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Shinonome is sleeping peacefully and comfortably. When I gently stroked her head so as not to disturb her.

She loosened her cheeks slowly.

…..I think that she’s really sleeping.

Though Shinonome looks like a perfect girl, there is something missing. 

That’s what adds to Shinonome’s cuteness, but let’s leave that aside.

I mustn’t be too conscious of it. I remind myself of that. It was time to wake her up.

“Shinonome, it’s about time.”

Saying that. Shinonome woke up with an inarticulate voice saying [……nyuu.]

“Good morning, Shinonome.”

“G-good morning. Minori kun.”

She greeted me with a slight blush on her cheeks.

“Speaking of which. Is it okay this late?”

‘Oh, it’s fine. I already told my mother.”

I see. Then it’s all right….?

“By the way, I wanted to ask you. You’re talking to her about me?”

When I asked that, Shinonome quickly looked away. 

“….I’ve told my mother that I was with a friend.”

“I see.”

Well, I haven’t told my mother about Shinonome either. I guess you could say it’s mutual.

“B-but. If it’s too late, she should be worried…. Shall we go soon?”

“Yeah. I’ll walk you home.”

“Thank you very much.”

And then, Shinonome proceeded to prepare to go home. …While doing so I remembered something.

“Ah, I forgot about the sweets. What should I do? Do you want to eat?”

When I said that, Shinonome giggled.

“I’ll have to decline for now ……I will come tomorrow, too. Until then.”

“C-come to think of it, tomorrow is saturday. Got it”

Shinonome will come tomorrow as well. I was happy to know that. I shook my head and put away my evil thoughts.

“All right, let’s go then.”

I said that and opened the door……fortunately, the rain had already stopped. 

◆◇◆

“For earlier. Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome. Be careful on your way home from here.”

“It seems that someone is coming to pick me up today, so I’ll be okay. Take care of yourself, Minori kun.”

Minori kun is kind. …..Very kind.

Every time he drops me off, he drops me off at the station. Just like I asked for it in the first place. ……I should not take it for granted.

“Well then, See you tomorrow”

“Yeah. Let me know when you come here again.”

“I understand.”

I waved at Minori kun and left the station.

As soon as I left the station, I found my car. I approached it and knocked twice before getting in.

Immediately, I noticed something odd.

The driver is different. ……The usual driver was named Tanabe san. She was an elderly woman.

Today–

“F-father?”

Father was driving.

“Yeah, you’re late.”

In that cold voice. My heart is also…suddenly, I felt myself getting colder.

……That’s it. I have to switch.

“I’m very sorry.”

“…..It’s fine. I heard it from Chie.”

Chie is my mother’s name.  Even though I was relieved that my mother had told my father. I still have to brace myself.

“Even so, why are you driving, Father?”

“What a simple question. I remembered that I haven’t talked to you recently, Nagi.”

I became alarmed…..Just a little.

What if he found out about Minori kun? ……I knew it’s going to end badly.

While keeping secrets in my heart. I open my mouth too.

“That’s right. Father, it seems that you have been busy with work lately.”

“Yeah, that’s why I want to talk to you once in a while. ….Can we talk?”

“……Please?”

My hands are sweating so badly. I wait for my father’s words.

“Recently, I heard that you’ve been going out more often outside of your practice.”

“……Yes.”

I wonder if he would be angry with me. Thinking that, I naturally clenched my fists.

But–

“Are you having fun?”

“……Yes?”

He asked me quietly. I was puzzled.

Through the rearview mirror, our gazes meet. His expression never changed even an inch.

“Do you enjoy playing with your friends?”

“Y-yes.”

Somehow, I managed to answer him. My father nodded saying [I see.]

Then, he opened his mouth to continue.

“We’re talking about Nagi. I don’t expect you to spend too much time with your friends and let it interfere with your training and studies.”

“… I thought I had a good result in the last exam.”

“‘That’s what I’m saying. Nagi, you worked hard. ……So don’t get so worked up.”

He found out. When I heard those words, I loosened my fist a little.

“I’ve already contacted Chie and the others. I’m sure there’s something to be gained by being with friends…and if Nagi is having fun. I have nothing to say.”

I was surprised at those words.

I thought that he would get angry.

“Both Chie and I. Our life was full of regrets. ….Nagi, don’t be like us.”

“……Yes. Thank you very much.”

I nodded at those words. I let it sink into my heart again.

My father and mother. …The two people who raised me.

I must return the great favor I received from them.

