After lunch, Amane and Mahiru toured around the school again. There were often voices and stares as they went on, and it seemed to have tired Mahiru out.
Part of the reason for the attention was that they held hands to avoid getting lost, but it seemed Mahiru did not want to let go. Her fingers were wrapped gently yet firmly on his, indicating that she did not want to let go.
Whenever a passing classmate in his first year gossiped from time to time, Amane would look at Mahiru, who would smile elegantly and lean her body over. She probably did not intend to distance herself, and was clearly indicating her intent.
…Well, doesn’t matter. The whole school knows that we’re dating.
It was likely the entire school knew that Mahiru was dating Amane. She had declared Amane to be the most important person to her during the sports festival, and after a weekend, they announced that they were officially dating.
Mahiru’s fame was far beyond their school year, so the seniors and juniors knew, and news spread fast. The boys were really distraught, and Amane was questioned by unfamiliar seniors without Mahiru knowing.
But when Mahiru heard of such news from other classmates, she finished them off with a smile.
They went through such incidents, and at this point, no boy would naively think that they had a chance. Even without declaring outright, it was obvious when they walked alongside each other.
It seemed Mahiru had some plan however, and did not leave his side. She continued to cling onto Amane even though the student left.
“…You are very stylish now, Amane-kun.”
“The hair, and your disposition.”
“…The hair’s because of the cafe though.”
“So I say.”
“I don’t really get you…”
If he could be popular just from a change of hairstyle, that would have happened when he started dating Mahiru, and there was no reason for her to cling onto him. Personally, he was glad to have her cling onto him, but he hoped she would ease off a little during their intimate contact.
He however let her be, for she was willing to do so. It was to be expected that he found it slightly unbearable.
Mahiru’s being more enthusiastic than before, Amane avoided reality and the surrounding gazes as he slowly strolled through the school.
He checked on the itinerary every class had from the distributed pamplhet, but Mahiru walked before him, as though leading him to a haunted house.
…I remember Mahiru’s bad with horror though.
There were times when Amane watched a horror flick, and Mahiru would hold his hand, looking all pale, yet acting tough. The words she said were incongruent with her expression, and it seemed she could not take such stuff.
However, the haunted houses created by students were within budget, and clearly would not be as intricate as those created on TV. Perhaps she was fine with that.
“You really want to go to the haunted house?”
Mahiru immediately stopped, and timidly lifted her head at Amane, clearly showing that she had not thought about it. It seemed she was just wandering around, and was not thinking too much.
The rigid expression she showed was akin to a creaky machine, her eyes wavered around, and clearly she had no intention to visit a haunted house.
“…I-I do not intend to.”
“I thought you want to go. Guess there’s no way since you’re scared of this.”
“…I am not scared.”
“Look into my eyes and tell me that. Why are you looking away?”
Mahiru tried to pull a fast one, probably because she did not really wish to reveal her weakness, but her attitude and expression explained all. Amane was not so naive to believe her when she clearly was looking flustered.
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about having a phobia of scary stuff, right?
Instead, he found that cute, but she seemed unwilling.
It seemed Mahiru realized that Amane was enjoying himself, for she looked up at him with a somewhat displeased look. Her eyes were slightly moist and lifeless however, probably because the shock had yet to fade away.
“I am not scared. I shall visit the haunted house.”
“Not scared huh? Shall we watch a horror movie next time?”
“…I-I am more than glad to.”
“Your voice is shaking this much.”
Amane intended that to be a joke, but Mahiru stubbornly agreed, which left him conflicted.
“…You’re putting up a front. I don’t care if you can’t sleep alone.”
“I am not, and just in case…I shall have you bear responsibility.”
“…The living’s scarier than the dead.”
“You are not scary at all, Amane-kun. We slept together a few times after all.”
Mahiru leaned onto Amane’s arm, looking up at him. He gently shushed her mouth with his finger, and sighed.
It was true that Mahiru once slept overnight at his place before they actually dated, and days ago, she stayed over at his place for the first time after they officially began dating. In a certain sense, they did spend nights together.
However, these words would cause much misunderstanding, and the surrounding students started buzzing. They did not have that sort of relationship yet, and he felt conflicted to be misunderstood.
“…It sounds like you’re inviting me out.”
“Please do not misunderstand in a strange manner. You are inviting me out now.”
“I don’t mean anything else. I just want to see you shiver.”
“You do mean something else after all.”
Mahiru started jabbing at his waist, and he grabbed her hand to stop her.
Perhaps she was delighted to have her hand held, for her displeased face became tender. He smiled back, and raised her hand.
Of course, they were headed to the haunted house.
“You said it before, didn’t you. A woman does not need to be told twice.”
He remembered her saying so when she stayed over.
Since she declared these words that were supposedly said by men, she surely would not regret this.
“I-I did say so…ho-how mean…”
Mahiru fidgeted, and looked towards Amane with moist eyes. Amane chuckled, and led her by the hand towards the haunted house without hesitation.
Amane decided to preserve Mahiru’s honor, and not inform Chitose and the others that Mahiru clung onto him the entire time they were in the haunted house.