As soon as Gary opened the door, Larry pulled on his leash and dragged Gary to Suzy’s door. ‘What’s up with that?’ he asked the collie who looked back at him expectedly. He heard the the fiddling at the door and Suzy opened it, startled by the sudden appearance of the two right outside in the hallway.
‘Gary?’ she asked, then looked at Larry. ‘And, Larry!?’ She squatted to ruffle the dog’s cheeks. ‘Where did you find him?’
‘It’s more like he found me.’ Gary said, smiling at Gary licking her face and wagging his tail. ‘I took a walk late at night when I couldn’t sleep and he came across my path at the park.’ He was glad he didn’t have to think up a lie, and just needed to omit certain things.
Suzy frowned. ‘Oh.’ she said, studied Larry for a moment, then shook her head.
She stood up and gave him a quick smile. ‘It’s nothing.’ she said. ‘What are you going to do with him? It seems he’s fine and attached to you already.’
‘Yeah, that’s what I wanted to ask.’ Gary said, looking at Larry. ‘Can you check to make sure he’s fine? He seems healthy, and I am thinking of keeping him unless there’s family that wanted to take him in.’
Suzy shook her head. ‘The only family mister Jones has is his daughter who lives on the other side of the country.’ she said. ‘I think Larry would be better off with you.’ She smiled more at Gary. ‘I think he even suits you.’
Gary raised an eyebrow as he looked at Larry, who looked up at him and barked once. ‘Really?’
‘I can have a look at Larry this morning if you’d like? There are no appointments this morning.’
‘That would be great.’ Gary said and pulled out his phone. ‘Just let me check with the office and we’ll go with you right away, if it’s no problem.’
Gary handed the leash to Suzy while he stepped aside to call and she squatted in front of Larry again. ‘Why do I have the feeling I’m not surprised to see you here with Gary?’ she whispered and stroked his head. Larry gave her another lick and wagged his tail.
‘All set.’ Gary said. ‘We can go right now.’
‘Larry?’ asked Johan, the vet at the clinic as the three of them walked in and he spotted the dog.
‘Indeed.’ said Suzy, putting away her things. ‘This is Gary, my neighbour who found Larry at the park at night.’
Johan shook Gary’s hand. ‘Nice to meet you.’ he said and gave Larry a pat on his head. ‘He gave you no trouble?’
‘Not really.’ Gary said with a little grin.
‘He’s a friendly dog, but I’ve only seen him close with Frank Jones.’
‘Oh.’ Gary said as Suzy took Larry from him and lifted him on the examination table. ‘He’s been behaving very good.’
‘Good, good.’ Johan said, watching Suzy while she checked Larry.
‘He’s in good shape.’ Suzy said after she was done with Larry. ‘I bet he’ll grow very old.’
‘Guess you’ll be stuck with him for a long time then.’ Johan said to Gary.
Gary grinned. ‘Yeah, I’m afraid so since it looks like he chose me.’
‘Here, a couple of vitamin pills for him.’ said Suzy, handing Gary a small bottle. ‘For an extra boost after the lack of food in the last days.’
‘Thanks.’ Gary said and put it in his pocket. ‘So what do I owe you?’
‘Only your word on taking care of Larry.’ Johan said. ‘He’s a good dog and I’m glad he’s at a good home again.’
‘Thanks a lot.’ Gary said and shook Johan’s hand again. ‘I’ll take care of him. He’s family now.’
Suzy walked Gary and Larry out and they enjoyed the fresh morning air for a bit. ‘I’m glad it turned out okay.’ she said.
‘Me too.’ Gary said. ‘And I can take him to the office with me so he won’t be alone during the day.’
She smiled at Gary, then at Larry. ‘Would you mind if I check up on him later?’
Gary’s heart went a little faster. ‘Of course not! We would love to have you come over!’ he said, then cleared his throat, looking at Larry. ‘Right?’
Larry looked from Gary to Suzy and gave her a happy bark.
