“You two are going out today, right?”
The four of them were seated in the morning, ready to have breakfast, when Shihoko suddenly mentioned as though she just mentioned.
It did not seem that they were joking however, “It is boring to stay at home all day after after all.” they readily noted.
“Hm, but we aren’t really going anywhere. Just a random stroll.”
“I have not gone out before. I am looking forward to it.”
Over the past three days, Mahiru spent her time at Amane’s house, except for the shopping trip with Shuuto on the first day. One reason was that Amane’s parents had been hospitable to her, and another was that it was inconvenient to have her wander at this familiar place.
Amane assumed his parents would bring her out, but they chose to laze around at home. Thus, he felt he should at least bring her out.
“We only have a park and a supermarket out here, you know? Want to go along?”
“No, a simple stroll with you will do, Amane-kun. I am happy to be with you.”
Amane already knew that Mahiru was not looking forward to visiting any place, but that she was looking forward to going out, or to be precise, to spend time with Amane, and his heart heated up.
He knew from her expression that she was satisfied just being with him. He was elated and yet embarrassed, and his eyes wavered a little.
“But well, you two are already beyond lovers.”
“We used to be like that when we’re younger.”
“No, Shihoko-san, you weren’t as calm as Shiina-san, you know?”
“How strict of you.”
“Though that makes you adorable too.”
Man, these two are getting at it early in the morning, Amane thought as he saw the bashful Shihoko and Shuuto praising her naturally. He ignored them as he took a large mouthful of Shihoko’s omelette.
The omelette itself was fine, but Amane felt Mahiru’s was better. The reason however was because it would be Mahiru cooking them, rather than the standards. He had fallen completely for Mahiru’s cooking, and would detect any imperfection in Shihoko’s cooking.
He wondered if he should have Mahiru prepare breakfast next time as he looked at her, and found her looking at his parents admiringly, enviously, and somewhat bashfully.
He had a vague idea of what she was thinking, and he too became awkward.
…I can’t really go this far however.
Amane too hoped to form an intimate bond in Mahiru’s heart, despite him saying otherwise.
Once again, he looked towards his always lovey-dovey parents, and discreetly blushed once he imagined a certain day in the future.
“Let’s go then.”
A few moments after his parents went out to work, Amane said to Mahiru, who was sitting on the sofa.
It was morning, but he did not intend to go far, just a simple stroll nearby. It should be fine even though it was almost noon. They would not be out for long, for the plan was to return home at noon, and Mahiru would cook bacon omelette carbonara.
“Yes, I am ready.”
“Well, we don’t really need to bring stuff out when strolling…I intend to go to town next time.”
“…I-is that, a date?”
“Yes it’s a date. Today’s rest day.”
A girl had to prepare herself for a sudden date tomorrow, so Amane’s plan was to just go out for a stroll. By its definition, this might be considered a date, but there was much difference in how serious they would take it.
He hoped to go out with her for an entire day, and they would merely go out for a stroll on this day.
Mahiru was clearly elated about the next date, and showed a delighted, sweet smile.
“I am looking forward to the date.”
“Sure. I’ll plan it out, so jut look forward to it.”
“I am fine as long as I am with you, Amane-kun.”
“I know, but since we’re here, let’s choose some place where we can enjoy ourselves.”
Mahiru herself said that she would be satisfied just being with him, and that was obvious from her face. However, as her boyfriend, Amane hoped to make her happy.
“Well, that’ll be for next week. Let’s just go for a normal stroll today.”
Amane reached his hand out, and Mahiru naturally held it.
He was a little embarrassed by this, and smiled to hide that shame as he held her hand, and led her out of the door.
It had been a year or so since he returned home, but the surrounding area did not change much. Feeling nostalgic, he walked down the familiar road.
Both of them held hands during this time. Boys and girls on vacation would glance admiringly towards Mahiru whenever they passed by, and Amane found it a little funny, laughing out loud.
It proved that Mahiru was really pretty, which was a good thing, but he was bemused by the many people who looked at her.
“What are you laughing about, Amane-kun?”
“Hm? Well, you’re pretty, and you attracted lots of people.”
“It is pointless to attract those stares though.”
“What about me?”
“…I shall let you look however you want, you know?”
Mahiru smiled teasingly, “I’ll have a good look at home.” and Amane too smiled back as he held her hand, and led her into the park.
The park was relatively big, and had more scenes of nature. It is a place for the people living nearby to rest.
The children were in a large sand pit, shrieking and playing sand. Some were queuing for the slide next to the jungle gym. Their parents were looking at them at the nearby benches, or playing with them.
Both of them smiled heartily once they saw this comforting daily sight.
“They are all so energetic.”
“We don’t have that much energy to run around like that.”
“But you dislike running to begin with.”
“I’m fine with that, but it’s just that I’m forced to run at a certain speed.”
Some hated sports not because they disliked keeping their bodies limber, but that they disliked having others look at them, or to be forced to exercise.
Amane was one such person who preferred to exercise freely alone. He hated sports, but not exercise.
“Will you play with those children?”
“I’ll be seen as suspicious, right? I won’t leave you aside, Mahiru. Look, you’re wearing a dress, and you can’t run or squat, right?”
“Yes…but I think they have it good. I never got to play like that before…”
I used to play in the garden alone, she quietly muttered, and Amane held her little hand once again.
“…We can’t really play now. So…if there’s a chance in the future.”
It appeared Mahiru did not really understand. Amane felt it was a pity, and yet at the same time, thought it was fine for her not to realize.
He intended to mention it once they graduated from high school, so it was fine for her not to notice what he said, and to slowly consider about setting up a family.
He had a feeling she probably would not refuse.
He smiled, befuddling Mahiru who tilted her head in confusion, and gently held her hand as they strolled through the park.
He tried to ensure that they were under the shade, and they saw the blooming flowers in the flowerbeds, enjoyed the refreshing breeze blowing through the trees, and enjoyed a very leisurely time
As they had walked quite a bit, Amane stopped at a vending machine to buy some drinks, resting at the nearby shade.
“But honestly, you’re already used to my place, Mahiru.”
He had a gulp, sighed, and asked her, whose caramel-colored eyes blinked at this sudden question, before she relaxed.
“Yes, I am grateful.”
“You’re more used to it than me.”
“I-is that so?”
“You’re completely used to it. It’s like your first home.”
Mahiru had completely found herself at home with the Fujimiyas, was heavily doted, and it would not be out of place to say she was one of the Fujimiyas. Of course, all three members of the flavor doted on her.
Amane aside, his parents really doted on her like their own daughter, and she seemed very relieved.
“Do you have fun at my house?”
“Yes, everything feels enjoyable at your house. Shuuto-san and Shihoko-san really took care of me.”
“Yeah, better than me.”
“Do not pout now, Amane-kun.”
“I’m not. I have you.”
Amane hoped for Mahiru to be part of the Fujimiyas. Even though he might feel abandoned, he was happy that his family would gladly accept Mahiru.
In any case, he was fine with having Mahiru. Obviously, Mahiru would always return to him, so it was fine for his parents to care for her. He felt a little conflicted that their time together would be reduced however.
She seemed a little bashful upon hearing Amane’s words, and stuck her forehead onto his elbow, hiding her face. He found that gesture adorable, and intended to pat her head.
Amane heard this voice, and stopped his hand from patting her head.
He recovered to find a presence nearby. Neither of them had noticed anyone approaching them, as they had enjoyed themselves.
He stopped, put his hand down, and turned towards the voice…to find a boy causing him some strange sense of nostalgia.