A few days after Mahiru recovered from her cold, Amane was lazing on the sofa after dinner. As he did, he suddenly found Mahiru patting his upper arm.
He froze, as it was too sudden. He saw her poke his elbow with a serious look, gently—before grabbing it, as though to check its firmness. He panicked.
“…I was thinking, you are sturdier than I imagined, Amane-kun?”
“Do you think I’m a beansprout or something?”
Amane did lift Mahiru in a bridal carry, so his assumption was that she found him strong, but he was wrong.
“A beansprout…your skin is white, but that is because you dislike going out, I suppose?”
“I don’t really get tans. Hey, don’t think of me as a beansprout.”
Amane knew he did not have a ‘heroic’ build, but his pride as a boy took a tremendous hit when he was deemed a beansprout. He raised his eyebrows indignantly as Mahiru’s hand slid from his upper arm to his palm.
She stroked his veins and muscles with her fingers, which tickled him. There was an unspeakable itch and shame arising in his heart, and he averted his eyes.
It seemed as though Mahiru never noticed the change in him at all as she continued to stroke his arm. There was nary a stray thought in her actions and expression, only innocence.
After Mahiru appeared to have not noticed anything at all, Amane finally had enough. He reached his hand out to capture the little prey wandering around his arm, grabbed it, and ensured that she would not move again.
“If you want to keep touching me, then I’ll touch you too.”
He latched his fingers onto the little palm, and she immediately froze, both her hand and body.
Mahiru might not have noticed it, but she was touching Amane all over as she pleased. It was just like her to freeze up the moment she was touched.
Amane too, touched Mahiru. Her skin was fine, much silkier than Amane’s, and bouncy. It was then that Amane realized that Mahiru was a girl. Petite and tender, a seemingly entirely different existence from him.
They did hold hands a few times, but it was the first time he actually felt her for real. As expected, there was a demure feeling to Mahiru, which led to one having the sudden desire to protect her.
He marveled at the feeling of the little palm in his hand, and got elbowed by her as retaliation.
Ow, he blurted. He found Mahiru staring at him, red faced, but she had no intention of letting go. He found her staring at him with narrowed eyes, apparently hiding her embarrassment. It was then he realized he overdid it, so he hurriedly let go.
“…I never thought you were such an impudent person, Amane-kun.”
“Pot, meet kettle.”
You were the one who started touching me, he quipped. Mahiru clung firmly onto the cushion on her legs, and murmured,
“…Nothing, nothing at all.”
Mahiru buried her face into the cushion. It appeared she wanted to say something, yet at the same time was unwilling to. Amane decided to shut up, for he was certain that if he agitated Mahiru again, she would scamper away from the living room.
Unfortunately, as the cushion was in Mahiru’s clutches, he could not use it to hide the embarrassment on his face.