The empty chip bags, crumpled food wrappers, and crushed soda cans surrounding the couch were a telltale sign that his father had been there and that more food would need to be bought—and of course his father would not be the one buying it. He would also need to check the no-longer ‘secret’ money stashes knowing that if there were any money missing, the chances of his father paying him back were practically nil.

Cookie locked the door behind him and stepped into the living room. There was no indication that his father was still in the house, even with the TV blaring away. The channel was turned to one of those afternoon shows where nothing but toms and mollies screech at each other about who cheated, while the host sat in his chair with a small, but all-knowing grin as he fiddled with the papers of scripted truth in his hands.

Cookie closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, gripping the keys in his palm before letting them fall onto the cluttered wooden coffee table. He didn’t have the energy to search for the remote amongst all the trash so, with a huff, he trailed his fingers underneath the TV screen for the indent of the power button, instantly silencing the angry yowling from the speakers. His ears swiveled around for any other sound. All was quiet.

He walked into the kitchen and his fur prickled and raised as he observed the scene. The cabinets were open, boxes and cans were scattered on the counter—a couple had tumbled onto the floor. His father had dug out the snacks that were behind them. A pasta spoon was set out for some reason, among all the utensils of the open silverware drawer. The faucet was dripping. There was a puddle in front of the fridge. Cookie let out a long drawn out sigh then a frustrated groan and turned on his heels and stormed down the hall.

Dominic was a messy and lazy entity with no regard for how inconvenient he frequently was, regardless of who you were to him. This behavior was not new, it was expected, and yet it still offended Cookie all the same. He wasn’t even sure how his father got into the house, as he took back the spare key and hid it from him last month. Cookie wasn’t in the mood for his abracadabra bullshit.

The bedroom and bathroom doors were wide open. He turned left into his room to see his father fast asleep, faced away from him. In his bed? Absolutely not.

Cookie stood over him. There were many old and new scratches branded across his father’s body, interrupting the sea of short white fur. Dominic’s red head was sunken deep into his pillow, mouth agape, snoring, and drooling. Gross. After a few heartbeats of staring, Cookie shook Dominic’s scarred shoulder, “Daddy.” The man did not stir at all. His father’s fur felt bristly under his palm. He fought the urge to wipe his hand. Ew.

He tried again, this time louder and with more force. “Daddy! Get your bum ass up,” he growled.

A voice mumbled back, “…The fuck you talkin’ to?”

“You, bitch. Get the fuck out my bed!” Dominic lifted his head and side-eyed him, scowling. Cookie’s ears pinned back in irritation. He had the audacity to be annoyed with him!?

“I don’t think I like your fuckin’ tone.”

Cookie let go of the older man’s shoulder as his father turned to fully look at him. Dominic’s emerald eyes challenged his sapphire ones. Cookie started to flex his fingers, his patience was worn thin. He wasn’t afraid to add his own scores to his dad’s body. The bastard had it coming any day now.

“I don’t think I like your musty ass in my bed,” Cookie retorted, standing back and holding the stare. He pointed a finger at his dad then towards the crime scene that was the living room and kitchen, “I don’t think I like you trashing my house either!”

Dominic backed down from the staring contest with a smirk. He scratched at the back of his head, his bright red tabby hair unkempt. Cookie felt as if his fur was about to fall out from how pissed off he was, watching Dominic take his sweet time to stretch, still in his bed.

“Your house,” Dominic said, pausing mid stretch and glancing back at him. “You pay rent.”

“And you don’t,” Cookie fired back, standing up straighter. “Get out.”

“Damn, what happened to the hospitality? Fine.”

Cookie moved out of the way, watching the heavily scarred man intensely as he rose. Dominic’s face had an unreadable expression as he walked past him, out of the bedroom, and down the hall.

“I guess I’ll leave.” Then it hit him. Cookie didn’t see his smirk, but he heard it. He felt it.

“You know damn well that’s not what I meant! I’m telling Vivacious you won’t clean up your fucking mess!” He activated the ‘auntie card’. It has never failed him. Yet.

