California Cat #AtoZChallenge2015
“Yes, I’m here to pick up California.”
The receptionist smiled. “One moment, sir, and a technician will bring her up from the back.”
“Thanks.” Cricket stood waiting on his cat off to the side.
“That’s an interesting name.” A man commented. “How’d you come up with that?”
Cricket shrugged. “It’s where I found her.”
The man laughed. “That fits perfectly.” Like he needed the approval of a stranger on the name of his cat. “The name’s Cornelius.”
Cornelius offered his hand and Cricket took it out of pure politeness and nothing else. “Cricket.”
A smile broke Cornelius’ face. “Also an interesting name.”
“Used to collect crickets as a kid. Name stuck.” Where was his cat?
“Very interesting.” The way Cornelius said ‘interesting’ made Cricket’s eye twitch. It wasn’t that Cornelius said it with an air of superiority or derogatory rambling it was just… That he said it.
“… Thanks.” Where was his flippin’ cat?
Cornelius shifted closer much to Cricket’s chagrin. “Would you like to get some lunch? I know this little place that allows pets.”
A technician appeared with California in her green harness. California spotted him and began to squirm in the woman’s arms. She wiggled in a way only a cat can and escaped the technician’s grasp. She bolted for Cricket and jumped in his arms with a loud purr.
God Cricket loved this cat.
“She’s beautiful. Gorgeous really.” Cornelius said and Cricket decided Cornelius couldn’t be all bad if he thought the most precious thing in his life was gorgeous.
“Lunch would be nice.” After all, he could use more human socialization but he’d rather be back home with California curled up in his lap.
Cornelius nodded and turned his attention back to the woman behind the counter. She handed him a collar and gave her condolences. Cornelius thanked her then walked out without another word.
Cricket frowned and followed with California perched on his shoulder. He caught up with Cornelius and reached out to stop him. “What happened?”
Cornelius turned toward him, his eyes glistening with unshed tears. “I had to put my cat of seventeen years down.”
Cricket instantly felt for Cornelius. He couldn’t imagine his life without California. “I’m so sorry…”
“It’s okay.” Cornelius said but Cricket could tell it was anything but.
Cricket took Cornelius’ hand and led the man to his car. “Why don’t you tell me where this restaurant is and we’ll get your mind off of things?”
“Are you trying to get me alone so you can murder me?” Cornelius asked with no real heat or venom. If anything his words were jesting with the weight of a loss.
Cricket rolled his eyes. “Would a cat trust me if I were?”
“Solid point.” Cornelius climbed in the passenger side and Cricket in the driver’s.
“Where to?” Cricket asked. Cornelius looked at him and maybe, just maybe, Cricket could let someone in again.