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By:Alexis Gold


A fuzzy looking orange cat stretched out lazily along the back of the  sofa as the warm golden sun streamed into the large window. The window  was one of hundreds set into the side of a building that stretched from  the chaotic concrete streets of Manhattan upward to the clouds that  floated over the city. The cat purred contentedly, his eyes closed and  his body unmoving, as five dark fingers tipped with Merlot colored nail  polish combed through his unruly wild fur.

"Harold … " the woman he owned said as she drew her nails along the length  of him, "why don't you go get a job and support us and I'll lay around  in the sunshine and spy on the fish in the tank."

Her light sky blue eyes contemplated him wistfully for a long moment as  her full luscious lips formed into the hint of a frown. "It's a good  thing I love you, cat," she told him with a quiet sigh. Naomi Bradshaw  tipped her head and gazed at her cat, her long, loosely curled black  hair spilling slightly over her shoulder as she did so. The sunlight  coming in through the window made her dark bronze skin seem to glow with  a warm depth and an exotic golden hue.

"It's a good thing he has you!" her best friend voiced as she refilled  their mugs with steaming black coffee. "The day you bought him home from  the rescue facility was the luckiest day of his life." She set the  carafe back on the table and raised her warm brown eyes to meet her  friend's gaze.

Naomi uncurled her long slender legs and moved them off the edge of the  leather sofa, putting her feet on the floor as she leaned over to lift  her mug of coffee from the table and gave a smile to her friend, Andrea.

Andrea was sassy; everything about Andrea was sassy, from her super  short-cropped hair that was usually bathed in gel to stiffen it. She  liked to style it to suit her mood, which at that moment was a fiery  one, so there were short chunks and tufts of hair fluffed out in every  direction. Her makeup was colorful to complement her bold choices in  fashion and clothing. Andrea was wearing snug pants over her generously  round and full figure, topped with a hot pink blouse that floated over  her hefty bosom and drifted around her wide waistline. Her delicate  little hand and dainty fingers, tipped with hot pink polish, reached for  her coffee mug and she smiled back at Naomi.

Naomi was the antithesis of Andrea. Tall and lean, muscular and still  with feminine curves, she preferred the outdoors and the gym, and it  showed in her physique. She slid her fingers beneath the cuffs of her  sand colored sweater and tugged the sleeves up to just below her elbows.

"He is lucky," she agreed with Andrea, "he just doesn't seem to care."  She laughed and shook her head lightly as she brought her coffee mug to  her rounded lips and sipped at the hot liquid.

Andrea held her mug in her hands and looked curiously at Naomi. "So what  was the big news you wanted to tell me all about? I've waited to hear  it all morning. You have your coffee, so now tell me what's going on!  You know I'm not patient!"

Naomi smiled widely as she glanced at her mug and ran her fingertips  back and forth over it before looking back at Andrea. "Well," she sighed  and then took a deep breath, "you know that I've been putting my resume  and job applications in all over the city."

Andrea nodded. "Yeah. You haven't gotten very good responses; at least,  not what you're looking for. You're either over-qualified,  over-educated, or they can't pay you what you're worth."

"Well, I finally got an interview with a company that I think I could  really work well for me. It's at Cross Corp. I'll go in to see them the  day after tomorrow." She bit her lip as she looked at Andrea. "I'm so  nervous!"

Andrea laughed and shook her head. "Well that's great news! Don't be  nervous. You're brilliant; they would be lucky to have you there with  them. What's the job you're applying for?"

"It's for an executive administrative position. I'd basically be doing  all the work for whichever executive needs help." She giggled and lifted  her mug to her lips to sip her coffee.

Andrea shrugged. "Well, at least it's a good job. There are plenty of  people out there without jobs right now, though none of them are as on  top of their game as you are."         



Naomi nodded thoughtfully and set her mug in her lap with her fingers  closed firmly around it. Harold the cat opened his eyes and looked at  her as he stopped purring. She didn't notice his discontent at not being  petted.

"I have another interview as well. It's with Whitfield and Associates."  Naomi added with slightly less enthusiasm. Harold flicked his tail at  her and narrowed his green eyes in irritation.

Andrea lifted her chin. "What kind of place is that?" she asked curiously.

"It's a law firm. A big one. Their looking for the same sort of help;  but it's for their lead attorney, so it's not so much business as it is  law, and I'm not really well versed in law; you know, my strong points  are business, but for some reason they are interested in talking with  me, so we'll see." She said with a noncommittal lift of one shoulder.

Andrea frowned. "Well that's good, I guess, but I don't know why they  would want to see you. Maybe they just need someone who can run  everything. You said it's a big law firm."

"It's really big." Naomi said softly, raising her eyebrows in emphasis.

"So when do you see them?" Andrea asked, tipping her coffee cup back.

Naomi reached her hand up to pet Harold, who was flicking his tail in  extreme annoyance at her. He closed his eyes and began to purr again.  "Well, I told them I would go in and see them after I see Cross Corp,  just so I don't have two interviews in one day. I would really like to  stay focused on just one interview each day, and really give them the  best that I am able to give them of myself, I don't want to worry about  having to rush out to get to another interview, and presenting myself to  another company and all of that, if that makes any sense."

Andrea nodded and set her cup on the table between them. It was a glass  table in a contemporary design, with silver metal framing. It suited the  rest of the furnishings in Naomi's apartment It matched two other  tables in the room as well as three silver lamps and a bench near the  front door.

"It makes perfect sense." Andrea assured her. "I wouldn't want the  stress of more than one interview in a day, either. I can't imagine the  mental exhaustion that would give a person."

Naomi laughed. "I don't think I'd be exhausted, but I would be  distracted and thinking about them both, and so because of that, I feel  like I wouldn't give either of them my full attention." She turned her  gaze toward Harold for a moment. "I think I'm going to do really well,  as long as I prepare myself that way and give myself the best possible  springboard start for both interviews."

She stared into her cat's green eyes as he watched her. She wasn't  thinking of Harold at that moment, she was thinking of her parents, and  her mind was nowhere near the room or the moment that she was pondering.

Andrea watched her silently for a moment and then spoke softly, "What's on your mind, Naomi?"

Naomi turned her translucent turquoise eyes to her friend. "Oh, I'm  sorry. I guess I was thinking about my parents." She sighed and looked  away for a moment before looking back up at Andrea.

Her best friend pouted in sympathy for her. "I know they would be so proud of you and all that you've done."

Naomi nodded slightly. "I hope that they would. My mama and daddy both  worked so hard to give me everything that I have; everything that I  wanted to go after in this world. It seems like every day I get just a  little further ahead, and it is hard being unable to share each little  success with them. I wish so much that they could both be here with me."

Andrea touched her hand to her heart. "Oh honey, I know you do." She  leaned forward a little and rested her elbows on her knees. "You know,  you never talk about what happened to them. I just know that they are  gone, but I have no idea how that happened. Do you want to talk about  it?" she offered with a warm smile, her brown eyes soft and caring.

Naomi blinked and considered her friend's offer for a long moment. "You  know what; I guess I don't really talk about it too much. I would be  okay telling you what happened. I just don't bring it up in case people  don't want to know.         



It's really tragic and most people aren't interested in hearing about  tragic things, I guess, or at least, that's what it seems like to me.  So, I really do not want to burden anyone with it. But since you asked  me, though, I'll tell you."

"Are you sure?" Andrea asked tenderly.

Naomi smiled a little at her. "Yeah, it's okay." She finished her coffee  and set the mug on the table, leaning back into the black leather sofa  and absentmindedly running her hand over Harold's back and tail as she  spoke.