Nyamo and Yukari's friendship gets a bit more complicated; also, Sakaki is receiving strange gifts of cats. 10 connected drabbles.
The office was deserted, except for Yukari, who was in the process of excavating the usual mess on her desk. "How do you find anything in that mess?" Nyamo asked. "What did you lose this time?"
"It's my apartment keys, of all things. I've dug through here and through and they aren't here. Hey, can I crash at your place tonight? We were going out after work in the first place." Yukari gave a stack of paper one final push, and brought the whole mess crashing down.
Nyamo glowered at her. "Well, there certainly was a crash in this place."
Chiyo ran to catch up with her friend. "Where'd you get that stuffed cat, Sakaki-san?"
"Um...someone's been leaving them for me at school. It's the oddest thing."
"I suppose they know you really like cats a lot, Sakaki-san."
"How? I don't tell anybody about it." Sakaki looked off into the distance.
"It's obvious, though. You have that stuffed animal collection. You have cats all over everything. You give me cat gifts. If one observes you long enough, they realize that you like cats."
"Chiyo-chan? You're the only person I know who'd pay that much attention to me."
"Are you sure?"
"I insist that I drive, Yukari. Besides, not only would you be risking our lives by driving my car, but you'd probably lose my keys as well."
"How could I lose your keys?" Yukari whacked Nyamo in the head. "Your place isn't messy."
"You are messy and forgetful and you have the ability to lose anything."
"Ha! There are lots of things I haven't forgotten. Like the love letter."
Nyamo blushed. "Of all the things you should forget. Unlike keys."
"How could I forget it? Of course, after I figured out it was from you, I had to keep it."
Who Is It?
"I was thinking it could be Kaorin," Chiyo explained. "I think she likes you."
"I haven't really noticed. But I don't think Kaorin would buy me cats."
"Why not? She likes you."
"But, she's a girl, Chiyo-chan."
"So? You buy things for me. You like me. We're friends, right?"
"Yes, but these aren't friend-type cats. Well, the cats are, but not the notes. And I can't recognize the handwriting either."
"It has to be another girl. I don't think any of the boys know you well enough to leave you cats."
"Whoever it is, they probably aren't in our class."
Irritated = Cute?
"You kept it? You actually kept it?"
"Well, of course I did. It's an artifact of the first crush someone had on me."
"That's sweet and all, but why do you always threaten to use it as blackmail?"
Yukari feigned horror. "I'd never ever do anything like that to you. I just say that because it's amusing when you're irritated."
"Oh, it is, is it?" Nyamo was definitely irritated.
"Yes! Like now! I've done it again." Yukari snickered into her hand. "And, you know, Nyamo, you're kind of cute when you're irritated."
"Well, that's a new thing. Cute when irritated."
"Oh, no, Sakaki-san!" Chiyo began shaking. "It can't be...Kimura-sensei, can it? Oh, ick ick ick."
"No, I'd recognize his handwriting. Besides...we know he's a pervert, but he's a forthright pervert. Come on, we know he says those things and does those things and it's not exactly his style to give a girl a cat instead of saying something stupid during P.E." Sakaki jerked her head up, startled.
"Eh? You just thought of something?"
"Yes, I keep finding the cats during P.E."
"It's not Kurosawa-sensei, is it?" Chiyo looked puzzled.
"No, but it's someone who is also in P.E. with us."
"Well, it's always a good thing to learn something new. I say this to my students every day."
"You do? You usually start your classes off with some sort of exclamation of disgust over something. Last week, wasn't it when yet another one of our friends got married?"
"Ugggh, don't remind me. We're going to be single forever."
"We? We? I don't think I'm included in that."
"You've always been luckier than me in that area, Nyamo."
"I don't know. I seem to have bad luck with men. You know, I should just give up on dating. It never lasts."
"It has to be a girl, too. Because she's leaving the cats in the locker room."
"Maybe she's in our class, Sakaki-san, but she associates you with P.E."
"Do you think Tomo likes me? She's always talking about how good I am at sports. That, and she's always looking at my breasts."
Chiyo shook her head. "I don't think Tomo would think of it as a crush. More like jealousy."
"Because that girl has no clue, eh?"
"Exactly. No clue. She has to be happy with what she has."
"But, Chiyo-chan, you got angry last year about that too."
Where Do We Go?
"But you always seem to have fun when you're dating."
"I do. But I think I have as much fun with you, or more. Even when I'm irritated with you."
"So everything you said in that love letter still stands, doesn't it?"
Nyamo leaned against the car. "I suppose it does, Yukari."
"Well, that's good! Someone still likes me! So, what are we off to do? Drinking, your place, or my place to recover the keys?"
"Let's have a drink. Because it's going to be tricky getting your apartment unlocked. Besides, you know..."
"Well, for later...my place is clean."
Chiyo hopped up and down. "That doesn't count! I'm getting bigger. I hope."
"Well, if it's not Tomo, my other rival is...Kagura? I hadn't thought of her before."
Chiyo nodded. "She's not as obvious about it as Kaorin, or as clueless as Tomo, but I think you're right."
"She wants to not only win against me, she wants to win me?" Sakaki looked pensive. "What is this with all these girls liking me so much?"
"You're cool, Sakaki-san! That's why everyone likes you."
"Cool...not cute...just cool."
"Hmm? Maybe she does think you're cute."
"I wonder if she likes cats too...."