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The Enjou estate was a Western-styled mansion in chalk white.
It was the kind of place you’d expect the two brothers to live in, really.
Since I had so many things to carry, Oniisama escorted me to the door.
Enjou was the one to receive me.
“Good afternoon, Shuusuke-kun. Thank you for having my sister for the day.”
“She’s very welcome.”
Oniisama and Enjou shared a smile, before he handed over the goods to Enjou who welcomed me into the house.
“Be polite now,” Oniisama reminded me before heading off.
Today he was wearing a rough, grey cardigan.
I rarely saw him outside of uniform or formal-wear for parties.
Thanks to that my maiden’s heart couldn’t help but skip just a little.
If you’re attractive enough then anything looks good on you…
“You’re wearing all white today, huh. It’s cute on you. You’re like a rabbit.”
I was so surprised that I made a weird sound!
I thought my heart was going to fly out of my chest!
Casually dropping a line with that while smiling at the girl? What kind of skill was this!
Enjou was actually a provisional resident of the Casanova village!?
Wait, or was he a permanent resident!?
Oh my god, don’t tell me he was Imari-sama’s successor!?
Sound the alarms! Sound the alarms!
“Ah, this way to the party.”
Unconcerned with my inner turmoil, Enjou guided me through his house.
Urghh, wasn’t there some way I could sneak revenge on him for this?
I looked for any hairs on the back of his cardigan.
If a stranger plucked off a hair from you it could jinx your next crush.
Enjou was too well-groomed though, so there was nothing for it.
After walking for a while, eventually I heard the happy laughter of children at the end of a hallway.
“Yukino’s friends are already here so it’s lively.”
“Was I late? Perhaps I should apologise.”
“Not at all. The party won’t start for a while yet. Plus, Masaya told me he’d be coming late today.”
“Kaburagi-sama is coming?”
So he had enough sense to come to Yukino-kun’s birthday party.
Then again, Kaburagi did seem to dote on him.
I opened the door to excited children.
“Yukino, Kisshouin-san’s here.”
Yukino-kun had been having fun with a lot of friends but his brother’s words caused him to turn and flash a dazzling smile at me.
“Happy birthday, Yukino-kun,” I waved.
His mother, who had been giving instructions to the house staff, noticed and came over as well.
“Gokigen’yoh. Thank you very much for inviting me over today.”
Her impression might have been sylphlike and transient, but her smile was all Yukino-kun.
“I should be thanking you for coming here for Yukino.”
“Umm, this is the homemade food that I promised Yukino-kun, but…”
“My, thank you. I heard about it. I’m sorry about that, Reika-san. He can be so wilful.”
“Not at all. It was truly nothing much.”
“How about you leave that with me for now? Or would you prefer to hand it to him yourself? He has been looking forward to it.”
While we were chatting, Yukino-kun reached out and beckoned me over.
“Over here, Reika-oneesan! Come sit here!”
He seemed more lively today.
“Honestly, that boy of mine. Sorry again, Reika-san. Could you bear with him for a little?”
“Huhu, of course.”
Madam Enjou gave a helpless smile as I made my way to Yukino-kun.
Since I had missed my chance to hand the food over, I was still carrying the chirashizushi in my hand as I sat down near him.
From his smile he seemed to be having the time of his life.
Enjou left to receive more tiny arrivals to the party.
It turned out to be quite a few kids together, leaving only Kaburagi to arrive.
Since we were only missing him, the party began.
They darkened the room, and we all began singing.
An extravagant two-story cake with seven candles on it was placed in front of Yukino-kun.
When our song ended, he blew them all out to our applause.
“Happy birthday, Yukino-kun!”
Yukino-kun flushed and thanked us with a happy smile.
While everyone was busy giving him presents, the staff cut up the cake and left servings at everyone’s seats.
I handed Yukino-kun my present as well.
“Thank you, Reika-oneesan!”
“Happy birthday, Yukino-kun.”
“What is it? It’s kind of big, huh.”
“Open it later and see.”
I hoped he liked it.
It was hard because he was both a kid and a boy.
The table was filled with foods catered to children, and Yukino-kun opened a few presents at random while he ate his cake.
“Reika-san, could you bring your food out over there?”
Uu, so it was finally time.
I unwrapped the layered boxes, and did as Mrs. Enjou said, placing it on the table.
Yukino-kun’s face lit up into a smile.
“Wah! You really made food for me!”
“Yuki-chan, where’s your thanks?”
“Thank you, Reika-oneesan!”
