Arianna Ch. 01byScriptorFidelis©
I'm not exactly sure to explain this, so allow me to start from the beginning. As these things tend to happen, I was getting over a girl. Not just any girl, but the one who I'd thought I'd be spending the rest of my life with. The one who I'd invested five years with. The one who I thought I knew better than anyone else in the world.
She turned out to be the one who decided she had to find herself… by sleeping with my roommate.
Deciding to let her work that out, I'd left Seattle and moved to Denver. I'd never been here before, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Let me tell you, they're not kidding about how beautiful this state is.
But I'm a lawyer and let me assure you that uprooting myself, quite suddenly, wasn't exactly the best idea for my professional life. I'd earned enough experience to not have to take the Colorado bar exam, but not enough to dodge being a junior associate at a large firm out here. So I was back to working hundred hour weeks and discovering that I wasn't as young as I used to be.
Every day, I'd come to my empty apartment around midnight – no more roommates for me! – I'd throw a meal together, and watch TV on the couch until I fell asleep. Then I'd wake up and do the same thing all over again. Sundays were the only exception. I'd go to church before work.
That all changed one night in the middle of last December; I had come back from work and dropped onto the couch when I heard a noise out on my – generally unused – balcony. I live on the top floor of my building so I was quite curious as to what was out there. I opened the door and there she was, soaking wet, and shivering. The woman who was going to change my life. Oh, and she happens to be a cat.
Now I'm going to tell you right up front that I'm not normally an animal person. I've got nothing against them, per se, but I've just never really felt the need to have a pet.
But there was something about her that was different. I knew I had to take her in and I didn't hesitate when I picked her up and carried her into my apartment.
Into my life, really.
She was almost entirely gray. The very tips of her ears and her tail, however, were white. That night, however, she really was a pathetic looking. Fur soaked by the falling snow, paws cracked and frozen from walking on the ice, ribs poking at her sides evidencing her malnutrition. Even apart from the lack of a collar, it was obvious that she didn't have an owner. And I'd never met someone that needed a home more.
However, now that I'd decided to give her one and me still not an animal person – and it being past midnight – I had absolutely no idea what to do with this little being.
"Well now what?" I muttered.
"Meo," I suppose it was supposed to be a 'meow,' but she was too down-trodden to even utter that.
"Indeed," I patted her head, and she nuzzled into the warmth of my hand. I kept it there, and tugged her up to my chest, letting her warm herself against my body, while I walked to the fridge. "Cats like milk, right? I mean, everyone knows that." I held her with one hand and retrieved the carton.
I made sure to check the date on it – with my hectic work life I tended to let things sit in the fridge long enough to qualify me for federal science grants – before I poured some in a bowl. I set both her and the bowl down on the floor, but she refused to leave me. She just stayed by my feet and looked up at me plaintively, as if asking 'Who said you should put me down?' I sighed and picked her up, leaving the bowl there.
"Another woman who wants to runs my life," I chuckled to myself walking over to the couch and settled down. "Well it's there if you want it."
"Meow," she affirmed, and snuggled into my warm lap, though making sure my hands were still on her.
I think I knew, even back then, that I'd already lost all my future battles to this little creature, now purring herself to sleep while I stroked her back.
I woke up late the next day – fortunately a Saturday – and found myself staring into a pair of slit-pupil green eyes staring back at me curiously.
"Let me guess, you're a morning person?"
"I see. Well we'll have to talk about that later." I rose and moved to the kitchen for my required coffee. While making it, I noticed that her bowl from the night before was empty.
"Got hungry, huh?" I gazed down at her. She was under my feet, but somehow never got in my way.
"Alright, well there's more, but I'm gonna have to get you some cat food or something. This is all pretty new to me."
She gazed up at me and assured me that she'd forgive me for my flaws. If you've ever "owned" a cat, you know this look.
I set down a fresh bowl of milk for her and only then started working on my own drink. "Thanks. I suppose you need a name, huh?"
She paused her lapping at the milk – which for some reason I found adorable – and cocked her head at me.
