Kevin had always been a cat person. Ever since he was three and his parents handed him a little tabby kitten, he had to admit he had a strong connection to the standoffish creatures.
That tabby had grown old, but not before he’d gotten his Siamese. Jokingly (maybe), he’d named her Cyndi Lauper, or just Cyndi. She was stubborn, but was quick to try to get his attention. Cyndi was a picky little princess, but he wouldn’t have any other cat.
It was a warm, Beach City afternoon, and he was getting ready for his shift at the car wash. Cyndi laid by his window, soaking up the sun, eyes closed. He walked over to her, running a hand through her fur, before putting on a blue tank and heading out.
After getting fired from the Big Donut, he’d quickly found himself another position at the car wash run by Mr. Universe. He didn’t need to run the car wash, after finding himself in a large sum of money from a previous music career, but Kevin didn’t really care. He mostly just helped wash cars. The pay wasn’t great, but it wasn’t much better than the Big Donut. Paid for gas, though, and he could wash his own car for free.
On some occasions, Mr. Universe’s son would come by. Steven , who hated him with a passion. Probably had something to do with whatever the Stevonnie thing was, but it wasn’t too much a concern.
And sometimes he brought his pet. A giant pink lion who he’d started calling Cotton Candy. The feline seemed to like him - whenever he came along with Steven, he would come over and nuzzle against his chest affectionately. Which was nice, except when he had to figure out how to get pink fur off of a car he was washing. Or when he came home, and Cyndi acted like he didn’t exist, because how dare he spend time with another cat? Usually, a can of tuna got her to stop being so fussy.
It was one of those afternoons. Cotton Candy lumbered on over to him as usual, and he put his sponge down to let the cat nuzzle against him. He knelt down to be at his level and pulled out an earbud. “How you doin’, Cotton Candy?” he asked, petting the lion’s mane.
Cotton Candy bumped foreheads with him, and he laughed as he rose. He patted the lion on its head, and turned to keep working on the car. It wasn’t wet enough to be a fur magnet yet, which thank god . People got picky when they found cat hair on their cars, apparently.
Cotton Candy wasn’t done with him yet. He plonked down at Kevin’s feet, rolling on his back. “I’m not falling for that trap, cat,” Kevin said, poking his side with his toe.
The lion sighed (could lions sigh?) and rolled back over on his stomach, closing his eyes.
Steven seemed to notice that his lion had wandered off. “Lion!” Cotton Candy simply wiggled his ears. “Liiooooon!”
“Real original name for a cat,” Kevin muttered, nudging the cat again. “Someone’s looking for you.”
Steven sighed. “Lion,” he said, in an exasperated tone.
Cotton Candy stood, almost knocking Kevin over, and walked over to Steven. He looked as angry as a cat could get. Kevin put back in his earbud and sighed dramatically.
Steven looked over at Kevin, who was washing the car and trying to seem like he hadn’t just been talking to a pink lion.
He had finished washing the car with the boy had walked over.
“Yo.” Kevin said, taking out an earbud.
“So my cat seems to like you,” he said, crossing his arms as he leaned against the car.
“Yeah. Lion .” He swatted Steven’s shoulder. “I haven’t dried that part of the car yet.”
Steven pushed himself off the car, still glaring at Kevin. Seriously. Why did this kid hate him with such a passion? “What’s wrong with the name Lion?”
“Eh. Just… unoriginal. Like me naming a cat Kitten.” Kevin shrugged.
Steven frowned. “I’m guessing you call him… what? Angel?”
“Angel?” Kevin scoffed. “He’s a giant pink fluffball. I call him Cotton Candy .” He grabbed the towel on his shoulder and started to dry the car.
“Cotton Candy,” Steven repeated, and laughed. “Never woulda guessed.”
“Yeah, and I had a grey tabby named Pepper.” Kevin wiped the towel across the hood. “Surprised?”
Steven blinked. “Didn’t know you had a cat at all,” he muttered, crossing his arms.
“I got to have some air of mystery,” Kevin deadpanned. “Don’t you have to do… whatever twelve year olds do these days?”
Steven groaned. “I’m fifteen!” He stomped off, to where his dad was chilling with Lion .
That cat’s still Cotton Candy to me , he thought, putting his earbuds in. Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time was playing.
Long after Steven left, and it was starting to get dark, he headed home for the night. On his way to his room, he grabbed a can of Cyndi’s fancy pancy special cat food.
The cat was laid out in the middle of his bed, and he set out the cat food on the floor, opening it up with a slight pop. Cyndi perked up, and jumped down from the bed.
He was definitely a cat person.
The next time Steven visited his dad, Kevin wasn’t working. He only worked the afternoon shift, so Steven tried to visit his dad at work in the mornings if at all possible.
His dad was chilling in the sun. He looked asleep, but when Steven came closer he opened an eye. “Hey, Shtu-ball.”
“Hi, dad. Not much business?”
“Eh, been better.” He sat up. “You know Kevin, my employee?”
“Wish I didn’t,” Steven murmured.
“He told me to give this to you, yesterday, I think?” He grabbed a can and an envelope, and gave them to his son.
The can was a can of cat food that read Fancy Pants Cats’ Salmon Delight with a happy looking Persian on the label. The envelope simply contained a note saying, peace offering? in sloppy cursive.
Steven crumbled up the note, but gave the can of cat food to Lion when he got home. Lion sniffed the food, before eagerly eating it all up.
Maybe Kevin’s attempt as a peace offering wasn’t too awful.