Waiting for Jenny

By Kate Fellowes

Peter Gaines was hard at work arranging sale merchandise in the front window of his shop when he saw her. Long brown hair flying, long legs all-but-running, she hurried up the sidewalk, her coat flapping in the wind. 

She pushed on the door and came in, breathless. “You’re still open! Thank goodness! I was sure I was running late.” Glancing at the clock hanging behind the checkout, she frowned. “I am late. It’s after six—and you’re still open?”

Peter smiled, making

Jenny’s heart skip a bit.

It was quite a smile.


“It’s Friday night, Jenny. You always stop in on Friday night, so I waited for you. We can’t have Miss Lily going hungry.”

Miss Lily was Jenny’s cat and Peter’s shop, the Pet Place, was where Jenny always got Miss Lily’s food. Every Friday night, she stopped on her way home from the insurance office where she worked and stocked up on minced this, grilled that and savory something-or-other. Peter knew all the cat’s favorites, even though he’d never met her. 

Jenny squeezed Peter’s muscled arm. “Thanks for waiting. My computer wouldn’t cooperate all day and of course  the IT guy 

cat 002

called just before closing, wouldn’t you know?”

“Always the way.” Still near the window, Peter shifted a cat condo to a better angle and stood back. 

“How does that look?” he asked.

“Great. Front and center.”

Jenny tipped her head, taking a longer look at the carpet-covered tower. “Gee, it’s a nice color. And there’s a tunnel. And 

a perch. Even some sisal for scratching.” She reached for the bright orange tag, reading the numbers written on it in Peter’s 

firm hand. “That’s a good price.”

“I got one for Dave and he’s crazy for it,” Peter said.

Dave, Jenny knew, was Peter’s sleek black cat. The official store mascot, his picture was part of the company logo. “Miss Lily would love it,” Peter added, moving to the cash register. As he rang up cans of cat food and packets of treats, Jenny thought fast. Miss Lily would love the condo, but how would Jenny ever get it home? 

Peter saw her look at the condo and then out the window, where her Mini sat at the curb. “I could deliver it, if you’d like,” he said.

Jenny gasped. “You read my mind! Would you, really?”

“I would, really,” he said, nodding.

“And you can meet Miss Lily!”

“A bonus,” Peter teased, enjoying Jenny’s tinkling laughter. “Let me close up shop here and I can be by in an hour.”

“Great!”

As soon as Jenny arrived home, she scurried around her living room tidying up magazines and fluffing the pillows on the sofa. Miss Lily, a tiny black and white shorthair, watched from her spot on the squashy chair in the corner.

“He’s coming over!” Jenny sang. “Oh, Miss Lily, Peter’s coming over and, well, I know it’s because he’s bringing you a surprise but maybe, just maybe, he’ll stay a little while.”

She pictured his handsome face, with those warm brown eyes and dimpled cheeks.


When he looked at her, Jenny just

knew he felt the same spark she did.

He simply had to! And tonight, he was

coming here, to her house,

any minute now.


Still holding a pillow, Jenny danced over to the cat and bent to drop a kiss on Miss Lily’s head. Used to such treatment, Lily closed her eyes and purred. When the doorbell rang, Jenny said, “Now, be on your best behavior, okay?” 

But the cat took one look at the stranger on the doorstep, standing next to something even stranger, and high-tailed it down the hall to the bedroom.

Peter caught a glimpse of her long thin tail and laughed. “I don’t think she likes me,” he said.

“She’s just shy around, well, around anyone other than me, actually,” Jenny admitted, her heart sinking a little.

“Dave likes to think he’s a tough guy,” Peter said, effortlessly hoisting the condo and carrying it to the spot Jenny indicated, “but he’s really a big mush. Rub his belly and he’ll follow you everywhere.” He pushed the condo a bit to the left, and then a bit to the right as Jenny gestured back and forth.

“Perfect!” she declared at last, holding up her right hand.

Peter high-fived it and their eyes met. For a second or two, they just stood there in the middle of the living room, looking at each other.

Jenny blinked first. “Do you have time for coffee?’

Peter looked to his wrist, where a watch would be if he ever wore one. 

“You bet,” he said eagerly.

j© Henry Saley 2013