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Thanks to my big lying mouth I now had a sword above my head.
And I put it there!
When are you going to learn your lesson already, Reika!?
Do you have the brain of a goldfish or something!?
I immediately sent Akimi-san an SOS.
I obviously couldn’t bring homemade nimono to his party.
To begin with I couldn’t cook nimono!
And to think that just a few days after picking home cooking over party foods I’d need to know how to cook party foods.
Haah, I’m so beat~
Enjou spoke to me first thing next morning.
“Yukino tells me that apparently you’re going to be coming to his birthday party. And with your own cooking no less.”
Yukino-kun, have you already told your whole family?
My escape was looking less and less likely.
“Yes… But bringing poor food on such an important day feels like an insult instead of a gift, so I was thinking of declining this time…”
“Yukino was ecstatic, you know. Apparently he’s already looking forward to it.”
I felt like I was going to lose my eyebrows over the pressure again.
“It’s not that big of a party since we have to take care of his condition too. It’ll just be a few of his friends from primary, so don’t worry so much. Well, I won’t force you though,” he said as he glanced at my fingers.
Don’t tell me he could tell my skill?
I didn’t want to disappoint Yukino-kun by refusing.
But I didn’t want to disappoint him with my actual cooking either.
Akimi-san, save me.
You’re my only hope, Akimi-san!
I’ll practice cutting vegetables every day!
I’ll even memorise all the recipes so please, lend me your strength!
“Please at least tell him not to expect too much…”
‘Food-Poisoning at the Enjou Residence!’
I’d do my best not to make that headline a reality.
After school, Class Rep and I were headed for the staff room to submit the reports our classmates did.
Apparently Class Rep had gone with the other three for their New Year’s shrine visit.
“We all got our fortunes and wrote our wishes on ema,” he bashfully told me.
Going on your New Year’s shrine visit with your crush…
What the hell, that sounded super fun.
Why wasn’t I invited?
Aren’t I the one who introduced you all to begin with~?
“And I prayed that Honda-san and I would grow closer this year.”
“And Honda-san and Nonose-san are making their Valentine’s chocolates together, and they said they’d give some to Iwamuro-kun and I… Ah, as friends of course! I already knew that. Mn.”
“But I hope one day I’ll be able to get a real one from her.”
I didn’t even have somebody to give romantic chocolates to this year.
I was running out of time…
I only had one year left in high school.
I wanted to have a dreamy Valentine’s too.
Maybe I could just bite the bullet and give it to Naru-kun.
But then how would a real guy feel about being given chocolates by complete stranger?
It was how they did things in shoujo manga though.
Plus, I didn’t know what I wanted to make this year.
“Kisshouin-san? Still listening?”
Oops, he realised I was just nodding along.
“Why don’t you take those feelings and make her chocolates instead?” I joked.
His eyes sparkled.
After we handed over the reports we said goodbye and headed to our respective clubs.
I was already done with the belly warmer so I needed to make something else this year.
“Kisshouin-san,” came a voice from behind.
It turned out to be Wakaba-chan.
“Is something the matter, Takamichi-san?”
She looked around to check that we were alone before walking over to me.
“Say, are you free to come over?”
Wakaba-chan was inviting me over!?
Why so suddenly!?
She lowered her voice further before speaking again.
“Don’t you remember? You gave me your uniform the other day. That’s why I wanted to thank you.”
“I, you really should not worry about that. To begin with I was never going to wear those again.”
“Yeah, but still I got something so expensive for free. I’ve been wondering how I could make it up to you all this time, you know. Not that just a cake could really pay you back this time…”
“You really need not worry about that. I mean it. Still, I am very happy that you have invited me over.”
“Really? Then is there anything you want, or that you’d like me to do? There isn’t much I can help you with though.”
“Just being able to eat your family’s cakes is more than enough.”
“And I’ve been saying that that isn’t enough.”
We were going down the stairs together when I suddenly remembered the manga.
There was a scene when Kisshouin Reika had shoved Wakaba-chan down stairs just like these.
I quickly put some distance between us.
“Ah, nothing to worry about.”
Not that I’d ever do that now, but I stayed away just in case.
Wakaba-chan seemed perplexed about it.
“Ah, by the way. Takamichi-san, could you teach me how to make Valentine’s chocolates?”
“Valentine’s?” she asked.
What a great idea.
Wakaba-chan loved making desserts.
If I made it together with her then I’m sure something delicious would come of it.
Not that there was anybody to receive it but my family though!
“You could have asked for that whenever,” she objected.
“It seems that I shall be in your care then,” I smiled broadly.
After I bought the claw grip protector I stopped cutting myself.
The cut from the first day was almost healed too.
I was putting a new bandage on it when Oniisama came home with Imari-sama as well.
“Imari-sama, long time no see!”
“Belated Happy New Year, Reika-chan.”
“Happy New Year, Imari-sama.”
You’re sparkling as usual, Imari-sama. You look wonderful in that suit.
“I’ve actually got something to give you, Reika-chan.”
“What is it?”
He reached into his bag and brought out a ribboned box.
“Here. A souvenir from Nagasaki.”
“Wahh, thank you very much. Your parents live there, no?”
“Yep. I showed up for New Year’s. My younger brother had just come back from America so we went there together.”
Imari-sama’s younger brother was staying in America as an exchange student at the moment.
Apparently he liked it better than stuffy old Japan.
I unsealed my present.
In the past Imari-sama had gifted me cute marbles from Nagasaki, or castella sponge cakes.
I still loved those marbles.
Imari-sama had a good sense of what girls liked.
I opened the velvet case to find a necklace, with a pearl embedded in a silver heart like a teardrop.
“Nagasaki is famous for its pearls, after all. I think they suit you. Shall I put it on for you?”
“Don’t touch people’s little sisters whenever you want, Imari,” Oniisama said with a chilling glare.
“Reika-chan, your oniisan is so scary. You know, people say that pearls are the tears of mermaids and fairies, but if that’s true I’d rather that girls cry tears of joy than sadness.”
Oniisama brought down an iron fist onto the smiling Casanova Village Chief’s head.
“Die. Kill yourself! Drown at sea and become the core of some pearl!”
He began strangling Imari-sama with force.
How rare for somebody as kind and peaceful as Oniisama.
They sure got along.
“Thank you for the wonderful present, Imari-sama. Oh, I know! I shall make a pearl chocolate for you for Valentine’s!”
“Ehh? Chocolate from Reika-chan? That sounds great,” he smiled happily, even as he was being beaten across the head.
Having someone outside of your family to give chocolates to really got your motivation up, after all!
You can look forward to it too, Oniisama!
Hmmm, and I also need to get started on Yukino-kun’s birthday food, and…