Chapter 2 – Under the kotatsu

''Mom, why is that guy staying for dinner?'' asked Ayuzawa, annoyed with her mother's kindness toward Usui.

''Well, Misaki, isn't it normal for me to thank him for taking care of you? After all, he did accompany you to the hospital.''

It turned out that Ayuzawa suffered a minor concussion, as Usui had thought. The doctor had said she would probably be stuck with a headache for a short period, but that there was nothing to worry about. If the pain was strong, he had recommended she used analgesics.

''Well, I am happy to see that you have a friend you can count on'', started her mother as she sat down to the table. I was worried about you, Misaki, especially since… Well, I meant to tell you earlier, but it happened so suddenly and for the past couple of days we both have been so busy…I'm sorry Misaki…''

''What is it, mom, you're worrying me now…'' interrupted her older daughter, alarmed.

''Mom got a temporary job in a hot source resort. As replacement for a friend'' explained Suzuna. ''She must leave in two days.''

''Wow, that's good news, mom! Such a great chance, this will definitely be good for your health! How long will you be gone?''

''About three months. At first I did not want to accept it, because of you and your sister, but the house is a wreck and it's such a great opportunity to finally make renovations!''

''Uh? Renovations? What are you talking about, mom?''

'' The job will pay a lot, so…I thought while I have the money and that I'm away, I might as well have renovations made to the house to make it safer! But since the floor must be replaced, you won't be able to stay here…''

''What the-''

''But don't worry, Misaki!'' continued her mother cheerfully. Suzuna will be staying at a friend's house, you know that girl from her club? And as for you, I have already asked Takumi-kun if he could take care of you! And everything's settled! Isn't that great?''

There was a long silence.

''WHAT? MOM HAVE YOU GONE MAD? Mom, listen, you should not agree to this, I mean – as a mom, you should not be the one to send me live with him. Do you realize it's not normal at all for a mother to arrange on sending her teenage daughter to live with a guy – and with a pervert like him besides that. HEY ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?''

Her mother was not paying attention at all as she was discussing the details with Usui.

''MOM I REFUSE TO GO!''

''So, Takumi-kun, I entrust my daughter to you with a peaceful mind.''

''I'm also glad to leave my sister to your care, onii-san'' added Suzuna.

''I SAID I DON'T WANT TO GO!''

''I will take a good care of her, Suzuna-chan!'' replied Usui, winking.

''DEFINETELY NOT GOING!''

So that is how Ayuzawa found herself moving in with Usui on a Sunday afternoon. Her mom had left in the morning for a small village in Hokkaido where the hot source resort was, and her sister already went to her friend's house. When she entered the young man's apartment, she was surprised to find a kotatsu lying in the living room. She didn't remember him having one.

''Since when do you have a kotatsu, Usui?''

''I bought it yesterday, I thought it would be nice to cuddle together under it...'' replied the young man, with a teasing tone that she found particularly annoying.

He installed her in the guest room, and told her to make herself at home while he was going to go shopping for tonight's dinner. It was a simply furnished room, painted with calm colors. The atmosphere was very relaxing. Not knowing what to do to kill time, Ayuzawa sat before the desk and started doing her homework. Usui came to get her when dinner was ready: it was served on the kotatsu. As expected from that perverted alien, the food was really good and the pleasure of eating something delicious combined with the warmth and comfort from the kotatsu made the young woman feel nice and relaxed. She thought she should get up and go back to her homework, but found she was too lazy and felt too good to do so. So there she stayed, and before she knew she was caught up in a very interesting conversation with Usui.

They were almost always together yet had never really taken the opportunity to have a nice conversation, exchanging on all kinds of subjects, and enjoying it. It felt like she was discovering a whole new side of Usui – and displaying a whole new side of herself as well. Suddenly the mention of a movie that she had not seen was brought into the discussion, and as she admitted she had never heard of it, Usui insisted that she should see it. He had no television, but went to get his laptop, placed it in front of Ayuzawa and sat behind her – too close to the girl's taste (it made her heart beat too fast) – holding her waist toward him. Then he pressed play.

It was a very good movie, based on a novel by Yukio Mishima* that told the tale of Shinji, a young fisherman from a poor family who must work to support is mother and brother, and of his love for Hatsue, who shares his love, although they do not belong to the same social cast. It was a good movie yet Ayzawa had troubles paying attention. Everything in her was aware of Usui's closeness: she was caught in his warmth, intoxicated by his scent, and shamelessly attacked by his pheromones. She could feel that her mind was dangerously going blank, and that she did not possess total control on her body. She noticed that she had cuddled against his chest and that her hand now covered his on her waist, which made her blush. Ayuzawa wasn't stupid. She was well aware of her feelings for Usui – she really tried to be honest with herself at all times, but… Rather than the fact that she liked him, it was the strength of her attraction to him that shocked and embarrassed her.

By the time the movie was over, it was already almost 10. Usui miraculously succeeded in getting himself out of the comfort of the kotatsu and pulled his hand out at Ayuzawa to help her do the same, while suggesting she should take a bath first. He then gathered the dishes, and brought them to the kitchen to wash them. Ayuzawa walked toward the bathroom, feeling vaguely lost. The sudden loss of contact with Usui's body made her feel cold and lonely.

''A warm bath will do me good'', she thought.

But she was wrong : even the warmth of the bath wasn't as satisfying as the warmth emanating from Usui's body.

* The novel does exist, but there is no movie, i made that up. ^^ I thought the storyline would be a great parallel with Misaki&Takumi's situation, given their respective social status and all...