Along the Way

“You got a flat?”

I nodded. “I do. I didn’t check the spare before I left.”

The man smirked at me, “Youz city folk don’t do much driving do you?”

I grinned at him, “Not usually. I prefer to walk.” I stretched as I got out of the car emphasising the stretching and muscle tone not that he could see much as I wasn’t really showing any skin. “You got a tire or are we gonna have to tow back to your shop?” I asked.

“A tow for now. We’ll get you right fixed up and on your way.”

“Great. Can you point me to town?”

“I’ll give you a lift.”

“Just an address to your place. I need a good run anyway.” I said.

He looked at me and when I opened the trunk and pulled out my ear buds he nodded. “Alright. Just follow down yonder and take a left. Keep on going till you see the sign of my truck.”

I nodded. “An address would be nice too just in case I get lost.”

He nodded and handed me his card. “The tow will be $100 and we’ll see about the rest.”

“Can I pay you later?”

“I’d rather you do it now since you won’t be in my truck on the way to the garage.”

I nodded and dug my wallet out of my pocket. “Alright.” I fumbled for the cash and handed it to him. “I need a receipt.”

“Can that wait?”

I shook my head. “Sorry. You need the money for the tow. I need a receipt for the cash.”

He narrowed his eyes at me and nodded before handing me back the cash. “I ain’t got a book on me. You promise to come back?”

I nodded. “I just need a run. Promise. I need the car to get back home.”

We exchanged contact information and then I was off for a run. I didn’t go exactly where he said. I just ran. I could walk back to the garage if necessary, but I didn’t want to cut my run too short either.

So I ran into unknown territory. I let myself drift on the patterns of the area and let it take me where I went. I wasn’t in much of a hurry. I was clearing my head. My dream guy had been upset with me for the past few weeks. For some strange reason I knew that. There was all sorts of nagging feelings with him these days. I hoped to understand them.

But I didn’t really get much chance to dwell on the thoughts when a woman on a bike peddled past me and her cat jumped out of the basket on to my shoulder.

I flinched away from it and it felt to the ground and then started circling my legs purring.

The woman noticed the cat’s departure and nearly collided with a large tree across the road as she reacted to the sudden vacating of the cat.

“Ophelia. This is not the time to play games.” She looked at me and frowned, “I’m so sorry. She does this sometimes.” And then she paused and her frown grew deeper into a scowl. “Fee, this is not the time. Leave the man alone. He’s not to be trifled with.”

I laughed as I picked up the cat, Ophelia. She purred in my arms. “It’s no problem really.”

“But your Venatori.”

I shrugged. “Yeah, and you’re wicca. So?”

She sighed and took the cat from my arms. Ophelia scratched and clawed at her arms and she dropped her. The cat came to me and purred and rubbed against my legs again. “I can take her wherever you are going if you don’t mind.”

She sighed. “I don’t think I have much choice.”

I picked Ophelia up and she perched on my shoulder like she was ready to pounce. I tried to walk a few steps. “You think she can stay like that while I run behind you?”

The woman looked at Ophelia and then at me. “Yeah, she’ll hold tight you might not like it.”

I grinned. “I’ll follow. I’m not full Venatori so keep that in mind with your speed.”

She laughed and took off on her bike. And I chased after her. Ophelia swayed at first but the two of us got the hang of it and she dug in less with her claws the farther we went.