This story was originally release as a short story within an anthology named Encore, released in March 2015. You may have read it first time around. What’s Up, Pussycat? is now an individual short novella, the original part switched to first person point of view, and the story as a whole extended to double the length. I’m excited to release it as an individual story.
When I originally saw the open call for short stories based on musicals, back in 2014, Cats immediately sprang to mine. I’d never even seen it, funnily enough, but I bought a DVD of the stage show and watched it over and over. As I watched the characters performing, my story grew in my head and What’s Up, Pussycat? was born. I finally saw the show on stage in London’s West End around the time the anthology was released.
Check out the details and if you like the sound of the story, you can grab a copy for FREE!
Release date: July 7, 2017
Length: 24,300 words
Cover Design: Simon Searle
Finley Harrington despairs of ever being able to move on after the death of Andrew, the love of his life. When he spots an advertisement for auditions for Cats, the last musical Andrew performed in, Finley acts on the spur of the moment and calls for an appointment to audition.
Much to Fin’s surprise, he gets the part he hopes for, but during his struggles with stage-fright, and the teasing of a fellow actor, Karl Rogers, he wonders if he’s made a huge mistake. But Karl’s irritating persona hides a different person inside, and when Fin gets to know him, he develops a surprising attraction to him.
Could Karl be the person to help Fin move on from the past, or is he destined to remain alone?
The final performance was sold out and when it ended, the cast celebrated together at the small restaurant next to the theater, that Maurice had booked out for our use. Everyone stayed in costume, makeup and all. Afterward, the bus took us back to the studios. James’s girlfriend, Abby, had come to the show and they slipped away to his room together. I went back to Karl’s room to share a half-bottle of champagne he’d managed to acquire from the restaurant and from then, things took a surprising turn.
Karl put the champagne on top of the fridge and turned toward me. “I can’t believe it’s over! I can’t believe I didn’t throw up this week either.”
I laughed. “Nice, Karl. I was hoping you’d tell me about whether you puked or not.”
“Twat. Come ’ere!” He grabbed me in a bear hug and turned around, almost swinging me off my feet.
I clutched at him to stop myself falling onto the TV. “You idiot! There isn’t room to swing a cat in here.”
We dissolved into fits of laughter, still holding onto each other. When I tilted my head back to look up at the grinning tabby face above me, Karl suddenly stopped laughing. He paused there, his bright green eyes searching mine. Then he ducked his head and brought our lips together.
For a moment, I was too stunned to react. I didn’t know if it was the spur of the moment, or if he liked me. There’d been no sign of anything other than friendship, although he still flirted with everyone, including me, so it was difficult to tell. While I hesitated, he deepened the kiss and tightened his arms around me.
It had been so long since I felt a man’s lips on mine—almost fourteen months. I thought I’d never want to experience it again, but suddenly things were different. It felt good and I kissed back, running my hands over Karl’s lycra-covered shoulders.