After that they walked around town until the sun set.
They also took the opportunity to drop by the station and check the stores out.
For lunch, they ate at the steak house Rinko recommended, and they enjoyed it so much that Shinichi and Rinko gave each other a thumbs up as they abused the eat-all-you-can service to the point that the store personnel wanted to cry.
After that they continued walking around town as they bought their daily necessities, then they went home.
“Ah, Shinichi-kun. Can you open the door?”
Rinko was carrying Shinji, who had fallen asleep along the way, and some bags with one arm. She used her other hand to give Shinichi the keys to the door.
Nobuhiko was presently parking his car at the garage, so Shinichi had to be the one to open the door. Or rather he had to because Rinko just wouldn’t let him carry the bags.
The keys he got were your usual cylinder lock keys.
If it were only that, then nothing would be amiss, but the handle also had a fingerprint scanner, so unless one had the right fingerprint, then even if he used the key, the door wouldn’t open.
This was currently the most popular kind of key in Japan.
“Umm, it won’t open?”
But even though his fingerprints have already been registered, the door still wouldn’t open.
Members of the countermeasure office have to up the security level of their homes, so there’s also a voice recognition lock.
You’ll have to say a few words to get it to open.”
“E-Erm… Like what exactly?”
“Isn’t there something you should always say when coming home?”
Rinko grinned and twinkled as she said that.
When Shinichi finally realized her intentions, he could only wryly smile as he thought ‘she got me.’
“…I-I’m home.” Shinichi said, a little embarrassed.
When he did, the door opened.
It was as if it was saying that this was his home.
And as if seconding the motion, Rinko literally pushed Shinichi from the back.
Shinichi couldn’t put into words just how grateful he was for her pushiness and concern as he entered into the house.
“I’ll carry the things we bought, so why don’t you wash up… What’s wrong?”
“I’m home… What’s wrong, Shinichi?”
Nobuhiko just got in from the garage when he too noticed Shinichi acting oddly.
One in front, one in the back, but they both looked at Shinichi oddly.
I was just thinking how long it’s been since I was so tired.’
He was clearly trying to fool them, but they weren’t sure how to react.
In the end, Rinko and Nobuhiko nodded to each other.
“Then in that case, why don’t you take a bath first?
I’ll cook supper in the meanwhile. Tonight’s menu will be Cream Stew.”
“Oh, that sounds great.
Her stew is really good, you know?
So, while she’s cooking, why don’t we boys wash each other’s back?”
“Huh? B-But I’m perfectly fine by myself!?”
“It’s fine! It’s fine!”
As Nobuhiko said that, Shinichi was forcefully brought to the bath.
Rinko was going to be busy, so she was wondering what to do about ‘her’ who has been in her bag all this time.
‘She’ looked up at Rinko.
“Amaryllis-chan. Sorry, but could you look after Shinji?”
Although the memory of Shinji grabbing her tail and playing with it lingered yet, she also wanted to make some bonding time for Shinichi and his dad.
Yes. That was definitely the reason she agreed and not simply because she was sleeping that the thought it was safe. Definitely…
The bath Shinichi was pushed into was the standard size you’d find at any normal home.
There was enough space in the bathtub for an adult male and a 15 year old boy to fit.
Thanks to otherworld technology, instantly filling the tub with hot water was now easier than ever.
“Ah, Ahhh…. That’s good hot water.”
Shinichi and his dad entered the bath in their birthday suit.
With hot water overflowing from the bath, it really looked like your everyday Japanese bath.
But Shinichi was so awkward that he failed to notice that.
“R-Right… Umm… Yeah…”
He was probably self-conscious.
It’s been a while since he was with his dad naked, so he couldn’t help but start speaking politely. He did manage to correct that in time, though.
But then silence filled the air.
Nobuhiko was at a loss how to deal with his quiet son.
Although he pushed Shinichi to have a bath with him. He didn’t actually have any plans.
But if he were to back off here, then his resolve to ‘get to know Shinichi from here on out’ would be meaningless.
There were so many things he wanted to talk about and know.
But there was one thing that he needed to ask first.
“Why aren’t you asking anything? …From me or from Rinko?”
After entering the bath together, they each only moved their head lo look at each other.
To Nobuhiko, although Shinichi had only grown a little, his expression was now always so cloudy.
To Shinichi, his father was now much older. And his expression also seemed to be hiding pain somewhere.
“I know it’s hard to ask… We think so too.
Whenever I think of myself standing in your shoes, I also find myself at a loss what to say.”
Tl Note: Chapter part for yesterday. There’s another one this week. We should be able to complete this chapter this week.