Dirty Squirrels and Hound Dogs Don't Play Well

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artymon I\/
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Dirty Squirrels and Hound Dogs Don't Play Well

Post by artymon I\/ » Thu 21st Nov 2019

Okay! So! This is sort of two...three almost...stories in one. They're a little incoherent, but it'll do! Feel free to leave suggestions/annotate any errors you notice!

EDIT:/

I meant to do a little explanation on the chronology of this one, it kinda should be semi self-explanatory. It's pre-FH / pre-Livy/Colin and pre-Roxy/Nathan. I had envisioned this as a high school story, but since the first part of the story involves them going to a vaguely implied adult club (not strip club adult club, just an adult type bar), it would probably make more sense as a mid/early college story.
Course, I wouldn't put it past Roxy to have falsified identifications for her and Livy and Nathan. But we're also shown that Nathan has a highly illogical dorm...so probably freshman college at earliest.
It's brain candy. Don't think about it too hard, mate.

~~

Clubs had never been Nathan’s scene. That said, they were rather akin to smoking: Nice enough in theory, but the reality of the scenario collided with his personality.
In theory, it sounded nice to be in a dark room with a few hundred other strangers dancing together, so long as the theory provided a pretty woman to dance with. The reality of it was that, yes, he was in a dark room with several hundred people, all of whom were dancing and shouting all in his face, his personal space shattered.
Truthfully, they had never exactly been Livy’s “thing” either. At least, not fully. She would claim to appreciate the artistry and effect of the establishment, from the light display to the stylings of the DJ on deck.
But Roxy had insisted, claiming it would be good for them, that they needed to relieve tensions before the major midterm tests that would determine their worthiness in human society, or so the professors seemed to be selling it.
Personally though, Nathan was convinced Roxanne just wanted an excuse to showcase her new outfit, a crimson skirt and black top made of some sort of shiny material that was too stretchy to be leather and too cloth-y to be latex. Around her neck was a black lace choker and a red stone on a thin gold chain. Naturally, none of this meant anything without an excessively high pair of heels for her to strut around in to properly elevate and display her tanned and toned legs.
Heads of both gender turned her way when she, Livy, and Nathan wandered into the Dirty Squirrel.
Even a few other genders turned her way.
She seemed pleased.
Within what felt like seconds the trio was lost to the crowd of the Dirty Squirrel.
Now, to be sure: the Dirty Squirrel was not the Raven.
While the Raven boasted a sophisticated class of ruffians, rapscallions, scofflaws, and scoundrels, the Dirty Squirrel made no allusions of any sort. The Dirty Squirrel was dirty, simple as that. As for the Squirrel…well…who knew. The proprietor probably just got a really good deal on the neon squirrel sign that hung over the bar.
And by “good deal,” we can infer it was found in a dumpster.
Livy bumped into one of their professors, the hook guy she wouldn’t shut up about and the pair hit it off, talking about one thing or another – most likely pirates from the way Livy was glancing at his hook and running her hand over it.
Feeling lame, Nathan offered to procure drinks and Roxy made a vague affirmation and briskly zoomed towards the dance floor.
How she managed with those heels was beyond him. Maybe the heels gave her +10 Dexterity.
In a daze, he attempted to walk up to the bar and quickly discovered it was better defended than Fort Knox inside a Chinese Terracotta Army. An actual human moat seemed to float around the bar as far as the eye could see in the dim glow of the mood lightning.
Figuring it can’t run that far, Nathan followed along the bar’s length, twisting and turning and ducking from the occasional dance jab. The damn thing seemed to just go on with no point of entry, perhaps if he could zigzag his way into the crowd…
Fruitlessly, he weaved and wove and dove and strove, smacked a stove, and slid from a skirmish…until, to his astonishment, he discovered he had made it! He was at the bar!
At that juncture of life, Nathan felt as accomplished as all those adventurous souls who climbed the treacherous trail of Mount Everest. To complete the analogy, like Mount Everest, there wasn’t nearly enough time to appreciate his questionable accomplishment before he was instantly being jostled and pushed back.
Securing his spot by anchoring an elbow on the peeling wood laminate surface, Nathan enacted the next phase of obtaining a drink…namely getting the bartender’s attention. There were two that Nathan spied. He had a feeling Marion would balk at their pour technique and efficiency dispersal. He attempted to catch an eye, flashed a corner of a green bill, and attempted to call them.
They were in their own world, passing and pouring, moving from customer to customer with no apparent order. Chaos was their only consultant.
Someone big popped up next to Nathan, like an Apparating wizard. Vaguely, Nathan registered the giant in his peripheral vision. Easily a head or two taller and twice as wide. The sleeve of a polo shirt covered just the tip of a tattoo that was too dark for Nathan to make out.
Not that he was exactly examining the dude. But between being squashed between a couple making out and this giant, Nathan was pressed in a bit.
The giant made a motion, hitting into Nathan.
Seemingly noticing Nathan for the first time, he made a surprised look. Something about it had a rehearsed look to it. Perhaps the guy had recently escaped prison and was still trying to remember how to make appropriate faces.
“Sorry,” he shouted over the din of DJs and distant chatterings.
“S’all good,” Nathan assured with a shout back.
Noticing the cash in his hand and connecting it with the lack of beverage, the giant seemed to brighten.
“You want a drink?” he enthusiastically inquired.
Nathan nodded.
“Yeah, I was trying, but they seem busy – ”
“Here, let me – ”
Raising a meaty arm laden with muscle, the guy tried in vain to acquire either alcohol attendant’s attention.
Extending the arm allowed Nathan to see the tattoo clearly. Not a strip of barbed wire or a teardrop. Looked like…a horse? No, a unicorn. No mistaking that distinctive horn. It appeared to be galloping majestically as a rainbow spewed from its hindquarters, marking its trail.
Failing to capture either bartender’s notice, the giant retracted his arm and shook his head.
Personally, Nathan was over it.
Again, drinks were one of those things that sounded good in theory…but the practicality was there you were in an already dark and vaguely uncomfortable place with people pressing up on you, causing guys and girls to slosh their drinks on accident as the music jived and dived bodies in their path. No wonder the damn floor was so sticky.
Least….hopefully the sticky wetness tugging at the soles of his shoes was only from spilled drinks.
Nathan shrugged.
“Eh, don’t worry about it…” he began.
The giant with the unicorn tattoo cut him off with a shake of his massive head.
“No, no, here, tell you what – ”
Then, to Nathan’s disbelief, the giant blatantly reached behind the bar while the guy and girl working were looking the other way.
Plucking a pair of mugs from a rack, the giant efficiently snuck them under a tap and commenced filling.
“Here,” the giant passed a mug off to Nathan.
