Whirling around to face the building, Patrick drew his weapon. “Get back in the car,” he ordered.
Ignoring him, I followed closely behind as he approached the building.
There was another scream.
He charged the door.
I stayed on his heels.
“Police!” he shouted, throwing the door open and leaping into the waiting area, gun drawn, stance aggressive.
“Shoot it!” the vet’s assistant, Monica, screamed, brandishing a broom at poor Piss, the cat, perched on top of a filing cabinet.
Patrick lowered his gun. “Ma’am, I don’t think…”
Monica swung the broom at the cat, who yowled her displeasure, leapt from the filing cabinet, and scrambled across the floor to hide under a table laden with “Spay or Neuter Your Pet” literature.
Monica chased after her, jabbing at the cat like some insane chimney sweep.
“Hey!” I shouted. “Stop that!”
Ignoring me, she took another vicious swipe at the trapped animal.
Pushing past Patrick I yanked the broom from the other woman’s grip, raised it overhead and threatened, “How would you like it if I chased you around with this?”
Reaching around me, Patrick plucked the broom from my fingers. “I think everyone should calm down.”
“I hate that cat,” Monica spat. “Hate her.”
I crouched down and eyed poor Piss who was trembling against the back wall. Her one good eye was a narrow slit, watching me warily.
“C’mere, sweetheart,” I coaxed. “No one is going to hurt you.”
“I’m going to kill her when I get the chance,” Monica promised from behind me.
Turning, I glared up at her. “Maybe you need a job where you don’t work with animals.”
“That’s not an animal. Piss is pure evil,” the woman countered, incensed.
“Maybe you could go tell the doctor that Miss Lee is here to see her dog,” Patrick suggested.
“Fine!” the vet’s assistant flounced away down the hall.
I turned my attention back to the cat. “C’mon out. It’s safe. I’m not going to let her hurt you.”
“Promise?” she mewled weakly.
She crept forward and sniffed my outstretched hand before shoving her head against my palm.
I stroked her soft fur soothingly. “It’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”
She moved closer, standing up on her rear legs so she could rest her head against my knee. I rubbed the spot behind her good ear and she arched her back contentedly.
“Okay if I pick you up?” I asked.
“Yes,” she meowed softly.
Gently scooping her against my chest, I stood up. “There you go,” I soothed softly. “You’re safe now.”
Suddenly aware that Patrick was watching, I looked over self-consciously at him.
Arms crossed over his chest, he leaned against the wall, a bemused expression dancing in his eyes.
“What?” I asked.
He shook his head. “With everything else going on, you still manage to be compassionate to a cat.”
“It’s easier than being nice to a person,” I countered quickly.
Leveraging himself off the wall, he stepped close to me. “You’re pretty amazing, Mags.”
A warm flush spread from my chest to my face. Needing to hide my reaction to his compliment, I snuggled my nose into the cat’s fur.
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