“You are very welcome. I only hope that it suits your taste…”
I watched a little nervously as the children peered on at the lid being lifted.
“Chirashizushi! It’s so pretty!”
“Did Reika-oneesama make this? I want to try it too!”
“It looks good.”
Ooh, at least the appearance seemed okay.
The one who put the strips of nori seaweed was me, you know.
“You’re so good at cooking, Reika-san. I heard from your mother that you often cooked at home.”
“No, it is embarrassing but I am still learning.”
Apparently Okaasama had had a lot of fun boasting about me outside the family.
Was that why she was so worried about the food I brought?
My cooking would have revealed quite a number of things about us.
Honestly, as if one parent hadn’t been enough…
“Since Reika-san went to all the trouble, how about you try some of her food right now, Yuki-chan?”
Madam Enjou served some onto a plate for him.
I could feel my heart pounding in anticipation.
Yukino-kun tried a bite.
“Yummy! It’s so good, Reika-oneesan!” he exclaimed.
The little angel was smiling. Thank goodness!
His mother, Mao-chan, and everyone else praised it too.
We did it, Akimi-san!
Since the boxes weren’t all that big the chirashizushi disappeared in no time.
I was soooo relieved!
“Mm, it really was delicious. I didn’t know you were that good at cooking, Kisshouin-san.”
Enjou had finished everything on the plate too.
I guess unlike Kaburagi he was totally fine with homemade food.
Oh, or had he forced himself?
“I didn’t force myself.”
Gyaah! He read my mind!
I knew he was scary!
“No, it’s just written all over your face.”
Oh my god, he read it again!
I was terrified at having any more thoughts read so I turned my back to him and began awkwardly eating cake.
“Reika-oneesama, you’re even amazing at cooking,” Mao-chan gushed in admiration.
“She really is,” added Yukino-kun.
Uuu, the purity of these children was making me guilty…
“I actually made this together with my cooking teacher,” I admitted almost immediately.
“Really? But that means you still made it, Reika-oneesama.”
“Well, I suppose. Since I had help, getting all the praise to myself made me feel bad for her.”
Although, I really did help, and although we arranged the toppings together, the praise belonged to Akimi-san.
“Huhu, you’re an upright person, Reika-san. Who was it that taught you?” asked Mrs. Enjou.
“It was Akimi-san from the Narutomi family. She cooks as a hobby, so she has been teaching me as a personal favour.”
“I see. The daughter of the Narutomi family is still a student, if I remember correctly.”
After that Mao-chan said that she wanted to try cooking lessons too.
Although since her mum was such a good cook, she could honestly just have her teach her.
When Yukino-kun finished his cake he began opening his presents among his friends.
It was time for mine next I realised while I was watching him react happily to the last one.
I hoped it was fine…
“I wonder what it is.”
“It’s pretty big.”
“Hurry and open it, Yukino-kun.”
“Okay. Wahh, what is this?”
Since he had asthma, I decided to get him a humidifier.
Not just any humidifier though.
There were two layers of transparent globes, and between them were little figures of sea animals floating in a mixture of water and blue oil.
There were dolphins, whales, clownfish, even the manatees that he had been fond of in Okinawa.
It made for a rather cute piece of interior decoration.
A mini-aquarium that doubled as a humidifier.
To be honest, the humidifier was the less impressive half.
“So cute! There’s dolphins swimming about.”
“There are the manatees you love so much too, you know?”
While he was happily looking for manatees I contentedly handed him one more box.
“Yukino-kun, open this too. This is a little extra.”
“Eh? This too?” he asked in surprise. “Hmm?”
Opening it up, Yukino-kun looked a little confused.
“What is this?” he asked in wonder.
Inside the box were numerous puzzle rings, from beginners’ to some really difficult ones.
“Those are puzzle rings,” I answered. “Have you heard of them? You need to use your head to untangle them.”
They were perfect for killing time.
Since I knew he had to stay home a lot, I thought they would be good to play with by himself.
When I was small I liked jigsaw puzzles and stuff too.
The children seemed interested enough and began trying to solve them.
“Hmm, this is hard.”
“I can’t do it at all.”
“Wahh! Yukino-kun’s Oniisama solved one!”
Earlier, one of the girls had asked him for help, so he had untangled the rings and gently passed them back.
Mmn. I was glad that everyone had fun with them.
I had actually brought Jenga and boardgames with me too.
Would those be a good idea?
That was when one of the staff announced Kaburagi’s arrival.