Art by @nanaboodraws on twitter
“The deadline is this night, I will not tolerate any late turn-ins, if you don’t get it done you’re failing this class”.
Pressure in university?
No way who would’ve thought?
My throat closed up at the thought of sitting at an assignment even after my classes. Normally I would just do most of the assignments on weekends so I could sleep well during the night to work.
This will be a long shift, I can already tell.
My chemistry professor was especially ruthless, there was no possibility for late attendance and every excuse was thrown out of the window.
When was the last time I slept properly?
Numbers danced through my head.
If I take a quick power nap I can hit the library and finish this assignment before 10pm, I’ll cook and eat something later then.
Luckily enough, I had packed my lunchbox and quickly munched on my sandwich as I left the lecture hall.
I turned around to the professor staring at me intently. She had grey hair infused with some sort of strands that used to be brown and the glasses on her nose stuttered down a bit as she spoke.
“You haven’t turned in your research proposal yet have you?”
My heart plummeted somewhere down. Into my stomach, or maybe even my feet. The dread was unbearable.
I thought the deadline for that was in a week still?
“No I haven’t yet M’am”
“Well get to it then, you have a week still but most of your peers have done so already. I don’t tolerate slackers in my class”, she spat and turned around to get back to her desk.
At this moment there wasn’t only stress building in my body, but a quiet thrum in the back of my head started to develop.
I pushed out a breath and nodded to myself.
You got this.
I then realised I still had my sandwich in hand, and humiliation added onto the turmoil of feelings in my body.
Of course that’s what I look like eating in a lecture hall…
A notification let my phone vibrate and I quickly pulled it out to check.
[Group work culinary class]
[Osamu did you get the Eclairs?]
Time froze to a halt.
My entire plan of being done at 10pm just flew out the window, towards Neverland.
Who would’ve thought university would bring me to start hating the things I used to love?
I quickly typed something as I jogged towards the kitchen provided to us by the university.
I was supposed to get those done today and send them to our professor before 6pm, and I haven’t even started yet.
Scrambling to the door I quickly opened it to find almost no one using the room. It was clean and looked sterile as always, the silver stove tops and marble floors exhibiting the regal attitude of this school.
Back at the end of the room was a line full of refrigerators, and I searched for the right number to open it, my eyes quickly moving to a label with my name on it.
“Ah!”, I exclaimed and pulled out a box full of ingredients and a smaller container with chilled vanilla creme.
The relief I felt from having pre-made it yesterday was so gratifying, I barely noticed the huge grin on my face before I saw it in the reflection of the kitchen counter top.
I grabbed all of my utensils, all of the dry ingredients I would need and took in a long breath.
Go by the recipe. Be quick yet thorough and make sure to get enough batches to choose the best in the end.
A quick glance at the clock.
An hour and 25 minutes.
Even grown men can feel like they want to cry sometimes, right? Because right now everything felt like it was going downhill.
No time to mope, ya can punch a pillow tonight Osamu.
I reiterated the recipe again and again, starting to measure the butter and the different flour types I was going to use.
How long will it take to make the choux dough? Fifteen minutes? And then I have to pipe them properly and bake for twenty five minutes.
I could definitely make three batches if I had more than two hours but I will be sloppy If I do-
The gears in my head stopped turning and I looked to my side to find a young woman look at me with concern.
“Are you okay?”, she asked politely and tilted her head to the side.
She was familiar, but my head was so preoccupied I could barely piece the pieces together until a waft of her luscious caramel scent infiltrated my nose.
At least that’s what my idiot brother calls her. I can’t call her that.
“Uh, yes I am thank you”, I cleared my throat and her smile made me stop for a moment and relax.
Although her scent was strong, it was a presence quite welcome. Even her scent being something food related couldn’t stress me any more.
“Do you need help? What are you making?”
Do I have time for this now? I really needed to get started as soon as possible, and small talk would take me nowhere right now.
I quickly slid over the notepad with the recipe towards her and hoped she would be repulsed by the complicated French recipe.
I tightened the black apron I wore and started to gather the bowls and measured ingredients.
“Oh, eclairs! I love those, they are a bit tricky to make but so worth it in the end!”
A metaphorical screeching noise was to be heard in my brain.
My arms stopped frantically working and I stared at the omega who grinned and gave me the notebook back.
I could probably do this on my own. I don’t like asking people for help, especially if they think I owe them something afterwards, but I also knew that connecting to other people was important to advance.
If she could just help with checking the oven and making the chocolate I would be eternally grateful, it was probably too much to ask for a co-chef right now.
