Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 16: I Love You
‘It’s getting late…’
The skies grew darker in the residential area as the sun was starting to set. The neatly lined up street lights along the road aided Rick as he continued to hasten his steps.
He still felt a bit cold, albeit it currently being spring. Rick shivered a little, then ran faster, in an attempt to escape from the chill that began to creep up his skin.
He kept on running until a large house that he had not seen for the past three days was right before his eyes.
Rick took some time to gasp for air. He observed the house, right from the bottom all the way to the top. His neck began to hurt as he looked up till he could see the roof of the house.
Then, he took out the wallet in his pants pocket and unfolded it to examine its contents.
“…This should be good enough.”
Rick shoved his wallet back into his pocket. He tapped his cheeks with both hands as if to brace himself for what came next. And with a slight tremble in his forefinger, he feebly pushed the doorbell.
The ‘ding dong’ sound could be faintly heard from inside the house for a few seconds, which was shortly followed by the sound of the door being vehemently slammed open. Just as Rick would expect, the one at the other side of the door was Davis.
Davis suddenly appeared, causing Rick to flinch in surprise; the squirrel withdrew himself reflexively, letting out a startled gasp.
“Ah, I’m sorry,” Davis apologized. “What took you so long? Are you okay?”
To think he was this fast to open the door after Rick had just rung the doorbell, the squirrel didn’t even get any time to wait. Perhaps this bear had stayed by the front door instead of resting in the living room or the bedroom.
Rick straightened his posture and nodded in response to Davis’ earlier question. Due to the shock, the squirrel instantly lost the motivation he had instilled in himself before pressing the doorbell.
Davis sighed in relief. As he invited Rick to come inside, he noticed something that made him tilt his head.
“Rick, is it just me, or do you look different…?” Davis asked, then something clicked. “Yeah, your hair.”
“Yes,” Rick affirmed.
He could tell that Davis was observing his hair. The squirrel raised a hand and combed through his hair with his fingers.
“I’ve got a new haircut.”
Rick was about to show a full smile, from ear to ear, but he was too self-conscious to do so. If he were to show a poker face so as to hold himself from smiling widely, it would look weird as well. Hence, he could only smile a little. In return, Davis narrowed his eyes.
“You look good with it. Now that your bangs are shorter, I can clearly see your forehead – you look cute.”
“It’s nothing, haha…” Rick shyly chuckled. “Thanks, anyway……”
As usual, Davis was capable of being straightforward without reserve. While Rick would get embarrassed as usual. His forehead, which Davis had attentively complimented on, was touched by his own fingers to confirm its exposed state before it was covered beneath his hand as if to hide it. He twiddled the shortened strands of his hair within his fingers as they gently brushed against his hand.
Up to now, Rick decided that he should not waste time on being embarrassed. He promptly cleared his throat.
At his name being called, Davis tilted his head to the side.
Rick unintentionally closed his mouth shut. He was only able to open it again after he took a deep breath.
“I’ve also found a good house.”
Davis widened his eyes in surprise. Rick could feel the bear’s intense gaze fixed on him.
Noticing Davis’ disbelief, Rick nodded again in confirmation.
“However,” Rick added, “Presently, I’m having a hard time choosing a place to stay. I have two in mind – one is closer to my workplace, while the other one is…”
Davis looked at Rick in concern. “Rick…”
Rick was unable to finish his words since Davis cut him off by calling him out.
“Let us head inside first. It would be inconvenient to talk at the entrance like this.”
As soon as Davis said so, he turned his back and walked further into the house. Rick’s tail, which had been standing upright due to his boosted spirits, dropped limply to the ground.
Embarrassed for being too fired up, Rick scurried inside and followed Davis behind him.
Rick eventually arrived in Davis’ living room, but he still couldn’t bring himself to talk to the bear.
Occasionally, Rick peeped at Davis, who was in the middle of preparing tea in the kitchen. Then, the squirrel let out a sigh.
Rick soon got tired of waiting, deciding to kill time somehow while Davis was busy. After taking off his cardigan and putting it away, Rick went to the bathroom to use the sink to wash his hands. But even when he returned to the living room, Davis was still in the kitchen.
Rick could hear Davis’ reply upon being called, coming all the way from the kitchen. Though he still could not proceed with whatever he wanted to say – as if there was a barrier surrounding Davis that would block off his own words from reaching the bear.
‘What a pain.’
Rick sank deeper into the couch and swallowed back a sigh.
Come to think of it, this was the first time Davis had cut Rick off while the squirrel was talking. Before this, Rick never had to think twice about what he would say; Davis would lend him an ear and keenly listen to everything, which allowed him to be honest with his feelings.
