Worming his way into a woman's heart...
|“Don’t you dare look at me like that!” I glared at the scraggly little puppy at my feet.
I let out an exasperated sigh. After the day I’d had, the last thing I needed were literal puppy dog eyes making me feel guilty about brushing the little guy out of my way. All I wanted to do was get to my apartment, kick off my shoes, put on some sweats, pour myself a glass of wine, and watch an especially shitty reality TV show.
My face contorted in concentration as I attempted to push him out of the way with my shoe while looking straight ahead. I had no desire to let those eyes discourage me from my task. I was so close to veg mode that I could practically taste the pleasant tang of cheap Pinot Gris on my tongue.
But a heart-rending yelp tore my eyes from their target—my door—forcing my gaze to the cute little guy on the steps. My foot had bumped his nose and my efforts to push him to the side had merely served to topple him over, my patent-leather pump hovering above his floppy ears and guilt-inducing eyes.
I squeezed my eyes shut, uttering a curse under my breath as I reached down to pick him up. He was warm, his coat of fur silky. He seemed to vibrate with excitement at the attention.
As I raised him even with my face, I noticed he wore no tags. A stray, then? Could it really be that this adorable little creature had no owner?
As I pondered what to do, a sandpapery tongue licked a trail of moisture over my frowning lips. I rolled my eyes. Oh, my word! This horrible little critter was trying to kill me with cuteness!
I felt the corners of my lips twitch upward, but I fought it desperately. Don’t smile. Don’t smile. Don’t smile!
He looked back at me with evident delight.
“Okay, I’ll take you upstairs and give you some food,” I negotiated as he cocked his head to the side in the most adorable way imaginable. “Then, it’s off to the animal shelter with you.”
So, I compromised. Big deal. I could spend two minutes opening a can of something for him, make a phone call to Animal Control, then get right back to my plan. Easy peasy.
I took him into my apartment and found a can of soup with weird little chunks of heavy salted meat inside. I shrugged, then pried it open and poured it into a dish, setting it on the floor. It was the closest thing I had to dog food. Puppies didn’t have high blood pressure, did they? I didn’t need to worry about the thing’s salt intake, right? Regardless, it couldn’t be helped. I didn’t have any meat of any kind in the fridge at the moment, and I doubted that the little guy would enjoy my spicy Moroccan stew leftovers.
I filled another bowl with water and set it next to the soup bowl, watching the puppy lap away with reckless abandon for a long moment before pouring myself a glass of wine. I fished my phone out of my bag, then plopped on the couch, turning on the television. I googled, then called the number for Animal Control, but they were closed for the day. Sighing, I returned my gaze to the puppy, unable to keep from grinning as I watched his tail sweep back and forth like a windshield wiper in a downpour.
Changing the channel to Real Housewives of… Somewhere, I nestled into the sofa cushions. The housewife was—of course—squatting to ruffle her dog’s hair.
I rolled my eyes.
Suddenly a furry little projectile launched itself from the floor directly at my face. I crossed my arms, squirming backward under a surprise assault of excess affection. I licked my moistened lips, tasting salt. Had he really polished off that whole bowl of soup already?
After a moment, the attack ended, the little guy turning several circles in my lap before dropping in a floppy-eared collapse.
I found my fingers slithering through his shiny coat to give him a little scratch on the head. It set his tail off again, thwapping me lightly on the stomach with every wag.
As I made my way through the glass of wine, the pleasant warmth on my thighs matched the warmth in my belly, my entire body seeming to tingle with pleasure. I leaned over to see the puppy’s eyes dropping, his chin having descended to rest between my knees.
A sudden burst of affection washed through me, and I suddenly realized that I was grinning as broadly as I could ever remember. I used the blanket between us to scoop him into a little bundle, carrying him to the bedroom.
When I finished readying myself for bed, I marveled at the utterly adorable sight of the little guy swaddled in a blanket, snoozing softly at the corner of the bed. I climbed into bed, gently pulling him next to me and began to drift off to sleep, already knowing that I would be calling Animal Control not to pick him up but to send me the paperwork for adoption. I knew I could never part with my new friend.
As my thoughts scattered, parting before an imminent stream of pleasant dreams, his name came to me. I’d call him “Soupie”.