She got the cat twelve days before Valentine's Day. Strolling into the animal shelter Molly had been terrified someone was going to ask if she was accepting her destiny to be an old maid and cement it with a cat. But no one did. Being around Sherlock Holmes a lot tended to make you paranoid, Molly decided.
The cat she chose was about two years old; he was white and grayish with black stripes. He didn't seem too moody or stuck up. He accepted it when she held him and came declawed. Perfect.
Molly talked over basics with the attendant, discussed what his health care would consist of and paid for the animal. She had brought a carrier to take him home in but the cat refused to go into the carrier. Finally Molly accepted this and let the cat into her car of its own accord.
When Molly had brought up the idea of getting a pet at a restaurant one night her two best friends were silent. Meena finally tossed a black curl over her shoulder and said, "Well, I suppose every girl either needs a cat or a gay best friend right?"
"If you live in a romantic comedy," Caroline had said with a smirk. It had been Caroline's opinion Molly had most been worried about.
"Come on I'm 31, single, going to die that way" Molly had said with an uncustomary hint of deprecation in her voice.
"Oh please Molly my boyfriend called off our wedding thirty hours beforehand." Caroline said instantly with her brows drawn together.
"Molly you're going to find someone I promise you," Meena added.
"You've been saying that since university," Molly said, she was playing with her napkin and regretting the subject of the cat.
"Yeah, well you were busy getting a doctorate weren't you?"
"Don't let society dictate to you that you should be married and settled down at the young age of 31!" Caroline said, "Though, "she smirked again, "can't you get a goldfish or something less likely to make you become that crazy woman with 26 cats?"
The night the cat came home with Molly she had invited Meena and Caroline to her house for an informal welcoming party for the cat.
They all sat around watching the cat explore its surroundings and drank wine. Caroline had come a bit late but had brought tuna (which the cat had promptly refused which in turn prompted Caroline to suggest several different names for it in quick succession). She then began to rant about the hedge that was creeping into her lawn from her neighbors.
"What should I name …him? I think it's a him." Molly said as she drank directly from the wine bottle (this was a bit depressing. 31 and she had a cat!).
Meena removed the bottle from Molly's hand and smiled down at the creature. The cat was starting at her with inquisitive eyes.
"Reminds me of you –know- who. " Molly said automatically as they watched the cat and the cat watched them back. With a flick of his tail the cat turned around and stalked off. "Oh yeah, definitely you -know -who," Molly said with a hiccup.
In Molly's circle of friends you-know-who certainly did not mean Lord Voldemort.
Molly watched the cat investigate her garbage can and tried to pretend she didn't see Caroline and Meena exchanging looks.
"Name him Hedge." Caroline said.
"Adonis, I like that name. You couldn't ever name a baby boy that but a cat-"Meena chimed.
They went on like that and some of the names were just atrocious; Snuggles, Bob, Muffin, while some were just bizarre; David Tenant, Woozles, Le Croup and all the while Molly couldn't help liking his name.
"Name him Alistair." Caroline said while she rooted in the refrigerator. The cat promptly jumped in the fridge like it was attempting to climb Mt. Everest.
Meena hauled the cat out by his neck while Caroline tutted about Molly never having a sanitary kitchen again.
"Toby," Molly said suddenly. Meena and Caroline froze; this was the first name she had come up with.
Of course Caroline spoke before her mind could filter the comments, "Toby is a dog's name."
"Toby, Tobias, I like it." Meena said, and she actually elbowed Caroline in the ribs.
"He's too fluffy and cute to be you-know-who." Molly said kneeling down to pet the cat.
"Thank go-"Caroline paused with a sharp intake of breath," yes he is."
Very well, Toby it was.
It didn't surprise Molly at all when Sherlock Holmes strode into her lab the next day and told her that she had gotten a cat.
"Let me guess, there's fibers of cat fur on my shirt which you haven't seen before and you deduced I now own a cat?" She smiled and tried to be friendly, "Good but how do you know I'm not taking care of someone's cat or visited someone with a cat?"
"Perfectly logical but I saw it on your blog this morning." He barely paused at the look at on her face, "You have a murder victim just in this morning, I need to see him."
Molly stood rooted to the spot. She had blogged about her cat? Wait, she had! And she had responded to her own blog … something to the effect of "Miaow!"
Oh it was truly official, she was 31, single, and a crazy cat lady.