Chapter 3 - Sam
By the time I made it home, Vee was already in my house playing with Sally. Vee had been my best friend since I met her on the job three years earlier. She was still working at the engineering firm, moving up the corporate ladder, like I was supposed to. Except I kept getting laid off, and she didn’t. Vee sat on my couch with a laser pointer driving Sally crazy. The cat followed the light, pounced to catch it, but nothing was there. Poor kitty, she had no idea what she was up against. Vee had the patience of Job. She could play this game all day long.
“Hey, girlfriend,” she said as I brought cat paraphernalia into the house.
“I bought out PetSmart.”
“Looks like it. Need a hand?”
“Nah. Keep Sally busy while I set this stuff up.” She ran the laser across the area rug and up the wall. Sally followed relentlessly, and Vee laughed from her belly.
“I brought wine. You finish up then come in here and bring your whine,” she said. She waved a bottle of Chardonnay and pointed it at two wine glasses. One half full, one awaiting me. “I called Angie. She’s on her way. She’s bringing Lyle, or maybe it’s the other way around. I’m not sure.”
“Good. I need all the support I can get. This was such a crap day. They didn’t even let me clean out my desk. Had a guard walk me out like I was a criminal.” I brought the box into the living room and started tearing it open so I could assemble the scratching post slash perch for Sally. Vee poured a glass of wine for me and set it on the corner of the coffee table. I took a sip and passed a cat sized fishing pole to Vee. She started waving it and Sally forgot the laser dot and went whole-hog for the feather at the end of the line.
“Kittens are so easy to distract,” she said with a chuckle.” She refilled her wine glass and asked, “How will you get your things? Don’t they usually send you out with a box of your own stuff?”
I hated the fact that I knew the answer from previous lay-offs. “Yep. This time, they said I need to come back Saturday. Someone is supposedly going to pack my personal belongings for me. Everyone laid off will be there Saturday.” I struggled with the tape on the box, gave up and went to find the scissors that were never where I thought I’d left them.
Vee raised her voice as I left the room. “Sounds like a fun way to spend the weekend.”
“Tell me about it.” I found the scissors under one of my place mats. I have no idea how they got there. I hadn’t had Sally long enough to blame her. I’d managed to get the box open and started taking out the parts when the door-bell rang.
Vee got up. “Keep doing that. I’ll get the door.”
I heard Lyle’s baritone from the hallway. “Brought the pizza.”
Angie’s little girl voice piped in. “Rocky Road ice cream.”
“Looks like we’re all set,” Vee said. They were congregating in my kitchen, and the smell of the pizza drew me and Sally quickly. The scratching post could wait.
I flipped the pizza box open and stuffed a slice into my mouth. “Mmm. Margarita! My favorite.,” I said.
“Only the best for you,” Angie said. “Put that down and give me a hug, girl.” She held her arms open wide, and I stepped into them for one of her sweet hugs.
“Group hug,” Lyle said. He wrapped his arms around us both, and Vee followed suit. We swayed back and forth in an ungainly gaggle. Everyone but me laughed. I had tears running down my cheeks.
“You guys are the best.” I stepped back as I wiped my eyes.
“Ah, Sugar, don’t cry,” Lyle said. “The pizza isn’t that good.”
That made me laugh. Sally was meowing loudly.
Lyle reached ...