「I’m not too sure, but it looks like Chii-chan and Arioka-senpai are behaving oddly. They get really into the conversation if it’s about the other person.」
I’m telling Mizuhara about my blind date while I’m making florentins sablés.
It’s one of his favorite snacks.
He’s pacing around the kitchen, probably because he can’t wait to eat it.
Honestly it bothers me, but I get to talk about Chii-chan and Arioka-senpai.
I baked some butter, honey, and whipped cream on medium heat, and mixed it with some fragrant and unglazed sliced almonds. Then I put it on some sablé shortbread and baked it in the oven.
If I bake it too much, it will lose its moisture and taste, so I have to be careful and spend more time since I have to bake it twice.
After letting it cool and shaping it beautifully, I serve it to Mizuhara, who’s being so annoying that I cut it with a kitchen knife in exasperation.
The moderate crispiness of the sablé shortbread and the moistness and sweetness of the florentins make a good and tasty combination.
Although I spent some time on it, I’m proud of my work.
「Arioka-senpai knows everything that only Chii-chan would know, and vice versa.」
It’s almost as if they’re sharing information with each other.
That said, it’s mostly about me, so it’s nothing too serious.
「That’s not enough to say that they’re in a relationship. They might have shared information with each other during the blind date, or perhaps a second one…… Hey, aren’t you eating a little too fast?」
「I’ve been using my head a lot more recently, so I’m hungry.」
He’s sliding the plate of florentins sablés towards him. I put it back in the middle.
「Just random stuff like making slime out of curry, or poking a hole in an inflated pool when I was a kid… Well, it’s possible they talked about it during the blind date, but there’s more.」
「Even with my superior intellect, I don’t understand why you burst the inflated pool.」
He’s begging for an explanation.
「I went head first instead of stepping into it.」
I’ve seen pictures of corpses of The Inugami Family with their feet sticking out. [1. TL Note: The Inugami Family is a mystery novel about a series of murders in the 1940s. The novel was first published in 1972.] Mom thought that it had a good sense of balance, but it was just too scary for me.
Leaving that aside, I revert to the main topic.
「They’ve known about everything since the blind date. Chii-chan sounded like she knew things that I kept from her. Besides Arioka-senpai, I can’t think of anyone else who would tell her.」
As I’m checking the message I received from Chii-chan, Mizuhara tests my patience again by moving the plate.
「The plate belongs in the middle.」
He puts the florentins sablés on a piece of baking paper, and moves the plate back into the middle.
I stand up ready to fight Mizuhara, who quickly puts a cupcake and a financier into each of my hands.
I can see the logo of Bûche de Stage on the pastries, but I’ve never seen them before. They’re probably new or limited edition pastries.
He puts some macarons on the empty plate.
I accept his peace offering and sit back down.
「…Well, they may have sent messages to each other just as friends, but it’s actually a pretty gray area. I may be reading too much into it, so I’m trying not to pry.」
It’s not a solid fact, and it’s just me getting hung up on a few things they said. It’s very likely that I’m completely mistaken.
Whenever Chii-chan thought about dating someone, she would tell me straight away.
I decide to be patient and have faith that Chii-chan will tell me if she’s going to date Arioka-senpai.
「That’s a wise decision. Even if you interfered, you wouldn’t get anything out of it. By the way, what became of your blind date?」
「Hmm… I guess it’s my first success? I got a message from someone other than Arioka-senpai for once.」
We’ve made some small talk, and he’s invited me out, but I hesitated when I imagined going to another high class restaurant.
「Really? That’s good.」
Mizuhara congratulated me, but I can’t really consider it a success.
I was so awkward at that expensive restaurant that I couldn’t concentrate on eating or talking.
I caused some misunderstandings because of that.
For example, I cut a piece of bread into tiny cubes because I was trying to mimic other people, and ended up eating very little because I was taking too many long breaks from eating.
「I was still hungry, so I bought a beef rice bowl to eat at home.」
「Was it extra large?」
「No, I bought 2 regular sized bowls.」
I was going to save one of the bowls in case I couldn’t finish it all on that day, but I ended up eating both.
「Also, I was so nervous that I decided to just listen in to their conversation, so they thought I was shy.」
There were times when the conversations were difficult to follow along because I didn’t understand what they were saying, and when I did try to speak, I ended up saying something wrong, so I just pretended to listen while smiling at them.
「Arioka-senpai teased me sometimes, and I became so shaken that they thought I was delicate. Then I kicked him and ended up getting a leg cramp.」
I know that my date joined half-heartedly because he wasn’t really interested in me in the first place.
I sigh and reach out for another florentin, but they’re completely gone from the table.
「He said that Chii-chan introduced me because I’m good at making snacks…. And maybe sewing…」
I denied that last part, but he thought I was just being modest.
「You’re good at sewing?」
Mizuhara looks at me dubiously.
「Good enough to end someone’s life. My home economics teacher called me Issun-bôshi.」[2. TL Note: Issun-bôshi is a Japanese fairy tale about a one-inch tall samurai who wielded a needle as a sword.]
「What exactly did you do in home economics class?」
I sigh, then take out my phone and open the inbox.
I haven’t had much experience on dating, so I don’t know how to respond to his invitation.
I’m definitely going to let him down.
「Sigh, how should I respond…」
「Don’t ask a data analyst like me. Psychology isn’t my forte.」
I come up with a few responses, and delete each one every time until I end up sending a plain response.
A few days later, an incident would cause me to forget all about my love life.