Bombalurina sighed miserably as she lay down onto her aged bed, made of old rugs and sleep worn pillows. Gold light flowed through the cracks in the den as the sun started to rise. Burying her head deeper into the blankets, trying to block out the glare, she hissed, aggravated. How could she have let this happen to her? Why had she let her guard down? She knew that nothing good would ever come from spending a night over at the Rum Tum Tuggers, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect to wind up pregnant out of it. She didn't even like kittens, never mind ever actually wanting to have one. For catnip's sake, she was far too young to be a mother!
Everlasting cat, what the hell am I going to do?
"Its okay Etcetera, don't worry we'll go for our walk tomorrow," Tugger said as he practically forced the queen out of the den doorway. Glaring at him in a playful, yet annoyed way, she sighed and quickly gave him a peck on the cheek and turned to leave.
"Oh all right, have it your way, you stubborn mouser. You owe me one Tugsy, and I won't forget it! Love you," she called back as she disappeared from view. Tugger shuddered as the nickname she had given him sunk in. Never had he actually ever pictured himself life-mated to Etcetera; he had always thought that she would end up with one of the tom kittens, preferably Pouncival. She was a fan, after all, not someone who he had pictured spending the rest of his life with.
But, he noted, she had definitely changed over the years. She wasn't the hyperactive little kitten who would scream and shout at everything, plastering herself to his side protectively, as she had once been. Well, more or less so as an adult. She still was hyper, but it had turned into a more of a really bubbly, happy personality. She really was quite caring and protective now; she always made sure that she was there for him if he was in trouble, or was feeling down- always trying to make him laugh and make him happy. She really was a great friend to have. But that was it; she was a friend. Nothing more.
No matter how fond he was of the little queen, he knew that this wasn't what he really wanted out of life.
He knew his father had good intentions of setting him up with a queen, but he wasn't sure being mated to Etcetera was right for him. Or her. She was far from what he thought his ideal mate should be. Sure she was nice and adored him like no other, but he just didn't think that she actually loved him like a mate should. And he knew that he didn't love her. What was love after all? He had defiantly never found it. Had he? Did love even exist? As a kitten, he had never thought it had. But now that he was an adult, had his opinions changed?
For the first time in his life, Tugger found himself worrying about his future. What would happen to him if he did end up being tied down to Etcetera? Would he have to scum to a life that he secretly hated and had to pretend to be happy about? He didn't want to be mated to the wrong queen; he wanted to go through life with the perfect mate, someone who would love him no matter what happened, even if all his fur and good looks faded away. No doubt Etcetera thought that she would do that, and she probably would, but he knew after a while, after the glamor and adrenaline rush of finally catching the Rum Tum Tugger died down, their relationship would be an obligation, and nothing more. She wouldn't be happy. Sure, his father had said that love would grow between the two, but what if it didn't? He needed to be sure he had found the right queen before settling down and being bound forever to her.
As he walked back into his den, thoughts of the previous night came flooding back to him, stopping him cold. Bombalurina. He had slept with her and left when he heard Etcetera at the den entrance. Bombalurina had probably left when she had woken up this morning in fear of Etcetera or Pouncival finding out about their… Night. His heart suddenly began to pound in his chest. It was a misunderstanding he didn't mean for any of it to happen. She wouldn't actually tell anyone. Would she? His mane bristled.
Of course she wouldn't tell anyone, she would just as well be kicked out of the tribe as I would. Maybe she would just forget about it ever happening and let life go back to the way it was. Maybe, she didn't care. She knew that it was an accident, that it didn't mean anything. Right? As he stretched and lay down on his old torn up quilt to go to sleep, he couldn't shake a thought from his mind. If last night was so wrong and so forbidden, why had it felt so right? Like it was meant to happen all along and was just waiting for the opportunity? Standing up again, he shook the thought from his mind. Of course it didn't feel right. What was he thinking? It was just the fact that he was reliving old memories… She had been his first, after all. So, it meant nothing that he was feeling odd toward the situation. Damn. What would happen if Munkustrap or any of the tribe members found out? Would they really be kicked out of the tribe and rejected from their family?
