Jennyanydots was still hysterical as Demeter guided her into her den. Looking back over her shoulder, the black and gold queen spoke to Bombalurina.
"Bom, make yourself useful and get Jenny something to drink. Looks like it's going to be a long night."
Bombalurina nodded, and padded quickly to the kitchen area of Jenny's hut. She located cups and the tealeaves in a jar on the shelf on the wall. The teapot, milk and sugar she found on the counter. She busied herself with boiling the tea, making it as slow as possible, so as to try and keep out of Jenny's way and let her deal with whatever grief she was holding.
Meanwhile Demeter had sat Jenny down in a big soft armchair. "Jenny?" She took a tissue from a box that was on a nearby table, and handed it to the Gumbie cat, who blew her nose loudly and settled back, weeping, with tears still staining her face.
"I'll be fine," she sobbed, waving a hand dismissively before Demeter could even ask her the question.
Bombalurina brought over the tea she'd made, handing it to the distraught older queen, who took a sip, grimaced at the heat, and blew her nose, which was rapidly beginning to look as if she'd put dark red lipstick on it.
"Are you sure?" Bomba's words had hardly even been out of her mouth two minutes before Jenny burst into a fresh flood of tears.
"Nice one Bom." Demeter rolled her eyes and looked away.
"What? I'm only trying to be helpful." Bomba pointed out.
"Oh yeah, sure, she's a gibbering wreck."
"Oh be quiet, the pair of you." That was from Jenny, who was suddenly alert, ears pricked. "You remind me so much of...of..."
"Of who?" Demeter pressed gently, trying to wrangle some sort of explanation.
"Of my precious little Jemima when she...she was little....and we argued, and...and...oh it's all one big mess, oh how will I ever explain to the Everlasting Cat?" Jenny wept into the tissue, soaking it with yet more fresh tears.
"So you argued when she was little? Big deal, kits are rebellious." Bomba sighed and folded her arms, sitting on the arm of the chair. She ignored Demeter's glare that said, "Tactful," and inspected her nails instead.
"Didn't we ever fight when I was little?"
Bomba's ears pricked, and she looked at Demeter, her ears then lowering again. Jenny wasn't paying any attention, still thoroughly soaking her tissue in tears, so she just shrugged and said nothing more. Demeter bent down to Jenny's side, patting the older queen's arm.
"Jenny, did you and Jemima fight tonight? About when she was little?"
Jenny howled louder in response. Demeter sighed. "Cmon Jen. Maybe we can help."
"Like you can c..c...change the p...p...past..." sobbed Jenny.
"Believe me, if I could, I'd do away with Ma..." Bombalurina began, glanced at Demeter, and bit her lip. "Well, you know." She grinned at Demeter, who simply glared.
"Have you got anything else to say that's actually useful, Bom?" Bomba's eyes widened, and Demeter nodded.
"Good." She turned back to Jenny and spoke softly again to her. "Jenny, what's been going on? Why is the past so important. You should be living for the minute, not...thinking back to what could have been."
Now it was Demeter's turn to bite her lip. "Yeah, I really practise what I preach," she thought. She was so busy thinking she missed what Jenny was saying.
"....and she's always been such a good kitten, and I know what I said probably shocked her, and I was a bit mean about him, but I was only telling her the truth, she had to know one day and I thought maybe if I told her now, she might be over it sooner, and then I wont feel so guilty. That was probably part of the reason Old Deuteronomy refused me permission for...to be Heaviside Layer bound..." she threw up her paws and opened her mouth to continue, but Bombalurina put a paw on her arm.
"Jenny. Jenny. Slow down and go back a bit. "What shocked Jemima? What were you fighting about?"
Jenny turned big sad eyes on Bombalurina, and murmured something, shaking her head.
"Well at least tell us why you referred to the past," Demeter prodded gently.
This time Jenny just sighed, sipping the mug of hot tea, and sat back. She regarded both queens with a equal but firm stare. "No one knows. But I think it's maybe about time you did." She gave another sigh, cupping her paws around the mug, and began her story...
The orange marmalade queen strolled around the corner from her house and started down the main street. She was excited. This was to be the first outing she'd made from her new house. All the time she'd been alive so far she'd either done the journey in the company of her mother, or else she hadn't ventured out. Simple as that.
As she walked, she thought about her life, and it's direction. Mother had been clear about one thing. She was a Jellicle cat, therefore bound by a tribe's laws, of which would be explained to her when she first ventured into the junkyard. So far, little Jennyanydots hadn't had to go to the yard. She'd been in the care of her mother and their owners. She smiled to herself. She was lucky to be with mother. Her two sisters and her brother had been sold or given away to other families, two of which had now moved away, and she doubted she'd ever see any of them again.
And now she was a bit older, she was finally getting to do her own thing. Now she was also coming of age, maybe she might even be inducted into the Tribe like Mother had always told her would happen. Maybe one day she would go find the yard herself, get inducted, and then she could spend the rest of her days feeling protected and...
What else she was about to think was interrupted by her bumping into a small Peke dog - a nasty little chihuahua who yapped at her and tried to claw her. With a squeal and a hiss, Jenny sprang aside and tried to get around the little dog, but it barked noisily, and since it wasnt on a lead, ran at her. Jenny hissed again, but didnt have time to unleash her claws, so instead, whimpering, she made a run for it instead, the dog chasing her every step of the way.
She didn't know how long she ran for, where she ran, not even which streets she followed. All she knew was that it was getting darker with every step, the dog was still behind her, and she was exhausted. As she ran down a street she noticed an alleyway and darted into it, hoping to lose the dog and get out on the other end of the alley....but as she turned the corner she saw the alley was blocked at the other end. "Okay, I'm frightened now." She ran down the end of the alley, hoping to hide in the shadows, but the light from the streetlamp just across the road gave her no protection and no shadows. Instead it's light beamed into the alley, so she was like a rabbit in headlights as the dog followed into the alleyway, it's teeth bared in a nasty snarl.
Jenny's eyes grew wide. Her breathing became laboured. She backed up against the wall, waiting for the dog to spring and tear her apart, waited to die....
Part Six - Kitten Dating