That night, Amane laid on the bed, closed his eyes, and waited for sleep to come. However, he just could not sleep, and laid there.
Usually, he could fall asleep easily, but he just could not on it was this particular day. He was strangely excited, and restless.
He wondered why it was, and felt it was probably due to his encounter with Tojo.
Though Tojo was a former friend, and one of the reasons why Amane suffered, Amane felt that the goosebumps and shivers associated with them were long gone.
He felt relieved after their encounter, and somewhat emotional.
He realized how much support he received from Mahiru after they met, how much he grew, and also, an unspeakable sense of achievement.
However, he probably would be unable to sleep if this kept up. He got up, intending to breathe in some fresh air outside to clear his mood. He put on his slippers, and went to the veranda.
He opened the window, and was met with damp air, causing him some discomfort as he was already in the air conditioned room. The summer temperatures remained high even at night. It had been the case over the past few nights, and it was no wonder that he felt hot.
The air was fresh though. There were no lights from the nearby residential areas, and he could see pretty stars. These were sufficient in killing time, alleviating his boredom before he slept.
He leaned on the railing, enjoying the quiet space and the radiant starlights. Suddenly, he heard a rubbing sound at the window.
It did not come from his room, but from the other room connected to the veranda. He turned around to see Mahiru dressed in a one piece nightgown, poking her upper body out as she looked back at him.
“…You still awake, Mahiru?”
Amane never expected her to be still awake.
It was the middle of the night, and Mahiru had a regular pattern in her lifestyle. As she mentioned before, she would sleep before midnight, so he never expected her to be awake, let alone arrive at the veranda.
“I feel a little sleepless…are you unable to sleep too, Amane-kun?”
“Well yeah…lots of things happened after all.”
Lots of things happened, Mahiru went to the veranda, her eyes lowered as a result of those words. “Ah, no, that’s not what I mean.” Amane noted wryly.
“Look, I’m not thinking about those things, you know? I guess I’m reflecting more on how much I’ve grown.”
Mahiru’s momentary concern was excessive.
Amane had no further thoughts about Tojo. He merely felt his own changes, and would never imagine the latter’s face again. He was no longer threatened.
Mahiru seemed relieved when Amane said with a chuckle, and she too gave a little smile.
“Fufu…you have become stronger and matured, Amane-kun. You probably grew a lot since middle school.”
“Yeah. About 20cm or so.”
“You really grew.”
AMane had changed, not simply in terms of height, but more importantly, his heart changed over the past year, and the manner he viewed things too changed.
Looking back at the past, he felt he was a really unlikable, nonchalant, and arrogant boy. After all, because of them, he could not deny the part when he was not cute, not sociable.
He felt that he was more poised compared to before.
The reason that was due to the dearest girl next to him.
“As you said, you have grown, Amane-kun. Physically and emotionally.”
“Do you have confidence?”
“That is good. Even if you do not, I shall support you.”
“Thanks for that. Really.”
Mahiru showed a warm smile, and put her hands on the railing, looking up at the sky. Amane had an urge to dote on her.
She would smile next to him, just like this. She would stay by his side to support him, to encourage him. She hoped for him to be by her side. Amane was really elated to have such a precious, rare person, next to him.
“…I want to touch you.”
Mahiru slowly turned towards Amane once she heard these sudden words.
Her expression was filled mostly with shock. Amane was embarrassed by the words he said, and yet he had no intention to correct himself as he stared at Mahiru’s perturbed, faltering eyes.
“…I have an urge to touch you. Can I?”
He really wanted to touch her.
He wanted to feel the warmth of Mahiru, who loved him, doted on him, and supported him.He wanted to experience that fact that she was by his side.
And as Amane stared at her intently, her caramel-colored eyes flickered, before they were lowered bashfully.
“…Not that you cannot.”
Once he heard that little murmur, Amane felt a little more warmth in his heart.
He understood that he was allowed to do so, and reached his hands for Mahiru.
However, he wanted if he should embrace her at the veranda. Thus, he touched her palm instead.
He felt the feeble hand that strongly supported him, and led him on. He brought her into his room.
This house was cooler than the apartment Amane stayed at, but it was still hot at night, so the air-conditioning was switched on. They felt a cool breeze once they entered.
It was the middle of the night, so he silently closed his window, and sat Mahiru on the bed.
There was no sofa, and they could only sit there. Amane had no other intentions. Once he let her sit however, she froze, and turned stiffly towards Amane, causing him to chuckle.
“I won’t do anything.”
“Are you looking forward to it?”
“O-of course not?”
“As a guy, I feel rather conflicted here.”
“Just joking…I just want to touch you.”
Amane had no intention of doing that thing that would cause her to be immediately wary. He wanted to wait for her to be ready, and not force the issue just to have her.
She finally relaxed, and Amane slow wrapped his arms around her back. She too wrapped her arms around his.
He felt a soft sensation slowly filling his heart, had a scent of the sweet fragrance, and an unspeakable sense of happiness. Once again, he felt a looming desire to dote on her, and embraced her as much as he wanted.
Mahiru too narrowed her eyes comfortably in his clutches.
She never said how happy she was, but surely she too felt the same as Amane, considering the soft smile on her lips and the peaceful mood emitted from her.
