The sizzling sound of salmon cooking and the savory smell filled the dining room kitchen. Then, as if timing it just right, the rice cooker emitted a high-pitched alarm.

As if following the sound, Takeru hears the sound of his roommates’ hurried footsteps pounding on the floor above.

[The greatest luxury is for the whole family to eat from the same pot. That hasn’t changed since then.]

That was a habit of my grandmother, who ran the Shiota Restaurant on the ground floor of our Shiota house on a bicycle.

Thanks or perhaps because of this, we have an unspoken rule that no one is allowed to touch the food unless all family members are present.

As Takeru was setting the table with rice for the four of them, Mayu, his younger sister, came into the living room, scratching her shaggy head.

She was sloppily wearing her character’s pink pajamas and let out a disgruntled voice.

“Eh, today’s rice? I’m in the mood for bread.”

My younger sister, who used to be so obedient and friendly to me, has become increasingly cheeky as she gets older, and now that she is in her second year of high school this year, she has reached the age of rebellion and has become difficult to handle.

She has become difficult to deal with. If I put bread on the table, she starts saying she would have preferred rice.

“If you complain, don’t eat it.”

Takeru, a little peeved, put the rice in Mayu’s bowl back in the rice cooker. Then Mayu made a panicked noise.

“Wa, Aniki wait ! Actually, since last night, I’ve decided to have rice for breakfast, and I’ll gladly eat it !”

“Good grief…… I wish you hadn’t complained in the first place.”

When I rearranged my sister’s food and handed it to her, Mayu said, [Haa—] and took it with both hands.

Looking at this situation, it may be that she is in a rebellious phase, or rather, it is her own way of relating to her family.

As Takeru was thinking this, he heard the door open and a middle-aged man peeked out.

“Geez, what are you two doing up this morning? I’m sorry, Takeru. I have an early meeting today.”

Koichi, Takeru’s father, looked at Takeru and Mayu, who were passing the food around as if they were master and servant, said in exasperation. Koichi was already dressed in a suit, tie and bag in hand, and seemed ready to leave the house.

When Koichi is in a hurry, he throws rice into miso soup and pours it into his stomach, so he does not touch the side dishes. This means that you will end up with more than one side dish left over.

While Takeru was thinking about what to do with the extra salmon, the intercom rang.


When Takeru heard that sound, the corners of his mouth turned up with a grin.

“Oh, it looks like the leftover food handler has just arrived.”

Mayu giggles at Takeru’s words.

“Ahaha, Akari chan can certainly eat as much as she wants, can’t she?”

“Yeah, we have to make sure she doesn’t go overboard and eat our portion too.”

“Ahaha, Akari is the type of girl who eats up everything !”

Takeru laughed at Mayu’s comment and headed for the front door with light steps.

Before opening the front door, he checks the view of the figure on the doorstep.

He is of medium height and has a plain face with no features except for a tearful circle at the corner of his right eye, but he is careful only to keep it clean. He changes the angle of his face to check that there are no sleeping habits, and checks for any small oversight such as an unshaven beard by pulling his face up to the mirror. 

When Takeru opens the front door after checking his appearance, he hears Akari’s energetic voice as usual.

“Good morning, Ken ! What’s for breakfast today?”

Akari is the only person in the world who calls Takeru ‘Ken’.

Sato Akari, lives in a house near Takeru’s and went to the same school as Takeru in elementary, junior high, and high school.

Her slightly smaller-than-average height and large, crinkled eyes, combined with her idol-like cuteness and sociable personality, make her the most popular on campus….it seems. Her short bobbed brown hair with wavy tones was not out of place even for a minute today, as if a model in a magazine had appeared in front of him.

“Good morning, Akari. Today I’m serving grilled salmon. I prepared two slices especially for you.”

“Eh !? Is it okay to be so extravagant in the morning !? I’d like another bowl of rice too !”

Akari enters the front door with exaggerated surprise, takes off her shoes at random, and heads for the living room.

She has always been messy in her behavior, and the shoes she takes off have their heels facing outward. Therefore, Takeru turns the heels of her shoes inward and aligns them. This has become a daily routine, but it can’t be helped because telling her won’t cure it.

Akari opens the living room door vigorously and shouts loudly, 

“Good morning !”

Akari’s energetic greeting is greeted by the little sister in a languid manner, while Koichi reacts in a hurried manner.

“Akari chan, good morning !”

“Yeah, good morning. I’m sorry, Takeru, Akari chan, can you please sit down quickly?As I told Takeru earlier, I’m in a hurry today.”

At Koichi’s words, Takeru and Akari hurriedly sat down on the chairs, clasped their hands together and waited for Koichi’s voice.


[ [ [Itadakimasu !] ] ]

Takeru, Akari, and Mayu all join in with Koichi’s voice.

This is how a day begins for the Shiota family and Akari.

