After the war over Kadowaki ended, Amane and the others began to practice their service. Needless to say, Amane was to practice with Mahiru.
“Welcome. Please have a seat here.”
He made sure to make a natural smile as he welcomed Mahiru, who was acting as the customer. For some reason, she froze.
He was not giving the smile he usually showed at home, but a smile usually reserved for strangers. Her eyes looked rather rattled however.
“Dear customer, may I know what’s the problem?”
“N-nothing. Nothing at all.”
Mahiru shook her head frantically, and her tied long hair swayed like a whip. Amane served her just as a waiter would serve a customer. Her hair did not touch him, but it could have if they were as close as they usually were.
His heart surely was calm enough for him to think about these things. He heaved a sigh of relief, and led Mahiru to her seat. Also, he did check with the door staff of their numbers, and thus there would not be a case where there was no available seat even though he led her in.
“Please have a seat here, and wait a moment.”
Amane pulled the chair out, smiled, and Mahiru sat on it gingerly.
She probably was reacting out of shame and nervousness, but the nervous one should have been Amane, the one smiling at her like a customer. He did not understand what’s there for her to be embarrassed about.
He deliberately ignored her reaction since they had to practice, memorized her order, and went to the indoor curtain that shielded the simple kitchen they had.
“…What’s this, some ambush?”
“What do you mean?”
The practice continued on after her order, and only ended when he saw her leave the shop.
Once he was done practicing with Mahiru, he went to Kido, who was in charge of guiding them. Kido nodded away, looking impressed. On a side note, Mahiru was restless the entire time, and Amane was worried if he had omitted something.
“Ah, your service and gestures are fine.”
“But Mahiru’s like that though?”
“That’s because you’re handsome, right? You’re doing decently. How about working at the cafe I work at? The owner will be happy~”
“I’ll think about it when I need the money for myself.”
Amane hinted that he had no intentions to do so for the time being, and Kido gave a regretful smile. She then glanced aside at Mahiru, who was fanned with a file by Chitose.
“Shiina-san will have it tough during this cultural festival~”
“Well, there’ll be many customers after her.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s worried because her boyfriend may attract attention. I feel that you’ll be really popular if you keep smiling like that.”
She poked at Amane’s face with a ballpoint pen, and he gently flicked it aside with his finger.
“I don’t think that’ll happen.”
“Do you know, Fujimiya-kun? People do judge others based on appearances initially, but appearances don’t just mean looks. There’s also the sense of purity, vibe, gestures, and so on on. People do observe that. To be honest, there are guys who are more handsome than you if we’re just going on looks…but I don’t think it’s enough to gain goodwill.”
“Well, I get that, and I do think so too.”
Amane and Mahiru were not on good terms when they first met each other. He found her pretty, but did not have feelings for her, partially because he had no real interest in the opposite gender.
“You should agree that you’re popular. Your smile is great.”
“If I agree with that, doesn’t that make me a narcissist?”
“Ahaha, but it’s true that you’re smiling better~ not as good as my boyfriend though.”
“Guess what I’m feeling after I just got flexed on.”
“I think you want to check out how good my boyfriend is.”
Even though they spent a short time together, Amane could tell that Kido was an honest, cheerful, amicable person who loved to care for others. He was actually curious about this boyfriend she was so fond of, but all he knew was that the boyfriend’s personality and body was fine.
“We’ll talk about that next time. Anyway, you pass. Here’s a little red flower.”
From her apron, Kido took out a little red flower sticker, as though it was proof that he passed, and handed it to him.
On a side note, Itsuki, who had been observing, had a ‘failed’ sticker on his head, which he asked Kido to paste.
And the reason why Itsuki failed was that he was grinning away the entire time. He was reminded not to leer too much.
“Anyway, I got to check on the others. Go to Shiina-san, Fujimiya-kun.”
“And if you say any lovey-dovey stuff…”
“That’s not going to happen.”
How can I do it in front of everyone? Amane’s expression betrayed his displeasure, and it was dismissed by her usual hearty smile.
The little displeasure he had was gone, and with an inexplicable ticklish feeling, he scratched his cheek and went towards Mahiru.
“Ah, the reason for Mahirun’s blood rush is here.”
The blood rush Chitose spoke of probably referred to Mahiru’s searing face. Her white face was a little red when he was serving her.
The blushing maid with slightly reddened eyes leaned on the chair, and looked up towards him, which was bad for his heart.
“Amane, you really are Mahirun’s killer, so don’t bully her so much.”
“What’s with this characteristic…”
“Well, a special attribute that activates only on Mahirun.”
“…I think Amane-kun’s target is not just me alone.”
Mahiru muttered so, and Amane smiled wryly as he sat next to her, which caused her to shiver.
“Am I that handsome?”
“I’m honored as the boyfriend then…anyway, understand that I don’t care about anyone other than you.”
“I-I know this…but I do feel a little conflicted.”
Mahiru wriggled, seemingly feeling unbearable, so Amane patted her to calm her down, but she ended up blushing more than before.
“…Is this a special attack on Mahirun, or an AOE attack? It’s like a chain reaction that causes more victims from Mahirun’s embarrassment.”
“You said something?”
Amane glared at Chitose who went off tangent, and the latter played dumb as she evaded that look.