{2}

As soon as Kitty exited the bathroom, she heard a loud sloshing and slobbering sound. As soon as she turned, Dudley and Frenchy were hunched over the toilet bowl, tails wagging in happy, mindless unison. It always sickened Kitty to see dogs go after toilet bowls like chocolate donuts...Why did dogs have to be such...dogs?

Trying to keep her composure...and her lunch, Kitty ran away from the bathroom towards the front doors of T.U.F.F. HQ. As soon as she was outside, she ran towards the street and leaned over the hole opening towards the sewer. She could feel her stomach heaving and churning, a hair ball threatening to come up as she tried to quell the dancing image of Dudley drinking toilet water dancing around in her mind's eye.

Suddenly, a pair of angry red eyes looked up at her through the sewer hole.

Startled, Kitty took a step back and reached for her laser gun as a creature climbed up out of the hole...It was Snaptrap himself! Instantly, Kitty felt her nausea sink and sluff away; she lifted her laser gun and pointed it right at the evil rat mad scientist, ready to shoot at a moment's notice.

"Snaptrap!" she growled, baring her teeth. "What are you doing here?"

"Agent Kitty Katswell," he said with cool indifference. "You always have a pole stuck up your butt, don't you?"

Her eyes widened and she lowered her laser gun, shooting a pointed glare at him. "I think I have the right to be suspicious here...Seriously. You're in plain daylight. Right outside T.U.F.F. Headquarters...You're up to something."

"Why yes, I am," Snaptrap agreed with a gleeful chuckle. Kitty started to raise her laser gun again, but lowered it as she watched...something else clamber up out of the sewer to stand next to Snaptrap...and that person started snickering and cackling with just as much insidious glee as Snaptrap.

With tears leaking from his eyes, Snaptrap gestured at his new companion.

"Kitty," he said in an amicable tone, as if they were old friends. "This is my new girlfriend...Kelly! Isn't she the most beautiful woman in the entire world?"

Once again, Kitty felt a huge compulsion to barf. Kelly was a big, muscular rat that looked more masculine than feminine with a long mane of frosty blond hair and a...tattoo of Snaptrap on her shoulder. Smiling, she leaned towards Kitty and flexed her arm.

"We just met last week!" she said in a deep, manly voice. "He's the love of my life and we couldn't be happier! I made him promise to not attack T.U.F.F. Today...so no worries!"

Kitty attempted a smile, while her right eye twitched. She couldn't get herself to say anything since her nostrils were suddenly bombarded with the smell of three-week-old cheese. Eyes watering, she backed away and covered her face.

"Awww!" Snaptrap clasped his hands. "You're so happy for us you're crying? That's so sweet!" He extended his arm to Kelly. "Alright, darling. Ready to go to that new French bistro that happens to be right next door to T.U.F.F. and conveniently opened today...?"

Kitty's eyebrows raised as she watched Snaptrap and his new girlfriend stroll next door. As he'd said, there was a new French bistro right next door. It was a small, cute blond brick building with its name spelled out in curlicue, cursive letters and a striped blue and white canopy covering the front door. It was called: Anchois Rance, or Rancid Anchovy in French. Not really a romantic name for a restaurant, but Snaptrap and Kelly weren't the only customers. There were quite a few people inside.

Part of Kitty told her just to get back to work; it'd be easier to work through Valentine's Day and just get it done and over with. Who wanted to be in a restaurant filled with happy couples cooing at each other and kissing when her workplace was already infested with the disease?

When she was turning to go, a smell assaulted her nose. An extremely tasty, irresistible smell...

Like a little kid at the mall on Christmas, Kitty rushed towards Anchois Rance and rushed through the front door. The bell tinkled behind her as she ran, smiling gleefully, towards the front counter. She just barely sat down before she found herself drooling and eying the display of cream puffs with eyes the size of bowling balls.

"Could I buy the lovely lady a cream puff?" asked a silky smooth voice.

Kitty immediately looked up from the display of confectionery treats. There was a tall bright orange tom cat in a long brown overcoat leaning against the counter top. He eyed Kitty with large green eyes and was purring, a low, deep purr.

"Um...hello," Kitty said, blinking, not sure what to say or how to react. What really unnerved her was that this newcomer had practically appeared out of thin air...

"Excuse me miss, but I couldn't help noticing such a lovely, beautiful girl such as yourself from across the room," he said. "May I buy you a cream puff?"

He'd just called her...beautiful and lovely? That sent up red flags; Kitty's eyes widened at the realization that this stranger was flirting with her. He winked at her and settled onto the red leather stool next to her, his tail flicking casually back and forth behind him.

She really shouldn't be in here at all; she should be getting back to work...

But it was technically still lunchtime and Kitty could hear her stomach growling. Though she couldn't possibly have this unfamiliar tomcat buy her a pastry...she wasn't really interested in him-

As soon as she started scrabbling in her pocket for money, the tom leaned towards the smiling pig man behind the counter and ordered two cream puffs. A moment later, Kitty was staring helplessly at a cream puff and the tom was smiling a charming, Don Juan brand of smile at her.

"You two should really think about going out..." the pig man encouraged, wiggling his eyebrows. "Nobody wants to be alone on Valentine's Day!"

That comment made Kitty look up and glare daggers, but the effect was lost, since he'd moved on down the line of counters to attend to an elephant couple farther down. The tom filled her line of vision again with that same smile on his face. She wanted to rip it off and toss it to the floor. Already she didn't like him with his smug, confident attitude, and those...gorgeous green eyes.

"Just so you know, my name is Kat, Kool Kat," he said, leaning against the counter. "What might your name be, or do I need to call you Angel?" He smiled serenely. "Since you're obviously a fallen angel with how gorgeous you are?"

That pick-up line was so cheesy and overused, yet Kitty found herself blushing anyway.

"I'm Kitty Katswell," she said quickly, with a voice full of bravado as she raised her chin.

"The Kitty Katswell?" Kool leaned against the counter. "I've seen your picture in the papers and personally, I must say, you're quite impressive. I've been wanting to make your acquaintance for some time now..."

As Kool talked, Kitty found herself distracted by the aroma of the cream puff. He kept talking and her gaze started shifting between him and the pastry. Over and over. Kool, cream puff, Kool, cream puff...

Unable to resist any longer, Kitty sniped up the cream puff and bit into it, savoring the taste of it. For a second, the rest of the world kind of dripped away like paint and she was lost in the sumptuous, delicious flavor of the cream puff. She was lost for several seconds, and once she'd finished the cream puff, she was startled to find Kool batting his paw back and forth in front of her face like a windshield wiper.

"Miss Katswell...?" he asked, his eyes full of concern.

"Sorry, sorry..." she mumbled, wiping her face on her sleeve.

"I see you were enjoying your cream puff...?" Kool smiled and chuckled.

"Yeah..." she said with a small, forced chuckle, feeling absolutely embarrassed.

"I was wondering something..."

Kitty looked back up at him, desperately trying to ignore the blush crawling across her face.

"Do you have a date for Valentine's Day?" he asked.

She blinked several times. "No..."

"Well, you have one now," he replied, grinning; his mouth was full of bright white, gleaming canines.