That day too, as far as possible, I worked hard. After coming home and eating dinner, I made myself comfortable.
Since I started living with the two of them, this lifestyle had begun to take considerable root in my body.
Some days I would come home and take a bath right away, but today I would be the last one in.
So I relaxed in the living room, having nothing to do.
At that moment, Kanon was taking a bath.
One thing I noticed since I started living with the two of them is the girls’ rumored long bath time.
They would spend thirty minutes at least, the longest being about an hour.
It was still going to take a while, should I watch TV?
I was about to reach for the remote, when Himari came out of my room.
“Excuse me, Komamura-san. You see, I have a favor to ask…”
“Hm? What is it?”
“I’d like you to join me in practice…”
“What kind of practice?”
Was it for drawing practice?
Was there anything I could be of use for? Don’t tell me, it was for modeling…? Immediately after I thought that, Himari answered while squirming:
“Customer s-service practice.”
“Customer service?… I guess it’s for your part-time job.”
For a moment, I didn’t get what it meant, but somehow, I understood.
“Yes. It’ll be just while Kanon-chan is taking a bath…”
“Really? Thank you very much!”
Himari was clearly delighted, but I had some doubts.
She didn’t seem to be the type to be afraid of strangers, so I thought she was good at customer service.
“Still, I’m surprised.”
“Huh? Why is that?”
“I thought you’d gotten used to your part-time job by this point.”
“Yeah, you see…I’ve gotten used to it in general terms, but I’m still getting used to the speech…”
Himari seemed a bit embarrassed, her gaze wandering all over the place as if it were something hard to say. Then she continued as if finally determined:
“That… It’s just that, without exception, you have to add ‘nyan’ to the end of the sentence. But I often end up forgetting…”
For me, that was a shock completely unlike anything I had imagined.
“Yes. It’s a maid cafe where they’re all… cats.”
The only image I had of a maid cafe was the one I saw on TV ad shows: a place where all the maids line up at the entrance to say, ‘welcome home, master’ and treat you politely… I was only aware of that, so Himari’s explanation took me a bit by surprise.
In this world, there was still a lot I didn’t know, huh…?
“That’s why I’d like you to play the role of a customer, Komamura-san… Is that okay with you?”
“That being the case, I’ll help you.”
“Thank you very much! Let’s see… Well then, wait a minute, please. I’ll get ready for the ‘entrance.’”
“I mean to become a maid. After all, there’s a completely different atmosphere in the house from my part-time job, so I-I need to get a little courage for myself as well,” Himari blushed and explained. Then she moved to the far end of the living room.
Then she covered her ears and started to mumble a little, “mmmmmm.”
I see… One could say it was ‘getting into the role’, huh? Well, maybe, in a sense, maids are like actresses.
After several seconds, Himari turned around…
“Thanks for waiting. Here I come! So, Komamura-san, let’s go from entering the store, please!”
I didn’t know what to do, but I said I’d lend her a hand with the practice, so there was nothing left to do but to act.
I temporarily left the living room and closed the door.
I took a moment, then went back inside.
Himari who was standing in a proper posture in front of the door, welcomed me with a smile.
“Welcome home…nyan! Master!”
Hey, you abruptly introduced an unnatural pause…
Even Himari put on an expression that said, “oh” for a moment.
Well, that’s exactly why we’re practicing, so let’s stop with the tsukkomi.
“This way, please, nyan.”
It was fine this time.
Himari led me to the couch. Under her guidance, I sat down on the couch.
Himari had placed Kanon’s math book on the desk in front of me in advance.
“You’ve had a hard day… nyan. S-select today’s menu from here, nyan!” she raised the tone of her voice a bit as if to cover up the mistake.
Come on, you can do it! I instantly mentally encouraged her.
Apparently, Himari wasn’t very good at adding the ‘nyan’ at the beginning of the conversation.
I don’t think there’s any solution to these things other than getting used to it.
Anyway, I was determined to stick to my customer role faithfully.
I casually opened Kanon’s textbook, which was used as a substitute for a menu.
“…Whoa,” I involuntarily let out a sound.
Just by opening the book, it was a doodle that Kanon had probably drawn.
Moreover, it wasn’t just one.
She had drawn a cat with a frown on its face that made you lose your strength just by looking at it, there was a number 2 with a line added to it to turn it into a duck, and there was also a complaint written with the words, “←Trick question. What a pain in the ass.”
Don’t write your complaints over a textbook…
Kanon’s drawings had a point, however. She wasn’t quite skillful.
“Maybe a colleague?” I asked Himari, pointing to the cat with a scowl on its face.
“This fella… it’s the same species, but from a different locale… nyan,” Himari held back her laughter as her shoulders shook.
Apparently, Kanon’s drawing was generating her reactions.
I may have been unkind, but they might ask her unexpected questions like this at the real maid’s cafe. This from now would be good practice, I guess.
“Err, so, what would you recommend from the menu?”
“The most popular in this establishment is the ‘Omurice ☆ Special’, nyan!”
“I see, then…”
“But recently, the ‘Mighty ☆ Meat Spaghetti’ is also becoming more and more popular! I’ve tried it, and it’s yummy! On the menu you can choose the options of having your picture taken with one of the neko-maids and watching the dance show of us!” Himari explained to me about the menu in an energetic and lively way, but…
“Himari, you are skipping the ‘nyan.’”
“Oh!” For a moment, Himari froze and then dropped her shoulders in discouragement.
“Ah, too bad… Even though I have to become a cat… That means I lack acting spirit. Or rather, I don’t feel like a cat enough… Eh, too bad. I need to be more like a cat!”
“No, but I guess you do look like a maid,” almost reflexively, I ended up pointing that out.
“Certainly, I act like a maid, but it’s about being a cat. A neko-maid!” Himari explained emphatically as she clenched her fists.
…I didn’t quite understand, but it seemed that working in a maid cafe was a complex matter.
“This is just my opinion… but I don’t think you need to try so hard to do it in every sentence ending.”
“It doesn’t matter if you attach it at the end. The important thing is not the sentence endings, but the spirit to entertain the clients, don’t you think? This is the opinion of a mere outsider, though.”
Honestly, including the part where she corrected herself, I thought she was adorable. However, I didn’t know whether or not it was the right thing to do for the specific establishment.
Himari was caught off guard, but in the end, she nodded her head.
“Certainly, you’re right, Komamura-san… I almost forgot that I’m doing it for the customers’ sake. Thank you very much, I’ll continue to do my best in my own way!”
Just then, the sound of the bathroom door opening could be heard. Kanon came out.
Himari and I quickly walked away from Kanon’s textbook.
I had to keep it a secret that I saw the doodles and scrabbles in the textbook. If she found out, it would be quite a problem.
Kanon didn’t immediately come to the living room, though, she went straight to the fridge. Probably, it was to rehydrate after the bath.
Kanon entered the living room with a glass in her hand.
“Ah, Himari, we’re out of sports drinks, so I put your share in a glass as well.”
“Got it. Thanks, nyan!”
“Huh? What? ‘Nyan’?” Wearing a puzzled face, Kanon looked at Himari.
She had been practicing a moment ago, so I guess it just came out spontaneously.
“Ah… It’s nothing…”
Even I who was watching from the side felt the awkward atmosphere.