A descriptive ficlet by Angelinhel detailing a day in the life of Jake Morgendorffer after his daughters Quinn and Daria have left for college. Told as a character study or slice-of-life, the initial brooding atmostphere is changed to one of hope by the end of the story.
Winner of the 2005 Bootie for "Favorite Jake Story".
Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.
Alone in his shabby office, Jake decides the putrid trash needs to be taken out, though the cold rain outside is discouraging. As he spills the trash and cleans the resulting mess, he reflects on his life and how he misses his daughters, now gone off to college.
While he is in the alleyway, disposing of the trash, a car splashes him with dirty gutter water. Trying not to let the dreariness of the day get him down, Jake resists his anger and contemplates his newfound attempts at cooking instead.
A sudden noise startles him, prompting him to look inside an oddly dry abandoned box, inside which he finds an abandonded kitten. The mismatched eyes, multicolored coat, and general bedraggledness engages Jake's nurturing side. He rescues the kitten from the grungy alleyway, rightly assuming the car that had splashed him had dumped the helpless creature to fend for itself.
Finding a newfound joy in the tiny animal he's aptly named 'Alley', Jake leaves his office in a bright mood, with a sense of renewed purpose.
In canon, Jake mentioned he always wanted a cat but his father had refused him one stating, "Cats are for girls, dogs are for boys."