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Let's Change

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– But Mr. Cat… Ursula's right. If cats can see in the dark, does that mean you can too? asked Kaeloo, with more surprise than she would have liked.

– Of course! I don't miss a beat! Anyway, I'm watching you... with insistence... he said in a joyous tone of voice while slowly advancing towards Kaeloo, who was starting to get worried.

– Uh, yeah, yeah... hehe, can you stop now, please ? she said, backing away at the same pace with which he approached her.

– Oh, you like that, tadpole? You like being watched like this, huh?

– What do you mean, Mr. Cat?! I don't like this at all! Not at all, not at all, not at all!

– Your cheeks tell me otherwise, froggy.

Indeed, the blush that had spread across the frog's green face at the moment was so bright that it could have lit up the room without much difficulty. Not only were cats intelligent, but they had to be able to see in the dark too. Seriously, who gave nature that option? And most of all, why did Mr. Cat have to be given a double dose of it?

Kaeloo didn't know where to go anymore - how could she, when she couldn't even see her little webbed feet? The irony! She was the one who had proposed the game so that Stumpy could get over his fear, and here she was playing the opposite role! The worst part wasn't the darkness itself, but rather, the indiscreet watch of her friend who deliberately followed her around. Although it was dark, she could vaguely make out his red eyes moving up and down, staring at her with a fixed gaze, which made her highly uncomfortable. She blindly took one step, two steps, and many more, while the cat had no problems following her in the dark. The horror! She started to flee, letting out anguished screams as she saw his amused eyes approaching her, occasionally mumbling "Stop it, Mr. Cat!"

It was stupid to try to escape him when he could see where she was going better than she could, but Kaeloo didn't even worry about which direction she was going in, or even the possibility that she might fall off a nearby cliff - and if that happened, Mr. Cat probably wouldn't catch her, or at least that's what she thought. All that mattered to her was putting as much distance as possible between herself and that oppressing stare, and finding the rope as soon as possible to restore the light to Smileyland! Only, to restore the light, she needed to find the rope - which served as a switch - and to find it in such a dark place... she needed light! Kaeloo sighed, an annoyed look on her face, and stopped her frenetic race against Mr. Cat's stare for a few seconds. Wow, that was a really effective deduction! She could have applauded herself if she wasn't so busy trying to –

– Boo.

– AAAH! screamed Kaeloo, backing into the cold metal fridge behind her.

– Mwahaha! laughed Mr. Cat,as his eyes, which wouldn't stop staring at Kaeloo, shone with malice and mockery. The situation seemed to amuse him more than anything.

– Mr. Cat! This isn't funny! she scolded, hearing his sinister laugh.

''Argh, he can be so annoying! He's annoying me!" she thought to herself. She saw him approach a little more, and realized with horror that there was no escape. She instinctively turned her head away and closed her eyes, but reopened them after feeling something pressing against her skin...

Did he just kiss her on the cheek?!

–Mr. Cat?! W-W-What are you doing?! she said, holding onto the fridge as tightly as possible, looking upset, while her face reddened and her heart began to beat rapidly. She saw him turn his head and heard him click his tongue.

– Let me correct you : why didn't you transform when I kissed you? That's what you should be asking, he said, pointing a finger at her, not embarrassed by his gesture in the slightest.

Kaeloo widened her eyes, momentarily forgetting her unease. Usually, when Mr. Cat made advances like this, which she found disrespectful and mocking, she immediately transformed into Bad Kaeloo to reckon with him! Like that one time when they played a game of house and he wanted to do naughty things with her near the end of the game. Even worse, she didn't want to transform. Why was that? Why? Mr. Cat was right to ask her. And the fact that she didn't want to transform worried her as much as the fact that it amused Mr. Cat.

– W-Well, that's no reason! she stammered.

– That's no reason! he said, imitating her in a ridiculous voice, before laughing. Then he followed up, in a more suave tone. Just say you appreciated it, froggy.

– That's not true! Anyway, don't ever do that again, Mr. Cat! It's very - very, uh, impolite... to kiss people... like that! Her voice had gradually lost its self-assurance as she uttered those words. Now, not only was her face expressing embarrassment, but confusion as well, as though she hadn't been able to believe her own words!

– What do you mean, froggy? Do you prefer other forms of intimacy?

'' What is he talking about? Why is he talking like this? Argh, he's annoying me!" she thought.

– Mr. Cat! What do you mean by that?! she said, indignantly.

– Relax, froggy, relax! he said, rolling his eyes. It's not like you didn't understand what my gesture meant, r-right? You understood, didn't you...heh ? he asked in a hopeful tone of voice. Kaeloo raised an eyebrow. She could have sworn that she heard him stammer, and maybe even saw him blush, as he spoke.

– If this is another one of your naughty games, Mr. Cat, I demand that you stop it immediately !

– But-

– No, no, no! I can't hear you! Kaeloo put her fingers in her non-existent ears, determined not to hear him.

And then she saw it. The saddened look in the cat's eyes. Silence ensued. A silence that was far from pleasant. She saw his mood switch instantly from amusement to anger... and disappointment.

– Yeah... it's always like that, anyway, he sadly mumbled.

– Like what? she said, intrigued.

She pulled her fingers out of her ears. Suddenly, without warning, Mr. Cat exploded.

– It's always like this with you! Every time I pour my heart out to you, every time I try to confess to you, you push me away and take it for a fucking game! You claim to be the most sincere and understanding of the gang, but you've never been that way with me! When I try to make you see how I feel about you, you think I'm kidding and you go your way, or in the best case, you transform and beat me up! Even nutcracker is better understood than I am!

– Mr. Cat! Don't use bad words! she replied, as if that was the only thing she had retained.

– I don't believe it... Did you at least hear what I said? he asked, disheartened.

– Uh, no...? But - Anyway! Everything you say is stupid ! All that just to make me get mad, argh, I can't believe it !

There was complete silence after this. Kaeloo was surprised that Mr. Cat did not reply. He regained his breath while she lost hers. The only thing uniting them in this almost religious silence was the confusion on both of their faces. Finally, the feline spoke.

– I... Never mind, froggy, you'll never understand. I'm used to this, anyway, he said in a quiet voice, with his eyes partially closed, as though he already regretted what he just said.

At this exact moment, Kaeloo felt a pricking sensation inside her heart and was starting to find it difficult to breathe. Mr. Cat looked back a second and final time, and prepared to leave. There was a dejected expression on his face and his body slouched. As he walked away from Kaeloo, with each step he took, the pricking in her heart started to feel more like she was being stabbed.