Hi everyone! I come bearing a new story! It's called The Blind Date
In order to test their resolve to raise money for a well-deserved charity, Callie and Commander Feral are pushed into an unfathomable situation: Dating each other. With their relationship currently tenuous at best, what happens when they start pressing each other's buttons...and like it?
Author's Note: It's time for a Callie/Feral story! I've always wanted to do a chaptered story featuring them since my other stories about them are one shots. This story will be longer than Drawing the Short Straw/The Calm Before the Storm/Great Escape series of stories. And after the first few chapters, its updates will split time with The Great Escape.
Speaking of which, don't worry Felina/Razor fans! A new chapter will be out soon.
Thanks to ulyferal for being my beta and catching major plot fail on my part since I switched gears away from the original premise of the story.
Hope you all enjoy!
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The Blind Date:
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Le Chat Café
The working lunch.
Deputy Mayor Calico Briggs didn't know who came up with the idea, but she felt the kat deserved to be tarred and feathered.
Sighing to herself, Callie picked at her salmon salad. With budget talks revving up and the upcoming gala season looming over the horizon, she simply didn't have to time to just enjoy her lunch. Every day was filled with filing papers, reviewing reports, writing speeches, and keeping Mayor Manx out of trouble.
Across the table her assistant, Danielle White, multitasked eating her fish sandwich and fries lunch with drafting a report on her laptop. A plucky college student from Megakat City University, Danielle was a lean, fawn colored she-kat with hazel eyes. Witty, resourceful, and intelligent, she began her internship with City Hall months ago and made quite an impression, ending up as Callie's assistant. Callie had also used some of Allison's ideas in some minor projects to great success.
Peering over her laptop, Danielle spied the deputy mayor picking at her salad. "You should have gotten the fish croissant Ms. Briggs. I hear it's yummy."
"If only I had your metabolism..." Callie sighed.
"The gala season is coming up. I need to be able to fit into all of my formal gowns."
"You move around way too much to worry about your figure." Danielle pushed her plate of fries over to Callie. "You'll be fine."
Callie stared at the plate for moment before picking up a fry in defeat, dragging it across some ketchup. "How's the report?"
"Waiting on your review."
"Good." Callie finished her sixth fry. "Calendar?"
Danielle quickly wiped her paws before reaching into a briefcase located beside her chair. Withdrawing some envelopes, she passed them over to Callie, who sorted them with a clean knife.
"Hmm. Formal dinner...Charity auction...Museum of Natural History Gala..." Callie read aloud. "Confirm this one for me Dani." She pointed at the last one she'd read. "Attending these with Dr. Sinian are always fun."
"Yes, ma'am." Danielle noted it on her laptop. "Um...A lot of these invitations allow for a date. Shall I make a note when I RSVP?"
Callie leaned back in her chair. "I don't know why they even include the accommodation in the invitations they send me. I haven't had a significant other or even a good date in ages."
"Not even a SWAT Kat?"
Callie suppressed a grin. "Might make for interesting company, but I don't think fancy parties are their thing."
Callie shuffled through the remaining invitations, indicating to Danielle which ones she might entertain the possibly of attending before finally reaching the last envelope in the stack. It looked distinctly different from the others. Curious, she picked it up.
Danielle looked up from updating Callie's calendar. "Oh, that came in today. I've never heard of the organization before."
"I have...it's from the Megakat City Altruism Society, a foundation backed by a pawful of local, wealthy katizens." Callie studied the envelope. "It's nearing the end of the tax year, so they're probably trying to get a tax write off by hosting a charity event."
"They can do that?"
"Yes. It keeps them from having to pay higher taxes. Our tax brackets can be pretty unforgiving."
Danielle absorbed the information while Callie extracted the invitation from the envelope.
"A charity...couples gala?"
"Couples? Didn't you say most of the public service sector is single?"
"About 70% of us...yes and no one's gotten married in a while."
"I'll say. Seems the Altruism Society got bored with the usual events and wanted to do something different."
Danielle plucked the invitation from Callie's paws. "Will you attend?"
"Eh..." Callie rolled her eyes and sighed. "I've done some of these galas before with the public
service crowd but I don't always feel welcome."
"Honestly? It appears I ruin some Needy, Clingy, and Desperate she-kat's chance at scoring the 'perfect' tom just by being there. Personally, I'd rather not deal with them giving me the evil eye all night."
"But, Ms. Briggs, it appears the Altruism Society is planning on making the date selections for those attending anonymous so the chosen couples won't know who they're paired with until the planned date. And to make this thing really wacky, they insist the selected couples go on several dates. They apparently want to see who is still together by the time the gala is held," Danielle said, scanning the invitation. "So Needy, Clingy, and Desperate can't blame you since everyone will be in the same boat."
Despite her reservations, Callie was intrigued. "So it's like going on a blind date, but with charity attached so you can't back out at the last second."
"Exactly. And they're making sure of it. The full amount of money promised to selected charities will only be disbursed if the couple is still together at the gala. Otherwise, the couple's selected charity will receive a reduced amount."
"So what do you say? Shall I RSVP for you?"
"I don't know..."
