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Chapter 17

After we’d talked he’d asked me to go downstairs and wait in my room for breakfast, I’d heard the shower going like usual and took the time to thoroughly groom myself until my fur shone, wanting to look good for my master, especially since we were going out. I cleaned my ears, groomed my paws and wrestled with my tail, trapping it and smoothing out the fur with long licks of my tongue. I scratched my post fervently, pulling out any old claws and making sure the new ones were nice and sharp.

Master always wears really nice clothes, except when we’re cuddling of course, but even though he doesn’t go out and we don’t have guests often he gets dressed every morning. He always looks really handsome but when he came downstairs this morning I was shocked.

I just sat there and stared at him, he looked… amazing.

The navy colour of his three-piece suit went really well with his pale skin, his shirt was white and crisp, the dark red tie and brown leather shoes adding some colour. A shiny watch was on his left wrist and his curls were defined with product, arranged neatly on his head.

Master put my food in my tray as usual and stepped back, looking at me expectantly. “Luci?” he called, his brows pinching a little when I just sat there.

I purred, my tail flicking behind me, my master looked so good, oh I was so lucky, I just wanted to go over there and nibble the crap out of him, rub against the slim fit suit, lick his cleanly shaven face and bury my nose in his freshly washed curls. I wouldn’t though because that would mess up all the work he’d done and I doubt he’d want to go to work covered in my hair.

“Luci!” his voice was louder and held a commanding tone.

I shook my head and met his eyes, my hind legs rising and making me stand, I snuffed and waited for him to say more.

“Your breakfast is there.” he pointed to my dish and I followed his finger, oh, I didn’t even notice. I padded over and surveyed my food for a moment, ooh, I had haddock today, yum, how could I have not noticed the smell of it? Purrs rumbled in my chest as I tucked in.

I heard him sigh and from my peripheral, he shook his head slowly as he left my room and from the sounds of it going into the kitchen, probably to make himself a coffee like always.

When all the food was gone I shifted and picked up my bowl, stepping out of my cage and heading towards the kitchen, seeing master leaning against the counter and sipping from a steaming mug. I noted his look of surprise when I entered and he watched me in silence when I went to the sink, rinsed my bowl and put it in the strange white thing that cleaned things you put food in.

“Are you feeling okay Luci?” master asked me.

I turned to look at him and nodded. “Luci fine master.”

“You’re sure? Do you still want to come with me today?”

I frowned, I was a little nervous about going outside, especially with how master explained where we’d be going but I’d be with master, so I knew it would be okay, master was safe. “Yes master,” I assured.

“What were you thinking about when I came in with your food? You usually can’t wait for breakfast.” he set his mug down and gently ran his fingers through my hair, his green eyes studying my face carefully.

I squirmed a little under his gaze and looked over his shoulder, I was unsure about telling him, not that I wanted to hide anything from my master but I wasn’t old enough for mating yet, I shouldn’t be looking at him like that, it made me feel a little naughty. “You look really nice in your suit master,” I mumbled.

He smiled and ruffled my hair a little. “Thank you Luci, but you didn’t answer my question.”

I tilted my head. “But I did master,” I replied, confused.

He made a sound in the back of his throat but didn’t say anything right away, then I noticed the tinge of red on his cheeks and the shy smile tugging at his lips. I purred and leaned forward, nuzzling against the heated flesh, so master likes it when I say nice things about him? I like it when he calls me a good boy so I guess it makes sense, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and my chest hurts in a really good way, sometimes so much I want to cry.

I really wanted to groom master but I knew I couldn’t even if he hadn’t told me. Instead, I brushed my lips against his cheek like he did to me sometimes and because I couldn’t not nibble him a little I nipped his jaw lightly before pulling away.

He jumped a little and cleared his throat, taking a step back and picking up his coffee, holding it with both of his hands. He drank the last few mouthfuls and rinsed the mug in the sink, putting it in the same white machine I’d put my bowl in.

“Come on Luci, we don’t want to be late.” he strode out of the room and headed in the direction of the front door.

I tiled my head at his retreating back, he was acting weird all of a sudden, did I say something wrong? He smiled so that meant he was happy right? And why did his cheeks go all red? Was it too soon for me to show interest in his body? Was that it? Did I make him uncomfortable? He hadn’t told me off, but he hadn’t called me a good boy either, I was confused.

I shifted and padded after master, having to walk quickly to catch up. He was pulling on a long coat and there was a black case at his feet. He pulled out something from the small set of draws tucked into the corner next to the coat rack, it looked like my collar but a lot longer and had a metal bit at the end. Master reached over my head and I heard a click, I twisted my head back, seeing the long thing going from my neck and into master’s hand. I sniffed it, smelling the leather it was made of.

