The morning… Kanon was heading to school by train, whose passenger rate was crazy high.

Apparently, Himari was being sexually harassed when she met Kazuki, but fortunately, Kanon had not experienced such a situation.

Somehow, she had a feeling that it might be due to her light hair color.

Well, Himari has a docile appearance…

In that regard, she thought others would see herself as a high-school girl who would raise a ruckus if she got involved with a degenerate.

Kanon thought Himari was a strong-willed person, but… having that character and being an easy target for criminals were different matters.

I wonder if Kazu-nii likes docile-looking girls… Should I darken my hair a little more…?

Kazuki’s childhood friend Yuuri also had a gentle appearance… Thinking about that, Kanon felt sad as she looked at the scenery outside flowing through the window.

“Kanon, good morning.”

“Good morning.”

As soon as she entered the classroom, classmates greeted her.

Before Kanon’s desk, two girls with even lighter hair were chatting amusingly.

They were Yuiko and Urara.

The two and Kanon had met after second year; however, just like Kanon, they were friends who were easy to get along with.

Yuiko’s hair was combed back with her forehead showing. Urara had a ponytail tied on the side.

“Ah, it’s Kanon. Good morning.”

“Hm, good morning.”

Kanon put her bag down on the desk and sat on the table instead of the chair. Ready, she got into mood to listen to the girls’ chatter.

“By the way, did you see the show yesterday?”

“Of course I saw it. On channel six, right? Seriously, Icchan’s smile was too cute, really amazing.”

“Right? Although Icchan was a little out of sync.”

“Right.”

Excitedly, the girls were talking about a young male idol group that had recently debuted.

The two belonged to the so-called ‘Johnny-otakus.’

Apparently, Yuiko was the fan at first, and later dragged Urara into it.

Kanon had also watched TV the day before and couldn’t deny that she had some liking for the idols, but she wasn’t as enthusiastic a fan as they were, so she looked on with a chuckle at the girls who were talking enthusiastically.

“What’s in your mind, Kanon? Something amused you, are you in a good mood?”

“Yes, I found it amusing.”

“It was really entertaining, even Kanon loved it. Then, we should go to a concert together.”

“No, it’s enough for me to see them on TV… Besides, I don’t have any money, you know?”

“Is that so? If you save money and change your mind, let me know. I’m ready to drag you into the swamp.”

“Ha ha ha ha. I’m tempted, you know?” Kanon misled them with a laugh.

Actually, Kanon hadn’t told anyone that her mother had disappeared. Not only to her two friends, but also not to the teachers. So, to her classmates, Kanon still had the reputation of being a lively and friendly high-school girl.

Only Himari, Yuuri and Kazuki’s family knew that Kanon’s mother was gone.

She didn’t tell anyone because she had the strong thought of not wanting to cause any unnecessary worry.

For one thing, she had the idea that it wouldn’t be long before her mother returned.

Still, days passed, and she did not return. It had been close to a month since she last heard from her.

Seriously, where has she gone… She didn’t tell me anything either. I wonder if she really doesn’t care about me anymore—no, bad, bad, very bad. Thinking about it brought tears to her eyes.

Kanon pushed the image of her mother out of her mind and decided to concentrate on the conversation with the two of them.

As usual, they were both excitedly saying things like, “that smile is so cute” and “the instant his eyes are hidden by his hair is the sexiest thing.”

Kanon thought that, without exception, the two of them seemed very happy the day after seeing the idol they followed on TV. She was a little envious of that simplistic thinking.

“You know, his presence alone is lovely.”

“I know, just seeing him standing there, even if he doesn’t do anything, he’s got me like ‘I love you.’”

Out of reflex, Kanon’s eyes widened at their conversation.

That’s because she thought it was similar to the thoughts she herself was having at that moment.

Certainly, she would get very happy when Kazuki looked after her. But, even if he didn’t do anything for her, his presence itself would make Kanon happy.

Indeed, she was happy just to have him by her side.

A mild ache spread through Kanon’s chest when she was aware of her own heart.

It was break time, after the third-class period. The boys in the class were gathered in a corner of the classroom.

Several boys were looking at the same smartphone. They were probably watching a video.

