I nearly leapt into the air at the sound of the screen door banging shut behind me. Even more distressing was the fact that it almost smacked me square in the backside.
I swung around to bark my dissatisfaction at the rude thing, though truthfully, I think it was more embarrassment than anything else that lead to my outburst.
“Run for your lives! He is boxing and cleaning!”
The shrill scream came from an orange blur that shot past me. It took a moment for it to compute in my doggy brain, but once it had, I was positive it was a rather large orange cat with a look of panic plastered on his face.
The screen squeaked open then closed behind me. I turned to find Mylo standing in the doorway, wearing a perplexed look.
“What’s Rapi yelling about, Cindee?”
I craned my neck over my shoulder to get a better look at the cream-colored puppy who stood behind me, wearing nothing but a blue collar and a puzzled look.
“I’m not sure Mylo, but I think we should find out before his head explodes.”
My comment was meant to be figurative, or course, but knowing the orange cat as well as I do, I realized it was a distinct possibility that his handsome round head and those cute chubby cheeks might just literally blow up.
I turned even more, so that I was face to face with Mylo, but found myself distracted by my reflection in the window. The big brown dog stared back at me, then smiled.
“Oh my, look at my ear,” I cried at the sight of my one beautiful floppy ear turned inside out.
“Here, let me fix that for you.”
I lowered my head a little so the puppy could reach it a little easier. He gently took it between his teeth and adjusted it so that it was normal again.
I inspected myself in the window again, then thanked the little dog for his assistance. That Mylo sure is good at helping a girl out when she is need.
“Let’s go Mylo!”
“Right behind you Cindee!”
Mylo and I came to a stop and stared at each other, shock covered our faces. Before we even had a chance to say anything the orange cat shot past and up the steps. He was traveling at breakneck speed with is tongue hanging from his mouth and flopping from side to side.
“I’m worried about him,” Mylo said, nodding in the direction that Rapi had gone.
“Me too! Let’s follow him,” I barked.
Mylo took off sprinting at a speed that I have not possessed since I was a young pup. I followed as best I could through the dining room and to the staircase. By the time I had reached the first step I had lost sight of everything but his tail, which quickly disappeared as well once he made the turn to climb the next flight of stairs.
“Come on Cindee! He went this way!”
The disembodied voice was filled with excitement. Mylo was at his best when it came to the chase. Lucky for me he was kind enough to wait for me.
Mylo was in excellent shape. I on the other hand reached the top out of breath and thankful that I had not tripped over my tongue, which felt like it was being dragged several feet behind me.
I was about to flop down on the ground and have a little rest when Mylo grabbed me by the collar and dragged me through the hallway and into the guest room.
“He went in there,” the puppy said, pointing towards the closet.
The words unintentionally slipped out of my mouth and when I looked up from the ground Mylo was standing there, staring at me with his face all scrunched up. I shrugged, then lumbered towards the small storage area. I took one look inside and rolled my eyes.
“You are right. He is inside here.”
I couldn’t help the hurumpf that accompanied my statement. The cat had wedged himself between two boxes and had pulled a couple of shirts from their hangers to form a canopy over the cardboard containers. Had his tail not been sticking out, it would have been an excellent hiding place.
The protestation had come out in a desperate screech, and now he was attempting to burrow even deeper into his safe space.
“It’s just us, Cindee and me,” Mylo informed him, using a surprisingly soothing voice for a puppy of his age.
The long skinny orange tail flopped to the left, then to the right before curling up and unfurling.
“Is Daddy with you,” his voice called from the pile of clothing.
Mylo and I frowned at each other for the briefest of moments before returning out attention to the cat.
“No,” I answered.
My voice sounded calm and even, but inside I was a mess. I was starting to get frustrated with this cat. I mean an hour ago I was at a birthday party, having the time of my life and now, well now this!
The cat relented and backed out of his lair. He was frightening to look at. His hair was splayed out in ever direction and his eyes, well, those eyes looked like they could pop out of his head at any moment.
“I can’t do this again,” he screeched!
Mylo had lost his patience and was barking at the chubby feline.
“Everybody calm down!”
I took a deep breath and let it out. I needed to calm down too.
“Let’s start with you Rapi. What are you talking about?”
“We are moving,” he blurted out.
“Don’t be silly!”
“Silly? Don’t you see Daddy putting stuff in boxes?”
“I do. What’s your point Rapi?”
“They only clean and pack when we are about to move!”
His words came out in a shrill squeak. I could see the panic in his eyes as they darted around the room, unable to settle on anything in particular.
“Moving? I don’t want to move,” Mylo howled into the air.
I did not want to yell, but things were beginning to spiral out of control, and I needed to regain command of the situation in a hurry. My idea had worked. Both of them fell silent and stared at me, though the look of terror was still present in their eyes.
“Now, Mylo, why are you worried? You don’t even know what moving is,” I scolded him.
“I know, but it sounds so unpleasant,” he complained.
“Rapi, Mommy is in Brazil, do you think we would move without Mommy?”
The cat was silent for a moment, then tears stilled from his eyes and streamed down his cheeks.
I was exasperated.
“We are going to move while Mommy is gone, and she won’t know how to find us. We are never going to see her again!”
His voice had begun low and regulated but now was at a new level of hysteria, the words catching in his throat between sobs.
I shook my head and stood to leave.
“See Cindee! You don’t care about Mommy!”
Now he had hit a nerve. I spun around and glared down at him.
“Daddy is putting things in boxes and cleaning because Mommy is coming home tomorrow, and he wants her to believe he is mature and responsible!”
My words were harsh and came out in a low growl. The cat slunk backward and hung his head.
“Oh? That is all you have Rapi?”
“Huh? I am confused,” Mylo added.
“Mylo, this happens every year. Mommy goes to Brazil so she can spend time with her family and friends for two weeks. While she is gone, we eat pizza bones and wear the same clothes every day. Then, the day before she comes home Daddy goes crazy cleaning so that he can get rid of the evidence. Rapi knows all of this.”
The puppy’s eyes widened. Then I could see by his expression that a lightbulb had gone off for him. He understood.
“So why is Rapi acting like this?” Mylo asked.
“It is the same story every year,” I answered with a huff and a glare at the orange cat who was now sulking in the corner of the closet.
The door swung open, and Daddy walked in carrying a large suitcase in his arms.
“Boo, it is just him,” Rapi hissed.
I shot him a look to remind him that even though we were excited to see Mommy, we still love Daddy too. I mean, two weeks of pizza bones? Does life get any better than that?
“Wait for me!”
We all looked at each other and smiled. That familiar sing song voice could only mean one thing.
Daddy opened the door and Mommy stepped through with a smaller suitcase in tow behind her.
With a scream of excitement, we all charged her. She knelt and swept all of us into her arms, but we were too much for her. We knocked her over onto her back and together we all collapsed into one huge pile of kisses.
Rapi glanced over at me and smiled.
“You were right,” he purred.
I winked at him, then fell back into Mommy’s arms and got lost in a sea of happiness.