Her pace was slow to the inn. She had already checked three places for the cat in manflesh. She figured him hunting which was really part of the reason she said she needed time. Huddled down in the oversized hoodie she made her way up the porch steps, pausing briefly to look through the window. The pause turned into her slumping down onto the porch swing with a sigh and her attention tore to the streets.
Pulling her pcui out from her pocket she checked the time before slowly pushing up off the swing. She probably could check a few more places before she headed home. Why did she feel like she was on nerves edge? Sighing he shoved the pcui back into her pocket and made her way down the stairs.
Back to the streets.
But really where to go that she hadn't already checked?
The open land that was the glen? It was a walk but she seemed to have plenty of time on her hands so why not?
In the shade of a tree near where the path entered the Glen, there was a pile of clothing. Just a pair of jeans and a hoodie, really. But they had the scent of a certain felinesque man on them. Of the owner of that clothing there was no sign, for the moment.
By the time she made it near the glen she felt tired. Way more tired than she had felt in the last few days. Whatever it was, for now, was pushed to the side. The night air was tinged with a scent that was fondly familiar and it was enough to set her steps in a hurry. It was when she found the pile of clothes that she slowed. A small tick of a smile curled her lips. He was hunting. Collecting the clothes she bound them up and if she knew she could get away with it? She would of hid and waited for his return, just to see his reaction of his clothes missing! But she knew better.
She probably could have gotten away with it, if she thre the clothes into the lake with a stone tied to them. Of course, that wouldn't stop him, he could always walk home without them. ONe of the advantages to having alternate forms. No one balked at a cat not wearing clothes. However, she didn't have very long, it looked like, for who should come prowling out of the shadows of the wood than one very large, tawny mountain lion, head up and alert as he caught a whiff of a familiar scent.
Oh more like her hiding for a sneak attack while hording his clothes. Huddling the clothes close she settled a cheek to the hoodie before slumping down under a tree. Even when she saw the feline prowling close. "Well there you are. The cold hasn't hindered your hunting too much has it?" Her expression softened for a moment though had a hint of an expression he had seen when they first met. Purdy kittah.
That was an expression of supreme smugness on his features, no doubt, that settled on his features at her question. Only a feline could look that pleased with himself. Without hesitation the big tawny cat walked right up to her and lowered his head to bump it against hers gently, a loud, rumbling purr emanating from deep in his throat.
She chuckled, the sound low and throaty. "Yeah. Come snow or shine, nothing is safe from that nose of yours, huh?" His clothes was lowered to her lap and when he came in for the head bump her arms went around his neck to hug him, her face buried against his fur. "I'm sorry, Clayton. Sorry if I made you feel as if I was sending you away."
The thick tail lashed from side to side behind him as he leaned into that hug, the rumbling purr unceasing, his head moving to rub against hers, taking a deep inhalation of her scent from her hair as he did so. He might've even licked her, if he didn't have rabbit breath, just to show he understood.
"I'll...be honest. I needed the time for more than just that though." She remained leaning against him and she may of dipped her head a little. Him sniffing at her hair tickled. Not..that she would admit that. Give him the upper hand? Never! "I am worried for my brother, Clayton. Worried I won't get him back or that he won't be..him anymore. Or...just..stuff. It all is making me frustrated and I realized it when I snapped at you. I didn't want to do that to you." She exhaled and leaned back, her hands moving to rub along his cheeks and forehead. "But on a good note I have some news for you about that woman you saved."
He leaned into her caresses a moment, then dipped his head to snag his clothes in his teeth, and in a tawny flash he was out of sight behind a nearby tree. Not for long, though, and when he emerged he was pulling the hoodie over his head witha purring chuckle. "One of these days, you'll get used to the idea of not having to explain to me, love." He walked over on bare feet and moved to settle beside her. "The one with the butter knife?"
She waited patiently but the return of the cat in manflesh was looked upon fondly. It didn't last long and was replaced by a somewhat confused expression. "It seems only fair as I am ...wait..can you read my mind?" She waited until he was settled before leaning slowly until they were resting shoulder to shoulder. "Yeah, her. She didn't seem really interested in speaking with me but after we parted ways the other day I decided to go to the inn." For reasons she wouldn't admit to. "The woman was there, looking fine, drinking and carrying on conversation with people. She doesn't even really remember anything that had happened. Like barely anything at all."
He let out a throaty chuckle as he leaned back against her, one arm moving to wrap around her shoulders. "No, not as such...I can share your memories, but that is not quite the same thing." He blinked as she told him about the woman, looking at her with a rather incredulous expression. "Is that so? Hm. Personally, I think I would count that as among the experiences I would never forget."
