Riko asked Maria casually at breakfast on Monday. She said that while she is changing into her school uniform. It seems she is going to school today.
（...Now that she mentions it）
Chihiro tilted her head at Riko's words too. After all, when he had asked Maria for lunch, it must bread from a convenience store, and she hadn't packed a lunch since then. It's not that she can't cook, but why?
Maria replied without hesitation.
「Well. I'm not going to make one at the moment」
「Sometimes I'm busy in the morning and it's too much trouble to cook rice on a bread day. So, I won't make it from the beginning. Also, I don't want the school to know about our relationship」
The last reason is mainly based on Chihiro's wishes.
「...I see. Then, is it okay if I make it for myself?」
「Yes, of course」
Riko had been bringing her own lunch until recently, and would like to continue to do so if possible.
After getting Maria's approval, she and Maria are discussing about the amount of rice to cook.
「...I think I'll cancel my contract with the dormitory. Not right away, though」
「Yeah. You can think about it later. I'm sure it's due at the end of the month」
It's been almost a week since Chihiro met Maria.
Gradually, a new life was taking root among the three of them.
☆ ☆ ☆
「...See you later」
「See you in class.」
Riko, Maria and Chihiro parted ways at the entrance of the apartment building. They went together to the middle of the street, and separated at the end of the street.
Before parting, Riko said, "You want me to wear it anyway, right?" and wore the choker on her way to school.
Shibahou's school rules are rather lax, so she should not be blamed for that.
And so, she arrived at the classroom without any trouble.
「Riko, did you have a cold or something last week?」
「Uh, yeah. I had a little trouble with it. I'm fine now」
（I guess I don't have to be afraid of Riko's voice and eyes anymore）
When Chihiro saw Riko talking with her friends, he thought so.
Also, he said this to her, "In the classroom, we try to be as usual. However, don't reenact the punching, kicking and ridiculing me".
So, there's no need to pay attention to what they're doing, but if Chihiro listen to their conversation for some reason...
「Hey, what's that?」
「Eh? Oh, yeah, just a little stuff」
The conversation turned to Riko's choker.
When Riko didn't say anything, her friends started to pursue further. They seem to like such topics.
「Oh, is it a gift?」
「From a guy?」
「No. It's not like that」
「Oh~, you're blushing~」
After that, all that could be heard is an illicit argument, so Chihiro stopped listening.
He looked in another direction and saw that Aika is talking to a female student.
「Aika, shouldn't you go to Kamishiro-kun's place?」
「Geez, stop it. It's not like we're dating yet」
「Heh. Not yet, right?」
「T-That's just wordplay!」
Aika's face turned red.
But her mouth is loose, as if she doesn't feel bad.
A faint jealousy burned in Chihiro's heart.