After finishing breakfast, I watch TV news with Akari and see my father and sister off to school or work in a hurry.

It is a privilege of being a college student to have plenty of time to spare. Depending on the day, today’s class starts in the second period, and the distance to the campus is about a fifteen-minute walk. I still had about an hour before I had to leave home.

Akari opened her mouth as she picked at the omelet that was left over from her lunch box.

“Yup, I can make omelet only with salt ! The other day, a friend of mine gave me an omelet and it was so sweet…that’s just evil.”

Akari’s last name is Sato, but she is not fond of sweet food, preferring salt or soy sauce flavored salty food.

Takeru replies as he sips his tea.

(TL/N: Sato means sugar)

“Ummm, we have a difference of opinion there. By the way, I prefer it sweetened with sugar.”

Akari frowns at Takeru’s words.

[Eh? But you always season it with salt, don’t you?] Akari looked at him curiously and then grinned as if she had noticed something. [Oh, maybe you’re adjusting to my taste?  Oh come on Ken kun, do you like me that much?]

Takeru choked on his tea.

Her words were spot on, the omelet was seasoned to Akari’s liking.

Takeru responded by pounding his chest harder and harder, coughing gibberish as he expelled the tea from his organ.

“B-because it’s Mayu ! I only do that because Mayu is a salt eater !”

“Ahaha, Ken, you’re panicking too much.”

Akari giggles and takes a box of tissues and places them near Takeru, so Takeru wipes the tea from his mouth with the tissues and catches his breath.

Deception will not work against Akari, who can read Takeru’s mind based on the subtleties of his actions due to their long-term relationship. He thought it would be best to change the topic here.

“More importantly, Akari, are you doing well on the assignment you have to submit tomorrow?”

As Takeru had planned, this topic was effective enough to distract Akari, and her expression froze. TAnd then, Akari continued mumbling her words.

“Oh…about that…I have a favor to ask Ken…”

Takeru could guess what she was going to say. She was probably going to ask him to let her copy the assignment.

“Well, that assignment is certainly tedious until you get to it, but once you get started, it will only take an hour or two. You can start it tonight and still make it in time.”

Akari plopped down on the desk with her chin on the table and showed her dissatisfaction.

“Eh, stingy. I still don’t know if I’m free this evening !”

Since Akari has countless friends, she may have promised to play with them.

This is why college students are…….

Takeru sighed, took out a clear file from his bag, and offered it to Akari,

“Don’t just copy it. If we get caught, I might lose my credits too.”

Akari took it with a twinkle in her eye and held the clear file in her arms.

“I love you, Ken ! I love you !”

“…Yeah, yeah, me too.”

Takeru replies appropriately while watching TV.

If a normal man were to hear something like [I love you] from a cute girl like Akari, his face would turn bright red and he would be unable to remain calm.

However, Akari is Takeru’s childhood friend. She is a good-natured girl, and he knows that she has always said things like this in a light-hearted tone with a sense of thank you. He was used to it by now.

Takeru grabbed the teacup with one hand and brought it to his lips.

“Ah. It’s hot !”

“Eh, Ken !? Your hands are shaking like crazy, and you spilled a lot of tea, are you okay !?”

There was no way he could be okay.

Takeru was extremely flustered by Akari’s pI love you] comment.

He was so worried that Akari would know that she was the cause of it, so Takeru replied with an air of unconcern.

“Oh, don’t worry. It’s never Akari’s fault, okay?”

“No, I know that, but…in fact I didn’t do anything.”

Akari says and smiles a wry smile.

No, you don’t understand anything. You have no idea how many times your careless words have shaken my heart until now,……and how powerful words like [I love you] from a person of the opposite sex who has feelings for you can be. She uses such words so casually, you could say she is a natural flirt.

Without knowing Takeru’s feelings, Akari takes Takeru’s hand and pulls it toward her, wipes the tea from his hand with a handkerchief, and looks at his hand from various angles as if observing it.

The feel of Akari’s smooth hand took over most of the processing of his brain, and the pain blew away.

“Ummm, the burn looks ok, but it’s a little reddish. Maybe I should cool it down just in case…Ken? You’ve been acting strange since a while ago, what’s wrong?”

Takeru covered both eyes with his free hand to hide his expression.

His face was so hot now that it almost burned more than his tea-covered hands. If Akari saw him looking like this, she would realize that he was conscious of her.

“No, it’s nothing, really. It’s not Akari’s fault, so don’t worry about it.’

“I know. Ken just blew himself up and got burned.”

No, so you don’t know anything. He said it wasn’t Akari’s fault so that his feelings wouldn’t be revealed, but it’s all her fault.

Takeru let go of Akari’s hand and headed for the sink to cool his hands, being careful not to let her see his face.

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1 month ago

Hmm, so they are on college/university age not high school