Chapter 6:

Territorial

"Nekofurenzu" (Feline Friends)


“Why do you have to go into town to work?!”
Mewsy wasn’t happy that I had to leave for the next eight hours.
“Because,” I said, turning from the door that I was trying to exit, “my boss wants us to answer calls in the office. I’ll be back at 3:30.”
“But I’ll MISS you!!” Mewsy said, grabbing my arm for the second time and holding it close.
“It’s ok!” I said with an assuring grin as I patted her head, “I’ll be back. Hey, Natalie has a cat girl of her own if you want someone to play with while I’m gone.”
Mewsy wasn’t a cat by any stretch; her transformation made her entirely human. But I could have sworn something like ears perked up after hearing me mention Natalie’s cat.
“Really?” She asked, her attention entirely refocused.
I nodded. “Mmhmm. Just, be nice to Natalie’s room. Don’t scratch anything.” I got a punch in the arm as I laughed, walking out the door and onto work.Bookmark here

Mewsy busied herself around my apartment afterwards, really looking for something to entertain her. I’d shut my home computer off, so she wouldn’t have been able to mess with that, which left her limited play options. After a little aimless meandering, she finally decided to go visit Natalie and her cat across the hall.
Standing in front of the apartment door, Mewsy reached up and knocked, her head only being about as high as the door knob. Then she noticed the bag of cookies I’d left on the doorstep, and bent over to pick them up. Just then the door opened and Natalie stood there, dressed in sweat pants and a white T-shirt.
“Can I help you?” Natalie asked, not immediately getting why a tiny girl was standing before her at seven o’clock in the morning.
“I’m Mewsy, the cat next door.” She said, giving Natalie a once-over. “Are you Natalie?”
Natalie smiled, nodding. “You’re Matthew’s cat?”
Mewsy looked shocked. Matthew? She knows my owner’s name? Mewsy then took the defensive, putting her tiny hands on her hips.
“Yes, yes I am. I’m Matthew’s cat. He’s mine.”
“I see.” Natalie said, apparently not giving Mewsy a satisfactory answer, then inquired about the bag. “Are those for me?”
Mewsy bit her lip, not knowing how to respond. Things had just escalated a whole bunch. This was an ownership issue. Mewsy had known Matthew longest, and she deserved the highest friendship, not some girl he just met! So Mewsy threw the bag over her shoulder.
“No, they’re not.” She said, giving Natalie a cold stare, then marched past her. “He told me to come here if I got bored. You have a cat of your own in here?”
“Yes, yes I do,” Natalie said, undeterred by Mewsy’s ranting. “Midnight is around here somewhere.”
Like a flash, a black-haired girl with a white dress appeared out of nowhere, tackling Mewsy like two ordinary cats would. As the two rolled on the floor in what looked like a wrestling match, Natalie looked out her front door and saw the bag. Some of its contents had spilled out; it looked like chocolate cookies. Natalie smiled and walked out into the hall, squatting down and picking up the bag, which she held to her chest like a prized possession before walking back inside.Bookmark here

A couple months had gone by. Once Natalie got my cookie gift, she was a lot more open for me to come over and say ‘hi’; I had our cat’s play dates to thank for that. I started visiting Natalie when I could; we usually sat and talked with the girls over ice cream or dinner, going back and forth between apartments. I got to know Natalie and Midnight pretty well. Natalie was gone for around the same part of the day as I was, and some nights was too tired to do anything much. On some of those nights, Midnight would come over and play until she was tired enough to go to bed too.
Turns out Natalie had a passion for photography. She’d actually taken up a few jobs around town doing portraits or commercial shots. While she could do almost anything with the right equipment, companies usually liked seeing photographers with a focus so they could find a place for those aspiring artists in their business. It was assumed that a ‘jack of all trades’ was also a ‘master of none’. I’d seen some of Natalie’s shots, some of which decorated her walls. She was far from being a master of none.
One night, Natalie watched the girls tussle, just like real cats, as I took to my apartment alone on a business Skype. I was discussing the possibility of moving up in my department with my boss, and needed some quiet. Midnight was trying to arm-bar Mewsy, who reached under with a foot and tripped Midnight to one side before leaping upon her, grabbing her shoulders and banging her head on the floor. Neither cried out in pain, just like normal cats when they sparred one another. In human form, though, it looked a lot more painful.
Natalie cleared her throat. “Mewsy…”
The two sparring cats stopped, and Mewsy turned to Natalie. Immediately she was perturbed that Natalie was talking to her, but could only frown at her own defeat as Natalie questioned her.
“Is Matthew working?”
Mewsy put on a disgusted face, treating Natalie’s question like it had an obvious answer.
“Uh, yes. He’s on a big Skype call to try and climb the ladder in his position. Very important stuff.”
“Oh, that’s good! I hope he gets to a higher department soon. Seems like he’s been at it for awhile.” Natalie said, then left to go to the kitchen for a minute.
Mewsy fumed with rage, nearly spitting on the floor as she hollered. “I can’t believe this girl is taking my place of importance! I’m the cute one around here!”
Midnight tapped Mewsy’s shoulder inquiringly. “Your owner is in a relationship with my owner?”
Mewsy thought for a second. “Well, I’m not sure, but they’re spending time together! It could officially happen any day now…”
“…Then we’ll be second-rate…” Midnight finished, then the two looked eyes onto Natalie before running at her with a yell. Both girls pounced Natalie, who tried to fruitlessly pull them off her.
“Hey! What are you two doing?! Let go of me! Ahh!”Bookmark here

