—A few days later.
It was a weekday, and as usual, I went to help out at Kura after school.
“Well then, I was thinking of changing the displays by the window, so could you take the current items down, Aoi-san?”
I energetically nodded and replied, “Yes,” as Holmes-san approached holding a box.
My role here was usually limited to cleaning and manning the shop counter, so I was a little thrilled to do something that involved more work.
The store was already really clean when I got here, so I couldn’t help but feel that my cleaning was absolutely useless. On the other hand, Holmes-san and Manager seemed to be the type to leave the shop at irregular intervals, so my presence as someone who could look after the shop was unexpectedly useful. That being said, I still wanted to be more useful, so I was extremely happy about this development.
The items at the display corner were tea utensils.
After carefully wiping the dust off each of them, I wrapped them in paper and placed them in the box.
Those tea utensils had cherry blossom motifs on them.
“…The cherry blossom season in Kyoto is already ending, huh.”
Gazing at the cherry blossoms on the tea utensils, I earnestly murmured. Holmes-san quietly nodded and said, “Yes, it is,” as he wrote in the account book.
“What should we do with the display, then?”
“I was thinking that we should go with some items related to the Aoi Festival.”
“Ah, I see.”
As we were talking, I noticed an ageing man striding towards the shop with vigor.
He opened the doors with quite a violent force.
I wonder who this person is?
He had a moustache and wore Japanese clothes as well as a brimmed hat. It looked quite retro, but I could sense the “chic” stylishness and immaculateness from his outfit. Also, this gentleman seemed to give off an intimidating air for some reason.
Seeing Holmes-san’s blank look, my eyes widened.
Owner? Does that mean that this person is the “national appraiser”, Yagashira Seiji-san?
In other words, Holmes-san’s grandfather?
“It’s great to see that you are well.”
After letting out a hearty laugh, Owner took a glance at me.
“Who’s this, Kiyotaka, your girlfriend? A pleasure to meet you.”
I was taken aback by those words, but before I could say, “No, I’m not”,
“She’s Mashiro Aoi-san and she’s helping in the shop. I told you that we hired a high school girl as a part-timer, right? Did you forget?”
Holmes-san heaved a sigh of exasperation.
“Right, you did say something like that. Aoi-san, as you know, I have such a weird grandson, but I hope to get along well with you.”
Owner extended a hand for me to shake.
“Ah, I hope to get along with you as well!” I hesitatingly shook his hand.
“My, you look really cute. How would you like to have some coffee in that corner?”
Owner said while pulling my hand. In response, my eyes widened, and I exclaimed, “What?”
“Owner, please don’t hit on the high school girl who’s here on part-time work.”
Holmes-san flatly chided.
H-Hit on me? This grandfather was going to hit on me?
“You make me sound bad. I was just thinking of expanding my social circle.”
As I stood dumbfounded, Owner pouted with a slightly bored expression on his face.
“More importantly, you’ve brought in another annoying case, haven’t you?”
Closing the account book with a slam, Holmes-san took a deep breath.
“As expected of my grandson,” Owner praised as he folded his arms haughtily.
“…There’s a mother and her daughters outside the shop, looking confused. They’re customers that you called over, right?”
After hearing those words, Owner forcefully turned around.
“Please, come in.”
He politely opened the door like a gentleman.
The customers who entered the shop while greeting and bowing were a refined-looking middle-aged woman in Japanese garb, a beautiful girl in a dress who looked to be a university student, as well as another girl who looked to be the about the same age as myself.
…Wait, that person’s…
The similarly-aged girl looked somewhat familiar, so I focused my attention on her.
“Could it be… Mashiro-san from Class 1?” The other girl spoke up.
“Y-Yes. You’re Miyashita-san from Class 2, right?”
Yes, that girl was in the same school, and the same academic year as me.
Since our classes were different, I didn’t know what kind of person she was, but we knew each other’s faces and names from the times when we had combined lessons together.
—She was Miyashita Kaori-san.
“Why are you here, Mashiro-san?”
“I have a part-time job here.”
“Ah, I see.”
“What, you’re friends with Miyashita-san’s youngest daughter? What a coincidence!” Owner laughed after witnessing our awkward exchange.
No, I wouldn’t go as far to say that we’re friends…
However, Owner was indifferent to my hesitation.
“Come, Miyashita-san, please take a seat. Kiyotaka, go make some tea. Aoi-san, take the standing signboard in and change the placard to ‘Closed’.”
Owner showed the visitors to the sofas, while I did as he instructed.
…I’m surprised that he would close the shop for this.
What in the world’s about to happen?
Feeling a little nervous, I turned around the placard at the door so that it read ‘Closed’, and took the signboard into the shop.
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