ODL – Chapter 9 – Grabbing Her Stomach


“~~~Mmm, it’s delicious~! Wait, did Souma-kun really make this!?” (Shizuka)

“Well, yeah.” (Souma)

By the time I finished teaching Shizuka how to do laundry, and cleaned up her living room which resembled a place of hell, it was already time for dinner.

Even though it was entirely normal for Shizuka to tidy up her room, I was impressed that she went as far as collecting the plastic bottles, removing the labels, cleaning the insides, and turning them upside down to dry. As a result of her diligence, I decided to treat her to dinner.

“So you can actually make Japanese Simmered Fish (Sakana no Nitsuke) at home…” (Shizuka)

“It’s not really difficult, you know? You don’t even need any special cooking equipment. This time, I didn’t even have to fillet1 it, I just cooked the sliced pieces.” (Souma)

“Do you sometimes fillet it yourself?” (Shizuka)

“Only occasionally.” (Souma)

“Wow~ That’s impressive.” (Shizuka)

Shizuka started happily devouring the simmered flounder2 I made, mixing it with white rice. Seeing her enjoy eating the meal I made, makes me happy. That smile alone is enough to… well, I should stop before my thoughts become too creepy.

“Anyway, cooking seems a bit too much for me. I can tell I’m not cut out for it even before trying.” (Shizuka)

“Well, yeah. Maybe it’s best to leave cooking alone for now. Otherwise, you could seriously end up hurting yourself. After seeing your room, I don’t dare to let the current you hold a knife.” (Souma)

As I inserted my chopsticks into the browned flounder, the tender skin split apart, revealing the white-brown flesh beneath. I lifted it to my mouth alongside the white rice and took a bite… Yep, it turned out delicious as usual. I’m glad I didn’t mess up.

As I secretly watched Shizuka happily eat her rice, I found myself lost in thought.

…Today, I went shopping with Shizuka, cleaned up her room, set up her microwave, and had dinner with her. It feels like I have spent my whole day with her.

I never thought I would end up having such a “fulfilling” (although the actual tasks weren’t that romantic) day off like this.

With Hiyorin moving in next door, and reuniting with Mafuyu-chan, it’s like something is about to change in my life.

…Ah, I shouldn’t let my food get cold. It will be hard to eat otherwise.

“….Souma-kun, I have a favor to ask…” (Shizuka)

“Hmm?” (Souma)

When I lifted my head after hearing her slightly hesitant tone, I found Shizuka looking down with a somewhat nervous voice. Come to think of it, her chopstick etiquette is strangely neat despite the mess in her room. That leaves a good impression.

“What’s wrong?” (Souma)

“Well… um…” (Shizuka)

Shizuka lowered her gaze and stared intently at the remaining simmered flounder. Hmm? Is it not enough?

“If you need more, I can share mine with you.” (Souma)

“Unn, that’s not it. It’s not about that… Um, you see… I mean… from now on, I want to eat together with you… Is that okay?” (Shizuka)

“Together? Like we’re doing right now?” (Souma)

“Yeah……” (Shizuka)

“Hmm……” (Souma)

From the way Shizuka was acting, it was clear that her request wasn’t just for casual reasons like my food being tasty or not being able to cook herself. Well, if it’s because she finds my cooking delicious, that’s a reason I would be happy with. But regardless, it felt like she was feeling down about something else.

“Can I ask why you want to do that? I’ll decide my answer based on that.” (Souma)

“Okay… um, you see, I’ve been using Uber Eats for the past week.” (Shizuka)

“Yeah?” (Souma)

With all that garbage lying around, it’s easy to imagine that happening. I have never used Uber Eats myself, but I wonder how expensive it is.

“The food is normally delicious and all, so there wasn’t really a problem… but…” (Shizuka)

“…but?” (Souma)

Shizuka lifted her gaze to look straight at me. Then, with a wistful smile, she said.

“Having homemade food after a long time made me remember my mom’s cooking. Ahaha… I guess that’s a bit childish. I got a little lonely.” (Shizuka)

“…I see.” (Souma)

I understood.

So, Shizuka was feeling homesick after living alone for the first time. Well, it’s a pretty common feeling shared by people in the same situation. 

Well, after a week, the initial excitement from living on your own will start to settle, and feelings of missing your family can arise. Maybe even more so for a girl.

This is… hmm, really hard to turn down.

It’s not like I dislike Shizuka, and in fact, I quite like her a lot (as a neighbor). 

If I can help alleviate her loneliness, then as a friend, I would be happy to.

…Besides, I realized it’s unexpectedly satisfying to hear someone tell me my food is delicious.

Well, that settles it.

“Oh, of course, I don’t mean to force you into it—” (Shizuka)

“—It’s fine.” (Souma)

“Huh?” (Shizuka)

Maybe she thought I would refuse, so she let out a surprised voice.

“I will make the meals for you too, Shizuka. So let’s eat together. I have classes in the morning and afternoon so they are out, but if that’s okay with you—” (Souma)

“—Really!? Thank you so much!” (Shizuka)

Seeing Shizuka’s smiling face as she responded already made me realize that “accepting was the right choice”.

However, little did I know that this dinner arrangement would eventually bring the hidden struggles of another neighbor to light.


TL notes:

Thanks for reading!

Mmm~ Their relationship seems to be going well. I can’t wait to see Mafuyu meet them lol.

Shorter chapter than usual but I am in the middle of my final school assignments so I at least have enough time for this one. I might not be able to post for a while until my assignments are over. Idk cause translating if my way of relieving stress.


Footnote:

  1. Fillet is a boneless cut or slice of meat or fish. I am no cooking expert so I could be wrong.
  2. Flounder is a kind of fish.
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Twisteria

Oh boy, can’t wait to see how the other girls are gonna get in on this haha.

Kuro

Successful wives need a homemaker husbandd

AcediaD

“another neighbor” Gee I wonder who that could be