So a while ago, a couple of us did a mini-challenge. The one I was issued was Jasper/Seth, using 1000 words. No more, no less (though not counting prompts), either in drabble form or as a one-shot. This is what I came up with. I’ve kinda fallen in love with these two…and Sura.
Stepping forward, he tries to soothe the frightened dog. “Shh, it’s okay…calm down…”
The chain holding her in place has to be digging into her skin as she tries to retreat from Emmett. God love the man, but he’s scaring her shitless.
“Em, step back, let me try?”
He nods and I approach quietly, my voice a low murmur as I reassure her. She eyes me warily, but stays in place, even tentatively sticking her nose out to sniff me.
She whimpers as I cut the chain and pick her up.
“Every fucking time…” Emmett says, shaking his head.
She’s trembling as the vet approaches. I stay close, petting her in an attempt to calm her – it helps. A little. Heidi carefully examines her, trying to assess if there’s anything wrong with her aside from the obvious malnutrition and the chain that is lodged so tightly around her neck that it’s cutting into the flesh.
I suppress the anger I feel welling up inside at the thought of the cruel treatment this once beautiful malamute has received. Above the muzzle, her sky-blue eyes are on mine – soulful, sad, uncertain.
I pray that I’ll get to see them happy again.
The moment Heidi picks up the clippers and reaches for her, the dog panics – scrambling to get away.
“We’ll have to sedate her.”
“Don’t; I’ll do it…”
I turn to find the new vet tech walking toward us. He’s beautiful, his smile soft, his countenance confident.
He holds out his hand. “I’m Seth.”
I take it and smile, holding on longer than I should. “Jasper.”
He lets the dog sniff him for a moment, talking quietly to her. She calms. Soon the only thing I hear is a buzz – though I can’t tell if it’s the clippers, or something else.
It has been a week since the rescue. I check on her often, happy to see she’s healing – physically, at least.
She needs to run, play, be outside, be loved. But that can’t happen here.
I’ve taken her to the run out back and am watching her explore the confines as I sit on the bench.
I smile as Seth joins me – a faint fluttering in my stomach at his proximity.
“I’m taking her home tomorrow.”
His eyes are on the dog.
Mine are on him.
He turns to me, smiling hesitantly. “You’re welcome to visit her.”
I nod. “Thanks.”
Work has been busy, and I’ve been avoiding this – uncertain of myself, of him. I’m attracted to him, but can’t tell if he is, too, or if he’s just…friendly.
I knock on his door. A woman answers, a frown on her brow. “Yes?”
I blush. “Oh…I’m sorry. I thought Seth…”
She waves me in – without bothering to ask my name – telling me he’s in the backyard.
I watch as he plays with the dog, enamored by the sight.
He sees me and walks up to me, smiling.
“Hi…looking good, huh?”
I nod, swallowing hard. He certainly does.
A cold, wet nose nudges my thigh. I look down with a smile, kneeling to pet her.
Seth chuckles. “I think Sura likes you.”
I raise my eyes to his questioningly.
“Her new name. It‘s Inuit for ‘new life’.” He shrugs. “It seemed appropriate.”
Sura gives a low howl in approval, causing us both to laugh.
He kneels down next to me, scratching behind her ears, though his eyes are on mine.
“She still doesn’t like anyone else near her. I think that says a lot about you.”
I stare at him, my eyes flickering between his, and his lips.
Two weeks, and I’ve stopped by every other day to visit Sura.
Or so I keep telling myself.
Neither of us has made a move – in truth, I’m scared. Worried that I’m reading too much into his words, his actions. The woman is always around.
“Leah,” he says, when I ask her name, offering nothing further.
I don’t know who she is to him, though I can tell that they’re close.
But how close?
It’s rare for me to feel this way.
I like him. A lot. More than I should, if he’s taken.
Yet I want him.
We sit side by side – our legs almost touching – as we watch Sura play in the yard.
The air between us feels electric, making me want to touch him.
I glance at him, biting back a moan as I take in the rich tones of his skin… his soft lips, turned up in a tender smile.
I’m aching, desperately wanting to know if it’s just me, or if he feels this, too.
I can’t stand not knowing anymore. Inhaling deeply, I pluck up the courage to ask him.
The silence is deafening as I wait for his answer.
His eyes search mine, but he doesn’t say anything.
Instead, he whistles to Sura and kennels her, making sure she has what she needs before returning to me.
I’m anxious as I look up at him.
He doesn’t wait for my answer. I wipe my sweaty hands on my jeans and follow him.
I see Leah as we walk upstairs, and I frown in confusion.
He steps aside, letting me go into the room first.
I turn, about to ask what’s going on when he slowly pulls me into his embrace.
He whispers, “I thought you knew…”
It’s been three days since our first kiss. The thought of it still makes me smile – and blush, as that first kiss led to many other firsts together that day.
Sura nudges me, and I throw her ball, watching her give chase. She’s looking so much better than the day we found her. Emmett and I tracked down her previous owner and brought him in. He’s now awaiting trial.
Sura is happy, mostly healthy, and starting to trust again – slowly.
Seth wraps his arms around me, kissing me tenderly.
Between Sura and Seth, I can’t think of a better reward.