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    Grumpy Bear
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Worlds Apart - 6. An Unexpected Soulmate

Siku headed West along Interstate 94 in North Dakota. He enjoyed the changing scenery of the flat Drift Prairie in the eastern half of the state, followed by the Great Plains and finally the stunning rock formations of the Badlands in the west.

After starting his journey on the first of November, he had a few different options for the route to travel toward San Francisco once he passed Green Bay. He was not in a hurry, since the house in Sea Cliff was booked with vacation rentals until the middle of the month. Gunnar had informed the management agency to take the house off the rental market until further notice, as there would be a long-term tenant occupying the residence for the indefinite future.

On impulse, he decided to stop in Minneapolis for a couple of days, checking into the downtown Marriott once again and walking into the Brass Rail Lounge in the late afternoon to surprise Jake.

The bartender was happily surprised to put it mildly, and literally leapt over the bar and jumped into Siku’s arms, wrapping his legs around the Papa bear’s waist, and kissing him passionately as soon as he walked through the door. Jake ignored the hoots and catcalls from the afternoon bar patrons, and after lowering himself back to the floor, removed his bar apron and tossed it to Hector, announcing that he was taking some personal days.

“How many personal days?” Hector asked, grumpily.

“That depends,” Jake replied, and he turned back to Siku.

“How many days are you in town this time, Papa?” he asked the bear.

“Two nights, Cub,” Siku replied.

“Two personal days, Hector!” Jake said, turning back to his coworker again. “I’ll see you the day after tomorrow!”

“Hmm, that dick better be worth it!” Hector grumbled, but he had gotten the full juicy details from Jake the last time Siku was in town, and he already knew the answer to that.

The pair stayed in Siku’s hotel and ordered room service for the next thirty-six hours. In between bouts of vigorous sex and occasional cat naps, Siku filled the young human in on his new commercial fishing career and his upcoming new job in San Francisco.

“Of course, you’re doing something super-manly like working on a fishing boat in the Pacific,” Jake said with a sigh. “It was either that, or lumberjack I suppose. Those bitches in San Francisco better appreciate what a prime hunk of Daddy bear they’re getting. If they give you any shit, you give me a call and I’ll come kick their asses for you.”

“I bet you would, Cub,” Siku said with a chuckle, and then pulled the Jake’s legs up to his chest and impaled him with his rigid bear cock once again.

After a tearful goodbye for both bear and human, Siku left Minneapolis following his two-night stay and returned to the open road headed West. He had an idea that November may be the ideal time to visit Yellowstone for a polar werebear, and after spending two more days driving across Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, he pulled his pickup into the ranger station at the Mammoth Campground, the only campground in the National Park that remained open year-round.

Siku parked his truck, and as he walked in the door of the ranger’s office, an orange striped tabby cat wove between his legs and entered the office along with him.

“Howdy,” the ranger said to Siku after he walked up to the front counter. “What can I do for you today?”

“I’d like to camp for a few days,” Siku replied, “Maybe a week. Do you have spaces available?”

The ranger laughed a little.

“This time of year,” he said, “You can take your pick. April through September, it’s by reservation only, but there’s not that many people who want to go camping in November!”

The orange cat jumped up onto the counter and casually walked in between the two men, sitting, and staring at Siku.

“Charlie!” the ranger said, “You rascal! How did you get back in here again?”

“Oh,” Siku said, with a sheepish grin, “He came in with me. He was rubbing against my legs almost as soon as I got out of my truck.”

The ranger chuckled again.

“Despite the name,” he said, “Charlie is a ‘she’ not a ‘he’, but we can’t seem to get rid of her. She showed up in the early spring of this year, and has hung around the campground ever since, inspecting every camper, hiker, biker and RVer we’ve had in here all year. I’ve tried to place her into nearby residential homes here in Mammoth five times, and each time, she shows back up here at the campground after a week. The last time I tried to re-home her was just a few days ago. I don’t want her to have to deal with the brutal winter living outdoors, but she seems determined to be looking for something or someone very specific here at the campground.”

“Huh,” Siku said, scratching the cat on top of her head between the ears. “Funny little thing. I hope she finds what she’s looking for.”

He leaned down and looked the orange cat in her green eyes.

“I know exactly how you feel, little one,” he said, and the cat purred and touched her nose against his in a friendly manner.

“Okay,” the ranger said, getting back to business, “It’s normally $25 a night to camp, but since Charlie has given you her seal of approval, if you go ahead and pre-pay for a week, I’ll knock it down to $20.”

“Deal,” Siku replied, pulling out his wallet and handing over $140.

“You have an RV?”, the ranger asked, looking out the window.

“Nope,” Siku replied. “I have a tent and a sleeping bag. Don’t need much more than that.”

