The trio met up with Itsuki, who returned from his shopping trip (as a gopher). They ate the food, and went with the crowd as they enjoyed the stalls.
“But seriously, there’s a lot of people around here.”
“This is the closest festival we have here. We got many stalls, lots of space, and it’s common for us to bump into our classmates.”
But they just retreated in dismay though, Itsuki quipped happily, and Amane merely shrugged.
Mahiru looked stunned to hear that, probably because she was skeptical about the word ‘retreated’.
She never paid attention to them, let alone show concern for them, and Amane had a small sense of superiority in his heart.
I dare say though, they’re trying to attract Mahiru’s attention even though I’m here.
Amane assumed that the whole school would know Mahiru would never pay attention to anyone other than him, after how they acted in school, but it appeared the others had not given up.
He did understand how they felt however.
An innocent, adorable girl who was a male’s ideal was right within range. They might find it unacceptable for a countryside kid to suddenly pop by and abduct her.
However, Mahiru clearly treated Amane differently from the others, and he really wished they could understand this.
…She really loves me.
Naturally, he already knew about this, but this understanding was reinforced recently.
…She really treasured and doted him.
Of course, he had the same amount of passion towards her as she did to him, but he felt ticklish in this awkward yet proud emotion he felt.
“…You really love Mahirun, Amane. Your face is shown.”
“You’re looking friendlier than before, your eyes, your expression, they look a lot kinder…basically, you’re being gentle.”
“…I know that I’ve become friendlier, but if I have to say gentle…”
It was one thing to say that he had a gentler attitude, but he did not really comprehend her saying that his eyes and expression looked gentle.
He was relatively aloof, or so he felt, and could not comprehend her saying that he was gentle.
“Say Mahiru, is it as she said?”
“Really? Anyway, what do you mean, a gentler expression…?”
“I shall take a photo next time so that you will understand.”
It is amazing after all, so she said, and he had the notion to stop doting on Mahiru before everyone else, but he had no confidence since she was that adorable.
She blushed, and looked towards him infrequently. For the time being, he caressed her cheeks with his fingers, and did his best to exert tension onto his face.
“…It’s useless to try and look tense before us now.”
“Mahirun prefers to see your doting side, Amane.”
“Eh, e-erm…I do like Amane-kun no matter how he is, dashing, gentle, sexy…”
“Heh~ so you’ve seen Amane looking sexy~?”
Chitose leered away, but Amane did nothing to be guilty about. He scowled, but he did not panic.
They had been dating for at least two months, but all they did was to kiss, and nothing more. For the time being, he decided to endure for a while.
He would feel that he had obtained her body if he suggested to do that immediately after dating, and he hated that. Mahiru would be the one burdened after all, and he could not simply force the issue.
He could consider doing so if Mahiru wished for it, but it appeared she had no such intention, so that was a long shot.
“We’re not doing what you think of.”
“You said it out huh? Are you just keeping your urges to yourself, or just being platonic?”
“But you’ve kissed, right?”
“…Nothing to do with you.”
…You told her, didn’t you? Amane gently pinched at the hand he held, reproaching Mahiru, who blushed and apologized meekly.
She probably mentioned it during their girls talk, so he did not grumble much, but it was embarrassing to have this pointed out.
Chitose might have felt they were way too late at this stage, to be just kissing. You two are really innocent, or Amane’s too timid, she noted, and Amane frowned.
“…Nothing bad about that, right? We’re going at our own pace.”
“Hm, sure sure, but I want to say, if you keep a girl waiting, she’ll get anxious, so be careful.”
“You should be honest now, Mahirun, instead of discussing things like Amane-kun wouldn’t kiss me.”
“Ahhhhhhh do not say this!”
Mahiru hastily covered Chitose’s mouth, and Amane widened his eyes. Chitose quickly darted aside, grinning as she enjoyed the sight of Mahiru.
Mahiru was athletic, but so was Chitose, and the former was wearing yukata, which was inconvenient to move in. It appeared Mahiru could not catch Chitose.
“Hmph hmph, Mahirun will get embarrassed, but I find it cute to see her like this. I’m stunned to see you so passive though, Amane.”
“…I-if you keep saying, I will not help you with your remaining assignments.”
“That’s troubling. Okay, I’ll watch my mouth then.”
Chitose looked all the more delighted to hear the cute threat, and she smiled as she dragged her finger past her lips, showing that she would be zipping it.
Mahiru was shivering in shame, and Amane stared at her. Her face turned redder once she noticed, and she tried to escape, but Amane hastily caught her.
He hugged her from behind, and gently patted her back to calm her down.
“It’s not convenient to meet up if we get lost, and others will try to woo you. Don’t run away now.”
“I won’t look, okay?”
Amane said he would not look, but he could feel her shivering from shame in his clutches. So he thought, but if he said it out loud, Mahiru might really run away, so he did not. Mahiru then earnestly remained in his clutches, and obediently shook herself.
Once again, he realized how adorable her earnest self was. Itsuki and Chitose stared at them dumbfoundedly.
“This is what we mean by that gentle expression of yours.”
“We hate that you don’t have any self awareness at all.”
They appeared to be whispering, but they said it loud enough for Amane to hear, and his face winced.
Mahiru remained in his clutches however, so he could not reproach them, and merely conveyed his unhappiness on his face.