“Cat. Cat. Cat!” my shoulder’s being shaken.
“Wha?” I get my eyes open. It’s Kate.
“Time to come back from Weird World and into the normal one.” She pauses. “Or maybe we’re weird and where you went is normal?”
“Too much philosophy before the coffee.”
“Yeah, yeah. You and coffee. I could see you!”
“See? You saw us?” Does that mean we’re actually here? I sit up. Wait. Sheets.
“Yes, err”, she turns around, grabs the bathrobe and hands it to me, “Here, put this on.”
She turns her back and I put the bathrobe on. That makes it feel oddly like I’m still in the place where… Cat and George meet. Kate woke me with ‘Cat’ and I wasn’t even confused. I’m starting to get used to the name. But she saw us!
“You could see us in here?”
“No, not like that. I touched your shoulder at one point and then I could see the other room and the two of you sitting and talking. Is… Is that what you used to look like?”
“And that’s Cat now? The Cat I knew before, I mean.”
“Yes. We’ve been swapped even in that… dream or whatever it is.”
“He— She seemed OK?”
“Yes. Fine. The worst damage was embarrassment. And a really shitty waking up.”
“She— I really should tell you to ask her, but that doesn’t work, does it?”
“Oh, come on, I was worried! Oh, alright. You can ask me an embarrassing question in return.”
“It’s not me, it’s…”
Cat’s smile when I told her about Kate checking up on me.
“…She trusts you. Huh. I’m not going to get out of this, aren’t I? Alright. She woke up because she had a wet dream. And that freaked her out.”
“She had— That would be freaky. Poor Cat. She’s OK? Embarrassed from telling you and shitty waking and having to clean a mess she didn’t want to know about? That’s what happened?”
“Pretty much. And I guess you should hit the shower, or we’re never going to be out of here in time for my class.”
“I— Right. I wasn’t paying attention to the time.”
She goes into the shower and I eat breakfast and make another one for Kate. She comes out of the shower wrapped in a towel. I’m noticing her bare shoulders — earlier, she said, ‘I touched your shoulder’.
“What made you touch my shoulder? Was there something strange in the room?”
“No, but, you were a bit restless in your sleep and I figured I’d better pull the sheets back up.”
“Oh. OK.” She’s blushing. She means I exposed myself. “Get dressed and eat. I’ll be right back.” And I go into the bathroom.
I take the bathrobe off and look in the mirror. How much did Kate see? Why do I care?
Right. Better get in the shower or I’m going to be late.
I like it that she cares.
Cat was right. Straight out of a romance novel.
George, the natural-born heroine.
Just step out of the shower and grab the damn towel, or the heroine is going to stay all wet.
Kate’s already dressed when I get out of the shower. She turns her back and I get my clothes on. We each grab our stuff and walk out.
As I’m locking the door, Kate says, “Wait. I said you could ask me a question. You never did.”
I know and it’s not an accident. Maybe I can make it a game?
“You never said it had to be right away.”
“Oh, no fair!”
And maybe I should just tell her. “Honestly? There’s two questions I’m wavering between. And right now I’m scared to ask either.”
She smiles. “That’s OK. I can wait. For a while.”
Did you have a crush on Cat? And what do you feel about me?