It was Friday night, December 25.
After the closing ceremony, I went home…
I was lying on my bed alone, coughing.
My head is heavy. My body is hot like I’m being burned alive.
I’m sweating profusely, and I can’t stop sneezing and coughing.
The thermometer beeps.
It is definitely a cold.
I had been sneezing a lot since this morning.
And it was so cold yesterday that I went to a love hotel, took a bath, and walked home in the cold.
I reach for a tissue under my pillow.
But they were all gone.
“That’s… the tissue bag… where is it… whoop! Ugh…”
My body is unusually heavy.
My body is shivering from the cold, yet my face is crazy hot.
“Ha ha.. what is this…hell?”
My girlfriend dumped me on Christmas Eve, and I caught a cold on Christmas Day.
Did I do something wrong?
“I’m screwed…I’m going to die…”
And that’s when it happened.
“Ah? Who is it…”
Ping pong pong pong pong…
I am the only one at home.
My parents are on a business trip abroad.
I get up slowly and go out of my room.
I walk through the long hallway to the living room.
I pick up the intercom.
On the screen was my classmate and gal, Rika Matsumoto.
She’s wearing a coat and a fluffy white scarf around her neck.
“What’s the matter?”
“You looked really pale on the way home, so I got worried and came to check on you.”
“I see. Thanks for coming all the way.”
You’re so kind…Rika, you’re so kind.
“By the looks of it, you’ve got a cold?”
“Yeah? Oh, um, I’m fine…bukkushun!”
I sneeze loudly, and Rika sighs in exasperation over the intercom.
“I knew it. Don’t push yourself too hard.’
“Oh, I’m sorry. ……”
“Hey, you know what? Can you open the door…?”
Rika quickly lifted a plastic bag in her hand.
“Let me take care of you.”
Rika comes to the 25th floor where my room is located.
When I open the door, Rika greets me.
“Hey, Shin-chan. It’s a long way to the top.”
“Gehogoho… I-I’m sorry…”
I was wearing a mask so that I wouldn’t spread my illness.
I wondered if it was the same for her, too, because she was wearing a mask.
“Don’t worry, don’t apologize. Sick people should get into bed quickly.”
We walk down the long hallway to the bedroom.
I lie down on the king-size bed I used to sleep on a while ago.
“…here, too, hasn’t changed. Gorgeous as ever.”
“Nothing, nothing. More importantly, you should go to the bed.”
I was pushed into the bed by Rika.
“Oh, um, are you sure you’re going to take care of me?”
“That’s right. I came to take care of Shin-chan who has a cold.”
“No way. Why?”
“What do you mean by why?”
“Because… we are in a fake relationship. It’s winter break and we’re not in school, so we don’t have to act like lovers.”
“Don’t get me wrong.”
“…Oh, you mean it’s not for me?”
“That’s not it.”
Rika smiled and wiped the sweat from my forehead with her handkerchief.
“Even if you are not my lover, I am not the kind of woman who would leave a person suffering alone with a cold. Don’t get me wrong about that.”
Her gentle gaze and words make me want to cry…Uhuhuhu!
“What are you crying about?”
Since I had just had a terrible experience yesterday, Rika’s kindness touches my heart even more.
What a nice person she is!
Regardless of the fake relationship, she is going to help people in need.
“A good person…”
“Hey, stop it.”
“I can’t believe you’d be so nice to such a gloomy, nerdy otaku…”
“Hey… don’t belittle yourself that much. Don’t say stuff like that.”
“But I’m sure my classmates feel the same way about me.”
“Ignore them. I don’t care about the stupid classmates. Or do you not believe the words of your…lover?”
Rika cutely tilts her head.
What a lovely, kind, and wonderful person she is…
I’m not sure how she could be so kind to me.
If she was really my girlfriend, how happy I would be.
“…Thank you. I’ll try to believe you.”
“Nn. Please do.”
She smiled at me and patted my head.
“I’m going to go make some porridge, I’ll borrow the kitchen.”
I felt sorry for her, but I decided to accept her kindness for now.
I will be sure to thank her when I feel better.
After Rika left the room, I thought to myself.
