Chapter 3: Return Of The Phantom (1/2)

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The week had flown by in no time at all and Saturday had arrived. Shuichi had had quite the week with his childhood friend and had completely forgotten the phantom thief and that awful night. It was a sunny 1pm as usual and the detective was in his cosy guest room, the sunlight filtering and creeping through the blinds. He had promised to stay until then, and didn't want to appear a burden or as if he was getting in the way of Kaede's personal life so he thought it was best if he went home. He had to eventually anyway.

He had just brought his clean clothes upstairs from the dryer and was neatly folding them up, ready to pack them back into his black rucksack. He was going to miss Kaede's house; the girl and the property in itself had been very inviting and humble and made Shuichi not really want to return to his shabby flat - Kaede's home was grand and impressive like a palace, though much, much smaller in comparison. He finished squashing his belongings into the bag and flopped down on the soft bed.

He had spent six comfortable nights there: no doubt the best nights of sleep he'd ever experienced. He'd boasted about how relaxing the beds were to Kaede over breakfast the morning following his arrival and the pianist had appeared more than pleased with her best friend's reactions. Shuichi couldn't help but think that the girl had gone through the effort of finding an appropriate mattress for him in the hope that it'd help him cheer up and calm down - even if that weren't the case, it definitely worked!

Shuichi was extremely grateful for all Kaede had done for him that week and he owed her big time, even though he knew if he said anything she'd insist that it was all in the name of kindness and she didn't want anything in return. He'd keep that small detail to himself for now. He stared at the ceiling, a small smile of gratitude forming on his face.

"Shuichi? Lunch is ready! Come downstairs!" A friendly voice called from the kitchen.

The detective stood up, picking his bag up and throwing it over his shoulder casually. "Coming!" He called in response.

He walked towards the door and opened it, freezing in the doorway. He turned back to face the room. He was going to miss it, but he knew he'd maybe be able to stay over at his friend's again, so it wasn't goodbye forever. Growing hungrier, he hurriedly left the room and closed the door behind him, heading down the stairs to the kitchen.

Kaede was dishing up bitesized balls of seafood and vegetables into small glass bowls when her friend had walked in. "Sorry if this isn't too impressive - I haven't gone shopping yet this week and I usually buy just for one person since I live alone, but I do really hope this is good enough for you!" She beamed hopefully, eager to receive a positive reaction from the detective. She ushered him to a seat as he placed his bag down underneath the large mahogany table, polished so thoroughly it was gleaming as if it were smiling.

"There's no need to apologise! I really don't mind - you had good intentions and that's all that matters, right? I like sushi. It's one of my favourite foods, you have nothing to worry about." Shuichi replied thoughtfully, pulling his bowl closer to him and inspecting the contents with a ravenous grin. He tucked his wooden chair underneath the table as Kaede slid a fork across the table to him.

"We don't need chopsticks. You're more than welcome to eat with your fingers too, no one's here to judge you." The blonde girl winked with a giggle, unable to admit that she didn't own any so she masked the truth with a joke. She sat opposite the boy at the other side of the square table and began to eat.

The kitchen was exceptionally clean; the table was spotless, the counter tops were immaculately pristine and sanitary as well as the floor being unsullied. It was a large rectangular room, the black fridge beside the door, so tall it towered over both friends, looming eerily above them. It had a built in freezer below it, much smaller than the fridge. A whiteboard was attached to the front with a to-do list scribbled onto it. Souvenir magnets were scattered across the face of the refrigerator, populating it as if the fridge were their happy home.

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