-03- Settling in at my New Home With Sacchan!
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-Elle- here, I just wanted to say thank you all so much for the positive comments and favorites and support and everything!  I didn't expect to get this much attention already but I'm super happy everyone is enjoying this story so far!  I'll do my best to write chapters as often as I can, though I will always put the quality ahead of speed.  Do feel free and point out if there are any errors or if something is inconsistent or unclear, I'll be happy to fix it up!  Please enjoy the new chapter!


The one thing I already liked about the big city was how close together everything was.  Saiyuri said that her place was far away from the station, but when she pulled into the parking lot of a three-story apartment building only a few minutes later, I was somewhat confused at first.  I had asked her if we were stopping somewhere else first, but she looked at me strangely.  I didn’t realize this was where her residence was, because it was so close to where we just were!  In Tono, most homes were attached to farms or ranches of some kind, so there was a lot of space between them.

They had apartment complexes in Tono City, but I didn’t know anyone who lived in one.  So this was an inaugural event for me!  I hopped out of the front seat and went to the trunk, twirling around happily as I took in a three-sixty view of what the outside of my new home would be.

It was very… concrete.

Saiyuri popped the trunk of her car open with the magic button thing she had, and together we lifted my roller luggage out.  I tossed the strap of my carry-on bag over my shoulder, following behind her as we headed for an elevator that would take us up to the third floor where her apartment was.

Being used to wide open spaces, riding in an elevator was always fun.  It was like being in a tiny room that moved.  I liked the feeling of gravity pulling me down as I rose up, and the elevator wasn’t like the one at the Tono City hospital.  That one was slow, this one was really fast.  Before I could fully enjoy the experience, the bell dinged and we were already on the top floor.

On the door was a plaque in gold numbering that said 315.  It was just a single door in the middle of many other doors.  There was no magic button that opened this door, just a regular key.  She had about five or six keys on her keychain and a cute little accessory attached to a strap.

“What’s that?” I asked, pointing at it.

“This is Pretty Pretty Precure!” Saiyuri said to me, showing it off. “I got it a long time ago, and it’s been on every keyring I’ve had since then.”

Even though Saiyuri looked like a mature woman, that keyring gave her a bit of a youthful charm.  In fact, she seemed like she could be an older, funner version of Yumi-chan.  I hoped that we would get along really well from now on.  In a way, even though she was the adult responsible for me, she was certainly behaving more like a friend, and I… liked that.

The door opened and once we went inside, sadly, all the stock in maturity I had given her early credit for, plummeted.

The house was messy!  Soooooo messy!

“Sacchan, are you possibly… bad at cleaning?” I spoke thoughtlessly to her.

“Ah, ...yeah.  Sorry, kiddo.  But don’t worry, I promise your room is completely clean!  I’ll call up a maid service and see if we can’t make it acceptable for you.”  She apologised.

“Won’t that cost money?”  I had heard that in the big cities they had all kinds of rentable services.  Not only cleaning, but tutoring, installation work, and even… dating!

Not that I would do that last one, I just read it in a story once.

A lonely housewife whose husband is always on a business trip, and having gotten lazy, she called up a special maid service.  When the maid arrived the housewife was enamored with how cute the girl was in the maid outfit she wore.  The housewife enjoyed just watching the cute maid work and it soothed her, and as a bonus her house was clean afterwards.

So, she would purposely let her responsibilities go, and would regularly call the service and request that same maid over and over. It led to them getting to know each other, and after one particular incident, they shared an innocent kiss.  Really mixing up the feelings of the housewife.

I felt my chest tingle when I read it for the first time and got to the kiss.  Such a strange encounter.  Being healed of loneliness by a cute girl in a maid outfit.  The premise was ridiculous, but I couldn’t help it.  I liked… romance novels, even if the plot wasn’t entirely logical!

But I’m someone who understands the value of money.  There is simply no way I can allow Saiyuri to spend any extra when there is a fully capable firework ready to blast through all the necessary tidying up!

“It’s not too expensive… I think?” She said unsuredly.  Had she never called one before?  “It only got this way because Jo…”  She halted her statement quickly before adjusting it. “...because I was lazy.  That’s all.  Sorry to disappoint you, Hanapi.  I’m reliable in other things though!”

Her secondary appeal to her maturity had zero impact on me.

“Which room is mine?”  I asked, wanting to deposit my luggage, and then tackle the housecleaning.

