Lo ran for a short while, though Arnold was able to gain on her long before she collapsed onto the street next to a lamp post, sniffling and wiping her face with her arm. He came to a rest next to her and shook his head apologetically, “I didn’t know that you didn’t know. Not for sure.”
Lo didn’t move as she struggled to get control of herself for a minute, “It is not that I am not glad he is back! I am!”
“It’s that he never told you himself or that no one bothered to tell you,” Arnold finished for her, Lo nodded softly, her face still half buried in her arm. “To be honest…I was avoiding the subject for…other reasons.”
Lo sniffled more and then wiped her nose with the back of her hand…Arnold felt awkward for a few moments as she tried to clean her face and only making it dirtier. He took off his jacket slowly and then offered it to his friend. He poked her with it several times and she looked at it and then smiled softly and shook her head.
“No… it is alright… I am just being stupid!” She sniffed again, visibly trying to master herself.
Arnold pushed it at her again, “Take it. I had several made because I keep destroying them.” He left out that this was one of the last two. He’d have to take the last one to a tailor for reproduction again.
Lo took it and wipes her eyes, and blew her nose into the coat that he would never wear again now. Lo blinked thoughtfully down the road as rouge flooded her cheeks. “O Arnold.. if only I didn’t feel like such a fool…” She giggled softly and sniffed again. “I am glad he is back! Truly I am!” She crumbled his jacket in both hands as she rocked back and forth on the street corner. Finally she turned to him with wide red rimmed eyes, “Why.. why didn’t anyone tell me? Did I do something wrong?”
“…no, you did nothing wrong.” The cat assured her. “Not everyone knows he’s back. From what I hear the church was even looking to arrest him again.”
“O… poor pip…” Lo cleaned her nose again, and then shook her head miserably. “Ugh.. grownups.. why do they do such hateful things?” Arnold started to answer, but her brows furrowed slightly and then she brightened and turned towards him. “I shall have to find him, will you help me?”
The cat shook his head, “I wouldn’t know how to start…besides asking your mother.”
“Well.. I shall have to I suppose,” The two of them sat there for a short time before she continued, “Arnold…” He blinked as she told him, “You are a very good friend. To tell me and .. to give me your jacket to cry on.” He told her it was just a jacket, but she wasn’t done. “And for not running away or telling me off or anything…mother would have scolded me for crying..”
“I’m never going to scold you for crying,” Arnold assured her. “I make no promises if you jump off a bridge or actively try to drown yourself in a bathtub, but not for crying.”
“I don’t know.. all the urchin boys run away when a girl looks like she may be about to cry.. they are rather stupid tho'”
Arnold nodded after a moment, and then asked, “Does Gil?”
“Never. I don’t think he knows what to do. He is awfully confused sometimes when it comes to girls.. and other things.. like complicated words. He is always lovely tho’! Always awfully sweet!”
Arnold looked up at that moment, he had noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. The Pennyfarthing Boys hung out in the area ahead. “Perhaps we should head to your home for now.”
Lo nodded and climbed awkwardly to her feet. Arnold offered his paw to help, and when she was up he half smiled, “Now…race?”
She smiled completely for the first time since he’d told her, and the two raced towards Dr. Sonnerstein’s new home which was in the middle of several renovations of its own.
Lo’s troubled week was almost over…but not yet.