Volume 4, Chapter 7-2: Graceful and Skillful

Winter Break 2016 Week 3 Thursday

Waking up, I checked the time. Still only 10, not bad. I felt like staying in bed, not doing anything.

“Yuki, take care of Yukie!” Mom informed me when I finally arrived downstairs two hours later.

“Okay,” I nodded.

“Leave lunch to her. She’s a pretty good cook, maybe even better than me,” Mom said, grabbing her keys.

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“When will you be back?” I questioned.

“Six or seven. If I’m late, just ask Yukie to make something. It’s better than whatever you could make,” Mom responded.

“Sure, sure. Is Yukie awake yet?” I looked around, not seeing her.

“Probably the garage. Your dad said she was interested in the old projects he worked on in the past,” Mom said.

I opened the fridge, searching for potential breakfast food, settling for cereal. This brought back memories of Tess. I wondered why Yukie was so interested in Dad’s work. The garage door was unlocked as I peeked in. Yukie stood with her back to me, staring at something.

“Yukie,” I called out.

“Good afternoon, Yuki. Have you eaten yet? I can make lunch for you,” Yukie greeted.

“I just ate cereal so maybe later. Something in here interest you?” I asked.

“Yes. Uncle told me he’s building something here. Of course, he can’t show me, but I’m looking through the materials,” Yukie replied.

“Is it because of your parents that you’re interested in things like this?” I inquired.

“Partly, but I’m interested in machinery overall. It’s very soothing for me to examine the inner workings and see how they all come together,” Yukie revealed.

“Is that what you’re studying at school?” I asked.

“Yes,” Yukie nodded.

Yukie pointed out the various tools Dad used, giving me a quick lecture. Her passion was apparent even if I wasn’t too knowledgeable on everything she told me.

“Time to make lunch. Will it just be you?” Yukie asked.

“Yukie, listen, it’s not everyday people come over like that,” I answered.

“Ah, I misunderstood. Okay, what would you like for lunch?” she asked.

“I don’t really care. Mom told me you were pretty good,” I replied.

“Please wait half an hour. I should be finished by then,” Yukie informed me, putting on an apron.

I nodded, returning to my room. I checked the various social media sites, seeing if anything interesting caught my eye. Nothing piqued my interest so I ended up watching random videos.

“Yuki! It’s done!” Yukie shouted.

I walked into the dining room, seeing a plate of fried noodles and a small pot of soup. Wow, I expected something simple but this was too much.

“Yukie, you didn’t have to make so much,” I said, sitting down.

“It’s very good. Try it,” Yukie said, smiling.

Unlike Tess, she showed more emotion and was easy to speak with. Wow, this was pretty good. This almost matched up with the level of Mom’s cooking.

“This is really good, Yukie. I’m serious,” I complimented.

“Thank you. My parents taught me at a young age. It is one of my secondary hobbies,” Yukie revealed.

“I wish I could do this. I can make the easy stuff but not anything with so much flavor,” I said.

“No, Yuki, I’m sure you could do it. It does take time and a lot of failures though,” Yukie assured me.

That reminded me of something. I recalled Zhuyu having bandages because of something cooking related. He apparently was dedicated to it like Yukie, most likely trying to impress someone.

“Yukie, what do you plan on doing after this?” I asked, sipping some of the soup.

“I might call my parents and see how they’re doing. Yuki, are you heading out? You don’t have to worry about me, go ahead,” Yukie replied.

“No, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. I’ll probably just sit in my room and watch videos,” I said.

“Would you like a book to read?” Yukie suggested.

I gave a smile at her suggestion. It reminded me of Yuka back in middle school. Every week, she always recommended a great book and her suggestions were spot on. Not a bad idea to kill some time.

“Sure. I’ll grab it from you after washing the dishes,” I nodded.

“Yuki, I can do them, you don’t have to worry about it. Go back to your room and relax,” Yukie shook her head at my offer.

“You already made all of this. I feel bad if you do everything,” I explained, carrying all the dirty dishes over to the sink.

Yukie looked ready to protest my decision. However, she nodded and headed upstairs. I walked over to the stove, inspecting the wok. Yukie already washed it. She should have just left it to me.

“Yuki, make yourself comfortable. Although it is your house, so I should thank you for your hospitality,” Yukie said when I entered her room.

“Are you planning on decorating the room? Feel free to make it your own,” I asked, sitting down on the couch near the window.

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“I would feel bad about putting things up since I don’t know long I’ll be here,” Yukie said.

There was a different smell in the room. Since no one ever used the room, it usually smelled musty and felt chilly too. Yukie’ scent was a welcome change.

“Yuki, this is the book I was talking about,” Yukie revealed, pulling out a book from her luggage.

I flipped the book over, checking the summary. There were several glowing reviews about it by various outlets. Characters leaped through time to save the world. Wait, this looked familiar.

“I heard it’s a pretty popular anime. Of course, the book came first. I quite enjoy the writing style,” Yukie said.

“Anime? I’m a bit surprised,” I said, looking at the cover.

“I’ve never seen it so I can’t compare the two. Yuki, do you read often?” Yukie asked.

“No, I usually don’t unless it’s for school. My friend Yuka, the one you met yesterday, loves it. You can probably have better talks about books with her than me,” I replied.

