When we got home, we immediately set up the items we have purchased.
The first thing that was put up were the lace curtains.
It’s not evidently clear when seen from inside the house but this important piece of cloth will protect our lives from being seen by prying eyes.
The threes of us can spend our time our time without worrying about being seen under scrutiny by others.
The next thing that was put up was the air freshener.
Color me impressed. Just by putting an air freshener by the front door makes it seem like it’s an entrance to a different house. With this here, Kanon won’t complain about it anymore.
Kanon had put the groceries in the fridge as soon as we got home.
Although it was my fridge, she was able to store the groceries in it one after another with proficiency as if she already live here for years.
She’s adjusted in this environment so quickly…….
That’s good. It looks like I won’t have to worry to much about the future.
Incidentally, the beer that proudly occupied the center of the fridge were sent packing towards the back, bunching it up together in the process.
Himari takes the drawing tablet that was bought out the box and sits in front of the computer in the bedroom.
“Komamura-san. Can I turn on the computer? I want to check the software on it as well……..”
“Sure. It’s in sleep mode, so the screen comes on just by moving the mouse”
I answer her while I was taking out the scrub brush from the bag.
Come to think of it, it was three days ago since I last touched it.
Recently, I’ve fallen into the habit of leaving it without turning off the power.
“I did it but it needs a password.”
Being told that by Himari, I moved to the front of the computer.”
My fingers move and finished typing the password which was deeply ingrained within it. The page that I was looking at 3 days ago appeared on the screen and—
“— Oh shit”
I move the mouse at the speed of light.
Ignoring the surprised Himari, I quit the entire window.
I was careless…..
I should have deleted it…..
I had completely forgotten what I was looking at three days ago till the moment I opened the screen.
The first thing that appeared on the screen was a news article but the tabs open at the top side of the screen was where the problem lies.
In short, it was that.
It was something that should not be viewed by those under the age of eighteen………..
And what’s more, the title that the tab had was downright incriminating. It was enough to know what’s what with a glance.
Did Himari see it?
I’d like to think she didn’t.
Rather, I’m begging she didn’t.
“Oh that’s right, go ahead and use the editor! There should be an icon in the desktop. It’s here somewheeere…….”
I tried to keep my cool while trying to fool her but my voice might have been a little shrill……
I then glanced at Himari. Her face was flushed red while she looked down in embarrassment.
Did….she see it after all………
The jig is up.
To hide my unrest, my reply was blunt.
No. On the contrary I should just boldly admit it, this is the time to show a grown-man’s composure—
But when I made up my mind, Himari murmurs to me before I could do so.
That was when I finally realized it.
I’ve been holding on to Himari’s hand on top of the house.
I didn’t notice her hand till she told me about it. That’s how much I was on edge….
But, I see it now. Himari will be using the computer from now on. I’ll have to be careful about these things………
I should secretly organize my favorites in a folder later…….
To change this awkward atmosphere, I intentionally cough and look at the computer screen again.
“Now where was that editor….”
“Th-there it is. It’s this icon. Thank you”
“Ahh. My brother was the one who installed this on his own so I didn’t know.”
“Oh, Is that so. I should show my gratitude to your brother then.”
Himari then unties the drawing tablet of the cable, which was put together in a small box.
She then plugs the cable into the computer. While watching the device being recognized by the PC, she lets out a brief comment.
“Say, Komamura-san, do you like older….or what I meant to say, married women perhaps?”
She didn’t look fazed, on the contrary, she said it with no hesitation and a calm look on her face.
Me on the hand, was visibly agitated
I’d have done a magnificent spit-take if I were drinking something right now, no doubt about it.
She……..managed to see the letters on the tab in that split second.
What’s the correct way to respond to this?
My mind was in a much greater turmoil than the time my mother put a magazine I had hidden under my bed on top of my desk back when I was younger.
“It’s not exactly that per say…..My tastes and reality are just so different, or how should I say this…….. Yup, It’s just a fantastical world I’m fond of. I want to discern that world, or to put it succinctly, the need for me to simulate the experience of that improbable world of immorality or rather……”
Wtf am I saying to a high school girl?
Today’s not a bad day to die if I do say so myself.
“Is that so….. I see……Married women is only just a fantasy of yours”
Don’t repeat it.
For some reason though, Himari had a calmer expression than before.
There was nary a trace of the beet red face she had when my hand had touched with her, which might I add, had only happened mere seconds ago.
….Girl, aren’t your sensibilities a bit off?
“Then that means you go for younger ones too…..”
“Wha-—!? Don’t just lightly say stuff like that. I won’t know how to react you know!”