“Thanks,” he blankly said, accepting the heavy glass mug, wondering if it was worth trying to obtain a glass of wine for Roxanne.
Course…the giant had made it look so easy….surely they had to keep a bottle of wine close at hand…
At the opposite end of the club, the DJ shouted something into a microphone and the crowd went wild, cheering and braying nonsensically.
About forty four Plancks later, the music tempo picked up its pace and somehow the volume amplified, pounding throughout the entire bar.
Nathan wouldn’t have been surprised if passerby from the outside could witness the building literally hopping in place.
The giant shouted something, but any hope of hearing anything was lost. An active shooter could saunter in and start blasting a few holes in people and there’d be no way to know until bodies dropped.
Dark thought, bro.
Fine. It was so dark and crowded and noisy, no one would notice if an alien docked his or her ship atop the roof and abducted a few dozen clubbers for experimentations.
The giant shouted again and Nathan tried to discern from his expression what he might be on about.
The dude was smiling and seemed to be having a good time.
If only Roxanne were here, she’d be able to tell precisely what this guy was thinking about having for lunch tomorrow, even if the giant didn’t know it yet.
Taking his chances to wing it, Nathan just nodded his head, making an amicable smile.
Next thing Nathan knew, the giant had slid an arm around him, fingers dropping low, dangerously close to being inappropriately so.
The rainbow unicorn made sense now.
“Uh…”
Before he could object, the giant pulled him in closer, encroaching on their already tight quarters. The giant’s grip was firm, like a vice, and terror swept Nathan as he imagined being abducted, murdered, and tossed in the ocean. Possibly worse.
Possibly worse? What, is he going to expel me from wizard school, Hermione?
Okay, just stay cool, wait for an opening, then get the heck outta there.
What’s a good excuse women used to ditch?
Powdering the nose? Wasn’t that just code for cocaine?
Well, it was worth a shot, wasn’t it?
Tapping the dude, Nathan made a vague motion to where he thought the bathrooms were.
“I’ve uh, gotta go use…”
The giant lit up like a Christmas tree, brightly nodding.
“Yeah, great idea!”
Evidently, they were not on the same wavelength.
The giant pulled Nathan away from the bar and expertly navigated out of the human thicket of flesh.
Hm. Must be nice being seven feet tall and three hundred pounds of muscle. People just part like the Red Sea for you.
Wildly, Nathan snapped his head back and forth, praying to see one of the girls, someone, anyone who could help him get out of this. Where were the bouncers? See, Mattias would have shut this down in an instant. Then again….knowing the sly Swede…he might let it go on, just to torture Nathan.
C’mon, better think of something. The giant’s grip was too strong for him to break, short of smashing the heavy glass mug on the side of his head and murdering the dude.
Unable to keep up with the giant’s stride, Nathan tripped over an uneven section of flooring and he found he was being dragged along like a rag doll.
Quickly, Nathan rationalized he had to get his footing back else the guy would just end up slinging him over his shoulder to carry him and Nathan’s window of escape would be gone.
Because clearly no one seemed to notice he was in peril.
The doors to the bathrooms were in sight. A line of people trailed from each door. Evidently, the bathrooms were gender neutral or the male and females coupled together in varying stages of PDAs were indifferent to the lavatories’ pre-designated gender assignments.
Making a beeline for the door decorated with a male figure, Nathan was able to discern someone had graffiti’d a large phallus dangling between the male figure. On the female, another crude phallus was Sharpied near her improvised mouth with faint lines drawn to make vague connotations the female was in the process of performing fellatio.
The giant placed a large palm on the door, the dim light of the bathroom spilling onto the dark dance floor like a spotlight in Stalag Luft III.
Nathan felt his heart freeze up. Shite, shite, shite, where the hell was Livy when you needed her to be the big bad wolf-b i t c h? Probably playing hide the hook with her pirate professor.
“Uh, y’know, I’m good, really, I – ”
If he heard, the giant made no indication.
The door opened and the giant crossed a foot over the threshold.
A hand shot out, gripping Nathan’s opposite arm. This one was smaller, softer.
He risked a look and was relieved to see Roxanne.
The giant stumbled at the sudden resistance and turned to see what was going on.
“Excuse me, this one’s mine,” she sharply informed the giant. “You can have what’s left when I'm done with him, dear.”
Then with her opposite hand, she placed just the fingertips on the giant’s massive chest and pushed.
Now, on an average day, Nathan would have bet even money that in a one on one, mano-a-mano, there was no way a tiny French girl who barely weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet could even nudge a three hundred pound mass of muscle.
Here, the giant flew backwards as though the hammer of Thor had smashed against him.
The door swung shut and Roxy wrenched Nathan back.
“C’mon, through here!”
She indicated the female’s bathroom.
“Um...Roxanne – ?”
He didn’t get a chance to finish his objection as she dragged him through the women’s room. There wasn’t much difference between the two bathrooms, aside from a lack of urinals and a nice vase of flowers that had been placed near the sinks for ambiance.
It tied the room together rather nicely.
Not that Nathan had time to appreciate the lavatory décor as Roxy escorted him along.
Was he trading one devil for another?
…well, yeah.
But he knew this devil better than the other and opted to stick with her.
“Back here.”
Roxy led him down the line of stalls (was that fresh paint? Hmph, the only time the males’ got a fresh coat on their stalls was when some drunken slob urinated on them...even then, it wasn't much) and stopped in front of the last one where a lass with short, near-white blonde hair was standing in front of it, filing her nails.
She leant the impression of guarding it.
Suspiciously, she eyed Nathan; even with his massive mop popped down, he clearly stuck out as being a non-female.
Then the chick turned her glare to Roxanne, whose bubbly rapport was met with a stoic silence in the face of this steely woman. Her hair stood in spikes and black lipstick struck across her lips as though she kissed a dragon.
A pair of black, thin wire glasses adjourned her eyes.
“Mercedes darling, how are you?”
“What’s he doing here?” Mercedes demanded, never once raising a syllable. Her voice found a way to carry and impregnate itself in all ears as if the very words carried their own life force.
Roxanne clapped a hand on Nathan’s shoulder.
“Oh, him?” As though she had just discovered he was there. “He needs a fast exit from a Stage Five clinger.”
Narrowing her eyes, Mercedes seemed to X-Ray Nathan, then glanced back out the door they had just departed.
“Virgin?”
“Probably not. Can’t be sure.”
Mercedes nodded once.
“Proceed.”
Stepping aside, Mercedes opened the stall door and Nathan’s mouth dropped in astonishment.
Where a toilet normally sat, the entire back wall was missing and a shallow passage loomed before the pair, alit with fairy lights and miniature lanterns connected via wires. Boards of wood and support struts held the structure in place, along the floor were mismatched tiles of all colors and styles: periwinkle blue here, pimpernel flowers there, cinnamon brown, leprechaun green, and so on.
