“Eh, I’ll ask the owner. They said they’re lacking manpower, so I think it should be fine.”
Amane hurriedly contacted Kido, whose number he exchanged with during the preparation of the cultural festival. She in turn gave an intrigued voice.
Amane did not intend for Mahiru to hear, for he wanted to give her a surprise, so he said this at the apartments entrance. He had assumed she would be troubled as this was too sudden a request, but he instead was troubled as it went unexpectedly smoothly.
“No, but is there an interview or something?”
“Probably, since some vetting’s needed. My recommendation means that you’re fine, personality-wise, but is Shiina-san fine with that? We do serve our staff well, but will Shiina-san get jealous?”
A few female customers approached Amane during the cultural festival, asking for his contact, and Mahiru got jealous. Amane did not wish that Mahiru would be worried about his actions. Of course, he was not one to cast his eyes aside, and she probably trusted him, but her feelings were different matter.
“And anyway, why did you suddenly want to work?”
Amane clammed up the moment this simple question was asked.
If he shared his secret with Kido, she would not mention it to Mahiru, but it was still embarrassing of him to mention that he was saving money to buy her a ring.
Everyone he knew already understood how much he doted on Mahiru, and he knew that, but it was not easy to profess that he was going to buy a ring.
But Kido might not accept his reason if he did not say so. As the one recommending work for him, it would not be good to hide the reason.
“…Erm, it’s like this. Mind if you don’t tell anyone else? Especially Mahiru.”
“Ah, I understand. You want to give her a gift, right? A Christmas present or something.”
“N-not that…it’s about next year. I-I want to give her a ring…”
Amane’s voice got softer, and by the time he was done, silence beckoned.
You’re still a student, aren’t you being too impatient? Amane anxiously awaited Kido’s response, but after a long silence of ten seconds or so, it’s blinding over the phone, she muttered so.
“I see. Better not work at my place then. You’re working hard for Shiina-san, but if a boyfriend’s going to work at a place where he’s constantly harassed by the women, she’s not going to be happy.”
It was reasonable, of course, so he replied so, and started thinking of other plans, like searching for a recruitment site once he got home. How about this, however, the voice came,
“I can recommend another cafe to you. There’s one opened by my aunt. It’s quieter, and might suit your personality better.”
“Sounds good…but you never worked there?”
“Ah, actually, I can’t really handle her…”
“And you’re recommending me to her? I’m sorry to trouble you.”
“No no no, I don’t mean that. My aunt doesn’t have kids, so she really dotes on me. I’m just worried that she spoils me too much that I can’t be independent.”
Kido sounded conflicted rather than annoyed. The way her aunt treated her might be similar to how Shihoko treated Mahiru, but Shihoko clearly saw how reliable Mahiru was, and wanted to dote, which made things a little different.
“I’ll check with my aunt. How about you make a visit there once I’m done? You’ll feel more at ease working there then.”
“Thanks for that…but won’t I trouble you too much?”
“It’s fine. I know you love Shiina-san, so I’ll give you a hand. You can discuss the matter of the ring with me, you know?”
“…Well, I might have to ask you and Chitose then.”
“Hehe, leave it to me.”
It would be best to inquire girls on the matter of the ring. After all, Chitose had been concerned about Amane and Chitose, and it was appropriate to ask her. He hoped that they would be present to help, if possible.
It would be a long time later however, so he made a vague promise, I’ll contact you later. Maybe we’ll talk in school, once Kido was done, she hung up.
“…Work, is it?”
Mahiru was resting in the living room when he returned. He greeted her, and she seemed surprised by this as she looked over at him.
On a side note, his parents were cooking in the kitchen, for Mahiru said that she wanted their cooking for dinner.
“Why are you thinking of working at this moment? We will be in our third year, and we should be preparing for our exams soon.”
He could not hide the matter of him working in any case, so after he mentioned so, Mahiru gave a very logical rebuttal.
He wanted to keep it a secret as much as possible, until he handed the ring to her, but he knew it was unnatural to start working part-time midway through his second year.
“Ah, erm, I got something I want. Something I really, really want.”
“And also, to gain social experience. Of course, the shift won’t affect my studies. Some guys will retire from their clubs next year, and I should have saved up some money by then. I should be able to get back to focus on my studies before the mock exams. I think a condition is that I’ll do as well as those in the clubs. I worked hard for my grades, and I’m not going to let them slide, and even if I do, I’m not going to use my work as an excuse.”
Amane had never worked, nor did he partake in any clubs, so he had more time than those who did join the clubs, and could focus on his studies. He would need to work harder if he started working.
He intended to improve on his studies, to pay attention in class, and immediately grasp the knowledge he was taught.
He looked at her sternly, and she awkwardly lowered her eyebrows.
“I should not say more about this. I shall respect your decision since you have put your mind to it. It is just that I will feel lonely, for our time together will decrease…”
The somewhat forlorn smile nearly shook Amane’s resolve, but he was never going to compromise, and smiled,
“Sorry, but I’ll tell you when I’ll be on leave then.”
“…It sounds like that will be a problem too.”
“We-well, whenever you say so…it seems that you will really dote on me.”
“Aren’t you lonely…?”
“Th-there has to be a limit, or I will find it unbearable.”
Mahiru bashfully lowered her eyes, and leaned onto his arm. He grabbed her hand, as a practice, and pulled her closer.