Amane returned from the supermarket with the requested ingredients, and found Mahiru already waiting for him on his sofa.
It was a usual scene, but the only difference was that Mahiru was hugging the cushion, her arms wrapped around her knees as she sat on the sofa.
She was pouting like a child in this posture, but she seemed more embarrassed instead, and wasso adorable that he did not know where to look.
Thank goodness for the long skirt, Amane averted his eyes awkwardly, went to the fridge and put the ingredients in. He returned to the living room, and found Mahiru peeking at him.
He sat next to Mahiru, and saw her stare averting elsewhere.
“Mahiru, thanks for yesterday. It’s delicious.”
He knew she was still concerned about the previous day, but he thanked her as he was really grateful. Upon hearing that, her eyes looked towards Amane, her face still half buried in the cushion.
“What do you want as a return gift?”
“I did not give you that just for a return gift.”
“I get that, but I should at least respond to your earnest thoughts with my own, right? It’s embarrassing for a guy to accept without giving back.”
Amane firmly believed in the concept of returning what he received, and to him, since she had made such a delicious thing for him, he had to repay her in some way, and he was not going to compromise on that.
After all, it appeared she never once did so to the others, but she made some for Amane’s personal tastes, and that would have taken some effort.
“…I have received lots from you, Amane-kun.”
“Actually, you’ve been offering so much for me. You’ve been cooking for me, and I’ve been causing you trouble.”
“I am doing this because I like it…you may not have noticed, Amane-kun, but you have given me lots. That is sufficient.”
Amane felt he never gave anything to Mahiru, and that he was the receiving side, so he wanted to repay Mahiru, but the latter did not seem to think so.
“But that’s different…well, I’ll think of something you’ll like.”
Even if Amane had unwittingly given her something, it was different from a White Day’s gift.
Since he received chocolates on Valentine’s Day, he should repay her on White Day. It was a form of basic courtesy.
I am not going to compromise, he gave her such a look, “…Yes” and once Mahiru saw it, her eyes faltered strangely as she nodded.
“Anyway, there’s still about a month or so to think of something. Will be great if I can think of something you’ll like.”
“…Do you have that much free time? We are starting our end of year exams next week. After that will be the closing ceremony.”
Mahiru pointed out in surprise. It was true that their end of year exams would begin the following week.
On this day, the school still had some aftertaste of Valentine’s Day, but it would quickly shift to a tense mood right before the exams.
It was not something Amane had to worry about in particular.
“Well, I just need to perform during the exams like usual. Not like I’ll be retained, no need to worry. Same goes for you right, Mahiru?”
“I suppose. It is easy if we have put in the effort.”
Amane was serious with his studies, and usually did his preparations and revision, so he was not one to be troubled by the exams.
Even without cramming at the last moment, he felt he could maintain his usual level of grades, and that was how he made it this far. At most, he would spend a little more time studying at the desk before the tests.
Mahiru in turn had grasped the lesson material beforehand, and like Amane, she was not one to skimp on her revision, so she did not look anxious. She might prefer the exams to the actual lessons, since her schedule for the day would end earlier.
“Well, just wait for it, but don’t hope too much.”
“…Yes. I shall treasure everything you give me, Amane-kun.”
“That’s quite exaggerated.”
“I have treated Kuma-san well too.”
It seemed she had treasured the doll he gave her for her birthday.
He saw the key case, and knew she was using it, but he was a little worried about the teddy bear…looking at Mahiru, it seemed she really liked it.
He nearly burst out laughing upon hearing Mahiru give such a cute name like Kuma-san, but if he did, he might get glared, so he held it in.
If he could remain with Mahiru like this, what should he give for her birthday this year…Amane was looking forward to it.
“That’s good.” He answered Mahiru with a chuckle, and found her staring at him.
“…Speaking of which, I do not know of your birthday, Amane-kun.”
“Ahh me? November 8th.”
He realized he did not tell her that, so he told her of her birthday, ssuuuu…and her eyes narrowed.
They had been together for months, so he understood that expression was her being a little furious.
“We already knew each other back then, no?”
“Why did you not mention it back then?”
“You never asked. You never mentioned your own birthday. I only knew when I saw your student ID.”
“And anyway, our relationship wasn’t as good as it is now. If I mentioned my birthday, you would be wondering what I’m talking about.”
It’s my birthday, even if he said that to Mahiru, she would have answered “I see” and left it at that.
For Amane, that would be akin to begging for a present, which he hated, and he did not have such shame.
There was no need to mention, and they were not so trusting of each other, which was simply why he did not mention it.
“You don’t have to worry about that, you know?”
“…Then, I shall celebrate your birthday this year.”
It seemed Mahiru was still not satisfied as she turned towards Amane, tugging firmly at his sleeve as she declared this.
Well, she probably was displeased that only she got to celebrate. Her eyes were implying that she would celebrate his more seriously than her own, so Amane gave a wry smile at that.
For some reason, he was delighted to hear her say that…a smile of ordinary joy unwittingly appeared on his face.
Thus, Mahiru and Amane had the same thoughts…she wanted to be next to him, and that thought made him happier than anything else.
“So we’re promising to stay together until then?”
He nonchalantly quipped, and Mahiru widened her clear caramel-colored eyes—her cheeks instantly blushing as she moved her hand away from his sleeve, slapping the cushion.
It seemed she was embarrassed to have this pointed out to her.
Anxious to hide her embarrassment, she vented her tantrum on Amane, who nearly smiled again after seeing such an adorable scene.
“…I do not, dislike you, Amane-kun …I feel calm, being with you. That is fine.”
“I see. Thanks.”
“I do not, mean anything else though.”
“I know that at least.”
She hastily added, and he nodded understandingly, but for some reason, she looked a little displeased.