The residents at the refuge have welcomed Memphis. Demetrius has been busy tying up debts. Geoffrey and Stephen will be picking up Maggie and Addy in the morning. And Maggie and Addy are packing...
Without much effort, Kato lifted the mattress to the top bunk. He then turned to retrieve the other one from the Land Rover – the usual Kato enthusiasm evident in all of his actions.
“Easy now,” Koko said, “I do not trust the sturdiness of these manufactured builds. It would have been better had I constructed it myself.” He ran his hand along the white frame of the racecar-designed bunk bed set he had just finished putting together. His hand stopped at one corner where the seams did not meet exactly. “And I still do not understand this choice of bunk beds.”
The three of them – Kato, Peadar, and Koko – had been working to clear Rosemary’s quarters of anything ‘Rosemary’ and re-do the sitting room into a little boy’s room. They had purchased the children’s bed set, dresser, and desk from the local furniture store and left Koko behind to assemble it while the remaining two went and bought pretty much everything else.
Much of ‘everything else’ was purchased under direct pressure from Kato – Peadar’s complaint being that the lion shifter simply wanted the computer, toys and games for himself. Kato had complained but neither had he denied the accusation.
Peadar just huffed at Koko as he dropped the armful of bags and packages onto the floor.
“Eetz a child, Koko,” he stated a bit exasperated as Kato pushed him out of the way, the other mattress flung over his back, “I doont know much, but I do know they like fun, ya kin?”
Koko turned to the much shorter male, a frown pulling his brows together.
“But he cannot drive yet, and these beds will only encourage strange dreams.”
Kato snorted a laugh as he none-too-gracefully stepped through the pile of bags on the floor.
“You guys sound like the Pride Elders – you’re so old you forgot what it’s like to be young.” He continued to speak as he walked out again. “I’m going to get the flatscreen and the X-Box out of the Rover.”
“Wait!” Peadar exclaimed, “Eeez there room fer –”
“I’m not gonna set it up in here.” Kato’s look was priceless – like anyone should know better. “There’s not enough room for one player comfort much less two in here.” He waved his large arms to make his point – the beds and the dresser pretty much filled the room. And the space under the window was reserved for the desk.
Shaking his head, Kato stepped over the bags to leave as Koko began unpacking the parts to assemble the desk. Peadar grabbed his arm.
“Wait,” Peadar began. Kato looked at the hand on his arm and back at Peadar, that lion gaze becoming quite intense. Not quickly or even in fear, the hand fell away as the two powerful males stared at each other, but Peadar simply continued. “Shouldn’t we all talk that beeg set-up in the gatherin’ room?”
Kato frowned him. “When was the last time anybody gathered in there?” It was obvious his mind was made up, but he continued to make his point. “We talk at the table and that’s it. Lyca goes for her runs with Freki, Koko plays that stupid flute on the back porch “– he motioned over at Koko who grunted with a good-hearted grin on his face in response, his expression all but speaking to say he agreed – “and you sit and pine on the front. I don’t see any of you rushing to gather.” He used his air quotes and rolled his eyes like the teenager that he was despite his size.
Peadar made to speak, but Kato continued, shutting off Peadar’s denial. “Oh, and Demetrius gathers” – again with the air quotes – “in there late at night and talks to himself. I’m thinking that shouldn’t count.”
The stormy look that had begun brewing on Peadar’s face was quickly replaced with a bit of amusement.
“Demetrius sits and talks to himself?” Peadar asked.
“Yes.” The answer was a chorus of both Kato and Koko, the latter looking up but briefly from his desk assembly.
Peadar seemed to take that in and digest it as his auburn eyebrows drew in tight with just a hint of light-play visible amidst his matching curls. He then took a deep breath and the colors vanished, although his brow remained furrowed.
“I don’t pine, Kato, I j–”
“Of course you do!” and “Yes, you do!” were simultaneous retorts by Kato and Koko, stopping Peadar’s protest mid-statement.
Peadar shut his mouth and became introspective for a few seconds. He shook his head and seemed to shrug off their input, but he didn’t argue as he began unpacking the bags of supplies and linens. In fact, he did not say anything else.
Koko chuckled to himself, and Kato left to go set-up the gaming system.
Even after his almost-confrontation with Peadar, Kato was feeling upbeat and happy for the first time since Rosemary’s passing. If he were honest with himself, it was the first time since he had come of age in the Pride, and things had started to change for him. He shoved those thoughts away in a hurry.
Yep! He prayed to whatever god would listen that he and this Addison would get along. Otherwise, he’d move the gaming system up to his room to have it for himself. He smiled to himself at that decision as he walked to the Rover.
To be continued…
Theo Atkinson - Maggie’s birth father (murdered)
Delilah Atkinson - Maggie’s birth mother, disappeared when Maggie was about ten.
Lyssa Atkinson – Theo’s current wife
Maggie - Marguerite B. Atkinson. Maggie is Rosemary’s great-niece.
Marguerite A. Son - Maggie’s alias when she lived with Dorothy
Rita Bee - Maggie’s current alias & the name she is known by at the Courtside
Addison (Addy) Westmorland - little boy with Maggie, being raised by her
Dorothy Westmorland - Addy's mother (deceased)
Larson ‘Lars’ Carney – owner of the Courtside Coffee-N-Cola, the diner where Maggie works
Rachal - other waitress at the Courtside Coffee-N-Cola
Eduardo - waits to walk Maggie home when she works late
Scully - with Eduardo to walk Maggie home
Julio DeJesus - apparent maintenance man in Maggie and Addy’s building
Punky & pals – group of young hooligans across the hall from Maggie & Addy’s place
Bongo - Maggie & Addy's large, black cat
Twilight - Great Gray Owl seen outside the diner and at Maggie's apartment
Rosemary - (deceased) Rosemary Fenna, Sister of the World Wide Hecate Order (WWHO) and Guardian Protectress of The Refuge
Demetrius - tall, mysterious male resident of The Refuge, marked for death (perhaps more) by the WWHO
Peadar - Irish male resident of The Refuge, helped Rosemary with upkeep
Lycaois - (aka Lyca) Goth, warrior-looking female resident of The Refuge
Freki - Lyca's over-sized pet 'dog'
Koko - Native American male resident of The Refuge, has unending optimism and warmth about him...most of the time
Kato - large male Refuge resident who wears the clothes of a teenager. Kato is a young lion-shifter.
Memphis - nymph from Demetrius' original homeland, now auberge factotum to The Refuge
Geoffrey Staltson - Rosemary's lawyer and friend to the residents at The Refuge
Charlise Staltson - Geoffrey's wife (they have a three-way marriage - Geoffrey, Gary, and Charlie)
Gary Staltson - Geoffrey's husband
Stephen - private investigator employed by Geoffrey
Jinx - computer hack/whiz working with Stephen, handles all the tech-forensics for investigations. Jinx is Stephen’s partner.