“Can we drop by at your place tomorrow, Amane?”
Amane’s father sent this message at 10pm, on the third day of the year.
“It is fine for you not to return home, Amane, but I do want to see your face. Also, I heard from Shihoko-san, so I thought I should greet the neighbor.”
It appeared Amane’s mother had introduced Mahiru, and told him how much their son was taken care of, so he wanted to greet her as his parent.
Amane would have refused with all his might if Shihoko did not know about Mahiru, but she knew, and Mahiru herself had been contacting Shihoko quite the bit, so it was pointless to refuse.
There was nothing to hide at this point, so he was not repulsed by the idea of his parents checking on the son that had never returned.
If the father Shuuto was arriving with Shihoko, he should be able to rein the often rampaging latter.
Amane determined that if he were to refuse, Shihoko would brazenly visit Mahiru again, so he agreed to his father’s request, before sending Mahiru a message.
“Erm, is it really fine for me to intrude upon your family reunion?”
Mahiru appeared at Amane’s house the following morning, and looked a little nervous.
It appeared Shihoko had contacted Mahiru before…rather, they were well acquainted since they were in constant contact. It would be one thing if Shihoko was the one visiting, but the father too would appear this time, and it was no wonder Mahiru was so tense.
“Well, you aren’t disturbing. dad just wants to say hi to you, and mom’s really interested in you, so I want you here. Actually, you have to be here.”
“E-even though you say so…”
“I get that you aren’t too willing, but I hope you’ll endure it for now.”
It might be a surreal situation for her to greet his parents, but since they wanted to meet, they had no other choice.
Amane was sorry about taking up Mahiru’s time, but such was his father’s personality that he would feel restless if he never got to greet Mahiru, so he hoped she would just endure for a while.
“…How did Shihoko-san introduce me?”
“Relax. Dad kept saying you’re a benefactor. He specified that we don’t have the kind of relationship my mom’s fantasizing about.”
It appeared that Shihoko had deemed Mahiru a daughter-in-law, a cute daughter even, which Amane vehemently denied.
Shuuto grimaced a little, “Shihoko-san’s bad habit is at work again” as he noted understandingly. There should not be any misunderstanding.
Mahiru looked a little relieved as she put her hand on the chest, “Sorry.” Amane responded with a wry smile, and continued to wait. Right on cue, the doorbell rang.
Mahiru jolted greatly, and Amane smiled as he consoled her. He went to the door and unbolted the chain.
He opened the door, and found the parents he was used to seeing.
“It’s been half a year, Amane.”
“It’s been a while, dad.”
Amane’s father, Shuuto, showed a calm smile, and Amane too gave a smile of some relief.
Shuuto was one who had a calming demeanor, and was one who could easily calm those around him. Amane relaxed once he met his father again.
“You’re treating your mom so differently…”
“That’s because you showed up out of a sudden, mom. I would have welcomed you if you told me first.”
Most importantly, it was because Mahiru was around, and Amane would have been a lot more relaxed if he was alone back then.
“Anyway, come in…what’s that?”
“Various things~. That aside, where’s Mahiru-chan?”
He tersely answered, and accompanied his parents in, the latter having removed their shoes. An uneasy looking Mahiru was seated there, looking at them—and she widened her eyes.
It was not unreasonable for Mahiru to be shocked.
Shuuto’s young appearance belied the fact that he was in his late thirties. Even if she was to ignore the favorable comparison against his son, he had the face of a man around thirty.
He had a young face, baby-like even, and for the umpteenth time, Amane wished he could have inherited more of those genes.
Unlike Amane, the man had a kind expression, a friendly looking youth (even though he was middle aged). So many had often wondered if they were actually blood related. When they walked together however, they resembled brothers with a large age gap.
“Mahiru-chan, it’s been a while~.”
“Been a while? It hasn’t been a month.”
“That’s long enough for me.”
Mahiru saw Shihoko scurry towards her with a beaming face, “It has been a while.” Mahiru answered with a smile shown to outsiders, correcting her sitting posture.
However, she looked a little perturbed towards Shuuto, the latter noticing the stare and stood next to Shihoko with a calm smile.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Amane’s father, Shuuto Fujimiya. I have heard about you from Shihoko-san, Shiina-san. That you’ve been taking care of our son.”
“Nice to meet you. I am Shiina Mahiru. I have been in the care of Amane-kun.”
Shuuto made a beautiful formal bow, and Mahiru followed suit with a formal greeting.
It appeared Mahiru was worried if Shuuto would have a similar personality to Shihoko, but Shuuto was a kind person with common sense, so Amane hoped Mahiru would calm down as quickly as possible.
Shuuto was the only one who could apply the brakes on Shihoko, and the latter was weak against Shuuto. One reason was that she was overwhelmingly fond of him though.
“Why, you don’t have to be so humble, you know? Amane’s sloppy after all.”
“Sorry for being sloppy.”
“Alright Shihoko-san, don’t say that now…Amane, have you thanked her properly for taking care of you all this while?”
“I did my best.”
Females are to be treated respectfully, that was what Shuuto taught, and he might be worried if Amane had thanked Mahiru properly.
Amane was uncomfortable with leaving everything to Mahiru while he got to enjoy, and of course, Amane assumed he did all he could for her.
Shuuto was relieved to hear Amane’s reply, and again turned to meet Mahiru in the eyes.
“…Really, how do I thank you here? It seems you were doing all the daily dishes, and even the Osechi…”
“I’ve always been thanking her, and I’ve been helping her out.”
“Yes…surprisingly, Amane-kun is rather concerned about me.”
“How surprising is this surprising you speak of?”
He might appear crude, but he does pay attention to detail, so Mahiru said, and Amane was left speechless, unable to refute the fact that he was crude; Shuuto showed a kind smile.
“Looks like the two of you are really on good terms. Don’t cause Shiina-san too much trouble here.”
“Same to you, Shiina-san, do correct Amane if there is anything he does not do well. He might not look like it, but he’s a really honest boy. Do correct him if there’s anything you don’t like.”
“Amane-kun is very kind; as for anything I dislike…erm, just a little.”
“So there is.”
“…Rather than dislike…I will say it is a flaw.”
She seemed to be stammering for words, and if he were to ask what was bad about him…she would be unable to reply.
For some reason, “Hahan” Shihoko seemed to have an idea as she burst out laughing, looking towards Amane. What now, who could only muster such a response.