As we waited for the pizza to arrive, Kanon handed me a sheet of paper. At first I thought it was a school printout, but it was just a piece of paper with several lines of handwritten letters. Contrary to how I think a high school girl’s handwriting would look round and bubbly, I felt disappointed when I saw the letters were thoroughly firm.

“This is?”

“A list of all the things I had at home that I want you to buy. Since I had time before you came home, I looked around. You lack a lot of things.”

I instantly gulped at Kanon’s words.

…No. There isn’t anything that high school girls aren’t supposed to see. I should relax.

“Ah, as you’d expect, I didn’t look inside your closets or room. This is only from what I’ve seen around. Well, I figured I would see porn magazines around but there weren’t any.” Kanon answered with a wide grin as if she had read my mind. What the heck was that? She acts like a mother who cleans her kid’s room without permission. Meanwhile, Himari is looking down, probably blushing at the words “porn magazine”.

It made me look as if I sexually harassed you. Please stop.

Although… you could easily see them on the internet. Should I be concerned whether one would be seen in my closet or under the bed?

“Jokes aside, you’re living sloppily as I’ve seen so far.”

“Sloppy?”

“For example,” she points at the living room curtains.

“I think navy blue adds a calming ambiance.”

“No, I’m not talking about the color. You only have one, right? There are no lace curtains.”

“I attached lined ones because I didn’t think it was that necessary.”

I’m not really interested in interior decorations that much, and there’s also the reason that I don’t want to waste money on things unnecessary. Speaking as a member of the accounting team in my company, I have a principle of actively avoiding unwanted expenditures.

But Kanon felt a bit peeved at my answer.

“Do you keep your curtains closed in?”

“You don’t just leave your curtains closed during the day, right?”

“No, it’s open. Sunlight is important.”

“Then doesn’t that mean that the place has a clear view from the outside.”

“Is that so? This is the third floor though…”

“There’s probably a clear view here at the building across the street.”

Seriously? I involuntarily open the curtains and look outside. However, the only thing I could see is the darkness of the night and water droplets. When I put my face close to the window, I could finally see what was going on outside.

Taking a look at the apartment building Kanon had mentioned, I could see light leaking through the gaps in the curtains, but the interior of the rooms couldn’t be seen from here.

“If there’s already a full view at night without curtains, then think about having no curtains in the daytime. I could see the guy across the street back at my apartment working out every morning. Having lace curtains would have made it totally different. It may be thin, but they work quite well.”

“I see…”

Truthfully, I haven’t been especially concerned about the likelihood of whether the inside of my house could be seen from the outside my whole life. However, if I’m going to be living with two high school girls from now on, then I can’t just ignore it.

I need to prepare the essentials ASAP.

But, sloppy huh…?

I can feel Kanon’s words sinking into me.

No. Shouldn’t this be the perfect picture of a salaryman living alone?

I pull myself together and lower my eyes to look at the list Kanon had written. Under the words lace curtains were the words aromatics. Did she mean air fresheners?1

“The room itself isn’t like that but… something just outright stinks in the entranceway.”

“……………………”

Her words downright killed me.

Was that the reason why she frowned the instant she stepped foot in here…? While I do wash my body everyday, the same couldn’t be said for my shoes.

Did Himari think so, too?

And not just today. Was that what the courier thought every time they came?

…I have to set up countermeasures.

Nevertheless, at least I learned that the mention of odors is a mental blow. Is it because you don’t notice it when you’re by yourself?

Continuing with the list, scrub brush was added. What kind of brush is that? Don’t I already have one in the bathroom?

“There’s liquid detergent in the bath but there is no brush.”

“I just take a shower. After I finish, I spray some detergent flush out the bubbles, and cleaning is done.”

Taking into consideration the water bill, I am conscious of the fact that it is a waste to fill the bathtub with hot water. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more efficient to wash it after you’ve immediately used it.

“Perhaps you should scrub it from time to time. The dirt would remain otherwise.”

“…Is that so?” My way of doing things has once again been mercilessly cutdown.

“And contin— huh? Is there something on my face?”

Kanon gave me a questioning look when I inadvertently stared at her face.

“No, I was just thinking you act like a mother.”

“Th-that’s not true. Just that much is normal.”

Particularly speaking, compared to Himari, Kanon’s appearance gives an impression of frivolity. Surprisingly enough, she had shown she had a nurturing side to her.

…Come to think of it, Aunt Shouko and her have been living with each other all this time. Of course she would have her act together.

“Nuh-uh, I also think that you are very thorough. I wouldn’t notice those things myself… You’re amazing.”

“Hi-Himari, cut it out…”

Kanon grabbed Himari’s arms and started to shake her for some reason.