"Well I just can't call you 'Cat,' can I? Well I mean I could but it's probably copyrighted." I'm an intellectual property lawyer.
I chuckled at my own joke and sat down on at the kitchen table, a mug of coffee warming my hands. I was actually quite surprised when she jumped up on the table – leaving her milk behind – and curled up next to my arm.
"Miss me from all the way over there?" I gestured at the bowl not a handful of feet away.
She yawned and snaked her head underneath my hand. Dutifully, I began stroking between her ears.
And thus began my relationship with Arianna. Ari, for short. For the next year we lived together and it was a learning process for us both. I learned not to interrupt her baths, and she learned she liked scaring the hell out of me when I'm concentrating on something. I learned that she really liked her milk a lot more than her water, and she learned that a freshly dry-cleaned suit is a wonderful place to take a nap. I learned that she wasn't at all interested in any of the toys that I bought her, and she learned that my lap – no matter what I was doing – is her sole domain.
I'll admit, it seems a bit one-sided, but I got more out of our new arrangement than I could ever convey. Her padding underneath me, always brushing against me, listening as I worked out clients' problems actually seemed to help a lot more than staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen. Waking up to her green eyes demanding attention, or breakfast, never failed to bring a smile to my face every morning. Having her there, waiting for me, when I got to my apartment actually made it a home.
Now don't misunderstand me, we had our share of differences too. Early on, I'd tried to make her sleep on the floor in a cat-bed I'd purchased. She wouldn't hear of it. She'd gotten very used to sleeping on my stomach and that wasn't going to change. It took a few swipes from her claws and one sharp bite before I decided to leave that alone. Also, she was a young cat still and had plenty of energy to stalk me all day long, and sometimes I just wouldn't have it. When I did turn her down she'd sulk in my closet until I changed my mind. I always did.
Oh and did she ever hate it when I started dating again.
Between my old work experience and new, the partners at my firm decided to ease up on my requirements, and so I found I had a lot more time on my hands. I hadn't really thought about dating again, but it just sort of happened. I met a nice girl at church, and what started off as coffee afterwards progressed into me asking her out.
I think Ari knew something was up right when I got home. Firstly, it was quite early for me. While I didn't have the salt-mine hours I'd started with, I was still rarely home before eight, so to be back at five was unheard of. Then instead of changing out of my suit and into a pair of comfortable shorts, I changed into some slacks and a dress shirt. Ari stared at me the entire time. Thinking she needed something, I refilled her water, and got her a small bowl of milk from the fridge. As is the norm when I try to understand her, I was wrong.
The date itself was fine, I suppose. Jen was a freshly graduated college student who was now working at a small marketing company. But I found we just didn't have much to talk about. Though not all that great, perhaps it was our age difference that made conversation difficult. Perhaps it was me still not over my ex. Perhaps I was just too nervous. I couldn't say. But feeling it wouldn't be fair to her, or myself, not to at least try we continued to see each other.
On our third or fourth date she'd agreed to come over and watch a movie. So there we were on my couch watching a bumbling hero trying to win the hand of a beautiful heroine in some (dreadful) romantic comedy, when Ari – who had been hiding under my bed the minute she saw Jen – finally made her entrance. Purposefully ignoring my date, little Ari jumped into my lap and gave me her 'Why aren't you petting me?' stare. As I always did when I saw this, I chuckled and began stroking her back.
Jen, smiling at the exchange, had asked if she could pet my cat, and seeing nothing wrong with this I nodded. Well that's when Ari lost it. When Jen tried to reach down, Ari whipped her head around and hissed at my date. Her claws dug into my lap as she leaped up off of me and onto the coffee table knocking our drinks onto the carpet. Rising quickly, I apologized to Jen, assuring her this was the first time Ari had acted this way, but that was pretty much that. Jen didn't stay too much longer afterwards.
