Afterward, we went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, the thing we had come to the mall for in the first place.
Altogether I had ended up spending about 20,000 private points. Needless to say, I had never purchased this many things at once before. The plastic bags I was carrying were so heavy that the handles dug into my fingers.
My guess as to what exactly Amasawa was taking into consideration and what she wanted me to make with these ingredients was as good as anybody else’s. This was because she had me purchase all sorts of things from vegetables to meat to fruit, and everything else in between.
However, there were a few dishes that came to mind. For example, the presence of nam pla and chili peppers helped to narrow down the options.
Nevertheless, it was still hard to say. It’d be perfectly fine if she planned on having me use all of the ingredients, but it was more than possible that she had mixed in several fakes as well in order to mess with me. After witnessing everything she had said and done throughout the day today, I couldn’t help but harbor these suspicions. It was probably safe to assume that it’d be virtually impossible to narrow down the dish she wanted me to make for her at this point.
“Okie dokie~! That should be it! Let’s go to your dorm room now, okay Senpai?”
She spoke with a level of enthusiasm one would expect from a girl who was headed over to her boyfriend’s room, but I didn’t feel even an ounce of excitement about it. If I didn’t manage to cook her a dish she was happy with, all negotiations would probably be broken off then and there. Not to mention that the task this time was to cook her something ‘delicious’, which was an inherently abstract benchmark to base things off of.
If she never had any intention of letting me pass this little test of hers from the very beginning, then all of this had been nothing more than a futile waste of points and time. But for now, it didn’t seem like I had any other choice but to come to terms with whatever development took place.
I hadn’t realized that Horikita’s split-second decision yesterday would’ve led to something so heavy and troublesome.
Originally, I hadn’t said anything to Horikita and Sud? before since I was fine with covering the expenses, but now I had half a mind to discuss the costs with them after I washed my hands of all of this.
It would be best to set that matter aside for the time being though.
In order to confront the current situation as straightforwardly as possible, I decided to pitch Amasawa one of the questions I had been wanting to ask her.
“Wanting to eat a meal made by a guy you don’t even know is a little strange, don’t you think? Wouldn’t somebody usually be fairly opposed to something like that?”
This was just my own self-centered opinion, but I felt like it was something that people would generally be reluctant to do.
Meals weren’t just made for show, they were made to be put into the mouth and swallowed down into the stomach.
One would normally be concerned about who cooked the meal and how it was made, as these factors were directly related to both taste and hygiene.
Then, as you got to know the person cooking for you and began to trust their dishes, that past feeling of reluctance would gradually begin to die down.
“Think so? But, like, it isn’t all that different from eating at a restaurant? With like, some stranger doing their thing in the kitchen to whip you up a meal, there’s no way you can know what’s going on back there.”
It was true that none of us knew exactly how the food was made in the school’s cafeteria, for example.
However, while those two scenarios might appear to be the same on the surface, they were in fact glaringly different.
“Even if a restaurant were to make a simple rice ball, they’d still adhere to sanitation guidelines. That’s completely different from how it is when cooking on our own, isn’t it?”
“So? I feel like it’s fine if the chef is cooking right in front of you. Cuz then you can like, see the look on their face and how they go about making it and all. You’d be able to check and make sure they’re being sanitary too. Conversely, aren’t some kitchens in restaurants like, totally hidden away from you? Some places are also like, super sketchy with bugs and stuff crawling around everywhere, right?”
Amasawa put forward the opinion that, as long as she witnessed it with her own two eyes, it didn’t matter who made the food, even if they were a stranger.
“Besides, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea about how this school works. I’d have to live sparingly if I somehow ended up without any points, yeah? But like, if I get Senpai to cook for me, I wouldn’t have to worry about that.”
There it was. In other words, if the meal I cooked for her this time tasted good enough, she fully intended to come sponge off me again in the future.
She was essentially looking to secure a reliable meal ticket in the event of an emergency.
It would probably be a good opportunity for me to improve my cooking skills, but I was hesitant to say whether or not she’d be willing to pay for the cost of the ingredients.
“You get where I’m coming from?”
“More or less.”
Amasawa flashed a white, toothy smile.
But there was still something that didn’t sit right with me. Was a second-year student, and a male student at that, really the best person to reach out to about it? I’d imagine that asking this of one the classmates you were closer to or somebody of the same sex would make things much easier later on down the road.
Well, I’m not exactly complaining though, since I was looking to gain something out of it.
“Anyway, I’m super picky about taste~ If it’s not yummy enough, the deal’s off, okay?”
“I get it. Just because I make the dish doesn’t mean it’ll be good enough for you.”
In that respect, the hurdle was by no means low, but I had no other choice but to put my head down and do my best.
The cooking skills that Horikita had spent the last night teaching me were all that mattered now.
I wondered just how much I’d be able to leverage her training in the short time it had been since we accepted Amasawa’s proposal yesterday.
But even so, Amasawa probably wasn’t someone I’d be able to deceive very easily.
I could guess from the ingredients she had chosen that she was eager to test my skills.
Before long, we had arrived at the entrance to the dorms.
Amasawa looked up at the building with her hand placed above her brow, shielding her eyes from the rays of the sun.
“The second-year dorms are like, kinda unsettling.”
Despite saying that, she didn’t look very nervous at all.
Rather, she gave off the impression that one would expect from somebody enjoying themself while they were out having fun.
“Ah, but I guess it’s got the same, like, look to it as the first-year dorms.”
She shared her thoughts after taking a good long look at the exterior of the building and surveying the inside of the lobby.
“That wouldn’t be surprising.”
I just casually went along with what she was saying, even though I had never visited any of the other dormitories before.
We drew the attention of some of the students from the other classes when we passed by them.
I suppose it was only natural though, since I appeared to be bringing a first-year girl back to my room with me- with groceries in hand, at that.
Amasawa casually waved to the onlooking upperclassmen as we passed them by, but it was making us stand out, so I wanted her to stop.
I hurriedly ushered her to my room before any strange rumors had a chance to spread.
“Pardon the intru~sion. Wow, you’ve really got it all nice and tidy, huh? It’s like, super clean too~”
“I just cleaned up last night because I knew I’d be having an underclassman over.”
I had done so to ensure there wasn’t anything to insinuate that I had spent the entire night studying how to cook.
Now? The sequence of events from here on out was vitally important.
After setting down the bags of groceries and kitchen utensils on the floor by the kitchen along with my school bag, the first thing I did was go and set the water in my electric kettle to boil. Then, I faced toward the living area and prompted for Amasawa to take a seat.
I could’ve seated her in a spot where she couldn’t see the kitchen, but I made sure not to do that.
It was essential that I have her take a position where she could see what I was doing from the side if she felt like she wanted to.
“I’ll make coffee. Feel free to turn on the TV if you want.”
Then, I made her coffee after the water began to boil, giving it to her before asking her to hold on for a bit.
Amasawa picked up the remote I had placed on the table and began to flip through the channels.
While it was by no means foolproof, there was a solid, convenient reason for me to have her drown out the sound with the TV.