It was a lazy Sunday, and everyone was out. Or so she thought. The smell drifting from the dorm's kitchen was impossible to ignore. Mitsuru set her book down on the common room couch, letting her nose guide her.
Hiding in the doorway, she spied Shinji hunkered down over the oven. His coat was tossed aside on the table as he gingerly pulled out a fresh batch of cupcakes and set them down on the stovetop. Chocolate, Mitsuru's nose told her, and her stomach growled unintentionally. The noise gave her away, leading Shinji to turn around, the bright pink oven mitt on his hand looking rather out of place.
"Shinjiro-san, I'm sorry," Mitsuru replied apologetically, standing rigidly as if before the board of directors at her father's company. "I didn't mean to interrupt."
He rolled his eyes. "You're not interrupting. These are Fuuka-chan's cupcakes. She asked me to take them out," he remarked, though Mitsuru doubted it. Shinji always had a tendency to scratch his chin when he was lying.
And she doubted that Yamagishi had asked him to frost the cupcakes either. But Shinji was already digging through the cupboard for a small tub of chocolate frosting and a spatula.
"Not going out today?" Mitsuru inquired, trying to ignore the delicious scent of the baked treats. They wouldn't be cool for a while anyhow.
"No errands to run?"
Mitsuru watched him gently coax the cupcakes from the hot tin, setting them down on a rack for them to cool. But he wasn't careful enough. "Damn it!" he swore, backing away from the cupcake tray and shaking his hand.
She was across the kitchen before she realized, tugging on his hand. "Let's get that under some cold water." Mitsuru switched on the faucet and held Shinji's hand there.
He stared at her. "I'm a big boy, Kirijo."
"Is that a fact?" she teased him. "Because you didn't think before you grabbed that cupcake."
Shinji scowled, yanking his hand back from her grasp and away from the running water. "Whatever."
They stood in silence, Mitsuru shutting off the faucet and looking away while Shinji smacked the frosting tub a few times with the spatula. "Those...aren't Yamagishi's cupcakes, are they?"
He took the cap off the frosting and dipped in a finger. She frowned at him. "Why did you lie?"
"Why do you care?"
She would never understand him. Even in these two years of barely seeing one another, she'd never figure out what made Shinjiro Aragaki so difficult to deal with. He stuck the finger of frosting in his mouth, daring her to say something more. He always knew she'd be the first to chastise, the first to be the grown-up. The first to spoil everyone's fun.
It was just cupcakes on a Sunday, she thought bitterly. In defiance of her own dessert principles, she grabbed the tub of frosting from his hand and stuck her own finger around the rim, licking the frosting without looking away from him. His eyes darkened, and she wondered if her behavior had taken on a more suggestive tone than she'd intended.
He made a step towards her, a look in his face she'd never seen from him before, and Mitsuru knew that her frosting foray had crossed some sort of line. She felt a blush in her cheeks, shoving the frosting back in his hand. "If you're going to frost the cupcakes, there's more in the left hand cabinet. It's more sanitary if you're planning to share with the others."
Shinji looked confused as she backed away, hurrying from the kitchen before the red in her cheeks gave her away.