“Right this way.”

The apartment was a 2LDK, that is, Two bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and kitchen.  The floor plan was completely open, from the kitchen to the glass door of the patio which instead of having some kind of blinds, instead had multicolored beads hanging down. 

The kitchen had all of the modern conveniences!  A two-compartment sink, an oven with a ceramic stovetop.  There was a microwave above it mounted underneath the cupboards, it also had a dishwasher, and plenty of portable appliances to help with cooking strewn about!

I couldn’t wait to try them all!

My room was in the rear of the apartment, closer to the patio, while Saiyuri’s was closer to the kitchen.  There was a bathroom which separated our rooms.  Saiyuri caught me looking at the door to it and gave me a heads up.

“There’s just one bathroom, so we might have to share it at times.  That won’t be a big issue I hope?”

I shook my head.

“I don’t think so, we’re both girls, right?”

“Right!”

“But… umm… could I ask you for help sometimes?”

“Sure, I don’t mind washing your back, if you wash mine too~”

“Uweh?  I mean with stuff like makeup!  I’ve… never really had the chance to learn how, and with living in the sticks, there really wasn’t much need for it except on holidays or festivals, and even then, mom was the one to do mine.”

She gave me a soft hug from the side.

“Oh you poor thing!  Makeup is a woman’s life!  Don’t you worry, your Saiyuri-neechan can teach you all about it!”

Saiyuri… neechan?

I suppose it was like that wasn’t it.  A slightly unreliable older sister who was there for me when it counted on the important stuff.  I liked that thought.  So, smiling happily, she opened the door to my room, and I found it was as plain as I was.

“I know it’s not much to look at now, but I’m sure you’ll find a whole bunch of things that you’ll like, and you’ll make it as amazing as you are!”

“Amazing… me?”

“Sure, you’re Kaede’s little firework aren’t you?  Kaede was like a sculpture, beautiful to look at but at times inflexible.  But I got the feeling that you are way more dynamic!  I’m sure that’s what she wanted when she named you that!”

I had never considered that to be part of mom’s reasoning for giving me that name.  I always believed it was because of the fond memory she had rolling around in the field with dad that day.

I quickly parked my roller luggage and dropped my carry-on bag next to it, then dug out my white tank top and headscarf.  I changed into more relaxing clothes, and then asked Saiyuri to bring a few trash bags out so I could get started.

“You sure?  You don’t have to, you know…”

“I’m sure.  I have to clean up and do chores all the time back home, so this much won’t be a problem!” I enthusiastically flexed my skill set, and once she brought out a box of trash bags, she gave me a rundown on how garbage was handled, with burnable and unburnable waste, and how the plastic was separated.

I got right to work cleaning up the place.  Saiyuri was no good at cleaning it seems, so she tried to make herself useful in other ways.  She went into the kitchen to make us something to eat.  The only thing I had eaten really in the last few hours was that brownie ice cream parfait, and I could really go for something heavy.

After about forty five minutes, the majority of the trash was bagged up, and all that remained was to do a wipe-down of stuff like the tabletops, and if she had a broom, there was a cobweb up in a corner of the ceiling by the patio door.

...she had no broom.

Oh well, something to add to the shopping list for later.

With the table cleared, she served us something that looked good.  It was some kind of beef patty with a thick gravy with rice on the side.  She looked confident, so I was eager to try it.

I learned another important thing about Saiyuri then. She’s no good at cooking either!

The beef patty was cooked, but only on the outside. The inside was still kind of pink and raw.  The brown gravy was nice, but lacking in natural umami and bereft of any enjoyable additive flavoring like salt or pepper.  The rice also… was crunchy.

“Sacchan…”

“Yes, Hanapi?”

“Could it be… that you don’t know how to cook either?”

She fake-cried at my harsh and direct, yet correct assessment. “I’m sorry, I’m really a failure as a housewife...”

I laughed when she said that.  “Alright then, you be the provider, and I’ll be the housewife!”

“Eh!?  I get a cute young bride all to myself?  Will you make me food when I come in for work?  Give me foot massages, and rub my back too?” She spoke excitedly as her eyes were all atwinkle.

“I dunno about that bride stuff, but I can do the cooking and cleaning.  You are taking care of everything else, after all.” I said, taking my plate, and hers, and disposing of the contents into the kitchen garbage.