“Okay,” the ranger said, “Just keep in mind that it gets pretty cold this time of year, and it can snow at any time. You might wake up in the morning with six inches of fresh snow on your tent!”

“Not a problem,” Siku said with a grin, “When I was a cub… I mean a kid, we didn’t even call it ‘winter’ until we had at least a foot of snow on the ground!”

“Well, this should be right up your alley,” the ranger replied. “Most of the roads through the park are closed this time of year in case of sudden blizzards, but the hiking trails here around Mammoth are all still open.”

“Yeah, I plan on parking the truck and not even using it for the next week,” Siku said. “Where I’m going, I won’t need roads.”

The ranger grinned in response and handed him the hangtag for his truck’s front window. He had assigned Siku a site down at the end of the campground loop with a lot of privacy, a fantastic view, and a quick walk to a restroom building.

As Siku exited the office, Charlie the cat followed, weaving between his legs again as the door was open. The orange cat ran ahead of the bear and leapt onto the hood of his truck, turning to sit and start at him again.

“Sorry Charlie,” Siku said with a chuckle, thinking of the old canned tuna commercials. He picked the cat off his hood and set her on the ground again. She looked up and meowed at him, narrowing her bright green eyes.

“No free rides,” Siku replied, and got into the truck, starting it up and driving through the mostly empty campground until he found his numbered site.

The ranger was right, the site was private, and the view of the Yellowstone Valley was majestic. Siku unloaded his camping gear and quickly had his tent assembled, a fire built, and camp stove brewing up a fresh pot of coffee.

As the sun went down, he cooked up a meal of fish that he’d brought with him frozen in his cooler. Siku sat at the picnic table alone in the flickering light of his campfire, enjoying his dinner, when he heard the faint “meows” getting closer and closer to his site.

Charlie leapt upon his picnic table without invitation and sat starting at him, watching him eat. When he wasn’t looking back at her, she glanced down at the pile of fish on his plate but snapped back to persistent eye contact whenever he glanced her way.

“I’m not going to have any peace until I give you some fish, am I?” Siku asked the cat, and the feline purred and squinted, twitching her whiskers in response.

He picked two of the smaller fillets off his plate, and reached across the table, laying them down in front of her paws.

The cat looked down at the fish, and then looked back up at the big man, squinting and twitching her whiskers again.

“Go ahead,” Siku said. “They’re good, I promise. I caught them myself just last week.”

The cat seemed to understand him, and she crouched down, first nibbling, and then gobbling up the warm fish fillets. When she was done, she licked her paws and cleaned her face, purring contentedly and stretching out on the table, still gazing at the bear with sleepy eyes.

“You’re welcome,” Siku said as he finished his meal, and then thoroughly washed his dishes and cookware per the ranger’s instructions to avoid attracting any bears.

“What the hell am I doing here?” Siku mumbled to himself and the cat with a crooked grin, “Attracting a bear is my whole reason for the trip!”

The cat opened her eyes a bit at his voice, and then yawned, laying her head on her paws and purring.

“Well, I thought that was a pretty good joke,” Siku replied. “Everyone’s a critic.”

A couple hours later, Siku had switched from coffee to beer as he sat in front of the fire. The orange cat had moved from the picnic table to Siku’s lap as he sat in his folding chair, daydreaming about what sort of things he was going to do once he got to San Francisco.

When he decided that it was late enough, and most humans would be tucked into their RVs and sleeping bags, or comfy in their beds in the lodge, he stood up, knocking the cat unceremoniously to the ground. He was going to hike out into the woods until he was sure nobody was around and shift into his bear for a midnight run.

As he ventured off into the woods through the trees, Charlie the cat tagged along behind him, occasionally meowing along the way as if to ask him if he was sure this late-night hike was a good idea.

“Shoo cat!” Siku hissed, “Git! You don’t want to follow where I’m going, and you don’t want to see what I become!”

But the cat simply purred and rubbed herself against his legs anytime he stopped hiking, so Siku eventually gave up and let her follow. He was sure that once she saw him transform into a polar bear, she would be screeching in panic and heading back to the ranger station like a little orange streak.

He came to the edge of a clearing, and after once again scanning the entire area with his eyes and nose to make sure there were no stray humans about, he shed his clothing and folded them into a neat pile on the ground.

Charlie sat watching him with her green eyes as he stood naked in the grass.

“Okay cat,” he said, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Siku dropped to all fours and shifted quickly into his polar bear form.

The cat continued to purr and twitch her whiskers, scenting the air as she looked up at the massive bear looming over her.

“Well fuck me sideways, as Jake would say,” Siku growled in the bear-language. Charlie rubbed herself between all four of Siku’s legs and then walked over to his neatly folded pile of clothing, curling up on top of his shirt and tucking her head onto her paws for a nap.

