We left the house before 10 o’ clock in the morning and came to the nearest shopping complex. We’ve come to buy the household items that Kanon told me to get along with Himari’ s clothes and various other stuff.

While on the subject, Since Himari was wearing a uniform, Kanon decided to also wear one to match.

As for me, I didn’t want to have two high school girls with me since I would end up standing out…..

It was just waved off by Kanon with “Nobody would care.”

There was truth to that though as there are a lot of people. Not everyone would cast us a suspicious gaze. They may look at us in passing, but all of them quickly lose interest afterwards.

Since today is a Saturday, the places were packed with families and couples and groups of young people who look like close friends.

You wouldn’t find a man my age walking alone here.

“See, I told you right? People won’t bother to question every little thing about us. If anything, they’d be more interested in talking with who they’re with.”

“It seems like it……”

“Wew….Thank goodness.”

Himari exhales a breath of relief right next to me.
Looks like I wasn’t the only one who was reassured by Kanon’s words.

Oh yeah, She is a runaway………..

Should we really be out in the open after all?

Himari said that her family wouldn’t make a big deal out of it but it’s not like they weren’t looking for her.
But… We’ve already come this far. Besides, it would have been inconvenient buying clothes if the person themselves weren’t here anyhow.

Anyways, we should just quickly shop and get out.

“Should we start with Himari’s clothes first?”
“I’d appreciate it if you would. I’d like to change clothes too if I can…..My uniform isn’t from around here, so I think it makes me stand out………”

“Oh?”

For me, I didn’t think that Himari’s uniform was that much different from the high school girls you can see around here.

Although I’m the one saying it but… It looks like a common blazer to me.

“Aaa~~….. Of course it would. Those ribbons are just super cute~”
Kanon once again praises Himari’s uniform.

It only looks like a simple checkered ribbon to me but— I guess there’s a cuteness to it that only girls would understand.

I think it would be better if a geezer like me would keep his mouth shut.

“Let’s just go see the clothes for now—”

Kanon took the lead and starts walks.

“Have you went here before Kanon?”
“Yeah. With my friends.”

“Is that so. I’ll have to ask you to show us around then. I’ve only been here once myself. Ah, lead us to a cheap place too if possible.”

I made a sincere request to Kanon, who was walking in front of me.

I don’t even know what kind of clothes high school girls like to wear but I want to  be spared from a shop where a piece of clothing costs more than 10 000 yen a pop.

“Sure thing. Are you ok with UNIQLO stuff Himari?”

“Yeah. Rather, it would be better if it were 2nd hand clothes. You don’t have to spend that much money for me……”

“It’s ok, I mean they don’t even sell 2nd hand clothes in a place like this do they?”

“Yep, yep. UNIQLO also has underwear and everything else gathered there. Let’s go~ Let’s go~.”

She took the hand of Himari and walks towards the place in high spirits.

It’s not like I have some sick fetish or anything but—

Seeing the appearance of girls holding hands up close is… somewhat soothing, I have to say……

I don’t want them to get wind that I’m thinking of such disgusting stuff so I lag behind just a bit before I follow them. 

<><><><><><><><><><><> 

Why do high school girls take so long to shop………

Several tens of minutes have already passed since we entered the store.

My mental faculties are beginning to shut down.

The two of them have been pacing round and round the same spot in the store over and over.

I’ve began to also look around in the store to pass the time in order to numb the pain of waiting. Right now though, there aren’t any particular clothes that I want to buy. The tops and bottoms from last year are plenty adequate.

Oh but should I at least buy underwear right?  Kanon would probably reproach me if I didn’t.

I was about to move with that in mind when Himari approached me with a basket in tow.

“Uhm, Komamura-san. For now, I’ve gotten sleepwear and two sets of casual clothes and also 2 pairs of underwear and a pair of socks but…… Is the cost acceptable? I’ve chosen the cheapest ones I could find.”

She looks anxious as she shows the clothes in the basket.

—Hey wait. Don’t boldly show off your underwear. I’d have trouble answering that you know!?

I know it’s new an all but are high school girls ok with showing off to guys the underwear they are planning to wear!? Or is she  just special in that regard?

“Umm, Komamura-san…..?”

 I don’t say anything as Himari looks up at me bashfully.

 “You’re thinking something weird aren’t you?”

Next to her, Kanon looks at me with scorn as she says so.

“There’s no way I am.”

I should relax. This is just the store’s merchandise. It’s not Himari’s underwear. Yet.

I took a breather to clear my mind. I then check the shopping cart again. It’s for price checking purposes only. There is no other meaning behind it.

I’ve unwillingly confirmed that it’s white. It was completely an act of God…

……..Come to think of it, the panties I saw when she tumbled down yesterday was also white. Does Himari like the color white——-

What the heck am I remembering that for!?

