3-2: You’re Not A Familiar?
First published on Ainushi
「Welcome back, Leonard-sama」
Just as Sid-san said, I greeted Leonard-sama who had returned home at lunch time. The lunch? The tart that I had prepared in advance would definitely not be enough alone so I went all out and made some open-faced sandwiches. The simplicity of only needing to cut the bread and put the ingredients on top of it was a lifesaver, seriously.
「Okaa-san, I want to help. Is there anything I can do?」
It was cute of Jill to offer to help that naturally, I smiled.
「Well, how about you arrange the dishes on the table?」
Oh, right right! I forgot.
「Sid-san, what should I do about Amdo’s portion?」
「Ah~ He probably won’t want it. He’s the type that takes things at leisure」
I thought he was going to eat so I made a lot of open-faced sandwiches. What am I going to do with them… Mm, eh? Before I knew it, there was the figure of the parrot sized Amdo-san at the window frame.
「Oh, Amdo? Now this is rare. What’s up?」
「There’s a nice smell」
As he answered Sid’s question, Amdo-san stretch out his neck taking a keen interest. Although he was in the form of a small bird, I could tell there was a sparkle in his eyes.
「Um, I’ve prepared a portion for you as well, Amdo-san」
「Yes! If it’s alright with you, would you like to join us?」
I was prepared that he might reject my offer however Amdo-san readily nodded his head.
I’ll just leave Sid-san looking flabbergasted for now. Also Amdo-san, I hope he can dine with us in his human form. It would definitely be very difficult for him to eat otherwise.
Even if Amdo-san joined all of us at the dining table, the meal was a freshly baked tart. Because I didn’t use any eggs, it wasn’t similar to a tart but it had the texture of a quiche. The insides were filled with chicken, mushroom and herbed cream sauce. When you take a bite, the rich flavors and aroma fills the mouth. What I love the most is the slightly sweet dough. I wonder what everyone’s response to this will be?
「This tart has a mix of sweet and salty taste to it, but I like it」
Ah, it looks like Leonard-sama likes it. I’m glad.
「This is one of my favorite tarts.The dough can also be used to make sweets so of course it’s delicious」
「Make it again next time. I also want to have this too」
Yup, being able to eat the same food and say it’s delicious is great. Previously, I had a colleague who complained about her fiance’s different tastes in food and in the end, they split up. I think eating is a big deal.
「Okaa-san, what’s this?」
Jill asked me and pointed at an open sandwich.
「That is an avocado sandwich. You see that thick butter-like paste? I made that from a vegetable」
「It’s really yummy but it’s soooo green」
「If I didn’t mix in lemon juice to it, it’ll turn brown in color」
When I was a child, I used to think cooking was like magic. The colors of the ingredients will change and they will transform from their original state into an unimaginable appearance.
Ah, that reminds me. I should make some ketchup and mayonnaise soon. There aren’t any flavourings in this world and I’m sure Jill will gladly help me make them. Oh! But I can’t make them right away. I can somewhat make ketchup but there isn’t enough ingredients to make mayonnaise. It needs a suitable type of vegetable oil and vinegar which we don’t have any in the mansion’s kitchen. Though if we had mayonnaise, the sandwiches would have been tastier.
When he saw me worrying, Leonard-sama looked puzzled.
「Lily, you’re making a serious face. What’s the matter?」
「Oh, I was thinking of what other dishes to make」
「You sure love cooking」
When Leonard-sama looked at me fondly and smiled, Amdo-san dropped his half-eaten sandwich.
I don’t get it, why does he look so astonished? Leonard-sama smiles a lot, okay? I thought he was expressionless at first but these days, he usually smiles. It’s not that surprising.
「Why were you troubled?」
Are you ignoring a dumbstruck Amdo-san? You are, aren’t you? Well, whatever. So, hmm. The reason I was worried, huh.
「I was thinking of making some flavourings」
「Yes, if I have them, the dishes will be much tastier. But I don’t have enough ingredients」
「Then, you should just buy them. I can come along with you today」
… Indeed, I did say that I wanted to go shopping next time with Leonard-sama instead of Sid-san.
「But still, I would be troubling you…」
Waa, it’s the same pattern again. But it’s strange, I don’t dislike Leonard-sama’s pushiness. I feel really happy about it. Somehow I have mixed feelings, feeling both sorry and grateful.
However, is this really alright? Aren’t you tired? When he saw me having those thoughts, Leonard-sama suddenly smiled.
「I look forward to your food」
「It’s the reason I returned as soon as I could. If it can make your food tastier, then I’m glad to help」
I’m happy that you said it’s delicious but …
「Ah, it’s a fact, jou-chan」
「Even you, Sid-san?」
「Until you came, it was common for master to skip his meals」
… That’s bad for your body, Leonard-sama. You have to take your meals regularly or your body will break down.
When I kept silent with a complicated expression, Leonard-sama turn towards Jill and spoke to her.
「Jill, we’ll go shopping after we eat」
「With otou-san? Yay!」
Ah, Jill’s really eager for it too. I can’t refuse him now.
I’m so embarrassed that I can’t lift my face. I’m pretty sure right now my face has turned bright red.
Yep, I’ll have to make even more delicious meals from now on.
With that said, we went downtown to shop.
Sure enough, when the three of us – Leonard-sama, Jill and I – walked together, everyone was looking in my direction. But unlike the time with Sid, they were not looks filled with jealousy.
You could say they were examining or trying to grasp the situation. The atmosphere was as though they wanted to say something but couldn’t because they were confused. Nevertheless, their constant gazes were unsettling, I was finally able to catch my breath when we stepped into the grocery store. Thank God!
