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Cautiously making her way through the entrance to Satisfied, she knew it was a risk, but to her, a much needed and calculated one. Cold weather meant warm food, hopefully more food than she’d had in past couple of weeks. Cougar was restless, hungry, whining every day that it needed more, needed out…just needed something other than sleeping in the cold, digging through trash. Running on empty, the animal in her was tired of hiding.

Standing in line to be served, Simi watched the man holding the gravy boat across from her, glad that Cougar had urged her to seek out the shelter in the first place. He was gorgeous in a rough way. A black five o’clock shadow covered the lower half of his face, the color matching his dark hair, its gentle waves just begging for her to run her fingers through the tresses. His eyes were a piercing green, like perfect emeralds glowing in the dim light of the dining room.

Gravy, little one?”

Simi jerked, unaware that she’d been staring, deep in thought for so long. She’d backed up the line while lost in her daydreaming. “Yes, please,” she whispered, the sound barely audible to even her own heightened sense of hearing, but nevertheless, she hoped the stranger had heard her.

Cougar whimpered, anxious to eat, like a ravenous animal, wanting to devour the entire turkey she’d passed by. But Simi persevered. She’d be eating well enough for the evening. And if she were lucky, there might even be a bed or a corner she could occupy for the night.

The volunteer ladled the steaming brown fluid over her turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and with a humble nod, she whispered, “Thank you.”

She moved down the line, taking a roll and silverware from other volunteers. Edging along behind fellow unfortunates like herself, she nearly dropped her tray when a soft touch landed on her jacketed arm.

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