Sensei placed down his fork, clasped his hands together, and bowed his head down to the empty plate. Lucille observed the scene from the back of the kitchen. She felt like a ranger watching a wild animal.
Early in the afternoon, Sensei went down the stairs. She was not sure whether he would eat lunch in the dining area or in his room, but when she saw him, she said to herself. “He’s here!”
When Sensei arrived at the table there was a plate of grilled vegetables and soup. She was a stranger around here and she didn’t want to stay at the side of the table. So, she withdrew into the kitchen and pretended to clean up as she watched his every move.
Before the meal, Sensei bowed his head with his hands together. It felt something like a ritual, so she placed her hands together as if she followed his actions. It was something unfamiliar that made her feel somewhat strange. After, he picked up a spoon and scooped up some soup.
‘Alright. Good, good. The soup is first...!’
Lucille leaned forward and gazed at Sensei. The soup had a gentle flavor of vegetables, which is one of her specialty dishes. The threw a deciding pitch the first time as she waited for his reaction.
Her heart rate naturally increased.
‘He ate it—!!’ During the actual situation, her brain cried out.
Sensei just quietly brought the soup to his mouth, but she’s overjoyed since she didn’t really expect any response or reaction from him such as, “Wow, it’s delicious.” She was posing while holding her fist out of Sensei’s sight as he reached out next for the fork. Her hand tightened even more. Needless to say, the next is her most confident dish.
‘The sauce recipe from the grill was directly handed down from a former head chef of a high-class hotel...!’
“......” He had a bite and another bite.
‘Good, good, good.’ Lucille made numerous small nods as she watched him continue to silently eat. She felt that she was being a bit suspicious, so she turned her head to the side. Above all else, the smirk on her face wouldn’t go away.
Then, after finishing his lunch, Sensei concluded his meal with the ritual-like action he had performed earlier.
“Sensei!” Lucille stopped him as he tried to quickly return to his room.
“...What?” He looked displeased as he was called out and replied in a sullen manner. Then, he glanced at the plates left on the table and his eyes narrowed.
Lucille rushed out of the kitchen with the reason why she stopped him, reflecting on her failure to match his timing when he left his seat.
“Here.” She presented to him a tray with a pot of tea which she had prepared separately from the tea served after his meal.
Then, he withdrew the pressure he had been exerting earlier.
“It’s a little heavy.” Lucille said, handing him the tray.
Sensei took it calmly and looked down at her, “......”
In the end, he didn’t say a word and nodded at her one more time and went up the stairs.
‘Did he mean ‘Thank you’???’
If she doesn’t understand, she can only interpret it as she sees fit. Whatever it is, she was glad to know that he did not seem to be offended.
“I’m glad he ate all of the food...” There was nothing that remained in the bowl and plate that was left on the table.
“I don’t know if it’s to his liking, but...” Lucille recalled his look from earlier, “It may surely be ‘unnecessary’ to ask for his impression on the food...”
As she cleaned up the dishes, she was prepared to continue on her wild animal observation for a while.
After lunch, Lucille cleaned the front door mat and dried it in the eaves. She had been going around the whole house thoroughly to check but everything was so clean that she couldn’t find anything else that needed to be done. Once she went outside, she went towards the garden. The sun was shining brightly on the soft grass.
“It’s so big...how far is this garden...?”? She walked on the grass and circled around the house, imagining the structure of the house inside from the outside, confirming where she’d be if she went out through which door.
Lucille shook her head to clear her thoughts. She wondered a lot, but she just had to do her job.
There was a vegetable garden that had been built behind the house and the kitchen is directly connected to it.? The garden seen from the large glass door of the living room is probably the field in front of the house. It seems that both the living room and Sensei’s room get the most sun. She waited for a while to check whether Sensei would come out to the balcony but there was no sign of it.
‘I wonder, what does he do for research?’ It was a perfectly natural question, but it was probably not the right thing to ask. When the time comes, she’ll maybe naturally come to know.
