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“Shinohara-san, I admire your guts to come to eat with us without bringing your own lunch.”
As we started bringing out and putting our boxed lunches on the table, Hina, who had no chance to talk earlier, commented upon seeing Hana unmoving.
Because it’s now a habit for us to eat together here, my girls started bringing boxed lunches instead of buying from the cafeteria. Even Aya had taken up cooking even if she was not that skilled yet.
As for my actual share of it, my girls presented themselves to make boxed lunches for me without letting me refuse.
Well, at least, I managed to turn it down from ‘everyday’ to ‘Tuesdays and Fridays only’; the scheduled days for our PE Classes.
Won’t it be bad if every time we’re going to eat in the classroom, someone from my girls would drop a boxed lunch on my desk? And the girl who does that changes each day!
Even if we’re already trying to slowly unfurl the true nature of our relationship, that kind of thing would just invite unnecessary attention to us.
That’s why it’s better to do it only when we’re going to eat here.
Anyway, the one who prepared boxed lunch for me today was… Shizu. The same as last time, it’s filled to the brim as if she wanted to stuff me full. For sure, she’s thinking about how I would be drained from satisfying my other girls.
That girl’s naughtiness was also on another level. Unfortunately, she couldn’t come and join us here. Maybe in the future, I will pick her up in their classroom and bring her here with us.
Back to the present…
With Hina’s comment sounding like a provocation, Hana simply tilted her head in response, “Hmm? Didn’t Ruki invite me? I thought he was going to share his lunch with me.”
“Is that how it will be, Ruki?” A little vexed at that answer, Hina turned to me for confirmation.
Now that she mentioned it, I failed to consider that when I invited the girl in.
Putting on an apologetic smile, I replied, “Yeah, I guess? I admit, I forgot about that detail. Also, I remember her living conditions. This girl is hopeless at house chores. All she can make are instant noodles.”
“Hey! That’s supposed to be a secret!”
“Is that so? Too bad, everyone already heard it. Besides, do you really need to act tough? Come on, here, take this. If you want to taste other dishes, you can ask me or the other girls. Today, you’re one of us.”
I took one of the layers from Shizu’s three-tiered boxed lunch and gave it to the girl.
Hana received it reluctantly but seeing that everyone was watching her movements, she could only try to act as coolly as before, thanking me while putting on an angelic smile.
A second later, Chii also cheerfully shared some of her food with her as though what happened earlier already left her mind.
Like Hana, she’s also not giving up on the girl to finally open up again.
In any case, I took my attention off the girl soon after handing that layer to her.
Naturally, my next move was to address Hina’s reaction to what I did. Even if it’s not showing on her face, I could sense the girl’s dejection.
That’s why I put Aya down and moved around to where the girl was seated.
Using my chopsticks, I picked up and took a bite of one of her fried nuggets even before she could react to my approach.
“Mhm… This is delicious, Hina. When you make a boxed lunch for me, can I request this?”
“Jeez, what’s that? Is it your attempt to not make me feel bad for calling her out?”
“Maybe? Honestly, let’s just say that this is my way to show you that I’m not favoring anyone. I can sense that I made you feel bad. I can’t just ignore it.”
“Really an idiot. I won’t feel bad. Maybe dejected but it will pass.” Hina rolled her eyes before pinching my cheeks. Whether that was true or not, only the girl would know.But then again, there’s no reason for me to push it or this would just turn depressing.
I hugged the girl from behind and took another piece of her nuggets before smilingly asking, “Alright, then will it be nuggets for my boxed lunch?”
Sensing my intention, Hina looked relieved. Following that, she put on a mischievous smile as she answered, “Yes, Ruki. I’ll only make nuggets for you without putting anything else. Rice will also be out.”
“… Now that sounds like a sumptuous meal.” I gulped down and awkwardly smiled, resulting in the girl’s laughter.
At this point, the other girls began joining our conversation. And soon enough, I returned to my seat and we all properly ate our lunch.
After we finished eating, I rested for a while with the girls before excusing
It’s time to visit Eguchi-sensei, after all.
Since they’re all going to change there, I also left Hana there and Chii did a good job of holding her back.
Now that I was about to leave, they’d probably have a proper girl’s talk. I’m sure, there are things that the others want to say to Hana without my presence.
I mean, by being there with them, I’m actually holding back the others from voicing out what’s really in their chest.
In a way, I accepted the fact that I cannot always be in the middle of them. Some things don't need my meddling. In fact, I’m actually hoping that they all can find their common ground and start building up goodwill from there.
But well, it’s Hana and her strong will. Furthermore, my girls also have strong personalities. As long as Hana remained adamant about her decision, I doubt they’d get along.
In the end, it will still be up to me to make the girl change her mind and have her give up.
“Sensei, did I make you wait?”
“Oh. Good timing, Onoda-kun, I’m about to look for you. Can you help me here?”
With how frequently I started coming to her office, knocking to announce my presence was already omitted. I opened the door and found our capable teacher carrying something from one of her storage boxes.
She’s bent over there, allowing me to get a glimpse of her plump behind.
But in respect for her, I made sure not to be caught staring as I approached her. Yeah, looking away wasn't in the options.
“Hmm? Sensei, aren’t your back hurting from bending like this?” I asked the girl as I squatted next to her.
Looking inside the box, I also extended my hand to help her take out what her hands were grabbing.
It’s a weighing scale. It’s going to be used for her activity today.
“Hmm? Don’t mind it, I can ask you to massage my back if it ever hurts, right?”
“Well, I can do that but please take care of yourself.”
For Eguchi-sensei to respond that playfully, it felt like a breath of fresh air. With all our interactions before, I couldn’t find the wariness and slight apprehension in her anymore.
More like, she’s now very comfortable with my presence, allowing her to joke around me. Maybe if I got cuddled by her again, she’d now feel at ease in doing so.
“Look at you being so thoughtful…” With a pleasant smile plastered on her face, Eguchi-sensei lifted the weighing scale and carried it off to her table.
Well, it’s not that heavy but she got stuck taking it out when the size of the scale fitted perfectly on the box.
When Eguchi-sensei put the scale down, she glanced back at me and ushered, “Come here now, Onoda-kun. Let me start by showing you my appreciation for a job well done.”
Showing appreciation, huh? Will I get another cuddle from her?
Yeah. That seems to be the case.
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