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Café au Lait (Team Rocket oneshot)

Matori

THE QUEEN IS BACK
Café au Lait (Team Rocket oneshot, G)

The Kalos trip had been a long one, and Matori was happy to see it near its end. Normally, Matori was happy to accompany Giovanni on a trip to another region- the change of setting was a pleasant one she welcomed, and it was nice to get out of her cozy yet stuffy office- but this was for a business trip. Regular, Respectable Business.

And the Respectable kind of business was just no fun to Matori. Gone were the faces that had become so familiar to her, the settings she felt most welcomed in… the stuffy world of business was somehow more constricting to her than her typical Team Rocket life.

For one, threatening people with fountain pens for their incompetence tended to be frowned upon in Respectable Business.

Still, it was from work like this that the Team continued to thrive, continued to make money in regions where the missions were less frequent and more costly, and she appreciated their necessity on that account. And if nothing else, it gave her a chance to experience the amenities such locales had to offer on a much more relaxed basis.

The two had a morning to kill before their flight back to Celadon International, and so agreed to split up in Lumiose City for a bit of shopping and sightseeing, then meet back up in Café Ultimo for drinks and to take the train to the airport.

Matori had finished a successful clothes shopping trip and was headed down North Boulevard to the café, but stopped in her tracks when she heard a small rustling noise nearby. Out of instinct, she turned her head to the source and saw only a small, grey, shadowy blur among the bushes and trash cans of the city. It looked almost… furry.

She stared at the source for a moment, wondering what it could have been.

“You can’t seriously be lost this close to the café.” Giovanni stood behind her in his signature black trenchcoat and matching hat, smirking, and startling her with his sudden remark.

Matori turned to face him immediately, embarrassed to have been seen this way.

“Sir.. I wasn’t.. there was something moving. Right there!” She pointed to where the blur had been moments earlier, realizing well she was pointing to nothing.

“A… newspaper box?” Giovanni said. “This trip has been rough on both of us. We’ll go and buy some coffee, take a well-deserved break, and we’ll be on the plane back to Kanto in no time.”

Matori simply nodded in agreement and quietly followed behind him, knowing there was more to what she’d seen than she thought. She still couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched.

~

The coffee had indeed proven refreshing for both of them. Matori was picky about her blends, and had long believed the stories about Kalosian cafés being superior were a lot of hype, but found herself pleasantly surprised by the smooth flavor and perfect roast of her cappucino. The snacks for sale also didn’t disappoint- it was a challenge for her to restrain herself upon seeing the great variety of macarons, eclairs, and crepes the café’s bakery produced- and any stress the stay in Kalos might have caused Matori quickly dissipated as she nibbled away at the treats without a care in the world. Giovanni was absorbed in his newspaper and Persian busied himself with a bowl of farm-fresh cream.

Even with the pleasures of Ultimo distracting her, she couldn’t get her mind off what she’d seen earlier. She felt as though it wasn’t the first time that mysterious blur had appeared behind her in Lumiose.

“Shoo, shoo! Away, you filthy furball!” A screeching male voice broke the relevant quiet of the café. It belonged to one of the waiters, at the door swinging a broom at a stray Espurr. “How many times have I had to tell you?”

Matori looked at the frightened gray kitten, feeling a little sympathy. “Excuse me, waiter?” she said.

“Yes, what do you need?” the waiter replied, his face softening a little to her request. “At your service… ma cherié.”

Matori glared at him and blew off his flirtatious advances. “I believe that Espurr is simply hungry. It most likely saw my colleague’s Persian-” she motioned to Persian, who was now happily lapping up the last drops of his bowl of cream- “and wished for a little treat of its own.”

“Terribly sorry, miss, but I don’t give a free lunch to anyone here, especially not mangy strays like that.”

Matori reached into her black patent leather handbag for her wallet and pulled out some money. “Then I’ll pay for it.” She lowered her thick, wire-rimmed glasses to make perfect, unbroken eye contact with him.

“Miss, I-”

“You said you don’t give a free lunch to anyone. I’m paying for it, so it’s no longer free. You couldn’t possibly be about to turn down a paying customer, could you? What would your manager ever say if they were to find out?”

“Miss-”

Matori’s stare remained fixed upon him, and the waiter finally, reluctantly, accepted her money. “Right away, ma’am.”

“Thank you,” she said.

She watched the waiter carefully, to make sure he actually provided Espurr with the cream she paid for, satisfied to see him lay down the bowl for the grateful Psychic Pokémon just outside the café. He returned to her table.

