Last-minute cat-sitting was not what Jon had in-mind for a fun weekend, but probably neither was the trip Sabrina needed to go on. He guessed she was just hiding out in a hotel, because it’d been years since Sabrina had a cat, one she admitted she never had to take care of. Also, the kitten’s namesake; Jon kept the smile to himself imagining Sabrina being kept up all night by her witchy familiar, slightly grumpy some mornings. She wouldn’t be surprised if a suggestion was left in him to train the miniature meow machine into silence. He needed to have running shoes on when he told her “you’re the hypnotist; you program her.”
Letting himself into her apartment, Jon started calling out the kitten’s name, announcing the other human she had entered her domain. The slated duties given were simply to check on her twice a day, make sure there was enough food, and ensure the lively cat didn’t manage to destroy anything. A few minutes after the call, Loqui strutted its way to the entrance, warmly regarding Jon’s leg, rubbing itself around the denim fabric. He smiled at how he was kind of marked as recognized and trustworthy, at least enough for serving as a food dispenser. She started licking her lips and mewling almost expectantly.
He walked toward the kitchen area, the cute, small black mass in tow, to her food and water bowl. Filling the water bowl, he looked around at her food options in the cupboards. Various dry and wet foods, like Sabrina was sampling different brands to see what she might like. He knelt down to meet the cat head-on, a small headbutting another sign of affection he appreciated, and missed with having a feline companion.
“So what do you think you want Loqui? Dry or wet?” He asked, knowing the real answer; cats rarely messed with dry food if a choice was given in his experience. From his childhood, he remembered how his cat loved the sound of the electric can opener operating, ran to it at top speed, hoping a can of tuna was being opened just for him.
She mewled at him as if to answer, as if he would understand, looking at him with her wide green eyes. Even from kneeling, Jon noticed how green they were, close to alarmingly fascinating, sinking a little more to the floor to see them clearer. She took a few steps closer to his face while he practically sunk to the floor. A relaxed sensation came over him, knowing a sense of deferral to those eyes felt right. She mewled at him once more, and something in his mind clicked to promote action.
Rising to his feet again, the relaxation still covering him, he gently reached for the wet, tuna-flavored food, using a can opener in the drawer and depositing the contents into her bowl. She ate heartily as he stepped back to watch her eat. He took a minute to admire her appetite while trying to shake cobwebs from his mind, moving back to the living room couch to sit and recover his more cognitive thinking. It took a while as relaxation kept creeping back to him, remembering what cat’s eyes up close were like, the thin vertical slits indicating contentment, and the wider they got, the more excited or dangerous the feline.
Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice right away the cat crawling up onto the couch next to him, mewling again, staring at him wide-eyed. The thin slits of her eyes extended feelings outward, allowing her to easily crawl onto his lap and curl up in a ball. Mutual contentment made Jon’s neck muscles get lazy as the sank back into the plush cushions, feeling so familiar to when Sabrina would have him rest there, dangling a pendant above his head or just speaking to him in a hypnotic lilt. Nearly as arresting was Loqui’s purring, a sensation that made him stroke black fur approvingly.
Jon didn’t get back up until Loqui started mewling loudly again, waking her weekend human. He blinked his eyes, realizing he’d been out for several hours. He yawned and stretched his muscles just as his charge leapt to the ground and arched her back, extending her front legs and claws. She mewled at him, making him look down to her eyes. The green plus the licking of lips told him it was time to feed her again. He made his way over to the kitchen, compelled to give her more of her favorite, another can of tuna. She attacked it as soon as it hit her bowl. He felt then was a good time to leave when his phone went off.
“Hello Jonathan. Just calling to see how things are going with my girl. Is she behaving?”
“Yeah, she’s nice. Not as bad as you say; you just need to get used to having cats again.”
“I suppose. You feeding her well, stimulating her a little?”
“I see you’re behaving as well then,” she smiled on her end. “’But,’ what?”
“You said ‘but;’ you had more to say.”
“It’s just...she keeps looking at me.”
“Yeah, the demanding little furball will do that. Is that a—”
Loqui’s loud meowing sounded off, interrupting both of them.
“Sounds like she wants some more attention. And I have to go for now. Thank you; I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“But—” his voice sounded out too late as the dial tone quickly followed.
