June 13 1992
“You know where the diapers are,” Alex was saying, holding five-month-old Philip against his chest and bouncing slightly, “There are bottles in the fridge all ready to go, they just need to be heated. Oh, and he can’t sleep without his blanket, hasn’t been able to since Herc made it for him.”
"Alex," Eliza sighed.
"Also he likes to be read to as he goes down for the night," Alex continued to explain to Eliza's parents who'd come for a visit and had decided to take little Philip off the new parents hands for one night.
It was Martha Washington’s 50th birthday and George had invited Alex and Eliza over for a celebratory dinner.
Philip Schuyler laughed, “Alex I think we can handle this, you two have fun tonight.”
It took a little more urging, but Alex finally handed their son over.
“We have done this before,” Catherine Schuyler assured, tipping her head towards Sky where the teenager was watching something on the TV.
Alex let out a sigh, but as Eliza took his hand in hers he began to relax.
"We really should go if we want to catch the train," Eliza reminded him.
“Right,” Alex sighed, “we’re going, we’re going. Have a good time and call the Washingtons if you need us for anything.”
"Alright," Catherine then ushered the two of them out of the door of their apartment.
The sky was quite overcast as they walked the short distance to their closest subway station.They caught the next train uptown and by the time they exited at their stop the overcast sky had turned to rain.
“Good thing somebody said we should bring an umbrella,” Eliza said, pulling it out of her purse, “Some of us objected and possibly shouldn’t have use of said umbrella...”
“Yes, yes, you were right,” Alex said, “because your are perfect and beautiful and I love you.”
“Alright, that’s enough sucking up,” giggled Eliza, “Snuggle up close, husband of mine, this umbrella isn’t that big.”
Alex had no problem wrapping his arm around his wife's waist as they walked towards the Washingtons apartment. His fear of storms had certainly abated over the years, but Alex was still no fan of the rain so he kept his eyes carefully trained on the sidewalk in front of them to avoid stepping in any puddles. That’s when he saw it, only a block away from the Washingtons apartment, a little ball of ginger fluff huddled under a building overhang trying to stay out of the rain.
He pulled at Eliza's shoulder to get her to stop, "Betsey wait."
“What?” Eliza managed before Alex was tugging her over to the building wall.
He crouched down, suddenly heedless of the rain as he bent forward out of the protection of the umbrella.
“Hey there,” he whispered, carefully prodding at the fluff ball which lifted its head slightly, “Hey little guy.”
It was a cat, a kitten really, damp and bedraggled with ginger fur and bright green eyes. The kitten let out a tiny meow, nuzzling against Alex’s finger.
"Alex what are you doing?" Eliza asked bending down beside her husband.
"We can't leave him, all alone in the rain like this," Alex frowned.
He slipped off the sweater he was wearing and carefully bundled the kitten up in it as if swaddling baby Philip.
“We’ll have to figure out something,” Eliza sighed as they began walking, “we can’t keep pets in our building.”
“I know,” Alex replied pulling the kitten closer.
Despite the sweater, the kitten shivered in Alex’s arms.
“We’ll be there soon,” Alex muttered, at least at the Washingtons the kitten could get warm and dry.
When they reached the Washingtons’ front door, Eliza knocked as Alex’s hands were a little busy.
“Alexander, Eliza,” Martha greeted when she opened the door, “it’s so lovely to see you both. What do you have there?”
“We found this little one outside,” Alex explained revealing the kitten.
“Goodness,” Martha breathed, “the poor thing must be terrified. Come in, come in.”
Eliza and Alex entered the apartment, and the kitten began to squirm.
Some wonderful scents were wafting out of the kitchen, followed by George’s booming voice.
“Are they here?” he asked, “The roast’s been ready for at least ten min—what the hell?”
At the moment the kitten let out a pitiful meow.
“That’s an animal,” George said, “a living animal.”
“Yes George it is,” Martha laughed, “Alex and Eliza found him on our way here.”
“It’s raining sir,” Alex added.
“I see,” said George slowly.
Martha sighed, “Just get a towel, George. Eliza, why don’t you get some water and a can a tuna. Alexander,”
“You’re to remain on cuddle duty,” Martha ordered, “keep that kitten warm.”
Alex smiled, seeming to be quite content with that idea.
“This little guy’s going to need a home,” Martha said, gently stroking the kitten’s soft ears.
“Our building doesn’t allow pets,” Alex said, “otherwise we’d take him in.”
“Well we’d be happy to take him,” Martha replied.
“Really?” Alex asked.
“Of course,” said Martha.
“But...George doesn’t like animals,” Alex said.
Martha winked, “You just let me worry about George.”
“What am I agreeing to now?” George asked reentering the room with a fluffy white towel.
“Our new pet,” Martha told him primly, taking the towel and transferring the kitten into it to begin drying the little animal.
“Pet...” George spoke as if the word was foreign to him.
“Exactly,” agreed Martha.
George raised an eyebrow at Alex. “Alexander...” he said warningly.
“Yes, I think that’s perfect,” Martha put in, “Alexander is a lovely name for a cat. Especially one as adorably pretty as this one.”
“Are you saying that I’m pretty?” Alex teased with a grin.
“You’re certainly adorable,” Martha told him, pinching his cheek.
“Please do not inflate his ego further,” Eliza sighed, “he is well aware of his good looks.”
She brought over a small bowl of water and an open can of tuna. At the smell of the fish, the kitten’s little snout twitched as he sniffed the air.
“Someone’s hungry,” Martha smiled.
“I should imagine so,” Eliza said with a chuckle.
She and Martha set to work feeding small morsels of tuna to the mewling kitten until it was sated. The kitten was soon happily snoozing while they enjoyed the rest of Martha’s birthday dinner.
And when Alex and Eliza left, the little ginger kitten who had been officially christened as Alexander, stayed behind to begin his task of ingratiating himself to George. Of course, it didn’t take nearly as long as anyone would have thought.