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After this & for @Yana Novik

Etta still didn't have a pumpkin, but she was much too excited to worry about that at the moment. Leaving Abraham and the pumpkin patch in peace, she walked back to her car and started it up while she sat inside waiting for it to get warm. She stared at the number on her screen and hoped that Yana's Cheetah Coalition would be a good fit for her.

She clicked on the name and held the phone to her ear, awaiting the cheetah queen to answer.

Incoming Call
Unknown Number


 In what felt like no time at all there was the sudden and jarring buzz of her phone as it vibrated against the glass of her desk. She looked up, tensed before she reached out and immediately accepted the call. Her hands moved back to her agenda, flipping it closed to keep herself busy as she rubbed above her brow.


She had a good idea who this unknown caller might very well be, but better safe than sorry.

She answered pretty quickly, and Etta found herself surprised at how nervous she was. The queen answered and Etta swallowed.

Hello, is this Yana? This is Etta. Abraham gave me your number.



 She leaned back comfortably, relaxed a good deal at the confirmation and the fact that the woman on the other end of the line at least had the common sense to cover the basics.

Abraham gave me a heads up you would be reaching out. It's nice to be hearing from you, I hope all is well?

Genuine interest, even if part of it was trying to brace for trouble - if there was any in the making.

The cheetah on the other end sounded nice, at least. Or maybe it was just Etta's excitement.

All is great! I'm so happy to hear that the area has more cheetahs around. Abraham told me you're located in Belle Vista. I'd love to come meet with you and learn about the group sometime- whenever you're free.


Thank heaven for people, however rare they might be, who had the common sense and forethought to be polite at times like these.

Of course you can.

Hopefully, a home for her as well, once she had the opportunity to meet and say her peace.

If you'd like, we all frequent Work Release - it's a gallery, I'm here Monday through most Saturday's. If not we can do something a little less formal more or less any evening.


Fantastic. Okay.

Etta pulled a planner out of the bag in her passenger seat, and flipped it open. Working at a school meant that some evenings were busy. She checked the clock on her dash and gave a shrug.

If it's too late for you now, that's no problem at all. But I am in Avondale. I don't think it'd take me long to get to Belle Vista if you were free tonight.


I can do tonight.

No Levka obligations, no Isolde, no nagging tasks on the fringes.

If you're not comfortable coming to my home, I can stay late if you'd prefer? I could give you the full tour.


Etta smiled. She was glad the cheetah queen was so willing to work with her.

If you're the cheetah queen, I have no qualms about wherever is best to meet. Honestly, you're helping me out, so whichever is easiest for you.


 She was reminded then of her interactions with Jackie, just how easy the girl had been to work with over one phone call. It felt strange to hope that lightning had truly struck twice, but slowly she was easing into that bit of optimism.

I will pin you my home address presently if you find the idea of staying with us favorable, we can worry about Work Release then. Sound fair?


Truthfully, Etta liked seeing people's homes. She didn't feel like she'd need to be worried about going to a stranger's home anyway. This would be fine.

Sounds perfect! I'll head over as soon as I get your address. Thanks so much!


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