Itsuki and Chitose ended their stayover; Amane and Mahiru were seated on the sofa.
It was the third day, and the stayover at Amane’s place ended. It seemed Itsuki would be staying at Chitose’s place for another day or two. Chitose’s parents would welcome him for a few days (it seemed they wanted him to stay for longer, but he refused after all）.
After eating Mahiru’s lunch, “sorry for intruding, hope you two get along well” he grinned before leaving. Amane felt Itsuki was having some baseless delusion again, but he ignored it, being too lazy to retort.
“You’re not tired, Mahiru?”
“…I am, it has been tough. But enjoyable.”
At the very least, Amane knew that Mahiru had never invited her friends. He thought Chitose would be a nice start to get her to open up.
It seemed Chitose would go out to meet Chitose without Amane knowing. Surely it was a good thing for her to have a close friend.
“…Well, erm, she started taking photos out of a sudden, and it shocked me a little…”
“Ah, ahhh, that?”
Once he heard the term photo, he remembered the alluring sight from before, and his cheeks naturally turned red.
Not much was exposed, but the negligee was still rather thin, and showed Mahiru’s soft curves, which agitated his eyes. One might say that the low exposure instead made her more alluring.
Due to his male instincts, he accidentally saved the photo in the folder, and had a strong sense of guilt as a result.
“Chitose-san went going 『So cute~!』and started taking lots of photos, but she never told me what she sent. What kind of photos did she send? I agreed at the end since she insisted, but I will feel awkward if it is too embarrassing…”
It seemed Chitose did not show Mahiru the photo she sent.
She probably chose the best shot of them all, and sent it over. Mahiru herself might not have noticed her own expression when the photos were taken.
Of course, if Mahiru herself was to see that photo, one could easily imagine her reaction.
She was not in a shameful position, and her clothes were not ruffled, but for some reason, the image was really destructive.
“E-erm, well, the photo of the bear on your knees.”
“It seems you really treasure it greatly.”
Amane was not lying.
But due to the great guilt he had, he intended to bury the photo deep within his folder. He did not delete it, due to the strange tendencies of a male’s heart.
Bear, once Mahiru heard that, she smiled as though she remembered something.
“…I said I will treasure it dearly. It is something important after all.”
As he saw her adorable, somewhat nostalgic, and gentle expression and smile, Amane gasped.
Unlike her usual angelic smile, this faint smile was filled with innocence and affection, so delicate and beautiful, one would be unintentionally mesmerized.
That was beyond beauty. It contained an element of endearing, and anyone would unwittingly have the urge to embrace her.
“…Ah, hmm, erm, looks like you like it.”
“Of course, it is what you chose for me, Amane-kun.”
Amane stumbled over his words, and Mahiru smiled as she gave such a comforting reply.
“Do not worry, I shall treasure it dearly. I will pat it after washing it, and I will hug it to sleep…please ignore what I have just said.”
Washing it, petting it, fine.
But what she said next, that adorable action, had him doubting his ears.
She hugged it to sleep.
That Mahiru hugged the teddy bear to sleep.
He did see Mahiru’s sleeping face, the angelic-looking sleeping face.
And with that sleeping face, she hugged the teddy bear. A pretty girl, sleeping together with a teddy bear.
He imagined the sight, and an idol image immediately filled his mind, causing him to blush.
Mahiru too was blushing at what she said, looking teary as she latched onto his arms.
“P-please forget about that.”
“N-no, that’s impossible.”
“I will be bothered.”
It seemed she was really embarrassed to let this fact be known to him, for her ears were completely red, her eyes teary as she looked up at Amane.
That expression was really destructive, but she probably would not know.
“I-is it really that embarrassing? It’s not something to be worried about, right?”
“Do-does it not make me look like a child? Hugging a teddy bear to sleep.”
“N-no, I imagined it, and it seems cute. It’s absolutely fine.”
“…Please do not imagine it.”
This time, it was Mahiru who was so embarrassed that she dared not to look at Amane directly, and leaned into her favorite cushion, remaining silent.
He found her to be really adorable in this state. It was bad to him in more ways than one, but he found himself wanting to dote on her.
It would be fine if he could reach his hand out and pat her head, but this might create an opposite reaction, and she would not allow it.
He suppressed the impulsive hand as he stared at Mahiru, the latter peeking from the cushion after a while.
Her eyes were still teary from embarrassment, her face was red, but she seemed a little lively, giving him a somewhat vengeful look.
“…Amane-kun, you are to share something embarrassing too. It is unfair for me to do so alone.”
He felt Mahiru basically self-destructed there, but Amane could not be absolved of blame.
But even if he wanted to expose something shameful about himself, he could not think of anything.
“I shall message Akazawa-kun and ask.”
“When did you get Itsuki’s contact…”
“Actually, I heard from Chitose-san, so I chatted with him. Did he not send a pho…no, nothing…that is fine…”
Saying that midway through, she buried her face into the cushion again.
It seemed Mahiru had just self-destructed once again, but Amane merely felt confused.