Now, where is the shelf with the vinegar? As I looked around restlessly round the shop, Leonard-sama called out to me.
「What do you need?」
「Vegetable oil and vinegar」
「… You can’t use the ones at home?」
「The taste is different」
Depending on what they’re made with, the taste and smell of oil and vinegar will change. By the way, I dislike vinegar to be honest. Particularly black vinegar. I’m unable to swallow food down my throat when it’s present so I mainly used apple vinegar in my previous life. Since black vinegar is used a lot, it was difficult for me.
That’s why if I can, I would like to find apple vinegar however there’s only wine vinegar in this world. I’ll look for one with weakest smell and taste. If it’s the variety that I know … It should be this green label.
「This should do it」
「Did you find it?」
The problem lies with the oil. In my previous life, canola oil was an option. But there’s none in this world. That was handy though. On the other hand, the flavor will change if I use olive oil.
Hmm, what kinds of vinegar do they… Ah? When I looked at the shelves, I spotted a large bottle that I didn’t recognize.
「There’s a name I’m not quite familiar with」
While I replied to a curious looking Leonard-sama, I inched closer to take a good look at the label on the bottle.
What’s this? Cotton oil? At that moment, I heard a gentle voice call out to me suddenly from behind the counter.
「Oh my, are you interested in that unusual item?」
「Madam, is this edible? 」
「Of course. Ah, did you think that because cotton is used for clothes that this isn’t edible?」
When I meekly nodded my head, the elderly shopkeeper started rummaging behind the counter.
「Come here, miss. I’ll let you have a sample」
「Are you sure!?」
「Certainly. Besides, we sell cotton oil in only large quantities. It would be a waste if you bought it and it doesn’t suit your taste」
Ah, certainly. The bottle of oil is quite large. I’m thankful that they’re letting me sample the goods.
「Look, this is cotton oil」
When I drew near the counter, I was presented a semi-translucent oil on a white sauce dish. The oil that was slightly golden in color was thin and did not smell like oil.
When I dip my finger into it, the texture was smooth just like it appeared to be and when I tasted it in my mouth, it really didn’t have a strong smell — Why, this is salad oil!
「Do you like it? It is a bit expensive compared to other oils because of how rare it is around here」
「That’s alright, I’ll buy it」
It is a little bit expensive but it’s alright. I seriously want to make mayonnaise.
Salad oil was cheaper in my previous life though. Different places, different prices.
「Since you liked that, use this, you can make a delicious meal with it for your husband and daughter. I’ll give you a little bonus」
Huh, did I just heard her say something outlandish?
「Oh, was I mistaken? I was certain you were a family」
Just as I was about to say “Hey!”, when I looked over my shoulder, Jill was looking over the spice racks as she was being playful with Leonard-sama.
「Otou-san, what’s this?」
「Oh, this is coriander. There’s some growing in our garden too」
「Really? Show it to me later!」
Jill who was frolicking around merrily and Leonard-sama who stroked her head with a gentle look in his eyes. Yup, it’s a really heartwarming scene of a parent and their child.
「… I’m really just a maid acting as a mother. I’m not Leonard-sama’s wife」
Although Leonard-sama said he doesn’t mind if people misunderstood but I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea. I must clear the air so that we can continue being together.
「What you’re saying is you were hired to be a mother?」
「Yes, that’s right」
「Hmm… It doesn’t sound like a fitting relationship」
I took in her words and turn my eyes towards Jill.
Jill gave Leonard-sama a beaming face and looked at the goods in the store with gleaming eyes filled with curiosity.
It’s the same for both me and Leonard-sama. We both regard her as dear to us.
「While I am hired, my feelings towards her aren’t a lie. As long as I can make her laugh with joy, I’ll do whatever is necessary. Appearance alone isn’t enough to take care of a child」
「True, young children are quite perceptive when it comes to someone’s true nature. I can see that child is really happy … However, that just makes revealing you’re not married an even worse idea」
「If someone decides to spread that juicy rumour, that child be hurt the most by it. Rather than say you’re employed, it’s wiser to have people continue to think that you’re married if you understand what I mean」
As the meddlesome shopkeeper smiled, I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t want to hurt Jill or hinder Leonard-sama’s future with a lie but what if Jill gets hurt because of the truth?
「Lily? What’s wrong?」
It’s discomfiting, I’m sure I have a miserable expression right now. Though the both of them drew closer worried, I didn’t answer them and hung my head in shame.
「… Look, there isn’t anyone that looks at the three of you and doesn’t think that you aren’t a family」
「Of course, it’s because we’re a family」
I felt like crying for some reason at their unwavering response to the shopkeeper’s words.
「You, young man over there, would it trouble you if people thought you were married to this young woman?」
「Well then, next time someone asks if you’re married, just say yes. You’ll be able to avoid any unnecessary trouble that way」
「Will that be fine with you, Lily?」
Why is he asking me this? I don’t have a right to refuse if Leonard-sama has made his decision. Leonard-sama gazed at me with a serious look in his eyes.
「Lily, I might ruin your future prospects with this」
「It may just make it impossible for you to get married」
「Oh, that’s not really a problem」
「… It’s not?」
「Yes. You don’t need to worry about it, I’ll be fine」
「Then, it’s decided」
It’s actually rather amazing but Leonard-sama’s fans are awfully terrifying. But—
If it’ll help protect Jill as I expect it to, then perhaps, I am, in a way, too indulgent with her.