"C'mon Ms. Briggs! You said you've not been on a date in a while, so why not take a chance? At the very least you'll be able to get an escort for some of these other, oh so important, galas." Danielle wheedled, grinning. "Besides, haven't you always said charity looks good on any resume?"
"True. And it's not like I can turn them down without sullying Megakat City Hall's reputation." Callie grinned, giving in gracefully. "All right, put it on my calendar."
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Commander Ulysses Feral never felt so conflicted.
Sitting in one of his favorite dumpling restaurants, hidden deep within Siamesetown, he reviewed his calendar. He always made it a point to attend as many events hosted by the MKC Altruism Society as possible. They always donated large amounts of money to the Enforcer Widows and Orphans Fund with very little prompting.
The Fund, originally created to provide for the families of Enforcers killed in the line of duty, had been expanded to provide for the severely injured until they were able to return to the force and help maintain and improve morale among his officers.
He would do most anything, even acting like an idiot, in order to keep his Fund solvent. So if he had to make nice with the Altruism Society by attending their functions, so be it.
This latest Altruism Society function was a couples only gala. And to make things even more interesting, they'd decided to pair up various high level public servant officials without letting the party's involved know who their date for the night would be and have them go on dates before the event.
Shaking his head mentally, Feral guessed they wanted to do something different this time since dinners and auctions can be boring. But an arranged blind date? Come on! They were known for doing some weird events, but this was crossing the line in his mind.
His major objection was his steadfast rule of guarding his privacy, especially when it came to who he dated. He didn't want his love life, or lack thereof, to fuel water cooler chats and being dissected by the press. And, besides that, his fellow officers didn't need any added distractions caused by their commander's off duty behavior.
And he was simply too busy to date. Recent downtime made it possible for the Enforcers to upgrade critical systems and equipment and he needed to be focused as they went through finding bugs and experienced growing pains.
However... he did tire of being with his friends all the time for these events. A companion could break the monotony. But, he didn't think she would be in the public service sector. That was already dominated by Needy, Clingy, and Desperate she-kats.
A plate of dumplings suddenly appeared in Feral's line of sight, along with a kettle of tea. Smiling a bit, he looked up and into a mischievous pair of clear blue eyes.
"I'm supposed to be preparing for the annual fitness test."
"A plate of your favorite dumplings won't ruin your regimen, Commander. Eat!"
Sighing in defeat, Feral picked up a pair of chopsticks as Nuan Shu, owner of the restaurant, sat down across from him. Immigrating from Mao City years ago, the former matchmaker opened the first dumpling restaurant in Megakat City when he was installed as Commander. Later, she would open the Paper Lantern, an exclusive high class restaurant with a month long waiting list.
A petite, mature she-kat, she had a playful energetic spirit. As she reminded him of his mother, Feral found it easy to confide in her.
Nuan smiled, brushing a lock of black hair streaked with grey away from her face. "Looks like you wanted someone to talk to."
"Sort of." Despite some guilt, Feral dug into the plate of steamed shrimp dumplings. "I'm in a delicate situation."
"There's a charity event that could possibly boost my Enforcer Widows and Orphans Fund. And I have a personal note which promises a six figure amount if I agree to do the event."
The event's a couples only gala with a twist. The organizers plan to set me up with a blind date and I'm supposed to take this person on several dates before the gala. The catch is we must still be a couple by the actual gala to receive the full amount for our charities otherwise, the amount will be reduced."
"I see the problem." Nuan crossed her arms. "As long as I've known you, you've never liked kats poking their noses into your love life. Even your friends."
Feral nodded, finishing eating a dumpling.
"But you're also dedicated to keeping the Fund solvent. A six figure donation is hard to turn down on principle."
"So you see my dilemma."
Nuan grinned. "Commander, who was your last significant other?"
"Major Pei Pei Umano from the Mao City Corsairs."
"How long ago?"
"About a year and a half."
"There's your answer."
Feral nearly dropped his chopsticks in confusion. "What?"
"You've been out of the game for too long Commander...married to the job out of necessity." Nuan pointed out.
"Yes, but what has that to do with this?"
She sighed and tsked at him. "You need to get back out there. You're not getting any younger. And you may never get another chance when things around here are quiet." Nuan flicked an ear. "It's only a few dates. It won't kill you."
Feral found himself agreeing with her logic but he hated being manipulated. "You think so?"
"Take it from a former matchmaker with a 95% success rate." Nuan pushed the tea kettle over to Feral. "Remember: All work and no play..."
"I know, I know." Feral smiled despite himself. "Thanks Ms. Shu."
"Enjoy your meal. I'll keep a table open at the Paper Lantern for you."
Giving him a parting smile, Nuan stood up, reached over to pat him on the shoulder before walking away to attend to other customers. Placing his chopsticks down on his plate, Feral retrieved his smartphone from his pocket and began clearing space on his calendar.
"It's only a few dates, Ulysses, so swallow your pride and do it for the good of the Fund." Feral muttered to himself as he made notes to remind Connie, his secretary, to RSVP for him.
"I mean, it's not like I'm going to be dating the Deputy Mayor, right?"