Chapter 3: A Phone Call from Mother
Today, as usual, I finished my part-time job and went straight to Flowers, a family restaurant, the “usual family restaurant”.
“We apologize for the inconvenience.
Please wait a moment.”
However, the restaurant was unusually crowded.
Normally, the restaurant was crowded, but never this crowded.
When I looked inside, it seemed that several groups of customers had come to the restaurant by coincidence.
I never thought I would run into such a situation.
I didn’t know if I was lucky or unlucky.
As for me, I came here to kill time, so I didn’t care how long I had to wait.
I pressed the “Adult: One person” button on the touch panel of the in-store terminal.
Then, I picked up a piece of paper similar to a receipt with the number ‘26’ printed on it from the ticket machine and waited for my turn to be served.
The waitress led me through the restaurant, which was crowded with several groups of customers.
Usually, I would be allowed to choose a seat of my choice, but today it was difficult because the restaurant was so crowded.
The seat where I usually sat was occupied by a group of women I didn’t know, who seemed to be having some kind of meeting with their tablets spread out on the table.
“This is your seat, please.”
I arrived at the seat after crossing such “usual seats”.
They must have just finished cleaning up.
I stood there for a moment in front of the seat, which had nothing special about it except for the traces of wiping the table.
I was led to…my usual seat right next to Kazemiya Kohaku, a blonde female student who was looking at her phone in the same bored manner as this morning.
I was so surprised that I stopped in my tracks, but such a reaction would have been unpleasant even for the other party.
I sat down on the sofa and unfolded the menu.
I had already memorized the menu, so I didn’t need to do that, but it was a little embarrassing because I felt like a regular.
So, I always checked the menu by flipping through it.
Even when I didn’t have a specific order in mind, I would sometimes see a picture of a dish on the menu like this, and my appetite would be piqued.
This time was exactly like that.
The beautiful yellow omelette on the menu somehow aroused my appetite.
I pressed the button to call the waiter.
“One golden omelet with special sauce.
Plus a free refill drink.”
After finishing the order, I filled my glass with Coke and returned to my seat again.
Kazemiya was still looking at her phone in a bored manner, but—-her beautiful blue eyes shook for a moment.
The expression on her face also changed to one that was slightly grim.
Was there an incident? Or something happened to someone in the family…….
(…What’s that to do with me?)
I dismissed the thought and went straight back to my seat.
While I was killing time by looking at my phone, the omelet I ordered arrived.
Underneath the spoon-scooped egg, there was a cheese that had melted under the heat, and the rich sweetness of the cheese danced on my tongue as it intertwined with the egg.
The special sauce on top was exquisite, and the taste was not monotonous, so you would not get bored until you finished the dish.
“Thanks for the food.”
I couldn’t stop eating and finished it in no time.
As a high school boy, I would have liked to have a little more, but that would have been a luxury.
Normally, I would have taken a break and gone home, but I wanted to spend more time here as it was hard for me to stay at home.
I launched the social networking app on my smartphone, thinking I would scroll through my timeline.
The screen on my phone changed to one that alerted me to an incoming phone call.
It was my mom on the other end of the line.
Why was she calling? I somewhat have an idea.
I took a deep breath to calm my mind and pressed the call button, trying not to let any weird reaction seep into my voice.
“Kouta, where are you right now?”
“I just finished my part-time job.”
I wasn’t lying.
In fact, my part-time job was already over, and this family restaurant happened to be located on my way home.
“Then, will you be back in a little while?”
“I think it’s going to take a little more time.
I’m going to go out for dinner and then come home.”
Technically, I’d already finished my meal, but I wouldn’t be lying if I ordered dessert from now on.
“If you want to have dinner, don’t bother eating out, just go home….”
“I was hungry after my part-time job.
I wanted to eat something quickly.”
This shouldn’t be a lie either…….It was true that I felt hungry at the end of my part-time job.
“…… I see.
Then, be careful on your way back.
Akihiro-san and Kotomi-chan are waiting for you.”
“…… got it.
Oh, you don’t have to wait and worry about me.
That way, Tsujikawa-san and the others would be more comfortable.”
Tsujikawa was my mother’s surname from her second marriage; Akihiro Tsujikawa was my new father, and Kotomi Tsujikawa was my step-sister.
My step-sister, KOTOMI, was also a girl of my age, and there was no guarantee that her school life would not be affected in some way if people found out that one older person with a different last name had suddenly become her step-brother.
She had just entered high school, and it was a delicate time for her to build relationships with others.
So, although my name officially was already “Tsujikawa,” I chose to use my former surname, “Narumi”.
I was grateful for that.
I didn’t try very hard to hide our relationship from people around us, but that didn’t stop me from being proactive about revealing it.
If I was questioned, I would evade the question.
I would tell someone I trust though (in this case, Natsuki), but that’s it.
I’ll let them know.
Anyway, it’s already dark, so be careful on your way home.”
Then, I’m hanging up.”
.I declared that I would hang up and ended the call.
A breath of relief leaked out of me.
It wasn’t that my mom and I didn’t get along.
In fact, I would say that we were on good terms.
We had a good parent-child relationship to the extent that I would read my mother’s manuscripts and give her feedback on her work.
And yet, I never thought I would be so tired after less than five minutes on the phone.
“……desserts, I’ll have to order some.”
This was ridiculous, even for me.
‘It’s not true, but I’m not lying.” I was opening the menu just to get such a ridiculous exemption.
To me, it was a necessary expense to buy peace of mind, but to others, it was probably a waste of money.
At first, I decided to order chocolate ice cream, which was relatively inexpensive in the dessert category.
But after ordering it, I regretted that I should have ordered a parfait.
Because the parfait would probably take longer to come out than the ice cream alone.
“Are you on bad terms with your family?”
What a clear, and beautiful voice, I thought.
Then, after a pause, I realized that the beautiful voice was directed at me, and I turned around without thinking.
The person who asked this question was Kazemiya Kohaku, who was seated next to me.
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