What time was it now? I checked my phone and saw it was half past noon. Should I eat lunch? I did have a late breakfast but was feeling hungry already. I turned off my TV. Let’s see what was in the fridge.
“Yuki, you hungry yet?” I saw Yukie cooking in the kitchen.
“Yukie, when did you come in? I didn’t even hear you,” I asked.
“About ten minutes ago. You looked very serious watching your video so I didn’t want to interrupt,” Yukie responded.
Oh shit, did Yukie see? Worst case scenario I could make the excuse it was a movie. Damn, I was foolish to not consider the possibility. Needed to be more careful from now on.
“What are you cooking right now, Yukie?” I asked, checking the stove.
“Soup for dinner. Did you want something for lunch? I planned on cooking the vegetable dumplings I made yesterday,” Yukie offered.
“If it’s not too much trouble, I would love that,” I accepted her offer.
“Okay, it’ll be ready in a few minutes. I’ll call you once it’s completed,” Yukie said and opened the fridge.
I returned to the living room and checked for any new messages. One from Felicity about a small party. I would respond later. After the Christmas one, I was reluctant to experience anything similar. Unless she could guarantee no alcohol would be involved. The likelihoods of that were pretty low though.
I heard the doorbell ring. Strange, I didn’t expect anyone today. Probably a ridiculous salesperson or maybe some kind of solicitor. I saw Chihiro outside. This was a surprise.
“Chihiro, what are you doing here?” I asked, opening the door.
“Hey, Yuki, I was bored. I decided to come by and hang out. You free?” Chihiro answered.
“Yeah, come in,” I nodded.
“Thanks. I didn’t have work today. Sitting around at home wasn’t too fun either,” Chihiro revealed, taking her shoes off.
“Yuki, it’s ready!” Yukie called out from the kitchen.
My cousin saw Chihiro and gave her usual warm smile. She placed the food on the kitchen table first and walked over to us.
“Ah, a guest. I apologize for not making more food,” Yukie said.
“Don’t worry Yukie. I ate lunch already. You guys go ahead and eat. I’ll head upstairs to Yuki’s room and snoop around. Maybe I’ll find something interesting,” Chihiro dismissed, heading up to my room.
I sat at the kitchen table, eating the dumplings. Oh, delicious as always. I was so spoiled by her cooking now. It would be a sad day when she left this household.
“This is great, Yukie,” I complimented her.
“It’s nothing special, Yuki. I’m sure Auntie’s food is far superior to mine,” Yukie said, her modesty apparent.
“I wouldn’t say that. Mom’s cooking is good but yours is better sometimes. It’s probably because I’ve been eating Mom’s food for so many years. Yours is a nice change of pace,” I remarked.
“You flatter me too much, Yuki. Do you want me to bring snacks up to you and your friend later?” Yukie questioned, tasting the soup.
“I can do it myself. Can you put a plate out for me though? I’ll fill it myself when I’m done eating,” I requested.
“Of course,” Yukie responded.
After I finished eating, I filled the plate with various snacks. I thanked my cousin again for the food and headed to my room. Chihiro sat near my table, flipping through a magazine she brought over.
“Hey, Yuki, there’s something I want you to see!” Chihiro pointed at her magazine.
“Is it new clothes? I already have so many, I really don’t want to….,” I began, placing the plate down.
“It’s actually related to you. Jessica Stacatto is featured in this month’s magazine with a bunch of sample pictures depicting her new line and future products. Guess who’s in here?” Chihiro showed me to the page.
I peered at it and saw a picture of myself. I stared at it for a few seconds before it finally clicked. That’s why Jessica took pictures. Was there a picture of Tess in here then? I searched around but didn’t see her.
“Yuki, I couldn’t believe it. She runs such a large company and there are so many other people. Wasn’t that other girl with you too? Uh, Tess, right? See, she picked you over her. That has to be something, right?” Chihiro gushed, her voice excited.
“I don’t really care. I mean, I thought it was just a one-time thing. Felicity wanted to get new clothes for me, I never thought it would turn into something like this,” I voiced my honest opinion.
“I still think it’s pretty impressive. Here, I have a copy. I thought you might want it,” Chihiro said, handing me a copy.
“Thanks. Can you just put it on my bookshelf over there?” I directed.
“No problem,” she responded.
“I heard from Yuka Ichizen has a sister,” Chihiro brought up.
“Oh, news spreads fast, huh? Len knows about it too,” I confirmed.
“Did you tell her? I mean, she’s not exactly, well, one of your close friends. I know that’s pretty
rude of me to say but…,” Chihiro asked.
“No, I get it. Someone else told her about it. At this point, I’m sure people have been talking,” I replied, shaking my head.
“How are you feeling?” Chihiro asked.
“Pretty conflicted. I never knew about it so it’s weird. I’ll be meeting her sometime this week so I’ll keep you updated,” I revealed.
“Yeah, I thought you might be. Well, we’re all here for you, Yuki. Never forget that, even if it sounds kind of stupid coming from me,” Chihiro said.
“Yeah, I know,” I said, thankful for her words.
I spent time with Chihiro for about three hours. It was now almost four and I wondered what to do. My phone rang and I saw Tess’ name.
“Hey, Tess. Are you calling about a day I’m free to head into Kisai’s dimension?” I asked.
“Correct. Jin has work on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday will be the only day that will work. Are you available?” Tess informed me.
“Yeah, Thursday’s fine. About the match between Ichaival and Bartholomew, when’s it happening? I’m looking forward to it,” I inquired.
“Of course, it will be taking place on Friday. I decided it would be in our best interest to have it over spring break. As for Lionel’s request, I will not honor it. His psyche is far too unstable for a fight right now,” Tess answered.
“Is it at the training facility or somewhere else?” I asked for the location.
“It will be held at the training facility,” Tess replied.
“Got it. I’ll call you if anything changes,” I said.
“Very well, Tomo. I’ll see you on the scheduled day,” Tess said and hung up.
I headed downstairs and resumed my viewing of the archived videos. I considered reading the book Yukie lent me since there were only two chapters left. But I decided to save it for next time. Might as well read it on a bus ride since I didn’t have anything else to do.