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“Senpai is……indeed not here?”

I ended up going home on a train later than usual because I was hanging around.

So as expected, Senpai was nowhere to be seen today.

I was going to thank her for the lunch and apologize on behalf of my mother if we bumped into each other on the same train like we usually do.

“…But it might be a nuisance if I talk to her.”

I squinted at the setting sun coming through the train window as the train rocked.

Looking back, yesterday was like a dream come true.

That Hyori senpai came to my house and cooked for me, we cleaned up together and we talked a few times.

 

She must be a family person.

If I could be her boyfriend, I would be very happy.

A beautiful, good cooking older woman, huh.

If I had only seen her, I would have just admired her.

But when I feel her close to me, I can’t help but be conscious of her.

I even start to have a convenient expectation that my mother will bring her home again today.

Well, I don’t think that would be so convenient.

Tomorrow is my day off, so I guess I won’t be seeing her.

Really, how do people get along with girls.

……No, I had my chance too.

Miyama san.

She told me she liked me.

I also thought she was cute and easy to talk to.

So I’m sure there was a future for me to be friends with her.

If only people didn’t misunderstand that Hyori senpai and I were good friends.

And the cause of the misunderstanding was my mother’s thoughtless behavior.

I’m still angry when I think about it.

“But, well, I guess Miyama san wasn’t serious about me either.”

I was annoyed by the rejection and became angry at my mother as well.

Now that I’ve calmed down, I realize that if Miyama san really liked me, she wouldn’t have given up on me because of gossip, I think.

In the case of the convenience store robbery, of course it was a misunderstanding that I had caught the culprit, but in such a tense situation, anyone would have felt a little special emotion if they thought I had saved them.

I guess it was like a suspension bridge effect.

But when I actually talked to her, she must have thought I was a boring guy. 

That’s why she used Senpai as an excuse to keep me away from her.

Yes, that must be so.

Let’s not dwell on what’s already done.

I’m sure I’ll have another good encounter…….

I hope to see you again, Senpai.

“Hm, is the door unlocked?”

By the time I arrived at Akaitohama, my anger towards my mother had subsided considerably.

I went straight home from the station.

I found the front door unlocked.

“Is Mom already home?

But the front door light was off.

When I entered the house, the hallway was dark.

But somehow, there was a nice smell.

“The smell of curry……I knew she was home.”

As if lured by the smell, I went straight to the kitchen.

Before opening the door, I thought about this and that.

Should I give my mother a hard time or not?

I thought that I should give her a warning because I would not want her to do the same thing to me again, even though I have sorted out my feelings, but she has been cooking for me lately, and I know how hard she works every day, so I don’t want her to be nagged by her son.

I decided to hold back and be mature about it, and went into the kitchen.

And then.

“Welcome home.”

“I’m……eh, why……?”

My mother was not there.

The person standing in the kitchen instead was Hyori senpai, wearing a uniform and apron.

“Because Auntie asked me to.”

I was so surprised by this unexpected turn of events that I couldn’t hide my surprise, but she said it so naturally.

“My mother? E-erm, to cook?”

“Yeah. She asked me to cook for you.”

“H-haa……”

I accepted this ridiculous situation for once, partly because she was standing there so naturally with a ladle in her hand.

When I calm down and think about it, it seems outrageous that Senpai is waiting for me at home, cooking for me, but for some reason, it seems like a normal thing to do, probably because of her calm demeanor.

She was businesslike, without acting timid.

She put the curry on the table.

“It’s just about ready. Eat it before it gets cold.”

So she told me, and I sat down at the table where the curry was placed.

It smelled good.

Then my stomach growled.

“Ah…….”

“You must have been hungry. Perfect timing.”

“I-I’m sorry…….e-erm.”

“Here’s the spoon.”

“T-thank you…..”

Her calm response made me accept the spoon, clasp my hands together, and take a bite of the curry.

It tasted slightly spicy, yet exquisite.

Without thinking, I blurted out, [delicious.]

“Is it good?”

“Y-yes, very much so. Oh, um, where’s my…..mother?

“Auntie went out. She’s having dinner with an acquaintance today and will be late. She’s got Uncle with her.”

“Dad too? I-I see…….”

I had never heard of my father’s plans since he usually came home late, so I was a bit surprised to hear such a story from Senpai.

Her relationship with my mother is so close that she talks about things like that.

Well, if that’s the case, it’s possible that my mother left her like this.

“…..I’m sorry kinda sorry. My mother is always saying crazy things.”

I think it’s a bit brazen to entrust a complete stranger with the responsibility of feeding the family, even before you trust them.

So I apologized on behalf of my mother.

But Senpai answered without hesitation.

“It’s okay, it’s just a favor from Auntie. Don’t worry about it.”

After saying that, she quietly sat down across from me.

What in the world is the relationship between my mother and her?

….I should ask her.

“Um……what kind of relationship do you have with my mother?”

I thought I was just asking the obvious question, but she just scowled as if to say why would I ask such a question.

“We are like a part of the family.”

She answered.

“Family?”

“More importantly, isn’t the curry good? I’m not progressing though.”

“N-no, it’s very good.”

“I see. Then eat a lot. There’s always another serving.”

“Y-yes.”

I had more questions I wanted to ask her, but her clear eyes stared at me so intently that I couldn’t say anything. 

The atmosphere of silence and the awkwardness of being alone with Senpai made me eat my curry without saying a word.

I even had a second helping.

In the end, I ate three bowls of curry and was full.

Then Senpai quickly cleared away the empty dishes.

“Ah.”

“Do you still want some?”

“N-no, I can at least clean up.”

“It’s okay. Auntie asked me to do it for her.”

“No, but as expected.”

“Go take a bath. I’ve already boiled it.

“…..Is that because my mother asked you to?”

“Yeah.”

“…..”

My mother had a high school girl she knew prepare not only dinner but also a bath for me.

I wonder how shameless she is.

Even though she is my own parent, I was shocked and couldn’t say anything.

“What’s wrong? Hurry up and take a bath.”

“……I understand.”

I left her in the kitchen and headed for the bathroom.

I was captivated by Senpai’s sharp eyes and couldn’t resist any further.

Maybe it was the smell of sweat.

I’m going to take a quick bath and let the sweat pour off me.

…As expected, she’ll be home by the time I’m taking a bath, right?

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Kines
6 months ago

Gush dayum