His girlfriend came in from the back yard just as he closed the front door. She padded up on bare feet as he was taking off his coat and loosening his tie. He knew where she'd been. What she'd been up to. The crumbs of dried leaves in her hair weren't unusual.
"Welcome home, dear! I... uh...."
He interrupted. "You've been at it again, haven't you?"
She looked down at the floor, like a child caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar. The happiness of seeing him home from work evaporated. In a small voice she replied, "ummmm... well, yes, but I can't help it."
“You promised me. You were going to give up this habit. What if I’d brought my boss home for dinner?”
Still downcast she murmured, “You’d have called ahead. You know that. That’s not fair.”
He stood still for moments, breathing slowly. He hated arguing with her. Especially about things like this. Things she couldn’t help. But something had to give. Or someone had to give.
Her small voice broke the silence. “I am not human. I never was. So, why are you expecting me to act like one?”
Well, she had him, there. This was a new twist from her. One he couldn’t really refute. “I… I’m sorry I was angry. You know I only want the best for you. I know it’s not easy being between two worlds, but you’re not the only one.”
“But the others aren’t me, are they? We’re still individuals. In spite of having been cloned in the labs instead of being born… like… like real people.”
“Don’t do that, honey. You’re as real a person as me or anyone. Don’t put yourself down like that. It only hurts us both. Yeah…. you are an individual. If you weren’t, I’d be with someone else… and probably not be as happy.”
She looked up then, with a mischievous smile. The tiny bit of mouse tail protruded from between her lips. “I make you happy?”
He shut his eyes from the image and exhaled slowly. “God help me… yes. Yes you do. And you did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
She paused from chewing to smile and squeek out a false-innocent, “Who? Me?” Then she swallowed, hard. “Welcome-home kiss?”
“Not until you’ve brushed your fangs and used mouthwash! Now go! Then we’ll try this ‘welcome home my conquering hero of the engineering world’ scene again.”
She laughed as she headed to the bathroom. He thought to himself as he watched her go, “Cat girls will be the death of us all.”