Ultimately, Amane did not know the reason why Mahiru pouted, but her mood seemed to improve when she played with the cat, and she finally smiled at Amane.
Midway through, she ignored Amane and started playing with the cats. Amane gave her a wry smile, but for some reason, the cats started hogging his lap.
Once she saw that, Mahiru pouted once again. Goodness me, Silk however gave such a look as it seat on her lap, which calmed her down.
When Amane doted on the cats, the other cats started gathering around him even though he never provided snacks for them. Perhaps it was because they were fond of him. After such a precious experience, the happy time with the cats ended.
The duo cleaned the fur off their hands, and washed them. While Mahiru was washing, Amane went to pay, and then Mahiru gave him a slightly displeased look.
“Why are you making such a face?”
“You do not have to care for me this much, Amane-kun.”
“That’s not it. I’m also doing this for my own pleasure. Don’t worry.”
Amane said that he would pay, and he did not need Mahiru to worry about this.
“Well, I’m really grateful that you’re willing to enter a cat cafe with someone like me, a place that I’m embarrassed to enter alone. Right?”
“You should be a little more selfish. If you can’t accept this…how about we come back again the next time?”
“…This will only be to my benefit though?”
“It benefits me too. it’s a win-win.”
No problems right? He chuckled. Mahiru pursed her lips, leaned her head on Amane’s arm, and held his hand once again.
After they had lunch at a highly rated restaurant, they went to a large shopping mall.
On a side note, the food was really delicious, and lived up to its rating. Amane had a personal preference towards Mahiru’s cooking however, and once again, he realized that Mahiru’s cooking was the best.
As it was Golden Week, there were more customers in the shopping mall than usual. As he held Mahiru’s hand firmly, Amane leaned on the wall, wondering what they should do next.
“Anyway, what are we going to do in this shopping mall? We say we’re shopping, but do you have anything you want?”
“N-nothing in particular. I think I will be happy with a little window shopping though…c-can’t we?”
“No no no, of course we can’t. I don’t dislike the idea of window shopping.”
Back home, Amane was often dragged along by his mother, and often went shopping with his family. He had some immunity to these acts any male would have suffered over.
Also, it might be interesting to bring Mahiru out window shopping.
“Where do we start? General store? Clothes? Interior design? There’s lots of them.”
This large shopping mall had countless shops for clothes, food, general goods, or even amusement. There was a myriad of them, and the mall was so big, one would be unable to finish shopping in a day.
They could not see them all, so there was a need to narrow the list to the smallest possible.
“Then…shall we start from clothes?”
“Sure. You want to buy new clothes?”
“If there are good ones. Summer clothes are stocked, and I want to buy some new ones.”
“Summer huh…that’s fast.”
The sweltering season would arrive soon, but at this point, there was only warm sun shining upon them. Amane felt it was too hasty for them to buy summer clothes.
It was common sense to purchase items before the season, but Amane could not let go of the spring.
“This summer…ah, you’re going to my hometown too…right Mahiru?”
“Ah, y-yes. If Shihoko-san and you do not mind.”
She nodded, probably remembering Amane’s suggestion to follow him to his hometown.
“I asked mom once after that, and she said it’s fine. Well, I expected that.”
Shihoko surely would have agreed to that even if he never checked with her, but he did since they would have to prepare a room. “She’s very welcomed here!” that was the reply. He probably would be returning home with Mahiru this summer.
“Well, there’s not a lot of things to do at my hometown. A lot of leisure facilities though.”
“Is that so?”
“Yep, lots of them. There’s no end to the places mom brought me to; shopping malls like this, ridiculously large national parks, ridiculously large water parks.”
It was not a big city, but it was no village. It was never boring at his hometown during summer and winter, as it was a suitable geographic location. On the contrary, they might not have the chance to rest. It was a good place to kill time at.
The water parks would be opened in the summer, and it would be enjoyable to sit on the slides, or slowly swim about.
“At school, swimming’s an elective, so there’s no chance of that if don’t chance it. Maybe it’s a good idea to go swimming at the pool there…Mahiru?”
“I-it is nothing…”
“Ah, don’t worry. I’m not thinking of anything indecent like seeing you in your swimsuit, you know? I can go alone if you’re unwilling.”
“I-I have no such misunderstanding. B-but the p-pool.”
“Is there a problem?”
Amane felt that it was not strange to naturally think of the pool when it came to summer, but Mahiru shook her head somewhat stiffly.
“I-I may consider, erm…going too, if we do not have to swim…”
“…Wait, you can’t swim?”
Mahiru looked aside.
It seemed Amane assumed correctly.
“…I thought you can do anything.”
“Th-that is not the case. Since swimming is an elective, I assumed I did not need to tell anyone…”
Her face reddened increasingly, surely due to shame.
“But well, that’s surprising…”
“We-we have talked enough about swimming, no? Come on, let us go.”
It appeared Mahiru did not really want to talk about swimming, for her face was flushed as she pulled Amane’s hand. Actually, she leaned her body onto his arm, swinging and seemingly lifting it.
Amane knew that Mahiru was dragging him off because she wanted to avoid this topic, but it was a bad posture to assume.
Fabrics would thin accordingly while the seasons got hotter.
Mahiru’s chiffon blouse was rather fluffy, and the fabric was thin. One could see her beautiful skin through the open décolleté. The undergarments covered much, but to Amane, the parts closing in were visible, and even touching him.
But if he pointed that out, it was likely she would blush and escape. He did not say anything, and gently moved his arm away from her, before holding her hand.
He wryly noted to himself that he would not have suffered if he could earnestly enjoy those soft parts. The first thing he felt was guilt however, and he was merely a coward.
“Okay okay. Don’t run. You’ll fall.”
“…I am not a child.”
Mahiru turned her head aside, not knowing how rattled Amane was. Amane then seized the chance to look slightly outwards, avoiding her eyes.
He desperately purged the soft sensation that lingered on his arm, and sighed so softly that she could not hear him.