Part 12: House of Sweets ~un petit nid~ (12)
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
“Hiroaki, he’s doing something!”
Kase was in the kitchen cooking dinner after getting back from work when he heard a voice at its wit’s end from the living room. He shut off the stove and went to take a look, and a large stain was spreading on the forest green carpet.
“…Did he have an accident?”
Kase glanced at the furry black cat hiding under the coffee table.
“Don’t stand there calmly assessing the situation. What are we going to do about this?”
“We can only clean it up. Do you have any towels you don’t want to keep? If not, you can use tissues or something. After you pat it dry, you can put some deodorizer—”
“No way. I can’t deal with piss and shit. There’s just no way.” Agi crossed his arms in front of his chest in an X-shape in revulsion.
He had no other choice. Kase brought out an old towel from the bathroom and cleaned the carpet himself. Behind him, Agi was lecturing the cat.
“Hey, you, give me a break here. The next time you do this again, I’ll shove you off the balcony.”
The cat didn’t understand his words. That was what Kase thought, but he didn’t say anything.
The cat had been taken to the veterinarian after the incident. He had the burn on his ear and a hind leg was limp from being kicked, but there was no threat to his life. Rio had wanted to take care of the cat at his house, but they couldn’t keep animals there with an eatery as part of their building, so it was decided that they would keep the cat at Agi’s apartment until his leg recovered.
“So I hear that you got bread from Rio and from Hiroaki. Your face looks like a true-born stray, but you sure know how to get on in the world. Well, I’m not so easily fooled, okay?”
Kase sat cross-legged on the floor, patiently patting the carpet with the towel while he listened to Agi’s lecturing behind him. Agi would be unhappy if he didn’t pat it completely dry first.
“Oi, I’m not done talking to you.”
The cat came over to Kase, dragging his hind leg slightly, and fit himself snuggly into Kase’s lap. From Kase’s perspective, he was looking down at black fluffy round object.
“Heh, he just pissed the carpet, and now he’s looking to be spoiled. Hey, I’m starving here. Hurry up and make dinner.”
“Hiroaki, are you listening? D-i-n-n-e-r.”
“I can’t move.”
Kase looked down at the round black body. The cat was completely snuggled into his lap. This was the first time a fluffy creature had been attached to him, and Kase didn’t know what to do. Agi came over and squatted down with his arms on his knees and looked at Kase with a huge smirk on his face.
“What? Do you love animals or something?”
Kase’s cheeks burned red. He was feeling indignant, but then the cat raised his head and growled at Agi.
“What?” Agi scowled, making himself look menacing. He lightly tugged on a whisker.
The cat batted at Agi with his claws out, and Agi got up as he rubbed the back of his scratched-up hand.
“Hiroaki, I’ll take over cooking duty for you tonight.”
“Huh? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, we’re having cat stew tonight.”
The cat also raised his ears sharply.
Agi started cackling with an evil smile. “Oi, you black fuzzball, the next time you give me attitude again, I’ll really chop you up and turn you into stew.”
Then he pulled out his cell phone from his pocket and called the sushi place.
Forty minutes later, the cat was curled up sleeping next to Kase and Agi as they ate a late dinner in the living room. Kase stared at the delivery sushi box with fatty tuna and sea urchin.
“You said you would take over, but you ordered delivery.”
“Don’t eat if you’re going to complain. I’m exhausted here.”
True, by some strange twist of fate, the dining area had been slammed with housewives who all had their eyes on Agi. Kase was still terrible at dealing with customers, and he said nothing more about it and reached for the TV remote instead.
“Can I watch a TV drama?”
When Kase gave the title, Agi made an indescribable expression on his face.
“You sure are full of surprises. You’re gloomy and warped and completely unfriendly, but you secretly feed a stray cat and watch these emotional human dramas. It’s like I can read you, but I totally fail.”
“I’m not watching it because I like it.”
“Then why are you watching it?”
“…I thought that I could learn some tips about personal relationships.”
Agi burst into laughter at Kase’s honest answer.
“You’re seriously full of surprises. No one normally thinks to watch a TV drama to learn about personal relationships. It’s a completely unexpected direction you’re taking. Wait, but I do appreciate your efforts here. You’re doing your best in your own way.”
Kase was offended at the way that Agi put his words, but Agi watched the show with him even despite the teasing. It was nearing the final episode, and the main character had grown with her work as a caseworker, and now the love affairs surrounding the characters were getting to the good part. It was a standard love triangle with a strict but gentle senior colleague in the middle.
“It’s pretty messy, but the guy’s gonna get with the lead actress no matter what, right?”
“That’s boring. I like the slutty rival better. There’s something about a difficult personality like hers that I think is cute. It bothers me that the script seems to say that it’s cheap for a woman to use her body to catch a man. But it’s the simplest way to get one though, you know? Just do it, and the feelings will grow.”
“You seem like you’d be easy to catch.”
“Idiot, I have really high ideals.”
“You just contradicted yourself.”
“Where’s the contradiction? I’m just saying that being slutty isn’t a bad thing for me.”
“Oh, I see.” Kase watched the screen, understanding what Agi meant now. “But the main character is generally more popular with most people though?”
She was cheerful and pure and had a strong sense of justice. That was what the TV magazine had said when Kase browsed through it at the store.
“I don’t know what most people think, but I like the other one better. What about you? Which do you prefer?”
“They’re both women, and I don’t care for either of them.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? So do you lean the other way?”
Kase suddenly came to his senses. He looked next to him in a panic, and Agi met his gaze.
Kase darted his eyes around feeling shaken, unable to promptly deny the suggestion. His uneasiness skyrocketed. If he left it like this, it was like confessing that it was true. Obviously a normal man would feel disgusted to hear that he liked other men. While Kase froze up, Agi laughed with a snort.
“I can go for women too.”
Kase blinked. He couldn’t wrap his head around his words right away.
“I can go for men or women. Both are fine with me.”
Agi dissolved into laughter at Kase who still couldn’t react to the news.
“I’m saying that I could do it with you too~”
Agi suddenly put Kase in a headlock, and Kase finally understood what Agi had meant. Kase struggled with the arm around his neck.
I could do it with you too— It was only a joke but it whirled around in his head.
“D-Don’t touch me. Stop it.”
“What? Don’t be so cold. I see, I see, so you’re the same as me.”
As they clowned around together, Agi suddenly shouted, “Ahhh!” and jumped to the side. When Kase looked over, he saw that the cat had gone over next to Agi. And underneath the cat, a stain was slowly spreading over the forest green carpet.
“…Did you have another accident?” Kase asked.
The cat narrowed his eyes and meowed in response.
“Don’t just sit there and meow!”
Agi got to his feet to escape the puddle that was growing much bigger. The cat showed no concern for what he just did and rubbed his face into Kase’s lap as he purred.
“Did he just come to interrupt us?” Agi gave the cat a suspicious look.
“Because we get along so well, and he’s jealous.”
It was ridiculous. Kase snorted and got to his feet.
“Hey, you just snorted at me. He’s gonna be cat stew, you know!”
As he listened to Agi’s complaints and the cat’s growls, Kase went to get a cloth and a bucket. He opened the door to the bathroom and stopped without thinking when he saw himself in the mirror.
He was smiling. In the mirror, he was making a gentle face that he had never seen on himself before.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.