I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Chapter 4
- I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble
- Chapter 4 - The Saint And Part-Time Job
A little past seven in the morning.
Yamato was waiting for Seira at one of the most famous terminal stations in the Kanto region.
Today was the start of his first temporary part-time job. He was supposed to meet her at the station closest to his house, but Seira overslept, so Yamato arrived at the nearest station ahead of her.
The time was already around 7:30.
Although the meeting time had originally been set earlier, it was still just barely enough time to get there.
When Yamato turned around at the call of his name, he saw Seira, who was dressed differently than usual, waving her hand at him.
Her hair was tied in a bun at the top of her head, and she was wearing a striped shirt and overalls in casual type of coordination, the very fashion you sometimes see among college girls around Shibuya and Harajuku. To put it simply, it was very cute.
She was wearing sneakers as specified, so she must have been aware of the fact that she was working part-time, but even so, her outfit was too fashionable for Yamato’s eyes.
“Good morning, Shirase. How can I put it—You look good.”
“Really? I thought I dressed modestly for ease of movement. But it’s still hot.”
“Well, I heard that they lend you work clothes over there, so I don’t see any problem.”
The time was more important than that, so Yamato and Seira immediately started walking.
“Let’s hurry up. If we are late, we might be fired immediately.”
“Ahaha. Is it that bad?”
“You never know. Anyway, let’s hurry.”
Yamato was aware that he was too scared, but it was his first part-time job. It was better to be more aware and cautious.
A few minutes walk under sunny skies. They arrived at the factory designated by the temp agency.
The factory was filled with sweltering heat, and a number of workers were already there. They were all wearing matching blue polo shirts and beige pants. These must be work clothes.
Yamato immediately thought to ask someone for an overview of the job—
“Hey, hey, what are you doing!? How long is this going to take!?”
Suddenly, a middle-aged man shouted angrily.
A young man in a work uniform was being warned. He seemed to be having trouble putting a patch on his chest.
You guys, get your *sses in gear, too! How long are you going to keep on d*ckin’ around?!”
He began yelling at the other male employees, taking out his anger on everyone around him. To put it bluntly, he had a bad mouth and attitude. Yamato was surprised that there were such uncivilized members of society nowadays.
“Yamato, I think you can get your work clothes over here.”
At that time, Seira approached Yamato in a light tone of voice. She was not scared in this air, but seemed not to mind at all.
Naturally, the eyes of those around them gather. Since there are only a few women, Seira was completely the center of attention.
The middle-aged man who had been yelling also looked at them, but he turned away without swearing, so Yamato patted his chest in relief for a moment.
The man handing out work clothes seemed very mild-mannered, unlike the middle-aged man they saw earlier. He even kindly helped them choose a size.
“Yes, a medium for both top and bottom.”
“Yamato, I’ll see you later.”
Seira called to him in the distance, waving her hand. She even seemed to be slightly excited.
“Ah, see you later.”
Yamato also entered the locker room and found a number of men in the lockers lined up in a row. All of the men were well built and had a rather gruff appearance.
(I guess this is a hell of a place to come to…)
Yamato knew it was too late to regret this now, but he was already feeling deflated.
It seemed that stuff was kept in lockers, so after a quick change of clothes, Yamato put his various belongings along with his clothes into the locker and locked it.
“…Okay, time to go.”
Yamato quickly left the locker room fearing that he might get yelled at if he was too late.
Many people had already gathered in the factory and they were lining up. This was a sight to behold.
Yamato hurried to join the line and looked around, but he could not see Seira.
Then, Seira arrived. Immediately, there was a commotion in the surrounding area.
Surprisingly, Seira was dressed in work clothes.
The plain blue polo shirt and beige trousers were supposed to be of a modest design, just like work clothes, but just by wearing them, Seira gave off a healthy and boyish atmosphere, so much so that only her surroundings seemed to shine.
Seira lined up a little distance from Yamato, but when she noticed Yamato’s eyes on her, she waved her hand to him. Because of this, the gazes of the people around her turned toward Yamato as well.
Therefore, Yamato had no choice but to turn his head and look down with a shrinking feeling.
At that moment, he was freed from the surrounding gazes when they heard a coughing sound in front of them.
