“I’m returning this. It’s really delicious.”
The following night, Amane brought the borrowed tupperware along as he visited Mahiru’s house.
Though Amane was truly bad at doing housework, he was fine with washing. It was proper etiquette to wash and return after all. So he thought as he brought along the thoroughly washed and dried tupperware.
He could not say that he had a tough time washing it however.
Mahiru might have expected Amane to ring the bell at this time, for she opened the door without checking.
She was dressed in a bordeaux red knitted one piece dress, and narrowed her eyes slightly.
She glanced at the tupperware container and said, “It is impressive that you washed it well.” She praised him as she would to a child, causing him to frown unconsciously.
“Thank you for doing this much. This is for you.”
Mahiru received the tupperware, and that would be fine, but she then passed another tupperware container to Amane’s hands.
As expected, or so it seemed, it was warm.
Inside it was probably fried pork and eggplant. It was a little colder, so the lid was not covered in steam. He he could see the eggplants, the cooked meat, and sesame seeds sprinkled on top through the lid.
Looking at the color, it seemed the sauce was made from miso. The slightly charred eggplant and glossy meat looked appetizing.
This really looked delicious, he thought.
But he could not understand why she brought him food again.
“…No, erm, I’m just here to return the tupperware.”
“This is tonight’s dinner.”
“I know that, but,”
“Just to ask, you have no allergies, right? I do not care about your food preferences.”
“Not really? But if I keep taking more from you…”
How would it turn out if he was to have two consecutive dinners from her?
Amane was utterly grateful, especially given his improper balance in nutrition, and Mahiro’s cooking skills were far superior to girls her age. The taste would be remarkable.
So too would the food inside the tupperware container be delicious.
But it would be an utter tragedy if the people from his school were to see this. Of course, the tragedy would befall Amane’s calm high school life.
Each apartment here was designed to accommodate a person, but the rental was expensive considering the facilities and geographic location. He never saw any schoolmate aside from Mahiru nearby, and he did not need to worry about them being spotted, but he was apprehensive about such a relationship being exposed.
“I made a little too much for myself. I will be glad if you accepted some of mine.”
“…Well, I’m glad to accept this, but usually, this gives others a wrong impression that you like them.”
“You think so?”
“Nope, not at all.”
Are you an idiot? Given that she was making such a face, Amane had no reason to think that much.
Furthermore, it was impossible to imagine the beautiful prodigy Mahiru showing any goodwill after witnessing how useless Amane was at cleaning up.
It was true that receiving dinner from a cute neighbor would be fitting for a romcom manga plot, but there was no love or comedic elements. No love, no comedy in their conversations. Just to note, Amane had no rice at home.
The only aspects present were the Angel’s vicious words and her pitiful compassion.
“It should be fine then…You are planning to buy some bentos from the convenience store or some side dishes at the supermarket, no?”
“How do you know?”
“The kitchen did not look appear to be used properly, and there were a lot of disposable chopsticks from the convenience store and supermarket on the table. Also, anyone can tell without thinking, given how unhealthy you look. Your face clearly looks unhealthy.”
She saw through everything with just a single trip to his house, and Amane’s face twitched. It was an undeniable fact however, so he could not say anything.
“…Now then, I shall be returning.”
Thud! Once she was done with what she wanted to say and give, Mahiru closed the door.
Clank. The chain behind the door was latched up, and Amane looked towards the tupperware in his hands.
Within his palms was the still-warm dinner, and he let out a sigh before returning to his apartment.
The eggplants and pork with sesame seeds were really delicious, and he had a craving for rice.
Thus, every day, he would exchange an empty tupperware container for one with food, his food nutrition taking a drastic turn for the better.
Mahiru’s cooking was not particularly heavy in flavoring, but it was extremely appetizing, so every dinner, he would prepare pre-cooked rice to eat with these dishes.
There were different dishes every day; whether they were Japanese, Western, or Chinese, they were all delicious, impossible to refuse, whetting Amane’s appetite.
The opportunity to eat these every day had Amane looking forward to them. He was apologetic about it, but it seemed he was being domesticated, melancholic if he never got to eat her food.
Perhaps the Angel’s cooking was truly addictive. While thinking this was not a good thing, Amane obediently accepted the tupperware container, and indulged himself in the food.
“…You’re looking great recently. Got your food sorted out?”
Amane was looking a lot better, probably due to having sufficient nutrients from dinner. It was lunchtime when Itsuki stared at his face.
Amane was having udon at the cafeteria, and was shedding cold sweat in the face of the perceptive Itsuki.
“Itsuki, I think you’re looking scary.”
“What, did I hit the bullseye?”
“No…well, I had to reflect on that.”
He would be told off whenever he met Mahiru at the apartments, and given that he was receiving dinner from her, it was to be expected that his quality of life had improved.
He wanted to express his thanks to the Angel, but at the same time, he felt she was somewhat a busybody.
So he confirmed ambiguously, and Itsuki gleefully giggled.
“Of course. Your old unhealthy look was because of your living habits after all.”
“But you managed to get it fixed just like that?”
“… I was forced, sorta?”
“Haha. Your mom knows?”
“… Not exactly, I would say.”
Mahiru’s tone was similar to his mom’s.
She was way too young and cute to be called his mom, but Amane did not want to reject Mahiru who had been taking care of him for some reason.
“Say Itsuki. Did I look really unhealthy?”
“Yeah. Mostly because you looked too pale. You’re tall but skinny, and your face just looked unhealthy.”
“But my face’s like this.”
“I know. You can be livelier in your expressions though.”
“That’s impossible…I see, a dead-looking face…?”
As he hardly checked his face in the mirror, Amane hardly knew how he looked, but to others, he appeared to be utterly sickly.
Perhaps Mahiru was worried about Amane because he usually looked dead.
“Amane, you should pay attention to how others look at you. You won’t look like this if you sort it out.
“Are you just rubbing it in?”
“No, what else can I do without saying it plainly that you look dead?”
Itsuki took the opportunity to coax Amane into focusing on his health and appearance. “None of your business,” he said, and looked aside.