Ch 4 Sharing the warmth
“Haru-kun, are you ready?”
“Wait a little longer.”
I responded to the voice of Ageha, which flew in from the living room, raising her voice for the first time in a long time.
After the confession, which completely hit me in the face, Ageha suddenly buried her face in the sofa and started fainting in agony, as if she had cooled down in various ways.
But after a while, she looked up vigorously and said to me as I stood there, “It’s Christmas Eve, let’s go have fun!”
At first, I was going to ask her to leave after drinking cocoa, but it would have been a bad idea to let her leave like this, so I decided to take her up on her offer.
I was not going to go out on the town in my sleep, so I was getting ready for the day with some time to spare from Ageha.
I hand-combed my hair, which had a habit of getting in the way.
I had expected things to be awkward between a man and a woman after rejecting a confession, but that was not the case.
Perhaps it was because of her positive attitude.
The voices coming from the living room were the same as usual.
‘Watch me! I’ll make you fall in love with me for sure!’
I have a flashback to the words of Ageha from earlier.
Is it such a joyous and embarrassing thing to be favored so much by a… girl?
Once again, the voice of Ageha flew in from the living room.
I slapped myself on both cheeks to get myself in the mood.
Don’t get carried away.
I turned down her confession.
… Yes, it’s Karen that I like.
I mustn’t let her take the place of Karen.
I turned off the light on the washbasin.
The crisp, cold air sticks to my face.
I feel even colder because I’ve been in a heated house.
Even though I am wearing a coat, I feel cold to the core.
Shivering, I touch the pocket warmer I’ve shoved in my pocket.
To be honest, it doesn’t work so well when it’s this cold.
When I called out that to Ageha, who was walking alongside me, she responded with a theory that I didn’t quite understand.
… I see.
It’s Christmas, so it can’t be helped.
“I wonder if it will snow.”
Huffing and puffing on her hands, Ageha looked up at the sky.
It was a little cloudy.
Should I have checked the weather forecast just in case?
Usually, when I have plans to go out with someone, I have some idea of what I’m going to do and where I’m going to go that day, but today was so sudden that I hadn’t decided anything.
So, after five minutes of discussion with Ageha, we decided to go shopping at a large shopping mall five stops away by train.
It’s Christmas Eve, so it’s a perfectly normal place to go, but since she is not exactly a girlfriend, it’s probably just as well.
“I’m not wearing gloves.”
I was curious because she was constantly sliding their hands together.
I looked and saw that her slender fingers were slightly reddish.
“I lost the gloves I was using last year.
You see, I’m pretty sloppy.
My… sister kept hers.”
“Why are you talking about Karen now?”
“No, no, I saw her wearing gloves today… ah.”
After saying that much, Ageha froze.
Then she glanced at me, peeking to see my reaction.
She is probably concerned about the fact that Karen is going on a date with Saijo-kun today.
It’s not good to make a younger girl care about you…
“Huh? Oh, hey… that was close.”
I took the warmer out of my pocket and threw it to her, and after fumbling it a bit, she managed to put it in her hand.
Then, she tilted her head curiously.
‘I’ll give it to you.
I’m not cold.”
“No, no, no, Haru-kun, you said it was cold just now.”
“Did I say that?”
Come to think of it, I think I did.
I thought I was dressed up, but it backfired.
I am so embarrassed.
When I turned my face away in shame, she giggled.
“Then, thank you.
I’ll take it, okay?”
When I looked, I saw that Ageha was happily pressing the warmer she had received against her cheek and saying, “It’s so warm!”
Suddenly, she reaches out her hands and presses them to my cheeks.
I try to protest what she is doing, but I can’t speak properly.
Then, she broke into a smile.
“Hehehe, I’ll share the warmth with you…”
“Is this sharing…?”
Though it is true that my face is warm.
“I have to return the favor.
Haru-kun gave me a pocket warmer.”
“Well, I’ve gratefully received it, so I think it’s time you let me go.
I’m… a little embarrassed.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
As I said this, she pulled her hand away and took a half step further away from me than she had taken a moment before.
She looked back at her actions objectively and turned down her face, red to the ears.
…This kind of thing that she sometimes does strange things with vigor is very typical of Ageha.
It can be said that this is a charm that is unique to Ageha and not present in Karen.
Well, it’s hard for me to be a part of it.
From far away, I could hear the sound of a train running on the tracks and the sound of a railroad crossing.
The coldness of the air that I had felt earlier, which had been sticking to my face, had disappeared due to the heat rising gradually from within.
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