Chapter 3:

She Who Loves Black Cats

Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~

I also thought about it when I was a child.Bookmark here

“Why do black cats have black fur?”Bookmark here

One day, I asked Mom about that. Bookmark here

Black cats are depicted in different ways, depending on location, culture and context. Black cats may bring luck, black cats may bring misfortune, black cats may protect people, black cats may bring them to despair.Bookmark here

The truth remains a mystery.Bookmark here

However, there are more people in the world that doesn’t like black cats. For me, cat is a cat! Why bother about their fur color?Bookmark here

“Mom, are black cats hated?” Bookmark here

“Oh my, where have you heard that?” Mom worriedly said to me as she took out a stray cat that she definitely picked up outside. Looks like we would have another cat in the house.Bookmark here

She smiled widely as she carried the black cat and shoved it in front of my face. Bookmark here

The black cat stared at me and put its small paw on my forehead. The paws are so soft!Bookmark here

“Uwaah! So cute!” I took the cat from Mom and held it instead. Fufu, so warm! Bookmark here

“Well, it’s true that outside Japan, there are more people who doesn’t like black cats just because their fur is dark color.”Bookmark here

“That’s horrible! Cat is still a cat!” I reasoned out.Bookmark here

“Hikari, black cats are the most selfless cat out there,” Mom said in a matter-of-fact tone.Bookmark here

“Hmm? Why so?”Bookmark here

“Did you know why their fur was black?”Bookmark here

“No, I don’t. Why is it black?”Bookmark here

The story goes like this.Bookmark here

Once upon a time, the black cats also have untainted white fur that signifies cleanliness and purity. However, there was a time that the world is filled with all sorts of negativities, hatred, envy, sins… all sorts of cruel things.Bookmark here

Because of this, some cats left the impure humans, and yet, there are still some that remained to stick with them. There are cats that still believed in humanity. The longer that the cats stayed with those humans, their fur started turning dark as they slowly took the negativities upon themselves selflessly. Bookmark here

Up until today, they are still protecting humans in more ways than one. However, because only few people know that, black cats are not well-received for everyone. Some even discriminated them, abused them, and abandoned them, all over the world.Bookmark here

“That makes them the most selfless cats among others. With that said, we’ll take care of this little one here—oh my, why are you crying?”Bookmark here

The first time that I heard that story, I cried so much and hugged the black cat that Mom picked up. They suffered because they just want to protect humans but they are hated instead? How unfair could that be?Bookmark here

“I swear! I’ll like them! I’ll take care of them! I won’t hate them!”Bookmark here

“Well, that was good but what should I do if our little Hikari-chan got taken by some guy?” Mom said to herself with a bothered expression.Bookmark here

“Why? I’m not going to follow someone I don’t know.”Bookmark here

“It’s not that, Hikari-chan. You see, in Japan, black cats are considered to bring good luck… especially with potential ‘suitors’.”Bookmark here

I tilted my head in confusion. Bookmark here

“What is ‘suitors’?”Bookmark here

It was… a story that I already forgot as a child…Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

The gloomy aura continued polluting the room, the black cat is depressed, and my life is currently being threatened by the white cat.Bookmark here

I slowly took a step forward in hopes of checking up on him. It looks like he is really depressed. My words are not that harsh in the first place, why would he be dejected with this?Bookmark here

“Terushima-san doesn’t need to apologize… it was the truth after all. I really am a useless president.” Bookmark here

He keeps looking down on himself! How could I reach him if he was acting this way?!Bookmark here

“No one actually wants to work with me. Even the other officers might see me as nuisance. Uuu… it could be better if the student council dissolves…”Bookmark here

Wow. I’m kind of amazed to how much he can interpret my words in a degrading way. It was out of this world, seriously.Bookmark here

“What are you saying, President?! The student council has an important role in school! We can’t just dissolve it!” Mashiro-senpai rebutted and sent a glare to my direction. Bookmark here

He really won’t let me go with this, huh.Bookmark here

Sigh. I really want to pet a cat right now because I’m also starting to get depressed over my own circumstances! The only cat I see in this room are the five officers with cat ears, as if I can just casually touch them! Not happening!Bookmark here

