Chapter One

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Leona's Point of View

"This is completely unacceptable, Leona!" Her mother's voice boomed, anger evidently laced in her voice. "You are failing two classes! Two!"

I stood off to the side, hiding my body behind the wall as I peeked my head out.

"I asked if I could do some extra credit, but they wouldn't give me any," I whispered, afraid to raise my voice at my parents.

"You would not be stuck in this situation if you actually studied an extra hour like we told you to," My father stated, arms crossed to try and intimidate me-his own daughter. And of course, my mother nodded in agreement.

"M'sorry," I mumbled, directing my gaze to the floor.

"No more television for a month, that thing rots your brain and I'm starting to think it is the cause to your lack of education," My mother stated. I took a sharp intake and slowly let it out.

"Ok," I replied.

"Where is your phone? No contacting those obnoxious friends of yours."

I don't have any friends, but ok.

"It's upstairs," I answered.

"Go get it." And so I left to retrieve my silver flip phone. "Good, now off to bed you go. We are getting up early for Sunday mass tomorrow," My mother informed me, as usual, once I brought my phone to her. I climbed back up the stairs and entered my room, pushing the door shut. Sighing, I trudged over to my window and slowly opened it. The wind immediately smacked me in the face and I barely had enough time to step out before all my paper-weighted objects started flying around my room.

I shook my head and decided I'd clean up the mess once I arrived back from my nightly walk. Call me crazy for roaming the streets two hours before midnight, I wouldn't really mind. I mean, it is pretty crazy and I guess dangerous. But, it helps me a lot, just like when I read I feel as if I am far away from reality. Both perfect escapes, to be quite honest.

Once I closed my window and landed on the dewy ground, I quickly made my way towards the sidewalk with an extra skip in my step. I was particularly happy to get out of that house. My parents don't get me, they never did. They assume I'm somewhere above in that popularity status, yeah right; give me a break. My grades need to be perfect in order to please them. If I so much as drop to an eighty in a certain class, I'll get the cold shoulder for almost an entire week.

I shook my head slightly, shivering in my grey sweater. Probably should have worn something warmer-Oh, look! It was that cute little bookstore just a block down the street. I pouted once I realized I had no money on me. Maybe some other time.

I walked around further from my home, getting a bit too lost in my thoughts. I had noticed the alley up ahead, so I just decided to turn around once I reached it. I yawned and kept walking, my shoes scuffing against the pavement. I had no energy to pick them up like a normal person would do. Looks like I reached the alley anyway.

Just as I was about to turn and make my journey all the way back home, a sudden noise caught me off guard, startling me up a bit. I furrowed my eyebrows; it sounded like a quiet whine. I stepped closer to the alley and looked in. All I saw was trash and a rusty old dumpster. But the whine was slowly getting louder.

I took a deep breath and braced myself to see a possibly wounded man hiding behind the blue dumpster. I approached it and strained my neck to look over the other side. I quietly gasped, my eyes widening in shock and confusion at the sight before me. It was a boy, curled in a ball. His face was hidden from sight, buried between the dumpster and the brick wall. He was wearing a pair of dirty striped boxers and a torn white t-shirt.

I softly hummed to get his attention. He flinched and attempted to crawl deeper behind the dumpster. "Hey, it's ok," I whispered, softly. What caught me off guard was the pair of ears that suddenly twitched at the top of his head. I so badly wanted to reach out and touch them, but I refrained myself from doing so. I was so focused on the fluffy looking ears, I didn't notice he had lifted his head to look at me.

His expression was full of fear. I could tell by the sight of his chin trembling, eyes filling with tears. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you," I quickly told him, waiting for a response. All I got was a whimper and another small noise that sounded exactly like a, 'Meow'. I sighed and tried not to coo so much at the sight of the poor boy.

"Ok, well, uh. . . Do you have a home? Name?"

'Meow'

This is a bit odd. I caught up to my realization once I saw something flicker in the corner of my eyes. He had a kitten-like tail. He had kitten-like ears. Therefor, he was a kitten hybrid. I've never personally seen one since they are just too expensive and reserved. They don't trust many humans, too afraid of neglect. Most of the news we get lately is about some hybrid on the loose, or a hybrid attacking its own owner.

"So. . . You're a kitten hybrid," I trailed, scooting closer to him in such a painfully slow movement. I think he might have noticed, but he just stayed frozen like a statue. Speaking of frozen. "You must be cold!" I gasped, slowly reaching out and offering him my hand to which he visibly flinched. When he made no move to grab it, I tentatively reached for the cute little ears at the top of his head. It twitched at the sudden feeling of my fingertips, but he still made no protests.

I continued to gently pet the fluffy ears until a sudden noise came straight from his throat. It sounded much like a purr. This time, I cooed out loud and watched as he nudged his head in the palm of my hand, demanding I keep petting him. I decided to experiment. Smiling softly, I pulled my hand away from his kitten ears and took a giant step back.

I watched as he opened his eyes, a hint of sadness and confusion floating about. I extended my arm and motioned for him to come forward, hoping he'd take it as a good sign. Thankfully, he moved away from the dumpster and crawled towards me. Once he was in reach of my hand, he began rubbing his head against my palm like he had previously done. Only after a few seconds, I pulled away and continued to step back until we were both fully out of the alleyway.

He was solely focused on me petting his ears that he hadn't even realized we walked, or he crawled, basically a block from the alley.

"You're so adorable," I whispered, smiling as he quietly mewled at the warmth of my hand on his flushed cold cheek. I glanced over my shoulder and sighed happily once I saw my house just a single house away. "We're almost here, no worries! You'll be warm soon," I stated, knowing he probably might not have a clue as to what I was saying. And once we reached my house, I realized it would be a bit difficult to get him to climb up to my bedroom. So, I reluctantly left him for a mere second to enter through the front door.

I thanked the heavens above for watching down on me. My parents were both asleep, making the house pitch dark. I quickly walked back outside and mentally danced once I spotted the kitten boy sitting on his knees, cautiously looking about his surroundings.

"C'mon, lets go inside," I whispered, encouraging him to follow me more. It wasn't until halfway up the hall steps, inside, that he abruptly stopped and reached his hand out to mine. I smiled wide and gently grabbed his, allowing him to bring it to his face as he purred. "We have to be extra quiet," I continued to whisper. I felt so relaxed when we made it inside my bedroom.

"You can make yourself at home," I announced right after I closed and locked my door. When I turned to face the kitten boy, he was just sitting on the floor, staring at me with those big green eyes. "You must be uncomfortable in those dirty clothes," I frowned, knowing I had nothing for him to wear. "I promise we'll get you all cleaned tomorrow! But for now, we've gotta rest," I sighed as I made it to my bed before collapsing. I watched as the boy crawled over to the side of my bed, intently staring at me.

I scooted back and patted the space, surprised that he had jumped onto my bed and immediately cuddled up to me. His face was hiding in my neck, a soft purr breaking the silence. And that's how I fell asleep. Cuddled to a kitten hybrid who was purring at the touch of my fingertips rubbing his small kitten ears.

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