He wondered when she was coming home. No amount of frantic barking made the front door open, nor did scratching at the door and whining make the gravel in the driveway crunch with the weight of car wheels. After sniffing all around the house (maybe she was hiding again), he resigned himself to his fate, padded dejectedly over to his worn bed, circled three times and laid his head on his paws. He sighed heavily and dramatically, ears twitching from time to time as he drifted in and out of a doze filled with dreams of sizzling bacon and vigorous belly rubs. As he stretched out to grab a particularly large piece of bacon, he heard the tinkle of keys in the lock and instantly jolted out of dreamland. Tripping over his paws, yet again, he blew right past the front door and tumbled into the garbage bin. When she walked in, much to his chagrin, bits of plastic and old food containers were strewn everywhere while he stood, guiltily, tail between his legs, ready to deny everything.
She sighed and dropped her bags on the scarred wooden floor. They landed with a dejected thump.
“Come here,” she said, sliding to the floor and holding out her arms.
He wagged his tail and shuffled forward so she could rest her head on his shoulder. She ran her hands through his fur, slower and more absently than he liked, but he felt like he wasn’t in a position to complain. He had just knocked over the garbage… again. He hadn’t even been rooting through it this time, so it wasn’t worth the scolding he was still waiting for.
She pulled back and cupped his face, moving his ears up and down. “Just you and me now, buddy. I signed the papers today.”
He resisted the urge to scratch. His fur was damp and itchy where she’d rested her face. He thumped his tail once on the ground, instead, and she gave him a ghost of her normal smile. He counted it as a victory.
This was co-written with a talented short story writer, and friend, Caitlin Carr.