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As soon as we arrived home, I told Bliss I was going to take a shower. Sundays were a two-show day, so I certainly needed it. I let her go in first to brush her teeth. I waited for the water to turn on, then leapt into action. I found Hamlet’s feathered cat toy (the only reason she would ever willingly get close to Bliss), and hid it underneath the bed. Then I went to the closet and found the suit coat pocket where I’d hidden the ring. I popped open the box to look at it one more time.

It wasn’t much. I was only an actor, after all. But Bliss wasn’t one to wear much jewelry any way. It was simple and sparkling, and I hoped she would love it as much as I loved her. A popping sensation filled my gut like those silly candy rocks that Bliss loved.

What if I was pushing her too fast?

No. No, I’d thought this out. It was the best way. I opened the top drawer of the nightstand, and slid the ring box toward the back. The water in the bathroom shut off, and I went back to the closet, shucking my shirt. I tossed it in the hamper at the same time Bliss walked in the room.

She came up behind me and placed a hand on my bare back. She pressed a small kiss on my shoulder and asked, “Get Hamlet for me before you shower?”

I smiled, and nodded.

Bliss was so determined to make Hamlet like her that she played with the cat for at least half an hour before bed every night. Hamlet would stick around for as long as Bliss waved that feathered toy in the air, but the minute Bliss tried to touch her, she was gone.

I found Hamlet in the kitchen, hiding underneath the kitchen table. I reached a hand down, and she butted her head against my fingers, purring. I picked her up at the same time that Bliss asked, “Babe, have you seen the cat toy?”

I walked into the room, and deposited Hamlet on the bed. She hunkered down and eyed Bliss with distrust.

“Where did you see it last?” I asked her.

“I thought I’d left it on the dresser, but I can’t find it. “

I petted Hamlet once to keep her calm, then placed a quick kiss on Bliss’s cheek.

“I don’t know, honey. Are you sure you didn’t leave it somewhere else?”

She sighed, and started looking in other spots around the room. I turned and hid my smile as I left. I nipped into the bathroom and turned the shower on. I waited a few seconds, went back in the hallway.


Cora Carmack

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