Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 14 Cat Closing The Distance
One weekday, it was lunch break at work.
As usual, Sakakibara was sitting at the same table as me, eating a lunch box made by his girlfriend Ayano, with a big smile on his face.
“I’m not going to give you any even if you give me that look, okay?”
“I don’t want it.”
Sakakibara smiled happily as I coldly brushed off the insinuation that I had been told before.
Even if I had some admiration for him, I didn’t envy him.
The problem was that at my age, I’ve become quite indifferent to romance, but I guess it was not something I could force myself into.
“Satou, don’t you ever long for a cute girlfriend to make you a home-cooked meal?”
“Is this one of your favorite love stories?”
“No, it’s not like that. I’m just curious…”
“It’s not that I don’t long for one, but it’s just not realistic in my current state.”
If I had been more or less interested in love as a student, I might have had such ideals.
But taking into account my current environment and my state of mind, such a thought never occurred to me.
“Well, if that’s what you want, I won’t say anything…”
“I’d appreciate it if you did.”
The good thing about Sakakibara was that he doesn’t poke fun at people’s values.
He was also an advisor and gave me some advice, but he doesn’t delve into it in a way that ignores my will.
Sakakibara’s way of grasping the distance between us was very comfortable, which was probably why I’ve been friends with him ever since I joined the company.
“You’ve been spending a lot of time with Mashiro-chan lately, haven’t you?”
“I can’t say anything about that.”
“In a way, maybe Mashiro-chan is Satou’s current girlfriend.”
“That sounds about accurate honestly.””
Sakakibara said with a joking laugh, but I can’t deny it at all.
We eat dinner together, watch TV together, and sleep under the same roof. I think we are more than lovers. We are like husband and wife.
“If you get a chance, please let us meet Mashiro-chan. Ayano wanted to meet her when I showed her the picture.”
“Ahh, of course.”
In the early days after I picked her up, she was still a little wary of me, so I avoided inviting people to my house.
In the first place, I don’t often invite people to my house, but Sakakibara and Ayano have come to visit me a few times in the past.
Mashiro should have gotten used to living in my house. It was about time that I invited them over as long as they are trusted friends.
I made such a promise to Sakakibara and stretched my chopsticks for the rest of the fried lunch.
It was a few days later. The sun shined warmly, and it felt a little like spring.
There was nothing unusual in my daily life with Mashiro that day, and I was enjoying my day off in a relaxed manner.
Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to the distance between me and Mashiro than ever before.
The reason for this was to determine whether Sakakibara and Ayano could come see her.
Mashiro was not particularly friendly, but she was never intimidating, even to me when we first met.
So I don’t think it will be a big problem if the two of them come, but I’m going to observe Mashiro again and see how comfortable she was first.
In spite of the cloudless weather and the bustling atmosphere, I was frozen on the sofa, unable to move.
I wasn’t in bad shape, and I wasn’t injured in any way.
But the reason why I couldn’t move at all was because of the white fluffy thing on my lap.
I was watching TV with Mashiro, as usual, when it suddenly happened.
Without warning, Mashiro climbed up on my lap.
I was not sitting in the middle of the sofa where I would have moved, but I was on the edge.
In the past, I’ve held Mashiro in my arms and put her on my lap, but she has never come to me.
I knew it was just her whim, but it was too sudden for my mind to catch up.
Not knowing what to do, I called Mashiro’s name.
Mashiro looked at me once, checked the comfort of my leg, and then curled up completely in my lap.
Along with happiness, the feeling of not knowing what to do caused a traffic jam in my head and my thoughts mixed.
It wasn’t that I had a snack on me, or that there were some nature images on the TV. I don’t remember doing anything that would make Mashiro happy right now.
Even if it was just a whim, the old Mashiro would never have acted on it.
Mixed feelings swirled in my mind, but the only thing I could say for sure was that at this moment, she filled my heart with happiness more than anything else.
I presume that my love had reached Mashiro in some small way.
I gently stroked Mashiro’s round, fluffy back.
Since I had washed her body in the bath just yesterday, Mashiro’s fur had become much more comfortable to touch.
When I gently touched her back and stroked it, I couldn’t let go of the fluff that seemed to envelop my hand.
Mashiro doesn’t seem to mind, and she stayed curled up, letting me do whatever I want.
When I stroked her head and throat, she would gurgle and make sweet noises. What is it with this cute creature?
“Did something happen to make you happy?”
I knew something had happened. However, since I hadn’t left the house, I was sure that my actions were the reason, but I couldn’t figure it out.
Did she like the snack I gave her as an apology after her bath the other day…?
I thought she wasn’t the type of cat who cared about food like that, but I wonder if that’s not true.
I wondered why, but in the presence of this happiness, the reason became unimportant, so I just continued to pet Mashiro.
…However, the change in my distance from Mashiro did not stop there, but grew closer and closer as the days went by.