Amane was one to always lavish praise, despite his appearance.
Of course, he would not praise for no reason, and he would even pinpoint faults. Amane was an honest fellow however, and would praise when needed. He would never be reserved about it.
Every day, after every meal, Amane would tell Mahiru how delicious her cooking was. He was never discreet about it, and always stated his true thoughts. Mahiru was always embarrassed as a result.
It was the same for her clothes. No matter how minor the detail she put in her getup, he would notice immediately and praise her. Mahiru herself wondered if Amane had been praising her more than couples usually do. Of course, they were not a couple, but Amane always lavished words on her.
Amane’s weakness was that he rated himself poorly. From another point of view however, he could be considered humble, a virtue in itself.
In any case, Amane was someone who often praised others.
(…Which one is better?)
And because of that, whenever she was about to head to Amane’s apartment, Mahiru would unwittingly note her attire.
She would hang the clothes on herself, and stare into the mirror seriously.
She was not dressing up for Amane in particular, but it was not a bad thing to hear his praise. Also, she was elated to be recognized for her efforts. She liked to improve herself, and wanted to show the results of her effort.
“…I shall wear this then.”
I am not wearing this to gain his fancy. I am just being particular about my appearance.
She quietly convinced herself, and kept her other clothes in the closet, leaving behind the one she chose.
She entered Amane’s house, and saw him seated on the sofa, staring at her. She tilted her head unflinchingly.
“…What is it?”
“Nothing. I just have a feeling that you put in lots of effort on your hair today. Anyway, how did you make this hairstyle?”
It’s way too difficult to make your hair like that, Amane chuckled. Mahiru was really pleased that he noticed her hairstyle, her cheeks started to sear.
But if she showed it all on her face, Amane would end up flustered. She pretended that nothing happened, and averted her eyes.
“It is simple. Anyone can follow the instructions.”
“Well I can’t.”
“Sorry for having clumsy hands.”
Amane sounded a little pouty, and Mahiru realized how harsh she was. Feeling regretful, she sat next to Amane.
“Is this weird?”
“Why do you think so…I think it looks nice. The clothes look gentle on you, and cute.”
That alone caused her heart to flutter, like a petal dancing in the air.
I am too naive. She thought. She looked towards Amane next to her, and his eyes were clearly avoiding her.
“…What is it?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
He inched away from her. Clearly he wanted to say something, but was unwilling to.
“…You won’t really care if I praise you a few more times, right?”
“I am happiest when I am praised by you, Amane-kun.”
Mahiru answered instinctively. Both of them froze.
“…I-I am not saying that I hope to have you praise me more, Amane-kun? Well, you never lie…and what you say is all heartfelt, so I am happy.”
“Oh, ah…erm, I never lie about this. I always feel that you’re working hard to make yourself pretty, and you’re already cute to begin with.”
—How devious of him.
Mahiru muttered softly enough for Amane not to hear, and hugged her favorite cushion.