JESSE SAVES THE CAT

I wrote this with hopes to show the softer side of a difficult character. The funny thing is, I later discovered that writing such a thing is literally called a "save the cat moment." So, I decided to cut it. Nonetheless, here it is for you to enjoy.

     The door opened with a freezing blast of air. Jesse stepped into the office. 
     Cecilia’s heart quickened as she rose from her chair. He had never stepped into the newspaper office while she’d been there. 
     “Hello, Jesse. What brings you here?” she asked shyly.
     Jesse stood with his hat low over his eyes and one arm hugged inside his black duster. He glanced up at her and smiled. “I found something for you.”
     She stood and approached him. “Really? What?”
     Jesse pulled out his arm. Cradled gently in his fingers, a little orange fluffy thing blinked yellow-green eyes at her. It opened its mouth in a wide yawn, finishing off with a tiny kitten squeak. 
     Cecilia gasped in delight and reached for it. The kitten grabbed onto the sleeve of Jesse’s coat with his claws, stretching out as though it refused to let him go. Jesse chuckled and gently unhooked its tiny claws. 
     Cecilia nestled it to her chest. “Oh my goodness, it’s darling. Wherever did you find the poor thing?”
     “It was hanging around the back porch at the office. I looked around to see if there were any others or if there was a momma cat around, but there were none. The little guy was pretty cold, and he was a muddy, crusty mess. Anyway, I thought you might like him.”
Jesse shrugged, looking almost a little shy. “I don’t know, maybe he’d be good for getting the mice around your house or in your shed."

     “How lovely of you to think of me,” she murmured. She could swear it looked like the tips of Jesse’s ears turned red. 

     He shrugged again. “Ah, well, it was nothing. I figured he’d probably be happier with you than being around the office.”

     Cecilia held up the kitten as she examined him. He was clean and soft and seemed quite pacified.

     “How did you get him clean?" she asked.

     “I gave him a bath.”

     Cecilia laughed. “And how did that work out?"
     Jesse let out a chuckle. “He scratched the hell out of me.” He reached out to give the kitten a couple of tentative pats on the head. “But he decided I was all right after that when I gave him a bit of jerky. He likes it.”
     “And what did Tracker say about it?” 
     “He doesn’t know I found it.”
     Cecilia wondered if Jesse was worried Tracker would be jealous he gave her a kitten. Or maybe he didn’t want to be teased for taking care of a cat. And bathing it. 
     A smile broke out on her face again. “Thank you.”
     Jesse met her eyes for a lingering moment and then broke his gaze. “Ah, it was nothing. I’m glad you like him.” He tipped his hat to her before he left. The icy air swirled around her skirts as she cuddled the kitten closer to her chest.

 

     That night, it delighted Cecilia when the kitten chose to curl up next to her in bed. She stroked her hands through its soft fur. 
     Tracker was a good man. He deserved a chance. 
     But, as she did every night, she found herself wondering what Jesse was doing in that moment.