Yeah, I am writing–lots! I’m facing a deadline that is way too close for comfort and I’ve turned into a writing hermit again. I’m sorry to my friends and family who keep wondering what’s become of me. I’m in front of my computer, writing Becker and Harley’s story, which seems to be coming along well as long as I don’t overthink and just let them have their way. There’s Christmas, a cute kitten, a guy who’s learning to love again, and a woman who hopes to be the one to bring him back into the light.
Here’s a snippet from my current WIP:
Her heart expanded to about twice its size at the picture he made—grumpy Beck holding a tiny kitty in the palm of his hand, petting it and no, not cooing, but definitely talking to the critter. She wished she had her phone in her hand so she could snap a picture of him holding the cat up to look into its blue eyes and asking how its day went. It would’ve looked great on a River’s Edge First Responders calendar—a fundraiser she’d thought about suggesting at the next town meeting. “It’s darling, Beck. Do you think someone abandoned it?”
“Dunno.” He handed her the kitten. “I checked around for a mom cat or other kittens and didn’t find any more in the immediate area. I put it up on the GoodNeighbors app, hoping to get the owner to come and claim it. No response yet.”
“Is that what you’ve been checking your phone for all day?” Harley rubbed her face against the kitten’s soft fur. It sure was a cutie. She tucked it against her shoulder and it snuggled into the crook of her neck, vibrating with a strong purr.
Beck picked up a practically empty saucer and carried it to the kitchen, where he pulled a can from the fridge and refilled the bowl with a couple of spoonsful of soft food, adding some kibble from a Ziploc on top. The cat eyed him from its perch on her shoulder but didn’t seem all that anxious to go for it. He gave her a nod. “You look fantastic with a cat on your shoulder, Harles. It’s your look.”
“Nice try, Chief.” Harley followed him to the laundry room and set the cat down after Beck placed the food on the floor. Good lord, he’d even put a navy blue vinyl placemat under the bowls of food and water, probably more for the floor’s protection than for the cat’s aesthetic enjoyment, but still… “I don’t want a cat. I’ve got all the pets I need with the classroom hamster and fifteen three- and four-year-olds.” She smiled as the kitten wove its way around Beck’s ankles, purring and meowing. “Is it a boy or a girl?”
“Sutton next door says it’s too soon to tell, but he’s leaning toward boy.”
“What are you naming him?”
Beck shook his head firmly, his dark hair falling over his forehead. “I’m not. If nobody claims it, I’ll take it over to the shelter in Vevay.”
Disappointment washed over Harley, particularly since obviously, the kitten had already formed an attachment to Beck. “Really? You should keep it. It’s a known scientific fact that cats reduce stress and anxiety.” She widened her eyes at his dubious expression. “No, seriously, Google it.”
“You think I have anxiety?”
“Well, I think you’re kinda… um… well… I think you could use something sweet and purring in your life.” She picked up the kitty and stroked its fur. “This rumbly feeling against your heart is like a natural sedative.” She pressed her cheek to the warm kitten fur, then gently eased it onto its back to try to get an idea of its gender. “Definitely not a boy, Beck. This is a female.”
“How do you know?” Beck came around to peer over her shoulder. “Sutton couldn’t say for sure.”
“See how close the—” Heat filled Harley’s cheeks, which made her squirm more than it should have. “See here?” She pointed to the general area. “The holes are closer together and the lower one is shaped more like a keyhole. A male would have two circles spaced farther apart.” She turned the cat back over. “You have a little girl, Beck.”
“I don’t, but someone will.” Beck pulled his phone out of his pocket for at least the fiftieth time that day and checked again for a message.
Harley just snuggled the purring kitten. “Oh, stop checking your phone. Nobody is going to claim this critter. The universe left her for you.”
Becker’s look of dismay nearly made her burst out laughing, but she bit the inside of her cheek and continued whispering to the kitten.
“The universe?” His voice cracked. “Why would the universe leave a damn cat in my shrubbery? If the universe wanted to make me happy, it would’ve left a bank bag full of cash. Buying this place took a chunk out of my savings.”
She just smiled and handed him the kitten. “Apparently, the universe knows what you need more than you do.”
To her surprise, he didn’t set the kitten down on the floor; rather he put it up on his shoulder and stroked it as it nuzzled the collar of his flannel shirt. “Well, the universe is an idiot.” He said the words, but they had no real oomph behind them.
So, there we go–how the kitten came into Becker Lange’s life. Y’all have a great week and I’ll keep writing.
Stay well, stay safe, wear your mask, and most of all, stay grateful!