So, I took over cooking duties, finding some chicken cutlets and seeing that she had used the rice cooker.  Did she not know how to use it?  Well, I didn’t either, but I had my new smartphone, and Google-sensei knows all there is to know!

Looking up the instructions for its use, I made rice using the cooker, then located a few carrots close to expiring.  I chopped them up and put some oil in a frying pan. Sauteeing the carrots in the same pan I cooked the chicken in, the smell of my own cooking made my stomach rumble a little.

I served us both a small meal made by yours truly.

Saiyuri was quick to give thanks and dig in.  “Ishh shhhoooo Yuuuummmy!” she praised me with a mouthful.  Honestly, she had no table manners either!  But I was happy to see her happy eating my food.

Yumi and dad were also like that.

Yumi would come to eat over at my house often, bringing potatoes she grew herself. Since they were her favorite food, I learned how to make them in all different kinds of ways.  Dad on the other hand was just grateful my dishes were never experimentations, and he was never the guinea pig.  

After a successful dinner, I went to my room and began unpacking my clothes.  I didn’t have much with me, just about five outfits, some underwear, socks, two pairs of shoes, my toothbrush set, a couple softcover books I brought for the train ride, the notebook that Yumi-chan slipped in my bag, and a towel.

By the time it was all taken care of, it was dark outside.

“So, anything you want to do?” Saiyuri asked me when I came out, seeing her sitting down on her L-shaped couch which acted as a partition between the living and dining rooms, while she watched the television set.

“There’s stuff to do after dark?”  I asked, surprised a little.  I mean I knew there were places in the big city that were open late into the night, but since I grew up in Tono, the latest store open was the konbini and that usually closed by seven at night.

“Sure, plenty of things!”  She fielded the question expertly.  “We could go out to a movie, or maybe an arcade.  We could visit the malls which stay open until ten or so.  It all depends on what you want to do.”

I thought about it for a little bit, but couldn’t come up with anything specific I wanted to do.

“Lounging at home is also fine.  You are probably a little tired from the train ride, and school won’t start for a while.  Ah!  I have your uniforms ordered already, and they’ll be here in a couple of days.  You’ll like them, I think, they are really cute!”

We didn’t have uniforms at my old school.  It was a really casual atmosphere there, and sometimes we helped our parents with stuff early in the morning or after class, so having to change often would be a terrible use of time.

So, I ended up sitting next to Saiyuri on the couch, and half-playing with my new phone.  She was pretty much doing the same thing, half-watching television and browsing on her own phone.

Before too long she leaned over and her head rested on my shoulder.  She wasn’t asleep or anything, and I didn’t mind it at all. It was just a friendly, comfortable feeling.

There was a variety show on, and some members from the Keyakizaka46 idol group who I liked were doing fun skits involving English and it was humorous to watch the tsukommi from the guest host when they made a mistake.

Yeah, this was nice and comfortable.

Saiyuri wasn’t wrong though, I was getting pretty tired.  I usually went to bed at a reasonable time, about nine or so, and it was definitely about that time.  I shook Saiyuri who was finally nodding off as well.  The obvious clue was her dropping her phone into my lap when her eyes got heavy and she lost focus.

“Huh?  What’s up, Hanapi?”  She answered groggily to my pushing.

“We should probably go to bed, Sacchan.”

She yawned.  “That’s a good idea, sport.  If you get lonely, I’ll leave my door open, otherwise, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“I’ll be fine, see you in the morning.”

While she trudged slowly to her room, I had just enough energy to take a quick shower.

Heading into the bathroom, I stripped down and took advantage of the full length mirror on the inside of the bathroom door to inspect myself.

I’ve never really thought of myself as cute.  Plain, sure.  It wasn’t any kind of complex, but I didn’t have any natural charm, I felt.  I had a round face and puffy cheeks.  Thin and round framed glasses adorned my face, accentuating nothing but that I had a mousey nose.  My lips I had practiced puckering a bit to look cute should I take one of those selfie photos, and my short black hair fell just below my ears.  My eyes were brown and my body was okay.

I don’t think I was too chubby, since I did a lot of work on the farm and around the house to help out since I was young.  I didn’t have any pronounced muscles, like sculpted abs or anything, but I was pretty strong I thought for a girl… even though I couldn’t lift the roller luggage easily out of the trunk.

As for the obvious assets.  I had some, but I wanted more.  I think any girl does, really.  Saiyuri definitely had the amount I would be satisfied with.  Yumi did too, but I was like mom.  It was enough, but it also didn’t get in the way, and didn’t give me any back problems.

