“Amane-kun, I have to go somewhere after school. Can we go home separately?”
It was a certain day in July, after school, when Amane planned to return home with Mahiru as usual, only to hear her say such words.
Mahiru was usually the one who wanted to return home with him, so her request had him surprised, and he had to stare at her face.
Whenever she had something to do, Mahiru would often go along with Amane. Since she politely refused to, one had to wonder if it was something she did not want him to know of.
Looking at her expression however, he knew she was not guilty of anything, and was not worried.
Summer nights often came late, and she should be fine if she did not stay out too long. Nevertheless, Amane really wanted to go home with Mahiru.
“Oh, got it. I’ll see you later.”
Since he knew Mahiru would spend time with him at his place, he respected her wishes.
It seemed she was a little relived that Amane would accept this, and then she widened her eyes warily, as though she had realized something.
“…Please do not return home with other girls.”
“You think I will?”
“I do not, but there is a likelihood that other girls will ask you out, Amane-kun…I cannot say that I disallow it, but I dislike that. Some did talk to you just a while ago…”
It was a miracle that Amane did not make any noise.
…Wait, is she jealous?
Given his usual attitude towards Mahiru, he could not imagine anyone asking him out, but it appeared she was worried about this.
To wit, the girls who spoke to Amane were probably cheering them on, saying things like “Do your best”, and there was no need to worry.
Mahiru appeared a little uneasy, and lifted her head towards Amane uneasily, in a pleading manner. Amane found this adorable, and wanted to pat her head, but he disregarded this notion as there were onlookers.
The last time he did this, the onlookers were petrified by Mahiru’s smile. He would not repeat the same mistake again.
“Don’t worry, my heart’s all yours, Mahiru. I’m not going to accept anyone else’s invitation. At most, I’ll end up dragged along by Chitose.”
“…That will do.”
It appeared Chitose was still within limits. There was no way Chitose would fall for Amane however, and neither would Amane fall for Chitose, not with Itsuki around. Mahiru would probably be fine if it was Chitose.
It appeared Mahiru was somewhat relieved to hear Amane say this, for the tension was sapped from her shoulders, and she lifted her head towards him with a somewhat bashful look.
“And, erm, it will be bad if you misunderstand, somehow. I shall tell you where I am going.”
“You don’t have to keep it a secret?”
She said it was not a secret, but Amane felt Mahiru was stammering. It seemed she wanted to continue however, so he patiently waited for her to do so.
“E-erm…I am going to buy something.”
“Really? That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“Chitose-san and I…e-erm, will be buying swimsuits.”
It was true that entering July, the shops were starting to sell swimsuits.
Amane and the others often passed by a large area in the shopping mall where swimsuits were sold. He also clearly remembered his female classmates saying that they would be buying new swimsuits.
He however never expected Mahiru to actually buy her own swimsuit.
Truth be told, Mahiru could not swim.
She did say that since she did not want to swim, she chose a school where swimming classes were not a requirement. In any case, she probably could not swim.
And that Mahiru wanted to buy a swimsuit.
“…Are we not going to the pool together…?”
She fidgeted and shriveled as she whispered bashfully. Amane froze once he heard that, and pinched his face.
…Don’t say that with such a face.
As expected, the classmates loitering in the classroom were looking over at them.
There were expressions ranging from shock to warm smiles, which left him gaudy, ashamed, and unable to calm down. His heart would pound wildly whenever he saw Mahiru’s bashful face, and with so many staring at him in this atmosphere, he wanted to dig a hole and bury his head in.
“…I see. Then…go ahead.”
“Y-yes…which will be better?”
“The safer ones.”
He had to give an immediate answer.
Given her pretty face, one would assume any swimsuit would suit her nicely, but it was best for her to wear something not too revealing.
After all, while Amane and Mahiru had been dating for weeks, he hardly saw her reveal much skin.
In school, Mahiru would button up to the neck, and wear tights. She would wear such formal clothing, one had to worry if she would get heatstroke.
At home, she would never wear clothes that would reveal her chest, and her skirts were on the longer side. Even when wearing pants, she would wear tights.
In other words, Amane practically saw nothing of her skin, or nothing at all. He never had the chance to.
In this situation, if she were to wear a swimsuit, a sexy one at that, he probably would collapse on the spot and be unable to get up.
Once Amane said so decisively, Mahiru widened her eyes, and then she gave a chuckle.
“It really is a typical answer from you.”
“I’ll die. Something not outlandish please.”
“Hm hm, what shall I do?”
“I shall discuss with Chitose-san about which kinds will delight you.”
Amane pursed his lips as he looked at the somewhat bashful looking Mahiru.
Better send a message to Chitose, make sure she doesn’t choose anything weird.
It was more than a matter of life and death, and he had to stop Chitose, even if he had to knock Mahiru over.
Chitose was not in the classroom, and it appeared she was off to return something to her friend in another class. Amane decided to send a message to her, and poked the face of Mahiru who appeared to be contemplating a prank.