“I need to get these done before 6, can you help me with timing and prepping?”
She looked at me like I just made the funniest joke, and I furrowed my brows.
“Are you underestimating me?”, her cute demeanor quickly caught fire as she started to look past me, maybe to collect her thoughts and then looked back at me, “I can start with the first batch for the choux and we can alternate with making the chocolate”.
“Are ya sure?”
She nodded fiercely and I felt only one thing.
Another look at the clock, 4:47pm.
After running back from the examiner room of my professor, I quickly walked back towards the kitchen only to find her still cleaning the kitchen counter and placing the used bowls in the sink.
“Wait stop, that’s ma job”, I briskly joined her and took the bowls out of her hands even though she protested.
“no let me”, she complained and I took a quick look at her pout before shaking my head and starting to wash the dishes.
While we were making the eclairs just a bit earlier, I noticed how quick and clean she worked. I barely had to say anything at all, it was clear she was in some sort of way experienced in baking.
She made the first batch of the choux without looking much like the recipe, and her movements were precise and calculated.
While I washed and rinsed the bowls, she stood on my right and dried them off without a sound.
I had expected her to be a lot more vocal, but I guessed she was either adapting to me or just highly focused.
This would be the time to make conversation.
We both stopped immediately and I snorted as she giggled.
“You first”, she insisted.
“Yer really good at this. Ya saved me, I don’t know if I woulda made it”
“I’m glad to help! It was so much fun to stand in the kitchen again, I rarely get the time for it”
“I mean it, thank you. Ya were exactly what I needed”.
Not a loud brother who slept through his lectures, or a loud beta screaming about his ideology or a weird omega creeping up on me and calling it ‘courtin’ and definitely not one deadline after the other.
“You’re welcome! Again, I had a lot of fun, it reminds me of home”.
Were my suspicions correct?
“Did you work in a confiserie?”
She shook her head, “My family owns a bakery, but I used to try a lot of new stuff out when I was there so I got used to it”.
The smile on her face was beamin, and she reminded me of when Ma was happy when I helped her with the chores.
It was such a nice feeling, after all of the stress that was today that I could feel my heart beating far too fast.
It’s been so long since I could enjoy a moment of peace. After what happened with Atsumu I felt so stumped, I had no idea what to do.
Right, Asami hopefully took care of that.
I shook my head.
“It was great working with you, but I still have another assignment due today that I need to finish”, I shared a crooked grin at her concerned gaze, “I have to go”.
Together we placed the equipment back where it belongs and started at the abundance of eclairs that had no use anymore neatly put in containers.
I took two and placed them in the omega unassuming arms, and before she could bicker I pushed them further into her hands.
“Take them”, and my voice was harsher than I wanted it to, but it worked, “Give Asami some too”.
Begrudgingly but a playful glint in her eyes she accepted the baked goods and I left the kitchen to go to my dorm.
One task done…
I caught a glimpse of a sage colored hoodie trotting around and fumbling for keys.
Way too many to go.
“Oi!”, I called after the hopeless creature that was my brother and caught him flinch before looking at me.
“What are ya doin? Ya got somethin I gotta know?”
I closed the gap between us and squinted my eyes at the skittish firm in front of me.
Did Asami make him worse?
“M’fine, just getting my bag to go practice. Tomorrow is the big game”, he murmured and I lightly shoved him to open the door with my keys.
Right, the fateful game against the sparrows or whatever they were called.
“Right, the sparrows?”
“Yup, hopin’ to get some serious work done today”
“Ya feel better?”
There was a silence for a moment, my brother halting and looking up with something I would call unexpected relief in his features.
“M’good. Better at least”
“Okay you scrub, get yer shit I need to get in too”
I looked up to him as I saw him packing up his bag and holding up a volleyball.
Damn, it’s been too long since I played. But where was the time after all of the assignments and taking care of everything?
“Ya wanna come with? I could use ya as a spiker. And it’s been a while”.
Something inside me screamed to say yes.
To hell with the assignments! To hell with everyone else, as long as Tsumu and I were together.
But we’re adults now.
I had to finish stuff.
As much as it pained me to do, I shook my head and regretted it the moment I saw my brother’s eyes dim a little of their excitement as he turned around.
“Alright, I’ll see ya around”, he chirped as he walked out the door, leaving me to scramble for words.
“It’s just this assignment Tsumu, we’ll practice together another time okay?”
“Mfine Osamu, good look with your stuff”, he waved a hand at me and left the door open.
I stared at it for a while.
Longer than I should’ve probably, until I got myself together and sat down at my desk.
Damn it Tsumu.