Christmas — Part 1
“Oh. So this is Sensei’s house.”
“…It’s unexpectedly small.”
Based on the map that we were given, Kanata, Sana, and I arrived together at Hiiragi-chan’s place.
Of course, I didn’t need it at all to get here, but I had to keep the pretense that it was my first time here, so my remarks ended up a little hesitant.
“…Is it really alright for us to intrude like this?”
“She did say she would make preparations, so isn’t it fine?”
While saying that, Sana looked at the key in her hand. It was a key used for entering Hiiragi-chan’s place.
It was the day of the home economics club Christmas party, and the venue happened to be Hiiragi-chan’s apartment.
The room is large enough so that it wouldn’t feel cramped even with four or five people, and the person herself doesn’t have any problems with it. It’s just that, if there was any evidence that I come here often, it would be bad.
That’s why, last Saturday, I came over to look everything over and make sure there wasn’t any proof. I don’t think any traces were left, but I can’t help but feel anxious.
If you’re wondering why it’s not in the home economics room like usual—
“I told them that our cooking practice would end up going later, but they told me that other clubs wanted to use the room, so I gave it to them. Sorry.”
That’s how Hiiragi-chan explained and apologized. I guess she decided it was okay because the home economics club was normally monopolizing the room.
“I hope Sensei can come home early.”
Sana muttered that while using the key to enter. Then, Kanata and I followed after her. It was 5 in the afternoon. It was already dark outside.
With finals exams over, there was probably a lot of work to do.
“Prepare before me. I’ll hurry home as soon as I finish!”
She did say that, but I wonder if she’s really okay.
“…Pardon the intrusion.”
Kanata made a proper greeting, but Sana was pretty casual about it.
When we entered the living room, I noticed that the usual environment was decorated in festive spirit.
Glittering decorations and a small tree were placed besides the television.
She was complaining that she was really busy this week, and yet she found the time to do all of this.
“I wonder if Sensei did this herself?”
“…A single woman putting up Christmas decorations all through the night. Just imagining it is…”
“Don’t make it sound so sad, Kanata.”
I put the whole cake that we brought with us into the refrigerator. It had been ordered in advance, so went to pick it up earlier.
Ugeh. Inside the refrigerator, there were bite sized pieces of chicken… It was already prepared so that it would become karaage just after frying it. Other than that there was potato salad, Neapolitan, and other various types of party food. The pot that’s on the stove probably contains soup.
“She made a lot of preparations…”
It was enough where you might need to pay around 5000 yen for the labor and material cost.
“W-what’s wrong all of a sudden, Kanata?”
Kanata is the scariest. Her insight and observational abilities are all amazing.
“…The doorbell is ringing.”
Hmmm? I have actually been hearing the doorbell sound multiple times now…
It should still be too early for Hiiragi-chan to have come back though. As I was wondering whether it was the delivery service, I heard someone call out in a loud voice, Senpaaai.
“Muu. This voice!”
Furrowing her eyebrows, Sana stomped over to the entrance.
“The little kid. Why are you here?”
“I asked Hiiragi-sensei, and she said that everyone would be having a Christmas party here. She also said that it would be fine for me to join.”
“Today is a party for the home economics club. Outsiders should go home! Home!”
“I don’t want to. I’ve already gotten permission from the owner of the house, so I won’t follow what you say.”
“Gununu… This kid…!”
From that voice and exchange, it is without a doubt the little kid version of Rei-chan.
Rei-chan ran down the hall with light footsteps and arrived by me.
She hugged me at the waist. The elementary school Rei-chan is great—
If the adult Rei-chan were to do the same thing, I would definitely dodge it… Somehow, it’s something that I feel like she would use fully to her own advantage.
It does feel good though.
“I came here to be with Senpai today. It’s also already dark out…”
While making a troubled face, Rei-chan showed me teary eyes. Aaah, so cunning. She’s definitely doing this on purpose.
“Well done in coming here.”
“Yup. Pat me.”
Yes yes, I patted her head as she asked. Behind that, Sana was expressing her frustration.
“Separate from Nii-san!”
“I haven’t seen him in a while, so isn’t it fine for just a little bit?”
Rei-chan, who pouted, spun around to use me as a shield. She pinched my clothes and poked her head out from my side. Using this positioning… she’s quite experienced. A veteran of being cunning.
“You…! I’m telling you to get away…!”
“…Seiji-kun, we need to continue with preparations, can you do something about this ki… child?”