She chuckled and ruffled Larry’s head and cheeks. ‘All right then.’ she said. ‘See you later then.’ She kept an eye on them and waved when they went on their way to Gary’s office, then went back inside with a big smile on her face.
Suzy met with Gary and Larry at the convenience store at the end of the day. He had called her to ask for her help on getting the right food for Larry and to invite her to dinner. She saw him at the aisle, frowning at the different cans, bags and boxes of dog food. He was discussing the various brands with Larry, who approved and disapproved various items. She chuckled and snuck closer.
‘This? Seriously?’ Gary asked when he pointed at an orange box with a white poodle on it. Larry barked once and Gary hummed. ‘You’re just liking it because of the cute chick on it.’ Larry barked twice. ‘Sure, as if you’re any different from any other male species walking this Earth.’ he said. ‘Stamp a picture of a hot girl on it and every guy goes for it, no matter how much junk is in it and how expensive it is.’ Larry barked twice again. ‘I’ll bet Suzy would agree with me.’ Larry flattened his ears and whined softly.
‘I do indeed.’ Suzy said, startling the men. She smirked. ‘And I didn’t know you were one to go for girls of other species, Gary.’ she said and looked at the poodle picture. ‘I do admit it’s cute, but to call her hot?’
‘I didn’t mean it was my personal preference!’ Gary said, looking between Suzy and the poodle. ‘I was merely getting into the mindset of a male dog. I prefer humans. Women. Like you.’ Gary felt his face getting hot and looked away. ‘I mean, in general, because I’m a human man, and I go for human women like any other normal man, not that I say other choices are not normal, just that,’ he gestured with his index fingers going in circles. ‘you know, a humans with humans thing.’
Suzy cleared her throat and chuckled. ‘I was just teasing you.’ she said and smiled a little deviously.
Larry barked at Gary. ‘You’re not helping.’ Gary said.
Suzy helped Gary buy the right food and gave Larry a chewing bone as a present before they went home. Gary rushed through his apartment to check for any embarrassing things lying around while she dropped her things at her own apartment.
He heard her knock and call out ‘Gary?’ the second he saw his dirty laundry spread out on the floor of his bedroom. With a few swift kicks it disappeared under his bed and he rushed to the kitchen, leaning against the doorway when she saw him. ‘Hey.’ he said. ‘I hope you had no trouble finding this place.’
She chuckled. ‘I almost took a wrong turn.’
‘Yeah, they should put up better signs around here.’ he said. ‘I was just starting on dinner, so make yourself comfortable.’
Larry walked up to her and gave her a friendly bark. ‘Okay.’ she said. ‘Lead on.’ She followed Larry into the livingroom and Gary dove into the kitchen to start cooking.
When he came into the living room with two plates he found her sitting on the couch with Larry draped all over her lap clearly enjoying her attention as she scritched his belly and chest.
‘All right, Larry,’ Gary said. ‘time for belly rubs is over. Time to eat.’
Suzy and Larry sniffed at the same time. ‘Smells great.’ she said. Larry rolled onto the floor and sat down.
‘It’s a simple Italian recipe.’ he said, putting down the plates. ‘Hope you like it.’ He turned to Larry. ‘And you’re getting your own meal, buddy. This human food isn’t good for you, or so I’m told. If it’s not true, you know who to blame.’ he said and titled his head toward Suzy.
‘Larry trusts me, don’t you?’ Suzy said, petting Larry and he confirmed with a bark.
Gary chuckled on his way to the kitchen and came back with a bowl of warm food for Larry.
‘This is good.’ Suzy said, nodding. ‘Made it yourself?’
‘Yep.’ Gary said, holding back on stuffing his face when he got his hands on good food.
‘Maybe I should check up on Larry more often.’ she said with a sly smile at the collie.
Gary smiled. ‘You’re welcome to.’ he said. ‘I don’t mind showing more of my cooking skills.’ Larry cleaned his bowl, picked it up in his mouth and went to the kitchen. ‘What’s he doing now?’
