“Eeeeh, is this really the place Tagia recommended? We walked quite a bit, and it looks kinda sketchy…”
Yuzuki suddenly blurted out as we arrived at Ginzo and Miu’s restaurant. Well, I could understand her apprehension. I hesitated to enter the place the first time I came here too.
“Don’t you know, Yuzuki? It’s a common saying that the dirtier the place looks from the outside, the better the food is inside! I don’t go to places other than WangXia, so I wouldn’t know much, though.”
“Oh, I’ve seen that on TV before! Since Taiga recommends it, I think this place will be good.”
“Once you go in, you’ll see that the inside is surprisingly clean, so don’t worry.”
As we opened the door, we didn’t see any customers inside, and Miu was sitting on a chair, looking absentmindedly at the ceiling. There was no sign of Ginzo in the kitchen. Wait a minute, is this place okay?
“Ahahahaha! Looks like the staff is asleep. This is getting kinda scary.”
“Are they sleeping? It’s more like they’ve passed out or something…”
As Todoroki said that, I realized that the staff being asleep was completely unexpected. Could it be that today is a day off for the restaurant? It felt bad to wake them up, but I decided to try.
“Excuse me, Miu-san?”
I gently shook her shoulder, and finally, Miu opened her eyes. She seemed dazed for a moment but then suddenly panicked when she saw us.
“Huh… You’re… Taiga-kun!? And did you bring those cute girls with you…? Could it be that Taiga-kun brought them here!?”
“Haa, yes, but are you okay? You looked really strange a moment ago.”
Miu-san reacted as if she was about to cry and hugged me tightly. I didn’t know what came over her, but I was taken aback.
“Ugh… Taiga-kuuuuuuun! Help meeeeeeeeee!”
“Eh, hey, Miu-san!?”
Without any warning, Miu-san hugged me tightly. I was completely caught off guard, and I couldn’t help but notice how soft and comfortable she felt, as well as her pleasant scent. I felt quite pathetic for thinking about such things at a time like this.
“N-n-n-now, wait a moment! Taiga is my boyfriend!! Please let go!!”
This time, Mio forcefully pulled me away from Miu-san and clung to me from behind, as if to assert her ownership.
While it was cute to see Mio getting jealous, I couldn’t help but worry about Miu-san, who was acting strangely.
“Hey, Miu, what’s going on? What happened to her?”
“Long time no see, Ginzo-san. We came here as customers with everyone today, but is something wrong with Miu-san?”
“Uh… Yeah, sorry about that. It’s not something specific happening to Miu, but…”
Ginzo-san scratched his head awkwardly and then dropped a bombshell.
“We’re thinking about closing down this place by the end of the year.”
“Noooooooooooo! Kusu… Dad…”
“Miu, shut up! Act properly in front of the customers! Well, that’s how it is. I wanted to keep running this place in place of my late wife, but I’m reaching my limits. Right now, I’m managing to keep it afloat thanks to the savings from my previous job, but honestly, this place has been in the red for a while. I don’t want to burden my daughter with debts and troubles. I’m sorry for bringing down the mood with this depressing talk when you all came here together. We plan to keep it open until the end of this year, so please feel free to order.”
When guided to our seats by Ginzo-san, our faces turned somber. Miu-san and Ginzo-san are likely distressed because my friends are just that kind-hearted. They came here looking forward to it, and I feel guilty for bringing them to a place with such a situation.
What Ginzo-san mentioned… In other words, they might close the place because there are too few customers. Considering the continuous lack of customers, that’s understandable. As a parent, it’s a reasonable decision. But…
“I’m sorry… Kusu. Taiga-kun, you came with all your friends here with you, and I’m like this… kusu. Please let me know your orders when you decide?”
Seeing Miu-san’s expression like this made my heart ache. We weren’t particularly close, and I had only been to this restaurant once before, but that time, the taste of the food had been a source of comfort. I had been going through a tough time, facing false accusations that strained my relationship with Shion and Tsumugi. It wasn’t that the food was exceptionally delicious, but somehow it had a nostalgic taste that washed over my troubled heart. In my mind, Miu-san and Ginzo-san had become important figures in my life just because of that.
If possible, I don’t want to close down a store like that either.
“Is there any way to keep the restaurant open? Is there anything I can do?”
I might be a kid with no money or special skills, and maybe there’s nothing I can do even if I feel sympathetic. Still, I couldn’t help but ask.
“I’ve suggested to my father multiple times that I could bring customers in front of the store, but he wouldn’t allow it, saying it would be too much of a burden. And, around here, the security is bad, so it’s dangerous…”
The fact that there’s only one staff member is unusual. I’m not sure if it’s normal for small-scale restaurants to have just one employee. Either way, if he wants to attract customers, Miu-san, with her friendly demeanor and beauty, would have to do her best. In that case, he needs someone to replace her as a waitress.
“I have one question, Ginzo-san. Does the restaurant have the budget to hire new part-time staff?”
“Well, as long as we have some money left, I’m planning to close the restaurant eventually, so we still have some room. But, you see, no one wants to work at a rundown place like this, and everyone who wanted to work here before only had eyes for Miu…”
“In that case, if you don’t mind, would you consider hiring me as part-time staff?”
I had been thinking of getting a part-time job to reduce the time I spend at home. I have a precious girlfriend, Mio, and I certainly have no intention of pursuing Miu-san romantically.
Miu-san’s eyes sparkled as if she really wanted me to work here, but Ginzo-san wore an expression of sincere apology.
