After the guidance of this and thats from the seniors, Amane returned home, and it was past bath time.
He took the elevator to his house, and let out a long sigh.
The shift was merely four hours or so, but Amane felt so lethargic, probably because he was unfamiliar with the environment and work. He did not commit any serious error (or rather, he was not set up in a situation where he could have), but the first time was always filled with tension.
Luckily for him, though his seniors had quite the personalities, they got along well, and earnestly treated Amane, who remained unfamiliar with work.
Amane felt it was really a good place to work at.
But, it did not change the fact that he was tired.
He exited the elevator, went to his door, and his footsteps were heavier than usual. He opened the door as usual―and saw Mahiru scampering down the corridor from the living room.
He blinked away once he saw her panicking, and she showed a relieved smile.
“Welcome back, Amane-kun.”
“Yep, I’m back. You don’t have to run over here. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
It was just a guess, but she probably had been waiting for Amane the entire time.
He did tell her when he would be back, but she probably felt helpless, being all alone and such.
Mahiru had always been at Amane’s place ever since they started, other than bathing and sleeping. She had been completely used to the place. Surely she would feel lonely to be left alone.
“N-not at all. I had lots to do when you were alone.”
“Lots to do, so you’re not lonely?”
“Th-that is another matter…”
She averted her eyes, her cheeks blushing slightly, and Amane laughed. She noticed so, puffed her cheeks slightly, looking a little displeased, and yet had some intent to fawn.
Hmph, she pouted, and turned her head aside. Amane did not sheath his smile as he removed his shoes before entering, and went straight to the washroom.
The lights inside were switched on.
He turned back to look at Mahiru, who stood there, giving a matter-of-fact expression, seemingly elated.
“A bath, or dinner first?”
A change in these words, and it would be a newlywed invitation. Amane could not help but smile after Mahiru said so, and barely held it in.
Mahiru herself might not have noticed that it was an adorable part.
“You’re hungry too, right? Let’s have dinner then.”
“I shall serve it then. I made dashimaki as a reward for your hard work, since it is your first day working.”
“Woah, that’s quite the reward.”
“Fufu, you are easily contented then.”
“It’s something I like, and delicious, and also made by you. Adding them all up, it’s the best quality I can get. Thank you for everything.”
After all, it was taxing on her to personally make it. It was not something easily made. It was made for Amane, and that was enough.
Moreover, the really scrumptious flavor was a fabulous, lavish reward.
Mahiru had been cooking for Amane every day, and considered his likes, which he was really grateful for. Once again, he felt that she really was a priceless partner.
I have to repay her for all she has done. So he thought as he washed his hands, and went to the living room. Mahiru then clung onto his back
He turned behind, wanting to check her expression, but her face clung onto his back, unseen. The only thing he knew was that she was embarrassed.
She wrapped her arms on his belly while rubbing her forehead onto him, as though she was strangling him.
Good thing I’m training my abs now, so Amane quietly thought to himself as he laughed. Mahiru could tell that he was laughing given his breathing and tummy, and started hammering at his flank.
“…I am glad that you are grateful to me, but do not attack me suddenly.”
“So I can praise you as much as I want if I mention beforehand?”
“T-that will not do either…I shall torture you one day.”
Mahiru said, and let go. For some reason, she had a determined look on her face, and hurried towards the kitchen.
That’s quite an energetic manner to escape, so Amane thought as he quietly laughed to himself, and went to change in his room.
“Anyway, how is work?”
Dinner was Japanese-styled. Mahiru seemed to be curious about Amane’s work, and asked him somewhat uneasily while they were eating.
“Hm, no problems. I didn’t do anything much for my first day, and my seniors are all good. I think it’s a good place to work part-time.”
“I see…that is good. It is fine if you are comfortable. I was worried if it is a black company…”
“It’s Kido’s recommendation, and Kayano isn’t unhappy about the work there. Don’t worry.”
After all, the shop was run by Kido’s relative, Itomaki, and Kido would have noticed any problems otherwise, and prevented Kayano from working there. It was a reason why Amane could be at ease there.
He had not known or spoken to Kido for a long time, and felt that though she would push her weird knowledge and unnecessary fetishes onto Mahiru, she was a kind woman.
The owner Itomaki too was a kind, poised woman as long as he did not stimulate her delusions (according to Kayano). He should be fine working there.
“Don’t worry. I think I can work well there. The shift arrangements take my time into consideration,:
“…That is good, as long as you can continue to work hard. I can only cheer you on and watch silently.”
“That’s enough for me. I get to return home and eat delicious food with you around, get a hot bath, and this is happiness for me.”
Such support was a rarity by itself, and Amane felt he was blessed. He was really grateful.
“…I shall chip in with what little strength I have, even if it is to see you at work sooner, Amane-kun.”
“…You really want to look?”
Amane replied dumbfoundedly once he learned of this personal motive, and she nodded firmly.
“I want to see my lover at work. Kido-san did show me photos of Kayano-san at work, so I think they should suit you very well…”
“I am looking forward to seeing them.”
“I find it embarrassing though. Don’t really want anyone else to see it…”
He did not exactly hated the idea, but that he might find it somewhat indescribably embarrassing to show Mahiru a side he usually would not show.
Mahiru however might have felt this contrast was worth it. She wanted to see the side Amane usually would not show, and she clearly was preparing for the situation.
“…I think I can leave it be if you are unwilling.”
“Not that I’m unwilling…but is it really interesting to see my business smile?”
“You usually would not show it, and I wish to see it.”
“I can show that kind of smile if you want…”
“…But that is a smile directed to me, it is different.”
She was right. Amane could not determine if his smile towards Mahiru was biased. He believed he would show a smile only for Mahiru.
“And I wish to see you work hard.”
“…I’ll try my best to get used to it.”
Since she said so, he had no choice but to buck up. He had to spare no effort given that his dear girlfriend wanted to see his other self at the workplace.
Getting familiar with work would grant more benefits to the shop, and gain him more self-confidence.
Mahiru’s words motivated him lots, and he felt like a simpleton. However, that little thought he had of himself vanished the moment he saw her smile and the expectations in the sparkling eyes.