I should just run the numbers for now.

“Yup— This should be within the budget. There’s no problem at all. You can get more if you like—”

“No, Really it’s fine. This is already plenty enough…..”

“I see. I’ll go ahead and pay for it then.”

I receive the shopping cart from Himari, simultaneously escaping from Kanon, who was still staring at me even now.
On my way to the register, I also plop down boxers in the basket.

It would be a problem only having worn out underwear since I’m living with high school girls after all.

<><><><><><><> 

After the purchase, Himari immediately went to the restroom and changed into the clothes that was bought.

Even I feel that it’s better than being in uniform.

Kanon felt a bit bummed at them having to stop both having their so called “uniform date” but since she understood the reason why, she didn’t say anything further.

After that, we went to the daily necessities store and purchased the things Kanon pointed out. We also went to the home furnishing sections and bought lace curtains. Which should help us with prying eyes a bit. We also bought the dining room chairs we were lacking and have it delivered to us.

I look at the shopping list again.

A scrub brush, air freshener, shampoo and conditioner, laundry net, and a corner sink tidy, a waste bin for the restroom and it’s accompanying waste bag—.

With this, almost all of the things Kanon pointed out should have been bought with this.

I’ve also bought more garbage bags, two toothbrushes, along with dinnerware.

If there is anything else missing, we can buy the stuff when needed.

The rest of the day’s work would be done after buying the food—

“We should eat soon……….”

Hearing what she said, I look at my watch.

The watch’s hands were already pointed to 12 o’ clock.

I hadn’t realized it was already this late.

I didn’t realize my hunger until the moment I looked at the time.

There was a map for the layout of the building just in front of me so I stopped.

It looks like the restaurants are gathered on the first floor while the food court is upstairs. Both are located on the outermost wing so it was a bit far for here.

“Why don’t we go get some lunch then. Do you have anything in particular in mind?”

“I’m fine with anything.”

“Hmmmm. Let’s go to that one! – Is what I would say if I wanted to go somewhere I want.”

“Those are the most problematic answers I could get.”

“How about you Komamura-san? Where would you like to eat?”

“Err, uhmm……. Anything is fine…”

“Then we’re just in the same boat aren’t we……..”

We laughed wryly at each other while standing in front of the map.

I feel like this is the first time the three of us agreed on something. It was a nice, subtle feeling.

<><><><><><> 

Eventually we settled it with heading for the food court and finding what we respectively wanted to eat from there.

I settled for tempura donburi and soba set1 while Kanon got a hot dog and ice tea and Himari had hotdog and orange juice. Suffice to say, our meals had no sense of harmony between it.

It was quite a fresh sensation having the smell of takoyaki waft through the air as I try to eat the soba.

More overpowering than that however, was the smell of dolsot bibimbap in the next table over.

The smells made me a bit confused on what I’m actually eating.

In a related manner, there really is a lot of people here.

Seeing this many people here makes me feel like the matter with Himari not wanting to be seen can be handled quite well here. Naturally though, we don’t mean to be lax about it either.

With that newly found determination, I took a bite of the shrimp in the tempura donburi, and then—

“Fuwa!?  Itsh sho hot!”

 After taking a bite into her Takoyaki, Himari started to suddenly cry out in pain.

“Are you ok!?  G-go drink the juice!”

As per Kanon’s advice, Himari drinks her orange juice while chewing the Takoyaki.   

She let the juice swim in her mouth for a while before finally gulping it down.

“Uwa, that burned my tounge….that surprised me….”

“Be more careful, okay. Takoyaki’s contents are piping hot. If you aren’t used to hot food then you need to blow on it to cool it down first ok?”

“Uwuu….I will….”

Following on what Kanon told her, she cools down the takoyaki with her breath.

Seeing that, Kanon smiles softly and bites into her own food—

“Afuu!? W-why does this sasuage have to be so super hot!?”

Just like with Himari, she burned her tounge.

“Kanon, looks like you need to properly cool it down too, ok?

Himari smiles mischievously.

Kanon couldn’t say anything back and sips her iced tea, her face bright red.

I stifled my laughter while slurping down my soba noodles.

We took a breather after finishing our meals.

Our surroundings were crowded with families and groups of  youngsters talking.

It’s strange hearing a ton of voices overlap as it really sounds like  a bunch of buzzing noise.

*fuaa*……..All that’s left is to buy groceries before we can go home.”

-Kanon says, stretching and yawning all the while.

“Yeah. Ah——– no, not yet.”

“Hmmm? Was there anything else?”

“Aah… We forgot to buy a futon”

“Oh! That’s right.”

I almost forgot something important.

