[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.
"Alright." You nod. Having a family dinner, plus Aya, shouldn't be so bad. After all, it's imperative that your parents leave with a lasting impression about you. "Well, what restaurant are we dining in?"
"You choose, son." Your father determinedly answers. Looks like you have no choice but to pick where to eat. His quick answer just goes to show that he already had this in mind before he even got here.
"Well, I think we should go somewhere nice. Maybe we can go somewhere with a good atmosphere. Nothing too fancy, though. It's nice to have a casual talk in a respectable restaurant every so often."
"Then it's set." Your mother replies. "We'll be waiting outside, so please go get ready and tidy up."
After they close the door to the apartment, you make your way to the closet. Aya follows close by, watching you find a collared shirt dangling from one of the coat hangers inside your clothes closet. She smiles innocently, not at all bothered by seeing you change. You assume she has no idea what's happening. As you quickly button up your new shirt, you realize that she needs something to wear. You go back to the bag, minus the underwear, and quickly look for some decent clothes.
"What are you doing, Inubashiri?" She seems confused, quizzically looking at you rummage through the bag.
"Go and get dressed quickly, Aya. We're going to dinner." You curtly say as you hand her a white camisole and a long black skirt. You don’t quite remember when those got in there, but they might from your earlier clothes shipping trip. You certainly did not pick those out, though.
Pushing her into the bathroom and closing the door, you wait a moment for her to change and then tentatively enter to talk to her about the dinner on the other side. "Okay, so I want you to be serious for once. We have to be presentable, and at least act dignified. During the dinner, keep your voice down and be calm." You stop talking as the door opens in front of you, Aya looking different from her usual work attire. The dark skirt matches well with her white camisole.
"How is it?" She asks hesitantly. "I have never worn anything like this before."
"It's great." You assure her Guiding her out the door, you wait for the elevator to come to your floor. It seems like your parents are on the first floor already. "Moving on, the very basics of cutlery is the spoon."
"I know how to use a spoon." She quips. "I'm not dumb, you know. We tengu know how to use tableware."
"Right, sorry. That was really rude of me." You remind yourself that although she's a bit weird, Aya is still a girl. Your mind wanders to her wings, but you dismiss those thoughts quickly. "All right then. Are you ready?"
"Somewhat." She smoothes out the hem of her skirt. You nod to her, as the elevator doors slide open. Aya casually walks to the side with the buttons and presses the one that goes down to the first floor. It seems like she's used to being in an elevator now. Good for her.
Your parents are waiting for you in their medium-sized car. Its paint was a subdued silver, faded from extended use. You open the door to the backseat, allowing Aya to go in first. You motion for her to get inside. As she takes a seat, you close the door and move to the other side of the car. Aya looks worried, fidgeting around in the car. She makes no rude comments or complaints, only pleading to you with her eyes. The car starts up, making a small roar. Aya shoots you a quick glance of confusion, but contains herself.
"I doubt you've been in a car, huh?" You ask her quietly. Your parents are immersed in their own conversation, talking about the restaurant down at the plaza you had instructed them to go to. A normal set of parents might insist on you driving, but these two independents prefer to do so themselves.
"No." She shakes her head. "This is the first time I've been in something like this."
"Okay. First, you should put on your seatbelt." You say, noticing she hasn’t put hers on yet. You point to yours, already strapped on. "You just get the buckle and fasten it by putting it into the slot. It's like a key."
"Why do we need to do that?" She asks skeptically. However, she does what you ask and fiddles with the seatbelt. She doesn't seem to know how to click it into place, so you help her out by putting the buckle into its designated place. "It's constricting." she mutters.
"Don't worry, you won't wear it for that much longer anyway."
"I don't get it. What's the whole point of wearing these uncomfortable things anyway?" She tugs at the sash of the seatbelt. She makes a face so pitiful that you want to both laugh and pat her head.
"The whole purpose is so that we don’t fly out the windows if the car gets into a crash. It also prevents us from smacking our face into the interior of the car." You explain.
"...I don't get it." She repeats.