“Thank you for the offer, kid. But you see, the security around here is bad, and even if you work here, when customers come, you’d be overwhelmed working alone. I can’t let Miu work outside by herself either. She’s a fool, but she’s the most important person to me.”
It seemed like it was a no-go. Certainly, even if I were to join, it might not be enough to handle any trouble Miu-san might face while working alone. I could understand Ginzo-san’s desire to protect his beloved daughter from even a 1% risk.
As I pondered what to do, Todoroki suddenly raised her hand.
“Hey, old man! What if we had a part-time worker who could work here and also act as a bodyguard? I know someone who could fit the bill, maybe it could work?”
“Hmm? Well, I suppose… Yeah, that could work for now. I can’t pay much for the part-time work, but it should be fine.”
“How about my Onii-chan? He’s a NEET right now, probably at home watching anime and eating potato chips!”
You idiot. Why did you think that recommending your brother would get him hired? Ginzo-san seemed to share the same sentiment, with a furrowed brow.
“Customer, I appreciate the sentiment, but—”
“N-No, Ginzo-san! It’s just that this person here is an idiot! Her brother is incredibly strong and a really nice person! I don’t know about his relationships with women, but he’s probably a tough guy, so I doubt he’d make a move on Miu-san!”
“Who are you calling an, ‘idiot’? Hey, old man! I’m always ready to lend a hand, you know? Miu-san is a beautiful woman, but with my brother around, you don’t have to worry. Occasionally, I see the kind of stuff he watches secretly, and I’m sure his type is probably ‘loli with big bo*bs’!”
“Wa——! Wa—-! Stop talking, you! I didn’t want to hear about his peculiar tastes! If I hear that, I won’t be able to face Ryujiro-san with Mio and Yuzuki anymore! I’m sorry, Ginzo-san, please ignore what this girl says. But, I assure you, her brother is a genuinely good person you can trust. She’s just an idiot!”
“Hahaha! Akane-chan is the best! Ah uncle, if you’re short on manpower, I can work too! I’m in the home economics club, so I think it could be fun to try working sometimes!”
“Ginzo-san and Miu-san, right? Well, if you ever need help when I don’t have club activities, I’m okay with it. After all, if I’ve heard about the situation from someone who has taken care of my ‘boyfriend,’ I can’t just ignore it. And besides, I’ll have to keep an eye on Miu-san to make sure that ‘I,’ as his ‘girlfriend,’ don’t get any ideas!”
Ryujiro-san’s s*xual preferences, I really didn’t want to hear about them! And speaking of siblings, isn’t the little sister just perfectly attuned to Ryujiro-san’s tastes? Is it really okay for them to work together like that?
Yuzuki might seem that way, but deep down, she genuinely wants to help people in need. Mio, too, constantly emphasized the “girlfriend” aspect, but like Yuzuki, she’s just incredibly kind-hearted. Todoroki, well, she’s the odd one out here with that smug look on her face, but I decided not to question it.
It’s understandable if you’re all a bit skeptical. I was helped by this restaurant’s food once, and I want to repay that kindness. As for these guys, well, they’re just like that.
Really, the people I care about are all good guys.
Ginzo-san and Miu-san both bowed deeply in appreciation.
“Thank you. We’ll do our best to repay your kindness.”
“Thank you all so much… I just couldn’t bear to see the restaurant that my mother and father cherished so much close down. I’m sorry for imposing like this.”
“No, no, don’t bow your heads like that!”
“It’s not that simple. If it weren’t for all of you, we were about to give up on the restaurant that my family has cherished for so long. But thanks to all of you, we’ve found the motivation to keep going. Thank you so much.”
I never expected to be thanked so profusely. It’s one thing to work for free, but we’re getting paid for this, and none of us have ever had a part-time job before. It feels like a heavy responsibility, but considering how grateful they are, I’m determined to do whatever it takes to help these two precious people revive their restaurant.
The key will be how we can attract customers using Miu-san’s and Mio’s charm.
After discussing with Ginzo-san, it was decided that I would start working there after my end-of-term exams, around the beginning of summer vacation.
Perhaps it was because the atmosphere had become so relaxed, but a loud rumbling sound came from someone’s stomach.
“Heh, it’s Yagami’s stomach growling! How embarrassing!”
“No, it’s not me! It’s probably Yuzuki, right?”
“Ah! It’s not me!”
“Um, well… I’m sorry. It seems like we’ve reached a stopping point in our conversation, and I got hungry…”
With a bright red face, Mio raised her hand and confessed.
So cute… I almost wanted to hug her right there, but Mio beat me to it, and she was being pampered by Miu-san. Seeing Mio looking all shy and cute, I had to restrain myself from feeling strange.
It seemed like Miu-san had regained her energy, which was a relief.
“You’re so cuteeeee! This girl is your girlfriend, right, Taiga-kun!? Big sis is getting all fluttery. Hey, Taiga-kun, can I have this girl?”
“I absolutely won’t give her to you!”
“Whoa!? Seriously? Lucky you, Mio-chan, you’re being loved so much! Hey, dad? How about we treat everyone for free today, just this once?”
“Yeah! It’s a small price to pay.”
“Really!? Is that okay!?”
“Yeah! Yahoo!! Mio-chan, Uncle is the best!”
Free food…. For a high school student, that’s too much to be thankful for. After ordering the menu, we spent the rest of the evening in a lively atmosphere, including Miu-san, who had reopened her mind to the fact that there would be no more customers today anyway.