Jon simply put his phone away, and began to try to drown out the sound of Loqui behind him. It wasn’t any different from a noisy kitten begging a human for something, except for a strange need to try to decipher what exactly she wanted. It was fun to guess as a child, but he didn’t mentally prioritize it back then. Realizing his motion was halted by the sound, he started to move towards the apartment door, afraid of what he’d do the longer he’d listen. The sound got louder from behind, more brain power being used to ask if she wanted something. He got to the doorknob as Loqui got between his feet to rub herself against his leg again. He instinctively reached down to bar her from getting out of the apartment, and caught sight of the cat’s eye green again, the slits a little wider than usual.
Taken by the sight and sound, he forced the door closed and knelt, trying to understand her plea. Once he lowered himself, she shifted her body to the floor, licking her paw momentarily before stretching it out to him. Like the cat he grew up with, her motion translated to “play with me.” The look in her eyes gave him the comfort and confidence to rest on his hands and knees to meet her. She got up to lead him to her plush bed area, surrounded by her pile of toys.
Rays of dawn slipped over Jon’s eyes from open blinds to awaken him to having spent a whole night with Loqui. His mind recalled playing with her, playing with her toys, watching her eyes get really wide when he tried to play with her favorite. The slits of her eyes turning wide marked danger, and he backed off immediately, showing a submission his old cat displayed on occasion. That seemed to calm Loqui down. When she got tired, he matched her to lay across the floor and sleep happily.
Keeping totally silent, he looked to Loqui sleeping in her blanketed bed, eyes closed, breathing steady. He realized he spent a full day tending to the wishes of a kitten, compelled by the kind of control only her owner garnered. He frowned to himself, eyes glaring at Loqui, a vicarious gaze meant for Sabrina, wondering how and why she did it. Getting up from the floor was required precision; he didn’t know the spaces that would creak, and felt a slight grumble in his stomach for lack of feeding himself. He watched Loqui’s ears carefully, knowing they’d pick up on the slightest noise, ready to bolt if the bend themselves to the sides, signifying alertness and worse, wakefulness.
He tiptoed as best he could to the kitchen, to stealthily open dry food and slide it carefully into her bowl. Across the room, it didn’t seem to register. His stomach asked him to search the fridge for something for himself, but he denied it, heading for his shoes at the entrance. It picked that moment to protest loudly, making Loqui’s ears react, and he bolted directly to her bathroom as the closest escape. Holding the doorknob as he did kept it from clicking loudly, as he used the other hand to hold his mouth and the gasp shut inside. His ears listened carefully, and shut in frustration hearing cat yawning and paws stepping across the room. Not trusting the possibility that she wasn’t just waiting for him on the other side, he backed away from the door, avoiding detection, trying to wait her out.
He mentally railed at his stomach, reminding himself to punch it later. It seemed like a good ten minutes he waited before she seemed not nearby. He would’ve taken the time to escape until she say signs to tiny feet between the light at the door, head bent down to sniff. He held his breath until he heard signs of dry food and water consumed nearby. Lapping water then made his bladder remind him it’d been a while since he used the toilet. He shook his head fiercely at the predicament his bodily functions put him in. He almost wet himself to hear his cellphone vibrate on the kitchen counter, surely getting Loqui’s attention.
Meowing demanding to know what that was and where it was coming from started, and Jon tried plugging his ears. In his heightened state, he felt part of himself giving up, and he went to the toilet to use it, loud flushing be damned, though he still kept his relieved sigh to himself. He just kept himself balled up in her shower until the discernible sound of keys and a door opening caught his attention.
Sabrina greeted Loqui in a playful voice, asking how she was, and if she had fun. She made it to the kitchen, noticing his phone was still there.
“In here,” he said, sounding defeated.
She set bags down and leaned against the door.
“Can you please come inside, minus the cat?”
Red eyebrows furrowed quizzically.
“Are you decent?”
“Are you submissive?” she joked.
“Just come in here, please.”
She entered the bathroom, seeing Jon fully clothed, stepping out of her tub.
“Okay, I can already tell this punchline is going to be spectacular...” she smiled lopsidedly.
“Don’t act like you don’t already know.”
