When Peep awoke on Thursday morning, she found Bucky sitting inside the door of the play house. He'd stayed with her until she'd fallen asleep last night, and had even acted as lookout for her as she ran back to the house for food. He was a nice dog, and all, but she was starting to feel a little --- smothered.
"Good morning, Bucky," Peep yawned. "What time is it?"
"You slept really late, Peep. Mary Rose has already left for work. When you didn't come to the house earlier, I came to check on you, and decided to wait for you to wake up. I really like you, Peep. I've never met anyone quite like you. Tippy and Beauty are nice, but they're not brave, like you are."
Brave! No one had ever called Peep brave. Was she really brave? The past few days, she had acted very differently than she did at home, but it was because she had to. There was no safe place for her to retreat to with food and a litter box. The play house was okay, but it was just a place to sleep. Maybe bravery wasn't how someone was, just what they did. So, she was brave, at least here in Mary Land. In any case, what was she going to do about this dog?
She liked him, but didn't want to spend the whole day with him, as she had done yesterday, and most of the day before. How could she give him the slip? Maybe she could say that there were personal cat things that she needed to discuss with Tippy and Beauty. Female cat things. That would probably have him running, with his tail between his legs. Yup, that was the ticket.
A few minutes later, Peep was sitting on the porch with Tippy and Beauty, and Bucky had retreated to spend time with his people. "What is it with Bucky, ladies? I've never had anyone, much less a dog, follow me around before. It's a bit annoying, to tell you the truth."
"Peep's got a boyfriend, Peep's got a boyfriend," Tippy sang out, and Beauty joined in.
"No way - he's a dog. I'm a cat. That just doesn't work, you know!" Peep was indignant. How could they say this? Peep didn't feel anything like that for Bucky, and she was pretty sure he didn't feel anything for her.
Tippy became serious, and looked at Peep. "Love doesn't care about such differences, Peep. I think Bucky is in love with you."
Hiding her head between her paws on the floor, Peep said in a muffled voice, "Oh no. I don't want to deal with this. I never asked for this." The more she thought about it, though. the more sense it made. Hadn't she just been wishing last week that she could meet the love of her life? Maybe this dog was it. She shuddered a little bit. No, a dog was not the love of her life, and she wasn't his.
Since Peep was hiding her face and searching her soul, she missed hearing Bobbi come out onto the porch. "Oooh, look. Tippy, you brought a friend!" Bobbi bent down over her as she spoke and rubbed Peep's head.
Peep looked up into Bobbi's face with a little fear. She'd been caught! She knew that Mommy had shown pictures of her to Bobbi. Peep trilled softly, and rubbed her head against Bobbi's hand. "Please don't tell my Mommy I'm here, Bobbi. This is supposed to be a secret visit - she can't know. Please keep my secret."
"Hmmm, I wonder. You look like Mary Rose's little cat, and she says that her cat has been missing since she came back on Sunday. Are you Peep?" Bobbi had a very kind face, and she looked like someone who loved cats (and dogs, and horses, and birds).
Peep trilled again, that sound that the Mommy said sounded like she was peeping. "Yup, I think you're the Peep. Your Mommy has been so worried about you. You've never even been away from home for one night before, and Jay hasn't seen you for four nights. He's been visiting the neighbors and driving up and down the streets, praying that he doesn't find your body, run over by a car."
With a horrified look on her face, Peep got up and wreathed around Bobbi's legs. If Mommy was that worried, she was going to have to come clean and let everyone know she was here. When Bobbi sat down in a rocking chair, Peep jumped up on her lap and settled down and purred loudly.
Mary Rose returned from work that evening and ran up onto the porch, where Bobbi sat with Tippy, Beauty and Peep. "Peep, how did you get here? Do you know that we have been worried sick about you? Jay thought you were dead! I am so glad to see you, Peep." She scooped Peep up and sat on a chair, setting Peep on her lap. Peep looked up at her and trilled.
"I'm sorry, Mommy. I never meant to make anyone worried. I just wanted to see where you lived. I was worried that you'd want to stay here, and wanted to see it myself. I didn't really plan this, I just jumped in your car, and didn't tell anyone. I bet LT and Rudy are worried too." Peep rubbed her head against Mommy's hand as though she couldn't get enough of her.
They sat there while Mary Rose called Jay and let her know that Peep had taken a car trip. Peep trilled into the phone to prove to Daddy that she really was here, jumped off Mommy's lap and settled down for a nap. Tomorrow she'd go home and tell everyone about her adventure.