The person who coughed was a mild-mannered man who had just been handing out work clothes.
The man opened his mouth.
“Well, good morning, everyone. My name is Murata, and I am the coordinator here.”
The man, who introduced himself as Murata, gave a standard greeting, to which everyone sparsely returned nods and greetings.
Yamato had thought that the middle-aged man who had yelled at them at the beginning had the highest position in the group, but it seemed that was not the case.
Murata continued with a smile.
“From now on, you will all be divided into groups for your work sites, and I ask that you work with the utmost of safety. Please refer to the chart on the whiteboard there to determine your assignment. I look forward to working with you all today.”
After Murata finished speaking, the workers gathered around the whiteboard.
Yamato also looked at the posted list and confirmed that he and Seira were assigned to relocation work at a nearby law office. He was relieved to see that he and Seira were assigned to the same work site as he had hoped.
“I’m glad we’re together.”
Yamato was surprised to be approached by Seira, who was suddenly standing next to him without his knowledge.
Even in a space full of men, which should be a little bit unpleasant for her, Seira still kept to her own pace, or at least did not seem to be pressured. Thanks to this, Yamato’s nervousness was somewhat eased.
“Working at a law firm? I wonder what kind of tasks we are going to do there.”
“Probably something normal. Well, we’ll find out when we get there. —It looks like we should follow that guy.”
Seira pointed to a tall, thin man standing in front of them. He looked like a college student. He was holding a sign that read “Law Firm Group” and looked strangely frightened.
“I didn’t know there were people like that.”
“He doesn’t seem to normally work in places like this.”
“We can’t speak for others, though.”
They got in line in front of the man, and he slightly bowed to them.
The next several workers lined up behind them and they left the factory with a total of eleven people.
“At first I thought I was going to work in that factory, but a law firm is more exciting.”
Seira spoke to him on the way.
They all left the factory at the same time, but the line was out of control and now there were only a few workers around them.
“Well, it seems easier to do without that yelling man.”
“How long do we work?”
“Let’s see, lunch break is at 12:00, and the workday ends at 5:00.”
“Hmm. That’s a long time.”
After about ten minutes, they arrived in front of the office building that housed the law firm.
Apparently, other contractors had already started work ahead of them, and the floor was already covered with blue sheets.
The tall man leading the way seemed to be giving the instructions, and Yamato and the others were assigned to a room at the back of the second floor.
The basic work was said to be sorting and boxing documents, moving bookshelves, and carrying out tables and other items.
The work was described in detail in the instruction manual, which Yamato and the others used as a guide as they began their work.
The office was quite spacious, with a number of sliding bookcases. The air-conditioning made it more comfortable than working outside or in a factory.
The bookshelves were lined with books and files, and the workers were supposed to pack them into boxes.
“There’s a lot more than I thought there would be.”
“We have a lot of time, so let’s be careful.”
Soon after, the other workers joined them, and a total of five workers took charge of the second floor.
The work itself was really simple, just sorting the documents into broad categories and packing them into boxes.
However, repeating such a simple task over and over again made them feel that time was passing very slowly.
In addition, the work of loading and unloading the documents involved a lot of standing and sitting, which put a lot of strain on their legs and back. Yamato felt more physically fatigued than he had expected.
Yamato and Seira, who at first were talking to each other vigorously, were only working silently after about an hour had passed.
“Hmm, I’ll put this here—”
Perhaps it was because they had become accustomed to sorting the documents, but even they could tell that they were getting better at it. Yamato was impressed with himself, thinking that this was what it meant to gain experience.
At that moment.
“Hey, who put this box here?”
Suddenly, the silence in the room was broken by the worker in charge of the area near the entrance. He was a large man of about 40 to 50 years old, and he was pointing at a nearby box with a grim look on his face.
The box was the one Yamato had just placed there.
“Um, it’s me. Did I do something wrong?”
“Ah, you are a newcomer, huh? The box was not placed in the wrong place, but it was not labeled. Please make sure to put a yellow label sticker on the box containing the filed items.”
“I’m sorry about that. I will be careful from now on.”
He was not as angry as Yamato thought he would be, but Yamato felt a twinge of remorse.
