Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Doggie In The Window
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-one years, my sixteen year old daughter, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, three dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info about me and contact links, check out the author bio tab up above.
Today I have a special one-shot for you, to help us celebrate our Tantalyzing Tryst`s Valentine`s Day Giveaway coming in February.
Doggie in the Window
So, here I am, closing up shop on Valentine`s Day. Actually, I volunteered for the five to eleven shift at Poochie Palace Pet Shop. Lord knows if I weren`t sitting here staring out at the shoppers hurrying past for last minute gifts I`d be home eating mint chocolate chip, watching Titanic for the twentieth time, and wondering when it would be my turn to find that someone special. So yeah, stuck in the mall on Valentine`s Day eve is much better than blubbering over Leo sinking into the cold, cold water.
I had drifted off mentally, elbows on counter, chin in hands, staring at the hurried masses. My ass was stiff from sitting on the wooden stool behind the counter. The pups had bunked down for the night for the most part. I glanced down at my watch.
“Great, three more hours,” I sighed, sliding from the stool next to the register. I padded over to check myself in the large heart-shaped mirror by the bird supplies. I didn`t look too bad for someone who was creeping up on thirty I thought, turning my head to the left then to the right. My brown hair was free of gray, my face wasn`t wrinkled, my teeth were straight, and I didn`t suffer from chronic halitosis or body odor. I was pleasant enough to look at, thanks to mom`s cat-like green eyes and dad`s Italian complexion. So why the hell was I working when every other woman I know is being romanced tonight?
“Love just isn`t in the cards for you Jean,” I frowned then walked to the front displays. Despite the canine moniker, our store carries kittens, birds, and fish as well as puppies. We were running a special that ended tonight when I closed up. Buy one kitten or puppy and get the starter kit free. I checked on the food and water for the four kittens in the left window. They were still filled and the litter box wasn`t too soiled. I`d scoop right before closing I decided. Then I made my way to the window display on the right. The foxy Pomeranian pup inside lifted his head when I opened the sliding door at the back of the display. He leapt to his tiny feet and pranced over. I smiled and cooed at the pup while I changed the bedding he had wet. The pup grew bold and attacked my hand with all the ferocity a dog weighing half a pound can possess. Laughing at the vicious thing I freed my finger and then shook the multi-colored rope toy at him. He latched onto it like a hyena.
“Oh look at you! Got all those wild wolf instincts flaring up, huh?” I giggled, shaking the rope back and forth. The Pom pup was snarling and growling, I was snorting and shaking. Suddenly someone knocked on the glass. I glanced up from the ginger Cujo and felt my heart skip not just a beat but about fifteen. The most gorgeous man I had ever seen was smiling at me with perfect white teeth. I dropped the rope and wiped the stupid grin off my face. Pretending acting like an ass was part of the job I closed the door and stepped out into the arch leading from the mall to the pet store. Mister Dream stepped inside. He easily topped out at six foot four or five, which made me feel like a Hobbit, at my demure five foot nothing. His hair dark hair was short but thick and wavy. He had eyes the same color as dark chocolate and a nicely trimmed goatee. His dark wool coat hung open, as if he had been too harried to bother buttoning against the cold. Snowflakes melted on wide shoulders and ebony hair.
“I didn`t mean to interrupt playtime,” he smiled down at me. I placed my hip to the wall to help stay upright since my knees were suddenly made of Play-Doh. “I`m looking for a puppy for a Valentine`s gift. Can you help me choose?”
His hands were shoved in his coat pockets so there was no way to check for a wedding band, but did it really matter? Obviously this tall, dark, hunk of manliness was here to purchase his love a puppy. I plastered a false smile on and led him to the pens of puppies. I explained about each breed and how big it would get. I informed him about shots and spay/neuter responsibility. I showed him our starter kit which would be free with his purchase. We discussed nutrition and exercise and housebreaking. He was easy to talk to once I knew he was not available. He laughed deeply and honestly, asked my thoughts on things and listened when I spoke.
