Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 30


The morning flew by, as it always did as Cally and Marna worked methodically through the routine it took to keep their feline guests happy and comfortable.

As they worked, they chatted and giggled as usual, but they also found time to develop a plan. They settled on a date three weeks from now for their open day, and in the coming days Cally would contact their past and present clients by e-mail to issue the invitation.

“And between now and then I’ll zip round with the paintbrush,” Marna offered. “Not that the place looks shabby,” she assured Cally quickly. All of the woodwork was stained to look natural, to blend in with the rural surroundings.

“Good idea,” Cally agreed.

They shared a quick lunch, and as Marna disappeared for her afternoon off, Cally headed into the village, her mental shopping list now grown enough to necessitate a physical note lying beside her handbag on the passenger seat.

She parked in her usual spot and took the path from the car park through to the main street. She had her head down checking her list when she heard her name being called. She looked up.

“Ged!” she exclaimed when she noticed her ex-boyfriend.

The pub landlord was at the door of the pub, catching a minute of sunshine, and he waved her over.

“I heard about some bother up at Tim’s. What happened?”

She quickly filled him in on the previous evening’s incident, then hesitated.

“Actually, it didn’t quite end there,” she said. “I threw a bit of a strop,” she confessed, and went on to tell him about that, too.

Ged had been leaning nonchalantly against the door jamb, but he straightened to look down at her.

“Not your finest moment, then. I can see why you were upset, but at the same time Tim’s a decent bloke, and I’d reckon he’s had a pretty rough time. Last night must have been tough for him.”

“That’s exactly what Marna said,” she conceded with a grimace. “And I know you’re both right. It’s just that I always seem to be the one who picks up the phone first.”

“Someone has to be.” He gave a careless shrug. “Otherwise you both just get the engaged tone,” he said, and the simple logic made her laugh.

“Remind me again why we broke up?”

“Beats me. I mean, look at me, I’m the perfect man!” he said, striking a pose that made her laugh again.

“Idiot!” she said, throwing her arms round his neck. “Thanks for the advice, though, Ged. You always did know the right thing to say,” she murmured in his ear.

“Any time.” He bent his head and kissed her cheek, and gave her a tight brotherly hug that made her squeal.

****

Cally was still laughing as she went on her way. Barely a minute later she spotted Tim walking towards her along the street, Annie trotting neatly alongside him. Cally had the feeling the dog would stick close to his heels even without the leash.

But what really captured Cally’s attention was that Tim was leaning heavily on an aluminium walking stick.

The sight of him suddenly looking so vulnerable caught at her heart, and revealed to her with stark honesty just how much she cared for him.

His step faltered for a second, but then he straightened his shoulders and kept walking towards her, his expression a mixture of defiance and resignation.

“Caught in the act,” he said as he reached her, and she glanced guiltily back towards the pub doorway. Had he seen her and Ged hugging? But surely he couldn’t have misunderstood.

“Oh, no, it wasn’t how it looked,” she said quickly. “Ged was just giving me some brotherly advice.”

“Ged?” He looked blank. He raised his other hand and for the first time she noticed the bunch of soft pink roses wrapped in delicate silvery tissue paper. “I meant these. I thought you saw me coming out of the florist.”

“Oh, I see. They’re beautiful.”

He held the flowers out to her.

“They’re for you. Peace offering?”

She couldn’t help smiling as she dipped her nose to inhale their sweet scent.

“I asked the florist to give me something that would say ‘I’m very sorry’. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I was just –” He sighed and shook his head. “I’m not sure what I was, to be honest. But I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Cally. I never would.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.