“As requested, one bowl of cream for the hungry Espurr. Would you like anything else, ma’am?”

“Our bill, please,” Matori said, having finished the last macaron- lime-pistachio, quite sweet and light in flavor- on her plate. “I think we’re done here.”

~

The two Rockets and one Persian left the café, Giovanni having paid the bill- including Espurr’s bowl of cream in the already generous tip, at Matori’s insistence- satisfied and recharged for their trip home.

“You truly do have a soft spot for cats,” Giovanni commented, amused by her earlier exchange with the waiter.

“It’s not just that,” Matori said. “There was no good reason to turn that Espurr away, it was probably scared and just needed a little something to eat. It was only a baby.”

“So you admit to having a soft spot,” he said, and Matori quickly glanced aside, knowing she couldn’t really hide anything from him.

“Purr?”

“Persian not now, you just- oh.” Giovanni and Matori stopped dead in their tracks. The sound hadn’t come from Persian, but rather, the tiny Espurr Matori had bought the cream for in the café. It stood in front of them, its huge purple eyes full of gratitude.

“I think it wants to thank me for the snack,” Matori said. “You’re quite welcome.” She crouched down to pat Espurr behind the ears.

“Purr ess purrpurr!”

“Don’t mention it,” she said, as the two of them began walking again, towards the train station.

“Matori,” Giovanni said, finally, as they stood just outside the doorway to the station. “I think we’re being followed.”

Matori became alert and looked around her, remembering her gut feelings from earlier, and expecting to see someone suspicious.

Instead, it wasn’t until she looked at her feet that she understood what he meant.

“Purr!” Espurr was staring up at Matori again, front paws wide open as if asking for something. She realized suddenly that this was more than likely the small gray shadow she’d seen darting around before she’d entered the café, if it traveled this far.

“I guess I just can’t shake you,” she told it. “You followed me to the café, didn’t you?”

“Purr espurr purr.” Espurr was rubbing her legs with his head now.

“You’ve been adopted,” Giovanni deadpanned. “Looks like that Espurr smelled Persian on you and decided you were its new mommy. Stray cat Pokémon have a habit of that.”

“Considering I’m certain this was what I saw on the way to the café, you’re most likely right, sir,” she said. “It must have followed us in and wanted to have drinks with us.” She fought hard to hide how completely charmed she was by the prospect of this.

“Purrpurr espurrrrrrr,” Espurr continued doting on Matori, much to Persian’s annoyance. Persian began growling softly.

“Persian, cool it,” Giovanni scolded him. “Matori, let’s hurry up, we’re going to miss our train if you-”

“Do… do you…”

“Do I what?”

“…If it’s not asking too much, you wouldn’t happen to have a spare Poké Ball on you, would you?” Matori said quickly and nervously, a little embarrassed.

Giovanni wondered what Matori wanted with the Poké Ball, and it hit him. He reached into the pocket of his trenchcoat and handed her an empty Ultra Ball. Matori gratefully accepted it, with a hastily muttered “thankyousomuchsir” and lowered it in front of Espurr.

“Want to come home with me?” she asked, smiling at him.

“Purr!” Espurr replied, and he batted the Ultra Ball’s button with his tiny front paw, opening it. The ball captured him in a beam of red light.

“At least one of us made a new friend here,” Giovanni said. “Well, that’s done. The train’s not going to wait for us all day, Matori.”

Matori smiled down at the now occupied ball and tucked it in her handbag, then followed Giovanni and Persian into the station.

Maybe Kalos wasn’t so bad after all.
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
This is a very cute fic. I thought it's nice Matori is willing to pay for Espurr's food. Yay for her catching the Pokemon!

For one, threatening people with fountain pens for their incompetence tended to be frowned upon in Respectable Business.

Threatening people with fountain pens is never a good idea. :p

Matori reached into her black patent leather handbag for her wallet and pulled out some money. “Then I’ll pay for it.” She lowered her thick, wire-rimmed glasses to make perfect, unbroken eye contact with him.

“Miss, I-”

“You said you don’t give a free lunch to anyone. I’m paying for it, so it’s no longer free. You couldn’t possibly be about to turn down a paying customer, could you? What would your manager ever say if they were to find out?”

Again, great she's doing that for Espurr. And she's right over the turning down a customer part, ah yup.

