The next day, I was working at a convenience store for the first time since the start of summer vacation.
Two days in a row I’ve been able to spend time with Shi-chan during the summer vacation, and I’m happy to have gotten off to such a good start.
And I found myself looking forward to seeing Shi-chan again today, as she always appears in a suspicious style when I’m working.
I hear the door of the convenience store open.
I responded to the sound and shouted “Irasshaimase~” as usual, checking out the customers who had come in.
Perhaps because I was feeling a little excited, I even said “Irasshai-mase” a little too softly.
I regained my composure and checked the customer, and sure enough, there was Shi-chan again, wearing the suspicious style.
You did it!
So, all of a sudden, it was time for another successful “Saegusa-san watching” session today.
But just as I was about to start watching again today, I noticed that Shi-chan was acting differently than usual.
It’s not that she’s different, it’s that she’s acting normal, but she’s acting so normal, unlike when she’s acting suspicious.
Today, she was still dressed as a prowler, but now she had the “celebrity in disguise” look.
Yes, there was nothing suspicious about her, and I was frankly surprised at how regal she looked in disguise.
Shi-chan slowly made her way to the magazine corner and picked up a women’s magazine, flipping through the pages in a relaxed manner.
She was just standing there reading the magazine in a normal way, just like any other normal customer.
After she finished reading the magazine, she gently put it back on the shelf, picked up her shopping cart and started to shop normally.
After choosing a drink, she went to the food section and brought her shopping basket to the cash register.
So when it came to this point, I was ready to give up.
To be honest, there was a part of me that was looking forward to seeing Shi-chan behave in a suspicious manner, but perhaps it was because I’ve been spending more time with her lately than ever before, and I’m convinced that she’s become able to behave normally in front of me.
If that was the reason, I was quite happy.
If it was because she was spending more time with me, and she was treating me normally even though she was disguised as a suspicious person, it meant that she was making some positive progress towards me.
As I took the items out of the shopping cart one by one and counted them up, I thought to myself that if Shi-chan was changing like this, then I should change even more for the coming day.
When I finished tallying up the last items, I smiled at Shi-chan and told her the amount.
“That’s exactly 1,000 yen—–“
As soon as I told her the amount, Shi-chan tried to take out a thousand yen bill from her wallet as usual.
However, as soon as she heard the amount, her hand stopped and she began to tremble.
I didn’t miss the fact that Shi-chan’s suspicious behavior had returned due to this unexpected situation.
I was a little surprised, too, because I had said so myself.
–It’s exactly 1,000 yen.
That’s right, Shi-chan always only gives me 1,000 yen bills, but today she gave me exactly 1,000 yen.
When I looked at Shi-chan’s face, I saw that although she was disguised, she was pale and blatantly upset.
She didn’t have the room she had earlier, and was back to her usual suspicious behavior, as befits her suspicious appearance.
However, I was a little relieved to see Shi-chan revert to such suspicious behavior, so I was already in a situation that would be incomprehensible to a stranger.
Then, as if she had given up, Shi-chan took out a thousand-yen bill from her wallet with a trembling hand and held it out to me.
For some reason, I was a little nervous at the sight of Shi-chan’s face, but I took the bill and hurriedly finished the payment.
Well, I couldn’t help but wonder why Shi-chan was always asking for coins, but I didn’t think she would be so shocked.
To be honest, I was a little jealous of the coins.
I was a little jealous of the small change that was so cherished.
–No, no, no, what do you mean you’re jealous of small change?
After I finished ordering, I told Shi-chan that I didn’t have to make change today, which made me feel bad, but I followed the rules.
“Do you need a receipt?”
“Receipt ……? Y-yes! I need it!!”
Then, for some reason, Shi-chan regained her energy like a fish that got water, and asked for the receipt.
I was a little surprised to see her like that, but I was glad to see that she was feeling better and offered her the receipt.
Shi-chan received the receipt with a big smile on her face, which could be seen even through her mask, and wrapped it carefully in her hands.
Seeing this, I had one definite answer in my mind.
It seems I’ve been making a big mistake.
Seeing Shi-chan now, I felt embarrassed at how much of a fool I’ve been, how much I’ve misunderstood.
I smiled kindly at Shi-chan, thinking, “So that’s what this is all about.”
–It wasn’t that Shi-chan didn’t like coins.
–I see you liked the receipt.
…… is a bit of a quirky jest.
But why, I wondered, as I struggled to hold back the funny feelings I was feeling on my own, and cheerfully said to Shi-chan, “Please come again!”
Then Shi-chan, who had completely returned to her former off-work mode as a celebrity, smiled underneath her mask, bailed at me, and walked gracefully out of the convenience store.
I was just happy to have met Shi-chan today.