Amane planned to deliver the fruits immediately after receiving them, and that might be a mistake when
“A–mane.” Once he heard the doorbell and the cheeky, high pitched voice, he realized the situation, and clutched his head.
He was grateful that Mahiru would drop to cook lunch on a Saturday, and thought it was a blessing from the heavens.
In fact, the carbonara she made was really delicious. The thick sauce and the black pepper matched perfectly, and it was really delicious.
It was not Mahiru’s fault, actually. Yes, she really was not at fault.
The fault was that he was told to stay at home, and did not notice why…along with this blood-related lady who loved pulling her surprises and the extraordinary.
“…Erm, Fujimiya-san? It’s not the delivery…”
“Nope. Mom took the key and went past the gates…”
In hindsight, he was at fault for taking his mom’s words at face value when she would have wanted to observe him no matter what.
There was no way his mother would not be up to something.
“Most likely, mom wants to see if I’m doing well these days…she’s not telling me in advance because I’ll try to slip it past her.”
“I feel conflicted by how you look like you agree, but this isn’t important.”
The problem was, how would he deal with Mahiru who was here.
If she was at the gates, he could have Mahiru return home. However, since she was at his door, he could not let Mahiru return.
If he let her in, she would surely meet Mahiru, and there would be a misunderstanding. Mahiru too would not wish for the same.
What shall I do? While he wondered, the intervals between the doorbell rings shortened.
“……Sorry Shiina, go into my room. Please.”
“Hold this. I’ll try to get my mom outside, and then you go home. Sorry about this, but please.”
He really had no choice but to hide her.
Lunch was made, but they had cleaned up the place, so that was fine.
The shoes could be hidden inside the shoe cabinet, and he would bring her blanket and other personal belongings into the room.
While she was in his room, he would offer some food once his mom was done inspecting, and she probably would agree to that. He would however refuse her if she demanded to inspect the room.
He would ask to make dishes using ingredients not in the fridge, and they would go shopping together. That would be the moment Mahiru would escape, or so he planned.
I don’t have a choice here, so he told Amane, handed her the extra key and begged her. “Y-yes.” She nodded, despite looking troubled.
They were not using the storeroom, for it would be really cold without the heating during this season.
There was heating and a fluffy cushion in Amane’s room, so she would not be sitting on an empty floor, aching all over in the cold.
“…I shall leave it to you then. I’ll deal with my mom…”
Amane was already mentally tired before he even met his mom. Once he went towards the entrance, Mahiru silently slipped into his room.
Once he was sure she entered, he opened the door unwilling.
“Oh my…Amane, you’re late. I thought you were sleeping, but you look very lively.”
Immediately appearing before him was his mom, whom he had not seen since summer vacation.
She was his mom, but her appearance defied her age, and she was still wearing that usual cheerful look back home. One would say that it was not simply her appearance defying her age, but her actions too.
“Yeah yeah I’m lively so can you go back now?”
“Is that how you treat your mom…? I spent hours to arrive, you know? How about some reward?”
“Thank you very much for taking the long trip here, please go back.”
“Still saying such things now? You really aren’t cute, unlike Shuuto-san”
“I’m a guy, why do i have to be cute?”
Ack, he made a nauseous sound, but his mother Shihoko did not have her mood dampened, as she merely giggled away, accepting it as Amane being in his rebellious phase.
“May I come in?”
“Wait, I haven’t said anything.”
“The rental is paid by Shuuto-san and me, you know?”
He had no room to refuse once she said that, and he could only open the door with a scowl, inviting Shihoko in.
Of course, he walked along the wall where the bedroom was, stopping her from entering as he led her to the living room.
“Say mom, call before you drop by. I’m an adult.”
“Oh my, if I didn’t drop by for a sudden spot check, I would not have seen if my son’s doing well, you know?”
“Grr…you see, it’s fine here. All packed up.”
“Of course. It shocked me. You don’t do this at home, Amane, but you’re pretty capable yourself. I never expected that.”
Shihoko scanned the living room, nodding away as though she was marveling.
Of course, it was all neat and tidy because he worked together with Mahiru to clean up the apartment, and maintained this thanks to her advice and reminders. It was all her contribution, but he could not mention it to Shihoko at this point.
“Your skin looks good. Looks like you’ve been taking proper nutrition.”
He averted his eyes, for that too was thanks to Mahiru.
“Looks like you’ve been cooking…huh, two persons’ worth?”
She pointed her manicured finger at the cutlery.
Two people ate lunch, so there were two plates. He was careless not to have noticed it, but Shihoko seemed fine with that.
“A friend visited.”
But that was not a lie.
He was uncertain, but they were already on the level of friends, so his words were not wrong, it seemed. He never said the gender though.
He tried his best not to look rattled as he answered. “Oh~” So Shihoko answered, seemingly unconvinced as she looked over to the living room.
Somehow, he managed to bluff her, but he was dripping cold sweat.
“Well, passable…it does not feel like a boy is living alone.”
Shihoko looked around, asked a few questions, got a few answers, and surmised thusly.
In a certain sense, it was to be expected. Mahiru had her hands in most of these things.
“There’s nothing to worry about now right, mom?”
“Yes. It really shocked me. You couldn’t do anything when you’re at home. Looks like you’ve grown.”
“…Well I can grow.”
From whose mouth do those words come from anyway, so he quietly reproached himself as he answered. “You’ve worked hard there.” so Shihoko beamed.
He did not appreciate the compliments, for it was not him who did so.
But he could not say the truth, and could only endure and beg her to return home.
At the very least, she was done checking on him.
Maybe she’ll go back without asking me to cook for her…but right when Amane had this thought.
“And now I’ll check the bedroom.”
The final bombshell landed, and he widened his eyes.
Check the bedroom. In other words, his room…the bedroom.
Of course, Mahiru was inside it. If she was found, he could easily imagine how his situation would end up much worse than his initial plan for them to meet.
“Hey what. You can’t go in even though you’re my mom.”
“Oh, is there something unsightly in there?”
“Normally, a high school boy would have one or two unsightly things in there, right?”
“You’re admitting to that, huh.”
“Yeah I admit it, so don’t go in.”
He had to stop her here with all he got. Even if his pride was shattered, he had to hide Mahiru’s existence until the very end.
At this point, if Mahiru was spotted in Amane’s room, Shihoko would surely be having happy delusions, and that was something he wanted to avoid no matter what.
He was stubbornly refusing to let Shihoko through, basically shouting no as he stood before the door. Shihoko quickly deduced that there was something hidden inside the room. “You’re hiding something from mom~.” she beamed as she loomed on.
I’m really sorry, but I need to stop you even if I have to be forceful, such was his stance as he faced off against Shihoko.
But there was a thud in his room.
“What are you hiding inside?”
“…Nothing to do with you, mom.”
“So you say. I see.”
The smile got wider.
It had a irresistible pressure, and whenever he saw this smile, Amane found himself in much discomfort, his desire to refuse greatly worn down.
It was a force of habit, something he could not change.
Grr, while he groaned, Shihoko seized the opportunity to put her hand on the door.
And it was too late to regret.
Shihoko went around Amane to check on the sound, and opened the door.
And beyond the door………was a pretty girl leaning by the bed, cupping a cushion on her knees.
Her eyes were closed, her breathing steady…basically, Mahiru was asleep.