Enter the Cat Ch. 06byMygypsy©
I am sorry for the time it has taken me to post this chapter but real life demands my time and attention.
Thanks to the many well wishers who take the time to email. And thanks to my dear friend Tang for being there when I need time out.
Anger and hurt war for control as I storm from the quarters, slamming the screen door behind me. Their mingled scents and the tantalising smell of Rosy's arousal burn into my brain making my stomach churn.
Had there been signs I had missed? It had been Malcolm who had been quick to follow her, not his brother Chris. Nor had Rosy been teasing or tempting any of the toms that I had seen.
But when Malcolm, Timny, Chris and Rosy had returned Chris had been holding her hand. The slight breeze from the window had blown their scents straight to me. My inner cat had screeched his disbelief, and I had fled the room before I lost my head and handed over control to him.
I head for the shed where all the weights and gym equipment are kept. I know in some small corner of my mind that pounding Chris to a bloody pulp is not an option. Every primal feline instinct screams at me to eradicate the male competition but I grit my teeth and keep walking. I need to slam my fists into something, need to vent my fury and hurt.
I don't bother turning on the interior light or opening both lots of large doors to let in the sunlight. I head straight to the largest punching bag and deliver a flurry of blows that has the heavy bag swinging. I grunt as I tuck my chin into my chest and roll my shoulders before delivering two sharp left jabs, then a hard right.
The right makes the bag swing wildly and buck in mid air. And it hurt my fist. I ignore the slight metallic squeak as more light begins to fill the shed. I don't look to see who has joined me. Instead I slam more hard hits into the leathery bag.
"You going to slaughter that bag single-handedly or do you want some help?" Steven asks as he appears on the opposite side of the punching bag. He takes hold of it and steadies it, making it offer more resistance to my blows.
"Pounding Chris into an unrecognisable bloody pulp isn't an option is it," I say tightly. Even as the words leave my mouth, I feel foolish. I know it's not Chris' fault; it's not even Rosy's fault that they have become involved.
"I wouldn't object if you pounded on Edwin some. I'm sure he has done something to deserve a hiding," Steven offers.
Even though the idea appeals to me, I know I can't dish out discipline just because I am upset Rosy became involved with another tom.
"Chris is ... too easy going ... for Rosy. She'll end up ... walking all ... over him ... in no time," I say between blows to the punching bag.
"Don't know for sure, I didn't take more than one good sniff -- but I don't think Chris mounted her," Steven says quietly.
I hesitate, missing a blow in the rhythm I had settled into, and the bag hits me in the chest making me step backwards as it swings towards me again. I glance towards
Steven slightly startled; I hadn't thought to smell for any such evidence. Just the tell-tale mingled scents and the sweet smell of female arousal had been enough to send me from the building struggling for control.
"She wasn't objecting to you flirting with her when Malcolm was treating her feet," Steven points out and I suppress a smile as I remember how fiery Rosy had been.
"She acted more like any young she-kitt just discovering toms are more than just there for protecting them," Steven points out.
"The way she's quick to lash out and the fact Edwin says she had a real go at Malcolm while they were travelling concerns me," I admit as I step back from the punching bag.
"She's pretty nervous and I am sure she has every escape route mapped out in her head for whichever room she is in. She did get drugged and locked in a cage last time she was here," Steven reminds me quietly.
"When I've cooled my temper off, I'll have to have a talk with her. Tell Rosy that we won't force her to stay if she wants to leave. And I think I'll have a chat about her not shifting, or being in cat form near Jazzy or Donny. She's too unpredictable," I say with a heavy sigh.
I don't know how Rosy will react to my laying down of some basic rules, but I'm sure it is best if I make it clear what we expect from the start.
"How about we hit the benches for a complete workout," Steven asks and I realise I have been silent for several minutes.
"Actually I fancy a patrol of the bushland around the cattle paddock. Make sure no feral dogs or dingos have been around," I say even though I know the chance of another form of predator so close to our home compound is highly unlikely.
"Sounds like a good way to kill a few hours," Steven agrees.
"We can keep an eye open for any signs of kangaroos coming in to feed on the greener grass as well," I tell him.
"Feeling like going up against a big buck kangaroo?" Steven asks with a grin.
