One of my most fun things to do was sleep with Ruthie in bed. When I ran in her room that night, she had her face buried in her pillow, and it sounded like…
I jumped up by her head and sniffed, listening. She …Oh, no—she was crying. What should I do?
“Meow. Meow?” Sometimes I wished I could talk people talk. I kept meowing and bumping my nose against Ruthie’s head, then I purred really loud. That usually got her attention.
Finally, Ruthie rolled over and hugged me close. Her face looked funny, all red and wet. I rubbed my face against hers. Sometimes I wished I was like Bruce and could lick her face all over, but Mama says that’s disgusting, and cats don’t do that.
“Oh, Millie,” Ruthie said, sniffing hard. “Jake really hurt himself. I’m scared.”
She buried her face against me and cried some more. “I hope he isn’t going to die.” She made a gaspy noise.
I stopped purring. I didn’t know what die meant, but it didn’t sound good.
“Oh, sweetie, don’t cry.” Mommy sat down on Ruthie’s bed and picked her up. She hugged us both, squeezing me between them. I squirmed a little. I liked being in this family, but they sure did hug a lot.
After Ruthie cried some more, she lifted her face from Mommy’s shoulder. “Mommy, is Jake going to die?”
Mommy squeezed us even tighter. I hoped I wasn’t going to pop open and all my guts spill out, like what Jake said would happen to Ruthie when he squeezed her really tight.
“Oh, honey, no.” Mommy kissed Ruthie’s wet face. “Jake’s going to be fine. Shh, sweetie. I promise.”
Ruthie gasped a couple of more times, then relaxed against Mommy. She rubbed my face with her hand, and I purred again.
“He hurts really bad,” Ruthie said and sniffed.
“Yes, he does.” Mommy pushed Ruthie’s pretty hair out of her face. “He broke his ankle in two places. It hurts a lot. But he’s not going to die. I promise.”
“Okay.” Ruthie sniffed hard. “I just never saw him look so sick, or so scared.”
“I know, baby. It scared all of us.” Mommy kissed Ruthie on top of the head. “He’s going to get a cast like Uncle Darrin did, like you said. And he won’t be able to go to work or school for a while. You’re going to have to help keep him company and keep him from being too sad, okay, honey?”
“Sure, I’ll do that.” Ruthie sat up straight. She sounded happier. Whew. “And I can get things for him, like if he wants a glass of water, or something to eat, or a book. And we can play dominoes and checkers. And I’ll color him a bunch of pictures.”
“That’s good.” Mommy rubbed Ruthie’s face. “He’s going to need a lot of cheering up, so that’s your job, okay?”
“Yes, yes.” Ruthie hugged me and kissed my ear.
“Yooowww.” I tried to sound grumpy, but it was hard. Ruthie was happy again and so was I. I squirmed on Ruthie’s lap and shook my head.
Ruthie laughed. “Millie can help me. She loves Jake, too.”
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