It's almost lunch so I postponed looking at the new message requests. Akane is still sleeping. She might wake up hungry. But when I looked inside the fridge, my ingredient stock is almost out.
I left a note at the table for Akane saying I'll be going to the supermarket.
My parents always send me a monthly allowance that includes all expenses and a little bonus to whatever I want to buy, or as they said. Now that Akane is living with me, they will probably send more funds, telling me to take her to a date or something. They're too supportive but most of the money they gave me was saved up. Since I am only moving towards fulfilling my desire, I almost don't spend anything on luxury items unless it is really needed.
The supermarket is located near the station, along the street where the cafe I took Yae with was located. That's the only part of this neighbourhood that is bustling with activity.
Since this is Saturday, only athletic clubs meet up at school for their training so most students have the weekend all to themselves.
I wore my usual attire to not attract attention. It's too troublesome to be mixed up with people I don't have any interest in. Though on my previous trips, most of the time, I will run into someone I know from middle school.
Entering the supermarket, I picked a trolley to use. Wandering to the food section, I picked fresh vegetables first, they're the ones that spoil first even when refrigerated. Then picking specific cuts of meats, either pork or beef. I also pick some fish to have a variety.
Then after all those, I circle around the snacks and canned goods section. Well, I had a habit to use anything I can reach to for cooking so even a simple potato chip may be used on a dish. Along the way, I passed by some unusual section on an unfamiliar aisle. Well, I never went there since all my needs are food and ingredients. Well, I occasionally get detergents and other personal hygiene items.
On that unfamiliar aisle where there are heart-shaped decorations, I found a lot of miscellaneous items that come in couples. Well just by looking at that heart-shaped decoration, this is probably a leftover or a special section they built after the Valentine's last February.
Thinking Akane might need some things for her to settle. I picked a toothbrushes for couple, towels for couple, mugs for couple, and anything we might need in the house.
Err. Are we a couple now? Well, if you look from the outside perspective, we really are. So I guess this is fine. This might also probably give that silly girl a smile on her face when she sees them.
"Onoda? Onoda Ruki?"
Suddenly a voice called out to me. Someone familiar. I knew it. I will always run into someone.
"Wow. I haven't seen you since graduation. You didn't pick our high school?"
The owner of the voice is someone I'm familiar with but I don't really know that much about her. She's a desk neighbour during my third year in middle school.
"Nikaido Eimi. Hi. Yes. I picked 4th High."
"Eh? That's 4 stations away from here and it's in the opposite direction. Why did you pick that?"
"Err. No reason."
"Oh. Could it be? Shimizu?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Well, she's always chasing you, no? I thought you ran away from her."
Does it seem like that from their eyes? I guess my view was really narrow back in middle school. I was only focused on satisfying my desire.
"Ah. No. Akane is, we're currently living together."
"Eh? Why? You two. You're dating each other?"
"Well, something like that."
I can't just tell her that I'm keeping her by my side because of my possessiveness.
This will also put a brake on those eyeing my Akane if Nikaido discloses this information.
"How nice, having your childhood friend be your special someone. But living together?"
"Yes. We got permission from her parents. And her house is just next door so it doesn't matter to them."
"Ah, right. Then why did you pick a school different from her?"
Err. I tried to run away from the girls I've stolen? As if she will understand that.
"Well, things happened. What about you? Are you dating someone?"
"No. I don't think I need that yet."
"Then do you like someone?"
"Well, I did. But I just heard he's living together with her girl now."
Eh? Is she talking about me? Why me again?
"Don't be surprised Onoda. You're kind of an aloof cool guy before. I like you but I guess I have no chance now."
"I never knew."
"You're kind of have an aura that repels anyone who get near you back in middle school."
Ah. She's probably right. I never actively communicated to those in my class.
"Ah. Is that you Ruki?!"
Suddenly another voice shouted my name. This one, she's awfully familiar. I just saw her chat at that group after all.
