Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 89 The Cat And Kindness
When I woke up in the morning, a beautiful girl was sleeping next to me. That was the day I had such an unrealistic morning.
As soon as she, the beautiful girl, saw me off, I left home and arrived at the office, Sakakibara spoke to me.
“Good morning, Sato. Once again, thank you for the day before yesterday.”
After greeting me, Sakakibara immediately bowed his head and thanked me.
Of course, this was in regards to the double date that Mashiro and I had together.
Although it was an invitation from him, it was also in the name of revealing Mashiro’s true identity to them.
He listened and accepted my request with sincerity. He also became one of the few people who understood Mashiro’s circumstances. I was the one who should be thanking him.
“No. Thank you for believing in me.”
“Haha, I still don’t think it’s realistic. I didn’t think Ayano had that much insight.”
Mashiro, whom they met as a cat, could appear in the form of a human girl was not something that was so easy to believe.
However, Ayano-san had already guessed it by looking at my behavior and my room from before.
It was more than surprising that Ayano-san, who was always so carefree, was less surprised by Mashiro’s true identity than anyone else.
“Is everything the same with Mashiro-chan?”
“Ah…Nothing. It’s fine so far.”
“I think that’s already a way of saying something’s wrong.”
It would be a lie, of course, if I said there was no change. The day after we went out with Sakakibara and Ayano-san, Mashiro’s behavior was different from usual.
I spent the day with Mashiro yesterday to comfort her from that bad dream that made her anxious.
Then, before going to sleep, she told me about her past, and then we decided to meet again the two people she had lived with in the past.
It was a day with so much going on, not just nothing.
“I’d like to apologize if something went wrong…”
“It’s not your fault. It’s just something else.”
“If there’s anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to ask, okay?”
“Yes, I will. I’ll count on you then.”
As for meeting the two people of Mashiro’s memories, that was between her and me, the one pushed her.
I couldn’t bother Sakakibara and Ayano-san…But it was very reassuring just to have their support.
Sakakibara was one of my few friends. I was grateful to be able to talk about Mashiro with the person I feel most comfortable talking to.
Ayano-san was going to be a great friend for Mashiro.
No matter how much Mashiro trusted me, there were always one or two things that were difficult to discuss with someone of the opposite sex.
“I’ve been thinking about it with Ayano. You know, that thing.”
“That’s right. Like the one on how to express gratitude to Mashiro-chan…”
“Ah. I remember something like that.”
“Seriously? We’ve been thinking seriously about it.”
I dug back into my memory, replying to Sakakibara’s reproachful voice, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
It was not that long ago, but it was something I had discussed with Sakakibara on our double date.
After all, Mashiro was too humble. She has given me so much happiness, but when I try to return the favor, she doesn’t seem to accept it.
I don’t think it was right to force my gratitude on her as long as she doesn’t want it. However, I have a lot of gratitude that I want to express as my feelings.
I had asked him if he could do something about this mopey feeling, and he said that he and Ayano-san have been thinking about it.
Of course, I was grateful, but I have more important things to do right now.
“Thank you, but right now I have more important things to do. But can we wait a little longer?”
“What you were talking about earlier?”
“Well, something like that.”
Meeting those two people who knew Mashiro before she met me was the most important thing for us now.
It was not too late to get that firmly settled first.
“When we’re done here, let me know.”
“Yeah, I’ll take care of it. Ayano’s been working hard.”
“Haha, that’s reassuring.”
After laughing with Sakakibara, I immediately started working.
Even if I were to fulfill my promise to Mashiro, I would only be able to act on weekends in any case due to my work schedule.
First of all, I have to finish the work in front of me so that when the weekend comes, I could concentrate on the appointment…
Although I worked hard at my job, I never worked overtime and left the office immediately after regular hours, giving priority to spending time with Mashiro.
When I return home, she greeted me as usual. From the back of the room, I could smell a delicious aroma that stimulated my hunger.
“Today, it’s stewed pork cubes. I think it came out well.”
“First, you should wash your hands.”
I reflexively put my hands together, and Mashiro grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me toward the washroom.
“The pork won’t run away. And please finish changing your clothes.”
She was like an experienced mother who was always ready to help her hungry child.
I had been living on my own for some time and had often felt that I lacked the ability to make a living, but Mashiro’s presence was revolutionary.
Her voice woke me up in the morning, she cooked all three meals for me, and she did all the housework for me.
My standard of living was raised and I was able to put more effort into my work.
…Well, I felt that as my quality of life improved, my own ability to live was decreasing even more than before.
Mashiro took care of everything for me and pointed out the things that were wrong every time.
That was exactly how I felt when I live at home because she was in the mother’s position.
“Hey, Mashiro. What do you think of me?”
Just before entering the bathroom, I asked her this question.
She turned to me with a look of surprise.
“No, nothing, I was just wondering what you thought of me.”
“T-That, of course…I care about you more than anyone else…?”
Unusual for Mashiro, she expressed her thoughts with a little shyness.
In addition to that, when she looked up at me with such fragile eyes, my chest tightened as if something was penetrating me, and my heart beated faster than I want it to.
“T-Thank you…But I’m sorry, that’s not what I wanted to ask you…”
“I’m kind of spoiled by Mashiro…and I wanted to ask you what you think about that…well, I’m sorry.”
I looked away and offered my apologies.
Mashiro, on the other hand, did not move even a single step, her body trembling slightly.
I could tell how she was feeling by the way she was trembling.
“N-No, that’s it. You see, I care about Mashiro more than anyone else, right?”
“I’m not lying. There is nothing more important to me than Mashiro.”
Of course, there was nothing exaggerated in what I just said. Mashiro was that important to me.
I thought I shared this feeling with her on a regular basis, but she still had a tint on her cheeks and seemed restless.
I was not in a position to say anything, so I watched her for a while, and she gradually regained her breath and her composure.
After a while, she slowly opened her mouth.
“…I think of Satou-san as a kind person.”
“…Is that really all you have to say?”
“I’m a little worried that if left unchecked, he’ll become more and more unhealthy.”
“Sadly, I have nothing to say in return.”
I mean, I knew she was looking at me from her mother’s point of view.
“But you are a kind person after all. That’s all I can say.”
“I see, a kind person. …I still don’t think so.”
“Well, I think kindness is something you don’t think about.”
“I don’t know if it is like that. I don’t really feel it.”
I do not live my life with noble aspirations to be a kind person on a daily basis.
But maybe she was right, and human character was not so easy to be pinpointed just by thoughts.
“Satou-san is kind. …Though you can be mean sometimes.”
“…As for that one, I think I might have a real sense of guilt.
“Have you reflected upon it?”
Mashiro puffed up her cheeks and glared at me when I made that light remark.
Seeing her in that state, I escaped into the bathroom with a smile on my face.