“It’s not just that,” Matori said. “There was no good reason to turn that Espurr away, it was probably scared and just needed a little something to eat. It was only a baby.”

“So you admit to having a soft spot,” he said, and Matori quickly glanced aside, knowing she couldn’t really hide anything from him.

That's cute.

Giovanni wondered what Matori wanted with the Poké Ball, and it hit him. He reached into the pocket of his trenchcoat and handed her an empty Ultra Ball. Matori gratefully accepted it, with a hastily muttered “thankyousomuchsir” and lowered it in front of Espurr.

And this one is cute too.

Enjoyed this short fic a lot!
 

JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
As requested, a review! :D Sorry it took so long, by the by!

Gone were the faces that had become so familiar to her, the settings she felt most welcomed in… the stuffy world of business was somehow more constricting to her than her typical Team Rocket life.

Because of the repetition of phrases beginning with the word “the,” it’s actually very easy to misread the part after the ellipsis as a continuation of a pattern. I would suggest placing a period after the ellipsis and then capitalizing the next “the.” This is the most grammatically correct method, but if you think it looks odd (and I wouldn’t blame you), you can also get away with simply capitalizing that last “the.”

For one, threatening people with fountain pens for their incompetence tended to be frowned upon in Respectable Business.

That is a beautiful line.

YES, THAT’S GENERALLY CONSIDERED A LITTLE RUDE.

The two had a morning to kill before their flight back to Celadon International, and so agreed to split up in Lumiose City for a bit of shopping and sightseeing, then meet back up in Café Ultimo for drinks and to take the train to the airport.

Commas are so very easy to trip up on.

In the case of the first comma, whether or not you keep it depends on how you phrase it. You can keep it by adding a “they” after “so” (and potentially dropping “and” to avoid doubling up on conjunctions) in order to create a compound sentence. This might actually be the most elegant way of resolving the issue. The alternative is dropping the comma and creating a dependent clause, but given that there’s quite a bit of distance between the sentence subject (the two) and the verb here (agreed), it might read awkwardly.

The second comma, meanwhile, is optional, but it would probably read better if there was less of a pause (and therefore no comma).

Matori had finished a successful clothes shopping trip and was headed down North Boulevard to the café, but stopped in her tracks when she heard a small rustling noise nearby.

Same deal here as with the first comma of the last excerpt. As in, you’d either have to add a subject to the clause after the comma (i.e., turn this into a proper compound) or drop the comma, but it would be preferable to add a subject because of how much distance there is between the subject and the verb.

If it helps, whenever you add a comma-conjunction combination, replace it with a period first. If you end up with two full sentences as a result, you’re trying to make a compound, so the comma can stay. If one of the pieces is actually a fragment instead, then you’re not creating a compound, so the comma will have to go.

Giovanni stood behind her in his signature black trenchcoat and matching hat, smirking, and startling her with his sudden remark.

I would actually recommend breaking this into multiple sentences because the bits after the comma read a little oddly, as if they’re trying to describe what Giovanni is wearing, rather than what he’s doing. (This is because that’s what the rest of the sentence really is about, more so than the fact that he’s standing behind Matori.)

Also, weird point, but “trench coat” is actually a two-word phrase.

“Sir.. I wasn’t.. there was something moving. Right there!” She pointed to where the blur had been moments earlier, realizing well she was pointing to nothing.

Oddly jumpy for Matori, but then again, perhaps she is in private, when the audience doesn’t have a chance to see her.

We’ll go and buy some coffee, take a well-deserved break, and we’ll be on the plane back to Kanto in no time.”

Although it’s not unusual for people to talk like this informally, it actually reads a bit odd (and is awkward for people who speak a bit more formally) because it’s not symmetrical. Putting it another way, in this list of items, you have two that are verbal phrases (i.e., phrases that begin with verbs) and one phrase that is actually a full, independent clause. In order to get this to read properly, then, you’ll want to separate out the independent clause to make it stand on its own.

Now, I don’t mean literally create a new sentence. You can actually fix this rather easily by shuffling the sentence a little and adding a comma. First, that new comma will need to be after the word “go.” Once it’s there, move the “and” that occurs right after it to just after “coffee.”

The end result is this sentence:

We’ll go, buy some coffee, and take a well-deserved break, and we’ll be on the plane back to Kanto in no time.

This has the effect of making it clearer that the independent clause is the second half of a compound sentence and not a list item because you’re showing the reader that the list ends with the well-deserved break.

