All last night and all day today, we'd left out a little food and his favorite blanket/fur thing, hoping that would lure him back. I kept the front door open, leaving the screen door in place. All day when I was working, if I heard the tiniest sound, I darted out of my chair to check the porch (this happened a hell of a lot, because they're doing construction on our street during the day, so it's constantly noisy). No Rochester. My sister called the Humane Society, we put a lost ad in Craigslist, and after work, we walked around the neighborhood handing out and posting fliers.
Sephie was in hiding all day- perhaps thinking that we'd done something to Rochester and that she was next. She started becoming more sociable in the evening, and sacked out on our bed with us. At one point, she darted up in her "prairie dog" pose, as though she'd heard something. Even though I knew it was probably wishful thinking, I left the bedroom to check the porch for the umpteenth time today. Sure enough, I thought I actually spotted a blotch of white out there! I opened the screen door, and there was Rochester, lounging on the porch as though he's been doing it all his life. I went over to pick him up, and he gave me a casual meow hello. Meanwhile, I'm hugging him close and babbling and cooing like an idiot and telling him he's never doing that to Mommy again.
It almost seems to him that leaving home is a fantastic idea (as manycolored has noted), as he was rewarded with all kinds of affection, catnip, and cat treats. Almost- except for the fact that there is construction going on around our street, so he came home very dirty. Bathination ensued. He was not pleased, and tore me many new holes. I so don't care. My baby's home! =D I'll have to spend time tomorrow taking down all the Lost Cat signs, but that's a happy sort of chore to have.
The front door is being dead-bolted FOREVER. Ramen.