After watching the movie, we decided to go to the restroom and enter a suitable café to have a movie review session without cooling down from the excitement.

After waiting in line for a while, the waitress led me and Suika to our seats.
The café we entered was decorated in bright and neat colors, unlike the slightly old-fashioned atmosphere of our house.
It did not just use flashy colors, but rather white-based wallpaper and warm wooden chairs that made the most of the quality of the materials used.
The small items were also carefully selected, with cute ornaments that matched the interior design.

The store is full of young people around the same age as us, perhaps attracted by the atmosphere.

…………, or rather, there are a lot of couples, aren’t there?

There are a few groups of girls only, but most of them are couples. It seems that there are no boys alone.

This fact made me feel awkward.
I feel awkward because it is possible that Suika and I are also seen as such by people around us.

It’s not that we have that kind of relationship,……, but it’s because we don’t have that kind of relationship that I feel awkward.

…… No, it’s not yet decided that people around us are a couple. There must be people who are just friends like us.

“Ma-kun, ahhh!”

“I wanted to come here! Thank you”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you like it.”

“Ah, that one looks good, too! Give me!”
“Well Can’t help it. Here”

…………. A sweet atmosphere is in the air. I knew it was all couples!

“Uwaa, this looks so good!!!”

Suika doesn’t seem to be bothered at all and her eyes are shining as she looks at the chocolate banana pancakes on the menu.

She is innocent and good.

But ……

“This certainly looks good. Oh, no, wait. And the soufflé pancakes over here, too.”

I’m glued to the kind of pancakes we don’t carry at our restaurant.
Originally, we didn’t serve pancakes, but they were added to the menu after Ayako san found out I could make them.
Even so, they only serve two types of pancakes: strawberry and cream pancakes and side dish pancakes with ham salad.

That’s why I learn a lot when I come to other cafes like this.

“Haha, Arase-kun’s house is a café too, right? I think I’ve never seen you look so seriously.”
“Ah, if we offer this kind of thing in our store, it might sell.”
“…… what’s wrong?”

Suddenly, Suika silently looked at me, I also stopped reading the menu and asked her back.
Did I say something strange? I was so engrossed in the pancakes that I don’t remember what I said…….?

“What can I say,……, Arase-kun, you have an incredible work ethic.”
“…… really?”
“Because even when I’m playing with you, you’re thinking about your store at home!”
“……. I’m sorry for coming all the way here with the intention of having an impression session.”

I did it. It’s just a habit.
Perhaps because I’ve been working at various part-time jobs for a long time, if there’s even a little bit that I can make use of in the contents of my part-time job, I just think about it.
I used to do this to improve efficiency, increase sales, and get a raise in my hourly wage.
Now I don’t have to do that anymore. It’s a …… habit.

“Ah, Eh? No, you don’t have to apologize! I’m not trying to blame you. I think I understand why you can handle anything so skillfully,……!’
“It’s not that I can do everything perfectly.”

Not everything can be done perfectly. And if I can do it halfway, it’s easy to have things pushed on me. It has happened a lot in the past.
And, Ayako-san will also force me to do it

“Eeh!? I think it’s better than being clumsy. Suika is clumsy and can’t do anything… That’s it, look, cooking! I’m envious of Arase-kun because he’s delicious enough to serve at a restaurant, and he’s much more feminine than Suika!” !
“In my case, I only got to where I am now after failing …… many times by chance. I’m not proud of it. It’s nothing to be proud of.”
“Mm……Arase-kun, you’re very humble. …… or stubborn?”

I’ve never been called stubborn before.

“Yes, humble and stubborn.”
“Which part, by the way?”
“Because, you always don’t take my compliments like that when I praise you, Arase-kun. Suika doesn’t think anything of it, but there are some people who take offense to such things.”

Suika’s words seemed to be filled with her actual feelings.
It may be because I have never been praised, or because I thought it was a matter of course, but I realized that fact only after Suika told me.

“That’s why. The first thing you need to do is to say thank you honestly.”