“Don’t mind it.”
Seira, who was working nearby, called out to Yamato when he returned.
He was glad that she was concerned about him, but at the same time, he was embarrassed that she had seen him being warned.
“I needed to be more careful.”
“Hmm, I’d rather take it easy, wouldn’t you? I’ll keep the labels in mind.”
“Is that the way it’s supposed to be?”
“Maybe. In my case, I think I make more mistakes when I am tense.”
Yamato doesn’t remember many occasions when Seira made mistakes. The most common was when she was giving directions.
“I understand. I’ll concentrate on my work while taking it easy.”
Yamato felt like he was contradicting himself when, but he stuck to it for the time being.
Some time passed.
The chiming of the clock signaled the start of lunch break.
“Yamato, let’s go eat lunch.”
When the two left the office, the sun was shining from the cloudless, clear sky.
It was a blazing hot day. The heat was even harsher now that it was noon, and the asphalt ground was reflecting the heat. As soon as he stepped outside, he was drenched in sweat.
The cicadas were chirping incessantly, and it was almost enough to make him sick.
The other workers were rushing into a nearby restaurant. There were only a few places to eat around the area.
“There aren’t many places to eat around here.”
“I guess so. Where should we eat?”
Yamato put his hand in his pocket to search for a place to eat on his smartphone. However, he realized that he had left not only his phone but also his wallet in his locker.
Feeling the blood drain from his face, Yamato managed to smile and came out clean.
“Sorry, my phone and wallet are in my locker… I really don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Ah, me too. I thought we were just going to work at the factory like that.”
They both looked at each other, then paused for a moment.
They both laughed at the same time.
It was supposed to be a rather painful mistake, but perhaps because they were together, they were in the mood to laugh about it.
“We really messed up.”
“I suppose we could go back to the factory, but to be honest, I don’t want to face that yelling man as much as possible. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to get inside in the first place. …And I don’t want to walk around too much in this heat.”
“Right. But I don’t want to borrow money from someone else. —Ah, how about over there?”
Seira pointed to a tower apartment building in the distance. The building was surrounded by a river and a large bridge. The apartment building where Seira lives was amazing, but this one was just as impressive.
And if you look closely, you can see that there is a large supermarket attached to the ground floor. Seira seemed to be looking at the supermarket there.
“What are you doing in a supermarket?”
“Look, there is a food sampling corner, right? Let’s go around there.”
“I see…but isn’t it wrong to eat something you don’t intend to buy…?
“Well, you can buy it another time, can’t you? Today it’s just for reference, or something like that.”
Seira’s gaze was unusually troubled as if she was aware that she was indeed saying something difficult.
However, his hunger was only increasing. Yamato, feeling that he could not turn his back on Seira’s idea, decided to take her up on it.
“Okay. We still have to work in the afternoon, so let’s go to that supermarket.”
When Yamato entered the supermarket, he found it crowded with customers, probably because it was lunchtime.
The air conditioning was working too well, and the difference in temperature between the outside and inside made him feel like he was going to get sick if he stayed there too long.
Seira, however, seemed to be fine and stretched comfortably.
“You’re tough, Shirase.”
“I’ve gained that much muscle?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. Well, let’s go around for now.”
As they were going around the store, they came across a corner where they could taste coarsely ground sausage.
“Would you like to try one?”
The smiling clerk recommended it to Seira, and she deliberately beckoned Yamato toward her.
“It looks like they’re having a tasting. Since we’re here, why don’t we try some?
“O-Oh, it looks delicious.”
The clerk did not seem to be suspicious of them.
Yamato put one of the sausages on a toothpick in his mouth, and the juicy taste filled his mouth with the hot meat juices.
Seeing Yamato about to burst into tears, Seira smiled softly and turned straight to the clerk.
“Clerk, may I have this sausage this time? I wanted to compare them.”
“Yes, go ahead.”
Seira’s quick thinking allowed her to try other kinds of sausages as well, and Yamato, feeling guilty, honestly commented, “It’s delicious.”
“Hmm, let’s look around somewhere else for now.”
After finishing her meal, Seira smiled like a mischievous child playing a trick and said.