When I finished my Skype call, I immediately knew something wasn’t right. It was too quiet. I couldn’t hear Mewsy or Natalie’s cat as I walked to my apartment door. Usually those rambunctious girls could be heard through the very walls. I opened my door and stepped into the hall, intrigued at the silence, then saw both Mewsy and Natalie’s cat standing right in front of me, grinning up at me. It was kind of creepy, to say the least. I’d seen plenty of horror films where the enemy silently places themselves behind or before their prey, waiting for the right moment. I laughed it off and spoke to the two girls.
“Hey Mewsy. Hi Midnight. Have either of you guys seen Natalie?”
Both girls looked at each other, then Midnight shrugged, pulling a face. “We don’t know. I woke up this morning and she wasn’t there.”
I looked at the door, then a sound hit my ear. I saw the girls instantly stiffen, and guessed something was up.
“What was that?” I asked.
“N-nothing.” Both girls said together.
I turned to the door. Something indeed was up.
“I’m going to check it out.” I said, walking towards Natalie’s door.
Both girls grabbed one of my arms apiece, trying to restrain me. “Y-you don’t have to, really!”
It took a little work on my part, but I slowly inched forward with two little girls in tow.
“Did you wreck the apartment?!” I asked, spitting off assumptions as I neared the door. “I told you to keep the place orderly! Practically every day before work, I reminded you to treat Natalie’s apartment like it was yours or I won’t let you in there anymore!”
“We did, we did!” Mewsy said in protest, “really, it’s nice and clean!”
“Then why are you keeping me back from seeing it for myself?!” I said, throwing the door open as I broke free from the girl’s holds. Inside, the apartment really was clean. It also looked like Natalie was hog-tied in the middle of the floor, bound and gagged.
“Natalie?” I asked, more confused than anything. Natalie spoke in reply, looking very angry, but I couldn’t make out what she said.
Both girls stood in the doorway as I jogged up to Natalie, undoing her gag first as I untied her. “What happened?”
As soon as Natalie could speak, she nodded her head to the doorway. “Those two! They attacked me for no reason!”
I glared over at Mewsy, who in sync with Midnight, bowed their heads.
“What’d you do this for?” I asked, more confused than mad as Natalie massaged her wrists and ankles.
“We, We.” Mewsy started, but was unable to finish.
“We didn’t want you and Natalie to see each other.” Midnight said gloomily.
“Why?” Both I and Natalie asked. I was intrigued by what they meant by ‘see each other’, like we were more than friends or something, then it slowly started making sense.
“We thought you wouldn’t think we’re important, now that you have someone new to be with.” Mewsy blurted, face flushed and teary-eyed.
Both Natalie and I walked to our respective cats and looked at them in the eyes.
“Mewsy, I wouldn’t stop being with you. You’re my oldest friend. I knew you before I knew anyone else.”
“Same here.” Natalie told Midnight.
“And that’s never going to change.” I said, patting Mewsy’s head and smiling into her beady eyes.
“Never.” Natalie concurred, lifting Midnight’s face with a finger.
“So I guess it’s alright,” Mewsy said after a moment of sniffling, “if you two go out, after-all.”
“HUH?!” Both Natalie and I exclaimed, mortified at the proposition. Bookmark here


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