The rest of me I was satisfied with.  I had toned legs and good skin coloring.  I had obvious skin discoloration due to being out in the sun all the time.  I believe it’s referred to as a farmer’s tan.  But all in all, I wasn’t disappointed with myself, I just thought I was pretty plain.

That’s why I was hoping for Saiyuri to teach me all about makeup and maybe get some fashion tips for when I would make friends and go out places, like Karaoke!

Whether it’s Keyakizaka46, Nogizaka46, AKB48 or any of the popular girl groups, I was confident I could sing just about any of their songs well enough.

I rinsed off, soaped up, shampooed my hair, showered off, dried off with a towel while I brushed my teeth and then went straight to bed before ten.

If I had a dream, I don’t remember it at all.  I woke up to the phone alarm I set, and having forgotten to plug it in, a battery running low with only 23% charge left, then fell back asleep.

I slept in the bed only wrapped in a towel, so when I was woken up by Saiyuri, I didn’t even realize I was improper.

“So cute~”

“Hm?  Sacchan?” I spoke sleepily.

“Wake up sleepyhead.  It’s almost eight.”

I blinked a few times and shot up.  “Eight in the morning?”  How long had it been since I had slept in that late!?

“Did you get a good night’s sleep?” She asked me.

“I must have.  I can’t remember the last time I woke up this late.  Usually I’m up by a quarter after six.”

“Uwa~  That’s way too early, even for a responsible adult like me.” She groaned aloud.

No responsible adult would say that though.  Not that I would voice that opinion aloud.  Ever.  Instead I planted my feet on the floor and stretched.  “Want me to cook breakfast, Sacchan?”

“Sure, unless you want to go out and eat at a famires?”

While eating at a family restaurant was something I looked forward to, there wasn’t any reason to trouble ourselves when I could easily whip us up something from what I found in the kitchen last night.

I was still only in my towel, so after she left, I changed into one of my cuter outfits, and then went to the kitchen to make breakfast.  Saiyuri was outside on the patio-balcony thing, on the other side of the beads.  I made us something simple.  There was some leftover rice from yesterday, so cracking open some eggs, I made an omurice.

I learned how to make it from mom, who said this was a popular dish when she was younger.  I liked it, and I hoped Saiyuri would too.  She seemed to have very nostalgic feelings for my mom, and even though I wasn’t my mom, I felt that if I could keep on doing a few things that were Kaede-like, then she would really be at ease around me.

I liked this casual thing we started off with, and wanted to keep it like this going forward.  I hoped she could be someone I could talk to and open up about my friends, when I make them, and how to be popular!

“Sacchan~  Breakfast is ready!”  I called out to her from the kitchen, as I brought both plates to the table.  She entered through the beads, rays of light still shooting all round the room through the gaps as they continued to sway back and forth after she had already reached the table and sat down.

“Ooh!  What’s this… omurice?”

“Yep, it’s mom’s recipe, she carved it into my body well, so if she ever made it for you it should taste the same!” I answered her proudly.

“The last time I had this, you were just a little egg in her tummy, you know?”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh.  But… where’s my ketchup heart?”

“Oh!  I umm… I’m not good with that part.”

“Don’t care!  It’s not a love-love omurice without a heart!”

She wanted to be spoiled all the way.  She had a bottle of ketchup in a lower cabinet in the kitchen, so I brought it out, and did my best.

Well, it was probably closer to the English letter M than an actual heart, but I tried.

“My first Hanapi love-love omurice!  Itadakimasu~

She used her fork and knife to slice it open, and the warm gooey yellow of the yolk spilled on to the rice and she dug right in. If the school I was going to had any kind of cooking program or club, perhaps I’d try to hone my skills a bit better there.

I also ate, but ended up putting only a little ketchup on the plate to the side and dipped my egg in it lightly.  I enjoyed it, but not soaked in it.  Omurice was fine just how it was as far as I was concerned.

When we were done eating she insisted on at least doing the dishes, since I had done so much already from the time I arrived.  I didn’t mind, and at least she was capable at that much.

When all was said and done, she hit me with the good word.

“So, kiddo, wanna go to the mall today?  We’ll pick up a few things, and get you some makeup.  How about it?”

I couldn’t even contain my excitement.  I was only here for one day, and I was already feeling like my fuse was lit!

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