He knew that both their families thought that they weren't good enough for each other and thought it would be better for them to be mated to someone of the same higher class, but did he really want to? Maybe his sudden feelings were caused by always seeing Munkustrap and Demeter so happy together and that he was just lonely. It seemed like everyone had someone these days and that they were all in their own little worlds. That was, of course, everyone except him. Despite everyone thinking that it was wrong to be with her, part of him yearned to have Bombalurina back again. The banter they shared seemed to form a closeness that he couldn't shake. But relieving last night would never happen again, he would make sure of it; for both of their sakes.
"Good morning Jelly, Jenny, have either of you seen Bomba today?" Demeter asked as she walked out of her den, spying her two aunts on an old beat up car, happily eating a few mice for breakfast.
"Sorry love, but we haven't seen her for the past two days," Jellylorum said as she handed a bit of a dead mouse to Demeter, who took it gratefully.
"Munkustrap and Jemima haven't seen her since the morning of the rain storm, she hasn't even shown up for our annual walk around the town that we do every year," Demeter said licking her fingers. Her tail twitched in concern. It wasn't like her sister to pull this sort of a stunt. Especially around this time of the year.
"Have you checked her den?" Jennyanydots asked starting to get worried. It wasn't like Bombalurina to avoid everything; in fact, she was usually right in the middle of it, if not the cause of it. And if she ever needed help, she would always ask for it. That niece of hers was not known for her modesty, after all.
"No actually, I haven't. She hardly uses her den and Bomba usually doesn't stay that long in one place if she's upset, but I guess looking there wouldn't hurt," Demeter said, heading toward her omitted sisters den. "Do you two want to come? If she is lost, I'll need all the help I can get, knowing her," she added, inwardly grinning. Despite her sisters' sometime stupid antics, she loved the rush of it. It was never boring with Bombalurina around.
"You go there first, we'll join you after we clear everything up here," Jennyanydots shouted after her.
As Demeter entered the small den that she and her sister used to share before she had moved in with Munkustrap, she sniffed the air that for some reason was unusually stale. Suddenly she spotted Bombalurina crouched up at the back, staring blankly ahead of her, lost in thought. Coming up beside the red queen she noticed tears stains on her cheeks. Alarmed at actually seeing her sister cry; which was a rarity, her eyes widened.
"Bomba, what happened? We haven't seen you in days, what are you doing all the way in here?" Demeter asked, gently wiping the wet tears away from her sister face. Trying to avoid eye contact with the golden queen, Bombalurina inhaled a deep breath deciding that she might as well tell her what had happened. Demeter would eventually find out anyway, so she might as well get it over with. As she turned over, facing her back to the worried gold queen, she visibly felt a tremble rise in her throat that seemed to refuse to let any words escape.
"I-I- I'm pregnant," she finally blurted out, refusing to look into her sister's green eyes. Demeter's face went from concern, to confusion, to complete and utter shock. What? What! Pregnant! How?
"What- how? Bomba! Why didn't you tell me? How long have you known?" Demeter asked, frustrated. Frustration soon turned into anger as the realization that her sister had committed adultery, registered in her brain. Angrily rising above the mortified queen, she let out a hiss. She was Munkustraps mate, she was the highest ranking queen in the tribe at the moment, and she couldn't have a sister that went around with no self-respect! She felt like she had been kicked in the gut, and the feeling was growing into something more fierce. "How you could just- Ah! Bombalurina, do you have any idea how irresponsible you were? Do you have any idea how- how, how stupid you've just acted? Bomba I love you, I do, but- you're sisters to the mate of the future leader of this tribe! You can't run around, wily nilly, doing whatever you please anymore! You're an adult! Not a kitten! And I think it's about time you realized it! I mean for the love of-"
"It- it was an accident Demeter, it wasn't supposed to happen! Do you honestly think I planned this?" Bombalurina spat, standing up to face the golden queen, now very upset. Is that was her sister really thought of her? Oh of course, she expected this kind of reaction from everyone else, but her sister? Her Demeter? Even though Demeter was truthfully right in her assumptions, it still hurt to hear. "You know what, Dem? I thought that you had more sense then that! If you really were the great leader you claimed to be, you'd listen to my side of the story before you started making assumptions!"
