“I broke their cat!”
Clark sat up in bed, and looked at the clock. 2:33 am. He’d answered the phone on autopilot, still mostly asleep, but the sound of a crying woman on the other end of the line made him focus a little faster. “Marjorie?”
“Help me. I don’t know what to do.”
Clark crawled out of bed, cradling the phone between his ear and his shoulder, already looking for a pair of pants to pull on. “Okay, Marj, I’m going to need you to give me a little more information here. Where are you?”
“I’m at Heidi’s and Justin’s. I’m cat sitting, and I was just watching TV and there was a thump and a lot of meowing and I don’t know what to do.” Marjorie was still practically sobbing onto the line, “I’ve broken their cat and they’ll never forgive me.”
Now that Clark was waking up more, he could hear a cat meowing in the back ground, and it did sound rather pathetic. “Marjorie, did you call the pet emergency? If I know Heidi she left you the number somewhere. Or several somewheres. Check the fridge, by the cat’s food, and on the itinerary I’m sure she left you, it’s bound there somewhere.” He heard her shuffling around then a noise of success. “Okay, call them. I’m coming over.”
“Thank you, Clarkie. Thank you so much.” He heard the line disconnect, and he let his phone fall off his shoulder back onto his bed. He looked around for a t-shirt and a hoodie before heading out into the living room.
His brother Bruce was sitting on the couch, watching what looked like late night Comedy Central. “Where are you going?” Bruce asked, throwing a piece of a chip at Clark’s head as he walked in front of the screen.
“Marjorie’s got an emergency. Don’t wait up.”
“Booty Call,” Bruce sing-songed under his breath, and Clark shook his head. He could remind his brother that it wasn’t like that, but there really would be no point. Bruce was going to say whatever what he wanted to say, whatever Clark insisted. That was the joy of younger brothers.
When he got to Heidi and Justin’s, he saw a yellow and green hatchback parked in front of the house, and the door cracked open. He called out for Marjorie as he pushed the door all the way open.
“Guest room.” He heard Marjorie call back. She at least sounded like she’d pulled it together some since the phone call. Perhaps the addition of strangers had forced her to hold it together. Clark found her standing in the hallway, looking in through the guest room door, where a thin blonde man was kneeling over the still kind of pathetically mewing little gray cat. “Thank you for coming,” she sighed when she saw him.
“No problem. What happened?” He leaned on the wall next to her, and she hugged him around the waist. He could feel that she was shaking a little, so he tried his hardest to steady her.
“I think he was climbing on the bookshelves. Heidi said he could go anywhere and was pretty good about taking care of himself, she really just needed someone to fill his bowl when it ran low, and to make sure the house looked lived in and now I’ve broken their cat.”
“I think this would have happened whether you were here or not. And, I’m betting that Heidi and Justin will be happy that you were here. Because if he fell and you weren’t around, how long would he have been in pain for before someone came looking for him?” He held her by the shoulders, and made her step back so he could look at her face. “You see the logic?”
Slowly, Marjorie nodded. “Yes. Yes, that makes sense.” He let go of her shoulders, and she leaned against his side again. Clark leaned against the wall, watching the vet work with the cat, and tried not to let his eyes fall closed again.
He blinked, and the vet was suddenly in front of them, the cat in a carrier in his hand. “—so we definitely want to get some x-rays, just to double-check. Unfortunately the waiting rooms and things are closed at this hour of the night, but we’ll take him in and take good care of him, and we’ll give you a call in the morning with the updates and to let you know when we think he’ll be ready to come home. Sounds good?”
“Yes. Of course. Thank you, for everything.” The vet smiled politely, and they walked him to the door. After he drove away, Marjorie pulled Clark into another proper hug. “And thank you again for coming. I was just—panicking.”
“It’s alright. I’m here and I’m yours for the night. What do you need to relieve some stress?”
“Well, I have the movie I was watching when the cat fell.”
“Okay. Let’s go finish a movie.”