“Say Amane, you overdid it this time, didn’t you?”
Itsuki looked a little dumbfounded as he muttered, staring at the test results rankings pasted on the corridor bulletin board.
After the study group ended, Amane continued to study head, and finally took on the tests. His initial objective was to have a reason to be proud of himself…but more importantly, he wanted to purge away Mahiru’s smile from his mind, and concentrate.
“…I will make you a good-for-nothing, so please go ahead and do so, no?”
Amane had the unbearable urge to twitch the moment he recalled that alluring mutter.
He concentrated on his studies, and pondered over Mahiru’s words and face while trying not to be distracted. He ended up 6th this time.
“No, I didn’t think I could do this well.”
“You worked hard. Got some confidence now?”
“…More or less. I have to maintain these grades though.”
“Such high expectations…”
Amane scored well, but he did not want Mahiru to see his grades slip thereafter out of carelessness. The high ranking this time was pointless if he did nothing to maintain it.
He could not be content with this, as they would have to take the college entrance exams later on. He could not attend college with the mentality that he could leave everything at the last minute. He hoped to put some effort into studying, even if it was for the sake of his future.
On a side note, Mahiru performed as usual and was the undisputed first ranked. It was due to her daily hard work, and not easily summarized by the word ‘usual’.
“You’re 6th this time, Fujimiya-san.”
Mahiru noticed Amane’s name on the rankings as she stood behind him, and gave a beautiful smile.
Amane smiled in the face of Mahiru’s angel mode, and did not falter.
He could feel stinging glares around him, and was not in the mood to be embarrassed about the incident that happened days ago
“I guess. That’s good.”
“Fufu. You have been working after all, Fujimiya-san. You were studying during breaks.”
“Since you worked so hard, you may give yourself some reward, Fujimiya-san.”
Amane’s heart got unbearably ticklish once he thought about the reward.
By the way, he did promise Mahiru that she would give him a lap pillow if he was ranked in the top ten, and that she would dig his ears. He was purging various things from his mind however, and had long forgotten about this promise.
Of course, he could refuse…but could he refuse the happiness that was the endearment of the girl he liked?
“…Congrats on getting first too, Shiina. You should be giving yourself a reward too, right?”
“Yes, but it is a bad thing to spoil myself too much.”
“You’re very strict about yourself, Shiina. It’s fine to relax a little and let go. Well, I shouldn’t be the one saying that however.”
Now that she mentioned it, Amane realized that he had a reward, yet Mahiru did not. He should give her one.
Nevertheless, he did not know what to give. He should ask her once he returned home.
“How about you get something to coax her?” Itsuki whispered to Amane once he saw Mahiru’s Angelic smile.
Amane planned to without him being told. He silently swore to himself that once he got home, he would ask her.
“Hm, a reward for me?”
Amane returned home to see Mahiru in her apron, preparing dinner, and called out to her. Mahiru turned around, looking shocked.
He thought of the reward after dinner, the devilish smile from days ago, and was strangely unable to calm down. It appeared she did not notice this however. From her expression, it appeared his words took her by complete surprise.
“I do not have anything I want in particular.”
“Like, anything you want me to do…?”
“From you, Amane-kun? Hmm, I guess something like, please use the slicer on the cucumber there.”
“Not that…whatever, it’s not like you have to say one.”
Mahiru had no desire, or perhaps, Amane had a feeling that she never took his words seriously. Despite that, he easily compromised as some extra manpower was fine.
He was fine if Mahiru did not need it. If Mahiru really had something she wanted Amane to do, he intended to do so as long as it was within his capabilities.
It appeared she just wanted the cucumber sliced. Amane washed his hands, took the slicer, and began cutting. Surely he was just helping however.
“Please add salt and mix together.”
“Okay…you really don’t have any wishes?”
“No, I am satisfied with the situation now…I do wish to fulfill my true desire on my own.”
“Your true desire?”
“What do you think it is?”
Amane lifted his head, and found Mahiru’s lips forming an arch.
At that moment, he saw that expression, the one akin to the devilish smile days ago. He dared not look at it directly, and looked down onto the cucumber.
“…I-I don’t know.”
“Is that so? This is fine. The status quo is fine.”
She showed a wry smile at his words.
Once again, she continued cooking, giving a vibe that she did not want Amane to ask any further. Amane was left at a loss of what to do, and could only continue slicing the cucumber.