A Cat Named Carly
Terry had been lounging around his apartment for the most of Thursday and the beginnings of Friday, a lot of thoughts still buzzing around his mind as he lay down. The collie, his fur now unkempt and matted in places, stared at empty space as he replayed the events of the previous night and days yet he still couldn't find any reason not to like Valentine other than the fact that the blue furred husky had lied about himself. Terry let out an exhausted sigh and sat up again before deciding to shower; to relax in the very least.
The shower head rumbled a little before a rush of cold water appeared, drenching Terry's paw as he waited for the water to warm. He set his phone on top of the sink and anything else in his pockets before stripping down and entering the misty shower. The water ran over his head and body, at first lightly wetting but soon soaking and drenching his fur. Almost instantly his aches and troubles were melted away as the warm water kept raining down onto his lithe form and although his fur became heavy in the process, it mattered not to him at the moment. He stayed underneath the cascading water for a minute or so before extending his padded, right paw to the shampoo bottle on the rack to his right. The collie upturned the bottle and held it over his left palm as he squeezed out a generous dollop of the liquid. He began the tedious task of having to lather the suds into his fur and hair tuft. Terry massaged the shampoo into his slightly drooping black ears followed by dark brown hair. The more fur he lathered with soap, the cleaner and more relaxed the collie felt. In a matter of ten minutes, Terry was finished and had gone from being a black, white, and brown furred collie to an all-white and bubbly one. Even his black fluffy tail with a white tip was swirly and bubbly as well. As he started to rinse off however, his phone rang out and everything went horribly wrong. He opened his eyes out of response to the ring and soap flooded and stung his eyes causing him to knock over various things. Terry cried out and stepped back onto a fallen bottle of conditioner, which slid forward and made the collie slip backwards and he hit his head hard on the tiled wall. His phone kept ringing and through much struggle, blind movement, and slight luck, Terry was able to step out of the shower and flip open his phone to answer it.
"Fuck," the collie yelled into the phone "what do you want?!"
"... Um, is this a bad time Terry?" Carly sounded slightly hurt.
"Ah!" the soap agitated his eye again and after a few deep breaths through clenched teeth, Terry replied "N-no. No, I was just getting out of the shower. Some damn soap just got into my eyes is all."
"Oh okay," the cougar sounded melancholy and Terry could imagine her tail flicking every few seconds in silent worry. "Are you sure you're okay though, you sound pretty pissed."
"Yeah, I'm sure Carly," he changed the subject, "What did you want to talk to me about?" The cougar seemed to cheer up as she remembered her original reason for calling.
"Oh yeah! A new amusement park opened up several weeks ago, a friend of mine recommended it. You up for it?" Terry hated amusement parks, mostly because of his fear of heights. His reply was half-hearted.
"I don't know about that
"Come on! It'll be fun!" Carly was practically dragging Terry out of his car, towards the entrance. She was dressed in a simple white tee with the words "It's a cat thing" printed in bold black across the chest. Boot cut, black jeans hung around her waist; the leather belt seeming to have nothing to do with holding them up as it loosely hung around her hips. Three silver earrings were attached to her both ears, each gleaming with its own brilliance in the sun. Terry wore a light purple shirt, complimented by a silver necklace with a black iron symbol of a paw-print hanging from it. He also wore a pair of baggy shorts with his right ear adorned by a single, lustrous black earring. (Carly's full on support for one played a major part in the collie stopping by the cougar's house earlier to receive the gift). As they neared the entrance, the rides just got taller and taller. He really didn't want to be here.
"I'm coming, just slow down a little." They approached a rabbit which held out a small white paw towards them, gave them a rehearsed smile, and asked, "Tickets here please." The couple looked at one another and flattened their ears against their heads in embarrassment as they looked back at the short lagomorph.
"Oh well," Terry turned to Carly and hugged her tight, his tail wagging at the idea of not having to go on any roller coasters, "There is always next time." He gave her a small peck on the cheek and made way for his car but the rabbit coughed and they turned towards him again.
"Um, are you and the lovely lady by chance a couple?" He reached into his back pocket and handed them a pamphlet about the park. His voice was kind of squeaky and nervous as he continued with, "We have a special the third week of opening." He reached a small white paw up to a little heart on the back of the pamphlet. "Couples, lovers, spouses and others of the like get in free ma'am," he said the last part to Carly, who merely thanked him and poked Terry's nose.
"So where are we heading off to now collie?" The cougar smiled at the canine that rolled his eyes.
"To the rides?" Terry asked somewhat awkwardly, although Carly thought he was just being coy from being shown up by a rabbit half his size.
