|Author: Hidsuki Shihou||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2854 characters|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1380 words|
I don’t call her with honorifics anymore. It’s just Isami, after all.
「Even if I cook food, they don’t turn out delicious, you know. Mom’s cooking is superb.」
That, I know. It’s mysterious how even if I copy the way Master cooks, I don’t feel like I can recreate her flavors at all. Nonetheless, does Isami have any intention of marrying? She doesn’t seem to have any intention of being independent either.
「Mom, I’m back~. Ready one more person’s share of lunch, please.」
「I’ve told you many times to inform me about things like that beforehand, haven’t I? It’s nice meeting you, I’m Isami’s mother, Hatsune.」
Ms. Hatsune politely bowed. Seriously, it’s strange how Isami ended up the way she is. A mystery of life.
「It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Kisaragi Kotone. I’m very sorry for the sudden visit.」
「Oh my, it would be nice if Isami grew up to be like Kotone.」
「I think that’s impossible.」
「Right, it’s impossible, isn’t it?」
As Hatsune and I were in agreement, Isami puffed her cheeks in a pout. How old do you think you are?
「You don’t need to act that formal too, Koto-chan.」
「Don’t be unreasonable. Excluding you, it’s my first time meeting everyone else.」
First impressions are important. Even though I know everyone, I’m the only one who knows them. I absolutely have to avoid being seen the same way as Isami is. I don’t run wild as much as she does.
「Kotone, is there anything that you dislike?」
「As long as it’s not hamburgers, I’m fine with anything.」
Hearing my answer, everyone had an indescribable expression. Well, if they know the reason I died, I guess it’s the natural reaction. Besides, today is Obon. They probably can’t help but think about it.
「In that case, let’s have chilled noodles. What else should I make?」
「Please allow me to help.」
「I’d feel bad to trouble a guest. Also, no need to be formal with me. For some reason, I feel ticklish when you talk to me that way.」
As I thought, she probably knows it’s me by intuition. Since everyone that I was acquainted with could sense it’s me for some reason. Though in step-mom’s case, she’s just silent.
「I want to help.」
「Then I’ll accept your kind offer. Isami, won’t you help with anything?」
「But mom, you won’t even let me hold a knife.」
「It’s because I feel extremely uneasy when you do so.」
Ah, she could somewhat sense it. Your usual attitude and behavior really shows in these sorts of situations, after all. Like how she’s restless, or likely to get injured.
「Now then, Isami, Sayoko, wait for us in the living room. Kotone, this way.」
It’s Isami’s house that I’m thoroughly familiar with. Step-mom often isn’t at home due to work, so I tend to have my meals here a lot. Because of that, I help out in the kitchen a lot.
「I’m sorry about this every time.」
「I don’t invite you for your housework skills, so it’s fine. It was really really worrying back then when Sou was still a baby.」
From what was told, Master saw step-mom holding me while being flustered and was asked for help. They became friends from then on. I’m really grateful that Master was such a nice person.
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「You really helped me out back then.」
「Honestly, seeing you expressionlessly carrying a baby put fear in me.」
Step-mom is always expressionless. At work, she’s called the Iron Mask and is pretty popular. It’s difficult to communicate with her if you can’t read the subtleties of expressions. It’s weird for me to say it myself, but I’m impressed that I grew up properly.
「Thanks to that, Sou and I met, so isn’t that fine?」
「That’s not the issue. As another mother raising a child, I’ve never felt that much anxiety before.」
「I’m sorry for being so engrossed in work.」
For some reason, I feel like Master is the only relatively decent person among us. Moreover, my old acquaintances are mostly beyond just being slightly weird.
「Ah, Kotone, please cut these vegetables.」
I can’t tell if the conversation is about my step-mom’s past or my own past anymore, but they’re having a blast. As the person in question, it’s really embarrassing but it’s not like I can stop them. After all, the present me isn’t the old me.
「My, you’re quite skillful.」
「I cook for myself, after all.」
The techniques Master drilled into me still helps me even now. I’d feel depressed if she had said I’m clumsy as hell. And after doing nothing but slicing vegetables, my work is done. Come to think of it, I wonder where Isami’s dad is. We made enough for five, so he should be here somewhere but that guy has an absurdly thin presence.
「Somehow, this reminds me of the past.」
「By past, how long ago in the past?」
「Three years ago. The plates are there, so please plate the food.」
Master is the main cook. So I have to make sure to support her. Still, it’s pretty inconvenient how I need to ask where things are when I know where they are.
「He~re, it’s done.」
「Well then, let’s ea~t.」
Just as the food arrived, Isami sank her teeth in. She really has no intention to wait for everyone. Well, it’s nothing new though. Also, I finally got a visual of her dad. He probably was in the living room the whole time. Say something. Since unless he speaks, I can’t confirm his existence.
「Dinner aside, what will you do while we go grave visiting Koto-chan?」
「As expected, I can’t just stay waiting here while no one else is at home, so I’ll just wander around.」
「You can stay at my place.」
Since I already said that I’m here for a walk, I figured I could check the nearby shops but suddenly step-mom invited me over. I can’t quite read her thoughts, you know. Despite being with her for a long time.
「I’ll call you once we get back home, alright?」
「Since that’s the all you can do, yeah?」
「You can say that!」
Master is probably going to do all the preparations after all, so she’s probably going to be bored. And the usual pattern is that I’d have to entertain her in the meantime. Even though I also joined in preparations.
「Thanks for the meal.」
As long as you just chew, that’s all there to it. I don’t think I eat particularly fast. See, the others are already halfway through their plates, aren’t they?
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「I guess it’s because of Obon, this reminds of a lot of stuff.」
「You’ve been seeing me as someone else since before and you say that now? 」
「Well that’s true and all, but still.」
The part where she doesn’t stay solemn is really like her. Also, the part where she’s so unreserved. People other than me would probably feel unsettled by it.
「Kotone, aren’t you quite the big shot.」
「She actually is a big shot. Have you noticed yet, Hatsune?」
Hearing step-mom’s words, she reacted in a way that obviously shows that she doesn’t know. Well, yeah, who’d imagine that a daughter of a wealthy family would visit a regular household and even help prepare lunch? That’s why I also kept quiet. After all, that makes it more interesting.
After that, we had tea and I helped tidy the dishes before step-mom and I moved to my old home. Seeing that it hasn’t changed from when I was still alive, I was a bit relieved.
We sat down facing each other, but then the following silence was deafening. I’d like to present a topic, but I don’t know what to say. As far as finding a common topic goes, there’s really nothing.
「It might be rude to ask, but can you answer this?」
「What is it?」
Something rude to ask, huh. Probably questions like why a wealthy young lady like me is here? Or why I work or maybe if I really can cook. Other than that… it can’t be.
「Are you Sou?」
Step-mom is broken.