After moving to the lodge, we decided to have lunch.
“Ta-da! Here’s Akari-chan’s special pizza!”
There was a pizza oven in the hut, and Akari used it to make the pizza.
We set out a folding table and chairs and had lunch under the clear summer sky.
“A-amazing! Freshly baked pizzas, Akari!”
Rushia, a beautiful white-haired romance author, shines her red eyes like red balls.
“Ehehen and? The dough and sauce are all homemade.”
“…… Akari, you’re amazing!”
“Fufu, what do you think?”
The two of them praised Akari with squeals.
“That’s really impressive, Akari. Maybe it’s because you work in a restaurant.”
Ichika nodded her head in admiration as she looked at Akari’s special pizza.
“It doesn’t matter if I work in a restaurant or not, the important thing is that I want to make people happy.”
“Yes. If you have a strong desire to have your loved ones eat your food, your cooking skills will naturally improve, even if you don’t learn from someone else.”
“I-I see. …… it’s very helpful.”
“Do you want me to teach you sometime♡”
“Eh, no, thank you. ……”
Ichika flinched, but Akari said with a smile.
“Don’t be shy. Ichika-chan should learn how to cook too. Learn the Akari style.”
“Y-Yeah, ……, maybe I’ll ask you sometime.”
Akari nodded in satisfaction.
“Well, everyone, …… let’s eat, let’s eat. Here, Okarin, cut it in slices.”
Akari never approaches me in front of everyone.
Somewhat relieved, I cut the pizza with the cutter like a wheel.
Rushia walks up to me.
“What’s wrong, Rushia?”
“Is there anything I can do to help? I’ll do anything.”
She asks me with a serious look on her face.
I guess it was painful for her to be the only one not doing anything.
“I can handle it on my own. Thanks.”
“…… I see.”
Rushia’s shoulders slumped and she looked a little sad.
I didn’t feel comfortable refusing her offer.
“Then Rushia. Can you bring me a paper plate, please? I believe they’re in the kitchen.”
Pah ……! Rushia’s expression brightens.
Her skin is as white as virgin snow, but with a hint of red.
“Yeah! Leave it to me! I’m going to fulfill the mission …… from Okaya, even if it costs me my life!”
Dada, Rushia ran to the cabin.
On the stairs of the log cabin, …….
She tripped and stumbled.
“A-Are you okay?” “Young lady!”
Ichika goes to her before anyone else and picks her up.
“Are you hurt, young lady?!”
“I’m fine. You’re overreacting.”
Rushia shakes her head and says.
“Right now, you’re on vacation, and you’re not my bodyguard.”
Pushing Ichika away, Rushia stood up.
“I’m sorry. I’ll get it right away.”
“Yeah, I’m counting on you.”
Rusia nodded. Kotsu kotsu……She walked into the hut, humping her sandals.
“I wonder if she will be okay….”
Ichika fidgeted and looked at the hut again and again with concern.
“It will be fine.”
“She’s …… already 18. Mou……She’s not a child anymore.”
It was a self-conscious …… statement.
She looks at Akari and Nanako.
“I also made ahijos!”
“…… Amazing, you can make anything!”
“Right~. You can call me Cooking Master Akari-chan, okay?”
Akari. The other day and this morning, she was acting so innocently, but she was giving off a scent that made me cringe.
It’s the same with Nanako.
She has a body that is ready to accept a man.
High school students are not as young as …… we think they are.
If adults use the fact that they’re children as an excuse to overprotect them, they could be hurting them without even realizing it.
Children hate the word “child” more than we think they do.
I was reminded of the fact that it was hurting them.
The reason Akari took such a hard line was probably because I didn’t give her enough consideration ……, I now realize calmly.
“…… Okaya-kun. Something wrong?”
Ichika asks me curiously.
“Yeah, …… a little bit.”
Soon after, Rushia returned with a plate.
“Okaya, Ichika. What do you think, I’ve found it all. I even got my drink cup right!”
Rushia smiled and waved at us.
“See? You can trust her.”
“Yeah. …… Maybe.”
Akari said as Rushia came over to us.
“Okay, then let’s eat!”
After enjoying Akari’s special pizza, we were free to go for a while.
Akari invited Nanako to join her to explore the area.
Ichika and I were cleaning up the empty dishes.
I turned around and saw Rushia standing there with a serious face.
“Do you have a minute?”
“Yeah. Ichika, I’ll leave the rest to you.”
If Rushia had called me, it probably meant that she wanted to talk to me about what she had said earlier.
She took me to the second floor.
There was another terrace on the second floor, and it looked like we could have a barbecue here too.
“Okaya, two things. I have two things to tell you.”
“Two things? Let’s hear it.”
Rushia was carrying a pochette on her shoulder.
She took out a sheet of loose leaf and handed it to me.
“It’s the title of my new work.”
I open it.
“[I’m going on a journey with you, to the dying end of the world.] huh……”
“Yeah. I made it up based on the title idea Okaya gave me.”
Rushia shakes her body nervously.
I think she wants my reaction.
“It’s a great title. It really fits the content.”
“I-I see I’m glad ……!”
Rushia shakes her body and jumps up and down on the spot.
“Ha……! Nnn. Thank you, I feel much more confident when you say so.”
The childish gesture was replaced by her usual stiff speech.
“However, I’m impressed by Okaya ……. I didn’t realize you could make so many suggestions in one night. ……”
Rushia took out a bunch of papers from her pochette.
I wrote down the titles I had come up with as rough drafts and handed them to her in advance.
“It would have been better if Okaya had decided everything.”
“No, after all, the work belongs to the author. The editor’s ideas should only be used as a reference.”
“Well, thank you ……. I took two of Okaya’s ideas that I liked and put them together.”
Fufu, she laughs.
“It’s like a child between you and me, isn’t it?
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“～～～～～～～～～～! No, not that! I take back what I said! Forget it, …….”
Rushia’s cheeks turned red and she squatted down on the spot.
I guess she was embarrassed. ……
“The title problem is solved now. Now we just need to get the illustrations done, and the book will be out in the fall.”
“I see. I’m looking forward to it. The title……,It’s a bit long, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is. Maybe we should decide on an abbreviation or something.”
“Yes, …… nothing comes to my mind. Okaya, do you have any ideas?”
Well, if it’s just about deciding on an abbreviation, I can decide at my own discretion.
“Then, how about [Kimitabi]? Well, it’s just a shortened version.”
“Kimitabi,That ….. sounds good! I like that! As expected of Okaya, you have good taste.”
…… I don’t have any taste.
But I shouldn’t say that here.
If she’s counting on me, I’ll respond. That’s all I need to do.
“So, besides the title, what’s the other thing you wanted to see me about?”
Her cheeks turn red and her eyes go down.
…… Oh, those eyes.
I saw a girl with the same eyes just the other day.
“…… You’re not a child, after all”
“No, it’s nothing. I’ll listen to you.”
Rushia approaches me with a determined expression.
“I’ve had it in mind since I started ……. I’ve decided that when I’m done with this manuscript, I’m going to share my thoughts.”
She took out a piece of letter paper from her pochette and handed it to me.
“Please read this letter later.”
She said shortly, and ran off.
She was red to the tips of her ears.
In my hand, I have a pink letterhead.
A sticker with a heart mark.
On the back was written her real name, [Ryuko Kaida], in a masterful handwriting.
I opened the letterhead and looked at the contents.
“…… Old-fashioned huh, young lady”
There, in summary, she wrote.
“I like you. Please go out with me.”