“Where are you going?” asked Seth, rounding the corner in time to see his charge opening the front door.
Kitty sighed just suppressing the urge to roll her eyes, “I’m going to work. I requested a week off because of my apartment burning but my week’s up and I have to go in.”
“You don’t have to go in. Quit, I’ll take care of things.” Seth waved a hand before pushing up the long sleeves of his black hoodie.
“I refuse to be a kept woman! I can ‘take care’ of myself and I’ll thank you to remember that!” shouted Kitty, her cheeks reddening in anger as she slammed the front door.
“A ‘kept woman’?” repeated Seth, scratching his head. “I haven’t heard that one in awhile.”
“You don’t learn, do you?” laughed Jessica, perching on the small table in the open foyer.
“Apparently not. Enlighten me if you would and get off of my black marble table,” said the half-angel, making a ‘get down’ gesture.
The immortal jumped down obligingly and swept across the room to tweak the end of Seth’s ponytail, “I swear this thing is getting longer.”
“It is,” he replied, pulling his hair away from her curious fingers.
“You can’t take care of her all of the time. She needs freedom to come and go and make her own way, so to speak,” said Jessica, watching him remove his glasses.
“Is it that she doesn’t want to be taken care of or I’m not allowed to care for…take care of her?” asked Seth, digesting this most recent pearl of wisdom.
“Seth, she isn’t yours to take care of. You need to protect her but that’s your only job. It’s her mother’s and her own and eventually her husband’s job to take care of her. You’re a sort of…in-between person,” said the angel, gently patting his shoulder while making a mental note of his verbal slip.
“Mm, story of my life isn’t it?” he mumbled, shrugging off her attentions. “Nevermind, I’m always better off on my own.”
“Seth?” Jessica raised an eyebrow.
“Nothing. I’m going to take a walk. Don’t follow me…or hover…or whatever it is you do that I’ve never quite defined,” said Seth in a disgusted tone. He left the house slamming the door with as much force as Kitty had used on her earlier departure.
“Uh-oh,” was all Jessica could think to say about the situation as she vanished from the room.
* * * *
“So you don’t know his name and you’re living with him?” squeaked Clare, stacking books on one of the display tables in the Barnes and Noble.
“No, I know his first name and I’m staying with him for the time being,” said Kitty, rolling her eyes at her co-worker.
“Same difference,” argued Clare, making short work of her pile. “What does he look like?”
“Scary as hell,” snorted the twenty year old. “Honestly, I don’t know why I’m still there.”
“Hey, you’re not…I mean he’s not…you two aren’t…?” Clare let the question drift into silence.
“What? Oh Lord, no! I don’t even really like him. I’m not going to jump into bed with him,” replied Kitty, wrinkling her nose.
“I don’t know. Most of my friends would have already. Regardless of what he looked like,” smirked her co-worker, picking up a cardboard box and taking it to the back.
“That’s because most of your friends don’t have a brain cell between them,” snarked Kitty, moving to check someone out at the register.
“Thank you. Have a nice day,” she smiled, handing the customer her bag.
Kitty looked over at the door as it swung open. Idle curiosity made her look and shock made her stare.
Seth walked into the store as if he owned it and for all Kitty knew of him, he may have. He spotted her at the register and leaned over the counter, “Come to lunch with me.”
“No.” Then, “Why?”
“Because it’s lunchtime,” he shrugged, a faint smile tugging at his lips before disappearing altogether. “I don’t have an ulterior motive.”
“Good to know but I never eat at lunchtime,” she replied, stepping from behind the counter.
“Never ever?” he asked, following her around the bookshelves.
“Nope,” she said, trying to be irritated with him and failing.
“Coffee?” he tempted, stepping in front of her.
“Nothing,” she countered, barely hiding a smile.
“Is he bothering you?” asked Clare, finally reappearing from the backroom.
“Oh yeah, but it’s nothing I can’t handle,” laughed Kitty, turning to wink at her co-worker.
When she swung back Seth was nowhere to be seen.
“Seth?” she called, looking to either side.
“Who are you talking to?” Clare paused in the middle of shelving books long enough to give her an odd glance.
“The guy who was just standing in front of me…did you see him leave?” Kitty continued to search vainly.
“What guy?” Clare frowned and shook her head.
“What do you mean, ‘what guy’? You just asked me if he was bothering me! Really tall, black and purple hair in a ponytail, nose pierced, sunglasses, dressed mostly in black…” Kitty trailed off as Clare’s look got more and more bizarre.
“Crazy, and I mean as a loon,” muttered Clare, returning to shelving books.
Kitty could feel her face heating up as she turned red as a beet with both embarrassment and anger, “Have you ever gotten your short term memory checked?”
“No, have you?”
Unable to think of a single come back the young girl retreated to the front of the store. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. She unfolded it with a puzzled frown and began to read:
If you change your mind I’ll be waiting at the Broadstreet Café.
“Chris,” she said, hailing her manager. “I need my purse. I’m going to lunch.”
* * * *
Kitty walked into the restaurant half expecting Seth not to be there. She was shocked, however, when she spied him lounging in a booth. Her anger flared and she stalked over to the table, “Thanks to you and your strangeness my co-worker thinks I’m crazy!”
“Why?” he asked, indicating for her to sit.
“She doesn’t remember you. And there I was blathering away trying to find you…”
“I’d say your ‘friend’ has short-term memory problems. She should really get that checked,” he said, handing her a menu.
Kitty sighed, “How do you do this?”
“Get me to give in and change my habits. You shake up my whole life.”
“You do the same to me,” he thought. Out loud he said, “I merely present you with another option. You make the choice.”
“Okay well, if I choose to stay with you…you have to take off your glasses. It’s uncomfortable sitting across from a blank wall,” she replied, staring at him over her menu.
Seth nodded, loosening his hair before removing his glasses, “Fair enough.”
When the waitress came to take their orders he never turned his face and his long hair hid his eyes.
“You know,” said Kitty, watching her walk away. “People remember all the weird and rude things you do more than they would remember your eyes.”
“I do things for a reason, Katherine. You get burned enough times and you learn.” Seth rubbed his face briefly. “And you don’t know anything about me or my life.”
“No, I don’t. But, you don’t know anything about me either.” Kitty proceeded to fold her napkin into a fan.
“Is there anything you want to know?”
Seth thought for a moment, “Why are you here?”
“Because…I was angry and wanted to curse you out.”
“I’m still angry but I don’t like Clare anyway. Her opinion isn’t important to me.”
He nodded, “I’ve been told worse things.”
“Can I ask you one?”
“What’s your last name?” she asked, biting her lip.
“Seth Lee,” murmured Kitty, rolling it around on her tongue. “Well, it’s a start.”