The older man stopped dead in his tracks and whipped around to face his son, his red eyebrows raised. “Woah! No need for that. You know I’m just playin’.” As predicted, his demeanor changed to meekness in record time.

“Uh huh. Fix it.” Cookie watched his father roll his eyes and nod, with that stupid smirk of his. He waited in the bedroom’s door frame until he heard the sounds of plastic crumpling.

Cookie let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding and went to investigate his room. From just a glance, everything else seemed untouched. He approached the bed, lifted the blanket to his nose and inhaled deeply, filling up his lungs. It wasn’t that bad. He decided to only wash the pillow.


♦♦♦

It had been an hour since he had arrived home. Everything had returned to the way it was before he left early this morning. Almost.

Cookie sank deep into the couch, finally feeling the fatigue seep into his being.

Business had been a little slow, which was untypical for a Friday, but he was flexible. Those early hours before the sun peeked over the horizon were usually his most successful. It was such a shame, because his favorite customer usually came around on Fridays. Among the dropouts and the druggies, there were the curious. And among the curious, there was—who he had come to dub—the nervous man. Cookie liked to think he was an expert at easing his woes. The nervous man was always looking for something a little more and he always paid a little more. He was always satisfied and he always came back. Would’ve been nice to have had that today.

Cookie sighed and closed his eyes. There was no desire to think about anything for the next fifteen minutes. The stillness of the house was relaxing, he stretched out his legs, unmet by clutter, and let his paws rest on the soft carpet beneath the coffee table. Slowly, his mind drifted into dark, bleak nothingness and the gentle hands of sleep reached out to cradle him for a short nap. His consciousness was about to melt away until a soft, familiar scrunching noise met his ears. The couch that usually soaked up his worries and brought him peace had its efforts go to waste as he opened his eyes up to his father, who stood on the other side of the table. Right. Dominic was still here and he was rubbing a bag of catnip that Cookie had yet to sell.

Almost as if he could feel his son’s piercing gaze, Dominic looked up to lock eyes with him. With a sheepish grin he asked, “Mind if I have some of this, hmm?” In typical Dominic fashion, he did not wait for an answer and opened the plastic bag to shove his face inside, deeply inhaling the scent. Cookie could feel his eye twitch as the stress latched back onto his fur.

“Really? You’re just gonna help yourself to my shi—” His palm brought itself up to his face and silenced him, instantly feeling stupid for forgetting who he was talking to in the first place. Cookie slowly dragged his hand down to see Dominic lean his head back, eyes screwed shut before opening them. His pupils were wide.

“Want some?” Dominic’s tone was lighter than before.

Cookie replied with a blank stare and started to devise plans on how to get rid of Dominic. His father was akin to a demon, an annoying demon whose aura was powerful enough to agitate any poor soul to death. Surely he could hire a priest for an exorcism. Or better yet, strangle him with his bare hands.

He had realized that his father was looking back at him with those big, green, round eyes, waiting for a verbal response. The older tom had asked in earnest. Dominic was already at the point where he was becoming unable to parse certain social cues and Cookie gave up trying to be mad anymore. He broke eye contact, a feeling he couldn’t place washed over him. “It doesn’t affect me,” Cookie sighed.

Dominic tilted his head in confusion before he nodded quickly in understanding. “Right, right. I forgot. You get that from your mama,” he mumbled, pinching catnip out of the bag to place on his tongue.

His mother was a topic that rarely came up in conversations between them. He wondered what would happen if she were there, would she scold his father for his childish ass behavior? Or would she be just as inconvenient as Dominic was?

“Do you wish you were still with her?” It left his mouth before he had the chance to think about it.

Dominic was in the middle of another deep inhale before his eyebrows shot up in surprise. Cookie found himself leaning forward slightly in interest as the other man pulled his face away from the bag and opened his mouth.

“Your mama’s in rehab!” he said, turning to his son with a look of realization, as if he had been sitting on such information for a while and had simply forgotten.

