“So, you have something you want?”
The next day, Amane took the opportunity to raise this issue to Mahiru over dinner.
He decided to give her a present, a birthday present per se, but he did not really mean anything, and just wanted to repay her favors.
But that would have sounded really suspicious.
Even he found his question to be indelicate, brutish even, and started to regret it. But Mahiru stared at him in surprise.
“Why ask this out of a sudden?”
“Well, it looks like you have nothing you want, so I’m just asking because I’m curious.”
“That is still too sudden…”
He felt he could have done better trying to misdirect her, but he could not take back the words he had said.
Luckily or not, it appeared Mahiru did not notice it was about her birthday.
Ultimately, she felt he could not have known about his birthday, and never thought about that.
“I see. So what do I need now…r what I want?”
“What do you want?”
He asked again without thinking, for the answer was completely beyond his expectations.
Or rather, nobody would have expected a high school girl to want such a thing.
Typically, they would have wanted cosmetics, accessories, bags, and such stuff. Amane could not imagine that she would have asked for a tool to sharpen metals.
“Yes, a whetstone. I do have a few of them, but I do wish for a finer polishing whetstone.”
“Hey, you’re a high school girl now.”
“Please do not ask of me to be an ordinary high school girl.”
Her words left Amane unable to retort.
No matter how lightly they put it, Mahiru truly could not be called an ordinary high school girl.
She was already famous as the Angel in school, equipped with brains and brains, perfectly capable of housework and cooking.
Her taking care of Amane, who was completely hopeless at housework, would have one assuming she was a girl already married off.
But who would have imagined her wanting a whetstone?
It appeared Mahiru would be the only high school girl who would have wanted a whetstone.
“You’re not buying for yourself?”
“Not that I cannot, but I do not often have the chance to, and it is relatively pricey, so I have not. Also, I have a few polishing whetstone, so I am in no real need for them.”
As she mentioned how she had a few with her, he really could not imagine how she would be in the future.
“…We have a high school girl sharpening her chopper here.”
“There are though.”
“Even if there are, you’re the only one I know of, never mind someone who wants to have a whetstone.”
“Sounds like a rare thing. Not bad.”
“What do you mean, not bad…”
It was really rare to see a girl with such likes, and so he did not know what she wanted.
Amane himself was at his wits end, and Mahiru tilted her head incredulously.
As he did not know what kinds of things Mahiru wanted, he could only go with his last resort, to ask Itsuki.
He had anticipated that since Itsuki had a girlfriend like Chitose, he would have an inkling of a girl’s thought process, a rough gauge of what a typical girl would like.
He did not know if Mahiru was ordinary, but he deduced that at the very least, Mahiru would not hate anything a girl would like.
“What present did you give Chitose?”
He thought it should be fine if he asked what Itsuki gave, asking so, but the latter gave him an astounded look.
“Eh, you want to give a present to a girl you like?”
“You think I’m the type to do that?”
“So why do you ask?”
“Someone I know has a birthday. Just for reference.”
He would have taken this reference to the next level, and go off to buy one, but he did not want to say that.
“Uh~ huh. The best thing would be something she likes. Anyway, you usually should be investigating this. This is the trick to keeping a great relationship.”
“I said she’s not my girlfriend.”
Amane could imagine how dangerous it would be if Mahiru was his girlfriend, in various ways (mostly the killing intent around him however), and was terrified by that notion.
It was true that he felt at ease being with her, but these two were simply together, with no desire to get attached. It was not love at all.
While he certainly found her cute, he did not intend for the relationship to end up like that. Such was the feeling he had for Mahiru.
“What she wants…what if I don’t know?”
“Got to look at how close you are to her. If you’re on good terms, some accessories should be fine, but if you’re not that close, a few small items or consumables; she should be happy with flowers, but sometimes that makes things complicated.”
“…You’re really well versed in that.”
“I learned my lesson after all.”
Initially, Itsuki and Chitose were not the lovey-dovey couple they became. It appeared they got closer slowly during middle school. Amane was in a different middle school from them, so he did not know the details, but it seemed they went through lots of hardships before they started dating. Even at this point, he heard rumors of their past.
Itsuki must have brooded quite a bit choosing a present for Chitose, so the choices he raised might have been made after much deliberation.
“Ah, some hand cream should be fine.”
The unexpected choice had Amane pondering. With a gleeful look, Itsuki explained.
“It works for whatever age groups. Students use textbooks and notebooks every day for classes, and their hands dry easily; working adults too get their hands dry typing in an aircon room; housewives usually soak their hands in water, and their hands get coarse easily. It’s really usable as a present.”
“Hmm…it’s disgusting how much you know.”
“Well you’re the one asking.”
Pak, so Amane was slapped in the back, but they merely laughed it off, for it was a joke.
It was true this probably would not trouble her.
Amane had made it his duty to wash the dishes after dinner, but Mahiru would surely be washing things in her house. Her hands would surely turn coarse.
It was certain, looking at her silky hands, that she often took care of them. In that case, buying such skincare products should be fine.
“Well, I take that in mind.”
“Go ask Chii later. Those of the same gender might have a different idea.”
“It’s about time you get used to her already, okay?”
He did not hate her, of course, but he found Chitose to be the type he could not handle, and was unenthusiastic about the prospect. Itsuki merely smiled away, patting Amane on the back.