The place looked a whole lot bigger on the inside than it did on the outside. Terry hugged Carly from behind and asked her if she loved going onto roller coasters and such very much. She merely retorted with a smart-alecky "duh" and smiled before dragging him to a nearby booth. It was a shooting range type game that was run by a short but cheery otter, his name tag proclaiming his name to be "Rob." Shoot the bandits, win a small prize. Shoot the tiny bandits in the windows, however, win a giant purple panda. Carly turned to Terry, the look of "I'll love you forever" in her golden eyes as they flicked back and forth from his blue eyes to the panda and back to Terry; just the slightest hint of a sly smile beneath that face that dared him to take the challenge. The collie grinned and grabbed hold of the BB rifle after giving the otter running the stand a five dollar bill.
"First," Terry handed Carly the rifle and gave her that same daring smile, "You try it. I have two games right?" Rob nodded and gave her a go ahead signal after he had moved out from behind the booth. Clink, clink, clink, Carly managed to take down the first three of the minute bandits but missed shot after shot of the last one because it kept moving. After expending all the BB's, the otter took and reloaded the rifle before handing it back to her.
"Okay, now you try," Carly said as she handed the rifle to Terry. He shook his head and replied, "Try shooting them down again." The cougar pouted but complied as again the familiar sounds of clink, clink, clink were heard before she shot three more times and missed the last bandit again.
"Wait a second," Terry spoke up as she was about to take her last shot. He took a position behind her and placed his hands above hers on the rifle. "Aim," they traced the last bandit and Terry whispered, "now go ahead of it a little." She inched the barrel about two inches ahead of the target and Terry added, "Now take a deep breath to steady and fire."
Carly squealed with delight and planted a large kiss on Terry's cheek as the otter handed her the large panda. Terry, for his part, merely blushed and held the panda piggyback while following the cougar. The couple visited a few more booths and even two of the rides. Like they thought, the lines would be practically bursting with other people so Carly decided that maybe they should stop for a bite to eat since a few hours had passed already.
The Sublime Skillet was an old themed restaurant, reminiscent of the swinging American years of long ago with old black and white pictures across the walls, colored ones intermittent betwixt them; the glittering jukebox in the back left, near the kitchen, was spitting out song after song of glorious oldies rock and roll. They passed a few occupied booths, two of which were filled with friends just having a blast and the other was a Doberman and a beagle on a romantic date of their own. Terry sat down first, taking the seat next to the window as Carly sat beside him and leaned into him; her whiskers brushing his neck and making the collie giggle as she laid her head on his chest. He blushed, his ears folding down and becoming pink as the collie brought up his right hand and pet her head, inciting a purr that reverberated through Terry. The collie smiled as his tail lightly thumped the seat while Carly's manila colored one flicked hypnotically besides her, showing a somewhat calm playfulness to Terry. He felt relaxed in this moment of time, just a dog and a cat cuddling, like the world was just for them and them alone. A vixen in a blue dress arrived at their table; she recited some quick menu options before jotting down their orders and beverages onto a small notepad. She smiled at the pair before going on her way. Terry wrapped an arm around her waist and was surprised when she grabbed his arm tightly, Carly's claws having extended and now digging into his skin as the feline inhaled sharply and tensed. In a split second, the moment passed and Carly let go, her eyes closing just as he noticed her golden irises gleaming with a spark of fear and resonance. He swallowed a lump in his throat, his mouth suddenly feeling dry as he tried to formulate a question. Carly spoke up first.
"He got mad at me for the stupidest things," her voice cracked just slightly in that otherwise perfect, cheery tone the cougar always had, "If it wasn't one thing, it was another and if I embarrassed him in front of his friends or he messed up something, he'd take it out on me most of the time."
Why didn't you just break up with him?" Terry flinched as Carly gave an icy, low laugh.
"Don't you think I tried pup?" The cougar's right hand grabbed hold of the leather seating of the booth and her claws were digging into it, making little holes and tears. "Fuck, if it was so simple, I would have done just that but no one breaks up with Samuel. That tiger has a plaything for however long he damn well pleases and then HE chooses when he want's someone new," Carly stared at nowhere in particular, the sound of It's My Party echoed hollowly to Terry as the jukebox played it in an almost eerie way even though there were no alterations to the song at all. "Is it wrong for me to say that I actually used to love him? He was so full of himself, but he was always in control of what happened around him," Terry merely listened in quiet resentment as he imagined Samuel breaking down the person he would never have thought to lose their will, "I guess I wanted that
That control because of how my life was before I met him. At first he gave me whatever I wanted, no exceptions, and I loved thinking he was putty in my hands but things changed," Carly gulped and felt Terry rub his hand over her the left side of her stomach, trying to comfort her but finding that a stripe of her fur was slightly off. "Slowly, it dawned on me that I wasn't in control. That it was me who was being used, shown off and utterly abused."
"What happened that made him dump you?" Terry's question was quite meek in tone but Carly flicked an ear and the edge of her eyes watered as tears formed.
" Carly sighed took a shuddering breath before replying completely, "I don't exactly remember what set him off but I can't exactly forget that it ever happened either."
