When I came back, Noah leaned with his back against the sofa and both cubs mewled nonstop. The light-colored one sucked on one of Noah’s fingers while the other one repeatedly bumped its head into Noah’s belly, eliciting the occasional hiss from Noah.
“Thank God, there you are! What took you so long? They’re going to eat me alive!”
Stifling a sigh, I dropped onto the sofa and totally ignored the sofa's squeaky protest. I thwarted Noah’s comment by saying, “Not a word if you value your life.”
Noah tilted his head back and grinned up at me. I bent forward, picked the darkly furred cub up, and set it in my lap. After I handed Noah one of the bottles, he slid over until he sat between my legs. Even when we watched TV in the evenings, he often chose this position. At first it had weirded me out, but he had assured me he liked it this way. I stored it in the Noah’s-quirks category. Some of those quirks were easier to like, or at least tolerate, than others.
We fed the cubs, who sucked greedily and very noisily on the bottles. They emptied the bottles and we massaged their bellies until they fell asleep.
I nudged Noah lightly with my left foot and murmured, “Let’s put them in the crate.”
“I just want to hold her a little bit longer.”
“Noah, we’re both tired and need a shower. Get up and put the cub in the crate.”
“That’s me. Caveman and spoilsport, united in one neat package.”
Noah laughed but quickly tried his best to smother it when the cub in his arms stirred. Carefully, he bedded the little lion in the crate, staring down at it with an awed expression. Shaking my head, I lowered the cub’s sibling next to it.