Beth Bernier Pratt
Savannah didn't feel like cooking. The pantry was stocked, and the fridge full of fresh ingredients, but the idea of slicing and chopping and sautéing and broiling made her want to hide under the bed. She went so far as to look under the bed, but the green flash of Baxter's eyes made her nix that idea. Meanest cat in three counties, he was not afraid to protect his territory with fangs and claws.
Back in the living room, she flopped on the sofa and flipped on the television. A cooking show came on and Savannah groaned and changed the channel. Weather report, with a wacky weatherman illustrating the wind patterns with big body movements. "... season coming early this year with strong winds from the ... " She flipped through a couple reruns of sitcoms that weren't funny the first time and switched it off again.
Dragging her feet, she went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and stared at all the unprepared food on its shelves. Nothing magically sorted itself into a meal, so she shut the door and had a flash of inspiration. Pizza!
She took out her phone and tapped the pizza app and tapped again to select toppings and crust. At checkout, she noticed a new surcharge, labeled "Seasonal", and frowned, but ordered anyway.
Pacing around the living room waiting for the doorbell to ring, Savannah felt something brush her leg. She jumped out of the way as Baxter came into the room. He meowed at her and sauntered to the front door, where he meowed again.
"Oh, all right." She opened the door and the cat went out.
A sudden blast of wind tore the screen door out of her hand and flung it wide. Her hair blew across her eyes and she pulled it away to see a frightening sight. A flock of Cupids swooped through the air, tiny quivers on their backs and bows in their hands. She went inside slamming the door behind her and turned on the TV, switching it back to the news.
The wacky weatherman was gone, replaced by a helmet-haired anchor, intoning solemnly about precautions for the early Cupid season. Savannah put her head in her hands. This early? Usually they had another month before they had to take precautions. Those little winged menaces. Every spring they wreaked havoc on marriages, business partnerships, every kind of relationship.
The doorbell rang and she looked wildly around for anything to use as a makeshift shield. Nothing. It was all still packed away in the attic. The doorbell rang again. With a weary sigh she opened the door.
The pizza boy looked at her with the giant puppydog eyes of the smitten. "Your pizza, my angel," he said, holding out the box.
"I'm so sorry about this," she said, giving him a twenty and waving away the change, "I wouldn't have ordered if I'd realized it was Cupid season already."
He attempted a flowery speech but she cut him off. "Just go."
He trudged back to his car, clearly lovelorn. Savannah started to shut the door when a "meow" stopped her.
"Come on, Baxter, in you go."
The cat rubbed against her as he went in, his purr like the roar of a jet engine. Savannah came inside and sat down with her pizza. The cat jumped in her lap and rubbed his entire body across her face, nuzzling and purring.
"Oh Baxter, not you too."