“Don’t let anyone run off with my clothes,” Siku growled to the cat, “I’ll be back in a couple hours.”

Siku turned and ran through the clearing. His white fur gleamed under the moon, and if any human had been around to see him, they would have been shocked at the sight of a fully-grown polar bear running through the forests of Yellowstone.

He ran and played, foraging for tasty bits to eat to top off his fish dinner. At one point he burst through the trees startling a herd of elk, who panicked and began running every which way with wide and confused eyes. He could have easily caught one and feasted upon the meat until he was stuffed, but he didn’t want to raise any suspicions if someone happened upon the carcass later in the week while he was still here, so he let them all go.

After a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the forest in his fur, Siku followed his own scent trail back to the spot where he’d left his clothes. Charlie was still curled up on top of the pile, but as he neared her, she lifted her head, stretching and yawning, kneading at his shirt with her claws.

Siku shifted back, and gently pushed the cat aside as he picked his clothing back up and got dressed again.

“You are so weird,” he said, looking down at the round orange face and green eyes before beginning his hike back to the campground.

When he arrived, he unzipped the door to his tent, and before he could climb in, Charlie jumped through the gap ahead of him.

“No, no, no,” Siku said, following the cat inside and grabbing her around her chest, “I draw the line at letting feral cats into my tent at night.”

He set her gently outside and zipped the door back up.

Siku planned on sleeping in the cold in his bear form, his tent being large enough to accommodate his bulk easily, and the extra fur and padding would keep him comfortable no matter the temperature outside. He was just spreading his sleeping bag out into a single layer to lay down on when he heard the first sounds from just outside his door.

“Mrooowr,” the pitiful noise came through the nylon tent walls.

“Meoooooowr!” the sound came again, more persistently this time.

“Yeoooooooowoooow!”

Siku unzipped the door partway and looked down. Charlie was sitting in the exact same spot that he had placed her a minute earlier, and she looked up at him again with wide green eyes.

“Meow?” she asked tentatively as she stared at the big bear.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Siku grumbled, and he unzipped the door again, allowing the cat to leap back inside.

“You’re inside, are you satisfied?” Siku growled at the cat, but Charlie just sat and looked at him, purring and twitching her whiskers in response.

Siku took off his boots and clothing, folding them into a neat pile in the corner of the tent.

“I suppose you’re going to sleep on top of my clothes again, aren’t you?” he asked the cat, but she still sat, purring, and staring.

“I give up,” Siku said, “Good night little pain-in-the-ass.”

He shifted into his polar bear form once again and settled himself down on his sleeping bag. A few seconds later, Charlie hopped on his back, kneading the fur with her claws, yawning and turning around in circles until she was thoroughly curled into a ball in the middle of her new soft, white bed.

“Unbelievable,” Siku growled, but he too let out a mighty bear yawn and was soon asleep as well.

****

Mid-way through Siku’s stay in the campground, the ranger drove by his site to check up on him. It had briefly snowed the night before, but the small amount of accumulation had soon melted under the mid-morning sun.

“Howdy,” the ranger said, pulling into the campsite. Siku was sitting in his folding chair in front of the campfire with a cup of coffee in his hand and an orange cat in his lap.

“Hello,” Siku said in greeting, “I’d get up and get you a cup of coffee, but I don’t want to disturb the cat. The pot’s right there on the stove if you want a cup. There’s cream in the pitcher.”

“Well thank you,” the ranger replied, “But I won’t be staying that long, I just wanted to check up on you after last night’s snow.”

The orange cat sat up in Siku’s lap and stretched.

“Charlie!” the ranger exclaimed, “There you are, you rascal! Has she been bothering you sir?”

“She’s no bother,” Siku replied scratching the cat on the top of her head which started her purring again, “But she hasn’t left my side since I got here! She follows me on my hikes, escorts me to the restroom, and even comes in my tent and sleeps on top of me at night. Yowls something fierce if I don’t let her in!”

“Curious,” the ranger said with a twinkle in his eye, “Well you enjoy the rest of your stay at Yellowstone, sir, and let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”

The ranger drove around the end of the loop and headed back to the office.

“Congratulations, Charlie girl,” he said to himself, “It looks like your wish was finally granted.”

****

At the end of Siku’s week in Yellowstone, he took one more morning hike with Charlie tagging along at his heels, and when he returned, he began breaking down the tent and packing his camping equipment.

Charlie sat patiently, watching his activity, and waiting for him to open the truck door. As soon as he did to stow his duffel bag, the cat moved like a streak and perched herself on the center console armrest in the middle of the seat.

“Sorry, Charlie,” Siku said, “It’s been a fun week, but I have to leave today, and I have a long drive ahead of me.”

He picked up the cat and set her down on the ground, where she immediately sprang up through the open truck door and perched herself on the armrest once again.

