“All right, I’ll see you later.”

When I arrived at the apartment, I watched Saara enter the door and then put the key in the lock.
The key turned without a sound.

(I was so nervous about the possibility that I might have forgotten to lock the door.)

With a sense of dread at the possibility of something happening, I open the door.
I hope nothing happened…

“Ah, welcome”

-In the house was my mother.
She was wearing a very rough shirt and jeans and was operating a tablet.

“I didn’t know you were here.”
“I sent you a message, but you haven’t read it. I’m glad you’re not addicted to your phone, but you’ll never be popular if you don’t keep in touch with me.”
“It’s not really a big deal.”

As I reply, I take off my shoes while looking at the phone’s startup screen, thinking that I forgot to turn it on.
The screen slowly loads, and as soon as the app icon appears, a message appears in the notification box.

“I haven’t seen her yet. Can I go today?”

When I saw that message, …… I instantly felt my blood boil.

What did she send me this morning?
I clicked on the notification box, opened the app, and looked at my last outgoing message.

“I was surprised at how much she changed.”

Yeah, that’s right, if you’ve never seen it, you’re coming to see it, if you’re my mother!

The problem is not that Mom can see Saara.
It’s about being able to see what kind of behavior Sarla is going to get. ……!

Aside from my inner thoughts, the door unceremoniously opens right after the chime, and I hear the sound of plastic bags rubbing against each other and shoes being taken off.
Oh well, my phone was taking a while to boot up. There was at least enough time to prepare the food. ……

“I’m coming in. I have some edamame I bought yesterday, and today, I’m going to …….”

Saara, who came to the house looking familiar as if it were a stranger’s house that she knew, freezes when she sees my mother.
Oh no. …….

“…… well, H-hello……Sorry for the trouble, I’m Ayado Saara……”

My mother gasped for a moment, then replied cheerfully while looking at my face seriously.

“It’s been a while, Saara chan! That little girl has changed so beautifully, I was so surprised! But still, ……”

Then she starts to compare us, grinning in a very amused way.

“Beauty and the Beast is a nice place, isn’t it?”
“Enough of this, please leave. ……”
“Oh no, rebellion!”

Mom chuckled at the onlooker’s gut-wrenching question, and took various things out of her bag.

“I could have mailed them to you, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to give you this. Two large bottles of hon mirin (Japanese sweet cooking rice wine).”

The things on the desk are seasonings that we students can’t afford to buy.
It’s the one I asked her to send me the other day because I might run out.
I had originally used that mirin, too, so I was running low on it.

“Ah, thank you very much, Auntie.
“I was surprised when he suddenly asked me to send it to him, but Saara chan used it, didn’t she?”
“Yes. today too, I wanted to make a little something as a thank you.”

As a Thanks? I thought, you mean the after school thing?

“I was going to yell at him if you kept taking care of him, but I see that Saara chan is also being helped too. If that’s the case, I guess it’s good.”

It was a coincidence, but I’m glad I happened to do a favor.
You never know what will turn out to be lucky.

While answering Mom’s question, Saara took out a cutting board and began to wet it with water.
While filling a small bowl with water, she continued her story.

“Today, I was called by a senpai I don’t know.”
“Oh my! Saara chan must be very popular”
“He came to my rescue when I was about to be forcibly grabbed.”

Mom looks at me again and smiles meaningfully.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to it. I guess you’re ready to step out on your own now.”
“…… old days is fine is it”

I reply, and she runs her fingers through my bangs.

“Aren’t you going to cut it soon? It’s a little long.”
“It’s fine right? this much”
“Ah! That’s what I was thinking too!”

I was about to evade the conversation, when Saara entered the conversation.

“Sora kun, I got very angry today, but it’s still because your bangs are too long, ……Hey. I want you to cut them off.”
“Do you think they’re too long too, Saara?”
“Too long, as a thank you for all you do for me, can you cut them off for me ……?”

Uu…..I’m weak when you say that.
I feel a sense of guilt that I have been given so much, so I want to be as helpful as possible, including the fact that she came in to help today.

“…… okay, I’ll go to the barber around tomorrow.”
“Yes! I’m looking forward to it.”
“Don’t get your hopes up too high, it’s going to be Beauty and the Beast when you get it cut.”

Well, that’s how it’s going to be. ……Saara stopped the knife for a moment as she returned the lighthearted remark that it was going to be like that.

“I am confident in telling you, Sora kun, you will change. I could change, too.”
“……I-I see.”

She replied yes, and went back to cooking.
I really didn’t have that much to look forward to. ……

I looked over and saw that Mom’s expression had changed from the teasing look she had earlier to a motherly – actually motherly – look in her eyes.

“Maybe it’s your turn now.”
“What do you mean?”
“I guess you’ll just have to figure that out for yourself or time will tell.”

I reply, and she immediately smiles and pulls out another bottle from her bag.

“…… Sake? I told you I still have some for cooking.”
“What are you talking about, this is for me to drink.”
“Don’t suddenly start drinking sake before dinner at the kid’s lodgings. ……”

I let out a sigh from my disgusted mother, but when Saara tells me that the food is ready, I put out the dishes too.

Tomorrow, I’ll either get a haircut or ……. I don’t really feel like it, but I don’t think I’m going to stay the same.
This is an opportunity, let’s try my best to change a little.

By the way, dinner was.

“…… Hijiki no nimono with edamame! Kiriboshi-daikon! Pickled wasabi! Saara, this will make you a drinker! Do you want an appetizer?”
“You really should go home.”

It was a very typical Japanese menu. And I also lightly smacked this no-good mother.

Today’s food was also delicious, so I praise them carefully one by one. Each time when I give her a compliment, she is overjoyed, so it feels good to hear her say it, too.
Of course, my impressions are sincere. I can tell that she really put a lot of effort into it, and that the flavors are not too much or not enough.
I can feel it keenly because I make the food myself.

When I’m eating something that’s been made for me, …… sometimes I want people to eat it for me, too.

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