Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 81
Soon after we first met, she was right there with me, surprisingly abruptly.
I had never had a pet before, but she had never given me any trouble since we had been together.
On the contrary, before I knew it, she had come to support me, and I had become completely dependent on her.
Recently, I have been feeling more comfortable with the distance between her and me, and my life has become more and more fulfilling.
Needless to say, being suddenly by her side was a conceptual story, not a physical one, of course.
However, the situation I was in now applied to the latter…
“Yes, what is it?”
“Well, I was wondering…if you could say something about this situation.”
“It’s very warm.”
“I’m glad to hear that…”
Mashiro was lying on same the bed as me and snuggled up next to me.
Of course, she was not in her cat form, but a person in pajamas, and she was there at such a distance that I could even feel her breath.
I would answer basically anything Mashiro asked me to do, but I regretted that I should have asked her the details first anyway.
I was not prepared for physical contact with her yet, but the fact that we were sleeping in the same bed was indeed not an easy thing to get through.
“Mashiro-san, as expected, this is not good.”
“Satou-san, you said anything.”
No, no, there is a limit to anything. But I couldn’t say anything back because of the situation.
Because of the close distance, Mashiro spoke in a whispering voice, and even though I didn’t want to, my heart rate increased in intensity as I felt her warmth.
As for Mashiro, for some reason, she looked at me with a nonchalant expression on her face.
…Or perhaps Mashiro is used to it, once I thought of it. Of course, she never stayed in bed in this form, but there have been several times when she has snuggled into bed before I knew she was there in her cat form.
However, the girl in front of me was still a young girl, but she had a certain charm. I couldn’t just sit there and take it easy.
“…How should I put it, can I ask why first?”
“You’re more of a cat than I thought, Mashiro.”
“Well, I am a cat.”
In everyday life together, she was much more mature than she looked and was good at housework, but in one respect she was also very cute and appropriate for her age.
In a word, she really was too human. No, according to Mashiro, she was half human and half cat.
“I know you would ask, but Satou-san promised me, right?”
“Wait a minute. When did I promise to sleep with you?”
Even if I were to say how sleepy or drunk I was, there was no way I would make such a promise.
Mashiro pouted in dissatisfaction and turned over to face the other side of the bed. I couldn’t see her face now.
“…I thought you were going to stay with me all day.”
Instead, Mashiro murmured in a voice as quiet as the stillness of the night.
Hearing this, I finally understood the promise she was talking about. Indeed, the promise I made to her this morning was to be with her all day today.
Of course, I did not intend to include in those words the nuance of sharing a bet, but I could not argue with what she said.
I saw her lonely face in the morning. Her past and her heart, which I do not know. I couldn’t just ignore her.
“…It’s only special for today.”
If I have to do this every day, I might not be able to be me anymore, but if it was just for today, I’ll do my best for Mashiro.
Fortunately, the bed my parents bought me as a gift for finding a job was quite pricey and large in size.
If we were only talking about the physical aspects, I could sleep well enough even if she was beside me.
From there, time passed slowly without any words being exchanged.
I looked at Mashiro from the side and noticed that her face, which had been looking away, was staring at the ceiling just like mine.
I felt as if I was looking at the same point as her, even though I was just staring at a blank, uninteresting ceiling.
Perhaps, unless there was some big change in the environment or in Mashiro’s feelings, her current life would never change.
They should continue to live in the same place as her, seeing the same things as she does. That was what we both want most.
It was quite natural to want to know more about her as we lived together.
Of course, after living together for such a long time, I know most things about her. We probably know each other’s likes, strengths, and everything about each other.
But the reason I felt the need to know more was because there were things that cannot be known only in everyday life. It was something that makes up the foundation of the person…
After some hesitation, I opened my mouth, still staring at the ceiling.
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“Yes, what is it?”
I called out to her and she immediately responded.
The tone of her voice was the same as it always was. I’ve been thinking about the scene of this morning once more after hearing her voice.
She asked me with a frightened expression on her face, and I felt as if she was about to be crushed by the anxiety of loneliness and sadness that she had never felt before.
And I don’t know what that anxiety was.
Ever since I first met her, I had been thinking about it in my mind, even if I did not put it into words.
How had Mashiro lived her life until she met me? And what she had felt.
Why was she there on that snowy day? What were the reasons that led up to it?
Without knowing these things, I couldn’t say that I really know her.
“Can you tell me about…your life before you met me?”
The moment I said those words, it was as if all previous sounds had disappeared.
We could no longer hear each other’s breathing, the sound of the bedclothes rubbing against each other, or even the ticking of the clock.
The tense air seemed to convey how she had received my words.
“Of course, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.”
In the futon, I gently touched her hand. I squeezed her hand to let her know that I was ready.
“I want to know about Mashiro. If there is something in Mashiro’s heart that I don’t know about, I want to carry it with me.”
My feelings were not a lie. I wasn’t looking away, but I didn’t know what was best for her and couldn’t muster the courage to do it.
But she always affirmed whatever I want. Just as I would do anything for her, she was thinking about me.
So there was no more hesitation in this feeling of mine.
“…Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m ready to accept anything.”
“…Do you think your feelings will change when you get to know me in the past, Satou-san?”
“If you are referring to my feelings of trust in your, they will never change. Don’t think you can change these feelings so easily.”
The words were conveyed in a joking manner, but there was no lie in them.
Now all I have to do was hold Mashiro’s outstretched hand and never let go of it.
I gripped Mashiro’s hand, and she gripped mine back.
It was like she was accepting my resolve and giving me an answer back.
Then she took her time before opening her mouth.
“…Then. This may take a little longer, but let me tell you an old story.”