written in the raws.]

“It’s like saying ‘I’m glad Sasaki doesn’t have a boyfriend because I’m interested in her,’ ” he thought.

Realizing that he might have been misunderstood when he saw Sasaki’s silent and blushing face, he spoke up. 

“Uh, I mean that it’s a good thing he doesn’t have a boyfriend because there might have been trouble if you did.”

“I understand.
…I just wish it were like that,” 

Sasaki muttered under her breath.
She spoke so softly that even the nearby Toma couldn’t hear her.

“Did you say something?”

“Well… I just noticed how different you are at work and now.
You’re so mature and never seem flustered at work, but now you’re not like that at all.”

Despite her words, Sasaki didn’t think it was a bad thing.
In fact, she found this new side of Toma endearing and cute, even though it was a younger side of him.

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“Well, I do pretend to be someone else to some extent at work… This is who I really am,” Toma said.

“Who you really are… Then can you try calling me by my name…?” Sasaki asked.

“W-why would I do that…!?”

“You don’t have to pretend to be someone else in your private life, do you? We’re not just a customer and a bartender right now… So try calling me by my name.”

“U-um… Sasaki-san…” Toma replied, feeling helpless against Sasaki’s strong push and seniority.
However, a problem arose at this point.

“I’m sorry, but there’s something really difficult for me to say… It’s about my name.
You see, you’ve been calling me ‘Sasaki-san’ all this time, so I’m afraid I’ve forgotten to tell you my first name.
I’m sorry.”

It’s inevitable to forget someone’s first name when you only use their last name as a way to address them.

“Hand me your phone.”

“My phone?”

“Yes, quickly.”

Feeling the pressure to comply, Toma hands over his phone.

“Excuse me for a moment.”

Sasaki takes the phone and begins to flick through it with her slender, white fingers.
Toma is mesmerized by her doll-like beauty as he watches her profile in the light of the phone screen.

After a minute or so, Sasaki hands the phone back to Toma.

“This is my name.
You mustn’t forget it from now on, okay?”

“Huh? Oh…!”

Toma realizes that there’s a new contact on his phone, written in kanji as ‘澪’ (Mio).

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“This is your punishment for forgetting my name.
So please don’t block me or anything, okay?”

“Well, I didn’t plan on doing anything like that… Was it okay for me to exchange contact information with someone like me?”

“Toma-kun, did you not want to exchange contact information with me…?”

“N-no, that’s not it.”

“I’m glad.
I feel the same way about you, Toma-kun.”

Mio, who had a pink phone cover, held her phone in front of her face, hiding the lower half of her face as she narrowed her eyes.

…Sasaki didn’t want to be seen like this.
She didn’t want her crush to see her looking relaxed and her mouth looking sloppy because she had exchanged contact information with him.

“That’s good to hear.
Please take care of me from now on, Mio-san…”


In that moment, Mio reflexively spun her body 180 degrees at a speed that could rival light.

“Huh!? Did you not like being called by your name?”

“U-um… That’s not it… I-It’s not that I don’t want to be on good terms with you… I-It’s just that there was a rare ant… s-so that’s why…”

She took a clean counterattack just for saying “call me by my name”.
This timing was unfair, and it was Mio’s first time.
She was shaken by being called by her first name by Toma.

As a result, she showed a poor cover-up due to her agitation.

“Oh, an ant… Do you like bugs, Mio-san?”

“I hate them.”

“Is that so… Wait, huh!?”

Seeming like he wanted to ask “then why did you turn your back on me?,” Touma looked at Mio.

Mio couldn’t possibly explain the reason why she turned her back on him, so she continued to hide her blushing face, which had become too hot to the touch, using her glossy long hair…

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