Matori was picky about her blends, and had long believed the stories about Kalosian cafés being superior were a lot of hype, but found herself pleasantly surprised by the smooth flavor and perfect roast of her cappucino.

None of the commas in this sentence are necessary, actually. No part of this is a compound sentence.

(However, you may want to rephrase part of this so that it becomes a compound because of how lengthy this sentence is right now. By the time you get to “but found herself,” you’ve pretty much put way too much distance between the verb “found” and its subject.)

Cappuccino needs two C’s, by the by. It’s easy to misspell it, but easy way to remember it is by pronouncing it out loud. Notice how you hang a little when you get to both the P sound and the C sound of the word? (In other words, you emphasize the P and the C more than any other sound?) Italian doubles up on letters whenever they emphasize its sound in a word, so if it’s a longer sound in your ear, chances are, it’s a double-consonant.

“Shoo, shoo! Away, you filthy furball!” A screeching male voice broke the relevant quiet of the café.

I feel like this might need to be rearranged because the part outside of the quotation marks initially reads as a dialogue tag (meaning it looks like it shouldn’t be capitalized). Moreover, it feels a bit awkward to say that a voice broke the quiet after you have a voice breaking the quiet via a quote.

“How many times have I had to tell you?”

This’ll probably be better in present tense, considering he’s still trying to tell Espurr to go away.

she motioned to Persian, who was now happily lapping up the last drops of his bowl of cream-

Capitalize this and place a period at the end. The dash should be transferred to inside the quotation mark following this point. I say this because this excerpt is a complete and whole sentence; it’s the dialogue that isn’t. So therefore, you’d want to capitalize and punctuate this excerpt as a sentence, while you’d punctuate the quote as an interrupted thought.

She watched the waiter carefully, to make sure he actually provided Espurr with the cream she paid for, satisfied to see him lay down the bowl for the grateful Psychic Pokémon just outside the café.

First and foremost, you’ll want to remove the first comma because the first half of the sentence should be an uninterrupted thought. (The clause explains why she’s watching the waiter carefully, so it’s necessary for understanding the sentence.)

Second, you’ll probably want to split the stuff after the second comma into its own sentence because the clause is a dangling modifier. As in, there’s so much distance between the phrase and what it’s trying to modify that its meaning has gotten lost. Right now, what you’re saying is that she’s satisfied to see the waiter lay down the bowl of cream as she’s watching him carefully to make sure he does it. Most likely, you meant to say that she’s satisfied after he sets down the bowl of cream. Grammatically, though, the satisfaction clause is also attempting to attach itself to the cream, as that’s basically the last subject clause before the comma (and, like I said, there’s too much distance between the satisfaction clause and its intended subject).

Not sure if that makes sense, but the short of it is try to simplify your sentences a little. Be aware that the more distance you put between a dependent clause and its subject, the less sense it makes. Also, shorter, simpler sentences will help you manage your senses of time and avoid creating a moment where multiple things are happening at once (when you intended on things to happen in quick succession instead).

having finished the last macaron- lime-pistachio, quite sweet and light in flavor- on her plate.

While it’s cool to see details that add depth to a scene, I think this doesn’t really add much here. As in, why is it important to know what flavor of macaron she just ate? The cappuccino added atmosphere, but in the last leg of the scene, after the action is over and done with, this feels a little superfluous. As a result, it stuck out a little because it just sort of seemed like it’s just there. Especially given the fact that we don’t even see Matori eating it; it’s just brought up to tell us what she ate.

The two Rockets and one Persian left the café, Giovanni having paid the bill- including Espurr’s bowl of cream in the already generous tip, at Matori’s insistence- satisfied and recharged for their trip home.

I’d definitely recommend splitting this up into multiple sentences, just because it does get a bit convoluted here with the parenthetical concerning Espurr’s bowl of cream containing its own parenthetical and … pretty much … everything after the first comma, come to think of it. I feel like you were trying to have two different dependent clauses attached to this sentence, but if you remove the stuff surrounded by the dashes, you’ll see how messy the ending of this sentence gets. Not only do you have a clause concerning Giovanni paying the bill, but it dives directly into a clause concerning someone being satisfied and recharged. Sure, you probably meant to have that describe the two Rockets, but without the dashes, there’s nothing really to separate clauses. So as a result, what you’re saying is “Giovanni having paid the bill satisfied and recharged for their trip home.” Even if you did include a comma, this would still end up reading rather oddly because you’re interrupting a train of thought (a sentence about the two Rockets and what they’re doing) with an unrelated thought (a sentence about Giovanni paying the bill).

