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Kirin looked around, trying to find something to pass time. However, there was nothing to do in her apartment. After eating breakfast, she had tidied up the place. However, since it wasn’t too messy in the first place, it didn’t take long. Her laundry was already done, folded, and inside her dresser. The floor was already clean and the trash already sorted. She had no tests to correct, nor anything work related to do.

There’s nothing to do, she thought, letting out a sigh. She turned her head towards the TV. Though she had already watched Lovely cure and Two piece, she could watch something else. Or perhaps read a book. However, she didn’t feel like doing any of those things.

In a desperate attempt, she picked up her laptop and searched for clothes. After going through a few stores, she somehow ended up looking on the net for underwear. But it wasn’t the usual ones she wore, but what she called bold underwear.

There’s no way I could wear any of these… Despite blushing the whole time, she didn’t close the tab and continued looking through the site. When she clicked at a red and black lingerie that was too sexy, she had reached her limit. She closed the lid at once the lid, her face burning.

There’s no way I could ever wear that! I don’t have the confidence! Who could wear something like that!?

Maybe Mari… She’d look amazing in that… The moment she pictured her neighbor dressed in such garments, even her ears were red. It’s not fair she can be cute and sexy!

And before Kirin could calm down, the doorbell rang. With a strange high-pitched squeal, she put the laptop aside, stood up, and went to the front door.

To her surprise and delight, Mari was standing on the other side. She forgot about what she was imagining and opened the door right away.

“Hi!” Kirin said with a silly and dreamy smile.

“Hi!” Mari said with a big smile.

“Hi…” Kirin said again. Then the image of seconds ago popped in her head and she became an alarming shade of red.

“Are you free right now?” Mari asked.

“Y-yeah! I mean, yes. W-why do you ask?”

“Do you wanna go on a date?”

Kirin’s heart thumped faster. She even stopped breathing. “Yes!” she answered before she could think twice.

“Wonderful.” Mari’s smile grew. “Isn’t that right?”

“Yes!” Rei, Mari’s daughter came out from behind her, flashing a huge smile.

What…?

***

It wasn’t a date date, Kirin thought, the embarrassment eating her from the inside.

Right now, she was at the zoo with Mari and her daughter. Rei had to paint an animal from the zoo as a school assignment, so they decided to invite Kirin to go with them.

I was stupid to get my hopes up high the instant I heard the word date. But that’s done. I need to enjoy this.

“Onee-chan, do you like giraffes?” Rei asked, looking at her with bright eyes. “I heard they’re really tall!”

“Yes, they are. When I was your age, I painted them for my school assignment.”

“Is it because of your name[1]?”

“Yes. But when I was a kid, kids used to make fun of me. They asked why my neck wasn’t long as a real giraffe,” Kirin said, smiling. When I outgrew the boys, they made even more fun, she recalled.

“Really? But your name is pretty!”

“Thanks, Rei-chan. How about if we go see them now?”

“Yes!” the kid beamed and grabbed the teacher’s hand.

Rei grabbed Mari’s hand too, and the three of them headed to the giraffes.

We look like a family, Kirin thought, trying to suppress her urge to smile.

“Wow,” Rei said as she looked at the animals. “Are they the tallest in the whole world?”

“On land, I think they’re the tallest, but I know there are bigger animals,” Kirin said.

“Like whales?”

“Yes. The biggest one is the blue whale, and their heart is so big a kid can get in.”

“Really?” Rei seemed astonished.

“Yes. I remember getting inside a replica in the natural history museum when I was around your age.”

“Can we go to the museum, mommy?” Rei asked, clinging to her dress

“Sure. And Kirin will go with us, right?” Mari smiled at the teacher.

“S-sure,” she answered, blushing slightly.

“Yay!”

“But that’s for another day. You need to pick an animal and draw it,” Mari reminded her.

“I’ll pick the giraffe!”

“Great. Now you need to draw.”

“Yes!”

They walked to the closest bench and Rei opened her sketchbook, drawing with a concentrated expression.

Kirin watched with a smile, but then she stopped when she saw Rei drawing three people watching the giraffes.

“You’re drawing me too?” she asked.

“Of course!” Rei answered. “Onee-chan came with us and made this day even more fun!”

“Yeah, she’s right,” Mari said, putting a lock of her blond hair behind her ear.

Kirin blushed again, and this time she couldn’t stop the urge to smile.


[1] Kirin means Giraffe in Japanese

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