Amane had lunch at Mahiru’s place, returned to his place, and welcoming him back was his beaming mother.
Her face looked glossy for some reason, probably because of her delusion. It so happened that half the reason was her overimagining it, and Amane could only give her a cold look.
Mahiru blushed, worried if Shihoko had seen through everything. Surely there were intense acts Shihoko’s delusions.
“You two are back? Ah, we used some stuff in the fridge. That fine?”
“It’s fine. I said you can use them.”
Forming a contrast with Shihoko was the serene Shuuto. He was wiping his hands as he poked his head out, probably because he was washing up.
“I’ll buy anything that’s lacking. Just use them as you please.”
“Oh yes. There is insufficient food if you wish to stay for a few more days. I will have to shop for some. Since you are here…”
“Ehhh, we’ll just go buy them later. We got a car anyway.”
Shihoko really doted on her adorable daughter-in-law (tentative), and gave an excited smile the moment Mahiru mentioned that she wanted to go shopping.
“Alright. Shihoko-san and Shiina-san will be out shopping, right? Amane and I will clean up here.”
“Eh, you’re not going, Shuuto-san?”
“We’ll be staying for a little longer. We can talk later. You two ladies have something you wish to talk alone about, right…?”
“Well you two men have something you want to talk about alone?”
“Hmm, hard to say, but I do have some things to say to Amane.”
Amane could imagine what his mother would say, but not his father. He looked towards Shuuto, only to be responded with a peaceful smile.
It seemed Shuuto was not going to ask Amane about what happened the previous night, which was befitting of his personality. Amane was really grateful for the respect shown, but sometimes, Shuuto’s inscrutable thoughts left him awkward.
Shuuto’s grinning eyes left Amane flustered, and he averted his eyes. Shihoko seized the opportunity to grab Mahiru’s hand, intending to drag her out.
She said she was going out for her own interest, but it seemed she had some place she wanted to talk to Mahiru with.
“Let’s hurry on then. Now that we have a chance, tell me if there’s a good cafe around here~”
“Mahiru-chan, I have something good to tell you. We’ll talk later.”
“I’ll tell you later.”
Shihoko’s beaming face was unlike Shuuto. Amane felt a shiver up his spine, but the duo left before he could stop them. Mahiru was concerned about Amane, but she followed Shihoko out. She probably was being considerate to Amane, and also curious as to what this good thing was about.
The house immediately got quiet, and Shuuto returned to the kitchen with a wry smile.
Amane peered over, indicating that he wanted to help out, it was just an excuse, so Shuuto smiled, and prepared two glasses of ice coffee. His actions were so smooth, it seemed like he had expected so.
Amane gently gulped, obediently took two persons’ worth of drinks to the living room, and sat on the living room sofa.
Shuuto sat next to him, his face still looking serene, which left Amane comfortable, scratching his cheek.
“…You want to tell me something, dad?”
“Well, I’m happy for you, since you’re on such good terms with Shiina-san.”
Shuuto did not sound like he was teasing Amane, but rather, was impressed and relieved. Amane thus did not retort bluntly.
He knew that Shuuto was not one to question thoroughly, but he got tense thinking that it would be about his relationship with Mahiru.
The question he assumed did not come however, it’s good to have a good relationship, for Shuuto merely smiled happily. Amane no longer sounded as harsh, and gone was his vigor.
“…You’re really not saying anything?”
“You’re going to pout out of embarrassment if I do.”
Amane turned his eyes aside bashfully, as though he was completely seen through, and he heard a giggle.
“And from the looks of it, it seems nothing happened.”
The voice was filled with conviction, more harsh than his mother’s in a certain sense. Amane groaned as he turned towards Shuuto, and was met with a smile.
“Well, I don’t have to say anything more, right? It is your choice, and you definitely put in thought. That’s the good thing about you, and also a detriment.”
“…I have to do this for the sake of our futures.”
“You’re so rational for a high school boy. My boy sure has grown. I know how smitten you are over her however.”
“…I can’t help it.”
“Yes, I know.”
I’m the same after all, so Shuuto chuckled, and poised himself as he stared at AMane.
“You don’t have to worry about money though?”
Amane froze up the moment he said so.
Both Amane and Mahiru had a common agreement that they would get married in the future, and thus he chose to treasure her body and future, that nothing physical would occur. The events that occurred the previous night were established based on that.
Amane however had been thinking of practical issues, the expenses, the agreement of Mahiru’s parents, and everything else. He did not mention them to Mahiru.
He had the money to get married. He did think of the wedding, the residence, his income, and their married life. He could not simply get married based on a mere daydream.
And thus he froze up, for he did not expect Shuuto to mention this. Shuuto gave a wry smile, as though he had expected so.
“As your parents, and Shiina-san’s, I wish to bless you two. I hope that girl will have her joy without worries, and that my son can be happy. We can help with that much at least.”
“…Shouldn’t we rely on ourselves for that?”
“How long will that take?”
It was a little awkward for him.
If he relied completely on himself, he could only prepare everything within the first two to three years of entering the workforce. He did not want to let her down over a wedding any woman would yearn for, and he wanted to see her dress and shiromuku.
However, he had been struggling over this, as he knew he would have to keep her waiting.
“Are you just going to let Shiina-san wait? Time is especially precious to a girl.”
“To me, a wedding’s the start of your journey, the last major gift we can give to you as parents. Our adorable son and daughter will be leaving our hands, living on as a couple. It is best that we chip in here.”
Shuuto finished with a smile, had some coffee to clear his throat, and continued.
“Of course, if you two insist on doing everything, I too shall support you two. if not, we shall bless you along with Shiina-san’s parents’ share.”
Amane knew that Shuuto and Shihoko knew about Mahiru’s family situation, and was willing to care for her instead. It was obvious that they really cared for her like their own daughter, a daughter-in-law.
As Shuuto said, he wanted to offer some familial warmth to Mahiru, which her own parents lacked. Amane knew that Shuuto had no intention to back off, even though he said he was willing to compromise.
Can I really accept this though? Shuuto seemed to have understood Amane’s thoughts, and smiled as he gently ruffled Amane’s hair.
“You never liked to fawn and ask others to begin with. It’s not a bad thing to ask though. Let us do what us parents should do.”
“…I think I’ve been fawning lots.”
“Nope, you’re try to be independent even though I haven’t seen you in a rebellious phase. Your parents are feeling lonely, you know?”
Shuuto’s hand continued to ruffle Amane’s hair, and showed no intent to stop. Amane did not stop him.
He felt embarrassed and ticklish, but he did not dislike it. The trust and relief he had about his parents allowed him to accept these feelings earnestly.
“You just have to be a father and show us our grandchildren. Once you have settled down, you can then worry about being filial. Shihoko-san and I are still healthy, always taking care of our bodies, and our families are usually long lived. You can continue to be filial until our deaths then.”
Shuuto chuckled as he took Amane as a child. Thank goodness I’m their son, so Amane thought as he lowered his eyebrows, allowing himself to be treated as a child.