◆◇◆

“I’m making hamburgers for lunch today.”

“Oh.”

I couldn’t help but let out a gasp at Shinonome’s words.

“I can’t say it’s like a cafe. But I’ve learned to make regular hamburg steak. Minori kun, you don’t hate  it, do you?”

“Oh, I love it.”

“……I-I see. I’m glad to hear that.”

I love hamburg steak. When I answered Shinonome’s words with greed, for some reason her face turned bright red.

“I-I love them too.”

Speaking of which. Shinonome ate the stewed hamburg steak deliciously.

When I think about it……for some reason, Shinonome cheeks puffed.

“……Shinonome?”

“I-it’s nothing !”

Shinonome looked away. She started preparing the food.

As usual I’m in charge of chatting with her. I’ve been trying to help out, but Shinonome has been refusing me.

Shinonome wears a sky-blue apron. ……I couldn’t help but look at her back. I said what I was thinking.

“Looking at her, Shinonome seemed to make a good wife.”

After saying that, I shut my mouth. However, it seems that it was already reaching Shinonome’s ears.

Her ears were getting redder and redder.

When I shut my mouth thinking that I’ve done it. Shinonome suddenly turned around.

Her face was bright red, but…….she was smiling. Just a bit of an evil smile.

“Geez, don’t tease me too much–“

Saying that, Shinonome approached me and…..

“Souta kun.”

She said.

My cheeks, which were already hot, became even hotter. My thoughts were becoming more and more dyed.

Therefore, calling someone by name…isn’t it a foul?

Shinonome seemed to think that the counterattack was successful. She was laughing proudly.

…..In my mind, a rebellious part of me began to appear just a little.

“Nagi.” 

When I called her name. Shinonome’s smile stiffened. Her mouth began to twitch…….

Before her expression could change, she covered her face with her hands.

And…..me too. I covered my face with my hands.

What am I doing?

I’m sure my face is in a lot of trouble right now due to a mixture of shame and embarrassment.

“F-for the time being, let’s refrain from calling each other by first name.”

“I-I guess so, that was still too much stimulation for me. Let’s do it another time.”

……Will we call each other by name someday?

Will I be able to endure it? No, I’ll leave it to me then.

Shinonome suddenly glanced at me through the space between her fingers.

“U-um…..”

“What’s wrong? I apologize for what happened earlier.”

“Not that. You don’t have to apologize. ……Besides, I just want to ask you something.”

“What is it?”

To Shinonome who’s staring at me. I urged her to continue.

“Minori kun. Do you really think I can become a good wife?”

She sounded a little anxious. I nodded, wondering if that kind of thing made Shinonome anxious too.

“Yeah. You can cook and you’re kind. I will never get tired of being with you……

And above all, she’s cute.

I thought about saying that, but then I felt embarrassed and decided not to.

“Fufu, I see.”

Shinonome smiled at my words. She finally put her hand down.

“Then I’m going to make lunch.”

She spun around half-turned and stood in the kitchen. I can only see her back, but she seems to be in a good mood.

Just like that. I started chatting again with Shinonome, who was happily making it. … until it’s time to eat. The heat didn’t go away from our faces.

◆◇◆

The hamburger steak was very well received by Minori kun.

I’m really glad I made it because he took one bite and his face broke out in tears as he ate it…..telling me how delicious it was.

The only thing is, it wasn’t enough. The sight of him reluctantly eating the last bite…was a little cute.

I shared some of my portion with Minori kun, and he’s somewhat happy. Even I became happy too.

And then, after finishing eating. We cleaned up.

Then we ate the snacks we bought yesterday. Chip-type snacks and almond chocolates.

Both were delicious and we ate them quickly.

As we were eating them while talking to each other, Minori kun’s phone rang. 

“Ah…it’s from my mother. Please wait here for a moment.”

“I understand.”

Minori kun got up and went to the other room. In the meantime, I ate some snacks. I had to stop to make sure I had enough for Minori kun.

A few minutes later, Minori kun came back. ……He looked like he wanted to say something.

“What happened?”

“Aah. Um. Next Saturday……”

However, Minori kun hesitated to say anything. I tilted my head involuntarily.

Minori kun closed his eyes once and let out a sigh.

He looked at me.

“My mother is coming.”

I was a little surprised at that word…..and panicked.

“I-I see. I should go buy new clothes, shouldn’t I? Casual clothes are too rude.”

When I said that, Minori kun made a blank expression.

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