“That’s a sloppy way to hide your embarrassment.” Face red in embarrassment, Kanon glared at me as an attempt to push back. I could retort back with at least this much, all

right.

…Wow, I’m childish.

What am I doing competing with a high school girl?

The intercom then rang at that moment.

It looks like the pizza guy is here.

Kanon’s expression lit up for a split second, but when her eyes met mine, she turned her head to the side just as quickly.

I should just let sleeping dogs lie.

I took my wallet out from my bag and headed to the doorway.

Speaking of which, this is the first time I’ve ordered pizza since my brother left. Eating pizza alone is expensive… It’s been a long time since I splurged, but somewhere in my heart, I felt elated.

☆☆

The large size pizza disappeared fast.

Kanon and Himari looked content, but to be honest, just the pizza wasn’t enough for me. I’m grateful for the fries that came included as a bonus.

I also bought three bottles of oolong tea for the three of us. There was only booze and water in my fridge after all.

Thanks to that, I’ve spent quite a lot of money.

Delivered drinks are so expensive…

I don’t have the habit of making my own tea and coffee. Should I buy such things later on? I should try asking the both of them on what their drink preferences were.

This short time with them has made me think about many things in my own life that I’ve never bothered knowing. Is this what it meant to live with others?

I chug down half the booze I’d taken out of the fridge as I thought about it. Beer is best served cold, after all.

☆☆

Shortly after finishing the pizza, Himari went to take a bath.

Although I said that, the bathtub wasn’t filled with water. I felt sorry, but I told her to put up with only a shower today.

I thought it would be best to fill the bath with hot water after I bought the scrub brush Kanon had requested.

While waiting for Himari, Kanon sorted her luggage.

“Oh, yeah. You can put your clothes in here. Use the second row from the bottom.” I gave an explanation to Kanon as I opened the drawers in my bedroom.

This was where my brother’s stuff used to be, but there’s nothing in there now. The bottom one is also empty, so I’ll let Himari use it.

Kanon nods. She immediately started to transfer the clothes she had brought.

“I’m done taking a bath~”

At that time, Himari came out of the bathroom as she was wiping her hair. She was wearing the same clothes she had earlier.

The only difference with her was the wet hair.

Come to think of it, the last time I’ve seen a woman’s wet hair was back at the pool in middle school.

I’m not weird… somehow… but my eyes were drawn to it…

“Are you going to sleep in that Himari?”

When Kanon asked, Himari laughed in a troubled tone.

“I forgot to bring my sleepwear… All I have left is my school uniform.

Himari’s luggage is as small as Kanon’s.

It looks like she ran away out of impulse. I could imagine she couldn’t afford to bring a lot of clothes to change in.

“You can borrow my clothes then is what I’d like to say but… you’re taller than me so I wonder if it would fit. What size do you usually wear by the way?”

“It’s medium, but sometimes it’s large depending on the clothing.

“Uwa, really? My size is small though…”

“Hmm, small might be a bit tight…”

The two of them did a sidelong glance with furrowed eyebrows, so I headed for the bedroom closet.

If my memory serves me right, there should be a T-shirt here that was only worn once last year. It didn’t take long before I found what I was looking for, so I went back to the living room and handed the shirt to Himari straight away.

“Bear with this for today. I only wore this once last year. Aah, I properly washed it ok, so rest easy.”

“Eh? Are you sure?”

“You won’t be able to do laundry with those clothes on you, you know?”

“T-thank you very much.”

Himari takes the t-shirt and heads for the bathroom.

It’s a smidge big but if it’s only for sleeping in today, then it should hold up.

It’s better big than small, as the saying goes.

I’ll have to add Himari’s clothes on the list of things to buy.

As for Kanon… does she have enough clothes?

Speaking of which, I have absolutely no clue on how long she will stay here. It’s just a question of whether or not my aunt will come back.

Well, I guess for Kanon’s clothes, she can just get them from home when she runs out. In addition to the daily necessities, buying new clothes for two people would be a bit hard on my wallet. After organizing what to buy in my head, Himari came out from the bathroom the second time around… but awfully fidgety.

I don’t even need to spell out on why, though.

“Wait, Hi-Himari! Why are you doing something erotic?!” Kanon became flustered.

My T-shirt had transformed completely into a mini skirt.

Himari is tugging down the hem of her shirt with her hands, trying to hide her long, bare legs as much as possible.

I thought it would have hidden more based on the size, but it fell short of my expectations. I’m disappointed in myself that I got even a tiny kick out of that sight.

…Calm down. She’s just a kid.

“Ah, it’s okay. It’s longer than the shorts I had on earlier…”

“But underneath that… you’re just wearing underwear and not shorts, right?”

