Chapter 1  |  Part 3

Meanwhile, Riley had been held captive by the blonde inside her office.  She scooped him up like a basket of warm goodies and closed the door behind her. Her office was fairly large with a small seating area, a wide screen television and an impressive marble desk. Riley mistook her as an ordinary employee.

The woman kept him at a close distance on her desk away from her impeccable uniform. Scratching under his chin and along his back, she made smooching faces as her eyes sparkled with delight. It had been months since Riley received this much attention and he wasn’t going to cut loose yet. Riley leaned toward her in attempt to lick her nose, but was interrupted when her office door opened.

Ruining Riley’s intimate moment, the man from outside room 306 barged in. “Annabell, we have another-” he stopped when he saw the giant fluffy cat on her desk. “Why the hell is a cat in here?”

“Hello, Oscar. Don’t mind him, he’s just visiting,” her smile never faltered. “Your not suppose to be in till 10?” she kept petting Riley as the man huffed in jealousy.

“Your loosey-goosey attitude around her is why I’m here. We had another unpaid room slept in last night. That’s what I came to talk to you about.” Oscar slammed the 306 room key next to Riley as he began to paw it. “And someone walked out on a meal last night!”

Annabell hummed. “That’s strange, I checked the restaurant books this morning and they were fine. Did you find the culprit to either situation?”

“Well…no,” Oscar confessed, “but the room wasn’t cleaned and there were no paid bookings in it last night. And one of the servers said he had a walk-out!”

Riley got bored of the conversation and looked around the room as he sat patiently, waiting for Oscar to leave. He was too distracted earlier to have seen a cracked window behind him at the far edge of the room.

Annabell sat up and evaluated her black trousers for excess fur. “Relax, Oscar. I’m sure they just forgot to clean the room and the meal was paid for without the server knowing it. Come on, let’s go look at the books together.” She leaned into Riley and kissed him on the furry forehead. She whispered, “I’ll be back, my love.”

Riley swiped his tail back and forth on her desk, knocking over some loose papers in the process. Oscar scowled at the cat as they left the office, Annabell closing the door behind her.

Broken from Annabell’s spell, Riley paced the room toward the window. He was able to jump the ledge and pushed the window open further. Looking back into Annabells office, he thought how he might try to come back to visit her. Maybe next time as a human.

Reluctantly he leaped into foliage from the hotel’s garden and dashed toward the alleyway. Upon his entry, he found a half naked man putting on Riley’s pants form the dumpster. He thundered a deep growl in his chest while bending his tail and arching his back.

The pant thief noticed Riley and pulled his orange hair out of his eyes with a perplexed look. “Sorry, mate, do I know you? I don’t recognize you.”

Riley stood his ground and bellowed another growl.

“Alright. I’ll get my own pants.” He proceeded to take off Riley’s pants while hiding between the dumpster and crates. “I don’t need anymore enemies, even if I don’t know them yet.”

Perplexed, Riley cautiously approached the man.

“What, never seen one of your own before?” he smirked tossing the pants.

Riley looked around the alley. No one else was around to witness his own transformation. Retrieving his pants, he slipped them on, out of site from the other man. “You’re the same as me?”

“Yah, you and I have the same problem,” Luca hollered while snatching something from the dumpster. Stretching out his hand around the corner ,“I’m Luca.”

Riley shook it.

“Haven’t you met anyone before?” Luca asked stepping part way out with cardboard covering him.

Riley could have been more excited if he weren’t talking to a naked man. “No, never…I’m Riley.” He started putting on the rest of his clothes and lacing up his shoes.

“There are tons of us, mate! I’m surprised you never ran into anyone, especially in this city.”

“I just moved here. I’ve been living as a stray for a while now.” Riley looked up from his shoes in surprise. “Wait, how many of us are in New Orion?”

“Couple hundreds. I’ll introduce you to my buddies,” Luca smiled, “Well… after you do me a favor.”

Will they both get pants?