“Amane~, come~ play~”
“What are you doing before bedtime?”
Chitose was spending the night at Mahiru’s place, so Amane spent his time alone after the festival ended. She gave a video call before bedtime, and Amane naturally frowned.
He did not dislike the fact that she called him, but that he found it a hassle to get up when he was already lying down, and a little fatigued.
Shown on the screen was Chitose’s beaming face. Her face is noisy enough, he had such a rude thought about her, and moved the phone next to his pillow.
“Say, I want to sleep now.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re looking like you’re going to school.”
“Can I hang up now since you know that?”
“No please~ hang up only when Mahirun returns~”
“Where’s Mahiru anyway?”
“Bathing~ she’s not bathing with me today.”
Chitose made it sound like a pity, but Mahiru’s choice to bathe alone was the correct one. Otherwise, Mahiru would probably be worn down during this time she should be relaxing.
“Mahirun’s disappointed that she can’t say good night to you, so I’m calling over~don’t hang up on me.”
“…You expect me to hang up now?”
“You would have hung up if I didn’t say so, right?”
“You’re too much~” she giggled, and suddenly sheathed away that cheerful look as she looked at Amane through the screen.
She did not appear to be joking like she was before, and looked poised as though enlightened. The sudden change left Amane confused.
“Say Amane, can I ask you something?”
Amane knew that Chitose would ask serious questions whenever she made such a face, so he did not ignore her. Once he answered, Chitose stared at him intently.
“How much do you like Mahirun?”
“Like, as in…?”
“Since you treasure her so much, I want to ask how much you like her.”
It was not an easy question to answer. Amane lowered his eyebrows, and Chitose’s expression did not change.
“…I think it’s just me being biased, but, well, high school students in relationships are usually in the spur of the moment right? They don’t seem serious, they’re just fooling around.”
“Did Daiki-san tell you that?”
“Oh my~ you’re a smart one.”
Chitose laughed. She did not have any of her usual sharpness, and looked devastated.
She took the phone, laid on the bed, and sighed gently.
“…I’m not intending to fool around, but I’ve never taken things seriously, and he didn’t think I am. I guess that’s why…I don’t know how many actually look into their own futures.”
She did show signs of such worries during the festival, and probably was wondering how she could get along with Itsuki’s father Daiki in his own way. Itsuki’s mother did not care about this, so it appeared she would have to pass that hurdle.
Amane slowly spoke up in response to her question.
He knew how to answer even without thinking.
“…Hm, it’s hard for me to say…but I want her to accompany me forever with a smile.”
He could not express how much he liked Mahiru, and did not know how to describe it.
The one thing certain was that he wanted Mahiru to be happy, and wanted to treasure her, that she would continue to accompany him with a smile for all of eternity. That was what he truly thought.
“You aren’t the same, Chitose?”
“Of course not. I want Ikkun to laugh forever.”
“Hm, that should be good enough. If you say so, I think that’s fine. It’s not going to change no matter what others say.”
Amane replied with a laugh once he heard her unhappy reply. On the other end, Chitose looked timid.
“…It’s annoying how good a person you are.”
“I have to when I have such a great girlfriend.”
“Woah that’s smooth…you annoy me~”
Chitose might have smacked Amane in the back if she was present. She grumbled unhappily…but sounded a little delighted, Mahirun’s really doted on, she added, and burst out laughing.
She then turned her head around.
“What are you talking about?” a familiar voice could be heard from behind, and it seemed Mahiru was done bathing. She stood behind Chitose, wearing a Negligee that exposed relatively little.
A trail of flax color swayed, probably because Mahiru went next to Chitose.
“Hm~? I’m saying that your boyfriend is a good man, Mahirun.”
“What about Amane-kun?”
“Ah, just talking about life with him.”
Chitose gave a really vague answer, and beyond the screen, Mahiru sighed.
Chitose was a little perturbed as the atmosphere got a little gaudy, and then, Mahiru sat next to Chitose.
“…Is he not going to talk to me?”
Chitose was stunned to hear such pouty words, and at the next moment, moved the phone aside.
The phone screen spun, but one could hear a cute ‘kya’ from Mahiru. It appeared Chitose was doing some skinship on her.
“…You’re so cute Mahirun! I’ll keep talking with you until you have enough!”
“Chitose-san…it is dangerous to leap over.”
Mahiru’s reproach sounded really happy, and it seemed she probably did not dislike it.
“Eh~” so came Chitose’s reply. The front camera turned black, probably because it was buried under the bedsheet, but one could imagine Chitose getting on top of Mahiru.
“I like you Mahirun~”
“I like you too.”
“Hehe~ I stole Mahirun’s like from Amane~”
“Ehhhh, A-Amane-kun, is, special…”
Mahiru picked up the phone and explained with a frantic voice. Amane chuckled.
“Well I know that.”
“You second gen bakauple.”
“Shut up first gen.”
Chitose and Itsuki were no better, and Amane did not want to lecture them.
“Alright, go to sleep now, girls. Staying up late’s not going to be good for your skins.”
Amane said as he had a look at the time, since the topic was ending.
It was past 11pm, and Mahiru usually did not stay up late, so she probably was tired enough to sleep, especially since she went around in the yukata, which she was unused to wearing.
In fact, even though Mahiru was blushing as she snatched Chitose’s phone, she clearly was looking tired, and it was not good to chat for long.
“I never thought I would hear these words from Amane~ but I guess so. Hanging up now…you okay Mahirun?”
Mahiru probably understood why Chitose contacted Amane when prompted, and she widened her eyes in shock, before giving Amane a gentle smile.
“Eh…ahh, good night Amane-kun. See you tomorrow.”
“Oh, night. See you tomorrow.”
I would have patted her head if she’s next to me, so he thought, but he wanted the two girls to have fun, so he did not express his thoughts, and instead smiled back at Mahiru, who wanted to enjoy this stayover.