Kitty Kitty

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Book: Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michele Jaffe
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    OFFICER ALLEGRINI: No.
    LANDLADY: I’m sure if it were here, you would have. You are very good at your job I am betting ( batting eyelashes ).
     
    Officer Allegrini made one last grunt and started moving toward the door.
    That’s when I saw it. Sitting and gleaming on the desk next to “The Runt.” A four-inch-tall blown-glass statue of a cat.
    With a blown-glass goldfish inside its stomach.
    It must have been wrapped in paper and stashed in a back corner, but Officer Allegrini in his zeal had opened it and left it sitting there on the paper in disgust. And I kind of couldn’t blame him. The cat’s head was slightly crooked, one paw was smaller than the other, and I was pretty sure it was leering at me.
    It was definitely not the most beautiful clue in the world, but it was mine, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I used my last remaining mental strength to send the telepathic CHiPs -talian message “Scram immediately!” to LANDLADY and OFFICER ALLEGRINI, and after about three trillion years (or two minutes) they got it.
    ( Exit LANDLADY and OFFICER ALLEGRINI offstage .)
    As soon as they’d closed the door behind them, I pushed out of the armoire, assumed my most menacing WWMrTD pose, and turned to face my Armoire Mate.

Chapter Thirteen
    I’d been prepared to hit him with “I pity the fool who was spying on me from the armoire” but that seemed kind of harsh when I saw him. My first quick glance showed me a familiar-looking guy a little older than me with reddish-brown hair, a spattering of freckles, and caramel-colored eyes, like what you’d get if you mated a Chuck Taylors/Ben Sherman sweater/worn-in Levi’s jeans–wearer with a golden retriever. He was standing in the armoire, gripping the sides, hard.
    He said into space, “Bella dead? Committed suicide? No. Oh, God, no. I knew this would happen.”
    I wanted to know a lot of things, like how he knew it would happen and why he’d been hiding in the armoire to begin with and, oh, who he was, but instead I went into the bathroom and got the (ruffled) tissue box. When I came back he’d sagged and was sitting on the bottom of the armoire between a pair of gold boots and a frog stuffed animal.
    He seemed to be losing the fight to hold back tears, but when I offered a Kleenex he shook his head, using his sleeve to wipe his eyes. “I’m good,” he said. “Thank you—”
    “Jasmine. Jas,” I said.
    “Thanks, Jas. I’m Bobby.”
    We shook hands.
    After that it was a tad awkward, me standing, him sitting there with his eyes glued to the floor breathing kind of raggedly, neither of us talking. But it gave me a chance to figure out why he looked so familiar—he was Mr. Bitter from the picture I’d found in Arabella’s book. Only now he didn’t look bitter, he looked sad. And younger.
    When his breathing started sounding normal I asked, “So, how did you know Arabella?”
    A strange expression flickered in his eyes. “She is—was—my sister.”
    Oh, hello.
    Of course he could have been lying. I mean, that’s just the thing you’d say if you were found inside the armoire of a dead girl and wanted to seem unsuspicious, right? I remembered the essay Arabella had mentioned her brother in. It was called something like “Le summer vacation nightmareo.” I scoured my mind for details—there was something about le boato and something about fishing gone le horribly wrong and her brother—
    “Your boat got a leak and you had to plug it with your Joe DiMaggio baseball card,” I blurted.
    He stared at me. “Actually it was Pete Rose. But how did you know about it?”
    It had been a fairly weak test, but he passed. “Your sister wrote about it in Italian class.”
    “She did an essay about that? Man, that trip was the worst. Right after our mom died. Arabella somehow got it into her head that we’d starve to death. So we used mini-marshmallows to fish. No surprise we didn’t catch anything. When the boat sprang

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