But what I had told my date was absolutely true; Ari had been nothing but sweet with my other friends. Normally Ari never left my sight. Never having owned a cat before, I don't know if that is unusual. But she always liked to be able to know where I was while I was in the apartment, and usually she was never more than petting-distance away from me. However, she was very shy when it came to others. She only emerged from under my bed for a few close friends and only then after she had gotten used to them being over several times. But not in her shyness or her normal manner had she ever reacted the way she did to Jen.
Turns out it was just my dates Ari didn't like. After Jen there was Linda and after that Kim. It got to be so bad that I'd have to keep Ari locked in my master closet. And of course, afterwards she'd sulk for days.
Now I don't think I missed out with any of those women. From the start I never felt anything, not a strong physical connection, nor a close emotional bond with any of them. Maybe Arianna was picking up on my reluctance. I'll never know how she'd have reacted if I brought home someone different. Now, of course, it doesn't really matter.
I'm sure you remember where you were when it happened. I was sitting at my laptop working on client's patent when it did. I knew right away something was wrong. I actually looked out the window wondering what was going on. It was two in the afternoon but the sky was pitch black. Foolishly, I went outside onto my balcony, Ari at my feet, and wondered what the hell was going on.
That was pretty much my last thought before I fell over clutching my head. I'm sure you've heard the stories, or felt it yourself that day, but the pain was like nothing I've ever felt before. It would be like the worst burn you've ever received, except that it covered every part of your body inside and out. I don't recall screaming, but my raw throat afterwards told a different story.
When I regained consciousness, it was – as usual – to a pair of green eyes. Ari was staring down at me. She was worriedly meowing and licking her coarse tongue over my cheek.
"I'm fine, kitten." I rasped out.
She gave me a doubtful look.
"Well, I think I'm fine," I backtracked. Picking myself up, I went back into my apartment as quickly as I could manage and dropped onto my couch. Ari, not quite sure how to take all this, I'm sure, set herself on top of the couch, protectively looking down at me. If anyone had tried to disturb me, she'd have had something different to say about that.
I woke up to a face full of fur. Ari had apparently decided my apartment was safe enough for her to take a nap on my chest. I chuckled and stroked her back the way she liked. She began purring softly, only opening a single eye to check on me.
"I'm fine, kitten." I said again, sounding a lot better.
"Meow," she agreed and returned to her nap.
The next few months were the craziest I, or any other person in the world, had ever known. Wild rumors. Crazy tales. Mythology and fiction, from around the globe. I didn't even pay attention to most of it. I wasn't a superstitious man, and I wasn't one who believed in the paranormal. Tales of were-beasts, or half-animals, or furries, or whatever was ridiculous. Well at first they were. Then the evidence started walking the streets. No one was sure of what happened, no one is sure of it now either, but everyone agrees that whatever it was, it was a doozey. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to who got changed. Some were normal people. Some were otherwise normal animals. The end result was a new breed of humanity. Several new breeds if you count all the different types.
To be honest, after the initial stir, I actually didn't think about Were's that much. Sure I worked with some now. But they seemed to be the same people they were before. Except now they were covered in fur, or feathers, or scales. I was told that the former animal Were's had no tougher time adjusting either. They all seemed to know the native tongue of their region and seemed to have some basic education. While, it would be years and years before Were's were fully integrated into the world, it was surprising how quickly we all adjusted to them right away. Sure there were terrible incidents, on both sides. But that happened before the Change too.
But as I said, I didn't think too much about Were's… until I started living with one. I woke up one Friday morning to a pair of slit-pupil green eyes as I always did.
"G'morning, kitten." I smiled at her.
"Good morning, master," Ari replied.
I don't know exactly how long it took, but when it did finally register, I must've jumped at least a foot. "HOLY SHIT!"
The woman stared at me curiously. "Master?"
She was fairly small, perhaps no taller than five feet. She was covered in gray fur, except for white tufts on her ears atop her head and on the tip of her tail now swinging quickly back and forth, almost twitching. In my Ari I knew that meant she was nervous. Her breasts were quite full for someone of her size and looked (deliciously) firm. My gaze dipped lower and between her slender legs was another patch of white not quite covering her small folds.
Despite my surprise I probably stared at her a bit too long.