Rick wondered why Davis would do that while he stared at his feet. Then, Rick took note of something.
‘Hmm? Those slippers…’
Rick noticed that the slippers he was wearing were not the same as the one he wore three days ago, which were fluffy and large, and they belonged to Davis. Now, Rick was wearing a pair that was novelly given to him.
The brand-new slippers were light green and made of soft fabric, very apt for spring. They were fluffy and easy to put on. Meanwhile, the size… It was an exact fit for his size. The squirrel was too used to wearing Davis’ slippers: he had only noticed the new ones now.
Unable to help it anymore, Rick called for Davis once more. Not to mention, hee even stood up and walked to the kitchen.
“What’s the matter?” Davis asked, discerning Rick’s presence in the kitchen. “The tea isn’t done yet…”
“Davis, please listen to what I want to say!”
Rick slightly raised his voice in hopes that it would get Davis’ attention. However, the bear still had his back towards the squirrel, busying himself with the cup in his hand.
“No,” Davis mumbled.
Rick did not expect Davis to refuse him, making the squirrel jump in place. Rick’s tail started to puff up until it became twice its original size.
Rick wasn’t ready to give up yet, “B-but… Please listen!”
“No,” Davis still refused, “I don’t want to.”
Davis walked past Rick whilst holding the cup in his hand. From the corner of Rick’s eye, the squirrel saw the bear leaving the kitchen.
Davis was still ignoring Rick. He stubbornly walked past the living room and made his way to the hallway.
Rick still followed behind Davis. His steps were faster this time, making sure not to lose the bear from his sight.
But as Rick arrived in the hallway, Davis was already gone. There were no signs of the bear going outside, so he probably went into one of the rooms in the house.
Rick scratched his head in confusion. First, he tried opening the door to the room nearest to him.
“Daaaaaavis,” Rick called as soon as he opened the door.
Davis was not in that room. Then, Rick checked the toilet, the bathroom, the study room, and the guest room, respectively – the bear was still nowhere to be found. Afterward, all that remained was Davis’ bedroom.
Rick lightly knocked on the door before he opened it. This was the room where the squirrel had slept in for several months.
The dim, unlit room was slightly brightened from the lights in the hallway as Rick opened the door.
Looking towards the bed, he saw Davis sitting at its edge. The bear was still holding a cup in his hand. Rick let out a sigh of relief and approached Davis.
“Why did you leave?” Rick asked.
Noticing Rick, Davis finally opened his mouth, “I’m sorry.”
Davis apologized from the bottom of his heart; he could not bring himself to ignore Rick any longer. The bear sighed deeply. Thereafter, Davis placed the cup onto the bed. Rick panicked, as the cup may tumble and spill on the bed, but it stayed obediently in place. Rick wiped his cold sweat in relief. While he did so, he began to notice something placed near the pillows, and his eyes widened.
“Ah,” Rick pointed, “That…”
It was something that was never there a few days ago. Rick could recognize it as something he used to have in his previous house.
“It’s a squirrel plushie,” Davis explained.
The squirrel plushie appeared to be in harmony with Davis’ bed, as if it had belonged there from the start. It was resting on the pillows with the blanket covering its tummy.
Davis added, “I felt lonely without you.”
Davis turned to look at Rick. The bear hung his head low, with his elbows propped on his thighs.
Rick could not believe his ears. “You’re… lonely…?”
“I am,” Davis admitted. “Recently, I’ve been sleeping here alone, and I felt so lonely that I can no longer bear it.”1
Once again, the fastball was thrown straight to Rick’s heart. However, he could not afford to allow the strikes to get through to him this time.
“I know that I’m supposed to be happy that you have finally found yourself a new home, but honestly, I can’t.” Davis shook his head. “I don’t even want to know when you’ll be leaving. Once that happens, it will be the last time I could ever see you…”
That explains why Davis was behaving strangely as soon as Rick mentioned his new house. After confessing his feelings, Davis buried his face in his large hands.
Without even turning on the light, Rick was able to make his way through the dim room to the bed and sat down next to Davis. Rick placed his hand on Davis’ knee, which made the bear raise his head.
“Davis,” Rick whispered, “I… love you.”
Davis definitely did not see that coming. His body straightened instantly, causing the bed to creak loudly. The bear used his hands to keep his balance on the bed, as if he could easily fall down anytime soon.
Davis’ lips were quivering, “R-Rick…”
“That’s a ‘strike’ from me,” Rick declared, after letting out an exhale. “Did it manage to hit through your heart?”
