I prepared the plates and chopsticks.
Rino-chan gave polite but accurate directions.
「Now it just has to be dished out and it’ll be done」
Saying that, Rino-chan poured the food from the pot to the plates.
I tried asking a question that was on my mind.
「…Rino-chan, won’t I be graduating by the time you enter school?」
She points to me with the big oven mitt she was wearing.
「I thought it’d be fine just to go to the same school you went too…Also maybe by doing that we could become closer」
Little-by-little her statement got even cuter.
Rino-chan said it as if it was natural.
Or is she aiming for something.
「Well then, shall we eat?」
Rino-chan clapped her hand while still wearing the oven mitt.
*Bon*, a muttered sound resonates through the kitchen.
「Now then, Okutani-senpai, thank you very much」
When we all arrived in front of the table with food, Ooki sat down first.
Rino-chan also sat down and we all three ate dinner.
The topics generally revolved around things going on in the world.
Like what that celebrity or athlete did.
We talked as if we forgot tomorrow would even come.
When the meal ended, Ooki started to clean up.
It seems the division of labor is clearly assigned.
Rino-chan does the cooking and Ooki does the dishes.
Rino-chan does the rest of the cleaning and Ooki does the laundry.
Since Ooki didn’t do anything until recently, Rino-chan had to do all the chores herself.
「Do you have some recommendations for a book?」
Rino-chan asked me a question.
We are now sitting side by side on the sofa.
The T.V. was turned on but I wasn’t watching.
I could feel Rino-chan’s exposed thigh through my leg.
We were also close enough that a slight movement caused our shoulders to bump into each other.
「Ah…um, that’s right…」
「Since I don’t read many books, I’d like to read something you’d recommend」
「I-if that’s the case…what about this?」
I get away from Rino-chan and escape to my bag.
If I didn’t my heart may explode.
I took out the book I had just completed reading.
When I handed it over, she looked at the cover.
「『For the Time Being It’s a Miracle』…author is『Umehara Umeka』…what kind of novel is it?」
「It’s a young adult novel」
「That’s what I read」
Rino-chan looks at the author’s introduction.
「Eh? This author is taking entrance exams for university?」
「Yup. This is their second work. Their first work was talked about in the news as they released it while they were in high school」
「Is it really fine for me to borrow this?」
Holding the book as if it was important, Rino-chan left the living room.
She probably went to put it in her bedroom since I could hear her going up the stairs.
Ooki came into the living room smiling after finishing tidying up.
「Somehow I’m sorry」
「It seems that Rino ended up interested in you」
「Yeah…It’s not a bad feeling」
「Ever since then, she annoyingly kept saying, “we should thank him, we should thank him”」
There wasn’t any real reason to thank me.
However, Rino-chan said so at that time we went to the mountain.
Seems she is a girl that honestly keeps her promise.
Rino-chan returned to the living room.
Taking that opportunity, I stood up and grabbed my bag.
「Well then, I’ll head home. Ooki, thanks for the book. Rino-chan the food was very delicious」
「Eh? You’re already heading home?」
Rino-chan looks at me seeming lonely.
She’s almost like a small animal. I wonder if I can bring her home with me.
「It’s because Okutani-senpai is a busy person」
Where’d you get that information.
I basically have free time.
However, I’m hesitant to stay long at someone’s house.
Plus, I want to refresh my memory on the physics review I did earlier for the retake tomorrow.
「Ah, then…I’ll go with you to the station!」
「It’s fine, really」
「No, no I insist」
Rino-chan almost forcibly accompanied me.
Ooki thanked me one more time at the entryway.
I went outside, and *mua*, my body cooled from the AC inside was assailed by the peculiar humidity of summer.
「It’s hot, huh…」
While muttering that, Rino-chan head out.
I followed alongside her.
After walking for a bit, we arrived in front of Hashidzume High School.
My intention was to then head towards the bus station from there.
「Ah, are you not walking to the station?」
It’s quite hot.
Plus, I’ll end up worrying about Rino-chan returning home.
When I say that, Rino-chan proposed something after thinking for a bit.
「Then, is there somewhere we could have a little talk?」
「Let me see…」
After thinking a bit, she grabbed my hand.
And so we started walking.
I had my hand pulled along while still surprised.
Her hand was small like a little girl’s.
I feel like I may end up breaking it if I were to squeeze a bit hard.
Without straying, we leave Hashidzume High School.
Less than a year ago, I had passed by Rino-chan’s place.
When the confusing residential area cleared up there was a wide open park.
「So there was a place like this…」
We both reach the sports field where some grade school looking boys were playing soccer.
We pass by the field while still holding hands.
We then went down a path through the forest and came out to a man-made river.
Small children play around in the river with their feet dipped in the water.
「If it’s here, it should be quite refreshing」
Rino-chan sat on a boulder that was sitting in the river.
And then she took off her socks with her shoes leaving her feet bare.
「Like this, she stuck her feet in the river」
Rino-chan kicked her feet in the water as if playing around.
I sat down next to her and took off my shoes and socks as well.
I folded up my pants legs up to my knees and stuck my feet in the river.
The water was cold and felt good.
「It feels good, huh」
We sat so close it was almost like we were glued together.
All the trees helped to hide us from everybody else.
Children’s voices resounded in the distance.
There was a breeze and the heat had practically disappeared.
「So what did you want to talk about?」
「There wasn’t really anything specific but…I kinda wanted to be together…」
Rino-chan muttered while looking at the surface of the river.
And then moving her feet in the river, she hit mine.
Rino-chan let out a long sigh and looked at me.
「Okutani-san, are you dating anyone?」