Winston called for the house meeting, setting it for Saturday morning when everyone was going to be at home. Jess was the last one to arrive, bursting through the door with bags haphazardly hanging in both hands.
“Sorry, sorry, there was a huge sale at the craft store and I lost track of time!” Her face was practically glowing with glitter, which also sparkled throughout her hair. All three of the guys turned and stared at her, not saying a word.
“There was also a fight over the last large tub of glitter. No, I don’t want to talk about it.”
Schmidt opened his mouth and was about to speak, pointing to one of the bags Jess held which clearly contained an oversized container of glitter but Nick quickly lowered his hand, shaking his head and mouthing the word ‘no’ to his roommate.
“Right, ok, well,” Winston interjected, getting to his feet as Jess placed her bags down and scrambled over to the couch. “now that that’s out of the way, thanks for coming everyone.” He faced to each of them in turn, giving a nod. “Nick, Jess, Schmidt, Furguson. So, the purpose-”
“Wait, did you say Furguson?” said Nick. “I mean not to interrupt you but, well,”
“Clearly you just interrupted him and you meant to interrupt him, Nicholas.” Schmidt added. “Let’s just call it how it is, ok?”
“Wow, you’re pretty touchy this morning, Schmidt. What’s wrong?” asked Jess, concern evident in her expression as she turned to face him. “Are you ok?”
Schmidt crossed his arms and then one leg over the other, sighing heavily. “I’d rather not talk about it right now, thank you, Jessica.”
“He’s using all of our full names, this can’t be good.” Jess frowned and looked from Nick back to Schmidt. “Are you sure-”
“It’s Nick, he finished the last of the milk and didn’t replace it, so now my Wheaties are just going to sit there and not get consumed because who eats Wheaties without milk?” He pronounced ‘Wheaties’ with an ‘h’ in front of it, as in h-wheaties, and each time he did it Nick’s face got a little redder.
“WHO SAYS IT THAT WAY?!” Nick exploded, getting to his feet. “THERE’S NO H IN THE FRONT OF WHEATIES, SCHMIDT!”
“Nick!” Jess tugged him back down to the couch, where he reluctantly sat and crossed his own arms. “Calm down, sheesh!”
“Jess is right, you guys, it wasn’t Nick.” Winston jumped in. “I gave the last of the milk to Furguson this morning for his breakfast.”
Furguson, sat up and paying full attention on his corner of the couch, meowed in the affirmative and licked his whiskers.
“Wait, you gave it to the cat?” Nick asked. “Why would- ok, no, I know cats like milk, but why did you give my milk-”
“Our milk.” Schmidt corrected.
“Fine, fine, our milk to the cat?” finished Nick.
“Which brings us to the purpose of this meeting, as I was about to get to before I was interrupted.”
“Thank you, Winston.” Schmidt said, outstretching his palm to his roommate. “And I apologize for the behaviour of this, this brute.”
Nick just rolled his eyes and fumed even more, but remained silent for now.
“Furguson.” He nodded to the cat, who turned and looked at the others. “He’s a member of the house now, so I think he deserves to be treated as such.”
“Mrrreow.” Furguson said, lifting a hind leg up and cleaning himself at what was probably the most inopportune of times.
“You think he’s our equal now, is that what you’re saying?” scoffed Nick, breaking his short lived silence. “I mean, just look at him, he’s… he’s… what is he doing, exactly?”
“You wish you could do what he’s doing now, Nicholas.” quipped Schmidt, clearly still not over the milk debacle.
“OH GO EAT YOUR H-WHEATIES ALREADY!”
“Guys, seriously, give it a rest.” said Jess with a sigh. She turned to better face Winston. “So what are you saying, exactly, Winston?”
“That we recognize Furguson for what he is, which is another fellow roommate in the loft.” he said with a straight face.
There was a pause for a second before Nick and Schmidt, still in the midst of their milk argument, both looked at each other and tried to stifle a chuckle, failing miserably. Even Jess smirked and giggled a little.
“Seriously, you guys. He’s one of us now, and he needs to be treated fairly.” Winston reached over and petted Furguson, who purred with contentment. “We had a long discussion about it last night-”
“You had a long discussion with the cat last night? Really?” Nick asked.
