Hey! It's been waaaay too long since we last saw you guys...which, admittedly, is entirely our fault. Here, have some Cat for your troubles.


=[CAT]=
no, it's not too late you know

"Roooooobbbiiiieeee!" I yell his name down the long hall. He turns his head, smiles, but turns away again. This was the tenth time this week he had turned away from me. I figured the first time he really did just have something else to do, but now I'm starting to get worried. I have a desperate need for red velvet cupcakes, and what better way to make cupcakes than to bake them with Robbie?

"What's up Cat?" He asks this sweetly, but I notice his voice seems tense.

He's frantically looking around. For someone, probably. I don't know who, but I hope it's not a girl. Maybe it's Rex since he's not surgically attached to Robbie's arm like usual, but I don't think so, no matter how hard I desperately want it to be true.

"I was wondering if you wanted to come over and make red velvet cupcakes with me," I say innocently, trying to pretend I hadn't noticed a thing. He keeps moving his wrist back and forth or playing with his rubber bracelet, in a scared sort of way. He starts to open his mouth but I cut him off as something else pops into my head. "I was also wondering why you didn't come over Tuesday so we could take Mr. Longneck for a walk, or why you didn't come over Monday so I could make you look like Elmo." By this point a pang of hurt and sadness has entered my voice.

His face is sympathetic, and it makes me sad. And angry. But mostly sad. But also angry.

"I'm really sorry Cat, but I've got to find someone." Robbie shuts his locker then, gives me a quick hug, and shuffles down the hall. I don't have to be told; we're not making cupcakes tonight.

Who is she? I wonder, but then I realize: "I don't want to know," I whisper to myself. And when I get home, I bury my sorrows with Mr. Longneck, the turtle Robbie and I share, and instead of red velvet cupcakes, a chocolate cake.

(Chocolate and red velvet are really the same thing, but red velvet has red dye in it! Shh, don't tell anyone!) But somehow, the cake doesn't hold the same appeal as it usually does; though still delicious, the chocolate is a poor substitute for my favorite coveted red velvet.

As I pick absentmindedly at my sweet dessert, my brother runs into the room screaming. He shoots me a few times with a toy gun and runs around, then smashes his face straight into my cake. "Cameron!" I cry, hitting him on the arm. He lets out a strange sound and runs away, his face still covered in my beautiful cake. I shove the plate away and head up to my room.

I stroke Mr. Longneck's shell with a finger. "He'll be here someday soon," I promise—an empty promise, one made up of wishes instead of facts, but it doesn't matter. Spotting something out of the corner of my eye, I grab it and present my turtle with his leash. "Come on, Mr. Longneck, let's go for a walk!" I grin, strapping the harness around the creature. I don't know why I bother putting a leash on him when I'll just be carrying him—he is a turtle, after all—but it's more fun that way, don't you think?

Along my walk I run into André, literally. He's out jogging and I was running across the street, so we actually ran into each other!

"'Sup, Li'l Red?" he greets me, pulling out his headphones. I hear the tones of that new Train song, 50 Ways to Say Goodbye, coming out of the tiny speakers. I love the mariachi band in that song, it's so fun.

"I'm walking Mr. Longneck!" I inform him cheerily.

He peers curiously at my shoulder, where Mr. Longneck is perched. "The turtle?" I nod. "You're walking a turtle?" Another nod. "Sure."

"What's wrong with it?" I pout.

"Nothing, nothing," he says hastily. "I just never seen somebody do that, that's all."

"Now you have," I reply matter-of-factly, stroking Mr. Longneck's shell again.

"Right…" he says slowly. "Have…have you…seen Tori?" The look on his face tells me he's mad at himself for asking, but I pretend not to notice.

"Not since yesterday," I say innocently. "I don't think she wants to talk to you."

He sighed. "Yeah, didn't think so."

"Look at that cloud!" I exclaim suddenly, and not for a change of subject—I just really like that cloud! "Wow. It looks like an elephant!"

He squints and looks up at where I point. "An elephant swimming, see, there's its legs." I laugh like it's the funniest thing I've ever heard. "Well, see ya around, Cat," he says, a grin creeping across his face, and, popping the earbuds back in, he takes off but stops again.

He turns around and looks at me. "Hey, uh, Cat?"

"Yeah André?"

"If you see Tori, tell her I meant what I said at the bench."

He places his earbuds back into his ears and runs off.

I'd never seen André so sad before. I guess he'd joined the club; that is, the Sad Misfits Club.

XXX

Later that night brings a surprise: Robbie, clutching Rex as usual. "Look, I feel really bad about earlier, I didn't want it to seem as though I was brushing you off or ignoring you which is what you probably thought, didn't you? Anyway…I just…I just wanted to say I'm sorry, and to see if you're still up for those cupcakes and maybe walking Mr. Longneck?" He gives me a hopeful smile, but is clearly expecting me to get mad, or decline, or slam the door in his face.

But instead I do the opposite. I tackle him in a hug, then release him and step aside to let him in, a huge grin on my face. I just can't stop smiling. "Of course!" He looks immensely relieved, and sits Rex down in a chair and tells him to stay right there. I'm already getting out the cake mix. Who cares if I already had some today? It wasn't the same and besides, Cameron ruined it.

Robbie heads towards the fridge to get the eggs and milk like he always does, but then I exclaim, "Oh! No, wait, turn on the oven first." He doesn't have to ask the temperature, he's done that enough times. Then he brings me everything and when I'm not looking, flicks flour at me.

"Robbie!" I cry, gaping and laughing. I throw a handful in his face—I don't know why he got the flour out anyway, it's not like we'll need it. He throws some back and before I know it, we're both covered in the powdery white stuff. I pretend to screech and try to run away, but he follows me; just as I turn around, he slips and falls and I trip on him and land right on top of him.

In a bold move, I kiss him before I lose my nerve. Just a small peck, nothing major. He looks shell-shocked, the whites of his eyes practically entirely visible. Then my actions hit me and I quickly jump up and flee to my room. Moments after I get there he's knocking at the door. I don't respond but yelp slightly, startled by the noise, and fling my head to the side. He enters anyway and then suddenly his lips are on mine, marking the second time in less than three minutes that things have happened so fast I don't even know how they got to where they were.

So this time, it's my turn to be shocked. I pull back and stare at him. "Was that a bad decision?" he asks, obviously unsure of himself. It's cute, really. I shake my head no and hook my hand around his neck, closing the gap between us once again.

My head is spinning like what I've heard being high is like. "You like me," I tease, bopping him on the nose and giggling. Suddenly today's earlier events flash through my head like a playback of a bad movie, and the nice, spinney, floaty feeling is gone. "But you like someone else more." My shoulders fall.

His eyes widen and he gulps, then shakes his head vigorously. "No—no I don't!" he insists earnestly, his voice cracking just a little in a nerdy but kind of cute way. I'm really in deep, aren't I? "Cat, what would ever give you that idea?"

"Nothing," I lie quickly. "I just thought you did."

"Who did you think?" he asks gently.

I shrug. "I dunno." I kiss him again before he can ask any more questions and because I miss the feeling of the touch of our lips.

"We should probably go make that cake now," he gasps.

As we walk towards the kitchen I can't help but think Cat two, club four.