“Well,” he said, making one last pass past the dogs behind safety glass, “I really like that one in the front window. They stay small, right?” he asked, turning from the puppies to look at the window pen.
“Yep, Pomeranian`s are a toy breed, so he shouldn`t weigh more than ten pounds or so when he`s full grown.”
“Good, I think she`ll like a lapdog more so than a big dog that could knock her down,” he said reaching for the ginger pup as I lifted him from his pen. No rings on the left hand. Hmmm, maybe he was engaged or dating someone seriously. It would have to be serious to buy them a dog. That`s a pretty big gift. “Does she have a name as lovely as yours, Jean?” he asked, cradling the wriggly pup to his chest. I blinked stupidly.
“Uhm, I call him Rexford T. Redhead, but your fiancée can call him whatever she chooses,” I walked quickly to the register, trying to shove the confusion away. Did he just flirt with me? I pinched myself on the forearm. It hurt like hell. I rummaged around under the register until I found the dog adoption paperwork booklet.
“Ah, so it`s a boy, that`s good to know,” he sauntered over, pup resting in one large hand. He took the pen I shakily handed him, then bent over the counter to fill out the required paperwork. I stared at how neatly his hair was trimmed on his neck. I inhaled his cologne. It was spicy and nautical. I sat down before I grew swoonish and made an ass of myself. And yes, I peeked at his form. His name fit him. Anthony. Yes, it fit him perfectly. I was wondering what it would be like to push my fingers through his hair when he looked up to catch me staring at him. He smiled. I blushed to the tips of my ears.
“I think mom is really going to like Rexford,” he stated, laying the pen across the papers he had just filled out.
“Mom, oh, yes, Mom. Yep, she`ll love him!” I said with far too much enthusiasm. Again he flashed perfect white squares at me. I spun around to gather up the leash, collar, dog food and water dishes for his new pup. I fiddled with packing the bag, hoping the pink would leave my cheeks. When I turned to face him, bag held up for him to take, he jerked and grinned sheepishly. He had been checking me out from behind!
“So, Jean, how do you feel about dinner?”
“I like it,” I said, concentrating on swiping his platinum Am Ex. He chuckled warmly. I fouled up the store numbers for verification.
“Yes, I do as well. Would you be willing to like it with me tomorrow night?” he asked. His credit card slid through my fingers. I bent to pick it up from the floor. He was clearly waiting for an answer when I came back up from the dark mysterious lands behind the counter.
“Tomorrow should be good,” I smiled, placing his card carefully into his open palm. “Are you sure your girlfriend won`t object?”
The man drew back as if I had slapped him with a herring. “If there were a girlfriend, wouldn`t I be buying Rexford for her instead of my mother? There is no girlfriend, or fiancée or wife.”
“Are you gay?” tumbled out. I slapped my hand over my mouth. His dark eyebrows jerked upward for a second before he burst out laughing.
“No, I`m not gay,” he chuckled softly, “I just never met the right woman. Damned pity I never thought to buy a dog for mom before. So, should I pick you up here or at home?”
“Home,” I said, already wondering what I would wear.
“Wonderful. Can I have your number, or address? Might make it easier to find you,” Tony teased, sliding Rex over to his other hand. The pup had drifted off while we were flirting.
“It`s on the back of your receipt,” I winked. He shook his head in appreciation then reached across the counter to take my hand and place a kiss to my knuckles.
“Beautiful and clever,” he purred, “Until tomorrow, Jean.” He gave me an elegant leg then exited with his sleeping pup tucked close to his chest. I looked at the clock. If I closed up now I could run upstairs and buy that sexy black dress I had been drooling over but had refused to buy on general principle. Hell, maybe I`d grab a new pair of shoes as well!
“I just love working on Valentine`s Day!” I told the critters as I cut the lights.