Ultimately, the gaming party lasted until evening.
Amane could not concentrate after having studied for so long, so he stopped to join them for games. However, the long study time was not the only reason why he could not concentrate.
What does she mean by working hard for those who work hard?
Mahiru’s little muttered swirled in Amane’s mind.
Amane knew that Mahiru loved to act for others, but when she said so, it appeared that she had feelings for him.
As far as Amane knew, Mahiru’s fondness of him was not in the sense of a boy-girl relationship.
But once he heard her say so, he started to delude, wondering if she viewed him as a boy, and was willing to devote her utmost to him.
No, if she’s taking care of me and giving her all for me because I’m too rotten, that I can understand.
Amane could not do housework, so it was possible interpretation of that. No, if he worked hard, he could at least live normally; at this point however, he was completely reliant on Mahiru.
One had to wonder if Mahiru was implying that she had the urge to keep taking care of him, or that she was taking care of him because she liked him.
Amane liked Mahiru, and naturally he hoped the situation was the latter. He did not think it came out of nowhere, but once he thought of the possibility of her liking him, he found it impossible, in various ways.
“Amane~, you fell out of the arena.”
As he was distracted by his thoughts while playing, he made a mistake, and his character fell off. It was game over for him as he had no remaining lives.
Itsuki, Chitose and Kadowaki were fighting.
Amane did not know of Kadowaki’s abilities, but he usually would not have lost that easily. In other words, he was so distracted by Mahiru’s words.
“You’re spacing out man. Guess you can’t concentrate after studying so much.”
“…Maybe. You want to play, Mahiru?”
“No thank you. I think it is about time to cook…”
Mahiru had a look at the time, and Amane did the same. It was almost 7pm, and might be a little too late to prepare dinner.
“Ahh, seriously, it’s that late now…I got to go home. I can’t stay overnight.”
“Yeah. Chii wants to stay over at Shiina-san’s place, but there’s no change of clothes, and she doesn’t have permission. Also, I don’t think Chii can wear Shiina-san’s clothes.”
“Hey what are you saying now Ikkun?”
“Height of course.”
The couple’s arguing amicably like usual, and Mahiru smiled at them.
“Please stay over next time.”
“Yes. If you say beforehand.”
“I’ll stay over at Amane’s palce then…”
“Feels like you just want food.”
But Shiina-san’s food is good, Itsuki smiled without any ill intent. “If Mahiru agrees that is,” Amane sighed.
Mahiru would have to cook more than usual, so Amane could not make the decision unilaterally. If she refused, they would have to eat outside, or at the convenience store. But that would feel like a boys night out, and might not be a bad thing.
Mahiru agreed with a smile. Amane had a feeling Itsuki would soon be staying over.
“Will you be joining us next time, Kadowaki?”
“Eh, can I?”
“The ‘kick Amane in the back’ group will gather then.”
“Oy, what strange group are you talking about?”
Itsuki smirked, and Amane tugged at his cheek. Kadowaki was first speechless, only to smile in relief.
“Say Mahiru…erm. What do you mean by working hard for those who work hard?”
Once the others left, Amane stood at the door, and without hesitation, asked whatever was on his mind.
Actually, he hesitated over whether he should ask. Before Itsuki left, Amane asked what he should do. “Alright, just ask.” Itsuki then kicked him.
Amane never expected to be kicked, and slapped him back in retaliation. It appeared he did not learn from this lesson. It was pointless.
Once she heard that question, Mahiru blinked away a few times, and slowly curled her lips.
“What do you think it means, Amane-kun?”
“…That you can’t leave a rotten guy be and want to take care of him?”
After all, he dared not go overly egotistic in saying that she liked him.
“Fufu, that is true. I dare not lose sight of you, Amane-kun. You will cause a mess in the house if I do not keep an eye on you. Your nutrition too will be horribly imbalanced.”
“You are hopeless without me after all, Amane-kun.”
“Well, I can’t argue with that.”
Amane was truly well cared of by Mahiru. Without her, he would never be able to live this lifestyle.
“…That is fine, you know? I do like taking care of you, Amane-kun.”
“You’re spoiling me rotten…you’re making it such that I can’t live without you, Mahiru…”
The terrifying thing about Mahiru was that if she was not present, Amane’s life and mind would be completely wasted.
He was her slave, in more ways than one, and could not break free from her easily; rather, he could not break free at all, and did not want to. Of course, the most important reason was that he liked her.
If he was dumped after he confessed, it would not be an understatement to say that Amane’s mind and life would be dead.
That’s why I can’t take a step forward, he quietly mocked himself. One had to wonder what Mahiru was thinking when she leaned onto Amane.
She did not lean too closely, just lightly, up front. She looked up at him―and put her index finger on his lips.
“…I will make you a good-for-nothing, so please go ahead and do so, no?”
She bashfully narrowed her eyes, as though she was pulling a prank. Amane stared at her, and forgot to breathe.
It was a smile he had never seen before, one so sweet yet so exciting…and a little alluring. She was practically a little devil. As she said, this smile could reduce him into a good for nothing, and more than capable of shocking Amane’s heart completely.
He felt his heart pounding wildly, his blood rushing.
He had seen an angelic smile, an innocent, fleeting smile, and various other smiles. None of them were as alluring at this Mahiru however.
Mahiru looked at a stupefied Amane happily, and regained her usual smile, “I shall prepare dinner then.” She went to the kitchen. As Amane watched her leave, he felt his face burning.
And after that, Mahiru was huddled in a corner of the kitchen, remaining still, for she did something she was unused to.