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Old 03-05-2016, 02:01 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
I asked Latté, and she looked at me with a face that said, "Well, what do you think?" I think she's shining me on.
If she talks, you will never have to work again in your life. But the home security bills will be terrible, yes?

Joyce's Pook talks. She can say, "Mom" and "No." It sounds very funny but one can hear this a small bit! Ha! It is of the gibbering which cats do, yes?

Let us know when Latte speaks. I will be your best friend, yes? HAA!

Love,
~Cat
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:05 AM   #182
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"I guess you don't," she agreed. "Maybe you should make time for yourself."

He thought about that. "Well, since Zeus is helping, I might be able to do that. I do miss curling up with you and a good book."

She smiled. "I miss that too, but I know you're teaching Belle. Maybe take a look around today while we're there and see if something jumps out at you."

"Okay, thank you, Suzanna."

Suzanna smiled at him. "You're welcome. Well! It's almost eight o'clock. I better get my shower so we can go book-hunting."

Down the street, Carrie woke up to find Bart and Belle at the big windowseat, admiring the snow.

"Look, Carrie! Look at all the snow!" cried Belle, her tail lashing with excitement. "It's so pretty."

She got up and sat between them at the window, looking out toward the B&B.

"Hey, look at the cottage! Looks like Suzanna's at the window," said Bart.

"Good gosh, you can see that? I can't, I just barely see the window," Carrie replied.

"I can see her too!" exclaimed Belle.

"We have sharper eyesight," said Bart.

"I believe that," Carrie said.

"Oh, I guess Pook and Saav won't be here today," Belle said, disappointed.

"Probably not, unless Joyce can get behind another snowplow," Carrie nodded. "But Meows will be here, I'm sure."

"Oh, and I guess Zeus won't be able to come, either," pouted Belle. "Rats! I hate it when my friends have to stay home." She raspberried the snow, and Bart sighed.

Carrie laughed. "They'll be here tomorrow, Belle."

The phone rang, and Carrie picked it up, spoke briefly, and hung up.

"Who was that?" asked Belle.

"Suzanna. She's taking Meows to The Daily Grind, and wanted us to join them. Want to?"

"Ooooo! Yeah!" Belle said, cheering right up. Belle liked coffee, too...with lots of cream in it.

"Oh, good," nodded Bart. "That sounds like fun."
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:09 AM   #183
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Carrie looked at the clock. "Well, the sooner I get ready, the sooner we can get out of here."

The two women and three cats met across the street from Carrie's shop. Carrie and Suzanna had coffee and gave Belle coffee with cream, and the other two milk.

Meows found the book for Belle, then selected a copy of historical works for himself.

Bart picked out the latest offering from Tom Clancy, and the cats crawled under the table to read, where no one would see them.

Carrie looked across the street at her new front door. "I love how the new door looks. Paul is pretty neat."

"Yeah, he is. He comes by now and then to visit Sunshine," said Suzanna. "I think that's unusual for a man."

"He's no ordinary guy," Carrie agreed. Her cell phone rang, and she fished it out of her purse and answered it.

It was Detective Freeman. "Can you come by the station? Your burglar is here to turn himself in."

"Oh -- okay, sure, give me just a few minutes. I'm at the bookstore, not in the shop," Carrie replied, looking very surprised.

"Take your time," he said. "We're still taking his statement."

She hung up. "My burglar is turning himself in. That was the detective, and he wants me to come by the station."

"Wow! You gotta tell me what happens when you get done!" exclaimed Suzanna.

"You better believe I will," Carrie smiled, getting up. She bundled Bart and Belle back in the big picnic basket as Meows jumped on Suzanna's shoulder. They paid for their books, and returned to the shop, where Carrie put their books out for them on the big windowseat. They jumped up and pawed them open, purring.

"That'll keep em happy for a while," remarked Suzanna, walking down the stairs with Carrie.

"Yeah, for today, maybe. They read fast," said Carrie.

"That they do. Wonder what made the kid turn himself in?"

Carrie paused at the alley door. "I'm getting ready to find out."

Suzanna gave her friend a good-luck pat on the shoulder, and watched her go across the alley to the police station. Then she closed the door and locked it.
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:13 AM   #184
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Carrie walked into the interview room, and saw a very thin, ragged boy with the detective, hanging his head. She looked around for his parents. No one looked like a parent there. Where were the parents?

"Hello, Mrs. Sullivan. Please sit down. This is Sean McMurray. He has something to tell you," said the detective.

The child had been crying, and his face, throat and hands were covered with deep scratches. She felt so bad for him. He was dirty, unkempt, and pale.

This poor child, she thought. What happened here?

"I - I'm sorry I broke your door. I wasn't going to steal anything. I was just looking for a warm place to sleep," he said, and began to cry again.

"A place to sleep? Did you run away from home, honey?" asked Carrie.

