Black coffee with some cold water

“How lovely. You’ve got a cat!”
Robert turned round at the door. “Yes he was Danny’s. I look after him now.”
The cat jumped onto the sofa next to Alan and sniffed his jeans pocket, tail up.
“I love cats.” Alan stroked the velvet-soft head. “What’s his name?”
“Coriander… after his eyes. Black coffee?”
“How did you guess?” He smiled.
“How could I forget?” Robert went into the kitchen. They could hear him opening the fridge door and running the tap.
Coriander settled on the sofa and looked up. “How do you know Robert?” he asked.
“Long story. Let’s say we were friends once. Then more than friends for a bit.”
“Oh, so you’re another of his waifs and strays then.”
“You could say that, yes.” Alan looked into the acid-green eyes and smiled.
“And what are you after?”
Alan looked away and out of the window. “Nothing. I just came over for a catch up.”
“Yeah, right.”
Alan turned back. “Well I could ask you the same question Corry.”
“It’s Coriander.” The cat dug his claws skilfully into Alan’s thigh, just far enough to penetrate the denim and make contact with the flesh underneath. “What do you mean?”
“What are you doing here? What are you after?” Alan arched his perfectly shaped eyebrows.
Coriander extracted a paw from the denim and licked it gently like a gangster blowing smoke from the muzzle of a gun.
“Honestly? Danny was high all day and night, having random people round all the time. He brought me here one weekend when he went away. I’ve been here ever since. Robert likes me, it’s warm here, there’s food and water. He doesn’t bother me much”.
Alan looked down at his threadbare trainers, the dirt on the bottoms of his jeans, the frayed courier bag at his feet.“Coriander. You can stop looking at me like that. You’re no better than I am you little fucker.”
“Don’t think you’re going to be staying here, Alan. Robert might have fallen for your crap in the past, but things are different now.”
“We’ll see”.
Alan pushed the cat off the sofa as Robert came back in with the coffee.
“I hope he isn’t bothering you. He can be a bit full on sometimes.”
“No,no. Coriander and me were getting on just fine weren’t we little fella?”
Coriander sat on the carpet with his back to the sofa and licked the other paw.
Robert sat down next to Alan. “Black coffee, with a little cold water in it…. I’ve missed you Alan.”
They kissed gently on the lips. Alan’s hand was on Robert’s thigh. The cat flap slammed shut behind Coriander as he went into the garden for a shit.

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