Taking care of my younger sister's too naive of a beautiful yankee high schooler, then falling in love - Chapter 9
It was now June.
Recently, my part-time job as a tutor has been going well, and I feel like I’m getting used to balancing it with my university studies. I’ve always been a person who likes to study, so it was fun to live a life where I could think about my studies all the time. I think it was the right decision to quit my part-time job at the izakaya.
And now… I was getting used to having Yankee Jks in my room.
“Hey~ hey~ Onii-san. Do you not have more dirty romance manga?”
It was nine o’clock in the evening.
On the floor of my room, Erika-chan was lying on her belly in her school uniform, reading a manga. And I was at my study desk.
“No, I don’t. Those types aren’t to my liking.”
“They’re all about being reincarnated in another world. And also, harems. So you want to be reborn and live an unconditional popular life.”
“No, I don’t. I just think it’s purely interesting as a manga, so leave me alone.”
When I’m reading a manga, I want to think about other worlds. That’s why I liked manga that were unrealistic.
I sighed and glanced at Erika-chan.
“Don’t complain about that while borrowing someone else’s manga.”
“I’m not complaining. I know you enjoy it. It’s just, sometimes I just want to read some incredible love-hate relationship type manga.”
“Erika-chan, what kind of mood is that…”
While we were having a silly conversation, I was working on my computer, making a handout for my tutoring the next Saturday. It was a special training printout tailored to each student’s weaknesses.
Mana and the others are out again today. Lately, Mana and the others have been out, and Erika-chan has been coming to my room alone more often. It doesn’t seem like they’re fighting and going their separate ways, though. [TLN: HMMMMM]
——Was it because she wanted to be alone? No, if she’s in my room, since I’m here she wouldn’t be alone anymore so…
Maybe she wanted to be alone with me… I thought about that, then laughed at myself. What the heck is that? What kind of reason would she have to do that?
I drank a cup of coffee from my study desk and tried to concentrate on printing again. But then, Erika-chan spoke to me again.
“Onii-san…is it really impossible for me to get a part time job?”
When I looked at Erika, she was still in the same position reading the manga. And then, she kept talking.
“No matter where I go, they always say, ‘You can’t work here.’ On the other hand, ones that usually say, ‘Won’t you work here?’ are usually suspicious, so I don’t wanna work there.”
Her hand seemed to have already stopped turning the pages.
“…You said you wanted to get a part time job so you can leave your house, right? Erika-chan, what do you want to do after that?”
I asked, and Erika-chan asked me back.
“Are you asking me what I want to do in the future?”
“Ah–yeah. Something like that.”
“In the future…um, it might not be a big deal or anything but…”
“I, I want to be normal… I want to be a normal person who can use honorifics properly, I want to live a life where I can work normally like everyone else…”
The word ‘normal’ that Erika-chan used had a lot of weight to it. The meaning of the word ‘normal’ varies from person to person, and sometimes it can seem to mean the same to everyone, but sometimes what it really means is completely different. This is why it can cause disputes, but I could somehow understand what Erika-chan meant by ‘normal’.
Not having to worry about where to live, what to eat, or how to live. Not having to worry about how to make money, and having a stable job. A normal and modest life is nice, but sometimes wanting to eat good food and buy your favorite manga. Erika-chan would like to be someone who can live like that…
I want to help her.
That was the feeling boiling inside me.
“…If you’re willing to change…should I lend you a hand?”
I said, as nonchalantly as I could.
“Eh, but, I’m stupid… It’s going to be super hard, you know!?”
She reacted much stronger than I expected. Erika-chan hurriedly put down the manga, raised herself up, and crawled closer to my study desk.
Seeing Erika-chan looking so motivated made me feel happy, and I gave her a big nod.
“Sure, I’ll go along with you. Everything you want to know, everything you want to be able to do, I’ll teach you everything.”
Erika-chan was flustered.
“Err, what should I start with? There’s so much that I don’t know! I want to learn simple cooking, how to vacuum, and I don’t really know how to fold clothes properly either…”
“Yeah. That’s fine. Let’s do them one at a time.”