The car slows to a halt. " It doesn't matter now. We're here."" You feel silly, having to detail what a safety belt is for. With a quick click, your seatbelt unwinds back to its original position. You are about to close the door when Aya calls out to you.
"Inubashiri, help!" She sounds desperate, pleading to you with her voice.
"What is it?"
"I can't get out of this!" Aya is stuck, unable to get the seatbelt off of her. She squirms around, failing to wriggle out of the sash. Quickly reaching over, you click the button to get the seatbelt to release her from its grasp.
"...Thanks." She mumbles, obviously flustered from wrestling with the safety.
"No problem." You offer her a hand to get out of the car. Aya takes it, eager to get out of the car. The restaurant seems somewhat homely with a bustling atmosphere. Idle chatter comes from those who are waiting to be seated. Although it doesn't seem that packed, there are a number of people who haven't been called yet. It doesn't take long, however, and a waitress offers your party a booth. Your parents usher you and Aya quickly over.
The menus are already on the table, so you look through some of the items. You skim through a good portion of it. "Hm, I think I'll be getting tempura and soba. The picture certainly makes it look good."
"As for me, I think I will get the shark fin soup." Your father declares. You're taken aback by the fact the restaurant even offers such a course.
"Oh, I think I will too. People have said that the texture makes it delicious."
"But isn't that a little..." You trail off.
"A little what?"
"Never mind." You dismiss the subject. Your parents have their ways, and trying to stop them is like jumping in front of a train.
Aya discreetly nudges you. She quietly asks you, "What's this?" She points to the first item on the list.
You're thankful that she actually asked you, instead of ordering some weird dish by herself. "That's yakisoba. They're basically fried noodles with different kinds of meat and vegetables." you answer to her. She thanks you, and returns to looking at her menu.
Reluctantly, she leans back over and points to the next item on the list. "...What's this?" Shaking your head, you bring the menu over to the middle of your side of the table and list out all the various dishes and what they entitle. Your parents shoot you amused glances every now and then, but you do your best to ignore them for now.
"And what are these?" Aya asks. Her enthusiasm is unmatched by anybody you know.
"...Fish sticks." you reply dryly.
"Sounds good. I'll have them!" She closes the menu and clasps it in her hands. Aya is finally done going through the whole menu, so you breathe a sigh of relief.
"Are you two ready?" Your mother inquires.
"Yes, we're done. I'll go call the waiter." Waiting until a nearby waitress passes by, you motion to her to take your orders. "Excuse me, but we're ready to order."
"Okay, sir. What will it be?" The waiter twirls her pencil and notepad restlessly.
"We'll have two orders of...shark fin soup." You can't help but frown at the thought. "Also, we would like to order the tempura and soba combo and fish sticks."
"Will that be all, sir?" The woman hastily scribbles down your orders.
"Yes, that will be it, thank you." You nod to her. The waitress takes her leave, quickly running off to another table.
"Taro." Your father unexpectedly starts the real dinner conversation with you. "How have you been doing since you left home?"
"Well, I was looking out for job opportunities before I got into the job I have right now. It's been a bit tough living on my own, but I think I've gotten used to it. Or at least before I had to take care of Aya."
The last bit sounds absurd even to you. You reconsider seconds too late even saying it at all.
"Sorry." She smiles. You feel that she doesn’t really know how much trouble she causes you. That doesn’t make it any less irritating, though.
You sigh. "Anyway, I also familiarized myself with the local directions. I've had some free time during when I was unemployed, so I would usually go around."
"I see. What else did you do, son?" Your father looks unimpressed.
"Err..." You can't think of anything else you have done. "That's about it, really. I just took most of my time adjusting here." Your father stares at you disapprovingly.
Aya perks up. "Sorry, it's mostly my fault! I've been taking up most of Inubashiri's time."
"Oh?" He remarks coldly. "What activities took up your time, son?" Your father points this question to you.
"Nothing happened!" You feel that this kind of situation happens way too often when Aya is present.
"So you were being lazy."
"No! Okay, I admit that ever since Aya came, I had to clean up after two people including myself. But that's it. Nothing else. Aya is my boss, after all." Your father just dismissively nods.
