She doesn’t answer him because he’s got that edge to his voice again. She looks out the kitchen window and listens to the sound of him pouring another Merrydown. She thinks about Zep the cat, and how the house stinks of cat, of the three other kittens that are now grown-up cats that they can’t find a home for, of the cat-basket full of Zep’s new kittens in the front room, of the twenty-six fucking quid to get Zep spayed, of the three other twenty-six quids to get the kittens that are now cats spayed, of the other twenty-six quids to come if they can’t find homes for the new kittens… After a minute, she says, So if we’ve got no money, then where’s that lot come from?... From the sink, she turns and points to the carrier bag of bottles by his chair. He drinks, then puts his glass on the table. Tick, he says, smiling… She thinks about this for a minute. After two and a half years of living together, they owe three hundred and twenty quid on the overdraft, ninety quid in missed loan payments, a hundred and thirty on the catalogue, and her with two hundred and fifty five quid’s worth of IOUs hidden in the safe at work, which somehow needs sorting before the auditors come next month, and him with no job, no sign of getting a job, and now tick at the corner shop for ale… Great… What if Zep gets pregnant again? she says… I got you this, he says, lifting a big bottle of Riesling from the carrier bag by his chair. Have a drink. Relax. Let’s talk about it, he says.

When he gets back from the corner shop, he puts the two carrier bags on the table with a chink, then kisses her. This is a great idea, he says... Last big one, she says, last big one before we get sorted. You get on that job scheme and we’ll stay in, watch what we’re doing. Get the debts cleared in six months or so. Easy… He puts another record on. They dance to Subterranean Homesick Blues then kiss again. They fuck on the settee and she watches his face as he comes into her… Why hadn’t you told me about that job scheme? she says... They finish the cider and the wine. Then they open the Bell’s and sit looking at the kittens. Some are asleep. Some are feeding off Zep. I love cats, she says.