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Purple Giraffes and Appreciation

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Sometimes when Sam is on Google, she maps out Seattle just to zoom in on her old haunts. The Groovy Smoothie comes into view first, overbright against a gray sky with the all orange and white swirls of T-Bo's new sign shining, the one that he probably bitched about buying for the last six months.

Not that Sam would know. She's been gone long enough not to have heard any of it and that knowledge lies like a rock in her gut. She frowns angrily before her fingers automatically bring Carly and Freddie's old apartment building into view and the heavy feeling grows worse. The tower looms over the street ... over her ... and she smacks the laptop closed.

Of course, Cat comes in just at that moment. "Is the Ham Hub site down again?" she asks sympathetically, which is pretty perceptive for her as this was probably the last time Sam slammed the computer shut.

Sam glances up at her, trying to be annoyed, but it's difficult. Cat's head is tilted to one side, her silky, impossibly red hair falling like a cascade over her shoulder, her beautiful face as winsome as a fairy's. It's hard to be anything but kind to her -- as kind as Sam knows how to be, that is. She wonders if that will ever change, but for the moment ...

"So what's wrong?" Cat bounces down onto the couch next to Sam, leaning her head on her shoulder.

The girl even smells like cotton candy, for God's sake, Sam thinks, trying not to roll her eyes. "I don't know," Sam mumbles. "I'm just ..."

"Afraid of the world being taken over by earth worms?" Cat's eyes widen in sympathy. "Me too!"

Sam decides to ignore that. "I miss Seattle." She sighs and shakes her head, deciding to clarify when she's sees the somewhat panic-stricken look on Cat's face. "No, no ... not like that. I don't want to go back. I mean, it's not the same anymore anyway. I don't even know what I mean, I just ... I just ..."

"Miss how things used to be? And are sad that they won't ever be like that again?" Cat says quietly, taking Sam's hand in hers. "I understand."

Sam looks down at the perfectly pink-manicured fingers laced between her own ragged, rough ones. Her throat tightens and she's too sad to even get angry again, as she usually does when someone reads her too right. "How did it go so fast?" she asks thickly, to no one in particular. "And why didn't I appreciate it more?"

She runs a shaking hand through her hair, already messy from lacking of brushing for the past ... oh, day or so. Sam's near tears and she doesn't understand exactly why, and she hates herself for it. It's weak and stupid and pathetic and ...

Cat reaches out with her free hand and gently, without fanfare, tucks her purple giraffe into Sam's lap before winding her arms around her, pulling her head down to her shoulder. She rocks her, humming and Sam is horrified for about ten seconds, before squeezing her eyes shut and allowing her 'allergies' to take over.

Cat doesn't say anything for a long time, ignoring her phone with a shake of her head to Sam when it beeps and just rocks her, with a kindness that Sam doesn't understand, but somehow ... the pain lessens and the weight inside lightens.

"I want fried chicken, " Sam finally gulps after a while, shaking herself free, sending the purple giraffe flying for good measure.

"Okay dokey," Cat replies, pulling out her phone and hitting "Chicken Licken' on Speed Dial, which is funny because Cat isn't a fan of fried chicken, but she has it there for Sam's sake, which is another one of those impossibly sweet things she does. "Hi! I need one of your Super Size specials? Dark or light meat? Just as long as it's meat, I'm pretty sure it will be fine. You have my info on your computer? Great! See you soon, 'kay-kay!"

"You're a good friend," Sam mutters, embarrassed, but not as much as she might have thought she'd be. Maybe she is getting older. Maybe she is moving on ... finally.

"I know," Cat laughs, bending to pick up her giraffe before twirling into the kitchen.

Sam looks at her, really sees her for a moment and can't help smiling. This is Cat's truly great talent, besides the singing and dancing and Sam looks forward to the day when the rest of the world sees it too.

At the moment, though, she's content to keep Cat all for herself -- appreciating every minute of her.