“Am I allowed to touch this?” She likes to tinker with the soil. If she is allowed to, she would gladly do it. It is more like a hobby than a job.
“Well, it’s well taken care of.” Lucille was impressed by his ability to take care of his house so perfectly, although he says it’s tedious that he wants to throw away all of the troubles. In fact, she believes that it’s because he does it so perfectly that he feels that it is troublesome. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the high level of the landlord means that the same level is expected of them.
“I must do my best.” She crouched down as she voiced out her determination towards the large tomatoes which would be ready for harvest the next day.
A week has passed since she came to the house. Breakfast is served at exactly seven o’clock in the morning. After that, Sensei goes back to his laboratory or study. Lunch is served after noon. Once he finishes eating, he won’t go downstairs until dinner. Dinner is served at six thirty. Then, he takes a batch while Lucille prepares and cleans up in preparation for tomorrow. After, he goes back upstairs and they don’t see each other again until morning. Lucille doesn’t even know when he sleeps.
This is Sensei’s daily timetable. Since she came there, there have been no irregularities that has happened yet. Taking into account his intention of not wanting to leave the second floor too much, she would pass him refreshments before he disappeared upstairs. She tries to time it exactly when he goes upstairs, but at times she couldn’t make it.
Yesterday, Sensei saw her preparing the drinks and when he noticed that she wasn’t ready, he sat down on the sofa in the living room and waited. When Lucille saw this, she was moved as she trembled with emotion. She also learned that he prefers tea over coffee. Of course, Sensei did not tell her that. When she holds up a can of black tea leaves and coffee beans with the intention of asking him which he prefers, he often points to the can of tea leaves.
That’s how she managed to communicate with him as she needed to. There was no luxury such as small talk.
‘Speaking of this, it’s really easy.’
Sensei is definitely a good employer since she doesn’t have to worry in comparison to her former employer where she felt a great deal of discomfort since she had to be overly involved. She doesn’t have to worry about figuring out his wife’s moods, use flattery, or worry about the authority of her master.
She had to consider that communicating with a wild animal (temporary title) was the best part of the job, she couldn’t help but think that Sensi seemed cute somehow.
“Goodness.” When Lucille summarized and reported to Cortez on what happened, he looked surprised and amused.
After a while, she went down to town on an errand and visited the Chamber of Commerce. She wanted to thank him for introducing her to a good place to work.
“That’s a relief. I’m serious. I’m sure Sensei also likes Miss Lucille.”
“Is that so?”
“Because a person normally lasts for two days.”
Who’s the one who made the fuss? It is quite possible that the housekeeper would do something ‘unnecessary’ and Sensei may get annoyed by it, but on the housekeeper’s side, they may be quite concerned by Sensei’s distance towards them.
“There surely are times when he stares hard, but...come to think of it, I wonder how old he is. He looks healthy, but his hair is all white.”
“Eh, Sensei? Well...he hasn’t changed ever since I was a kid...”
Cortez laughs at her reaction, “They say that magicians can live longer than us.”
“Sensei, I wonder how old he is too.”
Lucille froze at the new information that was suddenly brought to her. She felt shocked like a bolt of lightning.
‘That’s...he may be even older than I thought...?’
“Eh.... What should I do...then, he has to be more careful not to strain his legs and back... Is it okay for him to stay on the second floor in the first place!?”
“Ahahaha!” Cortez burst into laughter.
This is serious, but why is he like this? It would be terrible if Sensi falls down the stairs and breaks his hip.
When Lucille glared at him accusingly, he apologized. It didn’t feel like an apology though.
“I’m sorry, but it’s the first time I heard someone talk about Sensei that way...”
“I think we don’t have to treat him like we normally treat others.”
It’s hard to confirm the truth, and it’s unexplainable. If what he says is true that he’s been looking like that for about 20 years, then he’s not as old as she had thought.
“I don’t understand.” She said. Nevertheless, she doesn’t even know anything about magicians in the first place.
“Anyway, I believe that sensei would be offended if you treat him like an old man.”
It certainly felt that way.