Turning to Roxanne, Nathan was unable to shelf his dumbfounded expression.
“What in the actual hell is this?” he politely inquired, certain Mercedes would destroy him if she sensed Roxanne was in danger.
“Oh I know, it’s a bit droll,” Roxy acknowledged, tugging him along. “We’re going to paint it sometime this quarter…pending if Madeleine can acquire that turquoise…. “
Nathan shook his head.
“No, like….does this lead to, like, the Bat-Cave? Or the Roxy-Cave? I’m just saying, if this leads to Nazi Germany, I’m bailing.”
Roxy rolled her eyes.
“Mm, you seemed like you were enjoying yourself back there. But no, dear, this is an escape tunnel for girls in a bad spot. Sometimes a guy tries getting too frisky, so we shield her and take her here and she gets away harmlessly.”
“Gee, thanks, so I’m one of the girls?” he wryly observed.
Oui. You should consider yourself honoured,” she informed Nathan. Her eyes travel along his curly locks. “Although, it’s not that much of a stretch with that hair,” she teased. “No wonder that guy was trying to hit on you.”
Nathan shuddered.
“Oh whatever….tell me, you need oxygen with those heels?”
“Depends, are you going to give it to me?” she challenged in a manner that took his own breath away.
The passage grew narrower and Roxanne took lead, halting in front of a rectangular shape slightly smaller than a standard door.
Bending just slightly, she worked on a mechanism of some fashion that Nathan couldn’t make out in the dim light. A component clicked into place and eighty eight Plancks later, a dark patch of the outside beckoned as the door swung out.
Poking her head out, the French lass checked both ways, then motioned Nathan to follow.
Stepping outside, he discovered they were on the club’s dock.
The Dirty Squirrel was situated back against a river. The river was wide enough to accommodate most vessels and naturally Dirty Squirrel’s wily proprietor sought to cash in on the opportunity to present themselves as ‘waterfront’ property.
Although they neglected to mention the gigantic carnival across with its intrusive lights that obnoxiously blared across.
The natural shine of the stars was all but obscured and the whimsical rolling of the water was drowned by the generic wash of carnie music.
Actually, it was sort of charming.
And it didn’t seem to stop patrons of the bar from coming out to enjoy the view…and not just the river or carnival. A few couples were struck by the moon and the whirl-n-hurl’s radiance and enraptured by each other. A tall dark male with pale skin and a short, dark haired female were entangled together, profusely making out.
Turning back, he observed Roxanne closing the passage with a door cleverly concealed as a guilty pop machine. Its predominant crime being that it claimed to be out of order.
Still utterly fascinated, he was unable to let the topic drop.
“So you’re telling me, you and some chicks just decided to build an escape tunnel?”
“Oh darling, please, this is the Dirty Squirrel,” she said, waving off his legitimate question as though it were the silliest thing imaginable, “this tunnel has been here for years; we just go through and update or modify it as necessary. Also, do we look like chickens? Non? Exactly, we are not chicks.”
Nathan cocked an eyebrow.
“And what, pray tell, are you?”
Roxanne made a sultry smirk.
“We’re babes.”
Like the movie? he was about to chide, then on realizing his proximity to a body of water where his corpse could easily be disposed of, he thought the better of it.
“Y’know, the Raven doesn’t have any secret rape-escape tunnels. Just sayin’.”
Roxy rolls her eyes.
“As far as you know…besides, the Raven has Marion.”
Nathan considered this with a nod.
“True.”
Behind him, a rollarcoaster shrieked past, temporarily casting everything in its wake in a multicolored streak of light, as if an acid-tripping rainbow vomited.
Roxanne radiated in the rollickin’ rage of light, her hair shimmered like a wave and eyes shined bright – had they always been that color? Nathan wondered.
The regurgitating rainbow seemed to accent her eyes, deepening the outermost regions while lightening along the inside. The effect made Nathan think of blue flames from an old gas burner stove.
It warmed him.
Catching her eyes, he felt a hunger, akin to crafting the perfect McDean from scratch, watching a half pound of raw ground beef brown on a grill, tan a pair of buns, listen to the egg and bacon sizzle a symphony together on a vast griddle.
His mouth watered.
Stranger still, he wasn’t entirely certain it was his own hunger.
Still, he had an inkling how to sate it…
Were they not in such proximity with so many other entangled couples, he may have been tempted to give in. But it felt weird, having people around. What if he went to…kiss her (oh gods, there it was, he wanted to kiss her!) but she rejected him and proceeded to humiliate him in front of everyone present? Worse still, what if he was inadvertently humiliating her by not kissing her?
Oh Aphrodite, where is your sage advice when needed?
The rollercoaster passed, breaking the microsecond connection, leaving only a fleeting impression of the thoughts that had rocket launched through his head.
“Well…can we leave now?” he awkwardly inquired.
Perhaps the environment was clouding his judgment, injecting influences or ideas that were best left discouraged.
After all…he couldn’t imagine Livy being too pleased if she were to discover he and Roxanne…well, then again, what was it to her anyway?
There he was, reading in too deep again.
“Aw, we just got here!” Roxanne objected, ignorant of his internal idiosyncratic insecurities. A faint pout peppered her lips.
“Really?” Nathan crinkled his forehead. “Feels like we've been here for years.”
Making an exasperated show of rolling her eyes, she accedes, kicking off from the wall. “Oh fine, old maid, guess it’s past your bedtime...we can go...” she paused, letting him hang off the edge of the cliff just long enough for him to be aware there was a caveat, “…if you walk me home.”
Instantly, he senses a trap, and rightfully so.
“....erm.....okay?”
Suddenly, she was all perky smiles.
“Wonderful,” she purred, sticking an arm out to be escorted.
No sooner has he looped his arm through hers when he cocks his head, suddenly remembering there had been a third member in their merry band…
“Uh…So what do we do about Livy? Should we go back in or…?”
Eyeing an area over his opposite shoulder, a mischievous smirk sprouts on the sultry courtesan.
“Oh I think she’ll be just fine, Natey.”
Obtuse as an ox orchestrating an odd opium offering on an old otter’s obelisk, Nathan frowned.
“Huh? Whaddya…” Craning his head to the right, all he can is the carnival and the couple making out…
He’s about to turn back when a glint of silver catches his eye.
Hang on, is that guy wearing a hook? Examining Hookman’s partner, his eyes shoot open on realizing the couple locking lips is none other than Livy and the pirate professor.
“Wait, that’s…”
“Mhm…”
“He’s…”
“Uhhuh.”
Nathan turned to Roxy, ashen faced.
“Should we stop this?”
“Not on your life.”
