Lannor sat on the end of the bed watching Tyler move around the room as he gathered clothes. While Tyler remained naked, the memory of what occurred in the bathroom stayed on forefront of Lannor’s mind. Not until Tyler dressed was Lannor able to focus his thoughts elsewhere. When Tyler came to sit beside him, pulling on socks and shoes, the faint scent of the floral soap on Tyler skin caught Lannor’s attention. Unlike women fragranced with soap, Tyler’s masculine odour mixed with the floral aroma gave a somewhat musky scent not unpleasing to the nose.
However, the proximity of Tyler combined with the scent brought back vivid images of what occurred in the bath. Unable to forget the memory, it once more flooded Lannor’s mind until Tyler moved, breaking his train of thought. Dressed in a red long sleeve fitted top and loose khaki pants, Tyler stood in the middle of the room with hands on his hips.
“Don’t get too comfortable my friend, I intend to clean today with this room first on the list. But first, breakfast.”
As Tyler approached him, Lannor cringed at knowing what was about to come. Years of being handled taught Lannor there was nothing he could do about it being lifted and carried around. The times he made any attempt to fight, Lannor always came of much worse. Tyler lifted him from the bed and carried him downstairs. It was only the rubbing of his belly that stopped Lannor from being cantankerous.
In the kitchen, Tyler placed Lannor on the counter and prepared breakfast. Content with the manner in which Tyler’s presences made him feel, he lay down on the counter, making himself comfortable. Paws crossed, Lannor lowered his head, watching Tyler. In no time the smell of fried eggs filled the room and contentment grew within Lannor. There was a pleasure he received from watching those who used the kitchen. It wasn’t always the case; husbands and children often got in the way. But when there was the one occupant; Lannor found serenity.
While the eggs cooked Tyler examined the object beside Lannor on the counter. As Tyler did, he gently ran a hand down Lannor’s back and Lannor rolled onto his side enjoying the touch. Through slitted eyes, Lannor noticed the sadness on Tyler’s face as he stared at the small-unknown object in his hand. Curiosity tugged at him but not enough to want to know what it was Tyler held. Whatever it was did not appear to bring any joy to Tyler as he place it down.
With Tyler’s hand gone, Lannor closed his eye, content to listen to Tyler’s movement around the room. At the clinking of dinnerware nearby, Lannor opened his eyes to glance across the top of the counter. Placed before him a bread plate with a single fried egg cut into small pieces. Lannor didn’t need tempting further before rising and hovered over the feast.
“It’s cool enough to eat, I cooked yours first. But no meat sorry, I’m a vegetarian.”
Lannor’s ears twitched, as the realisation meat would be absent from the kitchen. With a slight turn of his head, Lannor glanced at Tyler as he sat at the table with his own plate of eggs. A man, who didn’t eat meat? It was unheard off in the world Lannor now resided in. Yet, Lannor had heard correctly, and he found himself delighted by the news. On his home planet, they did not eat the animals. They were companions and upon first discovering the people of this world did eat animals made Lannor extremely uncomfortable and ill. In the past, the sight or smell of meat of any form often drove Lannor from the house. Always, an overwhelming sensation of vomit pooled in Lannor’s mouth and he could not eat for days.
Even Elizabeth had found it difficult to give up meat. Often leaving the house and eating out to avoid upsetting Lanner. But her leaving him alone those evenings didn’t helped at all. Lannor turned back to look down at the egg. A sensation of emotions Lannor could not describe overwhelmed him. The temptation to transform grew and Lannor began to realised it was only a matter of time and that he knew he would appear before Tyler sooner rather than not at all. He lowered his nose to the egg and noting the warmth no longer there, ate.
As he did, Lannor recalled his last meal of vegetables from the over grown garden out back. Beyond the clothesline, behind the tall evergreens, tangled between the overrun grasses, the neglected garden provided vegetables in abundance during seasons. Yet, it meant meals were often far and few between and Lannor managed by remaining in his feline form. When the time came he would tell Tyler it was there.
The kitchen fell quiet as Lannor continued to lick his plate and it wasn’t until Tyler stood beside him, did he realise he was there.
“Looks like you’re done.”
Tyler took the plate and washed it, leaving it to dry with the other dishes on the sink. Lannor would have liked to come back to the plate later but such habits were best avoided.
After drying his hands on the towel, Tyler turned to Lannor and said, “I’m heading back upstairs to clean. You’re welcome to do as you please.”