“Suit yourself,” Siku replied, “I guess I’ll have to drop you off at the ranger station on my way out.”

He finished packing the back of the truck, and then got in behind the wheel. Charlie sat on the armrest, looking at him with contented eyes, purring. When Siku put the truck in gear and began the drive out of the campground, Charlie turned her attention to the front windshield, watching the scenery and still purring away cheerfully.

Siku stopped at the office when he reached the campground entrance and scooped Charlie under his arm, stepping out of the truck and walking into the small building.

“Good morning, sir!” the ranger said cheerfully, “Has it been a week already? I guess you and Charlie must be ready to head out.”

“Well, I’m ready to head out,” Siku said, “And Charlie thinks she’s coming along for some reason. I just stopped here so that I could give her back to you before I left.”

“Sir…” the ranger said. “I don’t mean to be rude, but you don’t know a lot about cats, do you?”

Siku chucked, and Charlie succeeded in wiggling out of his arm, climbing up to sit atop his broad shoulder.

“I guess I don’t,” he admitted, “Never had a cat before, and never planned on getting one.”

“Well sir,” the ranger said, “In my experience there’s two types of housecats. There are the ones that go with the flow and are happy with whatever family adopts them, feeds them and loves them. As long as they get food and cuddles from their human servants when they want it, they’re happy.

“The other kind of cat… From the day they’re born, they’re looking for their person. Try to put them in a loving home with people who aren’t their person and they run away. Give them to someone who truly loves cats and knows how to care for them, but isn’t their person, and they act like they’re in a prison. They’re never satisfied until they find their person… their soulmate. Once they find their person, it’s feline love at first sight, and from that moment they follow that person wherever they go… Just like Charlie followed you everywhere this week.

“If a cat finds their person, but the person rejects them or leaves them behind, they’re never quite the same after that. It’s like finding your one true love… your perfect mate… and having them leave you at the altar on your wedding day. Charlie doesn’t care that you don’t know about cats or that you never wanted a cat. She’s made up her mind. You’re her person. Somehow, she knew that you would be coming to this campground someday, and she wouldn’t leave her post until you arrived. She inspected every tourist who came in and out of here until she found the right one. Until she found you.

“So, you can break that cat’s heart, and leave her here with me now, or you can let her jump back in the front seat of that truck where she knows she belongs and take her with you, wherever it is you’re going. It’s up to you, but I think I know that you’re a good person at heart, and I think she knows it too.”

“Ah fuck me,” Siku replied after the ranger had finished his lecture. He turned his head to the side, and Charlie was sitting right there on his shoulder looking into his ice-blue eyes with her emerald-green ones. She casually touched her nose against his and began to purr.

The ranger reached under the counter and pulled out a bag of cat food and two bowls.

“Here’s her food and her bowls,” the ranger said. “They might as well go with her. Keep one bowl filled with fresh water and give her a quarter cup of kibbles in the morning and again in the evening. She’s not litterbox trained because she’s been outside most of her life. Just let her outside a few times a day or go on a little walk around your neighborhood and let her follow you, and she should find a nice spot in a neighbor’s yard to bury her business. Probably under a bush in the landscaping mulch or someplace like that where nobody will be the wiser.”

Siku sighed and picked up the bag of food and the bowls. He nodded at the ranger without saying anything else and walked back out of the office door with Charlie still perched on his shoulder. As soon as he opened the driver’s door, the cat leapt from his shoulder and resumed her position on the console armrest, sitting straight up and staring out the windshield stoically with her tail twitching back and forth. It was as if she was trying to be brave about leaving the only home that she’d ever known and heading for who knows where. She had found her person, her soulmate, and that was all that mattered. She was ready to go.

Siku got behind the wheel and put the truck in gear. He looked at the cat one more time and gave her a little scratch on the top of her head. She looked up at him and twitched her whiskers, purring again.

“Okay, Charlie,” Siku said. “I guess it’s you and me. I know I’m your soulmate, but when we get to San Francisco, please be nice to any guys that I bring home, okay? I’m trying to find my Mate.”

Charlie seemed to smile as she looked at Siku and purred, and she let out a little “meow” before turning her head and staring back through the front windshield.

“Okay, boss,” Siku replied, “We’re going.”

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales

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Whether or not Charlie is a shifter, she has found her life’s partner.  Siku is wise enough to agree to take her with him.  Who knows.  Maybe she’ll help in finding his true mate.  (It can’t be her since werebears are all gay.)

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Just love it...  I do believe that most of the time the pet chooses you, especially with a cat.  And I can promise you, Charlie will know Siku's mate before he does...

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Whether or not Charlie is a shifter, she has found her life’s partner.  Siku is wise enough to agree to take her with him.  Who knows.  Maybe she’ll help in finding his true mate.  (It can’t be her since werebears are all gay.)

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