A Feline Valentine with Feely wine in Bordeaux – a fantasy short story
By Caro Feely
You can read more about the adventures of these cats. In story 1, we met Gims and Princess Leah. Gims saved the Princess from being poisoned. In story 2, we met Leah’s sister Katrina, and Gims and Leah were reunited.
Katrina looked out of her hotel window as the last rays of winter sun lit up the 18th century buildings. Families and lovers meandered across the square and her eyes filled with tears. She associated Bordeaux with her beloved sister Leah, but Leah and the love of her life, Gims, had moved to London. She missed them. She wiped her tears away. She had so much to be grateful for. This trip to the Bordeaux city was a special treat, a few days away from her work in Biarritz.
Katrina left Le Grand Hotel and crossed Place de la Comédie. She tucked her tail under her scarlet coat and smoothed her whiskers. Beside the Grand Theatre, a heart shaped sculpture, sparkled with twinkling lights. Leaving it behind her, she followed Cours du Chapeau Rouge down to Place de la Bourse enjoying the aromas of canelés and macarons wafting on the chill air.
On the quays she looked back and saw the lights of a tram and the Place de La Bourse reflected back in the Miroir d’Eau. How she loved this city. Stretching her legs on the quays along the Garonne River was pure joy. Tonight, she was taking the water taxi to the other side, to meet an old friend at Darwin Eco Systeme.
The bar at Darwin was packed. She looked around and someone tapped her on the shoulder.
‘Bonsoir Katrina my lovely,’ said suave Sook. He took her paw and kissed it. His ginger fur was perfectly offset by a pink satin jacket, and gold trousers.
‘Oh Sook, it’s so good to see you,’ said Katrina, hugging him close.
‘What can I get you? A birdy beer?’
‘No thanks. I’ll have a Feely rosé catnip cocktail,’ said Katrina.
‘Perfect. I’ll do the same. A friend said it was fabulous. Why don’t you keep an eye out for a place to sit while I get the drinks?’
‘Good idea,’ she replied.
Sook pushed his way through the crowd. Cats made way and eyes followed him. He had presence. Despite the crowd, the high ceiling made the space feel airy. Recycled wood, bright textiles and vintage touches kept it cosy. Every seat was taken. The best places were near the fire. Katrina pictured herself sitting near it and two cats vacated the perfect sofa. She galloped over and leapt up before a black cat could take the spot.
Their eyes met and she felt a fizz of lightning through her body.
‘Swift,’ he said. ‘May I have the other place?’
‘’I’m afraid it’s taken. I’m with a friend.’
‘My loss,’ he replied, crestfallen.
‘And mine.’ She paused. He didn’t fill the gap, so she jumped in. ‘Friends call me Kat.’ She never gave her full name to random strangers in bars, although this one was handsome, and charming in a quiet way.
‘Adiche!’ said Sook returning from the bar.
‘Sook, you rascal!’ Replied the black cat.
‘You know each other?’ said Kat.
‘Old friends,’ replied Sook, patting Adiche on the back. ‘We hung together in the C-Street band with Gims.’
‘Ahh Gims. One of my favourite cats, a man about town, and all-round gentleman,’ said Adiche.
‘You know my brother-in-law?’ exclaimed Kat.
‘Let me introduce you,’ said Sook. ‘Adiche, meet Princess Katrina, sister of Princess Leah.’
‘Princess Kat,’ said Adiche bowing. He prepared to leave.
‘Wait! Won’t you stay for a drink?’ asked Kat.
‘Alas, I have to get to work, I hadnt realised the time,’ he said. He blew them a kiss and left.
Sook placed the drinks on the side table then jumped up beside her on the green velvet sofa.
‘So darling, tell me all about life in Biarritz.’
‘The place is beautiful. I love the sea and I love my work. Its heaven. I shouldn’t have any complaints. But, oh Sook. I’m so lonely.’
‘Lonely? That doesn’t sound right. What’s going on?’
‘Since my failed marriage, I haven’t had any good relationships. I went ahead with the wedding despite Leah’s warnings. He was violent and she could see it. I had an inkling, but I thought my love could change him. As you know it didn’t. What a terrible mistake.’