He stood, not frozen, but unable to so much as blink as he stood rooted there, jaw slackened, purely dumbfounded.
Slowly, he began to recover, snapping himself out with a pair of bleary blinks.
“We ought to keep an eye on them,” he asserted. “We can’t just let her be swept off by this guy, what if he leads her into some abandoned woods and mutilates her?”
The sultry smirk took on a sassily sardonic edge and she shook her head.
“No, Nathaniel, I think you were right, it’s time we were headed out.”
Firmly, Roxanne placed a hand on his shoulder, steering him towards the opposite end of the dock that led out to the street.
“But…!”
He glanced back, unsure how to take this information in. Several obscure and incoherent thoughts crossed through.
Livy and the Hook Guy…?
The further Roxy steered him off, the easier it seemed to think about it, to put it in perspective, so to speak.
Well damn.
Good for her, he supposed.
Unless Captain Hook turns out to be a total jerk.
They carefully turn the corner, checking for any unsavory individuals and cross under a streetlamp.
“Ugh….” Nathan shudders.
“What?” Roxanne inquired.
“Nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “If this doesn’t end up going sideways for her, you do realize we’re going to be subjected to constantly hearing about him.”
“Oh putain, give it a rest, just be happy for her. Isn’t free love part of the hippy ideals?” she teased, tugging on a lock of hair.

Thus it came to be that Roxanne and Nathan were walking back from the Dirty Squirrel, and at the former’s insistence, they found themselves toddling along the boardwalk.
A buzzy jump of pleasant intoxication seemed to add a sepia tone glow over everything.
Except the stars and sky.
The sky was an ink black with only the faintest suggestions of a deep indigo.
Once, the boardwalk had stretched on for ten miles, offering any traveler brazen enough to make the full trek a view of the commercial, tourist end, the wealthy end, and a few barren patches in between.
It was along the barren patch Roxy and Nathan found themselves wandering down now.
From storms, earthquakes, other natural disasters, and vandals, bits and bobs of the boardwalk now found itself in varying dilapidated states.
As it happened, our pioneering pair had plundered into one of the areas where a dead end drop off ominously greeted them. A few half-hearted two-by-fours marks the current segment’s end.
“Some shortcut,” Nathan obtusely snorted. “Now we’ll have to go back around and loop back through – ”
“Mm, we could…or we could just go on the beach and follow it around.”
Beneath the radiant moon, a devious disposition eluded Nathan’s notice.
“Eh, what the hell, not like I’ve got classes tomorrow…”
“Excellent!” Roxy purred, gripping Nathan’s hand in a merry Wizard of Oz fashion. They turned back to descend the stairs. “Plus we can watch the sea turtles hatch.”
Feeling the aged wood creak beneath their footfalls, Nathan cocked his head, certain his French friend was fabricating a farce, or having a lark at his expense.
“Why on earth would you want to watch sea turtles at night? There’s absolutely no way we’re gonna see them.”
The fact they’d fair better chances of running into a beach bum or jellyfish or stubbing their toe on the jellyfish’s “insulin” syringe was best left unmentioned.
Patiently, Roxy sighed, the merry grip dissolving as she opted to close the gap between their footfalls on the sandy beach.
“Actually, I have a confession: We’re not here to see turtles, dear.”
Painfully oblivious was Nathan’s expected scenario response. Livy had warned her he could be quite dense at times. Especially in manners of recognizing certain social cues.
Yet, on the contrary, he had the strong notion of why she had brought him out here. Not Livy and him or some of the other girls, Trisha, Nikki, or Karen, just him.
He was an idiot and he accepted his idiocy as being a charming aspect to his simplicity.
But if were being honest, he’d suspected for a long while that Roxy had had a thing for him. Or was he being overly optimistic? Attaching meaning behind where they was nothing? Sure, she and he seemed to enjoy quite a flirtationship…but then, that was partly just her natural bubbliness. Wasn’t it?
These thoughts zip by with such lightning speed, he barely can process them in the small span of silence between her dialogue and his.
“So then…what’re we doing out here?” he inquired, opting to drop a snarky postulation pertaining to either her murdering him or him helping her hide a body or arrange a drug drop.
The salty ocean was cool on their feet, sending tiny icicles, akin to sparks, flicking up through them. Tingles rippled across.
Away from the city and the glow of its irksome sodium streetlamps, it was nearly pitch black on the beach, with only the light of the stars and moon casting a midnight spell over everything they touched.
Angling his head at Roxy, she was little more than an outline.
Thoughtfully, her pace slowed and Nathan matched her until they both stood on the water’s edge, waves darting forward, playfully threatening to drench them.
It made him think of an Elvis song.
On the edge of reality, she stands there tormenting me, the girl with the nameless name…
Or something like that.
“This,” Roxy answered, closing the gap between them, her arms encircling around him. Their eyes met, hardly more than a twinkle in the sparse light of the silent beach. Then their eyes closed and both began to lean forward…
Time stopped. Nathan’s heart forgot to beat. The waves held themselves in check, mid-curl. The entirety of reality was centered on tasting the sweet brine of Roxy’s lips. As far as he was concerned, it was the only goal worth attaining.
Was this really happening? Many a night had been invested in pondering the mystery of what it would be like to kiss Roxy. To hold her close and run a hand up through her hair…
He contemplated pinching himself to be sure he wasn’t dreaming or hallucinating; however, it would seem destiny decided to deliver a pinch of its own accord as it were.
Just before their lips could lock, a feral, beastly sound filled the empty air and the rapid crunch of sand heralded the oncoming onslaught of some unseen entity. Something big by the sound of it.
There was meager time for either to react in any fashion beyond cocking their heads, as if the acute angle could help identify their assailant.
Nathan vaguely had started to stretch a hand with the intention of pulling Roxanne behind him when a large form tackled him to the sand.
Hot breath assaulted his nostrils and long tendrils tickled his face. A million thoughts floated across Nathan’s head before he could even fully develop either.
A mad mugger making to take money for a muffin. A junkie Jew jonesing for a dosing of illicit drugs. A wicked werewolf hungry for its next meal.
Of the three, the latter seemed most likely.
A wet nose pressed down against his face, followed by a wet snake dragging across his lips.
Well. So much for that kiss.
Hot, sticky breath fell on Nathan’s face. His nostrils were assaulted with a rough odor that suggested seafood. Paws the size of dinner plates pressed against his chest, attached nails dug, threatening to tear his shirt.
Another round of tonguing doused his face in saliva.
Then as quick as it had happened, the great beast bolted off, as though it had never been.
Executing a swift roll on the slippery sand, Nathan scanned for the vicious animal. What if it tried attacking Roxy –?
In the light of the moon’s kiss, Nathan could make out her slinky figure and beside her, a bearish blob.
