“So you took it?”
Mahiru remained peeved once they got home, asking Amane.
She did not mind the fact that her photo was taken, but it seemed she did not want Amane to see it, and her eyes seemed spiteful as she looked at him.
“Hazard a guess.”
“I shall add lots of tsuyu sauce and wasabi to your soba noodles, Amane-kun. It shall be so delicious, you shall tear and snivel .”
“Sorry, I didn’t take them actually.”
The soba noodles for lunch were taken as hostage, and thus, Amane confessed honestly as diverting the topic was not effectual at all.
Mahiru was the one on the photos, and Amane did not take them willing since she was unhappy about it. Of course, he did intend for Chitose to send them over, assuming that Mahiru allowed for it.
Mahiru clearly looked relieved once Amane said so, and was a lot happy, “That is good.” She tied her hair, and got ready to cook.
“…Are you that unwilling?”
“No-not that I am…just that the expression are too embarrassing…I do think they will definitely not look adorable.
“You don’t look embarrassing at all. Actually, you’ll definitely look adorable.”
“I do think it is bad of you to say so, Amane-kun.”
“What’s bad about that?”
“Bad for my heart.”
Mahiru turned her face aside, tied her hair into a bun, put on the apron, and started washing.
Amane too intended to prepare the condiments and wash the plates, so he stood next to her, washing his hands. He glanced aside at Mahiru, and found her face blushing slightly.
“…What will you do if Akazawa-san is to send over an embarrassing photo of you?”
“Well, depending on the kind of photo. I’l probably forgive him unless it is something that’s not to be shown into the light of day. Itsuki won’t send over anything anything outrageous, and he won’t take them to begin with. I don’t remember embarrassing myself that much before him.”
“…Are cat ears forgivable?”
“If it’s about those forced on me during the karaoke session, that’s fine.”
Mahiru was probably referring to the time when the three boys went for a karaoke session together. For some reason, Itsuki had cat ears with him, stuffed them onto Amane, and took photos of him. Itsuki and Kadowaki stifled their laughter, and Amane immediately pulled them off, but it appeared a photo was taken.
Mahiru awkwardly lowered her head once Amane accepted it.
“…I am the one sorry for accepting the photos without your permission.”
“I blame Itsuki for sending it over suddenly. Next time, I’m asking hamburgers from him.”
Ituski probably had other photos lying in his folder, which scared him somewhat, but there probably was nothing too overboard.
Amane wiped his hands with the soft towel, and smiled at the guilty looking Mahiru.
“Alright, don’t worry about it. How about you prepare more condiments and sides instead of feeling guilty? I’ll be happier.”
“In moderation please.”
Amane answered with a serious look, and Mahiru seemed a little relieved as she smiled, put her head at his elbow, “…this is what I like about you.” and muttered so.
“We’ll have three days of tests starting tomorrow, but nothing major.”
Amane patted his stomach happily after he was done eating the soba noodles, and muttered so.
He liked to study, and would usually put in some effort, so he did not have to worry about exams. In fact, he was more concerned about his friend’s grades.
“Yes, we simply need to perform normally as usual.”
“Chitose’s going to pout and say that elite students can say this if she hears this.”
“Fufu, Chitose-san is saying so because she does have something she is bad at. I shall teach her properly next time.”
Amane had a thought that Chitose might end up screaming, but he kept it to himself, and looked over at Mahiru, who remained nonchalant on this day before the tests
“So, what about the reward this time?’
“Eh, a reward?”
“You’re definitely going to be first, but you should have a reward. I’ll do anything as long as I can do it.”
“Your last reward was a lap pillow, I believe. Assuming so, I should reward you again this time.”
“Your happiness is my reward, Mahiru.”
“…I feel the same though. It is sleazy of you to say so.”
Mahiru pursed her lips, clearly looking displeased. She slapped at Amane’s thighs gently, and he held her hand with a wry smile.
“I want to do something for you. let me do it this time.”
“Uuu…e-erm, there is something I want.”
“Something you want?’
Mahiru actually had little to none materialistic desire, and hardly had anything she wanted, but she was asking Amane for one. He looked towards her caramel colored eyes, wondering what it was, and she awkwardly averted her eyes.
“…Erm, I believe there is a cushion in your room, Amane-kun.”
“I want that.”
Amane blinked a few times, for what Mahiru wanted was really unexpected. She might be really embarrassed, for she did not hide the redness on her face, fidgeting waay.
“I’ve used that for a long time. You sure?”
“It is fine since you have used it a lot…erm…your scent comforts me, Amane-kun.”
“…Wait, you have a scent fetish, Mahiru?”
“N-no at all! I like your scent because I like you, Amane-kun, so I am glad if I have you next to me…”
Amane had a feeling that she just said something embarrassing.
It embarrassed him more than if Mahiru had simply said that she loved him. He scratched his cheek, recalling the cushion in the room.
In hindsight, Mahiru would always hug the one cushion whenever she visited Amane’s room. He thought it was because she would feel at ease hugging something, but perhaps it was because the cushion belonged to him.
“…But speaking of which, a cushion?’
“N-no can do?”
“Ah, I don’t mind that. You’re saying that you don’t need the actual person?”
I think it’s better than the cushion scent, he muttered, and heard a murmur.
“B-but I cannot bring you back, Amane-kun.”
“You’re right, but I can bring you over.”
Mahiru was clearly flushed red. Amane too felt his face turning red, and smiled,
“If you’re going to stay overnight here, I’ll just…”
“E-erm, eh, uu…well, I think, I, may, ne-need, to, prepare.”
“I’m not forcing you. You can drop by whenever you want, and it’s fine if you don’t want to come.”
They were lovers, but surely Mahiru would be worried about the prospect of staying overnight, timid even. They did share the same bed several times, but Mahiru never stayed over at Amane’s place as a lover, without anyone disturbing.
Amane did not plan to do anything, but it was no wonder that Mahiru was really rattled at the prospect of staying over, excited, and terrified. Thus, Amane hoped that Mahiru would visit only when she wanted to.
“So you sure you’re fine with just the cushion?”
“How about this. We can buy some cakes. Since you always work hard, some reward is important.”
After all, it was not good to discuss about something Mahiru had no desire for, so he retracted his words heartily. He frisked his phone, and started searching for cakes Mahiru might like.
Next to him, Mahiru clearly looked a little flustered. Amane patted her head, and for some reason, she headbutted him, “Amane-kun no baka.” and insulted in an adorable manner.