"Not really but it might be a way of working out some of the extra energy," I mutter as I take out my phone and text a message to Wade, Edwin and Timny to let them know where we will be if we are needed.
Steven has stripped off by the time I am finished and I glance his way before pulling my shirt off over my head.
Does Rosy prefer his dark good looks? I've over heard several of the she-kitts and young Queens commenting on his dark, almost Spanish features, calling him hot and
sexy. His own sister has often teased him telling him several of her friends 'simply drooled' over his 'sexy bedroom eyes.'
I find myself mentally comparing my large frame to his. Steven is tall at 6'4" but I am another 6 and a half inches taller. He has the typical broad shouldered, muscular build of a mature tom. My own shoulders are even wider and more solidly muscled, making me turn slightly sideways to fit through most normal doorways.
I suddenly start to feel clumsy and over sized, even beside my best friend. I force the thoughts from my mind and give myself over to my transformation. Once in cat form I know my feelings of being vastly different from my friends and family will fade away to nothing.
I will be Micah, chief defender of the Williamson clan. My size and formidable strength often dissuaded troublemakers. What was once my handicap is now the biggest asset in keeping my clan safe.
When both Steven and I have shifted to cat form, we leave the shed and head for the tree line. The day is warm but we trot along until we reach the dappled shade of the trees. We spend the next few hours patrolling and checking for anything that might prove a danger to Jazzy, Rosy or Donovan.
It is getting close to dusk when we return to the shed and shift back to human form. I pull my jeans and joggers on, not bothering with my shirt before starting to close up the shed. I notice Steven doesn't bother with his shirt either as I push the large doors closed and secure the chain that holds them closed.
"I hope they have a feed cooked," Steven says as we head for the quarters.
"With Rosy to look after they better have," I agree.
The smell of cooked meat greets us as we walk into the quarters; I pause in the lounge room doorway and glance in. Malcolm is massaging ointment into Rosy's feet while she lays sprawled out on the lounge. I catch her watching me in the reflection from the window where the sky has darkened outside. I smile wryly at how alert she is even among us.
"Food is ready to eat," Mikkarl says from the kitchen.
"We'll be there in a minute," Steven says, and I hear him move away from behind me. He must have been checking up on the situation with Rosy as well.
I head for the bathroom and have to wait my turn to wash-up before heading back to the kitchen. I can't help noticing how Rosy stands well back as everyone helps themselves to the food. It reminds me of how Toby had been careful not to get too near either Steven or myself when we had been eating.
I catch Rosy eyeing Steven's chest and shoulders. She keeps her head lowered slightly and darts glances from the corner of her eyes. I smile to myself as I realise she is
either developing or already has a healthy interest in looking at toms. Maybe given time, she will recover from all that has happened to her in the past.
I step into the clear space in front of the roast meat and spear the thick, crunchy end slice of roast. The faintest of sounds reaches me and I glance towards Rosy. She is watching the slice of meat and I realise she prefers the crispy piece as well. I cut it in half and put the larger half back on the plate of sliced meat. Edwin immediately reaches for it and I grab his wrist in a hard grip.
"That is Rosy's. Touch it and you answer to me," I say as I stare at him hard.
Edwin scowls but says nothing as I finally release his wrist; he reaches for another piece of meat before moving into the lounge room.
"Rosy, if you want that slice of meat you need to come and take it," I tell her quietly. She meets my gaze uncertainly for a few moments before giving a brief nod. She moves forward and begins helping herself to food. With Robby, Mikkarl and Edwin in the lounge room she is bolder around the food but still careful to keep back from the rest of us.
When she moves to the lounge room I watch the way she turns her shoulder and hunches it slightly as Chris sits next to her. She is still guarding her food but not to the extent she used to. I continue to glance her way every few minutes trying to gauge her behaviour as I eat. I see when her eyes darken with interest and her lips open slightly. The tip of her tongue darts out to moisten her bottom lip as her pupils enlarge; I feel my body tighten in response and I am startled when she lifts her gaze to meet mine.
Rosy looks away hurriedly but not before I see the warm glow rising in her face. She glances back at me then looks away hurriedly once again. I feel satisfaction and pleasure fill me as I realise Rosy had been checking me out as she had with Steven earlier. Suddenly my own doubts and insecurities over my size seem insignificant. Rosy clearly liked what she saw and that is enough for me.
