Stealing Spree
Chapter 1440: Approval

"Nice save there, Ruki-kun. And Hina, I believe Auntie wasn't being mean to Ruki." Kazuha-nee said as soon as the couple disappeared into the kitchen.

As she was instructed to accompany us, possibly to also help in cooling us down from the unexpected situation, Kazuha-nee pulled us to the nearest long couch and sat us down. There, we sandwiched Hina between us since she was the one most affected.

I opened my arms and put the girl in my embrace, rubbing her back to stop the shaking of her body. On the other side, Kazuha-nee gave me a thumbs-up as she patted Hina's head.

Somehow, this looked like we were Hina's parents as we consoled the upset girl.

"Mhm, Kazuha-nee is right. It just showed that she won't hand you over to me without examining my character." I added using the same lighthearted tone to help wash away the tension.

But do I agree with Kazuha-nee that Hina's mother isn't actually trying to be mean? Partly, I guess? I mean I already said that I expected them to act that way. My relationship with Hina sprang up out of nowhere which subverted their expectations. Even if they're aware that her chances with Ogawa weren't really on the bright side, they are witnesses to their daughter's efforts to get the idiot's attention for years. That's why for Hina to find someone else other than him in the span of one or two months in high school, it's understandable to be a little skeptical regarding my character. Maybe they're just being cautious in case I was just tricking their daughter.

That's that.

However, I must also say that the way her mother openly showed skepticism and disapproval right after the introduction was ill-timed and inexcusable.

While her words didn't really affect me, it's her daughter who got hit by it the most.

Think about it. The girl personally invited me and even bragged about how she talked to her parents about me, introducing me as her boyfriend. To witness a different scene than what was in her mind, even if it's just a little, Hina probably felt betrayed.

Hence, the one who became most affected by what happened was Hina alone. If I didn't step in right there, this birthday dinner would've been ruined.

Surely, Kazuha-nee and Hina's father knew that this was entirely Auntie's fault.

lіghtnоvеlрub․соm fоr thе bеѕt nоvеl rеаdіng ехреrіеnсе

Even if she doesn't apologize to me later, I'm hoping that she does something else for her daughter.

Well, here's to hoping that Uncle was currently lecturing his wife in the kitchen or if not that, making her understand that she affected their precious daughter the most. Considering they already anticipated our arrival, saying that they were going to prepare dinner was nothing more than an excuse to help diffuse the situation.

"Un. I also overreacted. I should've also prepared for the possibility that they won't easily accept you just because I brought you home... I understand my mom did that for me. Still..." Hina let her voice trail there as she finally lifted her head to look at me. Even after all that, her concern for me remained at the top...

Who wouldn't fall for this girl? But then again, she's also like my other girls, adopting my mindset of 'all of them first before anything else'. They just reversed it to 'protect Ruki at all costs'.

I appreciate all of that and it truly warms my heart. But that also constantly reminds me that the one preventing our complex relationship to be perfect was also me and my unstoppable desire.

Anyway, to assure Hina so that we could continue to treat this day, or night, as her special day, I put on my genuine smile, showing her that she had nothing to worry about. And I added, "Watch me convince them that I'm perfect for you."

"Un. But Ruki, I'll help too!"

"Heh. Now that's interesting. Allow me to watch over you two." Kazuha-nee added as her amused smile stretched further and turned into a mischievous grin.

Hina didn't see that since she was focused on me. Moreover, Kazuha-nee would probably only show that to me. If I'm not wrong, she's here to mess with me like earlier. But at the same time, she's truly a reliable ally when it comes to dealing with Hina's parents.

Well, although I was warned by them to be wary of Kazuha-nee, she has proven herself to be reliable tonight.

I shouldn't forget to be wary of her though. I was warned by my girls last Saturday and... I was also still trying to figure out what was going on in her head.

A few minutes later, Uncle emerged from their kitchen and called us to the table.

Тhе lаtеѕt аnd mоѕt рорulаr nоvеlѕ аt lіghtnоvеlрub․соm

His eyes then lingered on me as though he was trying to converse with me through eye contact alone.

I tried to match that but as we were not mind readers, that went nowhere. At least, I sensed that he was not trying to intimidate or inspect me.

Kazuha-nee and Hina also stared at us in confusion as they tried to interpret that short exchange that actually produced nothing.

Dropping our bags to the side, Hina and I walked hand-in-hand toward the dining room. As for Kazuha-nee, she simply followed behind us.

When we passed by him, Uncle tapped me on my shoulder and laughed before finally muttering the words that he probably wanted to convey to me, "I think I have to say this... Ruki, you're an exceptional lad. However, you're also kind of enigmatic. I have no idea if you're just unbothered by what happened or if you kept your cool for my daughter but that's enough for you to earn my approval. If Hina chose you, I won't question it anymore. One thing though. Do remember that a father like me will do everything for my daughter. You better be good to her."

Taking all of that in and processing it in my head, I found myself respectfully standing before him with my head slightly bowed.

"Thank you, Uncle. Though I haven't proven anything yet, I'll keep that in mind and take care of Hina."

Hina and Kazuha-nee, who also paused in their steps, watched our exchange intently. The former was already about to burst into cheerful noises while the latter drew a meaningful smile.

Then from behind Hina's father, I caught sight of Auntie who looked a little ashamed. Most likely, she truly got rebuked by the man before me. As for whether that would be detrimental to what's going to happen next or not, we'll just have to see.

Shortly after that, Hina regained her overflowing enthusiasm for this dinner and pulled me along with her to the table. With the girl acting like this, what I was thinking about earlier was probably not going to happen anymore.

Because as we sat down across from her mother, my girl took a deep breath before showing a refreshing smile directed towards her, "Mom, should I pinch your cheeks? Didn't you tell me that it's bad to frown in front of the food?"

Without waiting for her reply, Hina leaned forward and poked her mother's cheeks which effectively drew out a relieved smile from her.

Тhе lаtеѕt аnd mоѕt рорulаr nоvеlѕ аt lіghtnоvеlрub․соm

"I'm getting old. Now it's my baby girl's turn to remind me of table manners."

"Heh. Next time, Ruki and I will be preparing the food for you. Believe it or not, he knows his way around the kitchen."

Noticing that her attempt to sweep away the negativity through her cheerfulness was working, Hina continued while also lifting me to her mother. No doubt, this was what the girl came up with to ease up after the somewhat disastrous introduction earlier. Rather than let us do the work, the girl stepped up this time. Most likely, her father's approval also contributed to why Hina became this proactive and energetic. There was no need to sour the mood again just to get an apology.

Understanding what her daughter was trying to do, Auntie didn't disappoint Hina.

"Oh, really? Then Ruki, we'll be looking forward to that day. For now, please enjoy this little feast we prepared for that girl's special day."

Playing along with them, I intentionally put on an embarrassed smile as I muttered a thank you.

In this way, even without touching on what happened earlier, Hina singlehandedly cleared the bad air.

That certainly deserved some praise so... even when we were in front of them, I couldn't help but dote on the girl.

Obviously, her parents as well as Kazuha-nee also acknowledged what she just did. They didn't say anything and simply watched from where they were sitting.

And Hina, loving the gesture, affectionately cuddled to me as she whispered but in a voice that everyone around the table could hear, "I'll never forget this day, Ruki."

For the next minute or two, the two of us remained like that and Kazuha-nee had to fake a cough to pull us out of that state.

Following that, the celebratory dinner finally started without any hint of awkwardness.

lіghtnоvеlрub․соm fоr а bеttеr uѕеr ехреrіеnсе

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