Mikoto-san living in a girls’ dormitory in Tokyo?
I had never heard of such a thing.
I asked my father over the phone.
“Does Mikoto-san know about that?”
“I was about to tell you. As long as she agrees, we can have a dorm room ready for her right away.”
“Such a sudden… I don’t think she’ll be able to transfer to an all-girls school over there on such short notice.”
“The director of that school and I were classmates in college. Well, the transfer itself may be after the winter break, but I heard that she was one of the top students at your high school, so I don’t think there will be a problem.”
“The girls’ schools over there are prestigious, and it’s not a bad deal. Best of all, if she can go somewhere that doesn’t have a distant connection, that’s the best.”
“I understand, but I wonder what Mikoto-san would say about it…”
“Of course, if Mikoto-san doesn’t like it, I’ll reconsider. But living in the same apartment with you forever is not an option.”
“Well, I guess so, but…”
“Yes. How are Akiho and Kaho-chan?”
By “Akiho” he meant Kaho’s mother.
My father and Kaho’s mother have known each other since childhood, and they sometimes check up on each other.
Akiho-san sometimes asks me about my father, too.
When I answered that they wwere fine, my father answered with relief, and then he said, “Sorry for causing you so much trouble all of a sudden. I have to go back to work.” and hung up.
I was dumbfounded.
It was true that Mikoto-san had said she would move out as soon as she found a new place to live.
At first, I didn’t think she would stay in our apartment forever either.
But I never thought she would decide so suddenly.
When I returned to the cafeteria, Mikoto-san was sitting at the table with the food she had bought, waiting for me.
“You should have eaten first.”
“… I came here to eat with Haruto-kun.”
Mikoto-san looked away and mumbled quietly.
Come to think of it, where did Ooki, who was there just now, go?
“He went away because he didn’t want to disturb us.”
“I see. Well, there’s no need to worry about that, is there?”
“I think it’s better if you are concerned about it. We are lovers, so I don’t think it’s strange for you to pay attention to me in that way.”
Mikoto-san said in a clear voice.
I thought we were pretending to be lovers.
Perhaps she was saying “lovers” because she didn’t know who might be listening, and she didn’t want to risk being caught faking a relationship.
“If Ooki was so thoughtful, it would be bad to waste it, so let’s eat together.”
Mikoto-san looked at the katsudon in front of her and the katsudon on my tray.
Then she smiled happily.
“We’re having lunch together, aren’t we?”
“In that sense, I would have preferred something more fashionable instead of katsudon.”
“Uh-huh. I’m just happy that I’m with Haruto-kun. But…”
“If we ordered something different, we could have fed each other.”
Mikoto-san looked deeply disappointed, and I smiled at her.
Food at the school cafeteria is cheap, and you can come here every day, so it would be easy to get a complete meal without having to swap out every little bit of food.
But if Mikoto-san goes to Tokyo, she may not be able to keep it that way.
“I’d like to know if you’ll come to the cafeteria 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.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
I felt heavy, but I had to tell Mikoto-san about the girls’ dormitory in Tokyo.
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?”
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.
“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.”