Cookie reclined back into the couch. Of course. The response he got didn’t surprise him at all. Even while wrapped up in the warm embrace of Nepeta, Dominic still held his tongue. Cookie knew better than to chase after his father for a straight answer to any of his questions, else the older tom would speed up miles ahead of him and swerve in a completely different direction. “I didn’t know that.”

The calico that was his mother hadn’t been in his life since he was young, and even then he barely knew her. Nor did he know how his dad sometimes had info about her going-ons. Maybe Dominic still had contact with her family? Cookie almost felt bad that he wasn’t putting in any effort to find out on his own. All he knew was that she was a junkie, abusing drugs that catnip couldn’t even compare to. An uncomfortable feeling stirred in his stomach. To know she was getting help was great, but that didn’t mean she would reenter his life. The thought made him feel more alone.

One thing was for certain, this side of the family was a lot better than his mother’s. A bunch of tabbies with hearts of gold in comparison. He felt safer here. Cookie’s feelings still hurt from his older sisters rejecting his desperate invitation to join him, no matter how soft and sweet their smiles were as they told him no.

He moved out of his grandpa’s (his dad’s dad) house over a year ago and rented his current place with his at-the-time boyfriend. It was his proudest moment after the low that was dropping out of high school. His aunts were so disappointed in him not continuing his education, but made it clear they’d help him, much to his surprise. There will always be a place for their dear nephew under their roofs. Though the idea made him a little nervous.

Cookie’s mind drifted back to Dominic. He felt a little less lonely ever since Dominic popped up on his doorstep, looking like a drowned rat out in the pouring rain. What an awful night to remember, Cookie grimaced at the memory. His father was too impatient to get dried and ended up soaking the carpet and couch. Ever since then his father’s presence has frequently occupied his space. Cookie just wished Dominic would stop sidestepping around having real conversations. He was there, but not there. Not too different from his grandfather and siblings, now that he thought about it.

Weight sinking into the cushion next to Cookie dragged him out of his thoughts. Dominic was rubbing catnip along his chest, then took a handful into his palms and nuzzled his face into them. The scent flowed up Cookie’s nose and up into his brain, where it only registered as a faint weird smell. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to feel whatever the hell his father was going through right now. Most of Cookie’s clientele didn’t try it in front of him, only his favorite customer did before he pleasured him. But what he did know was you either got hyper, spaced out, or horny.

Luckily, considering who he was, Dominic seemed like the spaced out type. Still, Cookie found himself glancing at Dominic’s crotch out of habit. Dominic’s posture grew more slack by the second as he leaned into the back of the couch, eyelids heavy with a distant gaze. Bits of the dried crushed up catnip framed his soft lips. A small feeling buzzed in the back of Cookie’s mind as he stared at Dominic’s mouth then at his other facial features. His father wasn’t unattractive, even with the harsh scratches slashed across his cheek. Those scratches were always there, Cookie’s whole life. The story behind them was a mystery. Without thinking, he outreached his hand towards his father’s face, he wanted to feel them.

Suddenly, his wrist was grabbed and something warm and wet slowly dragged across his palm. Cookie yanked his hand back and gripped it as if he got burned. It was covered in saliva. He looked up from his hand at Dominic with wide eyes, who gave him a lazy smile in return. It took a moment to register what happened and the skin under Cookie’s fur grew hot. Maybe the catnip was getting to him.

Cookie wasn’t tired anymore and before he knew it, he was on his feet. He grabbed his keys with the same assaulted hand. To occupy the same space as Dominic was a mistake, especially right now. He needed air.

Dominic said nothing and made no other moves, watching his son scurry away from him and open the front door.

“Don’t touch anything else!” Cookie yelled, managing to keep his voice steady, and slammed the door behind him.


Woo, baby's first serious piece of writing.

This didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but it's short and I don't wanna keep fussing over it. Sorry for any mistakes or clunky sentences. I'm proud of it anyway! 😹