A brand new day in Hollywood! With Sawyer already out the door and off to Mammoth Studios, Danny found himself having full run of the house until late afternoon. He stretched slowly, allowing every inch of his body to extend before leaping to his feet, grinning like a madman. His mother had once told him that he used to do that all the time when he had been a kitten, and he could see why! Completely refreshed, he dashed downstairs to the kitchen.
On the table, he found a note from Sawyer. Except for the few times she had come to visit him at RKO Studios, the notes that they'd leave each other were their only form of communication. This was quite commonplace recently, as the famous feline couple were quite busy as of late. After a brief stint as a recording artist and bit player at Mammoth, Sawyer had finally landed her first leading role. The film, 'Blue Skies over Berlin', featured her as a feline fatale acting opposite Humphrey Bogart, making history as the first film with a human actor sharing top billing with an animal actor. Danny couldn't help being a little jealous, considering his breakout film, 'Citizen Kane,' had him acting second fiddle to Orson Welles.
"Hey Danny, another early morning for me... Very glad when this will all be over. We wrap filming next week, and then we can finally get that dinner you keep promising me! You've been so supportive of me, and I really appreciate it. Hope I can see you a bit tonight before you pass out from exhaustion... we both need a vacation. Love, Sawyer."
'Love you too, Sawyer.' Danny loved getting notes. For some reason, for him, the act of writing down feelings and putting them on paper was so exquisite and raw... He just loved it. As he looked for Sawyer's pile of stationery paper on her cluttered counter, he came across a letter addressed to him. He checked the return address... 'Bethany Cat? Kokomo, Indiana!'
He tore the letter open, and quickly unfolded the loose leaf paper inside. He recognized his sister's handwriting immediately. Pulling out a chair from the table, Danny sat down to read the letter, overcome with joy from the sight of it.
I'm sorry that it took so long for me to finally write back, life hasn't slowed down since you left Kokomo! Although I'm guessing it's moving much quicker for you, Mr. Movie Star! The whole family went to see 'Citizen Kane' when it came out. It never came to the Rialto in town, we had to drive to Indianapolis to see it, but it was worth it to see our song and dance cat on the big screen!
Not all that much has changed since you left, except a bit of growing I suppose! Brian's come back from college again this summer to work on the farm, which has been a great help to Dad. Mary's considering going, but there's a boy here she's sweet on... so who knows with that girl. As for Gwen and Aron, they're still raising heck in high school! Aron made varsity in football, and Gwen has quite the reputation as a heartbreaker and thespian. Inherited from her older brother, I'm sure!
Now's your turn to spill, little brother. I can't help but notice your address is "Care of Sawyer Cat"... care to elaborate on who this 'Sawyer' is? Hopefully she makes you as happy as Jenny did, I remember how distraught both of you were when you left for Hollywood. But you better bring her home soon, as she has yet to get the Bethany Cat Official Seal of Approval!
I hope you found what it is you were looking for out in Hollywood, Danny. We really miss you here.
Danny smiled as he folded the letter back over. It had been well over a year since he left home for Hollywood, and while he loved the California sun and the bustling atmosphere, he was a farm cat at heart, and he certainly missed the comforts of home. Bethany was actually the one who helped foster Danny's love of dance, even when others made fun of him. Beth kept her twin brother in line, helped Danny put on shows with his younger sisters, and made sure he never felt alone, even in a small town where dancing wasn't exactly looked upon as a proper profession. Of all the people he left behind, he felt a particular stabbing in his heart when he had watched Beth become a dot on the horizon from his bus seat.
Danny glanced at his watch. 11:34am. He still had time to catch Pudge for lunch before his meetup with the studio people.
The rules at the Brown Derby certainly had changed since the last time Danny had been there. Previously, he'd been kicked out the door altogether, or only allowed in as a member of the waitstaff. But times had changed, and now not only did the doorman know him by name, but seated both him and his penguin friend immediately.
"This is pretty neat, Danny," Pudge mused, looking around. As usual, the restaurant was filled with celebrities and socialites. Danny waved at L.B. Mammoth, seated a few tables over, who smiled back at them.
"I tell ya, Pudge, I'll never get used to it. Never, ever," Danny exclaimed as a waitress served their drinks. "Some people get tired of the whole Hollywood lifestyle, but it's just too much fun for me!"