In short, let me put it another way. Each sentence is like a miniature paragraph. There needs to be an overall message that sentence is trying to transmit. Every word in that sentence has to go towards that message, and anything else should be in a separate sentence. Imagine your sentences like trees, where the main clause (or two main clauses together, in the case of compound sentences) is the trunk, and all other clauses are branches that add depth to what the trunk is saying. Don’t include a branch that has nothing to do with the main clause because then that would look rather odd.

“There was no good reason to turn that Espurr away, it was probably scared and just needed a little something to eat.

This is actually a comma splice, or a run-on in which two independent clauses are joined together by a comma but no conjunction. (You can tell that you’re dealing with independent clauses by replacing this comma with a period. Notice how you end up with two complete sentences as a result?) Unfortunately, commas aren’t strong enough marks of punctuation to separate independent clauses by themselves, so you’ll need to either turn this into a proper compound (by adding a conjunction) or simply replace the comma with a period. Considering the fact that these two clauses aren’t related enough to merit a compound, the period would probably be a better idea.

“So you admit to having a soft spot,” he said,

I’d suggest ending the sentence right here because the rest of this line (the part about what Matori is doing) is also not related to this particular excerpt. When it comes to dialogue, you generally want to limit the outside action (i.e., the stuff in the dialogue tag) to just what the speaker is doing in order to keep things neat.

“Persian not now, you just- oh.”

Also a comma splice.

The sound hadn’t come from Persian, but rather, the tiny Espurr Matori had bought the cream for in the café.

I would suggest getting rid of the second comma to make it clearer that this isn’t an introductory dependent clause leading into the second half of a compound. (You could also get rid of the first comma, actually, to make it even more apparent.)

huge purple eyes

However, a comma needs to be between “huge” and “purple” because those are two like adjectives. Putting it another way, if you can insert the word “and” between two adjectives, you need a comma.

she said, as the two of them began walking again, towards the train station.

First and foremost, get rid of the first comma. It’s not necessary (and it actually causes slight confusion) because the dependent clause that follows it is actually vital to the meaning of the sentence. She’s not just saying something. She’s saying something while doing another thing.

Additionally, be very careful about your pronouns. “The two of them” would actually refer to Matori and Espurr because those are the two focus characters of this particular moment (as in, the two last mentioned characters). If you want to bring Giovanni back into this scene, you’ll need to mention him specifically.

Matori became alert and looked around her, remembering her gut feelings from earlier, and expecting to see someone suspicious.

It’s okay to keep this phrasing, but you’ll need to drop the second comma because it’s not necessary.

However, even then, the dependent clauses feel a little redundant—or at least the part about how she’s expecting to see someone suspicious is. It’s clear that she’s on high alert (as stated by the main clause), so it’s really natural that she’d expect that something was about to jump her. So it’s not really all that necessary to say she’s expecting to see someone suspicious.

“I guess I just can’t shake you,” she told it. “You followed me to the café, didn’t you?”

“Purr espurr purr.” Espurr was rubbing her legs with his head now.

“You’ve been adopted,” Giovanni deadpanned. “Looks like that Espurr smelled Persian on you and decided you were its new mommy. Stray cat Pokémon have a habit of that.”

This is what’s really making me hesitant about this fic. See, while it’s cute, the thing is that it feels like you could replace Matori and Giovanni with OCs or any other characters and get the same fic. I say this mainly because of lines like these. While I admit I haven’t studied Matori or Giovanni to the point where I’ve memorized a large chunk of their lines or anything, the tone used here for both characters feels a little too informal to be them—especially the tone used for Giovanni. Animeverse Giovanni can be a sassy dick, sure, but there’s a level of suaveness and sophistication words like “mommy” and phrases like “cool it” don’t quite fit into. With Matori, she seems a little too jumpy and soft-hearted to be Matori, Giovanni’s cool-headed right-hand woman.

I get that this fic is trying to convey these characters in a bit of downtime (during a time when they’re not supposed to be as uptight and businesslike as they are in canon), but the way they speak and the way they go about doing things feels a bit more like a young couple being casual with each other than older, more high-class business associates/insert-your-classy-title-here.

Point is, I do think this situation is very cute, but it just doesn’t quite feel like them. And rectifying that might just be a matter of tightening up a lot of the dialogue and making their lines a little less informal.

“Want to come home with me?” she asked, smiling at him.