“It’s called a lead Luci, it’s connected to your collar and I hold the other end, it means I can keep you close and know you are beside me even if I’m not looking at you. A good pet doesn’t pull on the lead, if the lead is making your collar tight you need to come closer to me, I know it’s new and we haven’t used it before but if you don’t pull then you’ll forget it’s there after a while, okay?” he told me.

It was strange, I could feel the weight of the lead on my collar and it made it twist if I turned my head, I was used to my collar sitting in a certain way around my neck.

I took a step back and the lead went taunt, I pulled my neck back and felt my collar tighten, I shook my head and tugged a little more, I didn’t like the feel of it, it didn’t hurt but I could feel pressure around my neck and I knew if the lead was pulled hard enough it would dig into my neck and become painful.

I shifted and pulled my collar away from my neck with my fingers.

Master’s hands covered mine and he hushed me softly, his fingers slipping under my collar and gently rubbing the skin there.

“Don’t like master.” I whimpered, my arms wrapping around his legs and I burrowed my face into the soft fabric of his coat.

The tightness reminded me of when I was a cub, when I was still small enough that the trainers weren’t scared of me. I remembered how they’d fist the skin at the back of my neck and carry me, it had hurt.

A fuzzy memory came to me, I was really small, so small I was still with my mummy. They shot my mummy with that feathered thing, like Marshal had with me before master brought me, making her go all sleepy. They’d come into our home and slipped something over my head, they’d dragged me away from my mummy by my neck, I don’t know what it was but it had been really tight around my throat, I’d cried and called out for her, I was terrified and in pain, I didn’t want to leave with those scary people, they took me away from my mummy and I never saw her again.

Tears spilled from my eyes and a mournful yowl left me. “No want master, please!” I cried, my arms holding onto his legs desperately.

“Okay Luci, okay, no lead, shh, it’s alright.” he soothed, I heard him unclip the lead and unbuckle my collar, his fingers tenderly rubbing my now bare neck in slow circles.

I felt a little panic when the familiar weight of my collar left my neck but it eased the phantom feel of tightness that lingered and I began to calm down.

I sniffed and nuzzled against his hip underneath the coat, his comforting sweet apple smell filling my nose.

“What happened Luci?” he questioned softly, his fingers going into my hair and rubbing behind my ears.

“Lead remind me master, trainers hurt my neck with hands and thing like lead when Luci cub, use thing like lead to take me away from my mummy.” I answered tearfully. “Can I have my collar back on now master?” I looked up at him with blurry vision, my eyes closing when he wiped away my tears with a gentle brush of his thumbs.

“Of course you can Luci.” his voice was soft and a little sad, the comforting weight of my collar settling around my neck after master secured the buckle. “I’m sorry that happened to you.”

I knew pets had a lot fewer rights than humans but there was no way what happened to Luci was legal, to be ripped from his mother so young and subjected to unnecessary pain, at the hands of those meant to care for him no less. I was furious but kept that to myself, being angry right now wouldn’t solve anything.

I’d purchased the lead to reassure me, I knew Luci wouldn’t leave my side, not intentionally anyway, I was just so worried, that on top of my growing anxiety knowing I’d be leaving the house. It’s not like a lead would stop Luci, it was more for show than anything, I knew Luci would get a reaction from the general public, they’d feel safer thinking he was secure. A lead was out of the question though, I wouldn’t make him wear one and I didn’t have the time to sort anything else out, we needed to get going now.

It took Luci a few more minutes to settle completely and then we left the house. He padded alongside me as we walked towards the car, I’d purchased some things for him to make the ride more comfortable for him, and legal, he couldn’t be unsecure in a vehicle, same with a human I guess.

I opened one of the passenger doors for him and he looked inside curiously, seeing the hammock-like covering on the back seats, connecting to the back of the front seats, creating an enclosed space for him to lay down in and save the leather seats. “Up you go Luci.” he glanced over at me before cautiously hopping in, turning around and flopping down. It was big enough but a jaguars back seat wasn’t known for being spacious, the drive wouldn’t be too long at least.

I climbed into the front and set my briefcase down in the passenger foothold, putting on my seatbelt and just taking a breath. It had been a while since I’d gone anywhere, the last time I went out was when I brought Luci actually. Driving wasn’t my favourite thing but it was better than public transport, someone with my last name couldn’t really use such a thing, not easily anyway.

I started the car and it rumbled to life, sounding not too unlike Luci’s purrs, which did make me smile a little. “You okay back there Luci?”

He replied with a meow.

“Alright then, let’s get going.”

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