‘Oh!’ said Suzy as she watched him leave. ‘That’s right. I heard mister Jones had taught him some tricks so he could help around the house. This must be one of those things.’
‘Clever.’ Gary said. ‘I wonder what else he can do.’
‘Maybe he can help you cook?’ Suzy said and chuckled.
‘I think that might be a bit too much.’ Gary said and leaned back. ‘It took me a while before I could put meals like this together.’
Suzy tilted her head and leaned a little closer. ‘Really? Does it take a lot of work to make something like this?’
He nodded. ‘It’s easier once you’ve done it a few times, then it takes less time. But you do need to know what you’re doing, like getting the right ingredients.’
‘Ingredients are indeed the number one thing for cooking, yes.’ Suzy said and smiled. ‘It’s not like one takes a ready made meal, then puts it on a plate and dresses it up to make it look like real home made cooking.’
Gary saw Suzy looking at something next to him, then heard plastic crumble. ‘The dog is sitting next to me with the packaging in his mouth, isn’t he?’
She gave him a big grin and he slapped his hand in his face. ‘Larry, you suck as a wingman.’
The collie just tilted his head and wagged his tail.
‘Thanks for dinner.’ Suzy said when she and Gary stood at his door. ‘You did manage to make it taste much better than straight out of the wrapping.’
‘Yeah, yeah.’ he said, glancing at Larry. ‘I think mister Jones has taught him too many tricks.’
She chuckled. ‘I’m sure the two of you will have lots of fun together.’
‘You’ll be the first to find out.’ he said with a slight grin. ‘Anyway, thanks again for all you did today.’
She smiled softly at him. ‘No problem.’ she said, clasping her hands and twiddling her thumbs. ‘I’m just glad everything turned out great.’ She sighed a little. ‘I’d better go shower and study now.’
‘Yeah.’ Gary said, returning her smile and opening his door for her. ‘Good luck with that, although I think you’ll manage just fine.’
She nodded, looking down a little, then stepped into the hallway. She turned around and gave Gary a peck on his cheek. ‘You’re a really good guy.’ she said softly with a quick smile, then went quickly into her apartment.
Gary stared at her door for a short while when their bald neighbour stepped out of his apartment and looked at Gary. Gary looked back at him, nodded, and stepped back to close his door.
The neighbour shook his head and went downstairs.
His transformation happened while Gary was fully conscious of it and he sat on the couch, looking at Larry. ‘And this is happening to me for a while now.’ he said. ‘It’s a wonder I haven’t been caught by now since I’m usually not in control during the first part of the night.’ Larry tilted his head. ‘I don’t know. And I’ll probably never know why it happens.’ Gary sighed. ‘Come, let’s go find Chelsea.’ he said and Larry wagged his tail. ‘At least I can keep my voice under control now.’
Gary peeked outside his door to make sure no one was there, then went out with Larry on his leash. The collie moved toward Suzy’s door and sniffed it. ‘No, we’re not meeting Suzy.’ Gary whispered. ‘She’s either studying hard or asleep so we can’t bother her. Come, we’re going to the park.’
At the park all was quiet and the two took a stroll through it while looking out for Chelsea. Gary let Larry walk free since he wasn’t worried about him running away. He just knew the dog would stay at his side for the rest of its life.
‘Now where could she be?’ Gary said, looking around at the playground area. Larry walked up to him and sat down. ‘I hope nothing happened to her.’ Gary said to Larry. Larry barked once and let his tongue hang out. ‘Yeah, she’s probably fine and just lATE!’
Gary jumped aside and rubbed his behind while watching Chelsea grin, then looked at Larry. ‘Traitor.’
Chelsea ruffled Larry’s sides and rolled over wrestling with him, growling playfully. Gary chuckled and shook his head. ‘Movie writers would lock you away if they saw you since it would ruin the public image of werewolves.’ Chelsea stuck out her tongue to him, making him half bleat and laugh. ‘Who ever heard of a werewolf being cute?’
