Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 75 The Careless Cat
“Can you explain it to me again…?”
The four of us (me, Mashiro, Sakakibara, and Ayano-san) had food at a diner, and when everyone had finished eating, I confessed to the two about Mashiro.
I tried to explain it as simply and clearly as I could, but Sakakibara heard it and asked me back, clutching his head.
“First of all, she’s not your girlfriend.”
“We’re not related by blood, and we don’t know each other through some third party.”
“But we’re living together for a reason.”
“Yeah, yeah. Then…?”
Sakakibara listened to my words one by one trying to comprehend them, nodded, and then looked at me as if to say that the problem was beyond that.
“And the reason for this is because she was originally a cat.”
As soon as I concluded, Sakakibara looked up. Then he held his head again and began to ponder.
While Sakakibara fought within himself, Mashiro didn’t add or correct my explanation, but just quietly watched the exchange between me and Sakakibara.
After all, she had already prepared herself accordingly and seemed to be calm the whole time. Sakakibara was the only one who looked remarkably distraught.
What was surprising was that Ayano-san, who I had expected to have the biggest reaction, was as calm as she could be.
“To make sure…This is not a joke or anything like that.”
“No. It’s neither a joke nor a surprise.”
“I see… No, I’m well aware that Sato is not the kind of person who would say something crazy like this…”
Sakakibara understood that my words do not lie. After all, we have known each other for a long time.
He was usually good at his job and understood things quickly, but it seemed that even Sakakibara found it difficult to understand.
No, now I’m in this position, but when Mashiro first revealed her true identity to me, I might have been in a similar situation.
It’s not like I was suddenly told that the pretty girl in front of me was a cat and said, “Oh?”
“And, as you may have noticed, the cat I picked up…as you two have met before, that’s the girl here — Mashiro.
When Sakakibara said the name slowly, Mashiro gave a small smile and replied, “Yes.”
The smile on her face said it all, and Sakakibara, who had been skeptical until then, began to understand a little more.
And Ayano-san, who hadn’t said a word until then, finally spoke up.
“…It was Mashiro-chan after all.”
Mashiro was surprised at Ayano-san’s words. Those words meant that at some point, she had already realized who Mashiro was…
“It’s not that big of a deal,” she said, laughing as the eyes of all three people were focused on her.
“Mashiro-chan. I thought you were a well-prepared person, but you’re careless, aren’t you?”
Ayano-san, who seemed to be trying to hold back her laughter at our funny faces, took out her phone and showed us the screen.
There, on the screen of a chat app that we all know and have been using a lot lately.
The name of the person she was talking to was “Mashiro”.
“Fufu, I thought it was impossible, but she was the same person.”
Ayano-san smiled at Mashiro, and Mashiro shrank back, unable to bear the shame of her unexpected blunder.
By the way, the two of them exchanged contact information on the train on the way here. I hadn’t even noticed, but now that I thought about it, I suppose it was inevitable that they would notice.
“D-Don’t, I didn’t notice it either…”
Mashiro apologized quietly, pinching the sleeve of my clothes in a shrunken posture.
It was not something that she should apologize for, but she looked like she was going to be ashamed if she didn’t, so I answered her in a way that reassured her and held her hand.
“Ahahahaha! It was so hard to hold back my laughter when you two were talking so seriously.”
The reason why she was strangely quiet was not that she was listening to me seriously, but because she was just trying not to laugh the whole time.
Ayano-san was holding her stomach and laughing as if she had been freed from her restraint.
“Sa-kun holding his head in his hands and mumbling, that’s really funny. Ahahahaha!”
“Tell me if you knew already, Ayano…”
Sakakibara, who has been made a laughing stock by his beloved girlfriend, holds his head in his hands even more and shrinks just like Mashiro.
Well, I guess it was certainly an interesting sight from Ayano’s point of view…? I don’t know what it is about girls these days…
“Kufufu…Truth is, I’ve been thinly veiled about it from the start.”
“Yeah. When I went to Satou-kun’s house with Sa-kun…Or more accurately, when I met Satou-kun at the shopping mall.”
Ayano-san stifled a laugh and began to talk about the past. It’s not that long ago, but it was when Mashiro had just taken human form.
“I knew it was something unusual for the serious Satou-kun to go shopping for women’s underwear by himself.”
“S-So you knew…”
When I went to buy women’s underwear to put an end to Mashiro’s shirtless life, I, unfortunately, bumped into Ayano there.
At the time, I thought I had been able to cover it up, but it seemed that she had watched me more closely than I thought.
“Hey, Sakakibara, don’t look at me like that. There was nothing I could do about it.”
“Hey, why is Mashiro looking at me like that too?”
It was because of Mashiro that I ended up getting backstabbed by Ayano-san…I thought, but it’s not all her fault.
She herself had no problem with being shirtless, and it was simply a result of my poor rational mind. No, well, it’s not that I feel uncomfortable about it…
“Anyway, since then I’ve been wondering if there was something wrong with you. So I asked Sa-kun to tell Satou-kun that I wanted to see Mashiro-chan.”
“That’s right…But you were just playing with Mashiro that day, right?
“Fufufu, don’t underestimate a women’s observation skill! I can tell a lot about a woman’s situation by looking at where she lives.”
“I-Is that so…A little scary.”
Ayano-san, confidently beaming with pride, said, “Hey,” and looked at Sakakibara. When he received the cold stare, he straightened his back and smiled bitterly.
If she understood the situation to that extent, I could understand why she was laughing so hard when she saw our attitude today and Mashiro’s chat app backfire.
“Well, it’s just like that, so you don’t have to worry about it. Hey, Mashiro-chan?”
“T-Thank you very much…”
I was surprised at how easily Ayano-san saw through me, because I honestly thought I could hide it.
However, that’s probably why she was taking care of Mashiro in so many ways. I felt a little relieved as I saw Ayano-san talking gently to Mashiro.
I was also surprised by Mashiro’s true identity at first, but I was able to accept it surprisingly quickly. However, that would not be the case for everyone.
Some people have no small amount of distrust or dislike for the unknown or anything different.
However, Sakakibara, who had been holding his heads in his hands until just now, were convinced when they heard Ayano-san’s story.
This was why I confided in them because I thought they would be fine after hearing the truth, but seeing their reaction relieved that last bit of unease in me.
“Well, if I may say so, in return, I would like to hear the story of…How you and Satou-kun got together.”
“I-I don’t think it’s a particularly interesting story…”
As I watched Mashiro begin to talk about her memories of me with a troubled smile on her face, I let out a sigh of relief in my heart.