She appeared to be kneeling next to it, petting it.
“Good god, save yourself before it eats you,” Nathan advised, kicking up a plume of sand as he jumped to his feet. Cautiously, he approached.
“Oh, he won’t do that, will you?” Roxy cooed, scratching the beast’s ears in a manner that evidently pleased it.
“Where’d he come from?” Nathan wondered, his eyes slowly taking in more details of his assailant’s appearance. Soft, shaggy fur coated the creature. The sheer size seemed to overwhelm the senses. The beast easily came up to Roxanne’s midriff; any bigger, she might as well saddle up and ride him.
Roxy gave a careless shrug, unconcerned of his origins, content to pamper and pet the animal.
“Does he have a collar?” Nathan wondered, instinctively stretching his dominant left hand forward…
Instantly, a low, guttural growl emanated that suggested any further action would be ill-advised. Later, Roxy recounted the entire animal had seized up with tension.
Quickly, Nathan retracted his hand. They already had their quota of hook-handed characters in this pageant, he decided.
“Ooookay, that’s cool. You do you, brah.”
Squatting, Roxy stroked and rubbed the beast’s pointed ears. She migrated a hand to a spot under its jaw and neck that it evidently loved to have petted. It arched its head up, allowing both to silently answer Nathan’s question: No collar.
“We should take him back, get him cleaned up,” Roxy suggested.
“What?! He probably belongs to someone…”
“No collar,” she reminded. “We can put posters out tomorrow.”
“His owners are probably already around somewhere.”
Wryly, Roxy turned her head to both sides of the beach, illustrating their solitude.
Not even crickets chirped.
“We can’t just leave him here on the beach, he could catch a cold.”
Eyeing the fur coat, Nathan arched an eyebrow.
“He looks pretty warm to me.”
Stroking along the beast’s back, Roxy’s fingers disappeared inside the thick coat.
“His fur is so soft…you should feel it!”
The creature and Nathan met eyes. He felt certain they both had a mutual agreement that that would not be happening.
“I’ll take your word for it.”
Something happened to this guy, Nathan concluded. Or girl. But if Roxy says he’s a boy, he’s a boy. Clearly had a bad experience somewhere down the line…
Nathan suspected Roxanne was right: the beast might not have anywhere else to go.
“But…where would we keep him?” Nathan wondered, knowing he would regret bringing it back up. “Campus won’t let us have any pets…remember that time George tried smuggling in a goldfish and Superintendent Lin ate it?”
Roxy was unperturbed.
“That’s just a story,” she scoffed, waving it away. “Anyway…if he’s quiet, we could get away with it for a night….and then take him into a shelter in the morning.”
Recalling the parable of giving a mouse a cookie, Nathan suspected this would have similar results…
He sighed with somewhat exaggerated resignation.
“Alright, if you insist. You two have fun tonight.”
Roxanne cocked her head.
“What do you mean? He’s staying with you.”
Me?” A stricken note of disbelief caused his eyebrows to dubiously shoot up and contort his face. “No way, he’s gonna eat me!”
Roxy rolled her eyes.
“You wish. I can’t keep him at my dorm; you know what gossips Karen and Imelda are.”
It was true. The few times he had hung out in her dorm, he had noticed painfully obvious rustling from her neighbor’s windows and a marked ‘watched’ feeling snaked through him.
What they were hoping to see was beyond him.
“Okay, fine…but we’ve got to keep it lowkey.”
“Oh darn, guess that means I ought to cancel the warming party I was planning for him.”
The beast watched the exchange between Roxy and Nathan, as if watching a match.
Their walking brought them back in the harshly bright city lights, comparatively harsh in contrast to the dark and intimate embrace of the ocean and its pitch celestial ceiling.
At first, our bipedal dyad alternatively took turns peeking back to insure their four legged cohort hadn’t in fact wandered off, but he kept a brisk trot, a spring in his step.
He wandered over to the odd alley entrance every now and again, giving a daunting sniff, then plodded off, catching up to his new mates. Here and there, he came across a sign or a trash can, or lamppost he deemed worthy of marking as his own.
Nathan smirked at this.
“Gotta commend him, that looks rather liberating.”
Roxy turned in time to witness a display.
“What, urinating on public property? Perhaps you’d find it enthralling to wear leash and collar, oui?”
Affronted, Nathan dropped his jaw.
“He isn’t!” he pointed out, motioning at the beast.
“That’s because he is civilized,” Roxanne claimed.
The words had no sooner left her mouth when the skies above, so clear on the beach only minutes ago, let loose a torrent of rain. Any further conversation was drowned as the trio made a mad dash for Nathan’s dorm, a block away.
“Here, save yourself!” he ordered Roxy, handing her his keys.
She and the beast loped across the grounds (Roxanne somehow artfully dashing atop a few strategically placed flat stones, while the latter splashed and got mud over his paws).
At the entry door, she fumbled with his keys, sure she had selected the right one, only it wasn’t turning.
Eight Plancks later, Nathan raced up and pityingly relieved the keys, effortlessly flicking the lock open.
“Your key is defective,” Roxy spat, water dripping from her.
He grinned.
“Is it a defective key…or a defective user?” he retorted.
Inside, he was able to take a moment to fully appreciate just how wet they had gotten. Roxanne’s pristine attire and hair was soaked and bits of hair was skewed this way and that. Subtle inks of makeup had run, not that Nathan could tell, she somehow made the ‘bedraggled’ look work for her.
Sparing no restraint, their newfound beast companion vigorously shook himself, spraying flecks of water along the hall.
“Omigosh, no, not here – ptah,” Nathan attempted to stave off the beast’s shaking.
“Better out here than in your room,” Roxy pointed out, brushing her fingers through her hair, lightly wringing a few drops.
“Eh, I guess so,” he admonished, leading the way into his meager sanctuary.
Inside, he flicked a light on and quickly set to work tidying stray bits of clothing that had missed a visit to the hamper as well as random books and notepads that were strewn about, like scientists making note of the strange land they were in.
“Pardon the mess…I wasn’t expecting anyone…”
“Mm, naturally.”
If the French lass were disturbed by what she saw, she stoically remained silent, choosing to trawl through his paraphernalia.
Along the wall, a few clocks ticked and tocked, disdainful of this strange woman and beast’s invasion. A Felix Kit-Kat Klock swung his eyes back and forth, nearly narrowed on the latter.
“Got anything to drink?” Roxy asked, an odd brightness, like a skip in her step, suggested she would be unhappy if the answer were in the negative.
“Uh…I think I have some rum somewhere…Livy was over – ages ago – and we did this Pirate’s Blood drink thing…”
Roxy made a face.
