The weather was bad.
Dark clouds covered the skies outside the window, nary any sunlight to be seen. Raindrops were more likely to fall than sunlight.
Thus, even though they were in the latter half of March, he felt a little cold.
He switched on the heater, and sat on the sofa, but was just so restless. His eyes would look towards Mahiru’s apartment from time to time.
It was likely that Mahiru’s parents had plans to meet her.
She said she would not be around to make dinner, for she did not want to show her emotions after the meeting, it seemed.
He felt unpleasant thinking about how Mahiru would look hurt, as though something was stuck within him.
He was really worried, and even sent her a message, if there’s anything, contact me.
He could not remain as restless as he was, so for the time being, he went to the supermarket to secure his dinner.
But even while shopping, Mahiru’s expression remained on his mind. It would be rather painful for her to show such a face to her parents.
He instinctively bit his lips as he recalled her looking afraid of something.
He reverted his expression to normal so as not to look suspicious, but his mood did not improve.
He was aggressively stuffing the side dishes into the shopping basket, and regretted mangling them a little.
Haa, he sighed, finished payment for the goods, and slowly returned home under the cloudy skies. Then, as he took the elevator back him, he noticed something amiss.
He moved away from the corridor leading to his apartment, and hid himself in a corner.
There were two people standing outside Mahiru’s apartment.
One of them was the girl with the flax-colored hair he was used to seeing, Mahiru.
The other was an unfamiliar woman.
Though he was looking from slightly afar, the lady could be said to be rather pretty.
The woman was facing the petite Mahiru, and looked rather tall. Considering the height difference against Mahiru, it seemed she was as tall as an ordinary male.
Despite that, the woman did not seem to be tall or burly, probably due to her body proportions. Her form fitting business suit showed the balanced, curvy body that could be called an ideal woman’s body type.
The bright semi-long brown hair was upon her shoulders, and she looked a little grim.
Even without her makeup, the eyes covered with eyeliners highlighted her strong personality. Her sharp gaze never showed signs of easing even as she faced Mahiru.
She was rather pretty, but her appearance and disposition were obviously standoffish, the vibe of a career-woman.
If Mahiru could be said to be an innocent lily, she was a vibrant, glamorous rose. The woman’s disposition and appearance were completely different.
“You really aren’t cute at all. Just like that man. There’s nothing more infuriating than that.”
Amane widened his eyes once he heard such a voice from the lipstick red lips.
Given how she was talking to Mahiru, it appeared she was the mother, but he was stunned to hear the mother actually humiliate her own daughter.
The face and words were not what a parent should be saying to the daughter.
Anyone would have been hurt seeing such an attitude from a parent. Did Mahiru endure such a thing for so long?
“It would be one thing if you resemble me…but you just had to resemble that man. Whatever, we won’t be related once you graduate from university, no point nitpicking. Just mail over the necessary documents like usual.”
“That’s all. Don’t bother me with anything unnecessary.”
Mahiru answered softly, and the lady snorted before turning to leave.
She was walking to the elevator hall, and Amane went to the corridor with some awkwardness.
As they passed, she glanced aside at him, and left without saying anything.
Mahiru stood there, spotted Amane, and winced.
“…You heard that?”
He did not lie, and apologized earnestly.
He did not intend to eavesdrop, but he could not have left at that moment.
And he could not leave Mahiru in that state.
“Erm, who’s that?”
“…Sayo Shiina. My actual mother.”
Recently, she would show a tender expression more frequently, but she seemed more reticent than their first encounter. Her voice seemed to creak with every word she said.
“I knew my mother hated me all this while. There is no point worrying about it now.”
Her voice was flat and monotonous.
Amane concluded that she was acting tough, given that he spent much time with her, watching over her.
It was obvious that she was suppressing such emotions…the suffering, the pain, the sorrow.
She was about to silently retreat to her room, and Amane instinctively grabbed her hand.
But that instinct might be the correct choice.
If he let Mahiru be, her thoughts might take a turn for the worst.
Mahiru was dumbfounded, and showed a faint, feeble smile, wanting to shake his hand off. Amane held firm though, not wanting to let go at all.
He held her shockingly weak and helpless wrist firmly, yet not forcibly. That wrist was so shockingly feeble.
“Come with me.”
Amane said to Mahiru with a forceful tone, one he usually would not use, and she showed an awkward smile on her contorted face.
“…I, am fine, you know? You do not have to worry, Amane-kun.”
“I’m saying this because I want to be with you.”
Even he felt that he was being too arrogant, but he had no intention of retracting his words.
He stared at Mahiru intently, and her face showed an utterly feeble smile, before she stopped resisting.
He impudently took that as an agreement, grabbed her hand, and dragged her to his place.