…I really love her.
This emotion deep in his heart brought forth warmth and happiness in his body, and increasingly, his own presence.
He assumed he would never love her more, but his feelings were increasingly rooted, increasingly passionate, and probably would never vanish again. Perhaps he too would be like his parents, his fondness of her getting stronger, becoming a gentle, peaceful, radiant form that would never vanish.
He loved her with all his heart, and could firmly conclude so.
As he harbored these feelings that could not be restrained, Amane unwittingly lifted Mahiru’s chin with his hand, and brought his lips against Mahiru’s moist smile.
The caramel-colored eyes up close blinked a few times.
And then, Amane felt a blunt pain on his forehead, turning it aside.
Reeling from the pain, it was his turn to blink away.
It was probably Mahiru who caused the pain this time, and her eyes were swimming about, clearly looking perturbed.
“S-sorry, you took me by surprise, so…”
“I-it’s fine. I’m at fault for doing this out of a sudden…sorry.”
Amane understood that she instinctively bumped her head into him, and he was the one who kissed her without permission. He could not have blamed her.
Given her reaction, he started to regret, thinking that he should have waited a little longer. Mahiru then began to shrivel however, and looked around.
“I-it is not that I dislike so, erm, but, it really took me by surprise…well…pl-please do it, once again. I will be fine, this time.”
Mahiru sounded bashful, but she closed her eyes again and lifted her head, preparing herself. Amane smiled, and took her lips again.
Mahiru headbutted him before he could savor her lips the previous time. This time however, he got to enjoy them as she was prepared.
The lips were softer and moist compared to his.
He worried that his lips were dry, that Mahiru would feel displeased about them, but she did not seem to dislike it. He gently nibbled on them, and she twitched her body, seemingly ticklish, which gave him an inexplicable desire to dote on her more.
They temporarily broke away, but as Mahiru was so adorable, Amane’s urge to go again was beyond his control, and he nibbled on her lips again.
“Unnn.” He heard the little sound, not knowing if she was surprised or protesting, but once he did so, as though coaxing her, her voice vanished.
There was some gulping sounds that came with that.
Once Amane moved his lips away for real, Mahiru buried her face into his shoulder.
“…Yo-you never said you were going to do it a few times.”
“Yo-you don’t want it?”
“N-not that, I am not prepared…erm, I am embarrassed.”
It is our first time, Mahiru muttered, but it sounded differently to Amane’s ears, and his heart raced.
“…Is it really your first time, Amane-kun? You seem more capable than I thought.”
“How so…erm, I just had the desire to kiss you, and didn’t really think about it, so I was a little forceful…”
“I-I do not dislike, it thought…I am fine, as long as we know we are doing it…a little more, if you will.”
As a boy, Amane could not possibly stop once Mahiru looked up to him and said so.
Once again, he kissed Mahiru on the lips, but at her pace, only at their lips.
Instead, Amane cupped his palm on the back of her head, not letting go.
Both of them turned their faces around, as though enjoying the moist lips, twirling around. Amane’s heart was already pounding loudly at this moment.
Mahiru giggled as they kissed, and put her hands on his chest, straightening herself and looking at at him.
“…I do not know the significance of kissing until I liked you. I suppose those who truly love others will feel really happy.”
“…Are you happy now?”
“Fufu. We are the same.”
Mahiru looked bashful and yet carefree. Once again, Amane kissed the slightly sweet and fragrant lips, and she shivered.
He felt she was unwilling to go further, so he moved his lips away. “That is not the case.” Mahiru giggled shyly, and leaned onto him, muttering, “You are warm, Amane-kun.”
“…Are you cold?”
“Yes. I think the air conditioner timer is yet to…”
The room temperature was set to be warmer than it would be in the day, but it still remained cold. Amane did set the timer to switch off after several hours, but she was certainly cold in that thin nightwear of hers.
After all, she was wearing a short-sleeved one-piece dress. Her elbows were exposed, and it was no wonder she was cold.
“Do you want me to warm you up?”
“Oh my, how will you do so?”
Amane asked jokingly, and Mahiru latched on, a rarity from her.
“What do you want me to do?”
“What do you think I want you to do?”
“What do I think you want me to do next, huh?”
“Have a guess.”
“…You’re getting ridiculous.”
“Fufu, I will not lose this time.”
“Yes yes. This is what I’ll give Mahiru-san.”
He embraced Mahiru, and rolled onto the bed.
The flax-colored hair danced in his clutches, and the caramel colored eyes seemingly widened in shock.
Amane kissed Mahiru on the cheek while she was stunned, grabbed the blanket by the side, and laid it over them. Mahiru seemed to have realized what happened, and leaned her face onto his chest.
“Now both of us are warm.”
“And we have an optional service of an arm pillow.”
Do you want it? Amane reached his arms out, and Mahiru giggled, courteously putting her head on his arm.
Man is her face close, Amane thought, and smiled. Mahiru’s smile turned impish.
“What is the price of the extra service?”
“A huge discount limited to Mahiru. Omelette for tomorrow’s breakfast.”
“I shall lie on it then.”
“You’re already doing it.”
Both of them smiled at each other, and Amane cupped his other hand onto her back, closing his eyes.