After all, Ayana and I came home right after that.
It’s the time of year when it gets dark soon after five o’clock, so as soon as I realized that there were no other eyes nearby, Ayana immediately huddled up with me, arm in arm.
I glanced at her and saw her cheeks flushed red and smiling happily at me, so I said nothing and simply accepted her warmth and warmth.
“I felt bad for Shu. I brought Ayana here like this.”
“Don’t worry about it. Shu-kun has Hatsune-san and Kotone-chan by his side.”
Indeed, everyone in Shu’s family loves that guy very much, and that’s why it’s unlikely that he’ll ever feel lonely while he’s at home.
(I guess what that guy wants is Ayana more than anyone else)
That’s why I said I felt bad for Shu.
But while it’s true that I felt bad for him, that feeling would soon disappear as soon as I thought back on what had happened earlier.
If I had not been there, if Ayana had been taken away, it would have been heartbreaking to think about it.
It seems that Ayana had caught on to my worst imaginings.
She looked at me with a soft expression on her face.
“I’m fine. I’m a much more determined girl than you think, Towa-kun! I’ll beat that guy to a pulp!”
She was so cute as she imitated the shush and shadow boxing.
Even if Ayana really was strong enough to fight off a man like that, I would still try to protect her …… I’m sure I’ll move to help any girl.
“Well, then, I’ll make you a nice, delicious meal!”
“Please do. Is there anything I can help you with?”
“Please relax, Towa-kun. Leave it to me.”
Personally, this is the kind of situation that bothers me.
I’m not as good a cook as Ayana, so it’s probably better that I don’t help out so that I don’t have to bother her in any way.
Even so, I felt uncomfortable letting a girl who was a classmate of mine, and who was as close to me as a young girl can be, stand alone in the kitchen.
“Today, let’s make …… fried white fish and a salad. I’ll also prepare some miso soup…”
This is my kitchen, and yet Ayana seems to know where everything is and what’s in it, and she works quickly and efficiently.
It’s almost as if there is another mother, but I guess that means Ayana has been to Towa’s house a fair number of times.
“……I can’t help her with this.”
I was thinking about another question that had arisen, and watching Ayana’s movements, I had a feeling that everything would go better if I left everything to her.
“I’ll leave the cooking to you …… but let me know if there’s anything I can really do to help. I’ll go clean the bathtub or something.”
“I understand. Fufu, Towa-kun is really very kind.”
“It’s normal to try to help.”
I think it’s normal to do that.
I went from the kitchen to the bathroom to start cleaning, and for the record, I am in charge of this role even when my mother is around.
It’s a far cry from expressing my gratitude for the delicious food she always cooks for me, but I’m not lying when I say that I want to make things as easy as possible for my mother.
If even this feeling is one of the feelings Towa has, I wonder how much Towa cares for my mom,……, and I’d like to ask him someday.
At that time, I’m sure I’ll have to apologize for being in this body.
I shouted out to liven up my almost sentimental mood, and from there I finished cleaning the bath almost mindlessly.
When I returned to the living room, of course it still looked far from finished, but there was a slight aroma of deliciousness in the air.
“It smells so good. ……”
“Oh, are you done cleaning?”
“Yeah. I’m in the process of filling it with hot water.”
I can go back later to see when the hot water has pooled again.
I casually tried to stand in the kitchen with Ayana, but she said she was fine after all and wanted me to take my time.
“Fufu♪ Don’t make such a face. That one, right? I want Towa-kun to taste the food I put all my love into. So please put up with it.”
Then I sat down on the couch to follow Ayana’s words, albeit reluctantly.thing to do is to make sure that you have a good idea of what you’re getting into.
I was watching Ayana cooking until the food was ready, and I was curious about what she had said earlier, so I called out to her.
“What is it?”
I was about to ask her what kind of relationship Ayana and I have, but I swallowed my words.
Ayana kept tilting her head and looking at me, but I shook my head and said it was nothing, and she said okay and went back to cooking.
After a while, Ayana’s dish was ready.
“Now eat up♪”
The menu was a bit mundane in the sense that it consisted of hot white rice, fried white fish, fried chicken, salad, and miso soup, but I could tell how much thought and care Ayana put into the dish.
Ayana looked at me with an expression of wanting me to eat it as soon as possible, and I clasped my hands together.
I grabbed a piece of fried chicken with chopsticks and put it in my mouth.
I was so happy to see Ayana smiling at me as I popped one dish after the next into my mouth.
Of course, I was grateful to Ayana as I savored each mouthful.
“Is it good?”
“Yes. It’s really delicious.”
I wish I could give more witty feedback, but I’m afraid I don’t have the vocabulary for that right now.
I was eating it while feeling that it was delicious, really delicious, when Ayana asked me a question like this.
“Which do you like better, Akemi-san’s cooking or mine?”
“Please be sure to answer one or the other. You can’t say they’re about the same, can you?”