The boy didn’t answer, and looked away.

Detective Freeman nodded. "His parents are in prison for drug trafficking, and the grandmother took him in. Unfortunately, she was abusive, and Children's Services pulled him out of there and put him in what we thought was a safe foster home. Right now, I'm afraid that foster home is going to be investigated and probably shut down, because he was beaten and locked in a closet with no dinner last night. He ran away when they let him out of the closet to go to bed."

"Is that true?" Carrie asked the boy gently.

He swallowed a sob and nodded.

She touched his hand. "I'm sorry. That's no way for a little boy to live. How old are you?"

"Ten," he said.

Carrie shared a painful look with the detective.

"I explained to him that you would have to decide to press charges or not," said the cop.

"Oh no, no. Don't charge this little guy with anything. Just get him to a warm, safe place, where he can be happy and grow up to be a good man," she replied.

"But he did damage your store. Are you sure?"

She waved him off. "The door has been replaced, and I never did like the old door anyway. He wasn't there to do harm, he was cold. Has he had any breakfast?"

"Uh...not yet," the detective said.

Carrie's eyes blazed. "And why not? This child is hungry!"

"I -- uh, was going to get him something to eat, but he said he wanted to do this first," explained Freeman. By that look in her eyes, no wonder
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:17 AM   #185
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she's got evil cats, he thought. She probably trained the vicious beasts herself.

She looked at the little boy, then back at the detective. "Can I take him to the pancake place? It's just two doors down, we can walk."

For the first time, the boy looked up at her with shining brown eyes keen with interest and bright with intelligence. Carrie smiled at him, and she got a little shy smile back.

"Sure, if he wants to. What do you think, Sean? Would you like to go eat breakfast with Mrs. Sullivan?"

He nodded, and smiled again.

"Good," said Carrie, getting up and holding her hand out to the boy. He slid off his chair and slipped his hand into hers. "I bet you like blueberry syrup, don't you?"

"It's my favorite," he said, picking up his coat.

"Mine too. Thanks, Detective, I'll have him back in a little while."

"No problem, take your time. We're trying to get in touch with a new foster parent for him anyway. You have fun," said the cop with a smile.

"We will," replied Carrie, helping Sean get his coat on. It was at least three sizes too big, and quite worn.

They walked outside, and he held Carrie's hand tightly. "You're a nice lady, Mrs. Sullivan."

"Aw, you're a sweet child," said Carrie, giving his little hand a gentle squeeze.

"Can I come live with you?" he asked.

"Oh, I wish you could! But I'm not a registered or trained foster parent, so they won't let me take you, or I certainly would. But -- aren't you afraid of my cats?"

"No. They were protecting you. Besides, they let me go when I tried to get up and run back out."

"They're really not mean when they get to know you," she said. "Why don't you come visit me at the shop, if your new family says it's okay, and get to know them?"

"Can I?"

"Sure. Anytime. I'm open all day," she told him, opening the door to the Pancake Palace.

"I will. I'm really sorry I broke your door," he said sadly.

"Don't think about that. Just think good things right now. We both made a new friend today, don't you think?"

"Yeah," he said, smiling shyly.
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:12 AM   #186
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During breakfast, she found out he loved animals, and he especially liked turtles. Sean was quite an expert on turtles, and she was impressed as he told her about the different kinds of turtles and what made them different. He liked baseball, math, and science, and seemed to be a good student...when his old foster parents let him go to school. He had spent six lonely, lousy months in that pit of a home. Carrie hated hearing what had happened to him, and prayed he would have a good, safe home from now on. He had nice table manners, she noticed, as he dug into his pancakes (with blueberry syrup), bacon, and orange juice.

It was over too soon for Carrie. She would have to return him to the detective, but she really didn't want to. As they made their way back up the street after their breakfast, she gave him one of her business cards, and drew him aside.

"If anything bad happens to you, ever again, you call me as soon as you can and wherever you are, I will come and get you to the police so you can report it. See, here's my cell phone number, shop number, and home number. You're good at math -- think you can memorize those numbers?" she said gently.

He looked at the card closely, and nodded. "Really? If I get hit again, you'll come get me?"

"Yes. Or anything bad happens. Get to a phone as soon as you can and call me, okay?" She fished out a pen, and wrote 'love, Carrie' on the back, and gave it back to him.

"I will," he said, carefully putting the card in his jacket pocket. She patted his thin little shoulder, and they headed for the police station.

When she walked in, a tall, lovely woman in her 50s was waiting. Carrie knew her well.

"Sandy! How are you? I haven't seen you in ages!"

"Hi, Carrie! I'm doing great. You?" she smiled.

"Oh, just fine. Where have you been hiding lately?" asked Carrie.

"Well, I became a foster parent last year, and was fostering a little girl until about a month ago, when she was adopted. So, here I am, and this is Sean?"

