A very short piece featuring Serena and Wendy and an admiral with less than admirable qualities.


Sharon H




Harriman Nelson made his brisk way up the walkway, around back of the house his daughter Serena was considering moving into. She'd already looked it over twice and Angie had done a good job of pointing out all the perks of living on the Institute property. Nelson was hoping that with a few more persuasive arguments, he could convince his grown daughter she would be much better off living on the grounds. He certainly would sleep better knowing she was under the watchful eyes of the Institute's security. He was about to knock on the back door when he heard the voice of Wendy Morton, Serena's project coordinator and best friend, drifted through the open sliding glass window.


“Well, is he moving in?” she asked. Nelson stopped in his tracks, then leaned against the wall of the house, listening. Eavesdropping wasn't the most admirable of traits but it was useful at times.


Serena's voice answered. “Well, at first I thought it was a good idea but now I'm not so sure,” she said.


"Why not? You were hooked the second you laid eyes on him. Now you're changing you mind? Lee was really hoping this would work out between you two.”


"Have you been around him much? I mean really, he'll eat you out of house and home. It's costing me a fortune to feed him. You could have warned me.”


Wendy again. “He wasn't like that at home. Honestly.”


Serena grumbled something Harry couldn't quite make out. “And loud. When he yowls, that voice of his goes right through every nerve I've got. You didn't warn me about that either.”


"That's just a male thing. They're all like that. I thought you knew.”


"No, I didn't. Was he a walking disaster when he lived with you? He's knocked down pictures, broken two vases, and a lamp. He's gone all hours of the night, then comes in near dawn, tracking mud all over the house, then wants to pile up in bed with me! He gets dirt and mud all over the sheets and I have to strip the bed down to get everything clean. Did I mention his breath? Stun a Blue Whale, that's what I'm talking about. Wendy, this just isn't going to work.”


Nelson paused and frowned. He'd known for sometime that his daughter was attracted to Wendy's brother, who happened to be Seaview's executive officer. Not that Harry had a problem with that, far from it. He just didn't know they had progressed this far. Last he knew, Chip still hadn't even officially asked her out. Now he was moving in? The behavior Serena was describing didn't sound at all like his courteous exec. Was something going on in Chip's life that would send him into such a downward spiral of seemingly destructive behavior? With Serena, no less?!


“But I can't stay mad at him, no matter what he does. He turns those blue eyes up at me and snuggles up against me, I can't help but forgive him,” Serena said wistfully.


"Maybe you can take him to the doctor? A simple little operation could really calm him down. You can drop him off in the morning and pick him up later in the evening. It's quick and he'll be back on his feet in a few days. You'll never know the difference.”


Harry felt the very blood drain from his face. Chip would never agree to such a thing! How could his sister even suggest it? His own sister!! This had gone on long enough. Gathering himself, Harriman marched around the corner and knocked forcibly on the doorframe.


“Door's open,” came his daughter's invitation. Nelson walked into the empty kitchen of the condo, following the voices around the corner to the bright, sun drenched breakfast nook. An old table and a couple of rickety chairs sat in the room. Both girls watched him with curious blue and green eyes. On the table, looking like he own the place, sat a blue eye, beige and white tomcat.


The cat regarded Harry with a calm reserved look, slowly blinked his sky blue eyes then yawned. Serena reached over and scratched the cat under his chin. The cool and collected animal fell over on one side, rolled over onto his back and lay there, all four legs air as Serena scratched his belly.


“A cat?” Nelson asked watching the feline roll around on the tabletop.


"His name is Barnabas. Wendy rescued him and another cat a few weeks ago and I took this one home. Not sure it's going to work, though, he has a few bad habits.” Serena said. Meanwhile a purr had started to rise up.  Harry could feel the vibrations on the table.


"Animals are sensitive to change. Maybe once you make up your mind about moving and get settled, maybe Barnabas here will calm down.” He reached over and scratched the cat between the ears. The purr deepened an octave.


"You could be right at that. Might be a better idea for him to live here rather than at the apartment. Too much traffic. I don't want to see him get run over by a car or something.”


The cat finally sat back up. He gave himself a quick shake and smoothed down a ruffled patch of fur. He looked up at Harriman then slowly winked with one eye. He then jumped down and sauntered into the other room.


“I think Barnabas and I are going to get along. Now, about you moving . . .”