Welcome to Tuesday's Tales! This week's prompt is the word "ruthless". Eric and his sweetie are enjoying the post-holiday snow, and he has a surprise for her.
To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.
It snowed the second day of 2015. Eric and I holed up in our house, blind to the world with no internet or TV since cable had gone out – but that didn't stop him from surprising me. We had stoked the fire in the fireplace, and he brought out powder he tossed onto the flames to make them change color. The man always had something fun to do up his sleeve.
He had gone outside to shovel the snow from around the car and take it for a drive so it didn't freeze up. I had been roasting a leg of lamb, steaming asparagus spears, and making oyster stew when he walked in, stomping the snow from his boots.
"Is it cold out there?" I called from the kitchen. I couldn't see him in the living room from my vantage point by the stove.
"What do you think?" He laughed.
"I have hot cocoa ready for us. It'll warm you right up."
"Give me a few minutes to get out of these clothes. They're a tad wet."
I stirred the oyster stew while he rummaged in our bedroom. As usual, Eric made a lot of noise. I glanced out the kitchen windows. The snow floated down from a gray sky. Cars, the roads, the sidewalks, trees, bushes, and grass were covered in a blanket of white shimmering flakes. Seeing it made me want to put on the Christmas music again.
He came into the kitchen wearing his favorite pair of tattered eggshell-colored sweats and a long, thick cream sweater. If he fell into the snow, I'd never find him in all that white. Eric had a talent for blending into his surroundings that ceased the moment he opened his mouth.
I handed him a steaming mug of hot cocoa, and he used the mug to warm his cold hands.
"It's brisk out there. Would be a lot colder if wind was blowing."
"Want to sit in front of the fire? The stew can simmer on its own for awhile. The lamb and asparagus are almost ready."
"I'd love to, but first –" A wicked grin crossed his face. "I have a surprise for you."
"What kind of surprise?"
"A good one." He sat his mug on the counter and took me by the hand. He tugged, wanting me to leave the kitchen. He led me towards the bedroom. I imagined he wanted to get it on in the middle of the afternoon. Thankfully, I had turned on the electric blanket that morning. The bed would be toasty warm.
"Are you horny again?" I asked with a smirk.
"Of course I am. I'm always horny for you, but that's not the surprise."
"What is it?"
"You have to guess."
"Aw, c'mon. Have pity on me."
"Nope." He stuck out his lower lip in a fake pout.
"You're ruthless, you know that?"
"It's one of my best qualities." He said with a big grin.
"Is it a new sweater to make up for the ugly Christmas sweater my aunt gave me?"
"That one certainly was ugly, wasn't it? Purple reindeer on a red background? My eyes, my eyes!" He laughed. "No, it's not a sweater, but it will keep you warm."
"Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
"No. It fits inside a breadbox."
"You bought me sourdough?" I giggled.
"No, silly, although I know you love sourdough."
We stood outside the bedroom with its closed door. We never kept the doors closed in the house. Our cat Lucky scratched at the rug, wanting into his favorite room.
"Why's the door closed?" I asked.
"Take a guess what the surprise is, and I'll open the door."
"I haven't a clue. You bought me sex toys."
"Now why would I buy you sex toys when you get them free to review?"
I knitted my brows. He really had me in a quandary. "Hmmm… is it food?"
"Give me a hint."
"You bought me a fur coat?"
"No. It's more fun than a fur coat. And I brought you two of them. I didn't buy them."
I heard shuffling from inside the room. Lucky was beside himself, wanting to get inside.
"What on earth do you have in there?" I asked.
"Well, since Lucky wants in so badly, I'll open the door." Before he could turn the knob, the most adorable, high-pitched wail came from the other side of that door. When I realized what it was, he swung the door open and grinned.
"Surprise! Do you like them?"
Sitting on the bed were the tiniest and most adorable long-haired black kittens I had ever seen. They tumbled upon each other, chewing on anything they could get into their mouths. The blanket. The box they came in. Each other. Lucky jumped on the bed, and they hissed, which sounded like air being let out of a balloon. He only looked at them, nosed their faces, meowed, and walked to his favorite spot on the bed. He normally went to sleep about this time, but he was too busy watching those kittens to bother to get some shut-eye.
I scooped one ball of fluff in my hands and cooed at it. A pair of crystal blue eyes stared back at me. I held it to my face and it bit my nose.
"You are ruthless, making me guess! And you had me going for awhile."
"I knew I could."
"They're adorable! How old are they?" I was beside myself. I had wanted some new life in the house for some time. Besides, our other cats needed playmates.
"Ten weeks. I guy at work's cat had kittens and he was giving them away. I couldn’t resist. We'd talked about adding to our menagerie, so I took full advantage."
"Good, you didn't go to a breeder. I like them home-grown or from a shelter."
"I was going to go to a shelter originally until Brian told me about the kittens. There were five in the litter and those two always played together so he wanted to give them away as a pair."
I threw my arms around Eric and gave him a bear hug so hard I could have lifted him off the ground. "I love you so much! They're wonderful. What are we going to name them?"
"How about Hannibal and Clarice?" He grinned.
"I don't think so."
"Leopold and Loeb?"
"Nope." I thought about it for a few seconds. "How about Scarlett and Rhett?"
"You name them whatever you want to name them. I got them for you."
"Oh, I don't know yet. Let's get to know them first, and then their names will naturally come to us."
"That sounds like a great idea. They must be starving. I bought cat food, a cat water fountain, and catnip."
"Oooh, catnip. Let's dope them up and then feed them."
"Probably should feed them first before they get stoned."
"What did you buy?"
"Purina. They probably want Thompson's gazelle in a can but no one sold that."
We took the two kittens to the kitchen and gave each of them their own new bowls filled with chicken and ocean whitefish in sauce. Of course, since we fed them, Lucky begged for his own bowl. He got an extra meal, and all of us were happy.