“Furguson and I can communicate on a level you two will never be able to do, Nick.” Winston said. “Honestly, I feel sorry for you, but that’s a whole different issue, but anyway, like I was saying. We don’t treat him as well as we should.”
“I don’t think we’re bad to him, though, right?” Jess wondered aloud, looking to Nick and Schmidt for confirmation.
“It’s not treating him bad directly, Jess, but we don’t include him like we should. That’s what we feel, anyway.” Winston clarified, with Furguson chiming in agreement with a “mrrrr.”
“Name one instance of that, Winston.” Schmidt challenged, forgetting about his beef with Nick for the moment. “Just one.”
“Thanksgiving.” Winston quickly replied. “We didn’t invite him, and that’s not fair. We should have had Furguson for Thanksgiving, guys.”
“Hah, so you’re saying we should’ve been eating p-” started Schmidt before all of them stopped him in near unison.
“JAR.” Jess and Nick pointed to said jar.
“Rrrrreowr.” added Furguson, getting up, stretching, and turning his back on Schmidt in protest.
“I know, buddy, but that’s what he does.” Winston said with a shake of his head.
“So what’s your solution then, Winston?” asked Jess. “That we re-do Thanksgiving or something, this time with a side of cat treats?”
“Don’t be silly, Jess.” said Winston with a chuckle. “We just need to give Furguson equal voting rights on all things in the house, of course.”
“Ok, but- wait, what?” Jess said, blinking.
“Oh, that’s rich, Winston. Yeah, sure, let’s just make the cat an official roommate, ok, right.” Nick said with a laugh.
“Of course, Nick, it’s only fair because Furguson pays rent each month like the rest of us after all.” Schmidt said with a sneer.
“Wait, would he have to pay rent then?” Nick said, all laughter stopped. “For real? Well, let’s not be too hasty here, right? I mean, we should at least give it some thought.”
“Seriously Nick?” Jess said, shaking her head.
“What? Let’s hear him out at least!” he replied defensively. “Winston?”
“Mreow?” Furguson added.
“Thanks buddy,” said Winston, not clarifying to whom he was replying. “So I think we should all vote to see whether we agree Furguson gets his own vote from here on out.”
“So... you’d be paying his share of the rent then, I take it?” asked Nick with a raised eyebrow. Jess elbowed him as Schmidt just rolled his eyes.
“Alright, let’s just take the stupid vote,” Jess said. “what’s the worst that could happen?”
* * * * *
“We have to put these in every door?” Nick asked from his position of kneeling down by his bedroom door, holding a little frame with a flap on it in one hand and a saw in the other.
“Furguson wanted them, we voted, and it passed, so yeah, to every door.” Winston said, Furguson up in his arms. The cat was playing with the strings hanging from Winston’s hoodie, pawing and chewing them while purring loudly.
“Again, I didn’t know, I just thought it’d be cute to make him part of the family officially!” Jess said apologetically, standing next to Nick and holding onto his toolbox, which was essentially a cardboard box that was falling part that held a hammer, one kind of screwdriver only, and some loose nails and various screws.
“Yeah? Then why’d you vote with him and Winston about installing these damn cat doors?!” Nick asked, raising his voice as he struggled to sketch an outline to cut in the base of the door.
“Well he’s already part of the family, Nick! You’d want to be able to go freely from room to room, wouldn’t you? And are you using a crayon to do that?”
“I couldn’t find a pen alright?!” he shouted.
“You should really be using a pencil…” Winston couldn’t help but add, biting his lip as Nick’s face grew bright red.
“Hey, we’re all out of milk again!” came Schmidt’s voice from the kitchen.
“I’M GONNA LOSE IT I SWEAR!” Nick growled as Jess sighed and looked skyward.
“Rrrrrreowrr!” Furguson replied, looking up at Winston’s face.
“Haha, you got that right buddy!” Winston just laughed, shaking his head as he turned around to head to his and Furguson’s room, laughing all the way inside before closing his door, which had been the first room to have a cat door installed of course.