My eyes started to water. “Oh Justin, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to.” But before I could finished, his hand came up to my face and brushed back my tears. He wiped a tear sliding down my cheek.
“No, I’m sorry. I made you cry on your birthday.” He took the box that was lying on the table, and placed it on my lap. “Open it. It’s your birthday present.”
I sniffed and wiped my cheek to make sure I wasn’t crying anymore. I looked up at him and smiled back down at the box. I took the red ribbon off of the box, and then gently lifted up the top. I didn’t even get a chance to lift the lid, because it popped off by itself!
I looked down at the dark box, and suddenly a kitten’s head popped out. That made me jump. The box would’ve fell if Justin wasn’t there to steady it. He chuckled and commented, “Next time I should get you something less jumpy.” He smiled revealing his brilliantly white teeth.
“Wait,” I closed my eyes, “This is my present?” I opened my eyes and stared down at the kitten.
“Yeah,” he beamed, but then frown, “I thought you’d be more enthusiastic,” he made a face; “you don’t like it?”
“No, it’s not that. I’m just…well...yeah,” I said in amazed. “Can I hold him?”
“Sure,” he said smiling again knowing I liked it. He handed me the kitten and I held it in my palm. Justin looked at me then at the kitten. “What do you want to name it? I was thinking Tiger, Tigger, or maybe T.J. for Tiger Junior!” he suggested.
“I like T.J.” I commented watching the kitten sleep. He purred lightly as I stroked his fur. I kissed the top of his head.
“How’d you know to get me a cat?” I asked.
“Your mom said something about you liking Tigers, and the color orange.” He grinned.
“Oh, that explains a lot,” I frowned, but quickly grinned.
“I made a deal with your mom so I could give this to you,” he turned fully to me, "I said I would make an agreement with you. I’d pay for the toys and shots; you would pay for the other stuff. And we would both help each other. Deal?” he took out his hand for me to shake. I had to think about it for a while, but I guess I gave in because the kitten was just staring at me. His eyes were gray, but shined like stars in the sky.
I shook his hand, as he continued. “I also get partial ownership. You mom agreed to let you keep T.J. over the weekdays, while I get him over the weekends. Your mom’s really good at bargaining. It took me three hours to convince her just to let me buy you a cat. The phone bill came in and your mom wasn’t too happy.” he gave me a look that said ‘see what I do for you?’
“I know. There was this one time when we were in New York and we were stuck in a taxi for an hour because my mom thinks we shouldn’t have to pay tips.” Justin laughed and I heard T.J. purr.
“My mom always gets her way,” I grinned.
He smiled with me and raised his hand to pull hair away from my face. When his hand lingered on my face his hand wasn’t just lingering there anymore. It was holding my face. I got shivers, his hand slowly went down my face and onto my neck. My mind went blank. I bet he could hear my heart pounding, because he laughed. He leaned in, and I felt time freeze, but then he quickly pulled back. Did I do something wrong? My mind raced with questions.
When Justin’s mom walked in slowly, I realized that’s why he pulled away.
“Demy,” she said kindly, “I think your mom’s expecting you home soon.” With that, she closed the door behind her.
“Ahem,” Justin coughed, “Well, I guess you have to go. Here,” he handed me a small blanket for T.J.