“Yuki, I’m going to call my parents now. Would you like to talk to them?” Yukie asked, plugging in her tablet.

“No, I won’t bother you anymore. Thanks for the book,” I shook my head, departing the room.

I placed the book on top of my desk. There were a few books on my shelf from Ichizen I never finished. Might as well get around to it now. Sorry, Yukie, your book will have to wait. I grabbed the first book in the series. Of course it was a hero related genre. Sitting on my bed, I started reading. Halfway through the third chapter, I dozed off. When I woke up, it was already dark out. I went downstairs, hearing the sound of sizzling oil in the kitchen. Guess Mom was already home.

“Mom!” I called out.

I saw Yukie, instead of Mom, deep frying shrimp. She turned down the heat, taking off her gloves.

“Yuki, sorry if I disturbed you. Auntie called and said she would be late so I went ahead and started making dinner,” Yukie said.

“I just woke up from a nap. Fell asleep reading one of Ichizen’s books,” I said, sitting down at the table.

“No worries. I’m sure you’ll have time to read it later. I was planning on making one more dish. Do you have any favorites?” Yukie asked.

“I’m in the mood for some spareribs. I’m pretty sure Mom didn’t buy any this week,” I answered, pulling out my phone.

“That’s too bad. Oh, squid! I can stir fry that,” Yukie exclaimed, pulling out a bag.

“I’m quite grateful to you for making dinner. If it was just me, I probably would have ended up eating pre-packaged stuff,” I admitted.

“That’s bad for your health, Yuki. Homemade food is always better. My parents would try making their own meals every day even if they were busy with work,” Yukie lectured, turning on the stove again.

“Your parents are dedicated. I guess it’s the same for mine,” I said, impressed.

“Ten more minutes and everything should be done,” Yukie said, dropping the squid into a wok.

Two text message notifications flashed on my phone. Opening the first one, I saw a reminder from Tess about tomorrow. The other one was Felicity wanting to know my schedule for winter quarter. Oh crap, that’s right. School was starting next week. Damn, I wanted more time off.

“Hey, Yukie, what are you going to do about school?” I asked, searching for the saved snapshot of my winter schedule.

“Ah, I’ll be taking online classes. Once everything has been settled, I might consider transferring credits over to someplace here,” Yukie answered.

“That’s good. If you need anything, just ask,” I reminded her.

“Thank you for the support, Yuki. By the way, may I see what your schedule looks like after we finish dinner? I am interested,” Yukie requested.

“Sure, no problem. I’m still iffy about my major so it’s not that impressive,” I nodded.

A few minutes later, Yukie carried out all the food. Deep fried shrimp, stir-fried squid, and two dishes of vegetables graced the table. The vegetables consisted of bokchoy and gailan. She also set down a small pot of soup, a cilantro scent wafting from it.

“Yukie, quick question, what time did you start making this?” I asked.

“Around four,” Yukie responded, passing a bowl of soup over to me.

“It would have been fine if you just half-assed the meal,” I shook my head in amazement.

“This is only appropriate. I am staying over at your house for free after all. This is the least I could do,” Yukie countered.

“Ugh, yeah, I guess. Everything looks so good,” I gave up arguing the point and just ate.

After dinner, I washed the dishes and showed Yukie my schedule. Math, how I hate you. Especially you, Calc II. Damn washers and integrals. I wanted to lean on Tess again but felt pretty bad about taking up her time. I also had a bad premonition she would go overboard and force feed me the entire course in a condensed amount of days. Maybe I should ask someone else. Zhuyu did help me out that one time. Kisai seemed viable too.

“Ah, this isn’t too bad. Math, a writing class, and chemistry. If you need assistance, I can give it provided you are willing to learn from someone like me,” Yukie offered.

“Really? That would be great,” I nodded.

“Feel free to consult me anytime. I will try to help you as long as I am free,” Yukie said.

I heard the door lock turning. Opening the door, I saw Dad outside. He took his keys out from the door, greeting the both of us.

“Uncle, there is food. You can heat it up,” Yukie informed him.

“Thanks a lot, Yukie. I’m assuming Yuki here wasn’t the one who made it. I might have to get a taxi ready to take me to the hospital if that was the case,” Dad joked.

“Hey, my cooking isn’t that bad,” I pouted a little.

“I know. It’s nice to have someone who can make edible meals. Yukie, I have something for you,” Dad said, presenting a metallic case to Yukie.

Yukie opened it, revealing the contents. There was an assortment of tools inside, some requiring a power source. Yukie’s face beamed with excitement at the sight. She looked over the tools with glee.

“This is really too much. I can’t accept this,” Yukie shook her head.

“Go ahead and take it. I heard from my brother how good you are. It’s only fitting you have good tools to work with,” Dad insisted.

“Thank you very much. I shall put it to good use,” Yukie bowed, hugging the metal box to her chest.

That was nice of Dad got her something like that. I should probably sleep a little earlier today. Aches and pains always followed upon entering other dimensions.

- my thoughts:
Hey there! Volume 4 is coming to an end so it's time for another poll! This time it's a little bit different than usual, you'll see what I mean when you get there! https://lanterndragonworks.wordpress.com/polls/volume-4-poll/
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