“I didn’t realize that otaku-friendly gals actually existed.”
I thought it was a figment of my imagination.
Thank you Rika, thank you, thank you…huh?
“I don’t know what’s wrong, I feel so strange.”
I feel like I’m forgetting to ask Rika something very important.
I don’t know…maybe it’s because I’m fuzzy from the fever.
“Oh well…let’s be honest and indulge for now.”
“Okay porridge is ready!”
Soon after, Rika appears with a tray.
“What? an apron? It’s a JK apron! Gee-ho, gee-ho, gee-ho!”
Rika walks in wearing a yellow apron.
Wow, she looks so young and married!
A cute gal JK who can cook, how two-dimensional is that?
“You have a cold, so don’t get excited. Go back to sleep.”
Rika sits down next to me.
She puts the tray on the side of the bed.
When I cracked open the clay pot, there was a delicious-looking egg porridge in it.
“Wow! It smells so good. What’s up with this?”
“Of course I made it. I borrowed your pot.”
Hmm? Hmm? After all, it’s strange.
“I didn’t know we had clay pots in our house.”
“Is that so?”
Then, I mentioned what I had noticed.
“How did you know where the kitchen was?”
Yes, that’s what I felt strange about earlier.
She said, “I’m going to borrow the kitchen.”
I understand that people go to the kitchen to cook.
The problem is that she didn’t ask me where the kitchen was.
She never asked me where the kitchen was from the time she left the room until she came here.
Not only that, she even knew where the clay pots were, which even I didn’t know.
“What is it?”
“I don’t have to wake up a sick person to ask about that, right? You have to get some rest.”
…… Well, I see.
There’s only so much space in the kitchen you can find, and there are only so many places you can put an earthenware pot.
I see, since I’m down with a fever, she went out of her way to make sure not to wake me up.
“Thank you, you’re so kind.”
Rika exhaled deeply and was relieved for some reason.
“I’ve been to…before. I’ve been here before, of course, when I was a child.”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing! Dinner, Shin-chan!”
It’s like a 5-year-old kid summoning a certain storm.
Rika scoops a spoonful of rice porridge and saves it.
She blows a puff of air and turns it toward me.
“Eh, ah!? I can’t believe you’re making me eat like that! Hohogeho!”
There should indeed be no obligation to ask you to go that far…
“I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I just don’t want you to waste the porridge I made for you by spilling it or letting it get cold. Here, eat it properly.”
Ugh, how kind…
That’s right, she went to the trouble of making it, so she wants me to eat it properly.
“Ho, ho, ahh.”
Rika, with her face reddening, holds up the spoon towards me.
I take a quick bite and chew.
Salty, yes, but now that my nose is stuffed and I can’t taste anything, this is better.
And the eggs make the saltiness mild in a nice way.
“How is it?”
“Yeah, it’s good!”
It wasn’t flattery, it was really delicious.
Gug! Rika clenched her fists.
“It was worth all the hard work and training!”
“Training? What kind of training?
“I, It’s nothing! Here eat it!”
She shoves the spoon into my mouth.
It’s a little too aggressive, but I don’t mind it.
Rika feeds me porridge.
After that, I asked Rika to go to the drugstore.
I didn’t have any cold medicine.
After leaving the house for a while, Rika came back.
She gave me some medicine.
“I’m sorry I made you feel like an errand boy.”
“I bought some tissues. I also bought some tissues. And a sports drink.”
“All I needed was some medicine…”
“Was that unnecessary?”
Rika asks anxiously.
I smiled and shook my head.
“No, thank you. Thank you very much.”
Rika’s cheeks turned red and she turned away.
“Yeah, that’s right. I’m glad. …… Now go back to sleep.”
She put a cold towel on my head and stroked my forehead with a pat.
In a gentle tone of voice, she said to me,
“I’ll stay here while you sleep.”
I close my eyes and breathe a sigh of relief.
I feel so peaceful.
I had a terrible Christmas Eve and almost died, but…
That’s how I got to know Rika, a sweet gal.
It’s not a good thing that I got hurt, but, well, it’s OK.
Yeah… Thank you very much, Rika.
I found myself in a deep sleep.