This is terrible. Amane looked towards Mahiru who was seated properly next to him, and sighed.
He had no choice after the tragedy at the veranda, and could only invite Mahiru in.
After all, if he tried to bluff the couple, those two would have strange ideas on their own. It would be better for him to be honest, and prevent unnecessary guesses and misunderstandings.
And if he did not shush them properly, what would happen next would be really terrifying.
“…Erm, I am really sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.”
Mahiru sounded apologetic as much as she could, but this was the one thing she was not at fault at.
It was a White Christmas, the first snow of the season, so she could not help but go to the veranda to see the snowfall.
If Amane had heard the window open, he would have hurried over to stop the couple, but there so happened to be music blaring, so in fact, he did not hear it.
Mahiru herself probably did her best not to make a sound, and he did not notice.
Looking at the duo who were reflecting upon their actions, Chitose’s eyes sparkled as she brought her face close.
“So, your neighbor’s the Angel, Amane!?”
“Erm, please do not call me Angel if possible…”
It appeared the Angel did not want to be called so straight to the face, so she refused demurely. Chitose however leered away, and one had to wonder if she was listening.
Itsuki in turn scratched his cheek as he frowned, looking back and forth between Amane and Mahiru, frowning.
“Ehh, then…looking at what we know so far, Shiina-san’s living next to Amane, and often cooks for him, am I right?”
“We-well…I owe Fujimiya-san a favor, and I saw that he was not eating healthily, so I was worried…”
Mahiru began to explain how the two of them met, and also how the relationship continued; “I see.” so Itsuki answered, but his face showed that he could not accept this explanation, somehow.
If he were in Itsuki’s shoes, Amane too would not have accepted this explanation.
There was no way an ordinary boy like Amane would have an outstanding girl like Mahiru taking care of him.
“Hmm, I sorta know what’s going on, but it’s incredible that you don’t have other feelings for Amane, Shiina-san. You’re already a commuting wife.”
The term he usually would not hear caused him to snort.
A commuting wife…the situation did seem similar, now that he mentioned. Every day, Mahiru would cook dinner for Amane, and during rest days, she would accompany him for lunch, and she would occasionally drop by to clean up. It seemed the case, especially when Itsuki mentioned so.
The difference was that there was no love between them.
And when Mahiru heard Itsuki say that, she widened her eyes, only to switch to her outside smile, “I have no intention to, and this is impossible.” she denied it.
Amane imagined her dealing with Itsuki and Chitose in the same manner at school, and felt an itch in his heart.
“Well, I have no bad thoughts at all, that’s why Shiina’s helping me out.”
“It’s fine when you say this, Amane, but this is a strange combination…the prodigy’s cooking for you…wait, was the doll given to Shiina-san?”
“But I haven’t said anything?”
“Your face is annoying.”
Chitose was grinning away…or rather, smirking, leaving him uncomfortable while he was really frustrated.
They were checking the facts, so she was not teasing Amane, but he did not want her to be teasing him, for it would affect Mahiru. If possible, he would want to ignore Chitose.
“Calm down now, you two.”
Itsuki already noticed a change in Amane since the beginning, and did not tease him as Chitose did.
He was one who could stop before things got out of hand, and was an observant guy who could read the mood and put himself in other people’s shoes. Amane hoped that Itsuki would stop before this fact was exposed, but it was pointless at this point.
After coaxing a slightly glaring Amane and a thoroughly elated Chitose who had solved the mystery, Itsuki turned his body towards Mahiru and lowered his head for some reason.
“…Erm, Shiina-san, our Amane has been in your care.”
“Since when did I become your son?”
“Same to you. Thank you very much for raising Fujimiya-san well.”
“Don’t add on to that and make it sound like I’m worthless.”
“But you’re really worthless.”
He had self-awareness, and Itsuki had critiqued him for being too lazy…but he felt conflicted to be pointed out like this.
It seemed Mahiru could also play along with this joke as she seized the chance to play dumb, smiling as she watched Amane and Itsuki bicker.
