Chapter 22


Haruhi was nervous the entire next morning as she got ready for school, and then felt her nervousness assuaged the instant that she saw Mori on campus. He strode across the grounds easily, his long legs moving his body twice as fast in half the steps as everyone else around him.

She carefully approached him, merely touching her shoulder against his arm and looking up at him with a smile.

They had to be careful with their relationship at school, as everyone there thought that she was a boy, and neither of them wanted anyone to get the wrong kind of idea.

Mori glanced around and then returned her smile with a faint upward tilt of the corner of his mouth. Haruhi could see his eyes smiling, and it was enough to make her heart swell in gratitude for having him as her boyfriend. She was the only one who could read his eyes.

He walked her to her class and she looked at him as he walked away, feeling completely reassured.

As she sat down at her desk, she suddenly realized that she had nothing to worry about.

Mori was a good person…no, he was a great person.

She let out a sigh and pulled out her notebook, deciding to check her calculus one more time. But as she went over her answers, her mind drifted back to the fact that Mori was going to her house for dinner…and she wondered how Kyoya had set it up.

Did Mori already know? Or was it possible that only Mori's parents knew and that they were going to tell him when he went home?

Keeping those questions in her mind, she felt distracted through the rest of the day, vainly trying to keep her thoughts on her schoolwork, but failing miserably. When she wasn't able to answer one of her teacher's questions because she was so distracted, she simply decided to let herself have an off day. Everyone else had them, so why couldn't she?

At lunch, she went and sat next to Honey and Mori, no one around them thinking twice about it as she ate with them every day.

"Hi, Haru-chan!" said Honey as she sat down next to him, and across from Mori.

"Hi, Honey senpai," she replied, slightly distracted by the faint smile on Mori's lips yet again.

"Haruhi."

That was all he said, but that was all he needed to say. She shyly ducked her eyes and then brought them back up.

"Mori."

He gave her a short nod, but she knew that it was one of approval. The three of them started to eat and Honey kept up a running commentary the entire time, keeping them from being entirely silent, and Haruhi smiled at the eighteen-year-old's energy.

As he chattered away, Haruhi thought some more on her and Mori's relationship, curious about where it was heading and what the future held for the two of them.

She knew that she was in love with him, but she still hadn't said the words to him.

It wasn't that she hadn't had the opportunity; actually, she'd had several opportunities, but she simply hadn't taken advantage of them.

Apparently, she was being too quiet, because Honey suddenly said, "Haruhi? Are you okay? You look worried about something."

Haruhi shook her head, trying to reassure her older classmate that she was just fine. She didn't want Honey to think that she was having second thoughts about being with his cousin and closest friend. Far from it, actually, but she would take no chances.

"Oh, no, I'm not worried about anything, senpai. Just thinking about what to make for dinner tonight."

At that, Mori looked at her, and then Honey said, "Oh, that's right! Takashi is having dinner at your house tonight, isn't he?"

She looked at him in shock.

"How did you know that?"

Honey just giggled and grinned away, but she could see the devious grin that lingered under his casually carefree smile and threatened to break loose at any moment. Honey-senpai was nowhere near as innocent as he pretended to be.

"Oh, Takashi's parents told my parents. We all think it's great!"

At hearing this, Haruhi blushed and ducked her eyes, briefly looking over at Mori, seeing how he reacted.

There was a faint widening of his eyes, but she wasn't sure if that was a good reaction or a bad one. Everything, to her, at least, seemed to be happening so quickly, and she was slightly scared by the whole thing. The thing that weighed heaviest on her mind, however, was the fact that Mori was the only relationship that she'd ever had, and now it seemed to be progressing to a fairly serious one; serious enough, at least, for her father to deem it necessary to have dinner with him.

Completely out of character for Mori, he said, "I look forward to it."

Haruhi looked up at him in surprise…and then gave him a faint smile.

"Well…I hope you enjoy it. I still don't know what to make…" She paused and then gave him one of her off guarded smiles and asked, "What's your favorite food, Tak-Mori?"

She barely corrected herself in time, reminding herself that she was still at school, and he looked surprised. Well, as surprised as Mori ever looked, but didn't answer immediately. However, it didn't seem to matter as Honey quickly spoke for him.

"Takashi loves soba! It's one of his fa-vor-ites!" he said, sounding out each individual syllable on the last word.

Haruhi smiled.

"I can make that!" She then turned back to Mori and gave him a reassuring smile. "It's one of our favorites, too."

"Hn."

She could hear the tone of approval in his monosyllabic answer and couldn't help but smile again, and then suddenly found that she had an appetite for the food in front of her. Digging into her lunch, she found herself no longer dreading the evening ahead. In fact, she was looking forward to it.

The rest of the day wet by quickly for her, and the Host Club afterwards wasn't as much of a burden to her as it usually was.

She found it easier to converse with the young ladies as she was in a much better mood, and even got six more requests for the next day. At this rate, my debt will be gone in no time, she thought to herself as she changed in the changing room into casual clothes to walk home in.

But at that thought, it occurred to her that the sooner she paid off her debt, the sooner she would have to leave the Host Club…

and the sooner I leave the Host Club, she thought to herself, the sooner I'll have less time with Takashi.

That was a sobering thought.

Slowly, she pulled her t-shirt over her head and carefully thought about what was going to happen when she left Host Club. She wanted to stay until the end of the year, but after that, she didn't need to be in it anymore because Takashi would be out of school and instead at University.

She was suddenly worried.

Once he was off at University, what would happen to their relationship? Would he still want to be with her, or would he stop seeing her altogether because she was still in high school?

Haruhi quickly brushed that thought to the side. No, Mori wasn't like that. He wouldn't do that to her.

Though she had never heard him say it to her, she felt that he loved her. Neither of them had ever said the words. She had never felt the need to, and she knew that Mori didn't talk all that often, so she hadn't worried about it up until now.

But now he was going to meet her father…surely that meant something?

She quickly shrugged it off, realizing that worrying was getting her nowhere. Whatever happened, happened, and that was that.

After pulling her sweater over her shirt, she grabbed her bag and headed towards the store to pick up some soba.

She had a dinner to cook, after all.


Part 22/?