As usual, Yamato was as innocent as ever, but Yamato desperately tried to match her and said, “Well, yes, that’s right. I’ll definitely buy sausages one of these days,” and decided to leave.
The next stop was the pickles section.
There were various kinds of pickles available, and Seira once again tasted all of them, calling it a comparison.
“Maybe it’s the guilt, but I feel like my hunger’s already been drowned out…”
“It’s not your imagination. —Look, they have a yakitori section! They’re having a sampling as well.”
Unlike the timid Yamato, Seira seemed to have already made up her mind to enjoy the food.
Yamato followed Seira’s lead, hoping to have at least some food.
So after visiting the sampling sections throughout the store, they left the store.
There was still time before the lunch break ended, so they sat down on benches set up around the tower apartments. The shade was just right for taking a break.
“We ate quite a lot. I think this will last me until the evening.”
“Yea. I’m relieved that Shirase didn’t say anything about going for a second round.”
“Ahaha, you’re right. I wanted to do it, though…”
“If I wasn’t there, you’d probably go through with it…
“I’m telling you, I wouldn’t. I’m not that hungry.”
Gurururur… and that was when Yamato’s stomach rumbled.
This was not the sound of hunger. It was a stomachache.
“I’m going to the bathroom.”
Yamato, feeling bad, used the restroom in the supermarket, and when he returned about ten minutes later, he found Seira sleeping peacefully on the bench.
Her sleeping face was as cute as ever, so he sat down next to her while not waking her up.
As he watched her sleeping face for a while, he heard it.
Seira woke up without warning.
Yamato quickly pulled himself up and looked away, and Seira said with a stretch.
“Ah, welcome back. Is your stomach okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine now.”
“You were watching me sleep?”
“Ahh──Ugh, you noticed?”
It seemed that she was aware that Yamato was observing her, and Yamato felt uncomfortable as Seira stared at him.
“The other day, Tsubaki told me that I should be careful about sleeping in front of Yamato because you would look at me strangely.”
“That girl, so stingy…”
It was hard to argue with her because she was not exactly wrong.
However, Seira didn’t seem to be comfortable with it.
“Is it really that interesting? My sleeping face.”
“No, umm, it’s not interesting, rather… it’s cute…”
Yamato was carried along by Seira’s relentless pace, and he ended up speaking his true feelings.
Then, Seira turned toward Yamato, pulled her body closer, and closed both her eyes.
“What are you…?”
“How do you like it? Cute?”
Seira, who just closed her eyes, looked more like she was waiting for a kiss, rather than making a sleeping face.
Yamato’s chest was rapidly heaving because of her sudden action.
Then, he closed the distance between him and Seira. Thanks to this, those shapely lips were already in front of him.
With a snap.
Again, without warning, Seira opened her eyes.
At such a distance, Yamato frantically pinched both of Seira’s cheeks with his hands.
“If anything, Shirase is ugly now, haha!”
Yamato said to cover it up and smiled briskly.
(Wasn’t I about to do something outrageous just now…?)
Flustered inwardly, he removed his hands from Seira’s cheeks as she glared at him resentfully.
“So mean. I think anyone would look ugly if they had their cheeks pinched.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll correct myself. Ugly was an exaggeration. …Even when I pinched it, you were still very charming…”
As Yamato turned his back, apologetic and embarrassed, Seira poked him in the back.
“Hey, look at me.”
The moment Yamato turned around, both of his cheeks were pinched vigorously.
Through the look on Seira’s face, he could tell he looked bad now. This was an attempt to get back at him.
“Ahaha, I guess octopus mouths are surprisingly charming.”
Seira was smiling and Yamato could feel the softness of her hands on his cheeks.
In the distance, mothers with their children were looking at them and whispering.
Being aware of these various gazes, Yamato felt his own body temperature rising rapidly.
“Ah, your face has turned so red, you look like a real octopus. Fufu, so cute.”
“…G-Give me a break.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
As expected, Yamato’s embarrassment reached its limit, and he removed her hand and turned around.
“I said, give me a break. I was wrong, so don’t tease me any more.”
“If that’s the case, I forgive you. I feel much better now, I’ll be able to work hard this afternoon♪”
Stretching out widely, Seira smiled, looking refreshed.