"Why's that Carly?" Terry was surprised that she stood up, beckoning him to follow. The collie slightly raised his brow, his eyes showing curiosity and slight pity in those luminous, blue eyes of his. Any resistance he had crumbled when her soft, golden gaze met his; a shy and scared demeanor, so unlike her style, was in her posture and halfhearted smile.
The women's restroom was tiled beige and smelled of jasmine as Terry followed Carly into it, a deep blush apparent on his cheeks as he made sure no one saw him walk in. By stroke of good luck, it was empty and Carly made way to the mirror; she looked at herself, the cougar's eyes flicking to Terry before she looked back at herself and into her own golden irises. The collie leaned against a stall and watched the cougar as she hesitated to reveal something. The air was tense, years of pain and suffering on one end while the want to understand hung on the other. It came to a terrifyingly anxious moment when Carly's left paw grasped the bottom of her white shirt and slowly pulled it up and over her head; her arms still covering her stomach as she turned to face Terry. He blushed deeply and was about to look away before noticing why, when he had hugged her, the fur and skin had felt different.
"I was hospitalized for about two weeks for this," Carly moved her hands and showed the patch of fur that was shorter than the rest. It contrasted her natural beige coat by being an abnormally dull white. Terry easily broke the distance between her and he, his pace startling the cougar as her tail frizzed and stood still until she looked up at his face. At the soft, worrying face of the collie that Carly hadn't expected to see. Tears were streaking down her face before she could tell; making streaks in her facial fur as she wondered why he did not look disgusted, ashamed, or even show any amount of aversion for this creature with an ugly scar on its stomach. The wound seemed to open in the moment, it burned intensely into her stomach as she thought she felt the cold steel of the blade come down on her stomach again but was instead met by a warm paw and a kiss to the cheek. Terry knew not what to do, he never once imagined Carly in such a prone and shameful state. The collie's tail moved listlessly behind him, his thoughts rushing around as he attempted to grasp some of phrase that would somehow make everything alright. "Say something
" She looked away and Terry made a noise of confusion; anger coursed through the cougar and she pounded a fist on his chest, again and again, before he grabbed her wrist and pulled her close. "Why? Why aren't you looking away or-" A single kiss to the lips silenced her and Terry calmly replied, "because I didn't fall for your looks, I fell for the cunning, facetious and somewhat cynical you," He brought a soft, pink paw-pad to her cheek and smiled, "If anything, I'm wondering why you were ever worried about what I would think when you shouldn't care one bit; you're beautiful no matter what Carly." An enigmatic smile crossed her lips, the vigor returned to her manila tail as it flicked back and forth and, after redressing, they made way for Terry's car as the sun set in the distance; casting a maroon glow to everything the flickering entity could.
Gray snow slush previously undisturbed was crushed and forcibly moved out the way as a dark blue Honda made its way through the city. The moonlight just started to filter through the skylines as the city seemed to breed a whole new life when previously grey and dull stores buzzed to life in scintillatingly gay colors of blue, red, green, and various other colors of bright neon. Carly lived about a mile or two away from the park but traffic made the commute a lot longer than it seemed as she directed Terry about, both of them making small talk while the large stuffed panda sat in the back seemingly watching the pair with its black button eyes. The collie noticed that the cougar lived in a spacious and lucrative apartment in the more "well off" part of the city as he parked across the street from her complex. For a moment, Terry remembered Valentine and how the husky lived in the slums; at the thought, a twinge of sorrow for the husky passed through him. He stared off in the distance before a light tap on his knee brought him back to reality and the collie turned to look at Carly.
"You alright there pup? You looked like you were gone for a while," she smiled as he blushed and proceeded to exit the vehicle as Terry was stumbling over a reply.
"Oh, y-yeah I'm fine. Just thinking of uh- places," Terry stepped out, slamming the door shut before trotting up to Carly, whom was waiting at the entrance.
"Right," she chuckled and Terry looked away, blushing as his tail wagged back and forth in embarrassment.
"S-so I guess that t-this is good bye then?" He was pulled close to Carly and into a kiss, something he hadn't expect yet didn't mind one bit. It seemed an eternity the ten seconds that they stayed together, but it didn't last and they pulled away from each other, both of their cheeks visibly flushed red under their fur and the couple giggled for no apparent reason other than to enjoy the small notion of affection.
"Now it's goodbye Terry," Carly opened the clear glass door and turned to wave and call out to the collie as he opened his car door, "Goodnight!"
His apartment seemed empty as the collie shut the door to his home and sat down on the kitchen counter, reflecting on the day's events. He felt special, having been revealed something so personal and emotional. Terry took a swig of a beer bottle he had uncapped when he had arrived and neglected in his paw until just that moment. The sharp tasting drink ran smoothly down his throat, warming his stomach then his whole body as it spread. He dumped the rest down the sink and slumped to his bed before, again, Valentine crossed his mind and he curled up into his bed; both the husky and cougar ran through his mind and he started to notice differences and similarities. Will I be able to manage them both? Terry thought before yawning and drifting into a pleasant dream.