"Why do you think animals stayed here even when it was rough? Hollywood's too glamorous to pass up," Pudge took a drink of the ice water in front of him. Since the infamous demonstration outside of RKO Studios a year before, he had managed to become personal assistant to cartoonist Wilbur Dagmouse. His second feature film, "The Ice Princess," had fared much better than his disastrous "Kitten Kenny Goes Hollywood," and his animation studio was rapidly expanding, which Pudge made sure happened without futher incident.
"Although," Danny continued, thoughtfully, "I am starting to get a bit homesick. It certainly didn't help that I got a letter from my sister today."
"I'm sorry," Pudge added awkwardly. Being a native Los Angelino, Pudge never really was far from home. "Is something bad going on?"
"No, that's the thing! Everything there is just as I left it, more or less. And... call me crazy, but I'm starting to miss it." Danny looked out the window, watching various automobiles and streetcars pass by. If he had been at the malt shop on the corner of Main Street in Kokomo, there would be half as many cars on the road... maybe a truck every once and a while. Certainly no streetcars, the closest thing to public transportation would be the trains that passed by twice a day. He shook his head.
"Sorry, I'm a little bit spacey today," he added sheepishly, as he realized the waitress had been standing at their table for some time, waiting for his order.
The rest of his day didn't fare much different. While in his meeting with the studio heads at RKO, Danny found himself daydreaming that he was back in his elementary school classroom in Kokomo, the other students in awe as he brought in his own dancing talent as his Show and Tell. Luckily, he only had to be at the meeting for show, and Orson Welles was doing the talking, so he managed to get by without too much flak.
As he rode the Redline streetcar home to Sawyer's, he found himself looking around at the lights and colors of the Hollywood evening. While he still loved his adoptive home, the neon left him feeling colder than usual, and when he looked up to the sky, all he could picture was the black tapestry of stars he would see back home in Kokomo. With a sigh, he leapt from the streetcar and wandered down the sidewalk into the neighborhood he and Sawyer lived in.
"I wonder why today, of all days, I suddenly get this nostalgic," Danny wondered, passing rows and rows of prefabricated homes. Manufactured all alike, the neighborhood was supposedly the way of the future. Danny didn't care for it much, but it was where Sawyer lived on a secretary's salary, and there wasn't much discussion about moving on up yet. "Beth sent me letters before. Brian even sent a few... and my mom... why am I so homesick now?"
Danny watched as two kids rode by on fancy Schwinn bikes. He smiled, remembering how he and his siblings had to share a bike back in Kokomo. Something that had become quite an annoyance when one summer, all Danny wanted to do was ride bikes with... Jenny...
Danny stopped cold. "Today's June 21st. Jenny and I would have been celebrating our four year anniversary today."
Was that why he had been so preoccupied with home? No, it couldn't be... He hadn't thought about Jenny in months. She never wrote him, not even once after he moved. They had gone their separate ways and he had considered the matter ended. Maybe.
He shook his head, turning into the front yard of Sawyer's home. The streetlights began to light up as the last of the sunlight left the sky. Danny sighed and opened the door, greeted by an empty house. Sawyer hadn't yet come home, another late night at Mammoth Pictures for her. Left to his own devices, Danny cooked dinner for two, ate, and left the leftovers in the fridge in case Sawyer came home hungry.
Sitting down at the table, he reread Sawyer's morning note to him. Following suit with the ritual they had established over the past few weeks, he pulled out paper and wrote his reply.
"Hey you. Hope you had a good day today. Mine was kind of odd, my sister sent me a letter and I had Kokomo on the brain all day. Can't wait for that dinner. Speaking of, left some in the fridge for you if you're hungry. Definitely can't wait to be able to speak to you in person again. Love, Danny."
Afterwards, Danny retreated back upstairs to the bedroom. Pulling out a weathered copy of Gone with the Wind, he read until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer, and fell asleep. "Maybe tomorrow won't be so strange," he thought hopefully.
Update: Expect the story to continue in the coming weeks. I want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year and I don't want this story weighing on my mind.
Glad to see so many people want this to continue. Gives me a sense of purpose to finish. So thanks for that. See you in the movies!