way back from university?”

“Hehe, it seems like we’re both in the same boat.” 

Sasaki, Nursing’s Angel, was wearing a white cut-sleeve shirt, red wide-leg pants, and black sneakers.
She looked stunning and cool, with her beautiful features and the way she incorporated stylish items into her casual attire.
In her right hand, she held a can of black coffee, which suited her perfectly.

“By the way… Toma-kun, you look cute shopping for chocolates and cream puffs.
Hehe, I’ve only ever seen the mature Touma-kun working at the bar, so seeing you like this is refreshing,” Sasaki teased.

“T-That’s because I’m a bit tired today…”

He felt embarrassed for being caught shopping for childish things.
It was quite shameful.

“Is that all for your shopping, Toma-kun?”

“Y-yes, that’s right.
I came to buy this…”

“And Toma-kun… I’m done shopping too.”

Mio shows a black canned coffee.

“S-so…um, that’s why…since we have this chance, why don’t we go home together?”

“Huh…?”

“U-um, do you not want to? To go home with me…?”

Sasagi furrows her thin, beautiful eyebrows and clearly clouds her expression, something that Tohma hasn’t seen at the bar.
He hastily denies it.

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“T-that’s not it! I was just surprised, that’s all.”

“I see, well, that’s good…then I’ll go line up at the register first.”

“Y-yes, I understand.”

Sasaki maintains her beautiful posture and walks gracefully toward the register, completes the payment with her credit card, and leaves the store.

***

(Wait, why did I say that!?)

As soon as I stepped outside, I scolded myself.

It’s not that I don’t want to walk home with Toma-kun, absolutely not.
I don’t dislike it… but I haven’t mentally prepared myself for it.

…I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind because I wanted to walk home with him.

(I hope I’m okay… I can’t let Toma-kun feel uncomfortable around me… I can’t let him know I like him…)

I place my hand on my chest.
My heart beats so loudly that I feel like he could hear it if he got closer.

Not only that, but I feel so nervous that my limbs don’t feel like they’re mine…

(But Toma-kun… he was so cute…)

I’ve only ever seen Toma-kun in his work attire.
This was the first time I met him privately, and I was watching him.

He was standing in front of a selection of chocolates, trying to decide which one to buy.
His eyes sparkled like a child’s, and I could tell he liked sweets.

(Oh no… I’ve been done for…)

From my perspective, I had only seen Toma-kun looking sharp while working, so seeing him doing such cute shopping was a surprising contrast…

(What should I do with this canned coffee…)

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I glance at the black coffee in my right hand and close my mouth.

It’s a suspicious beverage that’s far from being called a drink… It’s so bitter that I can’t even drink it…

If someone were to ask me, “then why did you buy it?” It’s because I saw Toma-kun first.

I never expected to meet Toma-kun in a place like this…

That’s why I dressed casually, not dressed up like when going to a bar.
I wanted something to improve my impression, so I didn’t put much thought into my clothing.

Then, I remembered something.

“Mio-chan, you would look great holding black coffee!”

I don’t remember when she said it, but I remember Nanami telling me that.

So I trusted her words and bought this coffee, but it was a mistake.

It just feels awkward holding it all the time.
… And it’s really cold.
The can makes it colder than a PET bottle.

I put the cold can to my cheek and meditate …….

(…… Okay, I’ve calmed down a bit.
I’m okay now …….
I’ll be fine……)

As soon as that self suggestion is completed – the automatic door of the convenience store opens.
I prepare myself for Toma-kun to come out.

“I’m sorry, I’ve kept you waiting, Sasaki-san.”

“It’s …..
it’s okay.
Let’s go…..
then.”

“Yes.”

(No, no.
…….
I can’t calm down.
……)

Just one word.
I was the one who made a high heartbeat of ‘Bakkun’ just by being called by Toma-kun….

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