Sleep is important after all. One can’t get a good night’s rest on the sofa after all.  

“I see……..”

“What’s the matter Kanon? You don’t look well.”

“Uh …..  I’m just a little tired.”

Kanon’s face certainly reflected that notion.

Well, we did walk a fair amount of distance.

“Then do you want to continue resting here? I’ll go buy a futon in the meantime.”

“Hmm…….Yeah. I’ll do just that then.”

Himari looks at and Kanon’s face back and forth. It seems like she’s not sure on what she should do.

“Himari, do you want to wait with her here too?”

“Ermmm, actually….. I want to go to the restroom….”

“Ah if that’s the case go with him then. I’ll keep an eye on our stuff here.”

“Will you be ok with that?”

“No worries. It’s not like I’ll disappear.”

Kanon says while looking somewhere in the distance.
Those words probably contained cynicism towards her mother.

I felt prickling sensation in my chest.

“Ok then. But before we go— wait just a sec”

“Hm?”

I left there and purchased a coffee float a coffee shop, returning to Kanon after.

“Here. Drink this while you wait.”

“Eh…? Are you sure I can have this?”

“Well, I didn’t even buy clothes for you anyhow.”

“That’s fine and all but…How did you know I like strawberries?”

“You were mulling over it back when you were choosing a drink.”

“Eh….you remembered that.”

Does Kanon think I’m a tempestuously forgetful person?

I can at least remember that much.

“Then I’m counting on you to take care of our stuff then. Let’s go Himari”

“Ok”

“…..Good luck”

Kanon said that with the gentlest expression I’ve ever seen or at least I think it wasn’t imagining it.

<><><><><><> 

After a few minutes from leaving the food court, I look at Himari who was walking next to me.

“Did you want something to drink too Himari?

I’ve only just realized that I may have looked like I was impartially favoring Kanon from Himari’ s point of view.

“No, but thank you for your concern. Buying so many things for my sake, it’s more than enough. More than that though…. I want to get to the bathroom faster……”

It was a telltale sign of how dire the situation is based on the serious expression on her face.

“L-let’s hurry up then.”

We visually confirm where the bathroom is by checking the sign hanging overhead then hastened our pace

The bedding section is located at the opposite end of the mall from the food court. We had to traverse the whole length of the shopping mall.

To be frank, it was a bit far. A big mall isn’t necessarily all good.

Deciding on one was a no brainer. I had bought two sets of the cheapest mattress and comforter.

Of course, I couldn’t carry it around with me so I arranged it to be delivered to the house. It looks like it will arrive by nightfall.

“I’m really sorry that you had to prepare a futon for me……….”

“Don’t mind it. It was Kanon who wanted you around in the first place. It’s her who you should be grateful to.”

 My original plan was kicking Himari out after one night………..

“That’s also true but….The one who’s spending the money is you……”

“She’s still a minor after all and I’m pretty much her blood relative so……’

I didn’t use the word “Guardian” because it felt somewhat different from that.

This was a situation borne from happenstance, I’m only her cousin.

“Let’s go back to Kanon.”

We swerved right and left to avoiding the people to walk uninterrupted.

“Oh yeah….What sort of supplies do you need to draw pictures?”

“Eh!?”

Himari opened her eyes wide in an amusing way following my question.

“Your tools of the trade. Your parents threw it all away right?”

“Yes but…. uhmm, you’re not thinking of…..”

“I’ve already went this far, so while I’m at it, I’m thinking of buying it for you.”

 “Th-there’s no need for you. You don’t need for me to take anymore than—”

“Didn’t you say it yourself?  ‘I want to actively reach out for it. I want to apply for a contest. Didn’t you run away from home so you can draw to your heart’s content to begin with?”

“That’s……..Yes……I did…..”

“If you’re worrying about the money, then don’t.”

“W-Why…….. why would you go so far for me? I don’t even know where to begin with on how to return your help……”

Himari was looking straight at me, I was at a lost for words at that.

Why indeed.

I just met the runaway girl yesterday. What reason do I have to go so far for her.

I can’t give a clear answer to Himari.

I wonder why? But hearing about her situation caused a buzz deep inside my chest, it was a bit painful—.     

I don’t get it myself but an urge within me welled up and I just ended up follow it.

“…..No reason. You don’t have to think about those things.”

“But……..”

Himari was still anxious about it but then changes her expression as if noticing something.

“Ah…!? Could this be one of those things where I ‘Pay with my body’?”

“Hah!? What the heck are you saying!? There is no way that’s the case!”

I raise my voice in reflex, collecting the gaze of passers-by all at once.

…….Damn, this is a little embarrassing.   

  But I was a bit shocked by what Himari told me. Do I look like that kind of person?

