Rassmussen wanders off for days at a time now. When I ask where he’s gone, he mumbles something about mind my own business or snaps, “What’s it to you?”
Personally, I couldn’t care less where he goes. I just wish he would let me know how long he plans to be gone. I don’t appreciate cooking a two-pound rump roast with all the fixings only to be left alone to dine by candlelight on too much food and too little companionship. I can only eat roast beef sandwiches for so long, you know. Besides, it is the courteous thing to do.
I thought I would show the cantankerous old gargoyle that two could play his game. I waited until I knew he would be stuck at home—a snowstorm tends to do that to such a cold-blooded creature—and I scooted out the backdoor on the pretense of checking up on dear old Mrs. Meadows and her house full of spoiled felines.
For two days, I hid out at the Holiday Inn, watching simply horrid pay-per-view movies that lacked in plots or any real sense of purpose beyond challenging the watcher to constantly accept the unacceptable. By the end of day one, I realized there was a major flaw in my plan. I had packed no supplies—no laptop or books, not even a library card or a spare pair of undies. I was irrefutably ill-prepared to run away from home, but I still managed to make do for another day, thanks to the hotel vending machine and a perchance run in with the Home Shopping Network, during a fine china and porcelain figurine sale. But shopping could only forestall the inevitable for so long.
As the storm saturated the area in a lovely blanket of white, so thick that the gas station across the street became a mere shadow even under the noon-time light, my mood darken until only the pits of hell could have lit up even the smallest corner. I found myself sitting in the dark with a pillow balled up in my arms. How dare he keep me waiting! How dare he enjoy is time away from me while I remained in purgatory? I was beyond the logic that I was hiding.
Furious, I slammed on my shoes and threw my coat around my shoulders. Snow be damned! I was going home. After all, it was my house. If anyone should leave, it should be him. I snapped back the lock and flung open the door, and stepped right into the arms of none other than my winged roommate, his face mirroring the surprise on mine.
The silence could be measured in heartbeats before Rassmussen spoke, his tone comforting, reverent. “Woman, home is cold without you there.”
Tears welled in my eyes. I could think of nothing better to say, so I nodded. Nodded because I knew how he felt and because he had just given me the only gift I had ever really wanted—acknowledgement.