After our talk my master helped me get back downstairs, having to steady me quite a few times in my eagerness to go outside but he didn't seem to mind, only chuckling softly in that nice voice of his or smiling good-naturedly as he continued to help me down the stairs.
When I reached the bottom I shifted from excitement and bounded around in circles, running a little way down the hallway before running back to my master only to do it all over again.
We reached the glass room and I danced on my paws as he opened the door into it and I leapt inside, finding the air thick and blissfully warm inside and I purred lowly, finding that I quite liked it.
"It's called a conservatory." my master explained, his fingers brushing over a large and flat leaf of one of the many plants scattered around the room, either on the floor in a pot or hanging from the ceiling, the only other thing in the room a bench made of a wood-like material that looked out onto the garden.
The tiles beneath my feet were warm from the sun and I could imagine myself sleeping in here. It was just so warm and sunny, and I had an unobstructed view of the garden.
He opened the door to the garden and cool and refreshing air blew in, the sound of the wind rustling through the trees reaching my ears along with the sound of birds and the chirping of crickets.
I looked up at my master, asking if I could go outside and he nodded at my silent question.
I didn't need to be told twice and shot outside, landing on hot, flat stones that went around the outside of the house, a path I guess.
I looked back at my master and he smiled encouragingly, the expression lighting up his features. I turned and nuzzled his hand that was relaxed at his side before bounding onto the grass, the cool mud feeling amazing against my pads, the blades of grass tickling between my toes and I dug my claws into the soft earth with a deep purr, closing my eyes and basking in the cool breeze and the warm sun's rays, my ears twitching on my head at each new sound, my tail flicked up due to happiness.
I dropped into a roll and groaned at the feel of the grass tickling me all over and I breathed in its smell, unable to get enough of it, snorted snuffs leaving me as I rolled and sniffed, sniffed and rolled. I flopped onto my back and stared up at the blue and almost cloudless sky, my eyes getting captivated by the slowly moving puffs of white and letting myself just lay there and feel the wind slip between my fur and brush over it.
From the corner of my eye, I saw my master set down a chair on the warm stone path and sit down on it.
I gathered that I could stay out here for a while since my master had sat down and he seemed content to watch me enjoy the garden.
I rolled onto my front and stood, shaking myself off, pawing at my nose because it itched, a blade of grass coming free and I snorted and shook my head a little.
I put one paw in front of the other, starting off in a walk, getting faster until I was running, feeling the wind buffet against my face and tug at my body.
I ran in an arch, not wanting to go too far from my master and bounded back over to where he sat in his chair and he smiled as I approached. "Do you like the garden Luci?" he asked me.
I snorted to say yes, getting close enough to lick one of his hands that were resting on his lap before shooting off in a run again.
It wasn't often that I sat out in my garden. I was surprised that the few chairs I had hadn't deteriorated from the elements and had worried for a moment that the chair I'd picked would crumble under my weight when I sat down on it but to my surprise it held firm.
I looked out over my vast garden, the grass was overdue a cut, all the sun and rain making it grow impossibly fast but I think I'll let it grow a little more and cut back on the mowing, all for the happy feline that bounded over the grass and rolled in it with such joy I'm not sure if I could bring myself to have it cut ever again.
I never imagined I'd have a pet such as Luci, I'd always imagined I'd have a small pet like all my family seemed to have, it was what I'd grown up around, it was what I was used to but I'd grown so attached to Luci already.
He was unsure of me at first, and he was still a little cautious even now but I understood that these things take time and he was already progressing in leaps and bounds.
I made sure to stay a step back, let him come to me and let him initiate any contact. He'd started giving me little touches of affection, a brush here, a lick there, he'd sometimes lean against me as he walked past and I understood that as a way for him to mark me with his scent and it always made me smile knowing he was saying I was his master.
I'd waited a week or so before letting him out of his room, wanting him to settle and feel comfortable in the space that was now exclusively his. He seemed to like it, I'd watch him leap down the platforms going around the walls to greet me, a few stalks of straw stuck to him from his den up high in the corner of the room. He'd sun himself in the bed I'd left in front of a window, had used his litter box without issue and never left a morsel of food in his bowl.
He seemed to be settling in well and we'd even talked earlier.
I had some concerns about his past at the auction, mainly that keeper Rico and the owner of the place.
Luci hadn't been trained, that was evident enough, not that I minded, it wasn't like I didn't have the time or space to teach him myself.
He was in good enough health but he could be better. Already his coat was shinier and fuller than when he'd first arrived. He'd put on some much-needed weight and muscle mass and the callouses I'd noticed on his elbows and knees were fading, the hair starting to grow back there from sleeping on plenty of soft straw, plush beds or thick carpet.