“You Americans…” she sighed, shaking her head, “You know it’s not all about cheap liquor and easy thrills…well…unless you’re me,” she amended, “But that’s different – ”
“Is it?” Nathan sardonically inquired.
“Shut up, anyway, you ought to keep a stock of wine handy. Even if you don’t drink it, it implies you know about wine. And knowledge is sexy.”
Nathan smirked.
Past his mini-kitchenette, Roxanne made for a cheap wood dresser, at the top of which sat a small flat screen.
“Well, why don’t you be a dear and fix me something,” she requested.
“Um…alright, like what?” Instantly he was on a frenzy to find something hospitable. Bacchus backpacking in Budapest! What’d he have that could served? A few cans of pop, a stale box of fries in the fridge, half a cup’s worth of piña colada…
Ignorant of his frantic antics, Roxanne pulled open a drawer, sifting through gym shorts and t-shirts…
“Oh I don’t mind; I just need an excuse for you to turn your back for about thirty seconds while I change.”
Finally settling down, he tore his gaze from his sparse kitchen to see the French lass pilfering through his belongings.
“Hey! What’re you – ”
“Just borrowing a few things, don’t worry…unless you’d prefer to keep me soaking wet,” she challenged in a tone that implied she might not mind staying wet for him.
“No, of course not – or wait, is that a trick question? – I mean, yeah, go ahead, help yourself.”
Taking delight in his flustered range, Roxy purred.
Merci. Now…”
Raising her finger, Roxanne made a twirling motion, indicating for Nathan to turn around. He complied, distracting himself with cleaning the kitchen area.
Neatly folding her wet clothes, Roxy set them in the tiny bathroom.
Pulling a shirt on, Roxanne spied an interesting object above his bed.
“Is that yours?” she asked, eyeing a brown bullwhip.
Proudly, he grinned.
“Yup, authentic kangaroo leather, made in Australia by indigenous tribes. Well, okay, I made that last bit up. But it’s real. And mine.”
A hungry glint festered in her eyes, glancing from the whip to him.
“You ever use it?”
Utterly oblivious as to what dark avenue she might be heading down, Nathan nods and plods on, eager to enchant her with his dorky knowledge.
“A few times, it makes a wicked crack.”
Roxanne closed her eyes, sighing.
“Mm, I’ll bet it does.”
Reaching a hand up, she plucked it off the wall and sat on the bed, examining it.
Nathan and the beast stole looks at each. The bipedal was pleased to note a similarly confused stature in the fur laden eyes of his four legged compadre.
Nathan shrugged.
As if waking from a refreshing nap, Roxy blinked and looked around, wrinkling her nose at the sight of errant clothing scattered about. She placed the bullwhip next to her and rummaged around in her purse, withdrawing a small glass bottle vaguely shaped like a clover and made a few spritzes around her general vicinity.
The overwhelming scent made both man and beast gag, stepping back.
“Good God, if you’re trying to murder us, there’s simpler ways,” Nathan scolded, bunching up part of a hoodie and breathing through it.
“What are you talking about?” Roxanne sharply demanded, a French fierceness finessing her font. “This is Lolita Lempicka.” Then, at his and the creature’s hopelessly blank expressions, “The expense stuff.”
Nathan cocked an eyebrow, taking lead from the beast.
He doesn’t seem to think so,” he noted.
Their newfound friend had backed up, close to the door, desperately looking around.
Inside, it was easier to get a better look at him. He was a big guy, easily coming up to around Nathan’s waist, though it was hard to tell with all the fur. Long hairs, mostly matted from being caught in the rain storm, and possibly other misadventures prior to their run in on the beach.
Pointed ears poked up, keenly twitching and focusing attentions. Bright blue eyes followed along as well, keeping a running tab of notes.
His jaw was split in a perpetual grin as he panted, sharp daggers of teeth winking just within, as though challenging people of poor judgment to a deadly game.
“He’s just had a long night, haven’t you, cherie?” Roxy cooed, patting the area next to her on Nathan’s bed.
Trepidatiously, the beast took a paw forward, glancing at Nathan, then Roxy. We’ll leave you to guess who objected.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whaddya think you’re do – ”
The beast had already bounded forward and hopped onto Nathan’s bed with a grace that seemed alien to what its size would suggest.
“There you are,” Roxy gushed, offering a hand for it to sniff, as though seeking permission. On receiving the seal of approval, she gladly stroked her hands through the beast’s shaggy coat, nuzzling the space atop his head between his ears, then drew him in for a snug hug.
“Mm, you’re a little rough around the collar, but that’s nothing a trip to Beckett and Bush’s wouldn’t solve, would it, cherie?”
The beast and Nathan met eyes and the latter swore the former had a smug look on its face.
Well sure, who wouldn’t be smugly satisfied with having a gorgeous girl fawning over them?
Not that his understanding would translate to acceptance.
“Oi, oi, whaddya think you’re doing with him on my bed?” he demanded, aware how odd that would sound of context.
Roxy rolled eyes, unimpressed by his bravado.
“Oh please, I’m sure there’re worse things stained on your sheets.”
That sounded bad under any context.
He stood there a moment too long, attempting to scrounge up a suitable retort.
Come on, what would a suave and debonair dude say?
Evidently, their beastly companion knew just how to respond: Turning to the window and unleashing a few low chuffs.
A crack of lightning answered the chuff, prompting the brazen beast to bark back. It was only a single bark, though its deafening power filled the room the same as if a hundred smaller dogs yipped at once.
“Don’t like storms, do you, sweetie?” Roxanne asked, stroking the matted, mangy fur.
“It’s okay, dude, Thor’s just out there ganking Frost Giants,” Nathan informed the creature, walking to the edge of his bed, then gingerly sitting on the small corner that was left.
The beast stiffened, wary of Nathan, but was reassured by Roxanne’s presence.
The humans noted his behavior, meeting eyes. The French female raised a questioning eyebrow.
You run a dog fighting ring in another life or what?
The Murican male returned an uncertain shrug.
Dunno…maybe he just doesn’t like Americans.
Roxy smirked, amused.
Can’t say I blame him.
Not a single word was spoken, but both knew exactly what the other was thinking. It was as though the words or feelings were instantly being beamed into the other’s head the moment they formed.
It was eerie….yet strangely comforting.
All the same, Nathan broke the bond by speaking aloud.
“So…do you want to watch a movie or something…?”
Normally, Roxanne would infer the addendum of ‘or something’ as relating to sexual practices – depending on how well she may have desired to engage in mating customs with the individual.
Alternatively, such a proposition could just as easily result in her potential prospect or victim arising the next morrow sore, wearing a pair of overalls in the middle of the desert.
So why neither extreme emerged from her was a mystery…even to the French lass.
“Depends, what do you have, cherie?”
Stretching over the pair, Nathan snagged his laptop and powered it on, opening his library.