Ueno Aoi. She's wearing a tight-fitting thin jacket and dress pants that only reached down to her calf. She has her dark blue hair done into a low bun with her bangs fall freely across her face.
She runs over to close our distance and even I didn't expect what she did next.
After a jump, Aoi took my lips into a kiss which startled Nikaido.
"Ah. Someone's here. You're Nikaido from Class 3?"
After freeing my lips, Aoi looks at the surprised Nikaido.
"You. Kissing in public and when you just said you're living together with Shimizu. Are you actually a two-timer?"
"Ah. No. Sorry, but this girl does that as a greeting."
"What greeting? That's my honest feeling when I see you."
"Onoda, you're shameless. I never knew. And I liked you before."
Eh? Wait? What the hell is happening? I'm just out to buy food. Why am I suddenly in this situation?
"Nikaido. Don't just assume. I'm not his girlfriend but he owns me."
"Hey, Aoi. Stop that. We're in public."
"Ah. Right. I stopped by here to buy snacks before going to your house, I never thought you'll be here."
"Picking ice cream."
"Wait wait. What are you two, really?"
Nikaido is still confused there. She can't keep up to our conversation.
"Ah. Nikaido, wanna come with us? That way you'll understand."
Hey Aoi, this girl is truly unruly. You already told me you hated me before and now you're back to being like this.
"N-no. I have to go home."
"Well, okay. I'll go pick up Ria. That girl might get lost from trying to understand everything she sees."
Err. True, that girl is naturally an observant girl. It's nothing like how I am an observer. That girl is quick at thinking to understand everything she sees even trivial ones. She's worse than other observant people because if left unchecked, she'll memorize the ingredients of ice cream from reading it at the back of the packaging. Or even the Terms and Conditions of a mobile game.
Just like how she immediately found things the other girls hadn't noticed at the picture sent by Akane earlier.
After saying that, Aoi took off to the aisle where ice creams are located.
"Well then Nikaido, I'll be checking this out."
"Wait Onoda. I can't understand what just happened."
"Err. Even if I explain to you, you won't understand."
"Then I'll go with you. I want to understand."
Eh? You'll be more confused if you ask me. But I can't just reject her.
"Okay then. But don't you have to bring that home first?"
"You're right. I'll be checking out then. Wait for me at the front."
"Okay. I'll be waiting for those two anyway."
Letting her go first on the counter, she left the supermarket in a hurry. I don't know what she's thinking, anyway, that Aoi is the one at fault. Openly kissing me. Haa.
When I went out of the supermarket, I found a bench nearby to wait for them. I checked the things I bought, especially those couple specials. Toothbrush, mugs, towels, etc. I couldn't even bother to pick a design. There's a heart decoration anyway, Akane will be happy with this, hopefully.
I leave my phone at our house so I can't do anything but just wait for them. 10 minutes later, Aoi and Ria exit the supermarket.
Ria immediately found me and ran over. She almost tripped but thanks to Aoi, that was prevented. She's wearing a green dress that still looks childish because of her small figure with her black hair done into double ponytail
"Don't just run off. I'm getting a headache from you."
"You said you kissed him. I want one too."
"Ria, calm down for now. I'll give you one when we're back home."
Ria sat next to me and looked at the bags containing what I bought.
"What's this? You bought a lot of couple specials. For Akane-senpai?"
"So, she's saying the truth. You're living with her now. You even bought that. Do you love her Ruki?"
"Huh? She's just special. She's a bit different from you. Even if she doesn't love me, I'll put her by my side."
"Isn't that the same as us?"
"Yeah. You want us to continue liking our boyfriends."
"Well, you don't need to have a boyfriend anymore. Just that, if you stopped liking someone else than me then you might not be able to ignite my desire. But I guess, there's more to it that I haven't understand yet."
"Sounds complicated Ruki-senpai. I like him but I love you. Is this fine?"
"Err. I don't know. Maybe?"