While the smile was not as genuine as the one she would show only to Amane, it was not completely pretentious, and this too left Itsuki with a dumbfounded look.
Stop staring when you have a girlfriend, an annoyed Chitose jabbed at Itsuki…no, she was punching at him, which left Amane all the more bemused.
But once he saw Mahiru tilt her head in confusion, Amane reverted back to usual as though nothing had happened.
“…Well, we don’t have a sweet relationship like you two, and it’ll be troublesome if the others are to know. You get that?”
“Of course. We won’t tell anyone.”
Amane was subtly threatening Itsuki if he ever told anyone else, but was surprised to see the latter heartily agree.
“You too, Chitose.”
“I’m not that talkative~ Nobody will believe that such a cute girl’s making meals for you anyway, Amane.”
“Sorry for being so incompatible.”
“I wasn’t going that far~”
Chitose was right, and he had self-awareness.
Nobody would believe that an ordinary boy was taken care of by the school idol they called the Angel.
And if they did, they would lambast him for being incompatible.
He did not want others to know, for he expected so. He really did not want the hassle.
Being humble, aren’t you? Chitose chuckled as she stared at Amane, but her stare was seemingly attracted towards Mahiru.
Jii, she stared at the latter with a passionate gaze, sighed, and continued staring.
Mahiru herself was feeling uncomfortable, at a loss of what to do.
“Erm, what is it?”
“…Thinking about it again, how are you so cute, Shiina-san ?”
“Eh? thank you very much……?”
Chitose praised Mahiru, and continued to stare at the latter’s face intently.
“It’s the first time I’m looking at you up close; you really are so beautiful, an Angel. Pretty face, white skin, long eyelashes, silky hair, slender body.”
Once he noticed Chitose’s bad habits at it again, Amane let out a huge sigh.
Amane was bad at dealing with Chitose.
It was not because he hated her, in fact, he was impressed by her personality…but there were moments when he could not handle her. She got agitated easily, overly concerned at times, and he found it too tiring to deal with. There was another similar person in his household after all, so this awareness was stronger.
In other words, the similarity to his mom had him unable to deal with.
Chitose’s personality and likes were similar to Amane’s mom…especially their utter fondness for pretty and cute things.
Mahiru might seem really pitiful if he did not stop Chitose. Oh goodness. Amane grumbled, and dope slapped Chitose on the head right when the latter was about to return her hand out.
He did not use much strength as he was just trying to stop and retort, “Owie.” but a shocked Chitose muttered, pulling her hand back from Mahiru.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“She’s a shy one. No skinship until you’re familiar with her.”
“So it’s fine when I’m familiar?”
“Ask Shiina that. Before that, note which state you’re at.”
Mahiru clearly looked as though she wanted to run away. It seemed his choice to stop Chitose was the right one.
And once she saw how Mahiru was…somewhat perturbed, Chitose seemed to have realized the reason why he stopped her.
“Sorry about that. I got too excited that I want to touch you.”
Chitose’s sudden confession of wanting to touch Mahiru left the latter confused. She did not know what to do, and looked towards Amane, pleading to him for help.
“AhーShiina, Chitose’s a weirdo, but she’s not a bad person…I think.”
“Are you even vouching for me? You’re just rubbing it in, aren’t you?”
“Can you even deny that now?”
“Not at all!”
Chitose heartily boasted, stared at Mahiru intently, and with a serious look, reached her hand over.
This time, she was asking for a handshake.
“Let’s start from being friends. Please take care of me.”
“Eh? Y-yes, please take care of me…?”
Upon being asked to shake hands, Mahiru extended her hand apprehensively.
Chitose would want to be friends with anyone she was interested in, and given her personality, it felt like Mahiru was going to be at her mercy. Well, since they were going to be normal friends, he had nothing to say.
He could only hope that Chitose would show some restraint however.
“Yep yep, a new friendship is born.”
“Manage your girlfriend already.”
Amane retorted at Itsuki, who always let Chitose get away with so much, and sighed again as he saw Chitose grinning away while holding Mahiru’s hands.