She smiled, sharp teeth in her mouth glinting. "Like what you see, master?" Her cute voice sounded exactly like her cute meows, but now that it was coming from this beautiful woman it changed things quite a bit.
"Um…uh… yeah." This is why I am not a trial lawyer.
She grinned even wider and suddenly I found myself plastered by gray fur. She was quite strong for her size, but her arms around me felt... right.
"Uh… Ari? What happened to you?"
"I don't know. I woke up with you, like I always do, and I was like this." She shrugged, but refused to let go of him. "I let you sleep." She added piously.
"Only 'cause you're probably not hungry." I muttered, thinking about my Ari's habits.
"What!?" She huffed indignantly and instantly began pouting.
"Hush, you know it's true." I absently began stroking her back.
She began purring loudly and relaxed against me. Melted, would probably be a better word.
"I love it when you do that," she sighed.
I was a bit startled and I got to thinking. "Uh… Ari? Do you remember everything?"
Her purring softened and her face furrowed – adorably – for a moment, "What do you mean?"
"Before. Well before… um. Before now. Do you remember… uh… before?" I really was an excellent transactional lawyer. "I mean… when you were… uh… well… a cat."
"I'm still a cat."
"Well not exactly, but… I think you know what I mean."
She smirked, "Of course I do. I know you. And yes, I remember everything."
I wasn't sure how to take that. She'd lived with me for over a year. She'd seen me at my best and at my worst. She'd slept with me, watched me sleep, watched me shower, watched me…
Her small smirk turned into a wide grin, "Everything, master."
The thought made me quite uneasy for some reason. Once I'd discovered that trying to dissuade my Ari from anything wasn't really possible, I'd just gotten used to her. But now there was this amazing, sexy woman with my Ari's memories and it was different.
Her purring had stopped so I looked down to find her already looking up at me, with what was unmistakably a 'Why aren't you petting me?' stare.
I had to smile. This was my Ari.
Dutifully, I resumed stroking her back and she resumed purring loudly against me, nuzzling her head back into my neck.
"I think I need to call work and tell them I'm going to be late."
"'Not in today,'" she corrected me, her soft voice and warm breath felt incredible against the skin on my neck.
Now to be fair, I'd been dating for a while, but it was several partners, and so it had been quite some time since I'd woken up in bed with a beautiful woman. My body was bound to react eventually, especially since I had my surprise as under control. As under control as it would ever be, that is.
"Uh… kitten, I should make that phone call," I said hurriedly trying to extricate myself from her tight embrace, as I felt my cock start to swell beneath her warm, soft, furred body.
Without removing her other arm, she reached over to my nightstand and handed me my cell phone. I cursed my consistent habits.
"Ari, I'm gonna have to get up. Please." As usual, somehow my statements with her always end up being requests.
To this day I can't be certain, but I could swear that she ground against my now hard shaft before easing her grip. I am certain she was smiling though. "Yes, master."
I rose from the bed and threw my housecoat on, covering the boxers which were betraying my attraction to the amazing creature laying on my bed. Walking into the kitchen, I made the call as quickly as such a call could be, informing my supervising partner of the situation. With only a few questions, she said she understood and told me that I could take as much time as I needed since I'd banked all of my vacation and sick time ever since I'd joined the firm. As I thanked her I peered back into my bedroom, wondering if I was dreaming the entire thing. But there on my bed was the gray furred woman, who the night before had been my housecat, with a curled up tail wrapped up around her.
I shook my head and made myself a cup of coffee. The world usually made sense after coffee. Absently, I also started to fill Ari's milk bowl, then stopped. From my experience with my Were co-workers I knew that they functioned exactly as us plain humans. But, as when I first started my relationship with Ari, I had no idea how to proceed, since she was an animal Were. Deciding to go with what I knew for certain, I poured her a glass instead and took both back into the bedroom.
"Here you go, kitten," I handed her the glass and she took it carefully with both hands with a large smile. While I watched, sipping my own drink, she drank the milk slowly still holding the cup in the same way.