September 10, 2013

Darling, stop. A Short Story.

On Pinterest I found a story prompt. All it said was Begin a story with "Darling, stop." That led the the short story written below, written this morning during my "Morning Ramblings" time.

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“Darling, stop.”

The cat was carving it’s signature into the refrigerator again. You’d think Darling was practicing for the day it became famous, due to how many times the cat had perfected it’s scratching all over the house. Fame happened for Grumpy Cat was Darling’s reasoning.

Darling the cat, named because it was the exact shade of red shown for Wendy Darling’s hair in Rosie’s childhood copy of Peter Pan, was obsessed with getting attention.

Rosie the human, owner of Darling, was completely content to be unseen. 

But on Thursday the 17th, someone noticed her.


***

“Do you need help? Please say yes.”

Rosie looked up from her Grumpy Cat prodigee into green eyes and really straight teeth.

“Um, well, I just need to get my cat to the Vet a few blocks down.” Rosie shoved her blond bangs out of her eyes, trying her best to look cool, which in reality probably meant she looked like a bad Justin Bieber hair flip impersonator, “are you a cat person?”

“Not really, but I can be if you need me to be.”

After a successful transfer of Darling from it’s owner to the attractive stranger, who could actually hold down the cat’s fury, Rosie picked up her grocery’s and started leading the way.

“I’m Patrick, by the way. I live just down the road,” he jogged a few steps to catch up to Rosie’s speedwalk.

“My name’s Rosie."

“Do you go to SVU?” Asked Patrick, gesturing to the local university campus across the road. That was more like asking How old are you? Because everyone college aged around there, went to SVU.

“Yeah, do you?” Rosie breathed out.

“Yes ma’am. I’m majoring in Sociology, which means I actually get to travel a lot. What about you?”

“Animal Sciences. So maybe I should practice getting better control over animals, eh?” Rosie nodded her head towards Darling, the perfect example of her failures as a cat lady.

Patrick genuinely laughed out loud at that. Not the “I’m flirting and laughing at anything you say” kind of laugh, or even a courtesy chuckle, but one that sounding like he was really amused. Rosie’s ears did a double-take of sorts, no one ever found her funny, especially not Darling.

He laughed like that again multiple times as they talked, every time was just as shocking to Rosie.

“Here we are!” Patrick announced when they reached the blue door of the Veterinary office.

He attempted to shift Darling over to one side in order to have a free hand to open the door, muttering “hey cat, it’s okay cat” under his breath. He obviously didn't know enough about cat-etiquette to ask the animal’s name. Rosie didn't want to break his concentration, so she just kept quiet.

When Patrick was reasonably sure of having reached a good position, he reached for the doorknob. Darling took the opportunity and leaped from his arms, dashing through the just opened door, leaving it’s signature torn into Patrick’s windbreaker.

In minutes the Veterinary office’s well trained team had Darling in the patient’s spot. The reception lady told Rosie that she could come pick Darling back up in an hour, because the visit would be a bit longer than usual.

After filling out the usual papers, Rosie turning around to see that Patrick was still there, reading a brochure about Animal Sciences. He looked up and smiled at her.

“I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I heard you have an hour. If it’s one you can kill, do you want to go get a bite to eat?”

Memories of bad date experiences and food spilled on prom dresses flooded Rosie’s mind, but somehow she felt drawn to this young man who had just done what no one ever would-- carried her insane feline two entire blocks, and he wasn't even a cat person.  

"Sure, if you really want to." Rosie shrugged, trying to look nonchalant, which in reality probably meant she look a bit too eager.

“Grand,” Patrick’s smile somehow managed to get wider. He stepped up to open the door again, this time without the cat fight.

Rosie slipped out past Patrick and watched as he shut the door.

“You get to pick where we go!” He announced.

Rosie set off, speed walking as she always did, to her favorite cafe.

“Hey slow down! Don’t you ever just take life slow?” Patrick had to jog again to catch up.

“Yeah...” Rosie forced herself to walk normally, trying to think of a time when she ever took life slow. Ever since she had left for college life had been go, go, go. Even more so since she bought Darling.

“I’m not very convinced,” remarked Patrick, coming dangerously close to a wink.

Trying to change the subject, Rosie remembered the tear Darling made in Patrick’s windbreaker, “I’m sorry about your jacket. I can probably fix it if you want...”

Without realizing it, while trying to change the course of the conversation, Rosie had sped up even faster than before. She was already multiple feet before Patrick ran up, and nudged her arm.

“Darling, stop.”