With the meal out of the way, we sit back and relax as we watch TV. Edwin and Malcolm leave to do a sweeping patrol around the front of the buildings and further out towards the road. I check the motion sensors and study the record of any movement during the day. Everything is as it should be and I return to the lounge room knowing the area is secure.
"Any good movies on?" Steven asks.
"There's a martial arts movie on one of the channels," Timny says after studying the TV guide for a few moments.
"Turn that game off and put the TV on for a change," I say as I make myself comfortable sitting on the floor in front of the middle of the lounge. Steven soon sits down beside me as we watch the movie; behind us is Rosy who is offering no protests to our company.
The hour is late and the movie is nearly over before Edwin and Malcolm return. I hear Malcolm hesitate beside the lounge instead of following Edwin around to sit and watch the TV.
"Hey Stray, why don't you go and crawl into bed. You were asleep there," Malcolm says softly.
"No, wanta stay here," Rosy mumbles and I hear her move restlessly on the lounge behind me.
I glance over my shoulder and catch the uneasy glance she sends my way as she sits up a bit. She turns her attention to the movie but her eyelids are heavy and it looks like she will go back to sleep quickly. From where I sit the angle of my view shows the slight hollows in her cheeks and faint marks beneath her eyes. I remember Edwin saying Rosy had admitted she travelled hard and fast to reach here.
"I'm getting a beer. Anyone else want one?" I ask as I get to my feet. I look down at Steven before glancing towards the kitchen, then back at him.
"I'll have a look at what we have before I decide what I'll have," Steven says as he climbs to his feet.
"I'll have a beer," Malcolm says.
"Yeah, sounds good," Timny agrees.
"I got a couple of cans of Jim Beam and cola left. Grab me one," Edwin says without taking his attention from the TV.
"Can you handle carrying another beer?" Chris asks as he leans forward to look past Timny and into the kitchen.
"You want a drink Rosy," Mikkarl asks as he climbs to his feet.
"No thanks," Rosy says quietly, her voice soft with sleep.
"Beer since it's your shout," Robby says getting an amused snort from Mikkarl.
I begin taking bottles of beer from the fridge along with the can of spirits Edwin requested, and I hand several to Steven and Mikkarl.
"Steven, make your way to the hallway door. Mikkarl you head towards the big window. I'm going to have a bit of a chat with Rosy and I don't want her deciding to take off in a hurry. You're only to make her hesitate about trying to get past. If she does make a try just step aside," I say very quietly.
Both of them give a brief nod then we head back towards the lounge room. Steven hands Chris, Timny and Malcolm their drinks and moves into place by the hallway door. Mikkarl hands Robby and Edwin their drinks before moving towards the TV
while I stay back near the entrance into the kitchen. When they are in place I move forward a few steps.
"Hey Rosy, you awake?" I ask quietly.
The top of her head appears above the back of the lounge and she looks my way silently. I see the suspicion in her eyes as she glances around quickly taking in Steven and Mikkarl's positions.
"I need to have a chat to you about a couple of things. Firstly, we need to discuss the way you kicked Malcolm today as well as giving me that slap not long after I got back here. I am sure you felt you had good reason at the time but we don't do that here. Someone says something you don't agree with, tell them so. Or tell them to shut up. Don't go hitting any of us," I say firmly.
I see the way her eyes narrow and notice the sly glances towards the exits from the room as she shifts slightly on the lounge.
"If you hit us, one of us might turn around and hit back if caught by surprise. No one would mean to, but if we feel we have to defend ourselves ... none of us want to hit you. We don't hit our she-kitts or Queens," I say gently but firmly.
"Yeah, you left a big patch of bruising on Malcolm today and there was no need to get stuck into him like that," Edwin scolds in a stern voice as he gets to his feet and faces Rosy.
She is quickly on her feet and moves away from the end of the lounge but stops with a quick glance my way. She glances around quickly as the rest of the warriors get to their feet. I realise this could suddenly go the wrong way as I recognise the signs of her rising tension.
"He pissed me off! I only elbowed him in the ribs the once but he kept hassling me," Rosy spits the accusation out in defensive anger.
"Yeah? Way I remember it you kept arguing with Malcolm after I told both of you to stop it. If I didn't know better, I would have thought you were trying to provoke him," Edwin says tightly.