"Yes. We just came back from breakfast. Sean, this is Sandy Larsen. Sandy, Sean McMurray."

The older woman reached down and shook his hand. "So nice to meet you, Sean. Did you have a good breakfast?"

"Yes! I had pancakes and bacon and juice. Do you like blueberry syrup?" he asked.
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:44 AM   #187
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Carrie and Sandy laughed. "One of my favorites," said Sandy. "Have you tried strawberry too?"

He shook his head. "Not yet. Maybe I'll try that next time."

Sandy smiled at him. "We'll try it tomorrow morning. Would you like that?"

"Yes!" he replied.

"I think you two are going to get along real well," said Carrie.

"I think so," agreed Sandy.

Sean smiled, and the detective came out. "Ah! There you are. I guess we're all done here, Sandy. The paperwork's done and filed. I've got two officers and a Children's Service person going to get his clothes and belongings from the other foster home, and they'll be dropping those off to you sometime today."

"Great! Well, Sean, you ready? I don't live far from here," Sandy said.

"May I use the restroom first?" he asked.

Freeman showed him to the men's room, and Carrie turned to Sandy. "I'm so glad he's going to be with you. I am so relieved. Thank you, Sandy."

"Oh, he's precious. No problem, Carrie, he'll be okay. Just some love and support, and maybe a slew of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and he'll be bouncing back."

"That should do it. In case you find it, I gave him my card, and said if he ever needed me, he could call. Would you let him visit the shop?" asked Carrie.

"Oh, absolutely! You mean he's not afraid of the cats?"

"He really should be," said Freeman.

"No, he told me he wasn't, and I explained that if he would come visit and get to know them, they'd be fine," Carrie said.

“That’s one brave kid,” muttered the detective. Carrie rolled her eyes, and Sandy looked at the man as if he were crazy.

"We'll be regulars, then," promised Sandy. "That will give us an excuse to get out a few times a week and walk."

"Good," said Carrie. "I look forward to it."

Sean returned, and looked at Sandy expectantly.

"Ready?"

"Ready," he said. "Thank you for breakfast, Carrie. I'll try to come visit you."

“Yes, we’ll be over real soon,” nodded Sandy.

"You do that," she smiled. Sandy took his hand.

"C'mon, tiger, let's get you home," she said, leading him out. He turned and waved one more time, then he was out the door with Sandy, heading off to a new life and one with much more hope.

Carrie turned to the detective. "He is a dear child. Tell me -- where did he spend the night last night?"

Freeman sighed. "After the shop incident, he went to the Catholic church just up from you, and Father Aaron was there, working late. The church stays unlocked, and he found the child asleep in a pew when he went to leave. He woke him up and took him home, then brought him here this morning after Sean told him why he was there."

"That poor dear. But he has such nice manners! I can't believe his parents were into drugs."

"That's another sad story. His parents lost their jobs when that knitting mill outsourced. They couldn't find jobs after that, and they had a child to feed and a mortgage to pay. The father's cousin talked them into running coke and meth into South Carolina and Tennessee, and finally they got desperate and did it. They got caught on their second run. They weren't users, they kind of were nice people, stuck in a jamb, and made a bad decision," he said, a shadow crossing his face. "They got seven years and they have about five and a half to go. It's a very sad situation."

Carrie felt for them. "I guess if I had a child, I would do anything to provide for him. They must love him very much."

"Actually, they do. I have spoken with them, arranging communication between them and Sean. They're actually nice people...just bad circumstances. It's my hope that when they get out, they'll be able to get him back and start over."

"I hope so too. Where are they incarcerated?"

"The federal pen in Raleigh. They are allowed to receive visits from him, but he hasn't been given the chance to see them yet. Sandy will be taking him in a week or so."

"That's wonderful! Does he know this yet?" said Carrie.

"He will shortly. She's planning on sitting him down with cookies and milk later and telling him," Freeman said, smiling. "He'll be very happy to hear that bit of news. He loves them and misses them."

"Oh, I bet he does, the poor little thing. I hope it all works out. I can tell you, he'll be fine with Sandy. I've known her for a long time, and she's a good person. Thank you for telling me this, Detective. I do appreciate it."

"No problem, I know you care about him. Go see him, if you want, and keep up with him. He might like that. I'm going to visit him from time to time, too."

"That's wonderful! I'll keep up with him. He's a precious soul, and he needs people in his little corner," Carrie promised.

"He sure does. Thanks for your help," said Freeman, shaking Carrie's hand.

"And thank you. Have a great day."
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:45 AM   #188
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End of Chapter 10.

Enjoy!

Love,
~Cat
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:57 AM   #189
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Oh poor Sean...which of the cats are going to be the lawyer for his parents???
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:21 PM   #190
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Just saw a big orange and white tabby sitting on my deck. Went out to talk to him, he took off into the woods, probably feral, I had not seen him before.
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