Chapter 16Mature

“Why’s that?” His father didn’t give any reply, but seeing his eyes dart around a bit, Alex had a feeling what he was trying to say. “Dad, I’m not saying I’d rather live like this.”

“I know son, but I can’t understand why you’re excited about this.”

Alex took a minute to think about his next words, trying not to sound too giddy. “I wasn’t at first. I’m still not now, but this doesn’t have to be something horrible and I’ve gotten some enjoyment out of it.”

“Fair enough.” The tone coming from his father that time sounded a bit downer.

“Dad, it’s either I work with this and try to make the most of it, or just be depressed for the rest of my life.”

“Rest of your life?” His mother’s tone held a slight twinge of sadness. As Alex looked over at her, her hands moved in front of her face like she was about to start crying.

Of all the screw-ups he could have had tonight, mentioning that phrase was one among them. Gripping his padded hands, his claws rubbing his pads, he tried to keep an optimistic view for his folks. “I think so, but it’s not that bad.”

His mother tried to put on a straight face, but it was clear to him that this was starting to get to her. Likely from what he was saying. As he tried to pin down something more uplifting to say, his father beat him to it. “Honey, it’s alright.”

With a better jumping in point established, Alex continued. “It’s only one day a month. Maybe two, but that’s it.”

His mother acknowledged the statement and tried to keep from showing any emotion. Looking over to his father, Alex figured now was the best time to end the conversation, or at least get it on another track. Taking the final bite of his meal, he quickly mentioned that Nathan and the others were coming on Saturday. As well as the fact that he was planning to reveal this to them as well on that day.

With some final words about being unsure if they would take it very well, Alex went back inside before his folks. The two burgers had filled him up nicely, but to be safe he downed a full glass of soda. Now feeling bloated, yet very satisfied with his meal, he returned to his room and curled up on top of his bed, his fur making a nice buffer against the air conditioning that was kicking on.

Despite feeling less than hopeful that he would change overnight, with how the conversations had gone, he was unsure if he could reverse it now. He felt guilty along with pleased, making for an unpleasant mix of emotions. Hoping that by tomorrow morning both would be settled, or he would be human again, he drifted off to sleep.

As he did so, he thought he felt something rub his fur.

The End

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