“Uh…let’s see, Raiders, Back to the Future, Spider-Man (Raimi trilogy and Amazing), Small Soldiers…”
The beast was gazing with interest at the computer screen, following along or fascinated by the moving screen, was unknown.
“…Coyote Ugly, Die Hard, Shaggy Dog – ”
Here, the four legged furry one loosened another bark, followed by a keening as he glanced at Roxy…who then glanced at Nathan.
“I think we have a winner,” she said.
Sternly, Nathan shook his head.
“I dunno, you might not like it,” he said, speaking directly to the beast. “It’s about a dog…and you are not a dog, bro.”
The creature chuffed.
Yeah, whatever. Just put it on.
Ten minutes later, the trio was settled on the bed. The beast lay with his head in Roxy’s lap and seemed genuinely interested in the movie, watching Tim Allen morph into an eponymous shaggy dog and run rampant.
Every now and then, the creature would loosen an approving bark in tandem to what was occurring on screen.

Neither could remember falling asleep, but both would remember the next morning for some time to come.

There was a knock at the door.
A tapping, a rapping upon the chamber door to Nathan’s dorm.
Stiffly, he jerked awake, surprised to find sunlight streaming through his window. The stifling degree of humidity was unbearable. Usually, he woke up earlier to prop his window open and allow the fresh morning breeze to wash through and keep the room cool, as the building’s air conditioning unit was still ‘under review’ to be repaired.
Meaning the University was debating to either give themselves a bonus or shell out a few bucks for student comfort.
If the new massage chair in the teacher lounge was any indication of how the University had spent the extra funds, Nathan and the other students were liable to riot.
There it was again, another knocking. Awfully loud. Seemed to reverberate through the room.
He peeled his eyes open, surprised to find himself on the floor.
Well that hardly ever happens…
Blinking a few times, Nathan stretched onto his feet, glancing around. Same messy room, organized to the tune of chaotic fashion…although the babe and beast on his bed were new.
Knock knock knock.
Sleepily, Roxy rolled over, placing a pillow over her ear.
“Tell them to come back later,” she ordered, dregs of drowsiness draining her voice of full authority.
Cautiously, Nathan crept forward, avoiding the parts of the floor that creaked and peeked through the peephole.
A field of pink ridges and white snakes greeted him.
White snakes being a sheet of white hair and not in fact the band, White Snake.
The ridges were wrinkles.
All hallmarks of their favorite Board Member…
“Weittezel!” Nathan hissed, feeling his heart stop. What the hell did the Board want with him?!
Then he looked back at the large beast nestled in bed next to Roxanne.
Ah, right.
Forbidden pet and undocumented sleeping partner.
He knew. Somehow Martin Weittezel had found out and was now coming for him.
Silently racing back across the room, he shook Roxy. In his haste, he stepped on a red and blue hoodie, feeling something wet.
“What’s wrong?” Roxanne inquired. “Who is it?”
“Weittezel, he’s after us, he knows, he – ”
Lazily rising like a vampire from a particularly satisfying slumber, Roxy rose stretching her arms up and arching her back. She silenced him with a finger and rolled her head.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” she assured.
“But…!” Nathan attempted to object. She merely slid her hand over his mouth to silence him.
“Take him into the bathroom, keep him quiet best you can, okay?”
Then with a saunter, she approached the door, taking care to make as much noise as possible, finding every precise creak and crack to smack with her feet, passing the kitchen counter, she ruffles a bag of chips, snagging one to chomp on, the crunchy brine of sour cream and onion filling the small room.
Taking advantage of her auditory cover, Nathan and the beast slipped off the bed and hastily moved over to the bathroom, a tiny horizontal rectangle of space that consisted of a sink, a toilet, and a shower.
They may not have had air conditioning in their building, but at least they didn’t have to share a bathroom like the guys over in the Alpha building.
He and the beast just barely fit in the bathroom with the beast occupying the floor tiles and Nathan scrambling into the shower stall. A second later, Roxanne opened the door.

It was difficult to say which was more shocking for Martin Weittezel: an attractive female answer the door to a male student’s dorm…or for the female to be clad in little more than a shirt.
Assertively, she cocked her head.
“Good morning, Mr. Weittezel,” she bubbled, offering a dazzling smile of teeth that glimmered like diamonds in the early morning. “What brings you around here? Golf courses not open yet?”
Every time she saw him, Roxy was unable to put the image of a fish out of her head. The man seemed to perpetually have the “Fish Face” implanted over himself as if he had surgically sewn the expression in place. His lips moved wordlessly, almost perfectly forming the puckered cheek O shape.
Bone white cheeks flapped like gills.
“Miss….Anson, is it?” he finally uttered, his voice braised with a raspy authority. Like a vulture that’s simmered in a long overdue stew that’s started to steam.
The French lass beamed, her lips curving into familiar sultry grooves.
“That’s right.”
“This is not your dorm,” he stated.
“That’s right.”
He wrinkled his brow. The children today had no morals. Back when his hair was longer, had he ever so much as made an extended glance at a woman, the nuns would have flayed him.
Now it seemed it was perfectly acceptable for students to come into class half-dressed, prominently sporting the musk of a previous eve’s copulation mate.
“I’m afraid I need to talk to Mr. Morgan. He is listed as the dorm resident.”
Roxanne pursed her lips.
“Ooh, you just missed him; he’s occupied in the shower…” she said this a tad louder than necessary. Back in the shower, Nathan gritted his teeth and turned the water on, instantly drenching himself.
Man, I just washed my hair too…
“I was actually about to join him,” Roxanne continued. “You can join us as well, if you like…or I could pass the message on?”
Evidently, Weittezel opted for the latter option, cringing at the thought.
Adjusting a pair of wire rimmed glasses, he glanced down at some papers in hand.
“There have been some complaints received about noise violations emanating from this location.”
The Roxannely smirk only grew stronger.
“Mm, apologies, that probably was me. I tend to get a bit loud.”
Weittezel narrowed his eyes, suspecting a con.
Glancing down at his notes, he mouthed a few words for reference before speaking again.
“The neighboring tenants both reported above-average decibel abuses and seem convinced the source to be a large canine. The housekeeper also reported muddy footprints that corroborate with this.”
An expression of shock passed over Roxanne’s face and she pressed a palm against her head, genuinely dismayed.
“Oh putain, that’s right, I’m so sorry; I hope Ms. Shelia wasn’t upset, I had meant to clean that up, it’s just it was late and – ”
“So you do admit to harboring a dog?”
Now it was Roxanne’s turn to crinkle in confusion.
“Harboring a…?” Then piecing together the implications, she turned back to amused party girl. “Oh…heh…no, no, it’s nothing like that…”
Weittezel was having none of it. No time for frivolities. After this, he had to meet with the counsel.
