A Forgotten Kitten by Jessica Kong

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Chapter 3

 

Thursday, the 24th of December, Year 2020
Oceanica

 

After staying at the castle for six months, Areo had every bulging muscle on Sev’s body memorized. He had wanted to move her out of the private room in Medical Wing C long ago, but to his consternation, she had declined. She could not tell him the reason for her refusal: that from the window, she could watch him helping Miko with the repairs to her ship.

Seeing him brought her joy, especially on a day like Christmas Eve. Her family had always been a closeknit group. But losing Challen, Carol Ann, Sev, and Jugar during Oceana’s destruction had served to unify her family even more. They each made every effort to spend as much time together as possible, during Christmas and Thanksgiving in particular. And though she was worried sick about her family, she was grateful for having found Jugar and Sev alive and well. She believed locating them was her gift from her creator.

But Areo had the sinking feeling Sev wanted her off Oceanica. She had been told that he had placed a rush job on her ship’s repairs. She whimpered and covered her face with both hands. She knew she had a war to return to, but she had not seen Sev since Oceana’s destruction. He was obviously not the same cat he had been during her youth. Against her uncle’s wishes, she had given in to her desires and secretly tried to get to know the new Sev.

Unfortunately, after finding her in Jugar’s arms, Sev would not give her the chance. Whenever she approached him, he used every excuse to not speak to her. It wounded Areo, for she saw no logical reason for Sev to be so angry. All she had done was speak to Jugar. Sev went so far as to bluntly express displeasure when she spoke with any of the men. It irritated her. Outside from Uma and Serena—whom she had little in common with—who else did she have to talk to—the cold steel walls?

She focused on Sev from the window. She would have to take matters into her own hands if she was going to get to the core of Sev’s behavior, overcome it, and get to know this intriguing new feline. Inhaling a deep fortifying breath, Areo decided that it was time to once again check on the progress to her ship’s repairs. With her head held high, she left the window and exited her chambers.

Areo entered the docking bay and found Miko and Sev underneath her ship, tinkering away. Angel had disappeared. She looked beneath the ship and called out in a friendly voice, “Hey, you guys! How are things coming along? You’ve been at it since I arrived. Any new progress?”

Both men came out from underneath the ship to greet her. They towered over her, and neither wore a shirt. Their muscles glistened beneath the bright lights. Miko wiped the sweat off his brow with a small towel he had tucked in his belt. Without his notice, Areo searched, found, and held Sev’s gaze.

Angel came up behind her. “We have—somewhat,” he answered.

Areo turned to speak to the snow leopard. “What do you mean by somewhat?”

“Are you sure you know nothing about the mechanics of this ship?” asked Miko.

Areo shook her head. “I told you, I only know how to fly it. I left all the mechanical mumbo jumbo to my siblings. I’m sorry. I wish I could provide more help.”

Miko smiled. “No problem. We will figure this out somehow. But do not expect it to be anytime soon. The ship’s technology is extremely complex. I cannot even figure out what sort of energy you used as fuel.”

Areo’s expression showed that a light had gone off in her head. “Oh shit!”

All three felines fixed their eyes on her. “What?” asked Sev.

“Blast it!” Areo stomped her right foot on the floor. “Why didn’t I remember it before?” She stomped it again. “Damn it! Bloody hell!”

Sev was surprised to hear Areo use an Oceanan expression combined with a foreign one. It seemed like his cats were rubbing off on her. “What’s wrong?”

In a temper, Areo whirled in place and banged her feet on the ground several more times. “The bloody technology!”

Sev struggled to suppress his smile. The pint-size female was adorable. As she continued, though, he went from feeling fascinated to astonished.

All three men had identical looks of shock and confusion on their faces by the time she finished.

Areo pointed to her ship. “The bloody technology used to create this blast-it ship. It’s a bloody hybrid created by my siblings!” When their expressions did not change, she went on to explain. “It’s a mixture of technologies from different races, improved upon to make the ultimate technology.” She banged her chest. “Our personal technology!” Her hands landed on her hips. “Only those trained by my family know how this bloody shit works. You’ll never figure it out, because you’ve never met any of the aliens we’ve come in contact with. It’s a giant jigsaw puzzle!” Areo thrust her fingers into her curly hair, did an about-face, and screamed in frustration.

“She does have a flair for the dramatics, wouldn’t you agree? I wonder who she takes after,” commented Jugar from the doorway.

Sev noted Jugar’s relaxed posture. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. Even from that distance, Sev could see the twinkle in Jugar’s eyes. Prior to Areo’s coming, Jugar had spent 90 percent of his time alone. He had kept busy building lair after lair for their citizens. Jugar seemed to be happier since Areo had arrived. He had slowed down on building homes and spent a great deal of time with her.

The ever-present jealousy simmering in Sev’s heart bubbled over. “What do you mean?” He moved closer to Areo, subtly challenging the older male.

Jugar bestowed Areo with a dashing smile. “Private joke.”

Sev’s anger flared. He glowered first at Jugar. “Private?” He turned to Areo. “Joke?”

Areo pressed her lips together and spared both men a quick look. “Ignore him.” She addressed Miko. “Don’t go crazy trying to solve this”—she pointed to her ship—“monstrosity. I’ll just increase the beacon’s power. Hopefully, someone will pick up the signal and come for me. Before I do that, can I look at your star charts? I want to know exactly how far I am from my home. That way, I can adjust the strength of my signal.”

“Sure, no problem,” volunteered Angel. “Come with me. I will show you.”

“Thanks.”

Sev’s glower followed Areo as she walked back to the lair. He saw her playfully punch Jugar in the arm as she passed. Jugar laughed. He stopped when Sev paused in front of him.

“I’d better not find out there is something intimate going on between the two of you.”

“Or what?” Jugar straightened up. He was a tall cat at six foot nine, yet he still had to tilt his head back to meet Sev’s darkening features.

“You don’t want me to answer that, Seacat.”  Sev’s eyes sent a clear warning before he stormed out of the docking bay.

 

 

 

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