What a nasty question and I stopped moving.
It’s no surprise that both Mom’s and Ayana’s cooking are so good that it’s impossible to compare which is better ……, but Ayana has squashed that option.
I let out a breath of relief as Ayana waited for my answer with a smiling smile.
“I’m sorry, Towa-kun. That was a little mean.”
“It’s more than just a little bit. ……”
“Hahaha, you’re so cute, Towa-kun♪”
I glared at Ayana resentfully because it really was more than a little bit of a stretch, but she remained smiling.
When I saw her smile, I couldn’t complain about Ayana, and I smiled at her, thinking she was cute too.
After dinner, I put my mother’s dinner in the refrigerator and washed the dishes with Ayana.
“I wish these days could go on forever.”
“I guess so. …… As for me, that means I get to eat the best food every day.”
“I will always make it. Me, Towa-kun, and Akemi will always ……”
Ayana murmured deeply, as if she really hoped so.
Is she talking about a world where not only Shu and his family, but also Ayana’s mother are absent?
As I stared at Ayana, my phone alerted me to an incoming call from someone.
“Oops, I’ll be out in a minute.”
“Yes. Is it Akemi?”
A call that maybe it would be even later than I thought? I wiped my hands and picked up my phone, and what was displayed there was Shu’s name.”
“Is it Shu-kun?”
I picked up the phone, wondering what the hell he wanted.
[Hello, good evening, Towa.]
Shu on the other end of the phone sounded the same as usual, after all, he probably doesn’t care much about what happened after school anymore.
I was bothered when I remembered how weak Shu was at that time, but I waited for him to say something while trying not to show it in my attitude.
[Ayana hasn’t come home yet. On the way home from shopping, she met a friend who invited her to dinner, and her mother heard that she was going to have dinner together.]
I see, so that’s what Ayana was telling them.
Ayana has not told her family that she is with me, and Shu doesn’t seem to know that either. …… Why did he call me?
[I’m certain it’s not true, but …… you’re not with Ayana, right?]
“Yeah. Unfortunately, no.”
I replied before I could even think about it.
I could feel him exhaling a sigh of relief on the other end of the phone, but I, on the contrary, felt a little better.
I thought to myself, “I’m such a jerk,” but it seemed that that was all Shu wanted to hear, and the call was immediately disconnected.
“Was it about me?”
“I guess so. He was relieved when I told him you weren’t here.”
Ayana put her hand over her mouth to change the mood.
Having just finished washing all the dishes and wiping her hands, she slowly walked up to me and hugged me.
She buried her face in my chest, sniffed my scent, and looked up at me.
“You could have told him. Now I am being monopolized by Towa-kun.”
“…..I couldn’t possibly say that.”
I wonder how serious Ayana really is.
As I stared at Ayana looking up at me, it was as if someone was whispering in my brain that I should let the situation gradually drift away from me.
I gently put my hand on Ayana’s shoulder and pulled away, as if to ward off some kind of temptation.
I let out a small breath, pretending not to notice Ayana’s obvious discontent.
As I mentioned earlier, when I was alone with Ayana, I felt someone whispering in my head – “Take Ayana away from him.”
I stole a glance at Ayana’s face.
She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
I don’t know why, but since she appeals to me in this way, I’m inclined to like her.
(…… but I’m afraid I can’t do that—–)
I think of her as a human being who lives in the world, exactly the same as me, who has a will. …… Of course, this is a matter of course.
“……Anyway, thank you for today, Ayana.”
“Ah, no, no. I’m happy to be with you, Towa-kun.”
Those words made my heart happy again.
After that, I went outside with Ayana to drop her off.
“It’s a little cold, isn’t it?”
“It’s nighttime. I’m sure this will get progressively warmer as we get closer to summer.”
I almost reflexively clenched Ayana’s hand when she said it was cold.
“I told you it was cold.”
Ayana stared at my clasped hands for a while, then squeezed them back tightly.
We walked down the dark street together and parted when I saw Ayana’s house.
“Then, Towa-kun. See you tomorrow.”
“Yeah. See you tomorrow.”
I almost reach for her as she turns away from me.
I want to complain to my body about how much I want her, but I am sure it is obvious that I myself have been attracted to Ayana in this short period of time.
I will bring about a happy ending where Shu and Ayana get together. …… in spite of what I said with such enthusiasm…….
I heard Ayana’s voice very close to me when she should have turned her back and started walking away.
Ayana was putting her own lips on mine, as if to make a kissing lip sound.
“Ehehe, it means that you thanked me for cooking dinner for you today♪”
She smiled mischievously and ran quickly home.
As I watched her back, I touched my own lips in shock and realized that the feeling I had just had was not a lie.
“My heart …..is beating so loud.”
I put my hand on my chest, and I could feel it clearly.
I was going home with such worries, wondering if I would be able to sleep properly today.