“Y-yes…”

I turned to my side and I saw Kanon glaring sharply at me. Her eyes were telling me “Is this what you were aiming for?” It’s a terrible misunderstanding. I had no ounce of ulterior motive.

But, well, I can’t help but look at her. It’s an irresistible force. Of course, I’m not foolishly honest that I would say that out loud. To clear up misunderstandings, actions would be better than words. I went to the closet again and took out the jersey I hadn’t used since fall last year and handed it to Himari.

“It’s probably too big, you should try it out.”

With a nod, Himari heads to the bathroom for the third time.

And then Himari comes out wearing the jersey’s pants, supporting it at the waist so it wouldn’t slip off. Even her legs were completely covered up. Himari was dragging along in order to walk but—

“Ah—!?”

She stepped on the hem of the track pants and fell down.

As she did so, her t-shirt flips up, revealing her shapely bottom covered by her white underwear.

I looked away as quickly as I could, but her soft bottom was firmly burned in my eyes.

That butt… Being a pervert is unforgivable.

“…Maybe it’s better for you to take off the jersey after all. It’s dangerous.”

Probably because of Himari’s blunder, Kanon, as expected, was muttering in a slight daze.

“Uwuu… I’ll do just that…”

This time, switching places with the downhearted Himari, it was Kanon’s turn to take a shower. While Kanon was in the shower, Himari took the time to dry her hair with the blow dryer.

“Himari, you left home because you didn’t want to give up on your dreams right” “Eh!? Ah, yes. That’s right.” Himari almost replied in a shout in order for her voice to not be drowned out by the hair dryer.

“You said you’re not giving up. Do you have any specific ideas on how to do that?”

“I-I…”

Himari clams up.

There was only the sound of the hair dryer that lingered in the room for a while.

Himari was about to rent a room. It ended up failing but I wanted to know what she plans to do for the future. I don’t know if I’m curious for curiosity’s sake or maybe because I’m interested in it for my self-satisfaction.

“How about this… if money and housing weren’t a problem, what would you do?”

“If that was the case then… I’ll apply for a contest. Rather than being scouted, I want to actively reach for it.”

“I see…”

She spoke quietly, but I could feel the unwavering determination that was embedded into her words. The sound of the dryer changes to that of cold air. Himari closed her eyes, and began to let the wind blow against her face.

Being blown by the wind, her hair violently swayed around her face. Maybe because I couldn’t do the same with my own short hair, the way a woman’s hair sways in the wind had unexpectedly gotten a hold on me.

Kanon came out of the bathroom shortly after Himari turned off the dryer. Her loosely-fit sweatshirt was a stark contrast to her school uniform.

Although the sweatshirt was similar to mine, why does it look something else entirely when a high school girl wears it?

“Oh yeah, I didn’t write it on the list earlier, but can you get shampoo and conditioner too?” Kanon asked, as she ruffled her hair with a towel.

I nod in silence. After all, I think that a high school girl would find shampoo used by a man unacceptable. I mean, I don’t even have a conditioner.

“Using a conditioner is refreshingly cool to the touch. It feels like painting mint on my head.”

“The sensation feels really good, right? I feel that it even works on the pores, too.”

“………………”

For some reason I feel like daggers were being pointed at me. Talking with high school girls is such a difficult thing to do.

☆☆

It was now bedtime.

I’m sleeping on the bed in my room while the two girls slept in the living room. Kanon slept on the couch while Himari slept on the floor. It was decided that they’ll take turns sleeping on the sofa.

However, there weren’t enough futons. Himari’s using one as she’s sleeping on the floor, and we need one more for Kanon. I also gave my quilt to Himari to cover herself as she might catch a cold. So my blanket today is a thin towelette. It was a little cold with the rain, but it’s not winter so I won’t freeze over.

Anyway, tomorrow is my day off. I’ll buy what Kanon asked me to and various other things. I turned off the lights in my room and laid down on bed. Drowsiness came over me all at once. It’s been a really exhausting day, huh…

I was just about to fall asleep when I heard voices coming from the living room.

“Wow. Himari, isn’t your uniform cute?!”

“I-I guess. Your blazer is also cute, Kanon. I like the color.”

“Say what, can I try on your uniform tomorrow, Himari?”

“Yup. Go ahead.”

“Heh, thanks!” As I listened to the conversation of the high-school girls, my consciousness gradually drifted away.

  1. Very Intrusive Localization Warning. The word Kanon uses is “ほうこう剤” but it could be fully written in Kanji as “芳香剤”. Komamura here originally monologues on whether she knows how to write the characters for Houkou (芳=Perfume香=Incense) which is not necessarily abnormal for not knowing or writing it as so in the context of Japanese culture.