Under Shizuka san’s direction, I carry the futon in my car into the Kohinata house.

It’s kind of like shopping for one more resident. …… There’s not just a comforter or a pillow, but sheets, covers, and even a pillow. I wonder who in the world uses it.

Well, I’m not going to worry about the futon situation in other people’s homes, I’m going to do my job as a friend of Kohinata’s and do as I’m told.

“Watch your step.”

After taking the futon into the guest room, I was about to go back to the car to pick up the luggage when I saw Kohinata helping me with the luggage, clutching a pillow. It was so cute, it was like hugging a stuffed animal.

Kohinata nodded her head in agreement with my reminder. Every time she shook her head, her chin rebounded against the pillow, giving it more momentum than usual.

“Is this all of it?”

The set of futons was carried into the tatami room where we were studying.
The table we used to study at had apparently been a folding type, and was now propped up in the corner of the room after its legs had been folded up. That’s convenient.

“Well, you’ve been very helpful, Tomoki kun. After all, boys are powerful, aren’t they?”
“Really. Thank you, Tomoki kun.”

Shizuka san and Kohinata’s mother thanked me, and Kohinata was nodding her head while looking up at me next to her. And perhaps as a gesture of gratitude, she patted me on the waist. I wanted to stroke Kohinata’s head too, but I held back.

Well, it looks like we’ve done our business, so I think it’s time for me to go home.

As expected, they would do the unpacking themselves. It’s not that strenuous work, and I might not like it if someone else touches the bedding.

And although I am fine with it for the moment, there is a possibility that I might get sick if two people talk to me at once.
I was about to say, “Well, then,” when I thought about this,

“De-den! Here is a question for Tomoki kun. Who on earth would use this futon?”

Shizuka-san started saying such a thing while holding up her index finger.

No way, this is a quiz style! No, I don’t know that much about the Kohinata family’s situation, even if you say so. I don’t know that there is no father, that Shizuka-san is a college student – oh, come to think of it, didn’t Shizuka-san send Kohinata away to my house before because “her boyfriend is coming home”? So that means–,

“Does this belong to Shizuka-san’s boyfriend?”
“Bubu! No, it’s not! When I sleep over, I go to my boyfriend’s house.”

Wrong. What a disappointment.

Shizuka-san made a cross with her hand, and Kohinata’s mother struck the same pose, smiling. And Kohinata, next to me, also made a peke with her finger. You don’t know the answer to the question, do you?

“Umm…….. So, you want to exchange it for the futon that someone is using right now?”
“That’s not right either. No,…… but if we were to exchange it, the oldest one is Asuka’s,…… so is that possible?”

Then they both looked at me with smiling faces, despite my confusion.
And then Kohinata’s mother said

“Well then, let’s get to the answer already. Do you want to use a shiny new futon, Tomoki? Or do you want to use the futon that Asuka used to sleep on everyday?”

She said such a preposterous thing.

“Ha……..? No, no, no, no, no, no, no! This futon was for me?! I didn’t intend to stay here at all! Or perhaps Kohinata herself doesn’t know about it–oh, ah, Asuka-san doesn’t know about it either!”

What is this person saying out of the blue! Where is my intention!

“Because, Tomoki, when you go home, you’ll eat dinner, take a bath, and go to bed–you’ll come back to my house tomorrow morning, won’t you? I thought that this might happen again, so I thought I’d buy it for you. You can study until late this way!”

You said that, Shizuka-san smiled and looked at her mother
What in the world is it with these people? They should at least know that we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. ……
It’s true that we can study for a long time, that’s true.

But why are they going to this length to try to pull me, who is supposed to be just a classmate, into the Kohinata family?

I glanced at Kohinata and saw that she was frozen in place, not moving an inch. Maybe my train of thought short-circuited,…… even if it’s a drowned dashi or …… cute.

—-! I see!

I’m sure it’s for her sake that Shizuka-san and Kohinata-mother went to such lengths to keep me in the loop!

Shizuka-san once told me, ‘I want you to get along with Kohinata.’
Kohinata lost her expression after her father’s death, but it seems that she is improving by spending time with me – I am sure that this is the reason for this.

It’s a hard-line approach, but considering how much the women care about Kohinata, I don’t feel too bad about it. I am a human being who cares about Kohinata as much as they do.

I exhaled slowly to calm myself down, and then turned to Kohinata. She moves her head with a giggle, a movement that requires a rustle, and makes eye contact with me.

She and I are not lovers. But I want her to be happy. If you ask me why, I can’t give you a clear answer, but I’m sure that’s what I want.

“Since you went to all this trouble to buy this for me, I don’t really have any other choice but to stay here, do I? Which do you prefer, the new futon or the one you are using now? If you want, we can sleep together on the new futon.”

I said this as a tease to loosen Kohinata’s stiffened nerves.
Of course, I never seriously thought of sleeping with Kohinata. I was only joking.

Even though it was a joke,

“Ararara, let’s cut up Asuka’s futon and dispose of it, shall we?”

Kohinata’s mother began to say such a noisy thing,

“Hew hew hew! You two are so hot, aren’t you? Mom, I’m going to the convenience store to buy sekihan (red rice)!”

Shizuka-san was about to leave the room with her purse in her hand.
Hey, stop it, don’t go out of control! It’s because of what I said, but don’t take it seriously!

“I’m just kidding, both of you! Come on, Kohinata, I’m just kidding! Don’t get mad at me, okay?”

And as for the star of the show, Kohinata – perhaps not wanting me to see her face, before I knew it, she was behind me and was firmly attached to my back. Even when I move to face her, she moves in tandem with me, so I can’t see her. What a cute little creature.

“You’ll have to decide what to do with the futon, Kohinata.”

There was no choice but to call out to Kohinata behind me as I turned my head to face her, and I felt a bump on my back.

It is really easy to predict that she must have nodded her head – and she did.

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