Elizabeth Kaye Daugherty is a 25 year old lover of fiction and cats. She is a Florida native living in South Dakota and studying Creative Writing for Entertainment online through Full Sail University. Her favorite genre is fantasy, and her favorite author is Marie Lu.
The scent of coffee always made Heather Lovedarling feel alive. It was another morning opening the bakery and coffee bar, below their apartment on the corner of 3rd and Main, but the morning was mostly made beautiful by her wonderful wife, Adelaide Lovedarling. Coffee made Heather feel alive, but Adelaide was what made her enjoy living.
One of Adelaide’s eyelids was stuck shut from sleep, but that didn’t matter.
“Are you ready for another rush of hungry customers, babe?” Heather asked, then gave her dark-haired wife an exaggerated wink.
Adelaide rubbed at the back of her eye with the inside of her sleeve. “That depends,” she said groggily. “Has Farmer Dan dropped off the egg order for this morning?”
“I’m not sure,” Heather admitted, wringing out a soapy white rag to use. “You’re so mean, to make him use his own eggs in his and Eugene’s wedding cake!”
Adelaide dusted a tabletop with flour and a smirk. “It’s symbiosis. He gives me the eggs, and I only charge him for the sugar.”
Heather chuckled, then rounded her coffee bar into her wife’s bakery. She planted a kiss on her temple, and smiled. “You remember our wedding cake? You didn’t sleep for a week making sure everything was perfect.”
Adelaide hefted a lump of dough onto the table and looked at Heather from under her brow. “And you sent your dress back three times.”
“I stress-eat!” Heather meekly defended, then playfully tapped the back of her hand against Adelaide’s arm.
Adelaide laughed. “Here, take it out on the dough.”
Heather punched the tacky lump, and Adelaide laughed some more.
“Alright,” Adelaide began rolling the dough over. “I really gotta make this into cupcakes. Can you check on those eggs, please?”
Before Heather could answer, the chime of the brass bell outside their bakery-and-coffee-café filled the women’s ears. “That’s probably them, now,” Heather hurried towards the door.
On the patio, next to their flowering planter and wavering rainbow flag, Heather found the order of eggs… and another box hastily folded shut and bent at the corners. And it scooted back and forth. Heather paused, her usually nimble hands frozen at her sides as she watched the cardboard box do its little dance.
“Adie…” Heather called over her shoulder, kneeling down to scoop up the parcels.
The dancing one was bottom heavy, and Heather nearly dropped the eggs trying to correct her grip.
“Did he – What in the world?” Adelaide brushed her hands anxiously against her apron, sending flour shooting away in puffs.
“I don’t know, it’s…” Heather set the box down amongst their café seats, and opened the flaps.
The two gasped aloud, hands flying to their faces. “Kittens!”
Inside the box, a baker’s dozen fluffy, squeaky, adorable bodies rolled and flopped and wiggled against each other.
Heather reached in and scooped up an orange kitten, tucking it close. She looked up at her wife, “Do you think?... Farmer Dan?”
Adelaide shook her head, reaching in and wriggling her fingers against any face that would nuzzle them. “Was there anything else with them? A note? A person?”
Heather shook her head. “Not that I see…”
“Well, we can’t keep all of them…” Adelaide forced the words out, not liking the news any more than her particularly emotional wife did.
Heather sighed. “I know… But we have to make sure they get loving homes. They’re here for that reason!”
Adelaide resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She loved her wife’s whimsy, even when it was less than practical. She knew that kittens would move quickly through the local shelter, but as always with Heather, she was moved to try something different. “I have an idea.”
That day, every cupcake (appropriately decorated with whiskers and paw prints) came with a free kitten to a loving home.
An all-white one went to a little girl whose father was very sick.
A chubby gray one with blue eyes went to the young man who lived as somewhat of a shut-in.
Two calicos were taken in by Mr. Damien who had lost his wife two years ago and needed the companionship.
A black and white kitten was given to a new couple that had moved to their small town and was looking to start a family.
Eventually, all the kittens went to new homes by the time their little shop closed its doors. All, of course, except the orange one that Heather picked up at morning.