Davis did not understand it. “Strike…?”
Rick liked the look Davis was giving him; there was something quite amusing about seeing the bear’s slit eyes going wide open. As Davis was still perplexed, Rick gave him a teasing smile.
“It’s the same thing that you always give me,” Rick clarified. “Like, telling me that you love me, or saying that I’m cute…”
In other words, Rick had intended it as ‘revenge’ on Davis, which he proudly claimed. The latter was so dumbfounded that he could only blink his eyes repeatedly.
“I see… That’s a lot of damage I have taken,” Davis replied in embarrassment. “But seriously, do you really mean it…?”
Davis lifted his own hand, placing it on his chest. The fastball that Rick had thrown towards the bear had indeed reached to where he had intended. Judging from the expressions on Davis’ face, it was clear that the impact of his words had pierced right through him.
Rick changed the topic, “I got my haircut the day before yesterday.”
Noticing the sudden topic change, Davis looked towards Rick in puzzlement. The squirrel returned his gaze and smiled.
Rick continued, “Then I went to thank your colleague, Taylor.”
“Taylor?” Davis tilted his head.
Taylor was the kind-hearted fireman who let Rick contact Davis after the squirrel’s house had burned down. If Rick were to inquire with the fire department about Davis, he would have to make an appointment first.
“Yes. Thanks to Taylor, I got to know you. I even managed to survive through the winter with you.”
Speaking of Taylor, he did not expect Rick to come and thank him for something so small. Instead, he was relieved to see the squirrel being well after winter, as the latter managed to find a safe place for hibernation. Hearing this, Rick thought that Taylor was truly a kind-hearted person.
“And I also went to my former house just to see what had happened to it.” Rick chuckled, “Well, I’d say that there’s nothing left of it now.”
“It seemed that they had it cleared up to build a new place there,” Rick said with a smile. Seeing Rick smile made Davis’ expression soften, which caused the squirrel to be at ease in return.
Rick added, “I’ve also contacted my workplace to inform them that I’ll get back to work soon. To prepare for that, I searched for a new house. But…”
Rick intentionally paused at that point. He lowered his gaze towards his lap.
“To tell you the truth, while I was staying here…” Rick gulped, “I have fully decided on my response to your feelings.”
Rick looked back on the months he had spent with Davis. Although his memory was hazy during the hibernation, the few times he could remember were nothing but the happy ones. It had been a hibernation period filled with joy, tenderness, and warmth.
Rick vividly remembered the time when Davis had confessed to him. Rick had become utterly shocked and confused, but it never left him with unpleasant feelings.
“After all, I don’t want to return your feelings solely in exchange for taking care of me during hibernation,” Rick shook his head. “The hibernation period will not last forever. I would have no reason to remain in your house after that.”
If the hibernation would indeed last forever, Rick would gladly stay in Davis’ house without complaining. Davis would keep on taking care of Rick, food would always be provided, and Rick would continue to snuggle with Davis for warmth. However…
Rick explained, “I know that I’m a small, frail beastman who doesn’t have any property of my own. I’m a pathetic guy who got my own house burned down, leading me to not be able to hibernate by myself during winter, but… I’m still a man with my own responsibilities.”
Then, Rick pulled out his wallet from his hip pocket. He took out two sheets of paper from it and held them for Davis to see. The small pieces of paper were slightly wrinkled as Rick kept on pulling them to confirm their existence in his possession.
“Umm, Davis…” Rick said, holding the papers in his hand, “Would you like to go to the amusement park with me?”
It turned out that those pieces of paper were the tickets to a nearby amusement park.
Rick had thought of buying Davis a present when he got back to the bear’s house. He was planning to show them to Davis right after the squirrel had confessed to the bear.
Even though the present really wasn’t worth much, to Rick, this was the best way to convey his love without very many words needed in between.
“I love you, Davis. So… I want to go to the amusement park with you.”
Davis stared at the ticket that Rick held out to him in silence. Then, after a moment, he reached for it and accepted it.
“Rick… I’m at a loss.”
Even Rick could understand how sudden it was. “O-Of course…”
Davis’ dark eyes were fixated towards Rick’s. Despite the murky atmosphere, Rick could see a faint glow in Davis’ eyes.
“Rick,” Davis called, “You’re not only adorable… You’re such an amazing person too.”
Rick’s hand, which was holding his own ticket, was pulled by Davis. Soon, Rick’s entire body made its way to the bed and landed safely onto Davis’ chest, who was now lying down.
“Rick, you’re really the best.”
Davis was overjoyed. Holding Rick on top of him, the bear had the widest smile he’d ever have.