“Is Shirase possibly a S…?”
“If I am S, does that mean Yamato is M?”
“No, because that doesn’t make us equal but opposite! Anyway, lunch is probably over by now, so let’s head back to the firm.”
This lunchtime was full of terrible mishaps from Yamato’s point of view.
He forgot his wallet, got a stomach ache, almost did something terrible to Seira, and to top it all off, he had to be teased.
Truly, it was a disaster.
The cause of this was solely his own carelessness and clumsiness, but it was frustrating to admit it, so he decided to chalk it up to Tsubaki’s unnecessary words.
“Come to think of it, has Kosaka-san contacted you since then?”
On the way back to the firm, Yamato decided to break the silence and asked what was on his mind.
Seira shook her head from side to side and then asked, “Why?”
“No, but she said she would call me again. I know her purpose was to investigate Shirase’s activities, right? So, I guess she’s still not convinced, and I thought she might come by soon to see how things are going.”
“Ah, now that you mentioned it. Yamato had exchanged contacts with her. Why don’t you ask her yourself if you’re curious?”
“I’m good… I think she would be more happy to hear from Shirase anyway.”
“Is that so?”
“That is so.”
Seira was quite strong-willed with her ability to say that.
Rather, it could be said that she had no sense of crisis.
“Anyway, if you hear from Kosaka-san, let me know.”
“Why…Well, because it’s dangerous if I’m not around.”
“Hmmm. I understand.”
In the meantime, they arrived at the front of the firm.
The other workers had just come out of the restaurant, and they bumped into each other. The other workers noticed them and all looked at them coldly.
Regardless of the situation, Yamato knew that he was at fault for coming to work with a girl, so he entered the firm quietly.
Then the afternoon work began, but as usual, the work of sorting documents continued.
“Good, good. —Shirase, can I take that box too?
It was partially a joint effort, but it was more efficient this way.
However, the eyes of the people around them were still resentful.
After about two hours of work, the man who had warned Yamato in the morning came up to him.
“Hey, you avec. May I have a word?”
Seira looked at Yamato with a puzzled look on her face.
“Hey, what’s an avec?”
The one who just started laughing was another worker who was working over the shelves. It was definitely not Yamato.
The man who called out to them was embarrassed by the laughter, and his face turned bright red and his temples twitched.
Yamato, thinking it was going in a bad direction, hurriedly told Seira.
“(I think it means a couple, or lovers. Maybe)”
“Then why didn’t you just say so?”
“(Hey, that’s rude. He’s a higher up..)”
“Young people these days have a lot of nerve.”
When the man’s cheeks were twitching, Seira smiled.
“No, he didn’t mean it as a compliment!”
Yamato immediately made a comment, and the man laughed.
As expected, Yamato was at a loss for a response, and Seira looked blankly at him.
“Sorry, sorry. If she had made fun of me, I would have scolded her, but it seems that the young lady did not have bad intentions. Well, you two are a good avec.”
“Ah, he said it again.”
Seira still seemed to be bothered by the word, and Yamato interjected before the situation got worse.
“Well, first of all, let me tell you that me and her──Shirase are not in that kind of relationship.”
“Is that so? Everyone was talking about you as the one who came all the way down here with her to flirt.”
“No, it’s more of a misunderstanding… Well, it’s totally our fault, so it can’t be helped. Anyway, you wanted something from us, didn’t you?”
“Oh, yes, I did.”
The man remembered and handed Yamato a plastic string and a pair of military gloves.
“Actually, I wanted to ask you guys to help me work on the third floor. The young lady can help tying up the plastic string, and the boy needs help carrying the tables out.”
It was a long story, and the workers on the third floor must have been getting tired.
Yamato hurried to the third floor, and as he expected, the workers there gave him cold stares.
“I’m sorry I’m late, I’ll join you.”
After saying so, Yamato joined in the work of carrying out the tables.
Unlike the sorting work that had just been done, this time it was completely manual labor. Taking care not to injure himself, he and the other workers proceeded to carry out the tables and shelves.
Meanwhile, Seira was using plastic string to secure the contents of the boxes so that they would not fall out.
In this way, the difficult time for Yamato passed in the blink of an eye.