"What disturbs me more is the fact she was back at the inn after such a short period. She should of been at least kept for a few hours after what she did but we can't hold a person against their will. Well I mean we could but..." She shrugged and tilted her eyes up to him. "So..you asked me to marry you? Why...? And what did I say?" Sure she coud wait for her memories to return to her but it was more for just listening to his voice. She had missed him over the past few days more than she was willing to admit. It felt almost like it had been far longer but oddly as if she were use to him being gone long periods.
He smiled and nodded. "I did. At your brother's birthday party, no less. In front of all his guests. You turned an especially bright shade of red, as I recall, but you also said yes." He let out a purring chuckle. "I'd had it in mind to do it more privately, but your brother convinced me otherwise." He looked over at her with a smile, that one he wore only for her. "And I asked you because there is no other I want to spend the rest of my life with, of course. Granted, we don't have to be married to achieve that, but I happen to be something of a romantic that way. And I'll admit to a certain curiosity as to how lovely you would look in a wedding dress."
Her brother had been in on it huh. It was enough to cause a chuckle but it never bubbled forth, mostly due to his tease about her blushing. Or maybe it was that smile he was directing her way. She felt her cheeks go warm but she didn't look away. Instead she watched the way his lips curved. "Huh." Really she never thought someone like her to be engaged let alone married. She was seconds from making a teasing comment about him being a romantic but his quip about her in a wedding dress caused her face to go redder. "Did we ever set a date?"
It was his turn to flush in embarassment, no small amount of sheepishness creeping into his tone. "We hadn't gotten around to that yet...things have been rather busy since then." He looked at her, rather closely this time. "How is your head, by the way? I know the experience can be...disorienting. I've been through it myself."
"The pain has subsided for the most part. I can actually sleep at night now without it feeling like my head is swimming. Bits and pieces of those four years have surfaced as well but they seem to be a little slower." Her head tipped and she smiled up to him. "Thank you for being patient with me." There was a small pause and she lowered her eyes, "You were worried I was going to return to Leo, weren't you?"
He was actually taken aback, shock in his features for a moment at the question before he let out a sudden low chuckle and shook his head. "Kathryn, you surprise me." He reached up under her chin to nudge it upwards just a touch, bringing her eyes back to his. "You seem to forget, my love, that I've had a part of you living in my head since the day I helped them remove that parasitic worm that was inhabiting you." He reached up to her neck, fingers finding the chain there and sliding under it to gently guide it to his palm, the crimson jewel and the ring with resting there beneath both of their gazes. "I know you gave your heart to me, Kathryn. That's why I gave mine to you." As he says the last sentence, the heartstone glimmers, a throbbing red light like a heartbeat for a moment, and then gone again.
Her chin rose and her eyes found him. Surprised him? Still his words caused her expression to soften again and she tilted her gaze to the stone he rose to her attention. Was the ring with it also something he gave to her? She didn't ask for now. Instead she raised her hand to gently touch his, that was holding the heartstone. "I was worried. The look on your face when I told you I needed time, specially after just seeing Leo." She gently squeezed at the side of his hand. "I met him the other day at the inn. I told him that I still care about him. And I do. But I love you, Clayton. You do have my heart and tonight, when you are ready, we will head home. Together."
He remembered. And thought he had kept it hidden better than that, though it had far less to do with Leo than with other matters. His being away so much, for one. There was a lot of ground to cover with a four year gap in her memory that hadn't quite caught up to the rest of her brain that he'd more or less jump-started. The last word to pass her lips drew a catlike grin from him, his tone taking on a playful note. "Together? You mean you won't go slip through the shadows to beat me home?"
That grin! A single noted chuckle sprung from her lips almost instantly. "I was thinking more like riding you." Wait..that didn't ...sound right. "On your back." she added. Still not right. "You know? Like a piggy back ride?" The hand against his moved to swat him even before he started to laugh cause she knew it was coming. "But if you rather me disappear in the shadows and end up who knows where and leaving you with your lonesome at home."
The grin had widened on the first suggestion. On the second, even more so. He was enjoying her discomfiture, all right, evidenced by the purring chuckle in his throat that became a full on burst of laughter as she swatted at him. He didn't give her a chance to make good on that threat, however, simply moved with sudden, fluid feline grace to scoop her up in his arms and stand, all in a single, easy, lithe motion. "Not on your life, Katt-nip."
She made a small sound when he scooped her up and both arms went shooting around his neck, mostly to steady herself. "Easy now." She didn't want to admit to him that she was feeling...well..off. Drained even. "I think the lack of food and sleep is getting to me." She chuckled and she leaned to softly kiss his jawline. Katt-nip. Anyone else and she'd give a dirty look. That was his and his alone. "Clayton? I do love you."