"Sir, your orders are here." The waitress skillfully cuts off that line of conversation, as if on cue. You mentally thank the interruption before you embarrassed yourself anymore. He then distributes the plates accordingly, disappearing after the plates are correctly placed.
"And what of your finances?"
"I haven't spent a lot of it. Most of the initial sum is still there. I'm just waiting on my paycheck to pay for my bills, now that I have a job. I'd say it's in good condition."
"Ah, how's work, Taro?" Your mother intervenes.
"Overall, it was a good choice that I managed to get a job over at the newspaper corporation. Although, I've only been working for two days and we already have a day off."
"That's worrisome, Taro." Your mother creases her brow. "Are your doing that well? Or are you just slacking off?"
"Neither. It's because they're changing the newspaper altogether, so the staff has nothing else to do in the offices yet."
"Hmm, alright." Your father says, apparently satisfied after the bombardment of questions. "Shall we eat then?"
Generally, dinner goes well. Aya behaves exceptionally well, restrained and polite at all times. Your parents get a good impression, pleased with Aya. As you exit through the car door, your father calls out from the driver's seat. "You should write to us sometime, son."
"I'll call." You absentmindedly say, not paying sharp attention to what your father’s mannerisms.
"No, you’ll write. You need to keep up proper calligraphy."
"...Okay." When it comes to topics like writing to others, you find that the best option is to agree with your father. He rolls up the window, and leaves the parking lot. Your parents are finally away, and now it's just you and Aya. There's a strange silence while you and Aya go up the elevator. She is being oddly quiet, not saying a word. But as soon as you unlock the door, she dashes in and starts throwing off her top. She stretches to unwind, cursing lightly at the clothing.
"You owe me, Inubashiri! That was really uncomfortable and unnecessary. It was a really stupid exercise in unneeded politeness. I'm never doing anything like that again!"
"Alright, but can you change in the other room?" You request coolly. She decides to respond by throwing her skirt at your face. Using her skirt to obscure your vision, you wander to the bedroom without looking over at Aya. This time, she earned the right to complain, so you find some clothes for her and throw them into the living room. In about a few minutes' time, Aya comes into the room and plops down on the bed, reclining.
"Ah, that feels so much better!" She contently sighs.
You can’t help but be amused by her whimsicalness after tonight. You love your parents, but they can really stress you out sometimes. Right now, Aya’s attitude is just what you need. It’s quite endearing.
You take a seat next to her and unbutton the top of your shirt, loosening up. You look over at Aya and she seems to be in the same mindset, wearing the clothes you tossed out to her in the most comfortable, if not most dignified, fashion. You can’t help but smirk.
“Hey, hey, cut that out!” She says, poking you on the cheek from her laying position.
“Huh?” You ask, absentmindedly continuing your daydream.
“You’re way too happy!” She replies, prodding you again. You bat her hand and mischievously wipe the smirk off your face, simply hiding it behind your hand.
“What about?” You taunt back.
“The treatment you gave me!” She jousts, poking you in the ribs. “And treating me like a kid!” She continues, prodding you repeatedly.
You fall back, trying to deflect her shots as you barely contain your giggles.
“We Tengu know how to be polite! And nice! And kind! And just, and stuff! Anything else I forgot, too!”
“Aya, aya! Come on! Enough, all right!” You yelp, jumping off the bed and away from her vicious assault. The two of you started playing and didn’t even realize it. You guess the stress got to both of you. Not that there was anything wrong with this. It was even kind of fun, in a childish sort of way. Aya really did do well, though. Without even thinking, you find your hand on her shoulder from her sitting position that she used to try and chase you, unfruitfully, of course. You feel like you should say something, but can’t think of anything, so you just remove your hand after a moment.
You realize now that the dinner really took up more of your night than you thought it would, though. There’s not too much time left no matter what you decide to do, and Aya seems content to simply rest on your bed, flopping back to a laying position. You’ll have to shove her off eventually, of course, when you go to sleep, but that could be a while.
[ ] You do feel bad about taking today off, after all your parents said. Maybe you should prepare something to impress tomorrow morning.
[ ] A toast is in order! To friendship! To Aya! To… roommates? What the hell is she still doing here?!
[ ] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.