Erika-chan pursed her lips tightly. Her eyes were sparkling and wide open, and her cheeks red.
Her happiness was written all over her face.
Lately, Erika-chan has been saying ’thank you’ to me more often. And I think I’m enjoying being with Erika-chan more and more.
Since then, I’ve been teaching Erika everything she wants to know.
How to use honorifics. How to separate garbage. How to read the weather forecast. How to shop smart… and many more things.
Some people may think, ‘You can find that stuff on the Internet nowadays.’ But some people find it difficult to understand what is written on the Internet. There are people to whom someone’s normality does not apply. But it doesn’t mean they can’t understand anything. If you sit next to them and slowly explain things to them, they may understand surprisingly quickly.
Then, about three weeks passed.
“He~! I didn’t know that rice is not washed with detergent!”
One day, while she was practicing how to wash rice in the kitchen, Erika-chan said,
“There are detergents for food, but you can just wash rice with water.”
“Why can’t we use hot water? Isn’t it cold in winter?”
“It said that washing rice in hot water degrades the flavor of the rice.”
“Is it ok as long as I don’t complain about the taste?”
“That’s up to you, but if you’re going to eat it, wouldn’t you want it to taste good? I read on the Internet that if you don’t like cold water in winter, you can heat it up to 20 degrees.”
“I won’t be able to tell if it’s 20 degrees or not by touching it.”
“Why don’t you use a thermometer?”
“That’s a pain…”
Even while saying things like that, Erika-chan seemed to be enjoying herself.
Learning something new can be fun. That is what I wanted Erika-chan to experience before anything else.
“—Say, Erika-chan. You’ve been doing your best at learning things recently, so why don’t you take a break once in a while?”
“Eh? A break?”
“You’ve been spending all your time studying with me instead of playing with Mana and the others. Do you want to go out somewhere as a reward?”
“A reward!? Eh!? Where should I go!?”
“Well…wherever Erika-chan wants to go is fine. Rest assured, Onii-san here will pay for it.”
“Then, the movies! And also, the aquarium! Then we’ll go to karaoke!”
“It’s fine. Alright. Well then, how about this Sunday?”
“Don’t you have work?”
“My students happen to have errands, so I’m on break.”
Both of us smiled.
“You’re the best! I’m looking forward to it!”
She smiled as if bursting with joy. It was the best smile I’ve ever seen that made me really glad I asked her out.
Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day.
I was waiting for Erika-chan under the big clock in front of the station.
It was twelve o’clock, the appointed time, but there was still no sign of Erika-chan.
——Speaking of which, I’ve never seen Erika-chan in her casual clothes. She probably won’t come in her school uniform right… I’d be a bit anxious walking next to a JK in uniform.
What would I do if a police officer asked me, ‘Excuse me, what kind of relationship do you have?’ Would it be convincing if I said, ‘She’s my little sister’s friend.’? No, we’re not that far apart in age, and it wouldn’t seem like a strange relationship to begin with….
As I was worrying about that, I was tapped on the shoulder. I turned around to see Erika-chan with her blonde hair pulled up in a ponytail.
“Sorry to keep you waiting…”
Erika-chan was wearing a white t-shirt, dark coloured jeans, and a long black waistcoat. A waistcoat is basically a long vest. I remember it well because when Mana wore it once, I said ‘long vest’ and she sent me flying.
It was a very simple and refreshing outfit. But because she had a beautiful face and great style, she looked dazzling and gorgeous…
“What’s with you… Don’t just stare at me like that…”
As I was unconsciously observing Erika-chan, her cheeks reddened and she pouted.
“Ah, sorry…Then, shall we go?”
I started walking side by side with Erika-chan
We were about 30 centimeters apart, and I couldn’t tell if we were close or far apart, which made me feel all tingly.
We first went to the movie theater to watch an action movie about a Yankee JK fighting zombies.
It was a pretty intense series of battle scenes, so I was glad I had lunch first. By the way, Erika-chan was smiling the whole time for some reason.
“Was it that funny?”
I asked Erika-chan after the movie was over.