She definitely was just about to say kid.
What does she mean by preparations though?
The only tasks I was given by Hiiragi-chan was to pick up the cake, and put it in the refrigerator. That was the only preparation that I was given.
“I also have some preparations.”
Rei-chan clapped her hand. She then left the living room while still wearing her backpack. She also has some?
“… Saa-chan as well, let’s hurry.”
While sulking, Sana took out something that looked like clothes from her bag.
“This is for you, okay?”
She handed me a costume used for parties. It was a tree costume.
It’s not even a person.
“We will also get changed, so let’s surprise Sensei together.”
“So that’s what it is.”
Well, if I was asked if I wanted to cosplay as something else, I wouldn’t be able to think of anything, so I guess a tree is okay. Brown clothes with a green mantle. The headpiece is one that looks like the top of the tree.
Well, that’s just how it is. It definitely feels like a joke costume.
“…Saa-chan, that looks good, really good.”
“R-really…? You telling me that, makes me happy…”
I could hear the two of them talking in the bedroom.
The two of them soon returned to the living room.
“…W-well…? I-it’s a little embarrassing…”
Sana spoke while fidgeting and averting her eyes.
The costume was one that seemed somewhat familiar, as if some idol group wore it for a Christmas song or something. Super short skirt with knee-high socks. A white blouse and cape like thing was worn on top. It was all in Christmas colors.
“You’re really thin as usual.”
Sana put her hands to her chest and twisted her body.
“You’re insulting me again.”
“It’s not an insult. I was trying to compliment you. It looks good.”
“…That’s fine then…”
“You’re like a real idol.”
While blushing, Sana sat down on the sofa. Next to her, Kanata sat down.
“…Seiji-kun looks good as well.”
Kanata on the other hand… was dressed as a present.
There was another joke costume!?
She had clothes that looked like a white bag, and a box like headpiece. At the very top, there was a ribbon that a girl might wear, but that’s definitely not the way it’s being used.
“That costume is stronger than even mine…”
“… Yeah. Because I made adjustments for Seiji-kun to not stand out as much.”
Why? Well, it’s fine I guess.
“Sorry for the wait~”
Rei-chan also returned to the living room. She was wearing a Santa one-piece costume. It’s a loli Santa. It’s just that, the hem is super short.
“Senpai, I brought a present called love!”
The loli Santa was throwing out air kisses everywhere.
“Alright, thank you, thank you.”
“Aaahn~ That’s a rough reaction.”
Despite that, Rei-chan was still happy for getting attention. If she had a tail, it would definitely be swinging back and forth.
After that, another person entered soon after.
It was Hiiragi-chan. Is work going okay? She definitely came back without cleaning up.
Hiiragi-chan was also wearing a Santa costume.
A red hat, bushy white beard, and bright red clothes. Boots on her feet.
It’s a classic costume!! Even though Sana and Rei-chan both wore costumes that were made to look cute.
“I came bearing gifts for everyone!”
Everyone watched over her with blank stares.
“Ho ho ho. Here you go.”
She’s doing her best to not break out of character… Hiiragi-chan, there’s no need to be so serious about it.
Rei-chan, me, Sana, and Kanata, she brought out presents from her white bag for us in that order. After opening the wrapping, inside was stuffed with an assortment of snacks. Ah. It’s the standard type that’ll make anyone satisfied.
“Ho ho ho.”
Leaving a laugh, Hiiragi-chan Santa left the room. It seems that Hiiragi-chan’s knowledge of Santa consists of just the ho ho ho.
After leaving, she quickly returned. This time, she was wearing normal clothes.
“Sorry for the wait everyone! Huh? Those presents… did Santa come?”
Hiiragi-chan asked with white sparkling eyes.
Hey hey, you’re joking right…?
“…with that quality?”
Sana, Kanata and Rei-chan all spoke.
“““Did you really think you wouldn’t be found out…!?”””
“That’s great! You guys all got presents!”
It’s too bright… That pure and innocent smile.
“Sorry for letting it get so late. Wait a moment, I’ll quickly do all the cooking!”
The time that had frozen began to move again, and the three girls helped out and started working on preparations for dinner.
I thought I could help out too, but it seemed like I would just be in the way, so I watched over Sana to make sure she wouldn’t do anything unnecessary.
It might be that the one most pure and innocent in this moment is Hiiragi-chan.
We, who were supposed to be surprising her, ended up on the receiving side in more ways than one.