Once again, it’s been a while since anything has been added here. There are excuses, of course, but that’s really what they are. Even as I work on larger projects, Flash Fiction remains a fun way to experiment and grow.
And, luckily, there are opportunities to keep encouraging myself and others to keep going. The ladies at Ink After Dark put together another little contest to give the darker side of the feelings around Valentine’s Day some attention. I certainly appreciate the work they do to give us ideas to play with, and all of the writers who join in. If you have a chance, you should definitely give them a read. You might even find a new author that you like.
Here’s the bit that grew for me from the idea:
Sharing is Hard
Date night was a success as Will and Patty snuggled on the couch, with candlelight dancing across the walls. Hints of zinfandel wine passed between their lips as they watched a romantic movie. As the loving couple on the screen found each other at last, a similar scene was playing out in the living room.
As the couple on screen gazed deeply into each other’s eyes, the romance in the living room was overwhelmed by a strong odor from the other end of the couch. Patty covered her nose, as the smell of rotten eggs passed across the room.
“Bear, that was nasty.” Will scolded, more amused than angry.
Brown eyes looked up at him from the dog lying upside down on the couch. