In honour of that cherubic little fellow with the bow and arrow, here is a short story romance I wrote a few years ago.
A woman's Best Friend
I sat on the living room floor and stared forlornly at the boxes arranged around me like a circle of wagons in danger of attack, labelled Living Room, Kitchen, Bathroom, etc. I think moving is kind of like having a baby; once it’s over you forget just how inconvenient it is. That’s why the world population keeps growing and people keep moving- kind of a collective form of selective memory.
I sighed. Considering the boxes labelled “Kitchen” were still securely taped, the night called for a take out –Pizza for choice. I picked up the phone and thrilled at the dial tone. I apologized for all the nasty things I’d called the phone system over the years.
I was interrupted before I could call by a noisy barking that resonated in
counterpoint with a yowling sort of hiss. I dashed to the door to see Dexter my dog standing nose to nose with a large fluffy grey cat. Suddenly Dexter shifted, the cat turned and they ran for the fence. The cat took a flying leap and landed on the top bar, tail swishing, and growling. Dexter kept barking till the cat turned his back and nonchalantly began to groom his left hip.
I walked over to grab Dexter and came face to face (er face to shoulder) with a six foot denim clad frame which had appeared around the bushes holding a pair of clippers. His lean cowboy frame was topped by a pair of glorious blue eyes and a smile that could warm the North Pole. .
I stammered out an apology “I’m sorry, Dexter really isn’t vicious” I
said. “He’s just not used to cats.”
“I wouldn’t worry”, said blue-eyes, “I’m sure in time Muffin will set him
“Muffin?” This ‘cowboy’ owned a cat called Muffin?
He read my mind and grinned “Actually, Muffin is my daughter’s cat. Jessica is a real animal lover.”
I smiled but my heart had stopped in the middle of a flip. Of course he was married. Of course I wasn’t going to move into a new house next to a handsome bachelor with 10 K grin and blue eyes. My karma just didn’t fly that high.
I apologized again and retreated to my boxes and my pizza delivery.
The next day Muffin again ventured into my yard while I was out trying to distinguish between weeds and flowers. Dexter chased him but this time he was in for a surprise. Muffin turned and just before he jumped to the safety of the fence he took a swipe at Dexter’s nose. The surprise on Dexter’s face was so outrageous that I had to stifle a laugh as he came to me for sympathy, whining and rubbing his nose with his paw.
“Just what you deserve, Mister,” I said. “You’ve sure gotten us off to a bad start with the neighbours.”
“Is your dog hurt?” I looked up into a miniature copy of cowboy’s face- the same blue eyes, the same smile.
“You must be Jessica.” I said. This sorry dog here is Dexter. I’ve
already met Muffin. I think he’s taught Dexter a lesson in manners.
“Muffin is really a nice cat,” she said,” but she likes to be boss”.
She patted Dexter on the head. “I always wanted a dog, but my Mommy was allergic so we got a cat instead.”
“Cats are pretty cool,” I said. “I haven’t met your Mom yet.” If she was like the rest of her family, I’d surely like her, but I realized I’d never be able to entertain my neighbours in the house because of Dexter.
“Mommy’s in heaven now,” Jessica volunteered,” Do you think people are still allergic in heaven?”
I had no idea how to field that one and was happy to see cowboy striding across the yard to claim his daughter.
“Don’t talk the ears off our new neighbour,” he smiled at Jessica. He
stretched out his hand. “I’m Drew Davis,” he said. “We never got introduced over the pet fight”
“I’m Allie Munroe,” I replied rubbing my gritty hand down my jeans before offering it to him. His handshake was just what I expected- firm and honest- the kind that made you not want to let go.
Over the next couple of weeks I didn’t see much of Drew but Allie was a constant visitor along with Muffin, who seemed to appreciate my garden in spite of Dexter. The two animals struck up a mutual agreement to ignore each other. I finally unpacked my boxes and settled into my job at the local Vet’s office., a job I came to
Then one Saturday afternoon Jessica came flying over with Muffin clutched in her arms.
“Allie, Muffin is sick! He just acts awful; he’s coughing and choking. Can we take him to your office?”
“Where’s your Dad?”
“He had to go in to work. Mrs. Bale is looking after me and she doesn’t know what to do”
I didn’t either but Muffin appeared to be in genuine distress.
“I’ll call the emergency number, and we have to let Mrs. Bale know what we’re doing. You jump in the car with Muffin.
We returned home with a chastened Muffin. He had somehow swallowed a bunch of string which stuck in his system and make him choke. Luckily my boss was able to make him pass the string without opening him up. However, Muffin glared at us all the way home with an expression far from gratitude.
We pulled up in my driveway. Jessica took Muffin out of the car but stopped to check him out before going next door. To our surprise, Dexter came galumphing up and stopped over Muffin. Then he started licking the cat, wagging his tail. Muffin didn’t even try to escape; he appeared to be enjoying the attention. A shadow fell over our little tableau and we looked up to see Drew, shaking his head in
amazement over the feline-canine cease of hostilities.
“Mrs. Bale told me what happened,” he said. “We’re certainly lucky to have such a good neighbour.” He reached over to ruffle Dexter’s fur. “I think a thank you is in order.” He said to Jessica. “How about if we invite Allie over to a barbeque tonight?”
“Oh yes” Jessica jumped up excitedly. “And Dexter can come too, can’t he Daddy? He and Muffin are going to be good friends now.”
“There’s nothing like the start of a beautiful friendship,” Drew smiled at me over Jessica’s head, a lingering smile full of promise.
I agreed. And so did Muffin and Dexter.