When Molly and Karma returned, loaded down with bags, the girls separated the beds and toys and placed them in each girl's room. They had chosen Dagda a small navy blue pillowy bed with gold stars and moons embroidered on it. All of his toys were extremely well made. Sequoia shook her head. The last time she had been in a pet store, she'd been enveloped in plastic and neon polyester. Morrigan's bed, a huge red pillow in the shape of a heart, was placed in Karma's room. The girls put their food and water dishes in the kitchen, and a litter box in the laundry room. Karma called Avery to tell him.

"He's excited," Karma said after she hung up. "He wants a cat but they can't have pets in the dorms... He said he'd be home for Thanksgiving. Oh, and he says 'Hi to Molly and Sequoia'".

Sequoia gave a small nod and bit her lip. This whole thing with Avery was just awkward. She wanted nothing more than to just be normal with him, but that didn't seem likely to happen. It seemed like he moved on, being only friendly to her. But Sequoia couldn't help the tingling in her stomach every time she thought about him. Ah! She wanted to scream in frustration.

The rest of the day passed lazily. The girls had taken up temporay residence in the backyard, chilling on the grassy lawn. They brought out sheets and spread them out. Sequoia caught up on old times. Karma and Molly inspired a strange ache for their high school with their antics of friends, stupid teachers, and cafeteria incidents. In London, she'd attended boarding school. Everyone was proper and well-mannered, save for the few foreign students from America. Sequoia was glad to be back and excited for the first day of school, now rapidly approaching, only a week away.

The girls picnicked in the backyard, munching on BLTs,Cheez-Its, and Dr. Pepper. They talked about the future, quizzing each other on initiation essentials and dreams for college.

"I want to be a designer," Molly said. "Same thing I wanted to be when you left. It's my calling, I'm sure of it."

Sequoia nodded."What about you, Karma? Still want to be a meteorologist?" Sequoia asked with a laugh.

"Ha ha. That's sarcasm, right there," she replied, piqued, the picture of mock outrage. "But FYI, no, I don't want to be a meteorologist. I want to be a writer." Karma stuck her nose in theair as Molly chucked a Cheez-It at her head. It hit her squarely in the temple.

"Biznatch!" she yowled. She swung an open hand at Molly, knocking her upside her head. Molly spit out her tongue as she rubbed her sore cranium.

"I wonder what you'll want to be next week?" Sequoia asked innocently.

Karma shook a fist under Sequoia's nose, then crossed her arms over her chest, pretending to pout. Sequoia heard a quiet scratch-tap at the sliding glass door. She turned to see Dagda and Morrigan sitting side by side in front of the door. Both head were cocked to the side, ears pricked forward. Sequoia lifted herself up and let the cats out into the fenced in yard. But the kittens didn't try to escape, or even explore this unknown territory. The stumbled right over to the blankets and collapsed into a pile of crumbled Cheez-Its. Karma held Morrigan up.

"Look, she exclaimed, pointing to the orange flecks in Morrigan's black fur. "Our Samhain kitty!" Mollyand Sequoia laughed as Morrigan squirmed to free herself from Karma's grasp. Sequoia picked Dagda out of the pile and brushed him off. Those eyes! Molly and Karma had seen them eventually, but were really cool about it. Sequoia thought they felt the same about it as she did. She put him down, but he clambered right back into her lap. She placed him on her stomach as she laid on her back to look at the clouds. She watched for a while. She saw clouds that resembled shoes, hats, dragons, cans, and sheep. After a while she closed her eyes. It was silent. She supposed Molly and Karma were doing the same as she was. She felt a sharp claw near her shoulder and a weight on her chest. Opening her eyes, she gasped, eye to violet eye with Dagda. He was pawing playfully with one of her dangly earrings. She laughed. Purple eyes or not, he was still just a normal kitten. Right?

She sat up and hugged him tight. She looked down at the sleeping figures of Karma and Sequoia and started. Something was odd. A breeze was rustling Karma's clothes, twitching the ends of her sleeves and the hem of her dress. But... Sequoia looked at a tree in the yard. There was no wind. None at all. Not a breeze in range. She glanced back down at Karma. Still a breeze tugged at her orange cotton dress. Sequoia, ever rational, dubbed herself as temporarily insane and wandered back inside. Morrigan followed, pawing at her heels. She put Dagda and Morrigan in her bedroom and went to the kitchen. She glanced at the clock on the microwave. 7:19. She bit her lip, toying with an idea. Then, she grabbed the phone off the cradle and plunked herself down into a kitchen chair. She dialed a number on the emergency contacts on the fridge. The phone rang loud in her ear. Perspiration formed on her palms. She wiped them on her brown corduroys and sank back into the chair as the phone rang again.

"Hello?" the fuzzy answer came from the other end.

"Avery Barringer, please."

"Just a sec."

A few minutes of silence ensued.

"Hello?" Avery asked.

"Hey, it's Sequoia," she said nervously. Why on earth was she nervous?

"Oh, hey. What's up? Is something wrong?" Avery sounded worried for a moment.

"Oh, no, no. Nothing's wrong." Avery gave a small sigh of relief on the other end of the line. "I just wanted to talk to you," Sequoia continued.

"Oh, ok. What about?" Wariness filled the strong voice on the phone. A wariness mingled with certainty. He knew what she called about. Or thought he knew. Sequoia took a deep breath.

"About us."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author Note: ok, sorry it took so long to get a new chapter up. it's kinda disheartening to have no new reviews. well, that and school started. ok, so, read and review. much love and peace.