Chapter 9 – Temperature
“Splendid, it was interesting.”
Feeling a peculiar sense of fatigue after watching the movie, Ryou expresses his light impressions while leaving the theater.
“Oh well. What do you think about that point where they didn’t just attack?”
“Ah, that was way too slow. I almost screamed for them to hurry up and attack.”
Erika laughs lightly because of Ryou’s impressions, laughing together while exchanging impressions they leave the theater.
(Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a movie with someone. When something I want to see comes out, I’d just go see it alone after school. Going with someone every now and then is good.)
Ryou thinks about such a thing while hearing Erika’s impressions.
“Now then, let’s eat lunch.”
The hotdog he ate before the movie stimulated his stomach and Ryou’s feelings of hunger only seemed to increase.
Erika only took a few fries, and most were eaten slowly by Ryou.
“Is there something you want to eat? Perhaps it’s here, did you see an information board?”
When Ryou asks so, Erika says with a smile.
“Lunch will be in the park.”
“Park? Why there?”
Ryou asks while perplexed and Erika walks on ahead while smiling.
Ryou was lead out of the outlet mall opposite to the side where the station is, to what can be called a large park. The lawn spreads out, and here and there are lines of trees in the open space. Seeing this, Ryou couldn’t conceal his surprise.
“Heh? I didn’t know there was such a park.”
“Didn’t know? The weather’s fine today, so doesn’t it feel good to be outside?”
Why that was said can easily be understood. The sun is up, and though it’s a little warm for May, a pleasant wind is blowing.
Moving to the shade of a tree would feel good, Ryou then said with a fond look on his face.
“So then, buy something and eat in three’s shade.”
Erika who hears Ryou’s words was amazed.
“Has the reason we came here not been understood yet? Fine then, shall we go under that tree there?”
Saying so, is it fine to not buy anything? Ryou who is perplexed had his sleeve pulled.
Heading towards a tree, Erika turns her head towards Ryou and says.
“Can you pass the basket?”
Ryou, who was still feeling a little perplexed, obediently passed the basket to Erika.
Erika then opens the basket, takes out a sheet, and spreads it on the ground.
Ryou moves as was said and the two sit down on the beautiful sheet which was spread.
From the basket, Erika takes out a multi-tiered food box, flask, paper cups, disposable chopsticks and paper plates.
Ryou who sees that at last, truly at last understood. For him it was a really unusual to have bad judgement to that degree.
Ryou, who realizes that now, averted his face that was red from embarrassment.
Erika seeing Ryou in such a state, asks happily.
“Do you finally understand?”
“Ah. When thinking of its weight, it would be a boxed lunch.”
Ryou said in embarrassment.
“Sakuragi-kun, would you say you eat about five times as much as me? That’s why it didn’t fit in a lunch bag, and became a multi-tiered food box.”
Because Erika said so with a laugh, Ryou also was tempted to laugh.
Erika opened the food box.
The box has two levels, the lower one is tightly packed with rice balls, the upper one has hamburger, salmon slices, rolled omelette, fried chicken, potato salad. It is packed full with the standar menu for boxed lunches.
Ryou stares in wonder and surprise at the quantity of the contents. This surely might be more than five time the quantity Erika would eat.
“Amazing…, this, is all you? This morning…? Did you get up extremely early?”
Ryou thinks about the time it would take to make all these, but was simply not able to imagine it.
“Hn? Most of it was prepared yesterday, I mostly just had to make the side dishes. Only the rice balls had to be entirely mad today. But, does Sakuragi-kun think that time wasn’t necessary?”
“Do I think so? No, this is really amazing… Handmade boxed lunch…, it’s been a long time……
Ryou is deeply moved and in a daze at the “handmade lunch box” in front of his eyes.
Erika who is slightly puzzled at Ryou’s state shift’s her attention, pours tea from the flask into the paper cups, and passes disposable chopsticks and a paper plate to Ryou.
“Then, will you eat?”
Erika is little bit confused at Ryou who is still in a daze, and additionally says.
“If you don’t want to eat, you don’t have to…?”
To Erika’s words, Ryou suddenly became flustered and waves his hands in denial.
“No, it’s different, different, I was only a little surprised.”
Seeing Ryou like that, Erika let out a slight breath of relief and put her hands together. Ryou seeing that also put his hands together.
“”Thanks for the food.””
“What do you want to eat? There are plum, kelp and tuna rice balls.”
“Eh, ah then, a plum rice ball and rolled omelette please.”
Erika nods to Ryou’s words, takes out the rice ball and rolled omelette and puts it on Ryou’s plate.
When it’s placed on his plate, Ryou looks at the rice ball and rolled omelette then splits the omelette with his chopsticks, and slowly brings it to his mouth.
Boxed lunch, handmade, that is to say, made this morning, the difference between the boxed lunch he is eating now and the boxed lunch from the convenience store can’t be expressed, there is a unique temperature. Something that was made in the morning, naturally, the insides cools down. But that is a small matter. Because from the start, the surroundings are also warm, they warm each other and it’s not easy do become cold. If it wasn’t put in a lunch box, the food cooling down would be a concern, but since it was, cooling down isn’t an issue. Thus, there is a peculiar temperature belonging to handmade boxed lunches.