I mean….I guess that would be the normal line of thinking on what purpose a man would even have letting a high school girl stay at his home.

“Eh, it wasn’t?  Runaway doujins I’ve read that had runaways had many such developments. I was positive this was that……”

“You shouldn’t learn about society through doujinshi……..”

 I’ve always felt she was lacking in the common sense department but……to think she was a natural airhead.”

——- Wait a minute.

That means she’s read doujinshi with that kind of situation.

No…. Isn’t she still a minor.

As someone who looks at that kind of stuff in Fanza*, hearing that word now bothered me quite a bit.

I didn’t know much about the world of “Doujinshi” until I started seeing Fanza content but it’s enough to be well aware that its stories have questionable content.2

How should I react in these cases………..

And it came from a girl no less.

Should I properly scold her? I’m not Himari’s parent though……..

…………..Well, It would be better putting that issue in the backburner for now.

What’s important from her is—

“I’m not demanding anything from you anyway. If I were to be compelled to give a reason, I guess I want to see the sight of you painting properly? That’s why tell me anything you need to paint.”

Himari pondered for a while, but she eventually faced me with her large black eyes.

“The award* is only eligible for digital entries, those made with a pen tab and graphics editor. Komamura-san, you had a computer in the house  so I was wondering if you’d be willing to let me use it…..”

“I see. By the way, is the “graphics editor” the one you use for photo correction and the like?”

“Yes. Ah, do you use it at work by any chance?”

“Not at all, I’m an accountant so I have nothing to do with it but….I remember it was used to create photomontages back when my brother was around. If it’s a software with that function then there is one installed.”

“Eh—!? Was it Photoshop or Illustrator?”

“Sorry, I don’t know the name of the software……”

I was a smidge overwhelmed when Himari impatiently asked a question.

“No. I should be the one saying sorry. Although, if the software is good enough to make a photomontage then it’s plenty good enough. All I need is a drawing tablet then I’ll have all I need!”

“I-I see. We just need to buy a drawing tablet then.”

And then, while walking along, we managed to arrive at the entrance of an expansive electronics shop.

Just the perfect timing.

Going along with that timing, me and Himari walk inside.

“It’s probably near the computer section. Let’s see, where could it be…..”

While looking at the signboards hanging at the top of the store, Himari briskly moves forward ahead of me. 

It’s as if she’s a different person altogether………..

She was like an energetic fish in water, completely in her element. I started following behind her, and just followed along.

Himari chose what was called “Pen Display” and tells me “These are expensive though…..”

I wanted to reply with “You don’t have to hold back…..” but the words fell to the pits of my stomach after looking at the price.

Pen Display….

From the premiere ones to the lowest price, the display tablets cost quite a pretty penny…..

It’s at a price you would usually see when you buy a tv.

Peering into a world I didn’t know about left me a skoshily intimidated.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><> 

“Gosh, you’re slow”

Back at the food court, Kanon’s hands and head were propped up on top of the table.

She was still holding the empty container of the strawberry float while giving me a look of protest.

“S-sorry. We got a bit sidetracked.”
“I’m sorry too, Kanon…….”

“It’s but…. is that what got you sidetracked?”

Kanon looks at the box of the drawing table Himari is carrying.

“Yeah. Komamura-san got this so I could draw………”

“Heeeh— I do recall you saying something about that. That would be necessary indeed.”

She gives a cold look to me but a gentle one to Himari.

I guess I’m still basically a stranger in her eyes.

It’s ok even if it’s a little at a time. If she can warm up to me, then I’d be already happy with just that. Well, I won’t demand the impossible though.

“All then. Let’s get some groceries before we head home”

Looking at it again, I’ve already done quite a bit of shopping done.

 Adding the groceries to that mix, going back with this would be pretty dreadful……

After sharing the load with the two of them, we head for the foods section on the first floor.

I think I haven’t shopped this much since I moved into a new house.

But…It isn’t a bad feeling.

It’s only a small thought I had but—

The way we’ve shared the baggage while walking… We looked kind of like a family.


TN Disc.- I will personally accept sugar daddies or mommas who would give me a drawing tablet with a display ty XD

TN- Japanese Lesson/Fun fact note I’ve been using award and contest interchangeably. 賞 = “pronounced as shou” direct translation is award or prize. コントスト= pronounced Kontesuto is the borrowed english word that they use for contests. 100% of the time so far when I say contest it’s translated from 賞

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  1. TN FoodFact- This is what it looks like https://foodnews.jp/archives/38497/2 for those who don’t know(Tendon soba set) to those who might think noodles and tempura don’t mix.
  2. TN- Sorry to say but the site is region locked outside of Japan. 1 character of it is censored in the original work but since this is a fan tl I typed out the full word just a heads up~.