Previous - this entry written on September 01, 2006 at 5:36 am - Next

So here's what I have pictured in my mind: Our place is a two-bedroom, technically. One room is indeed a bedroom, big bed that has no headboard or baseboard, but drawers underneath and eye-bolts along the top and bottom. Half the room is this bed and the space to walk around it... the other half is my tent, done with tromp l'eoil or whateverthefuckitiscalled and fabric and iron to seem like it stretches out much further than it does - in truth, it'll only take up most of the closet and about a third of the room. So.

The other room is the computer room. Several computers humming away, some with monitors, some without. The room is always kinda warm because of this - in the summer it's sweltering but it is winter that I'm picturing now, so the warmth is nice. It's the sort of warmth a cat could just laze around in, and in fact there are two cats doing just that. One, Malkov, has managed to sqwoosh himself under and behind one of the desks, and is purring loudly enough to make the desk vibrate. The other, Torian, is sprawled naked on the futon-sofa-thingie... naked except for the intricate tattoos and inkwork that cover her skin and the tribal-choker-thing that is her collar. She's lounging on the futon, batting idly at bits of rainbows that are reflected on the walls from one of the computer cases. She's purring too.

In the main room, there's the fireplace in one corner, the TV in the next corner, between them there's a window, and the fireplace is actually set UP slightly. It is just high enough for someone or something to curl up there - perfect spot for a dog to laze, warm and crackling and safe. And hey, look, a puppy. He's half-asleep, naked as Torian is, but his collar is a simple leather dog collar and he only bears two small tattoos to Mark him. One of them is still new enough to itch; in his sleep, he whines, reaches down, scratches it slightly and rolls over, not quite waking up.

Caleb and I are in bed, wrapped up in each other and blankets and sheets, a sleepy tangle that is surprisingly comfortable. His head is on my shoulder, my leg over his, and every few minutes one or the other of us nuzzles, or kisses... just little things, light touches, curling snug together because it is Oregon after all, and outside it can't decide whether it will snow or rain. The fireplace, the computers, and the four bodies keep us plenty warm, though. Warm enough that everyone in the House is sleeping or nearly so...

...and then there's a knock on the door.

The puppy sits up, forgetting where he is, bonks his head on the fireplace and out comes a mix of barking and swearing in at least three languages. Both cats are startled by this, hissing, one diving into a nearby storage closet, the other falling off her futon perch, then looking about frantically to make sure no one saw that temporary lapse in grace and poise. I'm still half-asleep, as is Caleb, our door mostly-shut, so we don't see Radu and Torian scrambling for clothing, only hear it, then hear both heading for the door, arguing on the way as to whose turn it is to open it.

It's settled that Torian will open the door, but Radu gets to do the growling, and the door is flung wide.

The condo next to us has been taken over by a truly odd couple - both of them strange, both of them quick with their words, and both of them at least somewhat able to tolerate each other. Kadin and Elru are at the door, arriving a bit earlier than expected for the night's fun. Not a problem, of course. As Caleb and I find what little clothing we intend to wear and the pets strip down once again, Elru wanders off into the kitchen with a huge tin of hot chocolate mix and a couple bags of mini-marshmallows... and, I realize later, a bottle of good vodka. We settle, talking, waiting... it's just rain outside now, falling hard on the roof and rattling down on the drive below. Eventually there's the sound of cars.

This time the pets know who is at the door, it's expected company, and they stay where they are, cat, kitten, and puppy all three near the fire, playing some odd game on a shared laptop computer. Elru and Caleb are discussing the correct way to make hot chocolate, and so I'm the one who answers the door this time. Yay! It is, after all, the Gathering... and so 'Stina and Scott have arrived, the first on a leash that the second is holding. 'Stina's also carrying a bottle of plum wine, has three more slung over her shoulder, and from the look on her face, I suspect Scott has a nice remote-controlled vibrating 'plum' stuffed somewhere else as well. Perfect company - Scott heads off to chatter with Caleb, 'Stina pounces Torian who pounces her right back, and Puppy and Elru at this point are both licking me, one getting my toes, and one getting that spot just behind the left ear... and Kadin is in the middle of setting up a playlist on the laptop, so that there will be music playing through the house.

One more knock, Ryan, Becca, and Bug - they picked her up on the way - and now the House is complete, everyone in one place, listening to the music, arguing over whether it's snowing or raining at the moment, drinking VERY alcoholic hot chocolate, petting, scratching, teasing, snuggling, cuddling, safe, happy, warm...

...and the image that is left, the perfect picture...

...the pets in a tangle of bodies near the fire. The rest of us sprawled on cushions, sofas, whatever. All of us tipsy, sleepy, feeling content...

...and outside it is snowing, it seems like the whole world is wrapped in a fluffy white blanket, and we all watch the snow drifting down as we fall asleep.

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