She looked at Larry for a second, then they pounced Gary and wrestled him to the ground.
Gary bleated and laughed, trying to wrestle free of the two fierce predators. ‘Down guys! I give up!’ he said. ‘Help!’ Chelsea gave him a wide grin when they got startled by a gunshot.
‘Get away you mongrels!’ shouted a police officer, running in their direction.
‘Oh shit!’ said Gary. ‘The cops!’
The three scrambled to their hands and feet and ran away on all fours instinctively.
The officer slowed down and looked around at the spot where he had seen those wild dogs attack a sheep, wondering where the man who called out for help went.
Gary looked back after they’d dived into an alley and reached the end. ‘Hold up.’ he said, slowing down. ‘Looks like they didn’t follow us.’ Chelsea and Larry checked the corner for any sign of the cops or other people. She gave a thumbs up and Gary let out a sigh while breathing hard. ‘That scared me.’ he said. ‘And now that they’ve seen us, they might search for us.’ He looked around the corner, then back at Chelsea. ‘Have you regained any of your human memories? Like if you live close to here?’ Chelsea shook her head. He nodded and looked around. ‘Then we have to be careful on our way to my place. I think we can avoid the streets until we get there, but we have to go around the park.’
Gary led them through the small backstreets, hoping he was right about staying out of sight when he hadn’t been in these streets before. At every corner they looked and listened and moved quickly, hugging the walls and sticking to the shadows on the way to the next corner.
‘We’re almost home.’ Gary said, checking the next corner. Just as they took the first step the patrol car turned the corner at the end of the side street toward them. ‘Back.’ he whispered and hid with Chelsea in a corner between a garage and wooden fence while Larry ducked behind a trash can. He peeked around the corner until he saw the front of the car coming by and pressed himself against the fence.
When he heard the engine sound fade away he let out his breath. ‘Good.’ he whispered, peeking at the street. ‘They’ll probably go the other way than we’re going now.’ He looked back at Chelsea who looked nervous, then realised he held her tight in his embrace. ‘Sorry.’ he whispered and quickly let go of her. ‘It was in the spur of the moment.’ She nodded quickly, looking away. ‘Let’s go.’ he said and checked around the corner one more time before leading Chelsea and Larry through the last two streets to his apartment.
‘Made it.’ Gary said when he held open the door for Chelsea and Larry of the apartment building. They moved silently to his door and hurried inside, crashing down on his couch, relieved to have reached safety.
‘We have to be careful from now on.’ Gary said. ‘More than we should have been. If they catch us we’re screwed. Big time. I don’t think they’d ever let us go once they find out what we are.’
Chelsea nodded, then moved fast against him when a flash of light came through the window. Gary heard a car drive by and sighed. ‘It’s okay.’ he whispered. ‘Just a car passing by.’ She looked at Gary and his heart skipped a beat at the sight of her blue eyes so close to his. He had to admit, she was a very pretty creature. He was glad to have met her, even if it was dangerous at first. She leaned closer to him, opening her mouth slightly and closing her eyes. The urge to kiss her welled up, but he pulled back before it got to strong. ‘Sorry,’ he whispered. ‘but there’s someone I guess I’m in love with.’ Chelsea pulled back and nodded, looking away. ‘If that wasn’t the case I probably wouldn’t have been able to resist you.’ he said. ‘Even if you tried to take a bite out of me first.’
Chelsea chuckled and poked Gary. He poked her back and soon they were play fighting until tiredness got the best of them. Gary smiled as Chelsea had crawled against him and fell asleep. He thought about carefully pulling away but he didn’t want to actually let her go. He gestured at Larry and the blanket next to the couch and the collie fetched it for him. ‘Thanks, buddy’ he whispered and draped the blanket over Chelsea. ‘Good night and sweet dreams you two.’