Regaining her composure and taking a deep breath in, Demeter decided that this wasn't the best time to loose her temper with her usually outgoing sister. She was, after all, her sister. The one who had taken care of her since birth. Her best friend. She should be helping her, not hurting her. Lowering her voice Demeter asked the question that she didn't really want the answer for, knowing that her sister's fate hung in the reply." Who's the father?"
Feeling herself inwardly cringe, Bombalurina inhaled, nostrils flaring. This was it; there was no going back after this. Taking a step back, praying that Demeter wouldn't see through her facade, she explained the situation. "Dem, you really don't want to hear this."
"Oh I can assure you, Bomba dear, I do."
Looking at her feet, the red queen continued.
"Um I was walking home from a friend's house a few nights ago-"
"Yes, a friend's house. A house where a friend lives, if you need the full definition of it. And I met this alley tom. He seemed really nice and he was really friendly," taking another deep breath she continued, refusing to take her eyes of the back wall. "Anyway, he seemed perfectly normal and offered to take me home, so I went with him."
Demeter's eyes flashed. She was not amused.
"Bomba! You know not go around with strange toms! I- I thought you had more sense then that!" Bombalurina looked away; she hated lying to Demeter, especially with everything that had happened between her and Macavity in the past. Demeter had ended up in a situation like the one she was describing with the ginger tom; which had caused his banishing. Letting out a loud sigh, Bombalurina continued the story.
"Well, when we got back to the Junkyard I said goodnight and went to leave, but he wouldn't let me! He said that I would need to repay him for walking me home and making sure that nothing bad had happened to me. I tried to get away! Honestly Dem, I did, but I couldn't... And he was too strong and well he…" Demeter froze in her spot, feeling her throat close up. This story was all too familiar. "Dem, he- he forced himself on me." A permanent lump in her throat, Bombalurina chanced a quick glance over at Demeter. Her blood almost ran cold as she saw that the golden queen had tears streaming down her face and that her attitude had completely changed toward her situation.
"Bomba… I -I'm so sorry. I… I had no idea," barely able to speak, she hugged the red queen. "You know that I understand more than anyone about what you're going through. I'm so, so, sorry. I shouldn't have judged you."
As the two queens embraced Jellylorum and Jennyanydots arrived. Noticing the two older queen's presence, Demeter clutched Bombalurina's hand and explained everything, making sure that they understood that it was not her sisters fault, and that everyone, no matter what, would be expected to help her out. "It was a stray tom and he's probably long gone by now, so there would be no point in looking for him."
The two older queens shock came as no surprises to their nieces but after they offered to help raise the kitten, both sisters were speechless.
"Look Jenny, Jelly, I really appreciate it, but I think that this is something that I'm meant to do on my own," slowly Bombalurina turned to face her sister, guilt slowly edging its way onto her face, "Even without you, Demeter."
"O-oh," not looking up, Demeter motioned for their two aunts to follow her out of the den. To say she was surprised, was an understatement. She was actually a little bit hurt. "We'll still all be here, Bomba. If you change your mind."
As the three queens hastily headed out the door, Bombalurina let out a sigh of relief; happy that they had believed her. Her ears fell however when she felt that remorse was slowly welling up inside of her. She hated lying. She hated pretending to be someone she wasn't. Demeter didn't deserve that. Falling back onto the bed, Bombalurina silently prayed that the kitten wouldn't turn out looking like its father; for she would need all the help she could get in raising the kitten. And if anyone found out that it was Tugger's, there would be no chance of that.