The number of boys in Kanon’s school was only one-fifth that of girls, so it was inevitable that a sense of unity would sprout among them.

“Uwah! They’re huge, huh…”

“I like them in this color.”

“Really.”

At first, the boys watched in silence, but soon began to get excited about indecent topics she didn’t want to hear too much about.

Seriously, they’re such brats. Kanon was inwardly annoyed and averted her gaze.

They were very different from Kazuki, who was always calm.

Kazuki didn’t say blatantly vulgar things like that and didn’t show such an attitude either.

Suddenly remembering the time she had a cold, Kanon shook her head as her face reddened.

At that time, she acted quite inappropriate due to the fever.

Seriously, she didn’t know how it was she exposed her back to Kazuki.

However, that was also evidence that she felt safe with him.

In fact, Kazuki didn’t do anything or change his attitude.

Then she remembered the feeling of his hand stroking her head the time they went to her old home.

That big, warm, gentle hand…

After all, men do learn how to behave as they become adults… Kanon thought again.

At lunchtime, Kanon rearranged her desk and spread out her bento.

“Hey, Kanon, you always prepare your own bento, don’t you?” Urara muttered as she peered at Kanon’s bento.

“Hm, that’s right. Is there something wrong?”

“No, I just thought you have a high level of femininity.”

“Do you think so?”

A bento was something you simply packed.

Although it’s not a beautiful bento like the ones in anime… I wonder what part of this is highly feminine… Kanon wondered.

“A hink o doo,” as if agreeing, Yuiko nodded as she stuffed her cheeks with a ham and lettuce sandwich from the convenience store.

“You shouldn’t talk while you’re eating. I can’t understand what you’re saying,” Kanon said as she laughed.

Yuiko swallowed and then sipped a boxed fruit juice. She took a long breath and finally opened her mouth:

“I think so too. I mean, these mini cutlets are homemade, right? They don’t look like frozen.”

“That’s right, but… I just packed what was left over from last night’s dinner, you know?”

“That doesn’t change the amazingness of it.”

“Right, right!”

“Err… Thank you.”

Cooking became second nature to her since she was a child. She was slightly embarrassed when her friends praised her again for it.

Speaking of which, what would she do for dinner that night?

Kazuki and Himari were also delighted by her cooking skills, so it was worth making, but it was kind of hard to come up with a menu for every day.

Hmm, I haven’t decided. Maybe I’ll go to the supermarket and see how much the ingredients cost before I decide. While eating her bento, Kanon was already thinking about dinner.

Homeroom class was the time for preparations for the cultural festival.

The cultural festival was going to be shortly after the exam season, so if it were not taken seriously, it would not be made a success.

In first year, it was just an exhibition, but this year Kanon’s class would host a cosplay cafe. Not only costumes, but they would also offer food, so careful preparation in advance was necessary, unlike for the exhibition.

Today there were discussions about how to get the food, what drinks would be provided, and how much to prepare.

By the way, it seemed that everyone would cosplay, regardless of whether they were going to have a behind-the-scenes role or not.

Because of the feeling that everyone would go as they wanted to dress, it was clear from before the event that there would be a Halloween-like atmosphere.

Inside a room of differing opinions, with her cheeks resting on her hands, Kanon looked out the window in a nonchalant way.

It was not as if she wasn’t interested; however, she wasn’t very good at participating in these discussions. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t cooperate.

When assigned any duty, she intended to meekly obey.

Well, if she was given an assignment she didn’t like, she might put up some resistance.

Still, a cosplay cafe, huh? I wonder if I should invite Kazu-nii another time.

Even though she had told Kazuki not to think about it because it would be troublesome for Himari, Kanon was also curious about going to the store where she worked.

While Kanon was wondering how Himari was doing at her job, the bell rang.

“I’m back.”

Kanon was carrying a shopping bag when he returned home. There was no one inside the house to answer Kanon’s call.

“Right, Himari is at her part-time job today.”

She turned on the kitchen light and then put the shopping bag on the table.

“Okay, let’s get to work. I’ll make something amazing for today,” Kanon muttered to herself and then took out the ingredients she had bought.

The house was now empty. It was a quiet space with nothing but the sounds she was making herself.

She didn’t feel lonely, though, because she knew they would be coming home.