Ch 15 I’m here.

“Ha, it’s warm!”

After coming to a large campfire, Ageha sat down on plastic benches that were placed around it.

The campfire was large enough that you could feel the heat just by being close to it.

After stretching out widely, Ageha stuck her hands out toward the campfire, and then let out a distracted cry.

Karen chided her, saying, “Oh, you’ll ruin your kimono if you keep acting like that.”

“Don’t worry.
If it comes to it, I’ll get my sister to fix it.”

“Moo!”

She lowered her eyebrows as if she was troubled, and then gave a small laugh.

And then sat next to Ageha.

Shaking her leg with a plunk, Ageha opens her mouth.

“I was really surprised that you had a boyfriend.
I was actually skeptical.”

“Why do I have to tell such a lie?”

“That’s right, but I couldn’t believe it.”

At the words of Ageha, Karen tilts her head quizzically.

She seemed to have no idea what her sister was talking about.

Ageha sighs a little at the sight of her sister and says, “Well, if it’s okay with you, then it’s okay with me.”

“Anyway, sis, I have a good feeling about you and your boyfriend.”

“What’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”

“No, I’m just curious.
I’m curious about your love life, sister.”

“I told you before, there’s nothing to talk about.
We were just spending time together on Christmas Day and today.”

“What’s that? That’s the same as Haru-kun.”

“The first time you start a relationship, it’s like that, isn’t it?”

Karen hurriedly asks back at the point made by Ageha.

Not to mention Ageha, I have never had the experience of dating someone.

However, to integrate what I have heard from my friends, the first step for couples starting a relationship is to go on a series of dates.

I can’t deny that this is the same thing I’ve done with Haruto up until now.

Karen ponders in silence for a while and then mumbles, “But…”

“I think it would be more fun to be with Haru-kun and others for Christmas and Hatsumode.
It’s not that it’s not fun to be with Saijo-kun.”

“…………”

Ageha stares at Karen, who is talking with her face down.

The faint light from the bonfire gradually illuminates them both.

As soon as the air between them grew quiet, Karen looked up as if she was startled, and moved her hands tentatively in front of her face.

“Wow, aside from my story, what about you? You are coming to Hatsumode with Haru-kun again this year, but don’t you have someone you like? I don’t know if you’ll regret it after graduation.”

Karen asks her a question in a mischievous manner, as if to deflate the atmosphere.

In contrast, she purses her lips as if she has made up her mind to do something.

Noticing the change in her sister, Karen asks, “Ageha…?” and tilts her head.

Ageha closed her eyes once, took a deep breath, and squeezed her hands tightly together at her chest.

Then, as soon as she opened her eyes, she said.

“It’s there.”

“What?”

“I have a favorite person.”

Karen is bewildered by this sudden confession.

To her confusion, Ageha continued in a strong tone of voice.

“Don’t worry.
I won’t have any more regrets.”

 

 

After meeting up with the Aizawa sisters with a bowl of zenzai in each hand, we sat around the campfire and enjoyed the zenzai together.

We didn’t talk about anything in particular, though.

Saijo-senpai was trying to get the conversation going by talking about various things, but for some reason, Karen and Ageha were quiet, and as a result, I was left to just humor them.

Not wanting to disturb the couple any longer, I and Ageha decided to part ways with them after finishing their Zenzai.

“…………”

As we headed back home, I looked at Ageha walking next to me.

Where did the tension from earlier go?

I don’t know why, but it was a little painful and lonely to see her sinking.

I looked up to see if I could find something, and my gaze fell on the stalls that lined both sides of the road.

I remembered that we had talked about buying something on the way home.

“Ageha, let’s get something to eat.
I got weirdly hungry after eating something sweet.”

“… Okay.”

I looked around at some of the stalls, smiling at Ageha, whose voice was quiet but whose mood had clearly brightened up.

After choosing takoyaki from a variety of foods, we entered a park on the side of the road and sat down on an empty bench.

A large packet of six takoyaki was placed between me and Ageha.

We each grabbed two toothpicks from the packet and popped a takoyaki into our mouths.

“Mmm, good!”

The takoyaki spreads in my mouth, and the umami of the octopus chases after it, overlapping each other.

It had been a long time since I had eaten takoyaki.

I looked next to me and saw that she was eating it with a huff and a puff.

“It’s delicious, Haru-kun!”

After swallowing, she brightened up and reached for the second takoyaki.

I couldn’t help but smile at that.

“What?”

“No, I think it’s just like Ageha.”

“… You’re making fun of me, aren’t you?”

She puts the second takoyaki in her mouth while giving a protesting look.

She is also huffing and puffing feverishly.

As she began to get back to her normal routine, I decided to ask her.

“I was just wondering what’s going on with you.
You didn’t seem fine just now.”

“Hmm, it’s nothing.”

“It didn’t look like that.”

“Ah, this is the noisy mouth!”

“Eh, hey, ngu”

I opened my mouth involuntarily when a takoyaki sticking from a toothpick was suddenly pressed against my mouth.

My mouth was hot all at once.

After chewing quietly for a while, Ageha smiled with a triumphant smile.

… Well, you know what?

There’s no point in forcing her to ask about something she doesn’t want to talk about.

Besides, this is not the time for that.

She was about to stick a toothpick into her takoyaki to eat another one when she realized what had happened.

In other words, she realized that she had just given me an indirect kiss by her own action.

She turned bright red and looked at the toothpick and me alternately.

I didn’t want you to see me.

She looked down, both shoulders shaking, and then, as if she had just thought of something, she looked up vigorously and came up to me.

“Ha, Haru-kun! Haru-kun, feed me too! Then we’ll call it even!”

“What will be evened out!?”

I have no idea how she came to such a conclusion, but I have no choice but to comply with her.

I’m not young enough to care about indirect kissing.

I quietly insert a toothpick into the takoyaki and hold it out to her tiny mouth.

She takes a bite, and as I watch her shyly gulp down the takoyaki, I reinsert the toothpick into the takoyaki to take another bite.

… That?

I don’t mind indirect kissing.

I should, but for some reason I had a slight resistance to eating with this toothpick.

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