The Older Sister’s Victory
The cooking session led by Aki and Charlotte commenced immediately after reaching Aki’s house. Charlotte seemed to be able to remember the location of all the seasonings and utensils with a single explanation, and it looks like she is supporting Aki perfectly.
Soon after, Aki got used to Charlotte, and the awkward atmosphere between them gradually diminished. I’m sure this is because Charlotte radiates a rather friendly atmosphere.
And speaking of Emma—
—She was sitting on my lap and happily moving side-to-side.
What a cute girl! I felt happy just by looking at her smile.
“Emma-chan really does love hamburgers.”
“Yeah, I love them!”
When I spoke to her, Emma replied with a big smile. I wonder why. It makes me really want to spoil her.
“Senpai is making such a sloppy face.”
When I was looking at Emma, I realized that Aki was staring at me from the kitchen. She looks like she has something to say.
“N-no, I am not.”
“If that’s the case, then what’s with that hesitation?”
“No, that is—m-more importantly, isn’t it dangerous to take your eyes off while cooking? You should focus on cooking.”
I was a little conscious of it myself, so I tried to divert the topic because I was feeling embarrassed.
“Yes, yes, that’s true.”
Aki, who heard my words, brushed them off so easily that it made me want to ask if she really understood them.
Where did the usual obedient Aki go…? No, she is still listening honestly, but it feels like she doesn’t want to concern herself with me for some reason. Normally, she would act like she wants all of my attention, but is she acting like a mature person because Charlotte is with her?
“Onii-chan, Emma wants to see the cats.”
Emma, who had been looking forward to a hamburger while shaking her body, looked up at my face and asked with a smile. There are no cats in this house, so she probably wants to see the cats from the video that I had shown her before.
I took out my smartphone from my pocket and searched for videos of cats on a popular video streaming website. A lot of different cat videos were displayed on the screen. For the time being, I selected a video with a cute thumbnail and passed the smartphone to Emma.
Emma’s cheeks slackened and her eyes brightened as she looked at the cat video being displayed on the screen. The cat’s cuteness may be the reason for Emma’s loosened cheeks. Looking at such a happy Emma, my cheeks also involuntarily loosened.
When I turned my gaze to the kitchen, Aki was staring at me very intently. What the heck is wrong with Aki today…?
“It must be really nice to be on such good terms.”
When I was confused with Aki’s behaviour, Charlotte, who carried our meal to the table, said with a smile.
“Do we seem like we’re on good terms?”
“Yes, both of you seem quite close to each other.”
Aki and I appear to be on very good terms… If it seems that way from the previous conversation, I have a bit of doubt in Charlotte’s eyes… However, I do admit that we are usually on good terms. Aki is very considerate and has a friendly personality. That is why I feel comfortable being with her.
However, it’s not like we got along from the first moment that we met, quite the opposite in fact. As I’ve mentioned before, Aki is extremely shy and is not good with meeting someone for the first time. Moreover, I can’t be regarded as a social butterfly either. It was even worse when I first met her.
During that time, for some reason or another I was trying to play the role of a perfect individual and was undeniably cold to others.
There was no way we would get along immediately after meeting. We became friends after I encountered her in a rather precarious situation. It was because of that event that we can be together as we are now.
“Senpai, the meal is already prepared, so can you please collect the smartphone from the hands of that girl?”
While I was trying to reminisce about the time when I first met Aki, the person herself called out to me. When I turn my gaze, the dishes are being lined up on the table with Charlotte’s and Aki’s hands one after another, and as Aki says we should definitely prepare to eat the food.
Is she telling me to retrieve the smartphone from Emma, who is watching cat videos so happily? If I do that, she will definitely cry…
I thought that I was given an unpleasant role, but since I was the one who handed her the smartphone, I should be the one to collect the smartphone from Emma.
“Emma-chan, why don’t we stop looking at the cat videos because dinner is ready?”
“Eh… But I still want to see…”
When I told Emma to stop, she was staring at me with teary eyes.
Isn’t this girl learning that all her demands will be fulfilled when her eyes look like this? I feel like I have planted some terrible knowledge in her brain. However, when I face her eyes, I could not forcibly take my smartphone from her hands.
“It’s all right, Aoyagi-kun.”
While I hesitated in taking the smartphone from Emma, Charlotte smiled and looked at me in the eyes. As Charlotte’s cute face came close, my heartbeat quickened. Disregarding what was currently happening to me, Charlotte looked at her little sister sitting on my lap.
What on earth is she thinking? I have no idea of Charlotte’s course of action, so I decided to silently observe instead of interfering.
“Emma, let’s eat dinner?”
“Umm? But I want to see the cat…”
“Do you want to see the cat?”
Emma happily nodded at Charlotte’s question. Charlotte smiled gently and in response to her little sister’s smile.
I thought she would try to take the smartphone from Emma, but it seems different. What will Charlotte do from here?
“Well, then the hamburger would be eaten by the others and me, okay?”
“Emma prefers cats over dinner, doesn’t she? Since it is not possible to leave the food, all of us will eat the hamburger for you.”
“No! Emma will eat too!”
“But you want to look at cats, right?”
“No! I am done with the cats, I will eat hamburgers now!”
Then Emma hurriedly returned my smartphone to me. As expected of Charlotte. It seems that she loses quite often, but she does know how to handle her sister to a certain extent.
“Thank you, Charlotte-san. Everyone, it’s time to begin the meal.”
Seeing that Emma was ready to eat as well, Aki placed her hands together and took the pose to say ‘Itadakimasu.’ Charlotte and I placed our hands together in the same manner as Aki. Emma, who still doesn’t want to get off my lap for some reason, didn’t know about the pre-meal customs. However, after imitating us, she joined her hands as well.
Everyone said together—
—Thanking all the people who were involved in the preparation of the ingredients used in our hearty meal.
… Aren’t we forgetting someone? That thought suddenly came into my mind, but when I saw Emma eating happily, I couldn’t care less.