The straight words of Suika fall into my heart. And I thought again. Her cheerful and honest nature is comforting.

“……Yes, that’s right. I’ll take it in confidence then.”
“Haha, that’s good. But Suika, I like that part of you too, Arase-kun!”
“Tt-thank you…?!”

This time, following the advice, I tried to thank her honestly and immediately recognized what Suika had told me.
Then, reflexively, her face turns red.

“Ah, wait! Not that! T-That’s not what I meant. ……!!!”
“No, it’s not that okay! It’s really different. ……!”

Seeing my reaction like that, Suika also noticed what she was saying and hurriedly denied it.

“Cute. high school?”
“Fresh out of high school.”
“Maybe they’ve just started dating.”


Furthermore, I could hear people around me talking like that, which made me and Suika feel even more embarrassed.

“A-anyway, can we order something? Suika, I’m hungry. …………”

The warmth of the stares from those around us became unbearable for Suika and I, so we decided to call the waiter and place our order.

When the food was brought to the table, the embarrassment we had felt earlier went away.
Suika ordered the chocolate banana pancakes, which she had said looked delicious at first.
Suika’s eyes lit up like a little kid’s, and she brought the pancakes to her mouth with her cheeks full of them.

And every time she did so, she would make a happy face.

I would be lying if I said that I did not feel exhausted by the fact that we were alone together, but I think I was able to refresh her enough.

Even if it wasn’t me, Suika would have been happy, but that’s it.
…… Speaking of which, we didn’t talk about basketball at all today. Well, the purpose of today was to get away from the over-practice of basketball, so I guess it was all right.

I was a little concerned about that, but that quickly disappeared from my mind when I saw a little bit of chocolate sauce around Suika’s mouth.

“You’ve got …… around your mouth.”
“Chocolate sauce.”
“…… Hee! No way!?”

Suika hurriedly wiped her mouth with a napkin.


As soon as Suika looked disappointed, she drank a glass of orange juice diluted with ice to cover up her embarrassment.

The sound of the glass running out of the straw can be heard.

“Uuu ……. Hoaa.”

I think she exhaled, still looking a little embarrassed, and Suika looks at me.

“Thank you for today.”
“Why Suika? I should be the one who say that. I’m the one who forced you to go out with me today.”
“Arase-kun, you invited me today to cheer Suika up, didn’t you?

She knows. …….

“Haha, you’re making a face that says you’ve been found out……!”

I want to cure my face of the tendency to show. ……

“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I’ve been thinking about why Arase-kun asked me out today. Natsu’s behavior was also strange, so I was thinking a lot about it and wondered if that was the case.”
“Actually, I heard from someone that …… you weren’t doing well. Something happened, and this is what happened.”
“Hahaha! It seems to be like Arase-kun! After all, it was Natsu’s fault that the two of us decided to play together, right? At first, weren’t you all told that we play together?”
“As you say.”
“I knew it was something like that!”
“I’m sorry …… for deceiving you. ……”
“I’m not sure why Arase-kun is apologizing! Suika, I had a good time today, okay?”
“I’m sure I was worried about a lot of things. But talking to Aras-kun gives me a lot of energy.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that. I also think Suika is cuter when she smiles.”

Suika’s discovery of the purpose of today was unexpected, but if Suika became cheerful as she said, then that’s all right with me.

And for a while, it was getting to be a good time to talk about the movie we had just seen.

“So what are we going to do after this?”
“Hmm. Well…”

As I was about to continue my words, a certain scene flashed through my mind.

“…… Haa, what am I really doing ……?”

Seeing Arasei and Takimoto san together, I fell down on my own and …….
I should have known, but I hate myself even more for acting that way.

After that I didn’t go after the two of them.
I just sat idly on a nearby bench.

I was thinking about them and my regrets for coming here, and it didn’t take long.

“I think I should go home. ……”

As these murmurs filled my head, a shadow appeared in front of me.

“Onee-san. You’ve been sighing since a while ago, what’s wrong?”
“If you want, I can listen to what you have to say.”

Two flirtatious-looking men who looked older than me approached me.

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