When the time passed six o’clock, the work was finished. The work was unexpectedly slow, and it seemed to have taken longer than planned.
By the time he left the law firm, the sun was beginning to set.
“Ugh, my arms and my legs…”
Yamato walked slowly, his legs and feet wobbling like a newborn fawn.
“Are you alright? Do you want to take a break?”
The other workers were already on their way to the factory, so Yamato shook his head.
“I’ll be fine. I don’t know what they’ll say if I’m late.”
“Then, do you want me to lend you a shoulder or something?”
“No. That would be too embarrassing indeed. ……”
In fact, while they were working on the removal, other workers asked him about his relationship with Seira.
Besides, Yamato didn’t want to borrow her shoulder for the simple reason of male pride.
So, although a little behind the group, he returned to the factory and was told by the tall man who had been showing him the way to and from the factory to change in the locker room.
When Yamato entered the locker room, the air was sweltering hotter than in the morning, and he felt sick with hunger and fatigue.
He managed to get to his locker and changed as quickly as possible.
“Good night. You’ve been a big help.”
On the way there, Yamato was approached by a man who called them avec. He seemed to be in a very good mood and had a big smile on his face.
“Ah, hello… I’m sorry if I’ve dragged you all down.”
“No, you’re not. Sometimes we get students like you, but most of them are cocky and don’t work very hard. You, on the other hand, have been doing a good job.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that. It was worth the sore muscles.”
“Ha-ha-ha, it’s a sign of youth that your muscles ache! Also, with this, you should treat your girl to some good food today!”
Saying this, the man offered Yamato two 1,000-yen bills.
“No, I can’t take this.”
“Don’t be shy. It’s just the whim of an elder.”
“No, really. It’s fine!”
Perhaps because Yamato had refused with all his might, the man pulled back the bill with a puzzled look on his face.
“I see. Young people these days have a sense of humility or modesty.”
“Well, good night.”
The man who called them avec looked a little sad and quietly left the locker room.
After bowing to his back, Yamato patted his chest in relief, and now the tall man who was leading the way approached Yamato.
“What a disaster. That man is always like that.”
Yamato felt uncomfortable as he was casually spoken to, but he responded with a “hah” in response.
“Well, I don’t think there was any problem accepting it.”
“Ahaha, I guess…”
Yamato tried to give a reasonable response, but it was still awkward.
Like the man Yamato mentioned earlier and this man, there was a sense of unity in the locker room after the work had been completed, or at any rate, such a feeling could be sensed. The attitude and atmosphere of the workers around him seemed to have become more relaxed.
However, it is not as if Yamato could fit in with that atmosphere.
“Then, I’m leaving. Good night.”
When Yamato left the locker room after saying this, Seira, dressed in plain clothes, was waiting for him.
Perhaps because she had finished her shift, she had let down her hair, which was tied in a bun. Looking at her, Yamato thought that straight hair was also nice.
“You finally came out. You were late.”
“I’m sorry, I guess I made you wait.”
“I was quick now because unlike the morning, I didn’t have to worry about my bun. I just untied it and ran a comb through it.”
Yamato’s misplaced opinion that the fashionable situation of girls was also tough came to mind.
Being around Seira, he could smell the fresh scent of antiperspirant, and compared to the hot and humid locker room, it was truly heaven.
“Speaking of which, I heard we can go home now.”
As it was told, there were indeed not many people left. It was a very discouraging feeling.
Yamato was looking forward to checking his paycheck later, as he was told it will be deposited into his designated account within three days.
“I guess we won’t be getting together like we did in the morning. Well, that’s better.”
“Right. Shall we go?”
As they left the factory, the night wind blew against them, and Yamato felt chilly, probably because his sweat had not yet dried.
The main street on the way to the station was very busy. The lights of the buildings illuminate the area, and as they walked through the crowd, Yamato felt dizzy, partly due to hunger and fatigue.
“Should we go into a restaurant somewhere?”
“Let’s do that. Do you want some ramen?”
“Is that okay?”
“Yeah. Also, I’ll buy you a drink today. You went out with me for the part-time job.”
Not because the man who called them “avec” told Yamato to treat her to something, but out of gratitude, he offered her, and Seira smiled.