Himari had puzzled look on her face as she let out an incomprehensible sound.
Her sensibilities really might just be off kilter.
Oh yeah, didn’t she spout out some things like returning the favor with her body or something too……
Speaking of which, if we’re talking about whether I won’t go for those younger than me then one would sorely be mistaken if they think I won’t in fact I li—
Why am still saying this sort of shit!?
Well that is just it though, reality and fictional worlds don’t mix.
These girls are minors. Naturally, I don’t have any thoughts of laying my hands on them.
Fortunately, it seems like Kanon didn’t get to hear this conversation we had. I can hear the light sound of vegetables being chopped. I’m a little relieved.
“Anyhow, I will draw an illustration to the best of my ability from now on. And, uhmm, Komamura-san. Once again. Thank you very much!”
She had a soft smile on her face that was a completely different expression from the ones before.
In this short time, I’ve been able to see a wide variety of expressions on her face whenever I look at her.
After going around the room setting up the things we bought and taking care of the garbage, it didn’t take long for dinnertime to arrive.
“I’m tired from shopping today so to make it easy on myself I made sukiyaki. Well, I say sukiyaki but it’s pretty much a budget version though.”
While wearing an apron over her school uniform, Kanon places a pot on the living room table. We don’t have a portable stove here, so the sukiyaki that was placed has already finished cooking inside the pot.
It was exactly as Kanon said, a “Budget Version” as the ingredients were bare bones which consists of only beef, tofu, and green onions.
Nevertheless, it smelled very good.
“Wow~! Kanon, you’re amazing! This looks so delicious!”
With shining eyes, Himari expressed her joy.
Kanon bashfully smiles but she looked rather please with the praise.
“I just put in the ingredients and stewed it though. Eat it quickly before it gets cold.”
“Oh, that’s right. Do you guys want raw eggs with that?”
“I want one too.”
The two of them can eat raw eggs without a problem.
I should remember their food preferences—
―And with that in mind, I took out three eggs from the refrigerator that were only bought this day.
Am I the only one who thinks that I’m living a fulfilling life just by having a lot of eggs in the fridge?
I also took a can of cold beer from the fridge and went back to the table.
I’m not going to stop enjoying the little things in life just because I’m living with high school girls.
After passing them their eggs, I crack one into my own dish.
And in also that moment, Himari cries out an “Ah” because the eggshells scattered onto her bowl.
“Himari, you’re not good at cracking them huh……”
“Uwu…….I’m clumsy so I’m not good at this kind of thing……..”
“Then let me show you a trick to it. If you put a small crack like this, then imagine your thumbs sinking into the crack and— Ah!”1
“What’s wrong? Did you end up failing too, Kanon?”
“It’s not that”
Saying so, Kanon showed the inside of her bowl
“There’s two eggs in it!”
“No way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before”
“He~he~. I feel lucky. It’s probably a good sign so I should take a picture.”
Kanon pointed her phone at the twin yolk and snapped a picture.
Once she finished taking the picture though, she immediately stirred the yolk with her chopsticks.
That was amazing…… If it were me, I’d have looked at it for a while longer.
Kanon stirred it with no tinge of regret.
Is this the instagenic world that women care so much about?
“Let’s not wait till it gets cold. So let’s eat!”
“Thanks for the meal~”
Himari and Kanon saying their pre-dinner graces made me snap back to reality.
After saying my own graces a beat behind them, our chopsticks gravitated towards the same piece of meat.
So it was like that…….
The two of them also gun down for the main dish before like me.
It looks like three of us are on the same page in that regard.
The sukiyaki Kanon made were a delight to my tastebuds.
I think that Kanon’s sukiyaki tare sauce2 might be more suited to my tastes than the store-bought ones. The sweetness was magnificent.
Himari also gave rave reviews all throughout eating it.
While Kanon was calm on the surface, I didn’t overlook her subtly raised smile.
I should just let it slide I guess.
After we were done eating, we respectively put our own dishes in the sink with Himari going back to my room soon after.
It looked like she was in the middle of fiddling around with the drawing tablet and the software.
I stood in front of the sink just prior from the second Kanon brought over the pot from the table.
“I’ll do the dishes, at least.”
“But…. I said I’d do the cooking.”
“Then this isn’t cooking is it.”
“For me, it’s still a part of it…… Like a field trip not being over till you get home, or something like that. That’s why I’ll do it.”
Kanon then picks up the sponge without so much as a glance at me.
Unlike with Himari, whenever she talks to me, there’s a high probability that her tone changes into flat, almost dismissive tone.
But it’s the 2nd day now that’s why even I would start to understand her a little bit.
