eria with me again tomorrow, Haruto-kun? Also, you’ll make lunch for me, right?”

 

I answered Mikoto-san as I picked up the pork cutlet chopsticks.

 

“Of course.”

 

“I’m looking forward to it.”

 

I felt heavy, but I had to tell Mikoto-san about the girls’ dormitory in Tokyo.

 

Feeling heavy?

Why is that?

 

Do I really want Mikoto-san to stay in the same apartment with me as she is now?

 

We finished eating lunch, returned the tableware, and left the cafeteria.

 

Then we walked along the corridor back to the main school building.

The noon sunlight was shining strongly through the glass windows, slightly easing the December chill.

Many students were walking back from the cafeteria as well, and many of them were standing around chatting with each other.

 

I asked Mikoto-san as we walked along.

 

“Mikoto-san, when you first came to my place, you said you were going to leave when you found your next place to live, didn’t you?”

 

“Yes, that’s true … but I think that’s a long time from now.
I don’t think it will be that easy to find a place.”

 

“What would you do if I said you would find it soon?”

 

Mikoto-san stopped and looked back at me.

Then her blue eyes widened.

I explained what my father had told me.

 

“I see.
Haruto-kun’s father is going to call me later.”

 

“I’m sure it’s all very sudden.
It’s short notice, and if you don’t like it, I guess you can say no.”

 

“Yes, it’s ….
Haruto-kun, do you find it annoying when I am at home? No, I’m sure it’s annoying.
I suddenly barged in, took up a whole room, caught a cold and fell ill, and made a fuss about it in class.”

 

“I’ve told you many times, it’s not a nuisance.”

 

When I slowly reassured her, she stared back at me.

Something is still missing.

I felt that she was saying that in her mind.

 

I thought about it and chose my words.

 

“It’s quite fun for me to be with you, Mikoto-san.”

 

“Being with me is … fun.”

 

“I’ve been living alone ever since Amane-nee-san disappeared.
So, it’s nice to have someone who is happy with my cooking and talking with me.”

 

“Does that mean you want me to stay in your apartment?”

 

“I don’t mind if you think so.”

 

I looked away from Mikoto-san.

I thought that I was probably blushing.

 

Mikoto-san said in a lively voice.

 

“I see.
I can stay at Haruto’s home, right? I’m so happy.”

 

“Do you want to decline the offer of the girls’ dormitory?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Mikoto-san quietly approached me.

Then she looked into my eyes.

 

“If we were lovers in this situation, would we hug each other?”

 

“Maybe so.
But we…”

 

“We’re lovers, right?”

 

That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

That’s right.

 

“Then, do you want a hug?”

 

“But it’s embarrassing for me to hug Haruto-kun.
Um…”

 

Mikoto-san glanced at me and fidgeted.

In other words, she wanted me to hug her.

 

It would be uncool to say “I can’t do it” at this point.

I made up my mind and quietly approached Mikoto-san.

 

Mikoto-san shivered, but I held her as she was.

I could feel her warmth through her school uniform.

 

I was concerned about the eyes of those around me, but I felt that it was okay.

 

“If you don’t like it, I’ll let go.”

 

I said, and Mikoto-san shook her head and smiled softly.

 

“I don’t mind at all.
I am very happy.
Haruto-kun made a place for me and spoiled me like this.”

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