Her response was immediate.
Seira leaned closer to Yamato, who was puzzled and answered.
“One of the reasons is that I worked for the first time today, and I want to taste the ramen noodles that I bought with my own money.”
Apparently, today was the first part time job for Seira as well.
Yamato felt bad that her first part-time job was more physical labor-oriented. She would have been better suited to work as a waitress in a café where young people gather.
“Then what about the other reason?”
“In the first place, you started today’s part-time job because you wanted money to have fun. But if you bought me a drink, it would be a complete opposite of what you wanted. That is another reason.”
“Well, that’s certainly true.”
“One more thing.”
“There is more?”
Seira held up her index finger with a straight face.
“Because I don’t like people buying me drinks.”
Yamato remembered that she had said the same thing to him when they went to karaoke.
“I understand. Then, let’s both eat delicious ramen on our own. I know it’s not my place to say this, but to be honest, the tasting at the supermarket wasn’t enough for me.”
“That’s the way it should be. —Then let’s go there.”
Seira pointed to a ramen restaurant that claimed to specialize in tonkotsu ramen.
“Should be fine. There are no customers lined up.”
“It’s decided then.”
The two passed through the store’s curtain with great anticipation.
In contrast to the bustle of the city, the interior of the restaurant was deserted, and the ramen was delivered in the blink of an eye after they placed their order.
Yamato involuntarily gulped down the thick aroma of tonkotsu ramen with shiny thin noodles, topped with green onions, wood ear mushroom, boiled egg, and roasted pork.
After that, they quickly take a sip of the soup.
The two looked at each other and nodded excitedly.
As soon as they took a mouthful of the soup, the aroma and richness of the thick tonkotsu filled their mouths, and they felt the delicious taste running through their bodies.
Next, he took a bite of the noodles.
The two nodded to each other again.
This was what ramen tasted like after a day’s work… For the first time in their lives, both Yamato and Seira felt as if all of today’s fatigue had been swept away by the exquisite sensation they had just experienced.
After that, they couldn’t stop.
Chewing on the roasted pork with the firm, thin noodles, sometimes with wood ear mushrooms, and sometimes with boiled egg, they ate and savored the taste, refreshed their body with water, and went back to the ramen again.
Yamato thought the taste was almost addictive. Combined with a feeling of hunger and fatigue, he had the strange sensation that all of this had been converted into a sense of accomplishment at the end of the workday.
While Yamato was eating, Seira’s hand spontaneously went to the jar of garlic.
However, she must have noticed Yamato’s gaze. She stopped her hand and pulled it away. Then, as if to cover up her uncontrollable urge, she took a sip of her soup.
After all, Seira was probably still concerned about the peculiar smell of garlic. It was an unusual problem for Seira, but Yamato could not bear to see her put up with it.
Hence, he said to her,
“It’s okay now, you don’t have to put up with it.”
When hearing that, Seira was troubled and responded with a “gnu.”
Yamato thought that he should press her further and continued in a calm tone.
“Eating what you like, as you like, shouldn’t be a bad thing. Isn’t it?”
Then, Seira, who seemed to have given up on the idea, turned to Yamato.
“Then, Yamato put garlic in it too. That way, even if it smells a little, I think it can be covered.”
Her unexpectedly cute request made Yamato tensed up, but he quickly complied.
…Well, he was not certain if that could be covered or not.
The garlic in this restaurant also seemed to be of the self crushing type, and in turn, the garlic was crushed with a special tool to mush it down before being thrown into the ramen.
Then, Seira took a bite of the newly garlic flavored ramen.
Seira was speechless and fainted with happiness.
Yamato followed her lead and took a big gulp of his ramen.
It was good. And it was thick. It was intense. The combination of the tonkotsu ramen and garlic was so good together that it could even be called devilish.
The Saint who was fascinated by the devil ate at such a rapid pace that she lifted up the whole bowl and drank the soup in one sitting. Even the waiter was taken aback by this.
“—Phew. Thanks for the food.”
She finished the meal. It was a magnificent meal.
Yamato was fascinated by Seira’s straightforwardness, but then, realizing that she was ahead of him again, he hurriedly shoveled the rest of the soup into his mouth.