“You better take responsibility for this.” Mashiro-senpai said to me. Of course it was a threat.Bookmark here

“Why me?! He’s the one twisting my words in his own interpretation. I never mentioned that he was a useless person!” I reasoned out.Bookmark here

“This is why I’m against with recruiting a secretary.” Calico clicked his tongue in irritation.Bookmark here

“I never said that I want to be a secretary!”Bookmark here

“Well, if we can’t convince her… we don't have a choice.” The orange cat was about to say something when he was cut off by the gray one.Bookmark here

“That was too much! We should at least give her a chance, right?” Bookmark here

What are they talking about? Am I being left behind, again? Bookmark here

Ugh! Whatever! I just want to go home already.Bookmark here

“Hold up, Terushima-san,” Irosaki-sensei called out to me. “This will definitely take a whole day so let’s introduce everyone first.”Bookmark here

You better start with that earlier! Bookmark here

“My, my, sorry about that. I’m a little careless.” She lets out a soft chuckle.Bookmark here

That apology doesn’t make me feel better even for a bit.Bookmark here

“Alright! First up is this gray boy you are calling.”Bookmark here

“W-what the--?! How did you know that?!” Bookmark here

Instead of answering, she gave me a playful wink and mouthed, “Take a guess.”Bookmark here

I squinted my eyes at her. There’s only one reason I can think of right at this moment. And even if it was painful to admit, it was really an absurd idea.Bookmark here

“Sensei, can you read my mind?”Bookmark here

“Correct! You’re quite sharp, Terushima-san!” she exclaimed in delight for getting the right answer.Bookmark here

“How—Ah! Whatever!”Bookmark here

Aaah! This is horrible! I’ve been calling everyone with nicknames that I made up in my mind and Sensei can actually read my thoughts! How embarrassing!Bookmark here

I suddenly feel like there is an endless pit in my stomach. Uhh, this is the worst. Bookmark here

“No need to be awkward. I’m not going to tell your thoughts unless it was necessary.”Bookmark here

She’s really enjoying this. That’s for sure.Bookmark here

“Okay! This guy here is the first year representative, Aoi Haibara,” she introduced the gray haired boy.Bookmark here

“I’m a little disappointed in you, senpai, but I still think you deserve a chance,” he kindly said to me despite a hint of irritation in his voice.Bookmark here

Who needs second chance? I’m not going to do it!Bookmark here

“Maa, maa, think about it a little longer Terushima-san.”Bookmark here

Crap! I forgot that sensei can read my mind!Bookmark here

“This orange cat is Asahi Toujo. He is a first year and at the same time, student council treasurer.”Bookmark here

“I would have gladly accepted senpai-chan because she’s cute but you went overboard, senpai.” Toujo-kun sighed in disappointment.Bookmark here

Since when did it became my fault?! I’m also clueless here!Bookmark here

“Hah? What are you talking about? Cute? Where? I see nothing but an insensitive human here.” Calico scanned me from head to toe as if he was judging my whole being.Bookmark here

This rude guy! I’m not insensitive! Your president is just too sensitive! Bookmark here

I would die to land a fist in his face if I could. But for the sake of cat ears, I dropped the thought. Bookmark here

“This calico is the second year representative, Tsukasa Mikejima. I think you two are on the same class.”Bookmark here

Same class?! Why do I have to be on the same class with this rude guy?!Bookmark here

But… I didn’t see him in class earlier. Wait… don’t tell me…!Bookmark here

“Who are you calling a Calico?” He towered over me and give me an intimidating glare. He’s so tall!Bookmark here

“N-nothing.” I swiftly looked away from him. Bookmark here

Sensei, you’re a liar! Why do you have to mention that?Bookmark here

I scowled at sensei’s direction. She faced me and give me playful wink as if doing it on purpose. I can even imagine her saying something like, “Teehee, my bad.”Bookmark here

“Just to clear your thoughts, I won’t say something like that,” she reacted. Bookmark here

That’s what you’re worried about?!Bookmark here

“All right! You already know the vice president, Tsuki Mashiro. He’s a little bad with words so you might have one or two misunderstandings with him.” Bookmark here

