“…You don’t look happy, Fujimiya.”
Kadowaki joined in after school as it was a rest day from club activity. Amane then realized that his feelings were clearly shown on his face.
“…Is my face that obvious.”
“Nope, about the same as usual. it just feels like there’s a little change from your usual demeanor.”
They were at the bookshop at the station, about to leave after buying their textbooks when Kadowaki mentioned so. Amane instinctively reached for his cheeks, found his face to be stiffer than usual, it seemed, and his eyebrows were raised by a few centimeters.
He did not wish to show his expressions excessively, but it seemed he was unable to control it completely. Feeling a little embarrassed and useless, he sighed.
“Well sorta. I don’t feel so good. I don’t want her to be an exhibit, just to keep her to myself.”
Of course, there was no reason he would be happy to have his dearest girlfriend be the center of attention. There would be curious stares, along with some urge to covet.
“Mahiru doesn’t look like she hates it, and i can’t just oppose the class by asking for preferential treatment for her. That shows my immaturity, that’s unfair on my part, and I can only shut up. There’s something called peer pressure after all. I know how much Mahiru will contribute to our sales after all. I’m just unhappy that the risk might be way too much compared to the payoff.”
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s not about you. It’s my fault for not being able to explain what’s good about my plan.”
Kadowaki did not need to apologize at all. Amane however could not bring himself to blame the boys who suggested this. There was a lingering, nauseating anxiety.
Guess we got no choice since it’s decided, Amane gave a long sigh, and Kadowaki showed a conflicted smile.
“I did vote for the exhibit. It’s risk-free if we take a pragmatic look at it, and there’s high return. At this point, i probably will be assigned to receive the customers…”
The reputed prettiest girl in school was asked to serve, and similarly, so would Kadowaki, who was very popular with the girls.
Kadowaki hoped to stay at the back, but it seemed unlikely. That really rare handsome face was a detriment in this situation.
“…Are us guys supposed to wear maid outfits too?”
“I don’t think we’ll be forced to do that…but since the girls are in maid uniform, the boys will be dressed as butlers, right? If only we can deal with the clothes.”
“Ah, well…I heard someone in class knows of a person who manages a cafe…maybe they can prepare clothes for the boys too.”
It was the worst intel for Amane, who wanted to avoid the maid uniform.
Since they had no issues, Mahiru would surely serve food in a maid uniform.
Fortunately, it seemed clothing was prepared for the boys too, and there was nothing to cause a tragedy of gender bias.
“Why is the class so united at such moments…but well, if the guys have to dress up and serve, you’ll suffer too Kadowaki.”
Kadowaki would certainly suffer given that he, the popular one, would have girls flocking to him.
“Don’t make it sound like it doesn’t concern you. You probably have to step up too.”
“You know how to cook?”
Amane could not answer.
“And besides, you can’t relax if you aren’t keeping an eye on Shiina-san. It’ll be bad if anyone suspicious is to eye her.”
“That’s right…but what’s the point of me wearing that?”
It would be convenient for him to serve, in order to keep an eye out for anyone suspicious near Mahiru.
He did not mind the shame since Mahiru too would be dressing up, but he felt it was pointless to dress up as a butler.
“It’ll be significant to Shiina-san. She’ll be happy.”
“And also, lots of people are keeping an eye on you after you changed your image.”
“Wait, I never heard of that.”
“Well you just care about Shiina-san after all.”
Amane felt awkward once this was pointed out.
It was true that he focused his attention on Mahiru, and never noticed the looks from the other girls. Ultimately, he never expected such stares directed at him, so he never realized so.
Amane gave Kadowaki a look of disbelief, you never noticed, and the latter shrugged, showing that he was not lying.
“You should notice the stares around you once in a while, Amane. Well, it’s more like they’re looking at you like some warm thing, so it’s nothing dangerous, probably.”
“That’s annoying too.”
“Just give up already. It’s your fault for being flirty.”
“…We’re not being that obvious.”
Kadowaki giggled, clearly not believing Amane in the slightest, and the latter’s face twitched.
“It’s a good thing though, better than a hassle, you know? I don’t want to see it end up like what happened to Shirakawa-san.”
“…That love rival thing?”
Kadowaki’s voice was a little heavy, and Amane too frowned.
He never mentioned so to Itsuki, but Amane did consider the former as a close friend. It was said that there were lots of hardships and turmoil before Itsuki dated Chitos, resulting in this relationship.
It was hard to imagine that when she first met Itsuki, Chitose was so aloof, blunt, and callous.
She was a standout as a track club member, but she had a dispute against a senior because of Itsuki, and was forced to leave.
One could understand, even unwillingly, that the senior jealous of her might have caused her trouble. The senior was jealous that the boy was wooing a girl, and the girl treated the boy coldly. That senior probably escalated matters further, and one could understand her actions, even though they were not justified.
“Yeah. There was a conflict, and she gave up on track. I really hate those who just find fault like that…just relieved that you two are acknowledged as a couple.”
Kadowaki probably was worried of Amane and Mahiru’s relationship as he had witnessed such an unpleasant situation.
“You two better be all lovey-dovey during the cultural festival. Don’t let her be taken away.”
“I don’t intend to.”
“Hahaha, are you kidding me?”
Amane frowned at Kadowaki, who looked relieved as he laughed in bemusement. Amane snorted, and left the matter at that.