”Lets eat before the food gets cold, ” Claire said to her grandson. After Evelyn left with Hikari, both of them settled down on the small dining table in the kitchen, preparing to have dinner.

In the comfortable silence of the house that accommodated just the two of them, the soft sound of steel clinking onto the porcelain plates could be heard much louder than their own voices. Setting up the plates and spoons on the small dining table, Leyon turned and stared at his grandmother, as if wanting to ask her something.

Taking the rice paddle from the kitchen counter, Leyon then proceeded to scoop the rice out of the rice cooker that was placed on top of the dining table, his mind still deciding if he should ask his grandmother or not. A few seconds later, he couldn hold back anymore and finally opened his mouth to speak.

”That little girl and her mother, do you know them? ” Leyon asked.

”Are you curious about Hikari? ” Claire giggled. Covering her hands with a kitchen napkin, she brought out a lidded pan filled with hot and deliciously cooked stew and placed it on the table. ”Huu…thats hot… So, you were saying? Ah yes. About Hikari. Her mothers name is Evelyn, shes the nice lady you met today. They live a couple of blocks down the neighbourhood. ”

Leyon nodded his head in understanding.

”Here. Give me that. Allow me to serve the rice, ” Claire said, seeing her grandson fumbling with the rice paddle, struggling to scoop it up. ”It must be your first time meeting them. Don worry. Youll see them quite often from now on. Hikari is a very sweet girl. I think you both will get along just fine… What do you think of her, anyway? ” she added, putting the rice on their plates simultaneously.

”I don know. Everything about her is just so weird. She wears a yellow raincoat when its not even raining. ”

”Oh, that? Its because Hikari hails from a family of fishermen. Usually, she accompanies her father when he goes fishing in the sea. Out on a boat in the vast sea, the weather can be quite unpredictable, not to mention she will get wet now and then if the tides become harsh. Thats probably why she wears them. ”

”Oh. ” Leyon scowled at himself, suddenly feeling quite unhappy. When his grandmother mentioned the word fishermen, realisation quickly dawned on him. So that was the reason why Hikari smelt like raw fish when he encountered her. She was out in the sea catching fish with her father. I shouldn have told her she smelt like fish, he thought, instantly regretting the words hed said to her earlier that night. He definitely wouldn judge people by their appearance ever again.

”That little girl has completely taken over your mind, hasn she? ” Claire teased.

”No, not at all. ” Leyon could feel his cheeks heating up at his grandmothers words. ”Shes just weird. Thats all. And she has a name that is even weirder. ”

Claire could not help but laugh at her grandson. ”Thats because she has a Japanese name, ” she clarified.

”But shes not Japanese, is she? ” Leyon asked.

”I believe she has spiked some curiosity in you, my dear. ” Claire laughed again.

”No. Im not curious. ” Leyon blushed. ”Im hungry. Lets eat. ” He quickly changed the subject.

”Okay, honey. ” Claire smiled, giving him a knowing look. ”Lets eat. Granny cooked chicken stew for you. Its your favourite, ” she exclaimed joyfully, lifting the lid of the pan. ”I made vegetable broth too. This is good for your health. Eat up lots. ”

”Mm, ” Leyon mumbled, stuffing food into his mouth.

e quite happy, aren you? ” Claire said to Leyon after a while.

”About what? ”

”Hikari. Shes the first friend you made here, is she not? No matter how much you try to hide from granny, granny can still see whats on your mind. You
e thrilled to have a new friend, aren you? ” Claire flashed her eyebrows at Leyon.

”No… its not like that. ” Leyon tried to feign ignorance but failed horribly. His face turned scarlet red in embarrassment.

”Whatever you say, my love. ”

Wearing a wide smile that reached her eyes, Claire watched her grandson hungrily dig up the food she had prepared for him. She was overjoyed. Ever since his parents death, Leyon hardly ever spoke, oftentimes brooding on his private thoughts and hiding his feelings. Claire could never do anything to bring back the boy from the past.

Leyon had completely changed since the accident. He became more responsible and independent, even though he was just a tiny little kid. He never cried, and he never mentioned or talked about the events of the car accident.

Claire had been worried about him. The disturbing thought that he might be experiencing some kind of psychological trauma had even crossed her mind countless times, worrying her endlessly. But something seemed to have changed within him after he encountered Hikari that same day. Claire could see it in his eyes, the way his spirits lightened up when he talked about Hikari.

He was starting to open up; Hikari had somehow triggered his feelings. Perhaps all he needed was a friend like Hikari, a social companion to make him feel like a kid again, to help him cope with all the pain and suffering he went through, and to allow him to heal.

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