That’s not impressive at all. Bookmark here

“And lastly, the guy sulking in the corner over there is the student council president, Yuuto Kurokawa. As you thought, he was a little sensitive so you should approach him in a more gentle way.”Bookmark here

What do you mean a ‘little’ sensitive? This guy is a personified depression!Bookmark here

In the first place, why is the president so weak-willed?! He should be more confident and competitive! How in the world did this vulnerable person ended up being the center figure in a school organization that is supposed to be second in command right after the school heads? Bookmark here

“Terushima-san, I suggest you not to underestimate Kurokawa-kun,” Irosaki-sensei said to me in a serious voice.Bookmark here

“Hmm?”Bookmark here

“Among the five of them, Kurokawa-kun is the most capable and he has a vital role in retaining the order in this school. As the school principal, the position of student council president is something that only Kurokawa-kun can do, that’s what I think,” she proudly said to me. She may be doing this to boost Kurokawa-senpai’s confidence.Bookmark here

I glanced to Kurokawa-senpai’s direction. Honestly, I can’t see what Irosaki-sensei means after seeing such a downhearted person sulking in the corner. However, the moment that our eyes met earlier, I saw dark circles under his eyes. He may have gotten them from sleepless nights of working for the student council.Bookmark here

“S-sensei… is that true…?” Kurokawa-senpai turned around to ask Irosaki-sensei. His eyes have such light of hope in them.Bookmark here

“Un. It’s true. Kurokawa-kun can do anything after all. But he’s still a clumsy and weak person so it might not be noticed by others.”Bookmark here

“Sensei! That’s harsher!” Haibara-kun rallied.Bookmark here

Ah, that was harsher than what I said. I don’t know if sensei did it on purpose but it surely made Kurokawa-senpai made a more depressed expression. Bookmark here

Kurokawa-senpai fell in dejection again. He bit his lips in hopes of stopping his tears but they keep on coming out. He keeps sniffing and trying not to let out a sob. His cat ears are also drooping down in despair.Bookmark here

I’m also starting to feel bad for him. I’m not really easily moved even if some random brat started crying in front of me but a part of me is starting to contemplate after seeing the cat ears. Bookmark here

Kurokawa-senpai looks like an abandoned cat left behind by irresponsible owners in the middle of heavy rain. A poor cat! Ah! I can’t take it!Bookmark here

“Mouu! Fine, I’ll do it! As an apology to Kurokawa-senpai, I’ll be his secretary!” I declared with a loud voice.Bookmark here

“T-there’s no need for Terushima-san to go to such lengths…” Kurokawa-senpai tried to raise an objection but I’m also fed up with this farce!Bookmark here

“Aaah! Knock it off! Just accept it already!”Bookmark here

“I-if you’re just being forced even if you don’t like it you shouldn’t do it in the first place.”Bookmark here

“Enough! You said it earlier, right? That no one wants to work with you. If that’s what you think then I’ll prove you wrong. I’ll work with you, end of discussion.” Bookmark here

He wiped his tears with his hands quickly and stared at me. Bookmark here

Geez! Why is he like this?! He’s really stubborn!Bookmark here

“Oho? What’s with the change of heart, Terushima-san?” Irosaki-sensei butted in.Bookmark here

I feel blood rushing on my head out of embarrassment when everything sunk in my mind. I really said it! So embarrassing! Bookmark here

However, I also have the same question… why did I change my mind? It couldn’t be just because of I was easily swayed by emotion, right? Bookmark here

In any case, I still need to give an answer.Bookmark here

I swallowed a lump in my throat and gathered all of my thoughts to put them into words.Bookmark here

“I… I don’t hate black cats. In fact, I think they are cute! I like them!” I admitted shyly.Bookmark here

Everyone fell silent to what I just said. I also got anxious because no one is saying anything. Someone please have some reaction!Bookmark here

I fiddle my fingers while looking away to hide my flustered expression.Bookmark here

“Nyaa~” Bookmark here

Yami showed up and rubs himself in my legs. Thank god you showed up! I’m also in the verge of depression right now! I need to cuddle with a cat!Bookmark here

“Y-Yami…” Kurokawa-senpai stared at the black cat rubbing himself to me. Bookmark here

“How rare, it seems like Yami likes her.” The others started whispering about Yami’s affection to me. Bookmark here

