Recently, Amane got used to returning home after sunset due to his part-time work, so he jogged back home as exercise.
Due to the timing, he might be sent for counseling if he loitered around in his uniform, so he even put on a jumper with reflective straps on his shoulders after work. It might not be an appropriate attire, but he had to do so, for safety concerns.
He jogged home while paying attention to the nearby cars and pedestrians, and by the time he arrived home, it would be another three hours until the day ended..
He felt intrigued by how busy he was, for he used to be part of the going-home club, but it was not a bad feeling.
He had been too relaxed until now. Until he met Mahiru, he never attended club activities, was lazy, and even after then, he studied with her, lived as freely as he wanted, and never crammed his schedule too much.
And at this point, he acted as per a fixed schedule. It was restrictive, but yet fulfilling.
He was a little lethargic as he opened the door and called out. The lights were on, but he could not see anyone.
Perhaps Mahiru had made dinner, and was waiting for him. He removed his shoes, looked at the living room, but Mahiru was not in.
He looked into the kitchen, and there was a nice smell coming from the stove, the food inside was probably done.
Given how there was cooked food inside, it seemed she had prepared dinner for him before she left.
He did not think she had to stay at his place, and it was not a bad thing for her to treasure her own time, but it was a rare sight.
He sent her a message beforehand, stating that he would return home. Shall I send another message? The moment he thought so, there was a sound of the door hastily unlocked.
“A-Amane-kun. You are early…”
“Someone else’s doing the cleanup today, and I ran a little faster…sorry, seems like you’re doing something, Mahiru. Should I be a little slower?”
“Not at all! I wanted to see your face sooner, Amane-kun!”
Mahiru shook her head frantically. That’s good. He chuckled back at her as he saw her hair sway aside.
He beamed due to these cute words from her, and Mahiru did not mind, but she awkwardly looked down, muttering something.
“Ahh, I just had a thought. Please do not worry. I shall prepare dinner since you are back. I will heat the rice while you are bathing. The bath is ready.”
“Thank you for everything…hm?”
Mahiru acted a little gingerly, and Amane felt suspicious. The moment she passed him by, he sensed a sweet, soft fragrance from her.
She usually had a sweet fragrance, but the scent this time was different. It was not of the shampoo, not from herself, but more of something else external.
To be precise, it was the smell of baked sweets.
“Wh-what is it?”
“…Well, your scent is different from usual, Mahiru. It’s the sweet smell of sweets.”
“Eh…actually, I had…oyatsu.”
“Is that so? I don’t really eat a lot, but you don’t eat as much as me. You sure you can eat dinner if you eat too much?”
She usually would control her food intake to maintain her body shape, so this was a surprise.
Mahiru’s food intake was not exactly meagre, but it was not much either. She probably could not finish dinner after having the oyatsu.
“I-I can finish the food, no worries. Please go into the bath. You are hungry after work, are you not, Amane-kun?”
“Well, I’m famished.”
“So have a nice bath and a good meal, okay?”
It seemed Mahiru wanted to hide something as she shoved Amane’s back. He sensed there was a catch, but he did as she wanted, and got his change of clothes in the bedroom.