“Elucidate me.”
Taking a breath, Roxy’s voice slipped into a dreamy reminiscence.
“Well, last night – actually, have you ever seen The Shining?” Then without waiting for a response, “You know that part where Shelley Duval is running away from Jack Nicholson and she comes across the room where the man in a dog suit is blowing another man in a tuxedo – ”
Either too familiar with the scene to relive an oral rendition or unfamiliar and unable to muster the willpower to imagine such a disgusting display, Weittezel’s mouth sagged and eyes seemed to melt, a vague note of horror weighing in on him.
Seemingly misinterpreting his repulsion for obscure boredom, the French female makes a complex hand motion as though literally wrapping her story up.
“– Anyway, what can I say? Natey loves to play Hound Dog.”

Inside the steaming shower, Nathan glared out at the closed door that led back to his room, then back to the creature that supposedly was not a canine.
“I’m not singing Hound Dog,” he privately told the beast. “…at least not before someone’s bought me a drink.”
The creature cocked his head and Nathan swore its eyes flicked back to the door.
Seems like she’d buy you a drink…maybe more.
He blinked, wondering if he was anthropomorphizing the beast…as Livy constantly berated him for doing.
“For the record…” Nathan started, unsure why he had the urge to defend himself, “once or twice the subject of ‘dating’ has been brought up, y’know what she said?”
The beast stared intently, as if actually paying attention and genuinely curious.
“That she could never date someone with better hair than her.” Nathan smirked. “Guess she must not be threatened by you, big guy.”
The four legged fiend cocked its head. What’d you say next?
With a frown, he continued, “I told her that if it were merely an issue of hair folices, I’d happily shave my hair for her. Then she made the Roxannely smile and said that then I wouldn’t be the same…which I guess would be true,” he acceded with a tilt of his head.
Beyond the tiny bathroom, a door could be heard shutting and a moment later, Roxanne entered the bathroom.
“Oi, aren’t I supposed to be showering?” he remarked sardonically.
“I did say I was joining you,” she teased, handing him a dry towel. “Weittezel left. Apparently the image of you singing Hound Dog in a costume was too much for him to bear. He muttered something about a warning.”
With a deep well of raw courage, Nathan rolled his eyes, waving it off.
“Nothing like a professional pain in the a s s to remind you he’s still sucking air. I suppose it makes him feel useful.” He paused. “Um…d’you mind handing me some fresh clothes?”
The French lass blinked, as if just realizing her friend was sopping wet. Or more specifically her sopping wet friend was going to have to change.
“Of course,” she answered, sifting through his drawer. “Tsk tsk…black, black, black…we really need to upgrade your wardrobe, dear.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, thank you,” he said accepting a neatly folded stack. He retired back into the bathroom, quickly toweling off and exchanging the soggy clothing.
“So, the King saved the day,” Nathan mused two hundred and seventeen Plancks later, emerging from the bathroom fully dressed.
“They both did,” Roxy corrected.
“Except Stephen King didn’t write that bit with the dog suit guy and furthermore hated the movie for the longest time.”
Roxy rolled her eye
“Dork.”
“Salope.”
The beast barked, eager to be in on the ribbing.
“Mmm, you are a Hound Dog,” Roxanne snickered, bending to affectionately rub the creature, “aren’t you?”
At this, Nathan lit up.
“Ooh!!! Can we name him Elvis? Can we can we please?”
Angling her head back at her friend, a nefarious smirk has crept over her face. Similar to satisfaction, as though she’s won a grand round of tennis or chess.
“To name him would be implying we’re keeping him.”
Realizing he’s tied the rope of his own noose and welded the bars of his own cell, he flicks his eyes left and right. “Well…I mean…”
The smirk deepens and she squats next to the beast. “Isn’t that right, Elvis?”
Casting his blue eyes at between the pair of them, as though making a final assessment, Elvis let out a concurring woof, sealing the deal.
Roxanne and Elvis eagerly awaited how Nathan planned to weasel out.
“I mean, I'm not saying we can keep him only...uh..”
“Only what?” Roxy placed her hands on her hips, knowing he’s cornered himself.
“Uh well, that is, I…Uh…y’know, until we find his real owners, gotta call him something…”
For want of any form of distraction, he began bustling about in a vague attempt to organize his dorm into a more ocular appeasing status. Aimlessly, he picks up the red and blue hoodie from earlier. This time, he noted a distinct scent of saturation.
Frowning, he raised the hoodie to his nose.
“Wait....did he....” He accusingly glared at Elvis. “DID YOU PEE ON MY HOODIE?!!!”
Trying not to laugh, Roxy covered her mouth to fox a grin. True, it wasn’t funny….but it kind of was; Nathan’s face had turned the exact brick red of his precious hoodie.
“Technically it’s his now,” she informed, nodding at Elvis.
“Like hell!” Nathan belligerently bellowed.
“Oh calm down, darling; it can be washed.”
“It will never be cleansed from him.”
Unconvinced of the necessity of his theatrics, Roxanne raised her arms, seemingly giving up. Very un-Roxannely for anyone familiar with the fiendish French wench.
“Then it seems your only course of action is to destroy it…perhaps burn it. Purify through the flame, non?
As though she had suggested he chop his favorite hand off, Nathan was convinced he felt his heart stop at the very thought. And not the pleasant attractive-French-woman-wants-to-kiss heart stopping.
“Are you insane?!” he cries, protectively clutching the hoodie close to his chest, heedless of any urine stains.
“Inspired, cherie, isn’t that the Viking way?”
She sighs.
Maybe she was taking this too far….oh putain de merde…she’d be lying if any of this had went the way she had been scheming. Scheming. What a deliciously devious word.
“I’m sorry….Look, I can take it to a dry cleaner, he handles all my most precious garments – ”
“A dry cleaner?” Nathan repeats, sporting a distinct note of incredulation.
Misinterpreting this for incompetence, Roxanne goes on to clarify, “I assure you, Jerome is a professional, one of the best in the area – ”
The lad’s astonishment only continues to increase…
“You have a dry cleaner named Jerome that would clean my old hoodie?”
Now the penny drops. He’s not offended or dubious. He’s touched. Good. As the dork had ought to be!
“Oui. For a price.”
Nathan suspiciously folds his arms. “What kind of price?”
Roxy taps a finger nail to her lip, contemplating. She glances down at the beast and winks subtly. “Perhaps we can discuss terms later, over dinner?”
“One condition.” Nathan raises a stern finger to enunciate his sole condition.
“Oui?”
“No mushrooms.”
From the floor, Elvis watched the pair like a tennis spectator...his mind unable to turn from the Big Question brewing.
Which one is going to feed me?
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