She peeked out through the closed blinds, her eyes seeking any flash of unruly dark hair or a black leather jacket which may indicate her boss was approaching.
She spotted him skirting the maze of cubicles and she sprang into action, jumping away from the blinds. She scooped up a small ball of fluff in one hand and deposited it back into the box on Dennis Booker's desk.
"Stay!" she ordered in a stage whisper, pointing a finger for emphasis. She darted out of her boss' office and shut the door behind her.
He doesn't suspect a thing, she thought smugly as he approached her desk.
"Good morning, Elaine," he greeted.
She swallowed back a tell-tale grin. "Good morning, Dennis."
"Your mom called, but she said it wasn't urgent."
"Alright, thanks." Dennis opened his office door, intending to call his mother back later. In mid-step toward his desk, he stopped short and gaped in disbelief. "Elaine!"
His secretary appeared at his shoulder. "Something wrong?" she asked innocently.
Booker's dark eyes glared at her. "What is that?" he demanded, pointing a finger at the intruder.
"Oh, don't tell me you've never seen a kitten before," Elaine answered.
Dennis clenched his teeth. "Of course I've seen a kitten before," he managed evenly. "What is it doing in my office?"
Elaine looked with amusement at the fluff ball who had once again escaped the box and was now attached to the top of Booker's desk chair. "Climbing," she said with a laugh.
"Dennis, just last week you said you love cats," Elaine responded sweetly, as if that explained everything.
"What?" He looked at her uncomprehendingly.
"I remember it clearly. You said, 'I have not slept with more women than Picasso, and I love cats'."
He sucked in a breath to calm himself down. "Elaine…I said 'I love cats', not 'I want a cat'."
"Oh, come on, Dennis!" she pleaded. "If you don't take her, she'll have to go back to the pound!"
Booker paused in his protest. "The pound?" he echoed, not liking the sound of that.
Elaine grabbed onto the sound of disdain in his voice and used it against him. "Yes, the pound. My sister found her there and took her home, but one of her kids is allergic so they can't keep her."
"Why don't you?"
"I'm not a cat person." Yet as she said the words, she passed behind Booker to lovingly pluck the fluffy little black creature from the back of his chair. She pressed her cheek to the softness and sidled up to him with a wide-eyed expression. "Look, she's even your favorite color."
"Stop it," Dennis tried to keep glaring as Elaine held the docile kitten up to his own face. But the fur tickled his cheek and his glare quickly melted into a grin.
It was useless to keep fighting it; he was already hooked. He cuddled the kitten gently to his chest and was rewarded with a happy little purr.
"I hate you," he chuckled affectionately to his young secretary with a sparkle in his eyes.
It was adorable, Elaine thought to herself as she looked at the scene before her. Tough guy Dennis Booker charmed by a mere kitten.
"Agh, great!" Booker exclaimed as the kitten put a row of tiny claw marks into the front of his beloved leather jacket. He held the offender up at eye-level. "You know you're not exactly racking up the points here, furball."
The kitten just looked at him sleepy-eyed and continued to purr.
"She likes you," Elaine said softly, perching on the corner of Booker's desk and crossing her arms.
"She have a name?" Dennis asked in resignation, holding his new kitten to his chest again and stroking her fluffy black fur.
He shrugged out of his jacket before any further damage could be done, and Elaine hung it on a hook on the wall.
"You'll think of a name," Elaine answered him, proud of herself for finding the sweet little creature a home. "Well, I have to get back to work. My boss is a real tyrant if I'm not at my desk," she teased him lightly.
Booker laughed. "Elaine." Keeping one hand securely on the kitten, he drew his other arm gently around the woman's shoulders and gave her a comfortable kiss on the forehead. "Thanks."
She grinned at him, patting his cheek. "You're a softy, Dennis Booker."
"Don't I know it," he sighed in agreement, stepping around his desk and sinking into the chair. He looked down at the kitten happily clinging to the front of his white t-shirt. "Well, furball…I hope you know what you're getting yourself into."