A short excerpt from chapter 7 of my novel, Hold Me Now. Just last week I finished going through the editing process and posting it on the Of Beauty and Rage blog. If you want to read the entirety of the story, head on over there using the links provided, and in the mean time please enjoy this short excerpt.
“Gail, I have a surprise. Don’t freak out or anything, just give me a minute to explain.”
Gail frowned, immediately suspicious, and noticed that Haley had something tucked away inside her jacket. “What is that? What’s going on?”
The thing inside her jacket squirmed and Haley let out a deep breath before unzipping it. “Like I said, don’t freak out. Here.” She lifted a small orange kitten up and it mewed loudly. Haley sighed rather lovingly and pressed the kitten close to her, walking over to the couch to sit down beside Gail. “Aw, it’s okay. You’re safe here.”
Gail stared at the kitten in silence for a long moment, not seeming to know what to say. Haley turned to her and grinned. “It was abandoned just outside of the shop. No one else wanted it and I couldn’t just leave it there so I asked for my break and brought it here.”
“You do realize we can’t have pets here, don’t you?” Gail said in a low voice as she stared at the kitten which was sniffing at the couch cautiously.
“Yes I do realize that,” Haley said, “but what else was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just leave it there. Besides, I think we’d be able to hide it and not get in trouble. Also I think having a pet would be good for us. Good for you, even.”
“How is it going to be good for me?” Gail asked, raising an eyebrow. She was distinctly not looking at the kitten for fear that she might fall prey to how adorable it actually was and lose all common sense, as Haley clearly had.
Haley sighed and let go of the kitten so it could explore the couch on its own. “Well you just seem like you need something to keep your mind occupied. Something other than school, I mean. Pets are a good thing for that, you know.”
“Haley, we can’t. It’s not allowed here and besides, we’re college students. How do you expect us to take care of it?”
“Oh please. It’s a cat, not a dog. They don’t need that much work.” Haley lifted the kitten up again and held it out to Gail with a smile. “I’ve had cats before so I know what I’m doing. Here, hold it for just a second. You’ll change your mind.”
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of,” Gail muttered under her breath, but she took the kitten from Haley and gazed down at it. It gazed back at her with bright blue eyes before mewing. A slight shiver went up Gail’s back and she felt her will starting to break.
“See, I knew it. You want to keep it now too, don’t you?”
Gail frowned at Haley, but she hugged the kitten closer to her chest. “How exactly are we going to hide it?”
“It’s easy, just leave it all to me, I’ve got this all planned out.” Haley smirked and peered down at the kitten. “I’ve got some food for it in the car, so I can bring that in and leave it with you, alright? I have to go back to work soon.”
Gail sighed and leaned back against the couch, carefully stroking her fingers over the little kitten’s fur. “How long have you been planning on doing this?” Gail asked. “It seems like you have this planned out way too well to have just been a spur of the moment thing.”
Haley stood up and moved to the door. “Yes, well it’s been hanging around the store for a few days actually so I finally decided to just take it. Anyway, I’ll be right back.” She headed out the door, leaving Gail alone with the kitten.
“I can’t believe her,” Gail muttered under her breath as she stared at the kitten. The kitten mewed again and snuggled up against her neck, purring faintly and seeming to take comfort in hiding its face against her. Gail let out a heavy sigh, realizing she had fallen prey to it as well. There truly was no going back now.
Haley returned moments later with a large bag of cat supplies. Gail stared at her rather blandly. “You really went all out didn’t you? What if I had said no?”
“I knew you wouldn’t,” Haley said with a grin as she set the bag on the counter. “Listen, I’ve got to get back to work. Could you feed it?”
Gail sighed and nodded her head, slowly standing up off the couch and keeping the kitten close to her. “Yeah I’ll get it all set, don’t worry.”
“Thanks,” Haley said with a smile, then she went over and gave the kitten a little pet on the head. “By the way, I’ve been thinking about what to name it.”
“Of course you have,” Gail muttered with a frown. “You’re attached already.”
“Hey we’ve already decided we’re gonna keep it, right?” Haley huffed then smiled again. “So I think I’m gonna name it Cecil.”
Gail went stiff as a board and stared at Haley for a long moment. Haley didn’t seem to notice as she was still petting the kitten and Gail swallowed. “Why Cecil of all names?”
“Oh, I dunno. He just looks like a Cecil if you ask me. Anyway, I need to get back. I’m gonna grab something to eat on my way there and hope I’m not late.” She turned and waved before going out the door, leaving Gail completely alone with the kitten.
Gail slowly turned around to see Cecil, the angel, standing across the room. She glared fiercely at him and he held up his arms. “What are you looking at me like that for? I didn’t have anything to do with naming it!”
“Ugh, whatever. If she wants to name it Cecil, fine.” She huffed and went to the counter to get Cecil, the kitten, some food. He nestled closer into her neck and purred a little louder. With a sigh she decided that perhaps this wasn’t going to be all that bad after all, so long as no one found out about it.