It did sadden me that he'd been locked inside for so long, he didn't need to tell me that, his joy in being outside made it clear enough that his life at the auction was far from enriching and fulfilling.
was so much I still needed to do, from getting Luci fitted for clothes,
and a collar, registered at the local vets, and training.
wanted to add more things around the house and in the garden for him,
it was his home now too and I wanted him to know that and feel
comfortable roaming the place freely in time.
I had more money than I knew what to do with, I might as well treat my pet, he more than deserved it.
My family owned a company that made cars named after Luci's shift animal. I'd grown up looking at pictures of jaguars and saw them even more due to working in my family's company. I owned cars with the feline's face on them, and had grown fond of the big cat over the years, it was why I'd bid on Luci when I saw him, I knew I was meant to have him.
Everyone believed larger shifts were unruly, nigh untrainable, especially predator shifts like Luci, big cats were notorious for being dangerous and volatile.
I'd seen none of that from Luci. He'd been displeased when that woman at the shifter welfare centre had invaded his space and tried to touch him but he'd never acted aggressively towards her.
I know he told me that he attacked Rico but even the most docile and even-tempered animal will lash out when backed into a corner and intentionally hurt for some sick sense of power.
My thoughts got interrupted by the buzzing of my phone and I slipped my hand into my jacket pocket, briefly looking away from Luci to look down at the screen, it was my mother calling me.
I quickly answered it and my eyes lifted to find Luci. I smiled as I watched him chase a butterfly a few feet away, stalking it a few steps away before pouncing, undeterred by his failed attempt, his eyes latched onto the delicate colourful winged insect.
"Quill?" my mother's voice came through the speakers and I got the feeling it wasn't the first time that she'd called my name.
"Sorry mum, how is your trip going?" I asked her and hummed occasionally as she told me all about the Spanish villa they were staying at, the vineyard, pool, and food, only half listening as I watched Luci, now focused on sniffing every scent he could find on the grass and following the trails back and forth the lawn, no doubt belonging to the rabbits that sometimes slipped through the fences from the wildflower fields on either side of my property where they had their burrows.
I'd already decided to make sure he was inside at dawn and dusk. I understood he was a predator but I'd rather not see him tear into a wild rabbit, plus I had no idea what parasites or diseases they might have. He was already on worming treatment because he ate raw meat, both for heartworm and tapeworm, I didn't want to have to take him to the vet because I'd been thoughtless and let him in the garden when rabbits often used it to go from one field to the other.
"You seem distracted Quill."
She chuckled softly, thankfully not upset I'd basically been ignoring her talk about her trip when I'd asked about it.
"Sorry." I apologised for the second time.
"That's okay dear, but what's on your mind? You're not normally so distracted."
I sighed. I hadn't told her yet about Luci, nor anyone else. I knew they'd want to meet him and I don't think he was ready for guests yet.
"I got a pet," I explained and heard her excited squeals on the other end, calling my father over so she could tell him the news.
"I'm so happy for you Quill! I'm glad you finally found a pet you clicked with." she gushed.
"Me too, it turns out I was looking for the wrong type of pet," I admitted.
"Are they settling in okay?" she inquired and I nodded before realising that she couldn't see me.
"Yes, his name's Luci and he's a feline."
"A cat? Hmm, then again you've always loved cats, and they suit your personality." I snorted at her words. "What? You like your space, tolerate nothing you don't like and only get close to a few selective people."
She had me there.
"Did you name him or is Luci the name he came with?"
"It's the name on his shifter handbook and all his other paperwork," I explained and she hummed.
"What do you think it's short for? Luci must be a nickname for something. Lucian maybe?"
I frowned at her question, I'd just thought he was called Luci, but from his reputation at the auction... I think if Luci was a nickname then his full name would be Lucifer, I certainly wouldn't be calling him that.
"He's a black cat mum, if anything..." I trailed off.
you're not renaming him?" she said in almost disbelief and I rolled my
eyes. My family weren't god-fearing people, nor were we religious. I
didn't see a problem with his name, she shouldn't either.
"I like the name Luci, I think it suits him."
"He's your pet dear." she sighed, reluctantly accepting the fact that I'd be keeping the name. "Have you gotten him fitted for a collar yet?"
"Not yet. I've booked one for a home visit, I wanted him to get settled in first." I explained.
"That's understandable. Well, I've got to go, love you dear!" she exclaimed excitedly and ended the call.
"Bye mum, love you too." I sighed at the beeping tone of the ended call, she always did that.