Case in point: Matori smiling. It’s difficult to imagine for an outside reader because she just never does it in canon. So this moment becomes a little awkward because her behavior feels a little alien to us.

and he batted the Ultra Ball’s button with his tiny front paw, opening it.

Place this in its own sentence to ease a bit of the structural tension of the dialogue tag.

The ball captured him in a beam of red light.

I’d also consider adding a few more details here. Considering you’ve been pretty detailed throughout this work (as in, describing things fairly well), it just seems a little odd that the act of being drawn into a Poké Ball, having it shut, and having all the sparkles and whatnot of an animeverse capture is pretty much summed up as “and then Espurr was captured in a flash of red light.”

Matori smiled down at the now occupied ball and tucked it in her handbag, then followed Giovanni and Persian into the station.

This could stand to be split into multiple sentences.


So I’m going to be incredibly frank for a moment. There is a positive note to all of this, and that is it’s a cute fic. The opening is amusing, what with Matori’s thoughts on how mundane the trip is and all, and it really is very cute to see a character adopt an Espurr the way Matori did. Espurr itself is adorable, and I loved how, just like a stray, it kept following Matori around because she treated it nicely. I think. Actually, come to think of it, why did it start following Matori around? Initially, I mean. Sure, it liked her because she stood up for it in the cafe and got it some milk, but that was all after it decided to latch onto her. And Matori isn’t exactly the most maternal or caring person in the Pokémon universe, either. At least with Giovanni, he’s got an actual, canon soft spot for cats (or at least his own Persian), so.

And that’s really the main issue, I think. It’s cute on the surface, but it’s also rather awkward and clumsy, for lack of a better term. There’s the fact that, yeah, Espurr’s interest in Matori isn’t really that well-explained, but more importantly, as I’ve said, these characters just don’t feel like Matori and Giovanni. And because you’re writing a fic whose goal is, it seems, to capture Matori’s character outside of the context of Team Rocket, that’s a pretty big issue. When you set out to write a piece that’s meant to focus on a character and how they function, you really have to pay attention to characterization because the whole point is basically to explain part of that character. Even if you write a fluff fic in which that character isn’t restricted to their canon role (for example, even if you write a fluff fic in which Matori is doing something other than being Giovanni’s secretary and a high-ranking member of Team Rocket), you first have to take the time to build their character outside of their canon role. In this case, most of what Matori does is basically hang out at a cafe and dote on Espurr. She really didn’t have time to establish herself as Matori and to show somewhat icy, ultra-professional persona she normally carries, and there was no real background given to link this warm, awkward, smiling Matori to the character we’re familiar with in canon. The only real glimpse of canon!Matori we have is probably the line at the beginning where she threatens someone with a fountain pen, and even then, that could either be Matori’s cold professionalism within a yakuza-like organization or a sign of overaggressiveness (of the variety Matori wouldn’t normally display). Point is, it’s hard to say whether or not Matori would have been in-character from that part, but she doesn’t seem like she’s quite there right now. (And Giovanni, as I’ve said, feels a bit too informal in his lines of dialogue, but other than that, he seems all right.) She really does feel like she’s an OC, but if she’s looked at as if she is an OC (as in, if we pretend for the moment that she’s one), her characterization isn’t that bad. It’s just … that’s not what you were going for here.

So characterization is really the main issue, but the other issue is the language. A lot of your sentences do get a bit wordy, and in some cases, it results in convoluted, somewhat difficult-to-understand structures. For example, there were some sentences that sounded like you started writing them but then forgot what you were trying to write partway through. While it’s sometimes difficult to catch awkward wording in the proofreading stage, I’d highly recommend slowing down and mentally diagramming sentences as you work. If a clause doesn’t actually describe the main portion of the sentence, break it off into a new thought. Alternatively, work with a beta reader. Beta readers should function as an extra pair of eyes and warn you whenever your trains of thought get derailed.

The point is, though, that it’s a cute concept, but it’s very difficult to get into. You’ll really want to be a bit more conscious of how you phrase things and what characters are doing and saying. You have good concepts, and you can construct a scene rather well. (Literally, the only blip I’ve come across in terms of atmosphere is the part concerning the lime-pistachio macaron, but other than that, it’s not that bad.) It’s just that it would be better if it was a bit tighter in terms of language and characterization.

Good luck with future fics, by the by. I’ve seen you handle this character quite well, so I have no doubt your future work will be stronger.
 
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