“What you did to me for how Loqui’s been affecting me all yesterday, and probably still day?”
“Loqui? What are you talking about?”
“You really gonna play dumb and tell me nothing you suggested got me to...obey a cat?” it sounded a lot worse being spoken aloud than he thought, watching Sabrina’s face search for answers herself.
She really tried to reach back for suggestions she’d given him, which were numerous. But none of them rose to “submit to my kitten,” until she remembered playful suggestions from a few days before.
“...that’s right Jonathan, the power amongst these walls, setting your manly masculinity aside, giving way to female authority. Women have soooooo much power over you here. You can see it in their eyes, hear it as they address you. There’s really no escaping it; a man’s duty really is to obey female wishes after all...”
A slow smile crept up on her face, before she had to cover in it to poorly keep in the giggles that led to full-blown hysterics. Loqui’s mewling didn’t stand a chance against the gut laughing that made it hard for Sabrina to breathe after a few minutes. She leaned against an even more puzzled Jon for support, who wondered why he was supporting the one ridiculing him.
“You think this is funny? She wouldn’t let me leave, with those eyes and those damn meows. She had me act like a bigger, weaker cat last night, and had me barricade myself in your bathroom.”
His arms had to hold her up as her legs gave way to more helpless laughter. Realizing how reactionary her laugh was, he almost started to laugh himself and realize the whole weekend might’ve been accidental. Sitting on her bathroom floor, he patiently waited for her to empty all the humor bellowing out. It took long minutes and even longer patience, dealing with the giggles as she looked at his stern face.
“O-okay. Okay. I’m done.”
“Y-no,” she snickered. “No! Okay, okay, I’m done now.”
“As final as it’s going to get.”
“So, did you plan this, or didn’t you?”
“Nope,” she said, rather proud of indirectly causing the hijinks. “Really wish I had,” she almost told him with unrestrained mirth.
“This whole things was a fluke.”
“Simplest answer, you’re just that good a hypnotic subject,” she ribbed at him a little with a touch he showed weariness towards.
“Enough Sabrina,” he complained.
“Not nearly...” her lips snuck to his ears to quick to register, followed by words that made awareness go away for a little while.
Next time he woke, it was on her couch, sitting across from Sabrina and Loqui sitting in her lap. The way he sat in her lap reminded him of something, like something on TV, but he couldn’t wonder for the life of him what, also wondering if that was by design.
“For the record,” she spoke, completely composed compared to the hilarity of earlier, but retaining the deep smile, “this really was all accidental. You can bet on it because I wouldn’t have left to miss this for a moment.”
A little to his dismay, that made sense.
“But I forget there can be a downside to well-programmed boys like you—how accurate my programming needs to be. I’d given you suggestions about the authority of women earlier, enhanced and thoroughly empowered amongst these walls, not thinking about how you may one day speak to another woman in my house someday. Your eagerness to please didn’t even discriminate against species, which deeply impresses me, by the way,” she grinned.
“Experience with cats,” he clarified.
“For whatever reason, you really made me, or should I say, us,” she stroked her purring pet happily “very satisfied. Unfortunately for her though, she doesn’t hold dominion over you,” the look on her face suggested completely whom did.
“And to answer another question on your mind, yes, this should seem familiar. An old movie we’ve watched. Do you remember it?”
Jon shook his head to say “no.”
“Remember one of those old Kim Novak movies, the one with Jimmy Stewart?”
“Remember the scene with her holding her cat and humming? The spell casting?”
“Remember the trouble Jimmy had looking away?”
“Remember how hard it is to look away from some things I tell you to?”
“Yesssss...” A mutual soft smile was shared for how automatic his answer was for that question.
“Remember the color of the cat’s eyes in the Kim Novak movie?”
“Remember to forget...your journey of azure.”
Ironically, Sabrina shared nearly the same eye color as the cinematic cat, and simply waited for a weekend’s worth of Loqui’s green to be washed away, ushered upwards to long month’s worth of imprinted ocean blue. Finished stroking her, she let the kitten run off to play, while she leaned forward to kiss her toy, pawing at him like catnip as they made out on her couch. The power Loqui held faded away as he was filled with only the need to obey the only woman he could think of.