"I was provoking him?" Rosy demands. She acts as though she doesn't like what he is saying as she shifts from foot to foot in agitation. "He's the one who was making out that I'm a freak or some kind of crazy!"
"Edwin, enough," I warn, lacing my tone with authority. Edwin opens his mouth then shuts it abruptly as I glare at him; he looks away and wisely remains silent.
"Rosy, see how physically hitting someone ..." I begin to try to explain my point to her but she turns to face me and takes several small steps towards me. Her head is lowered slightly, her eyes narrowed, her hands clenching and unclenching by her sides. Clearly she is prepared to take on the biggest tom rather than two or more at once.
"Malcolm wouldn't shut up! He just kept on and on at me." Her voice is steadily rising. "You can't make me stay here. You can't stop me leaving,"
"None of us are going to force you to stay here. I just want you to stay long enough to listen to what I have to say so I can explain how clan cats behave towards each other," I say in a low soothing voice, but my words seem to do nothing to ease her distress.
Rosy is glancing around and moving her weight back and forth. I realise that it must seem like she is under attack from both Edwin and myself. I've seen this before in stray werecats. Rosy is in fight or flight mode. To her it must seem like we have her cornered in the room, every avenue of escape blocked. So now she is preparing to take on anyone who gets in her escape path or seems to offer even a slight threat.
It hits me with stunning force that for Rosy the incident in the vehicle must have seemed similar. She had been in a small confined space with Edwin, Chris and Malcolm, feeling she had no chance to object or escape from their opinions and points of view. She must have been left feeling trapped and hounded. I realise I need to explain as much as possible to her before she feels she has no option but to run from us. I need to let her know I understand what today's incident was like for her.
"Malcolm didn't understand how you felt did he. None of them did," I say quietly and am relieved when suspicion flares in her eyes but she stops stalking towards me.
"Malcolm heard you talking - but he didn't understand what you were saying, did he," I tell her quietly.
"He wouldn't shut up. He just kept on and on," Rosy insists forcefully.
"And what he was saying to you upset you and scared you," I say lowering my voice gently. "Malcolm wouldn't have meant to hurt you or scare you."
I watch as she worries her bottom lip with her teeth before glancing back over her shoulder at Malcolm uncertainly. She glances back at me then at Steven and Mikkarl. I am in no doubt she feels trapped.
"After hitting him you were scared you'd be punished, weren't you. And you're wondering if I am going to punish you for hitting me," I say in an even tone. "So how about no more hitting from now on? You can yell at us all you like, just try not to hit out if you get scared by us."
"You can't stop me leaving," Rosy says abruptly and I know I haven't won her confidence.
"All I want is for you to stay here and listen to what I have to say. Besides you do want to stay to see Sam and Mitchell when they get back, don't you?" I ask forcing a light note into my voice.
"I came here to see them," Rosy says sharply as if to remove any doubt. "And Dwayne."
I press on while she is still prepared to stand and face me. She might not pay that much attention to the content of our conversation but it will sow seeds of thought for her. "Secondly, I have to insist that you do not shift to cat form anywhere near Jazzy or Donny. I know you had trouble controlling your shifts in the past so I insist on this."
"There will be times you can shift and be a cat. I even plan on all of us going hunting for a feed once Sam, Mitchell, Dwayne and Justin are back," I say firmly. "I am sure you wouldn't want to hurt either Jazzy or Donny, so no shifting. If you were a cat and lost control, someone could get seriously hurt."
"So don't even think about being in cat form around Jazzy because if you hurt her you can be sure we won't hesitate to hit you," Edwin cuts in and snaps tightly.
I see alarm flare in Rosy's eyes even as she spins to face the threat in Edwin's voice, and I reach out to catch her upper arm without thinking. Rosy hisses with a mixture of fear and anger as she flinches away from me. Her arm jerks as she raises her forearm as if she had been about to lash out and a low growl comes from her.
"Steven, Rosy needs to be able to leave," I tell him and he immediately moves towards the centre of the room leaving the doorway clear.
Rosy keeps a cautious eye on all of us as she edges towards the door; a moment later she is out in the hallway and heading outside. Even before the screen door shuts behind her I am on Edwin, grabbing the scruff of his shirt in both hands as I slam him back against the wall hard.