It was late at night and the ringing phone woke me up. It was Miss M’lu’s cell.

“Hi, Sweetie,” she answered. “So how’s your day been?”

“Pretty busy. I’m exhausted!”

“Were you able to get some help?”

“Actually, I did. The new owner of the house next door has someone helping her refurbish it and she asked him to come and help me for awhile to get some of the bushes trimmed back around the office. The only problem is he doesn’t speak English so there’s a lot of sign language going on,” he laughed.

“I can just see you doing it, too,” she chuckled back.

“So, how’s your new ward doing?” he inquired.

“Oh, she’s so good and smart, too. I can’t wait for you to see her.”

“How’s she getting along with the other two?”

“Ringo has sort of taken her under his wing and they were together a lot today. Friendly was her same old, just hissing at both of them!”

“I wonder what’s wrong with her?” he questioned. “She was inseparable from Tippy and she hates everyone else! Strange cat!”

“She’s probably a one cat, cat.”

“Anyway, you’ll never guess where Nina is.”

“On the bed with you.”

“How’d you guess?”

“No brainer,” he laughed.

“Yup, she just learned to climb up by herself a while ago. Now she’s sound asleep, all sprawled on your side of the bed! Here, I’ll send you a picture.”

“Why the little imp. She’ll learn to get back on the floor when I get back!” he chuckled.

“When are you planning to return?” she asked.

“If all goes well, hopefully by tomorrow night.”

“Okay, I’ll have dinner waiting for you.”

They talked a while longer and then hung up. I went right back to sleep, all comfy on the bed.

After I had breakfast the next morning I went to look for Ringo. He was up on the cat tower washing his face after his own breakfast.

“Hey, ‘Ingo, can you come down,” I called.

“Why?”

“I want to explore with you.”

“Okay.”

He came down and led the way to the master bathroom.

“Why are we going in here?” I questioned.

“It’s something really fun and another place to hide. Com’on.”

He walked over to the linen closet. There were two large drawers on the bottom. He put his paws on the top of the lower drawer and pulled. It easily slid out on rollers. Then he jumped into the drawer on top of the tablecloths and napkins and squeezed himself to the back. Then he disappeared!

“Ingo! Where are you?”   I was standing on my tippy toes looking over the rim and was puzzled as to what had happened to him. He wasn’t inside of the drawer.

Suddenly, I saw his head pop up behind the drawer.

“I’m back here. There’s space behind the drawer where you can hide.”

“Wow!” I was impressed. “That’s so cool! I want to try but I can’t get into the drawer. I’m too small.”

I tried and tried but just couldn’t get a footing to jump in.

“Mewoh – oh” I lamented, “I can’t do it.”

“That’s okay,” he comforted as he climbed out. “It won’t be long before you can jump in and do it yourself. You just wait and see.”

“How did you figure out doing that?”

“Actually, it was Friendly who first started it. I watched her and then tried it myself. She even sleeps there at night sometimes.”

“What else is fun,” he continued, “is when Miss M’lu opens a drawer in a bureau. I can’t open those because they’re not on sliders. When I jump in she’ll leave it open for me and when I go to the back I’ll fall down into the lower drawer. Sometimes she’ll close the top one and then open the bottom one so I can come out. It’s a game we play!”

“Oh, I wish I were bigger!”

We walked into the living room and there were two spots of sunshine coming in through the window. Ringo lay down on one and I on the other.

I was getting drowsy and remembered the phone call from the night before.

” ‘Ingo’, who was that on the phone last night? It woke me up.”

“That was M’ster Doc. He’s married to Miss M’lu.”

“Oh,” I said surprised, “I thought she was by herself! Where is he?”

“That’s a long story. He’s a retired dentist and he’s been down to his office in Copperas Cove for the last few days.”

“If he’s retired what was he doing down there? Is it far?”

“It’s four hours away. Tippy used to live there and he told me about it.   M’ster Doc was having problems with his back because of his work so he had surgery. It didn’t go well so he had to close his practice soon after. They were building a retirement home up here in Tyler at the time.

He wasn’t able to sell his practice so they moved up here and left the building. It seems there’s a potential buyer now so he’s down there tidying up the landscaping.”

“That was a long story,” I said falling into a deep snooze.

We had just finished dinner when I heard this long rumbling noise. It was coming from behind the closed kitchen door.

“What’s that?” I mewed.

“Don’t worry, that’s the garage door going up,” Ringo volunteered. “M’ster Doc is home.”

The kitchen door opened and this scruffy person walked in. I stood my ground.

“Hi Sweetie. You sure look pooped,” Miss M’lu said as she gave him a kiss.

“That I am and, boy, do I need a shower!”

“While you’re doing that I’ll get dinner ready to put on the table.”

“Sounds good.”

He started walking out of the kitchen ” And who’s this?” he said looking down at me where I was sitting. He bent and picked me up.

“So you’re the Nina who has taken my place on the bed!” he said in a cheery voice. “My gosh, you hardly weigh a thing! You sure are soft,” he exclaimed as he nestled me in his arms.

I felt comfortable with him. He was gentle. He raised me to his face and his whiskers tickled my whiskers! He put me down and went in to shower and change. By the time he finished, dinner was ready and they sat down to eat. They talked for a long time while I took a nap under the table.

Afterwards, they watched a movie. When it was time for bed all five of us went to the master bedroom. I played on the floor under the rolled back bedspread until Mis M’lu got in bed with her book. I climbed up with her and started playing with the mouse she was tossing around. Just as I had laid down to sleep M’ster Doc came to the bed.

“Oh, no you don’t,” he laughed, “this is my side!”

He picked me up and put me on the floor. Undaunted, I scampered over to Miss M’lu’s side and climbed up again. I crawled over her legs and settled between them and stretched all the way out. She stroked me gently and looked at her smiling husband, “I don’t think you’re going to win this battle!”