Rika knocked on the door to the Kanagawa residence. It was late evening now and about time to pick Emma up. The door opened revealing Mrs Kanagawa smiling happily.
“Chigawa-san! Right on time as always,”
“Hello Kanagawa-san,” she greeted politely. “I’m here to pick Emma up.”
“Oh right, right. Emma! Your mother’s here!” Mrs Kanagawa called.
Hurried steps resonated throughout the corridor as Emma came running. “Mama!”
“Did you have fun?” Rika ruffled the girl’s head.
“Yes, lots!” Emma giggled.
“Alright, you can tell me everything on the way home. Say goodbye to Kanagawa-san now.”
“Bye bye! See you again next week!” Emma cheerily waved at Mrs Kanagawa as they made their way home.
“-and Hinako-chan showed me her new pet cat which was a surprise from her parents and it was so cute and fluffy and I just wanted to squeeze it so tightly but I was so scared it would bite me so I didn’t and-”
Rika laughed as Emma rambled on about her time at the Kanagawas. Her thoughts wandered a bit, thinking about surprises. She had received so many surprises in one day and figured one for Emma would be fitting.
“Emma,” she called, stopping Emma from her rambling. “When we get back home, I have a surprise for you.”
“Is it a cat?!”
Emma’s eyes lit up in delight as she started thinking about the surprise waiting for her back home. Rika couldn’t wait to see Emma’s reaction once she found out what the “surprise” was. The moment their house came into view, Emma started pulling Rika, clearly eager to find out the “surprise”. She rushed in the moment the door was unlocked – only to stop suddenly.
“…Mama, there’s someone in the kitchen,” she said warily.
Rika chucked slightly and pushed her in the direction of the kitchen. “I know. Go and see who that is.”
Emma glanced at her before hesitantly making her way to the kitchen. She stood at the entrance and gasped. A highly recognisable man was cooking in the kitchen. Hearing her gasp, he looked in her direction and gave her a small smile.
“Hey there Emma.”
Emma’s body shook as tears welled up in her eyes. She took a half step forward, not believing her eyes. “…Uncle Hatano?”
Emma lunged herself at him and hugged him tightly. Sobs echoed around the kitchen as she refused to let him go. Everyone had died. Yet here he was, alive and well in front of her. Hatano quickly turned off the stove and returned the hug.
“Sorry it took so long,” he said. “Your uncle has always been watching you. But your uncle was a coward – is still a coward. It took him so long to come back to you.”
“Why now? What made you come back?” Emma questioned him.
“Thank your…Mama there. She made me come back.”
Emma looked at Rika questioningly, who only smiled at her. “Thank you Mama.”
Rika patted her head in reply before looking at Hatano. “You really know how to cook, huh.”
Hatano grinned cheekily at her. “I had to know how to survive alone. Eating out would cost a lot.”
“I hope it’s good.”
“Don’t worry. It’s definitely better than yours.” The comment earned a light slap from Rika in retaliation.
Emma quietly looked on as the two adults bickered playfully with one another. Somehow, she loved the current atmosphere. It was as if they were one big, happy family. That’s why she couldn’t help but blurt out her next sentence.
“So is Uncle Hatano going to be my Papa now?”
Both the adults stopped bickering and simply stared at Emma.
“Uh, Emma, you see-” Rika began.
Hatano swiftly covered her mouth with his hand to interrupt. “Not yet. But I promise you it will be soon.” He glanced at Rika and smirked. “It all depends on your Mama though. Maybe even a sibling or two in the years to come”
Rika gaped at him. Did Hatano just indirectly propose to her? And hint at the possibility of them having children. She blushed in embarrassment.
“I hate you,” she muttered.
“I love you too,” he cheekily pecked her on the lips.
“And I love you both, hee!” Emma chirped as she hugged them both.
Rika shook her head and laughed at the absurdity of the situation. She finally believed things were turning out for the better. With both Hatano and Emma by her side, she could finally live on happily.