Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 29 The Cat's Apron
“Welcome home, Satou-san.”
“I’m home, Mashiro.”
I smiled back at Mashiro, who greeted me at the door. I unintentionally tried to pet her head again, but stopped myself just in time.
Stroking the head of your own cat may be normal, but for us, the situation was completely different.
It was true that when Mashiro was in the form of a cat, she refused to let me pet her at first, but gradually she began to allow me to pet her head.
However, what I see in front of me now was a girl who looked like a high school student in terms of human age.
Mashiro told me to treat her the same as before, but I wondered if it would be ethical to carelessly pat a girl of her age on the head.
This morning, I patted her head unintentionally, but I don’t know how she really felt about it. The rest was just me being a complete idiot.
“Thanks for the lunch. It was really good.”
“No. I’m glad to hear that.”
I didn’t forget to tell her how much I appreciate the lunch she made for me today.
I left my bag in the living room and washed my lunch box right next to Mashiro who was standing in the kitchen.
As I washed the dishes, I told her how I felt about each item, and she looked embarrassed as she thanked me.
In fact, I should be the one to thank her, it would certainly make the cook happy.
I’ve never cooked for anyone before, but I guess it was a win-win situation when both the cook and the eater were happy.
“I’m glad you like it. I’ll make it again tomorrow, so please look forward to it.”
“Thank you. But don’t overdo it, okay? You’ve been making me breakfast and dinner.”
“No, I’m fine. I’m more worried about the health of someone who eats lunch at a convenience store every day.”
“I have nothing to refute…”
When a third party said it again, it really sticks in my mind.
The most important factors for good health are sleep and diet, but my diet up until now has not been the healthiest, even by my standards.
“But I feel like I’m going to become more and more of a failure if I don’t…”
“…I don’t think that’s true at all. You’re very serious and kind, Satou-san.”
“N-No, I’m glad you said that, but that’s not what I meant…?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, um…lately I’ve been spoiled by Mashiro, and I feel like I won’t be able to live without you one day…”
This was the first time that I’ve done anything about it.
At first, I thought I was doing my best to make Mashiro as happy as possible, but now I’m relying on her for meals and even other household chores.
Of course, I’m not forcing her to do anything. It was just that Mashiro’s quick thinking and cooked work made her finish the chores before I could do anything. When I got home, the food was cooked, the bath was cleaned and filled with hot water, and even the laundry was folded and put back in the wardrobe.
She fell silent at my comment and paused her hand from cooking.
I was worried that I had said something that would upset her, but after a while she turned around and looked me in the eye.
“The day I took this form, you said I could stay in this house.”
Yes. If that’s what Mashiro wants, I’m happy…and I told you so.
“Yes. If that’s the case, please don’t worry.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be gone.”
She gave me a devilish, mischievous smile, instead of her usual smile that slightly relaxed her mouth.
The meaning of these words is that she is going to spoil me for a long time to come…That’s practically…
“A-Are you sure? Mashiro is…”
“Well, if there’s something else you want to do, I’ll do what I can to help…”
“I want to cook and do housework. If you can let me do that, I don’t need anything else.”
She stated in a matter-of-fact manner that was too convenient for me to think about.
I didn’t feel that she was trying to return the favor to me anymore, but I felt that she really wanted to.
I was the one who wasn’t prepared, and I wasn’t able to accept Mashiro’s straightforward modesty head-on.
Somewhere I still had reservations about her, and I was trying to make her happy, but in the end I could only think in my own head and my vision had become too narrow.
“I will spoil you to the fullest tomorrow, so please be prepared!”
“P-Please be gentle with me.”
Mashiro, with the most confident face ever, declared war on me with too much extravagance.
After I finished eating dinner with Mashiro, we sat around watching TV together.
There wasn’t anything in particular that we wanted to watch today, but we just tuned in to a variety show and relaxed.
“Do you have any requests for tomorrow’s lunch?”
“Fried chicken, I guess.”
“You really like it…Well, okay.”
I tried to joke about it and answered immediately, and she looked a little taken aback, but quickly agreed.
“It’s a joke. I’ll eat anything Mashiro makes.”
“So tomorrow we’ll have octopus sausage and sweetened meatballs.”
“I’m not a kid…No, but they sound good.”
Indeed, now that I think about it, when I went to buy groceries, I think my shopping notes included something like that.
It seemed that she had been thinking about it from the beginning and had been preparing for it. I wonder where she got this level of housewifery skills…
“By the way, I have a present for Mashiro.”
Using the word “housewife” reminded me to get up from the couch and go get it.
I thought of it yesterday and went to buy it today, but with what happened earlier, today would be the perfect time to give it to her.
I took it out of my bag in the living room and went back to the sofa.
But for some reason, she was already there with a subtle expression on her face.
“Eh. W-What’s wrong?”
“Satou-san, I think you’re giving me too many things too casually.”
“No, I don’t think that’s true…”
“That’s true. I don’t think you know this, Satou-san, but money is finite, right?”
Am I getting angry now? Or am I just being made fun of?
“Anyway, you can’t waste money.”
“How can something you buy for yourself be a waste?”
“That…may be true for you, Satou-san, but…”
“If Mashiro wants to spoil me, I’ll do the same. Here.”
If I don’t, I’ll never get away with it, so I force the gift onto Mashiro.
It would be very annoying if she didn’t like it, but I’d like to believe that she’ll be okay with it, since it’s relatively practical.
“Is this an…apron?”
“Yes. Now that I think about it, I feel like you are always cooking with my clothes on. But now that I’ve bought some clothes for you.”
I had never cooked before, so there was no way I would have an apron for cooking, and I didn’t want her new clothes to get dirty, so I bought one.
The design was cute, with a small embroidered cat on a warm, wood-like color fabric.
Even the slightly cranky Mashiro seemed to like it.
I had wondered if it would be a good idea to give a cat something with cat decorations while I had chosen and bought it myself, but surprisingly Mashiro had the same sensitivity as a normal girl.
“I don’t like the fact that I’m the only one on the receiving side, but thank you. I’ll take good care of it.”
It was not just a normal gift; it was a gift of thanks to Mashiro, who will be cooking meals for us every day.
I thought of the cat girl wearing a cat apron standing in the kitchen every day from now on.
As I chewed on my feelings of happiness and joy, I thought about the scenes of the future.