"You don't feel excited anymore?"
"That's why I want you to come. I want to look at you again. Even when I already cut you off, you all planned to go to my school, right?"
"Uhm. That's because you keep on ignoring us."
"You ran away. I didn't mean to say those things I said before."
"We'll see later. Some change happened to this desire of mine and I don't know if what I understood was all there is to it or there's more, so I need you two."
"You could've just called us."
Aoi, only Akane got me to take initiative to call her. Ah. Satsuki too.
"Yes senpai, I'm always waiting for your call. Waiting for you to say you want me again."
Uh. Ria. You're still young, you could've started anew but here you are.
These girls. And they are not the last of them. I wonder, how many apart from those I saw earlier were there? How did I even affect them to this degree? Even when I seemingly lose interest, they're still here, trying to be at my sight again.
What am I doing in middle school? Why is it that I only remembered how I stole them?
Ah. Right. Because I don't care about what will happen afterwards, as long as I fill my desire, whether I did good or bad to their life, I am unaware.
"G-great. You're still here."
Nikaido appeared before us, gasping for her breath. She probably ran from her house to here, thinking we might leave her behind. Well, maybe we shouldn't have waited. This girl, why does she even want to understand?
"Let's go, Akane must be waiting. You two, you arrived too early. Good thing I went out to restock ingredients."
"Aoi-senpai can't wait to see you Ruki-senpai. She dragged me out of my house."
"Ria. You. I didn't drag you out, you welcomed me at your house's gate"
"Uhm. Is it fine for me to come?"
Nikaido felt left out.
"It's you who insisted, don't worry, I'll include you when I cook."
"Ah. No. I only want to know what's happening. Why Ueno kissed you and then there's this little girl."
"Hey, I'm not a little girl. Ruki-senpai already made me into a woman!"
"Shush Ria. Don't shout that out in public."
"Eh? What did she mean by that Onoda? You…"
Nikaido looked more confused than she was earlier.
"Don't mind it. Let's talk when we arrive home."
The journey home is a bit of a hardship. We became a magnet for attention, 3 attractive girls are walking and talking beside me. Who wouldn't get jealous? I wonder how would I explain Nikaido being here.
"This is your house?"
Nikaido asks when we arrived in front of my house.
"Yes. Next door is Akane's"
The door opens from the inside and out come Akane. Her hair is still a bit unkempt, she probably just woke up.
"Huh? You two are early. And Nikaido?"
Akane looks at the two and when it stops at Nikaido, a questioning look directs at me.
"She got curious about why I kissed Ruki."
"You're really living together…"
Nikaido is still in a daze from looking at my house and now she sees Akane coming out of it.
"Come in first. Don't just stand there."
I urged them on from the back. It's already bad that I brought 3 more girls if Akane's mom found out or she already did? After what she just said about having Akane my top priority. Well, she also asks to help. I guess there's no use thinking about it now
"So what really happened? Uwaa. Eh? What're these? Husband?"
Akane found the things I bought for her. It instantly made her eyes glimmer in joy and forgot what she was about to ask. The three girls looked on as they watch her be that happy at unpacking those.
"Akane-senpai is too easy to please."
Uh. Ria? You're easier to please. I just have to allow you to wander around to check anything you lay your eyes on.
"Just how lovestruck she is. Tsk."
Aoi, you're one as well. Not minding the place to kiss me. Now we got Nikaido mixed up with us.
"Even simple designs like that can make her that happy."
Probably as long as it's from me, she'll be that happy. Add to that, it's for couples.
"You girls. Settle down in the living room while I make lunch. Nikaido, feel stay at home."
"Eh? I'll help, husband!"
"I'll help too senpai!"
"I guess I have to help as well."
"Uhm. I'm not good at cooking but I can cut ingredients properly."
Err. What to do with these girls? I'm now thinking it's a bad idea to invite them here.
"You all stay put. This is my kitchen. Just play UNO or something to pass time."