As expected, Yamato was reluctant to drink all the soup, but his male pride would not allow him to not do so.
Yamato soon finished his meal too, and the waiter called out, “Thank you for finishing!”
Thus, the “Seira eating ramen with garlic” moment that Yamato had been waiting for so long returned.
As soon as he left the restaurant, Seira immediately covered her mouth with both hands.
It seemed that she was still bothered by it. She was looking somewhat downcast, and there was no sign of her earlier vigorous appearance.
“…The ramen here is delicious.”
“For all that, there weren’t many customers. I wonder why.”
“How would I know?”
“You see, there’s a long line of people waiting for ramen over there. Maybe it’s a location thing.”
Finally, she didn’t even answer me.
Since Yamato felt a little lonely at this point, he decided to speak his true feelings.
“I was happy. Shirase hasn’t put garlic in your food for a long time.”
Even without a reply from Seira, Yamato continued.
“It’s cool to see Shirase eat so rapidly. And I simply admire the way you eat what you want to eat, as if by instinct. Of course, I mean that in a good way!”
There was still no response, but Yamato nevertheless spoke his mind.
“I know I like it, the way Shirase eats ramen with garlic.”
After all, there was still no response from Seira, but she stopped walking.
Yamato, curious, stopped and turned around.
Then Seira looked up, red to the ears, and glared at him.
She muttered to Yamato’s face.
During the train ride home, they were completely silent.
This was because Yamato felt strangely embarrassed by their earlier exchange, and since Seira did not seem to be interested in talking at all, they fell into silence.
Moreover, because Seira, who was concerned about the smell of garlic, sat far from Yamato, the situation remained difficult for them to talk.
Having given up on trying to resolve the situation for the time being, Yamato decided to check out the reviews of the ramen restaurant he had just entered.
Yamato thought that the restaurant would be highly rated, but his prediction turned out to be wrong.
The reviews were all over the place, with some describing it as “ordinary,” “mediocre taste,” “just another ramen shop,” and still others calling it “average.” It was a ramen store that could be found anywhere.
So why did Yamato find it so delicious?
There are several possible reasons, but the biggest one was that he ate it after his part-time job when he was tired and hungry.
However, even though he understood the theory, Yamato was not satisfied with his feelings, so he registered on a review site and wrote a five-star rating, saying, “It was the most delicious ramen I’ve had. I will probably never forget the taste. I recommend it with garlic.”
Immediately after that, Seira, who was sitting opposite Yamato, let out a laugh.
Perhaps she was looking at something interesting on her phone, Yamato thought. He hoped she would be in a better mood when they got off the train.
However, there was no conversation after getting off the train.
As soon as they passed through the ticket gate, Seira began to walk ahead of Yamato.
(Maybe I stepped on a terrible land mine…?)
While Yamato was worried, they came to the usual fork in the road.
When he called out to Seira, who was walking ahead of him, she stopped dead in her tracks.
“I’m sorry if I offended you. So, would you stop being mad?”
“…I’m not mad at you.”
“But I’m kind of embarrassed.”
Seira looked back at him, her cheeks flushed red.
Yamato opened his mouth while admiring the sight.
“I-I don’t really care about the smell.”
“Yeah, okay. I know. So, sorry about today.”
When she apologized, Yamato was at a loss as to how to react.
Seeing Yamato fidgeting, Seira nodded to herself.
“I’ll make the next outing by phone or message. It’s already late today.”
“R-Right! I agree!”
Yamato’s uneasiness caused him to swallow his words, but he calmed himself down and continued.
“I’m really grateful to you for going along with my part-time job today. It was really reassuring and fun. ─ Well, good night then.”
Yamato then turned his back to her.
When Yamato turned away, he stopped and turned around to see Seira smiling gently at him.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget the taste of today’s ramen too. ─ Then, good night.”
After a small wave with her hand, Seira left with a satisfied look on her face.
As she left, Yamato thought about the word “too” Seira had used.
In other words, she had read the review that Yamato had just posted.
“…Oh, God, that’s so embarrassing.”
Understanding this, Yamato blushed and muttered.
Looking off Seira’s back, who was now skipping along in a good mood, Yamato smiled with a sigh.