Feeling the temperature of the omelette inside his mouth, Ryou recalls when he used to eat handmade lunches. It was a nostalgic memory. What caused the sense of nostalgia is the delicious taste of the rolled omelette. It’s salty enough and the flavor is to his liking, a taste he thought he wouldn’t be able to eat anymore. It looks very much like tears would come out due to the deliciousness.
No, tears have come out.
Ryou who wasn’t aware of his tears, panics and wipes hastily wipes them.
Seeing Ryou like that, Erika is staring in complete astonishment and quickly asks.
“Sa-Sakuragi-kun!? Was eating it unpleasant to the point of crying!?”
It seems Erika is also at a loss. Seeing the person she made food for shed tears in front of her eyes.
Ryou, who is also at a loss, denies every meaning of Erika’s words.
“C-cry!? It’s not unpleasant at all!! Rather is extremely delicious, It’s just been a while…”
As he was going to continue saying more, Ryou’s emotions got worked up and tears almost appeared again. Somehow saying, excuse me for a moment, putting on his shoes, he got off the sheet and went behind a tree where Erika couldn’t see.
Hidden behind the tree, Ryou wipes the fresh tears which had started to stream. The arm used to wipe is held against both eyes while leaning against the tree taking deeps breaths.
While taking deep breaths he noticed Erika was in front of him before he was aware. Not noticing when someone drew near, how long as it been? While Ryou with his arm against his eyes laughs at himself, Erika asked.
“Are you alright? Sakuragi-kun.”
Trying to laughingly reply to Erika’s question, when he started opening his mouth, feeling it was a little risky he held up his palm, conveying the meaning of wait a moment, he again hid so Erika couldn’t see.
Then, Erika grabbed Ryou’s arm and drew him closer to herself.
Ryou’s confusion increased when grabbed. His face didn’t make his usual reflexive expression and stretched out to Erika. Ryou became aware he was being hugged closely be Erika.
Of course, there is a height difference and Ryou’s form is bending with his face buried in Erika’s neck.
When Ryou realizes what is currently happening, he slowly let out his voice.
“Is it not because my lunch was bad?”
Hearing those words, when Ryou was going to stand up in a hurry and deny it, Erika unexpectedly strongly held onto Ryou, and it wasn’t easy to stand straight. Giving up on standing up, with his posture as is, clear mutters to Erika that it’s not that.
Erika lets out a laugh hearing that and says.
“That’s good… I don’t understand why you cried, but if you want to, then isn’t it fine?”
“Aah…, no, I was surprised but I’m completely fine now. …rather, I didn’t cry.”
Erika again lets out a laugh.
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, there was no crying.”
Ryou who is expressing denial in a tone different to usual, makes Erika laugh again.
“Oh? Then I guess that’s how it is.”
Saying so teasingly, when she was going to separate her hands from around Ryou, in that moment Ryou hugged her.
Erika says in a perplexed voice.
“Sorry, stay like this for a bit.”
Ryou takes Erika’s silence as affirmation, strength unconsciously enter into the arms hugging Erika. Although it was a little while, he hugged tightly.
Erika makes that sound and returns the hug.
The temperature from Erika’s body is transmitted to Ryou, that feeling, the ease it brought him was unbelievable. He thanked Erika for not prying too deeply into why he cried.
After that, the two continued to hug for several seconds, Ryou slowly decreases the power in his hug and parts from Erika.
Ryou, without matching eyes with Erika, says while looking away.
“Eh…, that, excuse me. And thanks.”
Erika smiles towards Ryou.
“It’s my pleasure.”
Then, Ryou bring his face close to Erika
“…I didn’t cry right?”
and, Ryou says so seriously once again emphasizing it is like that.
A *pfft* spouts out from Erika’s mouth, her shoulders start to vibrate, when it becomes unable to restrain anymore, she laughed loudly while holding her stomach.
Seeing her laugh like this for the first time, he pouts,
“Why laugh to that extent…?
Ryou seeing Erika like that, thinking he made a considerably foolish display, he laughed together with Erika.
After the two had laughed to their heart’s content, they returned to the sheet and resumed their meal.
Of course Ryou no longer cried, and many times says it’s delicious, while Erika is astonished looking at the great speed the contents of the food box were being consumed.
Erika seeing Ryou’s manner of eating, let out a breath of relief that her cooking really wasn’t unpleasant.
When all the contents were exhausted, Ryou put his hands together, and bowed while in agood mood.
“Thanks for the meal.”
Erika also smiles while bowing.
“Well, it really was delicious. The person who has you as a bride will be happy.”
Ryou said while satisfied.
Erika who hears that blushes a little.
“I-is that so? Thank you.”
“Ah, I think it’s seriously enviable.”
“Th-then, if I make it again, would you eat it?”
Though Ryou was puzzled for an instant, he smiles and nods.
“If you make it, I’ll eat it anytime.”
When asking so, Erika smiles while approaching Ryou without realizing it.
Ryou flinches a bit from Erika and nods.
“A-ah. It was delicious so I’d eat it again.”
“Then, I’ll make it again.”
Erika, who heard Ryou’s words, again laughs and smiles with a cheerful face.
If someone’s cooking is praised, of course they would be happy, Ryou stupidly misunderstands.