Ever since the sudden strike from his mom on Saturday, there was a change in the manner Amane and Mahiru addressed each other, but nothing else really special.
Neither did the relationship suddenly improve, but as they started addressing each other a little intimately, Mahiru’s attitude had softened, somewhat.
Mahiru showed up a little earlier on Sunday evening, her face showing some awkwardness…or worry.
Amane let her in, but he did not know why she was giving such an ambiguous attitude.
He wondered if she was having issues with him calling her by name, but she had no hesitation calling his name, so there seemed to be something else.
Both of them sat on the sofa. Amane looked towards Mahiru, and found her pull out a handkerchief from her apron pocket.
While he was wondering what was going on, she opened the neatly folded handkerchief, and pulled out a key wrapped inside it, reflecting a dim light.
He had some impression of this key, for it was the one he gave her the previous day.
“…I shall, return this key. I did not do so last night. Erm, I forgot about it, so I missed the chance to return it to you…I am really sorry.”
It appeared she was concerned about the fact that she took the key home without returning.
Once he understood why she was acting so strangely, he looked towards the key on the handkerchief.
Thinking about it, he realized Mahiru would practically drop by every day to cook dinner. While Amane would open the door for her, there were moments when he would take the long road home, and not be at home, or when he was a little busy out there, so she would have to wait outside for a little while.
It would be too harsh to make someone wait at the entrance in this weather, let alone a female.
It was said the greatest enemy to a female’s body was the cold, and putting himself in her position, he would not have felt comfortable either.
Well, since Mahiru would drop by every day, it would be easier for him to hand her the key.
“Well, I guess it’s fine that you keep it.”
“You can return it when we have nothing to do with each other.”
Truth be told, if Amane left the key to Mahiru, it would mean she would have to take care of him for a while, but she looked back at him worriedly, for he did not receive the key.
“Or rather, it’s troublesome for me to go open the door every time.”
“Your true voice is leaking out.”
“It’s not like you’re going to misuse it.”
“You say so…”
At least a month passed ever since he got dinner from her and had her cook at his place, and he thought he understood her personality well.
She had common sense and a good conscience, and personality-wise, nobody would expect her to do the devious.
Even though she had the key, she would not hand it off to someone else, or slip in while Amane was not around. She was someone trustworthy.
“Well, you find it a hassle to press the doorbell every time, right?”
“Even if you say so, it feels like you are being too careless.”
“I gave you the key because I trust you.”
Mahiru’s eyes widened once she heard these words, speechless, and then she frowned.
The skepticism on her face was accompanied by a different unknown emotion.
But Amane merely handed the key over to Mahiru, all to save the hassle. If she really did not want to, he was willing to compromise.
Mahiru in turn looked back and forth between the key and Amane…before she sighed.
“…Understood. I shall borrow it for now.”
“Amane-kun, I don’t know if you are being magnanimous or careless.”
Goodness, so she said with some spite, and Amane responded with a wry smile.
“That’s my style.”
“This isn’t for you to say about yourself.”
Hmph, so she pointed out coldly, only for Amane to smile brighter than before.
It appeared they were already on sufficiently familiar terms for him to have such useless conversations.
But since she permitted him to use her given name, it would be strange to say they were not on familiar terms.
I really had enough of this person, so her eyes implied, but they were filled with some warmth, rather than looking aloof.
And she knew that Amane was just joking around.
“I shall take it then. I do not care if anything happens to your house.”
“…Like if I pop by to clean up your house.”
“I’ll be grateful for that.”
“What if I stuff the fridge full of food?”
“Then I’ll get to enjoy breakfast, and there’s more things to eat for dinner.”
Mahiru’s little jokes were really peaceful, or even music to his ears, what he wanted. Nevertheless, the muted reactions had her a little unhappy.
The threat did not seem like a threat, it emphasized her kindness, and really was something to smile about.
“I feel that I have been treated as a fool.”
“I didn’t do that.”
It appeared if he continued to tease her, she would kick up a fuss. While he really wanted to see her pout, he sheathed his smile and stared at Mahiru.