Hellping

“Hey hey Amane, did it go well with the one you gave the present to?”

 

Given that they went shopping together, he would have to report in. The following day, Chitose was grinning away as she went to hear out from Amane.

 

He was fine with the fact that she, who was in a different class, came looking for him. However, that kind of smile was something he really did not want to deal with. He really had the urge to just go bye there and then.

 

“It’s not the relationship you think of, and that development didn’t happen.”

 

At the very least, he did not choose the present out of romantic feelings, nor did he have any other thoughts.

There was no doubt he was delighted, but there existed none of the development Chitose looked forward to.

 

“No, but well, is there really nobody that makes your heart flutter? She’s definitely not just an acquaintance, and she’s a girl. Come on, some gossip here.”

“We don’t have an unspeakable relationship.”

 

With Itsuki backing Chitose up, Amame could only deny vehemently.

Mahiru was happy, yes, but there was still some trouble, and he did not want to discuss this with others.

 

He did not want to feed into their curiosity, so he answered as callously as possible, and Itsuki pondered a little as he had his hand by his mouth.

 

“…Hmm. Hey Amane.”

“What is it?”

“Did you give it to your neighbor?”

 

Truly, Itsuki’s high awareness and EQ was disastrous to him.

 

“…Why do you think so?”

“If we consider those you know, or those you took care of you, the only one that fits that bill is the neighbor. You ain’t a local, you hardly interact with girls, and someone has been feeding you recently, so you’re grateful to her, right?”

“Who knows.”

“Hmm…Amane, you’ve been looking better recently.”

“Ah, I think so too.”

“So, she’s been giving you food often, and you wanted to give her a birthday present as thanks?”

 

Itsuki was completely correct, and Amane did his best not to let his cheeks twitch.

And that was why Itsuki was terrifying, for his deductions seemed as though he witnessed it all. He might appear frivolous, but he was serious and attentive, and also rather popular. However, Amane really hoped Itsuki would shower these aspects to Chitose only.

 

“You’re coming up with wild guesses now?”

“I don’t know the truth, so I’m just imagining it. So is it true?”

“Who knows?”

“You’re petty.”

“Petty~”

“Shut up.”

 

No matter what they said, he was unwilling to be honest.

 

If he accidentally blurted it just a little, he would have to spill the beans. Itsuki was one thing; the current high school girls who loved their gossip would have interrogated him like no tomorrow.

In this world, there were magical creatures who could turn anything unrelated to love into something involving one. Troublesome they truly were.

 

Goodness, so he sighed as he packed his bag, lifted it, and returned home.

It was a tactical retreat, and also an evasion against their bombardment of his heart.

 

“Bye then. Go do your lovey-dovey things and ignore me now.”

“We’ll do that without you saying that though?”

“…Ikkun, let’s go stalk him and find that lady…”

“Who in the world says that before the target? And you don’t have that thought at all. The most you’ll do is to come to my apartment gates.”

“Tch.”

 

Her cute lips formed a pout, but Chitose’s eyes were serious.

 

At this point, Amane felt a shiver realizing that Chitose was not joking, and would really do it, so he left the duo behind and hurriedly left the classroom.

 

 

“…That was close.”

“What was?”

 

Once he returned home, Amane blurted out, and Mahiru asked him with intrigue.

 

Mahiru arrived immediately after buying the ingredients, but it was a little too early to make dinner, so they had a little rest. It seemed Amane’s little whisper was overheard.

 

Just to note, she was being the same as usual.

That smile she showed the previous day was no longer to be seen. Her usual expression would have him doubting if the events of the previous day actually transpired.

This should be the norm, or rather, Amane hoped she would be like this. If she was to show the same expression she did the previous day, he would feel a heartache.

 

“No, well, Itsuki and the others were gossiping about the present.”

 

Because I went to discuss this with them, so he quipped, and sighed. It seemed Mahiru had remembered Itsuki’s name, “Ahh, I see.” and she too sighed.

 

“Well, those did not look like things you would buy, Fujimiya-san.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

 

They already felt it was impossible for Amane to give a female a present, and that was why they wondered if he was in love.

In fact, neither of them had the sweet, sour, or bitter feelings that came with falling in love.

 

“Just my own issues. Goodness, what were they guessing?”

 

It was true that Mahiru was cute, and he had the desire to touch her. He could not deny that.

 

But he felt every youth would feel this way, and after all, his heart merely jolted a few times when he once again realized Mahiru was a real pretty girl. There was no way it was love.

Even if he did like her character, he did not think of the extraordinary, to form such a relationship with her.

 

He glanced aside, and saw her usual pretty face.

However, his heart did not palpitate as it did the previous night. Once again, he affirmed that he had not fallen for Mahiru, and sighed.

 

One had to wonder what she would say if she noticed him watching her, so he turned his eyes towards the phone, only to see an unread number on a chat app icon.

 

It’s probably Itsuki, so he thought as he opened the app, but the name on the new message was beyond expectation.

 

Once he saw the name Shihoko, he frowned.

Amane had only three female contacts in total.

To be precise, they were Chitose, Mahiru, and…his mother.

 

What now? So he thought as he opened her chat. It contained the agitated text he really was bad at dealing with, things like how his exams went, if he had any difficulty in life, and so on.

 

The reason why he was bad at dealing with Chitose was because there was someone like Chitose…or rather, an older Chitose in his family. Amane did not hate her, and could not bring himself to, but his own mother’s personality was too much for him.

 

“Your grandpa sent fruits, so I’m sending some to you. Will be delivering on Saturday. Do stay at home in the afternoon! I’m not going to forgive you if you refuse or aren’t at home, you know?”

“You just decided on my schedule like that…?”

 

He had no real plans for Saturday, and was fine staying at home, but should she not contact him earlier?

 

“What is the matter?”

 

Mahiru might have heard the mutter as she looked towards him with her usual expression.

 

“Mom’s delivering fruits she received from grandpa. Probably apples.”

“Do you know how to peel them?”

“…With a peeler, maybe?”

“You may…but it is a waste of nutrients to peel off the skin.”

 

My mom says the same thing, so he thought, but he swallowed that notion.

 

“I’ll just eat with the skin then.”

“That is barbaric of you.”

“I’m lazy, you know.”

“That is lazy of you.”

 

He could only show a wry smile at her usual blunt honesty, and shrugged away.

While Mahiru looked stupefied, “Well, it will end up in the stomach after all.” but she somewhat relented.

 

“Oh yeah. I don’t know if I can finish them all before they rot. You want some, Shiina?”

“I shall have some then. Fruits are expensive after all.”

 

Her words might seem a dampener, but these words were truly befitting her.

 

“Saturday, is it? I shall prepare lunch as thanks.”

“I’m the one who’s always being taken care of.”

“It is fine. I do not dislike cooking for you, Fujimiya-san.”

 

She made a sincere little smile, giggling.

Amane averted his eyes awkwardly as her smile reminded him of what happened the previous day, “…I’ll leave it to you then.” so he tersely responded.

 

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