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I continued to eat out with Ichinokura-san and Mao-chan each week.
Ichinokura-san really did seem to love food. The other day when I told him I felt like xiaolongbao, he replied,
“I know the best place. I’ll take you.”
It seems that he meant it because that weekend we ended up in Taiwan.
After leaving the airport we headed directly to the restaurant where they brought out xiaolongbao in those stacked bamboo steamer things, so we ate and ate.
At first I had wondered if there was any need to go to Taiwan just to eat xiaolongbao but by the end of it I was convinced. This was definitely the best xiaolongbao I had ever had. When I heard about red bean xiaolongbao I thought it was some mistake, but when I tried them they were delicious too.
Besides the xiaolongbao we also had steamed jiaozi and siu maai and stuff. By the end of it I was so full I could burst.
After that we went and bought some tea as a souvenir. Some Jasmine tea, as well as this other tea whose name caught my attention. Dongfang Meiren(Oriental Beauty). It was advertised as being good for weight loss, so I ended up buying it too. If possible I would definitely be onboard with burning away all that I ate today. I was so full that it felt like my stomach would burst.
I also bought a tea set with a cute drawing of a pigtailed girl. Drinking from this would probably be fun. It gave the right atmosphere.
There was apparently something popular with women around so I had a look and found a flower blooming in boiled water. It was flowering tea. I bought it without a thought. I could gift this to Mao-chan.
We never went to a single sightseeing location during our blitz tour. All we did was eat xiaolongbao and then come back from Taiwan. It showed me just how seriously Ichinokura-san took food.
But it was fun, even if all we did was eat. I wanted to go there again with somebody else, this time for longer. The problem was that I didn’t have somebody to invite… I’d rather not go alone.
When I got home I excitedly tried some of the flowering tea. But when I poured the hot water in, it turned out kind of gross. Like a bundle of caterpillar fungus… Sorry, Mao-chan.
I hated how it rained every day.
Feeling a bit gloomy, I opened the door to the salon to Kaburagi playing Chopin’s Raindrop.
The people in the salon were enchanted. It wasn’t often that he’d play the piano here but sometimes he’d feel like it and show us just how skilled he was in music.
Before I realised it I was drawn in as well. Just standing there and listening. I even unknowingly swayed my body to it.
When he was done, everybody broke into applause. Myself included, of course. He was really good. My mood seemed to have lifted as well. Maybe had I come earlier I could have heard the start too. What a shame.
“That was a wonderful performance, Kaburagi-sama!”
“Hearing you play ‘Raindrop’ makes me think that the rainy season might be a good thing.”
“Kaburagi-sama, could you not play us another song?”
The girls were already surrounding him.
I was just watching them blankly when Enjou came along.
“Since you’re already listening, how about a request, Kisshouin-san?” he said as he pushed me into the ring.
“Masaya, play a song that Kisshouin-san likes.”
I was startled. What on earth was he saying! I looked at him with wide eyes but he whispered,
“As thanks for Yukino.”
Everybody was looking at me now. Kaburagi was looking at us suspiciously.
“We’re always in your care, Kisshouin-san. So any song, just name it.”
“Oi, who’s supposed to be playing this exactly?”
“Hm? Well you, Masaya,” smiled Enjou.
Everybody was already well aware that Kaburagi only played the piano when Kaburagi felt like it. He wouldn’t play just because you requested something. Wouldn’t this be shaming me if he said no!? Gahhhh!
Kaburagi stared at me. Don’t tell me he was really going to play?!
I could already hear the girls sighing dreamily.
Oh no, oh no. I hadn’t thought about what song to ask for so my eyes were swimming and I was completely panicked. Aah, stop looking at me!
Fine! Something upbeat then!
“Then, Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu please.”
After saying it I realised it was a hard one so I was about to take it back, but Kaburagi looked up in thought for a moment and agreed.
Eh!? Was he going to play without any rehearsal!? The Fantasie-Impromptu!?
Leaving me to my shock, Kaburagi stretched his fingers and then began to play with vigour.
Today I was having another outing with Mao-chan and Ichinokura-san. Although Yuuri-kun usually came, he wasn’t here today.
“Will Yuuri-kun not be joining us today?” I asked.
Mao-chan puffed her cheeks out.
“I had a fight with Yuuri.”
“A fight? But you seem to get along so well.”
“Yuuri said to me, ‘Did you get fatter recently?’ Fatter!? Don’t you think that was so mean? I don’t need Yuuri anymore!”
Oh my god. Yuuri-kun!?
“How could he say that to a girl. He’s the worst! Don’t you think so, Reika-oneesama?”
Mao-chan was in a really bad mood. After being told that, I could see why she was hurt and angry.
Ichinokura-san was listening as well, so he consoled her.
“You aren’t fat at all, Mao. You’re still growing so you shouldn’t worry about these things. Actually, it makes you even cuter.”
“…Reika-oneesama, did I get fat?”
“Of course not! You are adorable, Mao-chan.”
But now that I looked closer, she did seem a little rounder than usual…
“It’s not cute when girls are all skin and bones. You’re always cute, Mao, so you shouldn’t worry.”
It took some effort but we finally cheered her up and went for some delicious dessert.
Asking if somebody got fat recently… Nobody had actually said that to me yet, but was I still okay…?
But then Ichinokura-san said that plump girls were cuter than ones that were skin and bones… So I was still fine, right?
Mao-chan and I ate our desserts with smiles.