“Yeah! The zombies were funny!”
Apparently, she found the visuals of the zombies funny. Well… I guess everyone has their own sense of humour.
After the movie, we went to a nearby aquarium.
As we walked along, looking at the fish, Erika-chan’s feet stopped at the outdoor penguin corner… and she didn’t seem to move from there for the next 30 minutes.
“Um…Erika-chan. Shouldn’t we move to a different area?”
“Just a while more…”
She said that, but her ‘just a while more’ didn’t show any signs of ending.
“Erika-chan, do you like penguins that much?”
“I’ve never seen penguins in the flesh before, they’re so cute… I’ll burn them into my memory so that I never forget it, so wait.”
Erika-chan, who had been laughing at the zombie movie earlier, was now staring at the penguins with a serious expression.
The look in her eyes was serious. So serious, that her gaze seemed to be like a sharp blade.
With such a sharp sparkle in her eyes, some people would probably shudder and run away. The penguins, however, were grooming themselves on the rocks as if they had nothing to do with it.
She seemed to like them so much that she lost track of time.
This might be the first time I’ve seen Erika-chan so engrossed in something. She seemed to like it so much that I made a suggestion to her.
“Then… why don’t we buy a stuffed penguin from the souvenir shop?”
“Eh!? Ah, but, I don’t have money so…I’ll just look at them.”
“Ah, I’ll buy it for you so it’s fine.”
“No no, you already paid for everything from the movies to the aquarium, I can’t rely on you that much.”
“Don’t be reserved. It’s fine. Stuffed animals aren’t that expensive of a thing. Besides… I was the one who thought of buying it, so let me show off for once. If you refuse, I’ll feel lonely.”
As she gazed at the penguin, Erika-chan had an expression of distress.
But the love she had for the penguin must have been great. Erika-chan looked at me, and smiled.
“Well then, I’ll have you buy the most expensive penguin at the souvenir shop, you know?”
It was just like Erika-chan to say that, and it made me a little happy.
“Fine. Let’s go to the souvenir shop and buy Erika-chan’s favourite penguin!”
“Alright! Let’s go! To the souvenir shop!”
Surprised by Erika’s psyched up voice, a couple nearby looked at us.
Normally, I would have warned her to not shout in public. But today was a break after all.
Maybe I was in high spirits from seeing Erika-chan like that.
The fun times passed by in the blink of an eye, and it was now eight o’clock at night. I grabbed a light meal instead of dinner at the karaoke bar and sang for three hours…I was starting to get tired because it was much different from my usual life of studying at the university and working part time.
“Should we go home soon?”
“Eh~!? I want to play more though…”
Unlike me, who was feeling tired, Erika-chan was still full of energy. She hugged a 30-centimeter-long stuffed penguin with one arm and played with the microphone on the table with her free hand.
“But I had fun today, and since you bought me a penguin, I’ll let you off for now. Thank you. Onii-san.”
With that, Erika-chan took her hand off the microphone.
She seemed very reluctant.
I thought that it was a bit cute.
“Hey, Erika-chan…If you keep doing your best at your studies with me, would you like to go to the aquarium again as a reward? I’m sure you’d love to see the penguins again.”
“Seriously? I’m going! I’m definitely going!”
“Yeah. Then, let’s make that a promise. Also, there’s going to be a university festival in the fall, so you should invite Mana and the others and come to it.”
“Oi oi. Are you sure it’s okay for the four yankee JKs to go?”
“It’s alright. I’ll show you around.”
“I see… I’m a little excited! It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this excited about the future!”
“When you grow up and can take care of yourself to some extent, you’ll have a lot more fun. Right now there are a lot of things you have to endure and work hard for, even if it’s harsh, there’s definitely fun things waiting for you in the future… So, let’s do our best.”
When I smiled at her, Erika-chan quickly dropped her gaze back to the penguin.
“Yeah. I’m looking forward to it… I have to do my best…”
Erika-chan gently caressed the stuffed penguin. Her eyes looked unusually affectionate… and for a moment, I was captivated by her profile.