Leading the way outside, Judy took a welcome breath of fresh air. She loved working at Unashamed Felinity, but there was only so much that could be done about the smell with so many cats in an enclosed space.
“I, uh, assume you know the good coffee places around here?” said Abigail. “I mean, we could probably randomly pick a direction and hit one within two blocks, but who knows if they’d have good cupcakes or whatever it is that you want.”
Judy felt Abigail’s hand clasped in hers and couldn’t help but smile more broadly. “You never know—we might stumble on the best cupcakes in the city before everyone else knows about them!”
Abigail chuckled. “You sound like an optimist.”
“I find optimism intriguing but am generally too anxious for it.”
Judy shrugged. “In that case, there’s a bakery on the corner that’s pretty good. I usually go there to eat my lunch since they have tables outside.”
“That sounds nice,” Abigail agreed. They walked a few more steps in silence before she hastily added, “I’m not actually cupcake-obsessed, I just always seem to gravitate to them when I’m out since I can’t have anything with icing at my house. If my cats spot anything dairy they try to get at it and won’t leave me alone until it’s gone.”
Judy laughed knowingly and leaned closer to Abigail. “One Thanksgiving, my mom left the turkey on the counter while she got the big roasting pan from the garage. When she got back one of our cats had climbed into the cavity up to her shoulders!”
“Oh, no!” Abigail’s free hand flew to cover her mouth, but she was still smiling. “Did you have guests?”
“We assumed that the oven would take care of any bacteria so she just rinsed it off and made us swear not to say anything,” Judy confessed. “That’s not anywhere close to my weirdest cat story, by the way.”
“Same. Though I’m not sure what the weirdest one would be. Maybe I should make a list?”
“I always thought I could write a book of essays. Or maybe just a really great blog.”
“Oh, are you a writer?”
“Kinda? It’s just a hobby; I actually really like my job, even if Retail is Hell. What about you?”
“…Well, the good thing about my job is I can mostly do it from home.”
“What’s the bad thing?”
“My job is high end IT customer service. It’s only high end because the software’s so expensive, not because I get to skip the part where I ask if they tried—”
“—turning it off and on?” they finished together and laughed.
“No wonder you need feline companionship!”
“They may call me a crazy cat lady, but my psychiatrist will attest that they keep me sane,” Abigail agreed.
Judy stopped, suddenly aware of their surroundings. “I’m so sorry, we’re at least two blocks past the bakery. Do you want to turn around?”
Abigail squeezed her hand. “You know what? Let’s keep going and see what we find. I feel like being an optimist.”