‘Oh darling. I know,’ said Sook. ‘You had such a hard time.’
‘My confidence has taken a dive. I feel like I’m too scared to love again. I feel like I can’t trust cats that invite me out. Are they violent? Are they after my royal status? How do I trust again?’
Sook squeezed her paw.
‘I know the feeling. Remember when I was beaten up leaving a gay night club? I felt like I would never be safe again. I dressed in bland clothes, covered up my personality. But then I realised that I had to live my life. I needed to take chances, I needed to be myself. It took courage. I felt fear. But I stepped towards it.’
‘That’s what I need to do,’ said Kat.
‘Yes, but without putting yourself at risk. I was more careful. I made sure I left clubs with friends. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. It helped that I met Berry. But I wouldn’t have met him if I hadn’t gone back to being myself and trusting myself.’
‘He’s so lovely,’ crooned Kat.
‘And spoken for,’ he replied laughing. ‘Speak of the devil.’
A tall Siamese in a burgundy velvet suit wove through the crowd towards them.
‘Oh Berry, you divine thing,’ said Kat, kissing him.
‘Not nearly as good as you, my darling,’ he replied.
He rubbed against Sook with a love that was palpable, then sat down opposite them.
‘You looked like you were into something deep and meaningful, I almost didn’t want to disturb you.’
‘We were. But we always welcome your disturbance,’ said Sook.
Seeing them together made Kat even more aware of what she was missing.
‘Tell me about Adiche,’ she said.
‘He’s a great cello player. And his voice has been known to make cats swoon,’ said Sook. ‘With his looks and talent, he could be a ladies’ man but he’s not. He’s shy.’
‘Like me,’ said Berry. Sook roared with laughter.
‘Adiche was here but he had to leave for a gig,’ said Sook. ‘You know him, Berry. What do you think?’
‘He’s kind. I saw him help a young cat get his suitcase onto the bus near Lycée Magendie a few days ago.’
‘I’d love to hear him play,’ said Kat.
‘Perhaps we can organise something next time you’re in Bordeaux,’ said Sook.
Berry looked at his watch.
‘We need to get moving. The show starts in an hour.’
Sook and Kat drank up. They collected their coats from the coat rack and stepped out into the cold.
As Sook and Berry walked her back to the water taxi, they chatted about their plans for the coming year. They reached the taxi dock just in time.
‘Take chances and step in, even if you feel scared,’ said Sook as he hugged her. ‘And call me. I’m here for you.’
‘Thank you, Sook,’ said Kat as she kissed him goodbye. ‘Look after him,’ she said to Berry as they embraced.
‘Happy Valentine’s for tomorrow!’ she shouted as the water taxi took off.
‘Happy Valentines,’ they called back.
Tears flowed down her cheeks, and she kept waving until they disappeared. She didn’t see these wonderful friends enough. It would be months before she returned to Bordeaux. Her thoughts turned to Adiche. She should have asked for his mobile number. That feeling when their eyes met. Why had she been so timid? Surely, he felt it too. Perhaps she would never know.
She felt a pinch of sadness at the thought of waking up to Valentine’s Day alone. She had planned lunch with a friend, but it wasn’t the same.
The sound of ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles drifted down Cours du Chapeau Rouge. By the time she reached Place de la Comedie the string band had moved onto swinging jazz and couples were dancing on the square. The cellist turned and she caught his eye. The same warm sensation fizzed through her. Adiche smiled.
She knew this was her chance. She had to have the courage to make the move. Feeling desperately nervous but excited at the same time, as he finished the tune, she walked up to him as the song ended.
‘We’d be great together,’ she whispered, and gave him her card.
We love Valentines Day. See our posts from previous years about how to create natural homemade and free valentine gifts and our alternative Valentines Gift Suggestions page. This year we love the Virtual Discovery Wine Course which offers you 6 diverse tastings that you can explore over 6 date nights using our videos and supporting material.
This Valentine’s day we wish you joy, health and love. See the Feely guide to natural aphrodisiacs. Come and learn more about wine at the wine school or with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay or do a multi day course or multi day tour.
Read about the story of this organic vineyard– the series includes three books Grape Expectations; Saving our Skins and Glass Half Full by Caro Feely.
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