Is it that unexpected? Whatever, I’m just happy that Yami showed up right at this moment.Bookmark here

“Nyaan!” Yami let out a purr towards Kurokawa-senpai’s direction.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Kurokawa-senpai is nodding while intently looking at Yami. It was as if they are communicating.Bookmark here

“U-understood… A-ano, Terushima-san… can you please carry Yami?” Kurokawa-senpai requested from me with his quiet voice.Bookmark here

“Sure. I actually want to do that whenever I see him but I don’t want to force it. That was bad move after all,” I admitted as I slowly lifted Yami.Bookmark here

As soon as I carried him, Yami licked my face. He was obviously showing his affection for me. How cute! I can already die happy with this!Bookmark here

“Y-Yami, don’t bother her too much…” Kurokawa-senpai frantically said to the cat. Bookmark here

Yami also stared at him as if the cat could understand human language. Wait, what if they could really understand each other?Bookmark here

“Ne, senpai, can you understand what Yami wants to say?” I asked him persistently.Bookmark here

He took a step backwards and looks away from me. He started fiddling before he responded in a quiet voice.Bookmark here

“Y-yes…”Bookmark here

For real? How envious! I want to understand Yami too! But that might be impossible for me since I don’t have cat ears like them. For now, I’m contented playing with Yami.Bookmark here

“Terushima-san, I’m amazed that you are still sane after seeing this. Are you really sure you want to become the secretary?” Irosaki-sensei asked for one last time, trying to get another confirmation from me.Bookmark here

“You already said that I don’t have a choice, right? It also seems like I will face some kind of punishment if I will decline. Might as well do it as long as I can stay to play with Yami longer.” I said without batting an eye to them because I was still busy playing with Yami.Bookmark here

“You’re really not beating around the bush, huh. Just like a certain someone. Well, that settles it then. We’ll have your orientation tomorrow. Anyone wants to give Terushima-san a tour around the school?”Bookmark here

I paid attention this time. Looks like I have to take an orientation. I’m not expecting them to give me a tour around the school after I seem like a villain to them and definitely being hated by everyone.Bookmark here

“I’m out. I have training.” Mkejima-kun quickly declined without even a hint of consideration.Bookmark here

See? I am already hated.Bookmark here

“Sorry, I’m quite busy too.” Toujo-kun declined as well.Bookmark here

As expected.Bookmark here

“Are you seriously considering that I’ll do it? I have to decline.” Mashiro-senpai coldly turned it down.Bookmark here

As if I want to tour the school with a walking refrigerator?! I might die of hypothermia if I get close to him for a long period of time!Bookmark here

“I could do it but I have practice as well. Sorry.” Haibara-kun politely declined.Bookmark here

No matter how much he filtered it, just the fact that he turned it down already means that they really hate me. Haah. Whatever happened, I’ll just bear with it.Bookmark here

“T-then… I’ll do it…” Kurokawa-senpai slowy raised his hand to volunteer.Bookmark here

Eh?Bookmark here

“Kaichou?!” Everyone reacted to what he said.Bookmark here

“No, I’ll do it instead!” Mikejima-kun blurted out.Bookmark here

“I can do it, Kaichou!” Toujo-kun followed.Bookmark here

“Let me do it! You don’t need to do it, Kaichou!” Mashiro-senpai was fired up. Bookmark here

Look at the difference in treatment. It felt insulting.Bookmark here

“I really want to do it, but I also have an important thing to do. I’m sorry, Kaichou!” Haibara-kun apologized. Oh, looks like he really has something important to do tomorrow.Bookmark here

“E-everyone have some plans tomorrow, right…? We’ll be fine! I’ll give proper explanations to Terushima-san!” Kurokawa-senpai tried to reassured them. Bookmark here

They are also planning to reason out but he already declined their appeals.Bookmark here

In the end, Mashiro-senpai and Mikejima-kun gave me a glare as if warning me that if something happens to Kurokawa-senpai, I won’t be able to leave the school alive anymore. Bookmark here

I gulped out of fear and held into Yami tightly to settle my pent-up anxiety. What’s with that President Complex?! That seems creepy!Bookmark here

Will I be fine?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.