“………You don’t have to worry too much about things that much.”
“You’ve been thinking how to repay me back about the various things so far right? I’m saying you don’t have to think that way.”
I don’t really understand the mode of life a current high school girl would have, but I can at least imagine what she’s feeling right now.
I could see her face painted with the color of confusion as she looked at me in silence.
“How do I say this….Kanon we’re ,at the very least, related by blood. I for one think it’s the sort of relationship where you don’t need to act so reserved around me like Himari.”
It’s not her fault that her mother up and vanished causing her to come to my house.
I can somewhat feel that Kanon probably holds the feelings of guilt of that event entirely on herself.
It’s true that I was baffled when pops contacted me to tell me that I wil be taking care of Kanon but it was never because I didn’t want to.
“All I’m saying is, I’m your cousin, so you don’t need to hold back.”
It was a little embarrassing saying that again…..
However, that was the truth.
Kanon stood silently for a while without making eye contact with me, but eventually closed her eyes in resignation.
“….Okay. Then if you will…”
After saying those few words, Kanon hands me the sponge.
That will do.
One of the reasons I wanted to do the dishes in the first place was because I had the idea that leaving the dishwashing to Kanon and me lazing around in the living room would make it look like we were the picturesque image of a married couple…..but I should keep that to myself.
“Ok, leave it to me. Oh yeah, It doesn’t matter who the two of you goes first. Someone go take a bath.”
It was the usual straight to the point reply but the sour tone wasn’t here this time.
Around 8’ o clock in the evening, the chair and futons that were bought during the day had arrived.
After they took a bath, Kanade and Himari quickly set up the futon in the living room.
Kanon felt that putting a futon on the floor seemed a bit strange, but laying the futon next to someone made it look like something out of a field trip, so she was a bit elated.
After brushing her teeth, Kanon sat languidly on the sofa while she watched TV.
Kazuki was drinking beer at the dining table.
He had already drunk one back in dinnertime, so it was his second bottle.
Himari meanwhile was sitting in front of the computer in Kazuki’s room. Her figure could be seen from the living room as the bedroom door was open.
Himari was drawing a picture with a serious expression on her face as she moved the drawing tablet around.
When Kanon wanted to take a peek at it, she said “P-please don’t look at it….!” as she hid the screen in embarrassment from her. Himari had said she didn’t like being watched while she was in the process of drawing something.
Kanon didn’t quite understand why, but since Himari didn’t like it she decided to stop and leave.
Before the night got any deeper, Himari came out of Kazuki’s room.
After turning off the lights, the smell of two new futons greets her as she enters its cover.
Kanon thought it really was like a school trip after all with the smell of a different futon further accentuating that fact.
A short time after she got under cover, Himari spoke to Kanon in a whisper.
“Uhmm, Kanon, you’re Komamura-san’s cousin right?”
“What was Komamura-san like when he was younger?”
Back then he was a little more slender— is what Kanon’s vague recollection of Kazuki was. Since they only met a couple of times, her memory of him was quite dim.
“Well, you know, was he kind to others even back then or something like that……..”
Himari’s words trail at the end.
It was too dark to see her expression clearly, but Kanon could tell it from the way Himari said it.
(Ah. So it was like that……)
He had tried to save her from a molester, and gives her a place to stay after she ran away.
He was even an adult male who supports her dreams—
In Himari’s eyes, Kazuki is surely her hero.
Kanon thought it wasn’t a surprise at all that Himari had started to develop feelings for Kazuki.
“To be honest, I’ve only ever meet for a short time, so I don’t remember much about the old days.”
“Ah, I see…… Sorry for putting you on the spot. G-good night then.”
“Yeah, good night”
Himari slips the futon over her while Kanon turns her back to Himari and closes her eyes.
It got Kanon curious.
What did Kazuki think of Himari?
Bringing back a stranger, a runaway girl even, and even supports her dreams unconditionally—
Was Kazuki acting like that because he likes Himari?
He denies it but… was he really a lolicon?
―But Kanon ended up banishing those thoughts.
In the first place, she was the one who asked him for Himari to stay here.
He accepted that ridiculous request because was done in consideration of her feelings as someone who has never lived with a man before.
Of course it was.
Suddenly, Kazuki’s words when the dishes were being washed reverberates in Kanon’s mind.
All I’m saying is, I’m your cousin, so you don’t need to hold back.
Because she was his cousin……….
For some reason, those words stuck with her.
Would he have done the same as he did with Himari if she wasn’t his cousin? That impossible “what if” scenario almost clouds through Kanon’s mind, but she shakes her head to brush it off.