00:25:46 01/05/2015.