Lannor sat on hind legs and stared at Tyler. Until now he had no reason to suspect Tyler knew who Lannor was. Yet the manner in which Tyler continued to talk to him and the way he treated him made Lannor suspect Tyler knew more than he did.
To say the cat didn’t still freak Tyler out a little was an understatement. The cat’s behaviour baffled Tyler, and he still wasn’t convinced he didn’t belong to someone else. Yet the cat seemed to know the house well, convincing Tyler he had always lived there. It left him pondering if someone else used the house but the condition it was in and the lack of utilities on his arrival made Tyler doubt anyone did.
As Tyler passed the living room, he gave it another quick glance before deeming the room too cluttered to do anything with. It could wait for another day, as the bedroom was the priority. Tyler’s return upstairs didn’t immediately lead him to the bedroom, rather the smaller room adjacent the staircase entrance. Unsure what he would find, to Tyler’s surprise the room was remarkably clean and tidy.
“Unbelievable.” Tyler murmured as he stared around the windowless room. Light cascaded through a skylight in the centre of the ceiling over an antique loveseat on a small round ornate mat. The appearance of the cat at his feet startled Tyler, and he watched as the cat entered the room and jumped on to the loveseat.
Tyler moved in further, walking around the loveseat, as he stared at the shelves covering all four walls. Books scattered in the corners of shelves, some older than Tyler dare imagine, many classics and possibly first editions. There were porcelain figurines of animals and ladies, miniature paintings of exotic places and many other wonders tucked away high and low. At one of the shelves, Tyler ran a finger across the top and no trace of dust appeared.
“How is this possible?” Tyler murmured as he flopped down beside the cat on the old wicker seat.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It is almost like a shrine and it’s clean. How is it clean?”
Tyler could not fathom the unusual nature of the house and with a deep sigh, stood.
“Well, it’s a mystery for another day. Time to clean.”
Back in the bedroom, Tyler didn’t miss the fact the cat once more followed him. It crossed Tyler’s mind whether cats suffered from separation anxiety. Given the amount of time the house stood empty and the age of the cat being several years, it explained much of the cat’s behaviour. As the cat settled back on the bed, Tyler said, “Don’t get too comfortable, I plan on stripping the linen.”
To Tyler’s utter amazement, the cat stood, jumped from the bed and settled down on the mat beside the fireplace. It took a moment for Tyler to realise he was staring at the cat opened mouth.
“How on earth….” Tyler shook his head in disbelief.
After his initial shock, Tyler moved towards the window, his eyes reluctant to leave the cat. With his attention back on the task, Tyler pulled open the curtains and then attempted to open the window. The rusted lock took muscles to open and then Tyler fought with the small brass handles to lift the window open. When opened partially, Tyler did the same to the other window, which proved much easier. With the cool winter draft blowing into the room, Tyler thought he heard the cat hiss.
A glance towards the mat showed the cat watching Tyler, however he couldn’t be sure if he heard right. Yet, somehow Tyler suspected he did.
“I’ll leave them open long enough to take away the musty smell.”
Tyler’s eyes once more strayed on the cat as he moved towards the bed. Suspicion grew and Tyler found himself continually monitoring the cat for anything out of the ordinary.
The sun shone through the windows and the clattering of curtains being blown against the windowpanes gave Tyler confidence to wash the linen. With the blankets removed and the sheets and pillowcases stripped, Tyler gathered them up and took them downstairs to the laundry. The empty room contained the plumbing for a washing machine, but no machine and Tyler realised he would be hand washing the linen.
The metal trough had no plug and Tyler retrieved the plug from the kitchen, which thankfully fitted. With warm water in the trough, Tyler dumped the linen in to soak before returning upstairs to take the blankets out to air. The cat no longer in the bedroom, Tyler found his eyes darting around the house as he returned to the laundry. At the back door, Tyler let himself out and followed the narrow path through the long grass towards the homemade clothesline. Three wire lines strung between two pieces of wood, both bolted to two large round poles, had seem better days. With the three blankets draped over the lines, Tyler hoped they didn’t get blown away in the wind whipping them around at right angles.
On his return to the back door, the cat stood in the open doorway. Tyler eyed him suspiciously. As yet he had not seem the cat leave the house and pausing at the bottom step, Tyler said, “Come on. You can spend time outside for a while.”
The cat hissed at Tyler, turned and disappeared back inside.
Tyler paused before returning to the laundry. There was something strange about the cat and Tyler wasn’t sure he wanted to get to the bottom of it.