“We’ll have a lot of work ahead of us this autumn.” The words startle me away from the sketch I was doodling on. I had expected it, really, but I guess it had slipped my mind. I know what happens if I sketch out of my studio. I wasn’t really settling for sketching as it is, I just thought I’d sit and let my mind wander. I’m just glad it wandered towards sketching, I spent too long unable to draw anything so this is really a huge relief.

Still, I set my pen down and I turn my gaze to him. He’s staring outside, a cat toy forgotten at his feet. We do have a lot of trees in the yard but most of them are a distance off and I don’t really think it’d be necessary to rake them leaves to any sort of order. The first bundle of tree is further off than we really ever go. Of course we have about three trees on what I consider the yard itself but they shouldn’t be too much work. “I don’t think it’ll be much more work than usual, really. A few leaves, a bit of grass to cut. We could run the leaves through the shredder, it’d be good compost for the garden up top.”

His face is blank for a moment, as if I’d uttered something he didn’t understand at all before his gaze cleared. I can’t help the soft laugh that escapes me and he huffs at me, in playfulness. “Well it’s true. There really only are three big trees close to us, the rest is beyond what I consider our yard even if it is our property. Plus, I think the mower has a shredding function, otherwise we can always ask to borrow Eoghan’s mower, I know his does have the function and we wouldn’t have to push it around.”

I spend a lot of time looking out to our yard so I guess I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to better it, to make it ‘prettier’ as it is. Now that the cats have their catio, they can head out and come back in as they will and please though only Areli does at this point. Lavi goes near the door now and again but it’s as if he’s scared of what’s outside and the kittens all scatter when they hear the wind. It will take some time but I know that eventually they’ll all enjoy time spent outside.

“I’m sorry if I disrupted your drawing moment.” I blink at him and then I look down at the bit of a sketch on my notepad. I shake my head with a chuckle. It doesn’t look like much and I can’t even tell what it might have been meant to be.

“Don’t worry, I don’t even know if it would have gone much of anywhere. Speaking of a lot of work for autumn though, leaves needing raked and all, though in a way it doesn’t have much to do with. We will have to buy a new rake, the one I use for the garden is starting to sort of fall apart. I think it was poor quality when we bought it so I’m not really surprised. I can’t really clear out patches of the garden without it.”

He nods and stretches. I know we’ll head out in a couple of days or in a couple of hours, depending, and get ourselves a fine new rake but I’m in no rush and I know he’s not either. The rake isn’t completely broken down yet though I’ve gotten a few splinters from it over the last few days, they’re unpleasant.

“Did you ever manage to do anything with that sketch you’d started working on?” He’s carefully walking to the bed, two cats twining around his legs and the sight is more amusing than it should be. With seven cats in the house, all loved for, fed and played with on a daily basis, simple tasks such as getting into bed or even more dangerously so, preparing anything in the kitchen can be quite the feat.

I shake my head as he finally settles between the covers and Izar jumps up to join us, attacking my toes for a moment. Quentin frowns at my answer and I gently bump my shoulder against him. “I don’t think that sketch was really meant to go anywhere, it was more random doodle lines more than anything else so please don’t worry about it.”

I know he’ll fret about it for a bit anyway and there’s nothing I can do about it. To change his mood even just slightly, I wiggle my toes while moving my feet closer to his own and Izar takes the bait, he follows my toes until my feet are right next to Quentin’s and he moves from my little piggies to Quentin’s own. I laugh at Quentin’s startled answer though he doesn’t shoo Izar away.

On most nights, we end up with at least two or three cats on the bed. Not much of an issue considering how big it is and how much of a hog I am to Quentin’s presence. I have to be near him and touch him while I sleep, else I rest very poorly.

Joining Izar in his chase-the-toes game is Maris though she doesn’t last long and after a few moments she’s at my side, just settled and curling. I think this is going to be one of the bigger nights. I know we’ve had a couple of nights were all seven cats were in the bed. That was a bit different from the norm. At least it was a spring night and the air still was cold so it didn’t turn out to be too much of an issue. I don’t think I could survive an entire night with seven little furnaces all settled around us, heating us up to an uncomfortable degree.

“All right, all right, Izar, that’s enough, leave my poor toes alone you’ll munch on them all and I’ll have none left.” He laughs softly as he reaches out to tug the feline away from his toes and settles him on his lap for a few moment. Izar is a toe attacker, he’s really the one to do that in the house. Maris isn’t far behind him but she seems to get bored of it pretty quickly.

“Tomorrow we’ll go to the store and see about a rake and just about anything else you think you might need to keep up the wonderful work you do for the garden upstairs, how’s that?”

I nod as I shift to settle next to him, against him. I drape my arm across his stomach and he chuckles softly as I nestle my head to his shoulder. If we’re going to the store tomorrow, I’ll have to go upstairs to make a list of what I really need. I have one area I’ve cleared out recently, relocated really and I could plant something new there, I just don’t know what. Who knows what we might find at the store.

“That sounds like a plan, so long as you have enough toes to make sure you can balance yourself properly on your feet.” I murmur the words against his shoulder and he laughs softly. I grin and I close my eyes as I feel the slightly larger build of either Areli or Lavi settle near my feet. These two boys will always be bigger than the other five and it makes it easier to tell them apart without really looking at them. Not that it’s much of a necessity though I like knowing who sleeps with us during the night. I’m just an odd little bug like that, I can’t help it.

For a moment, I just nuzzle a little closer to that shoulder and I settle. The air still is humid outside and partly inside but we keep the bedroom door closed as much as we can, keeping it cool and cozy in there until we slip in between the sheets.


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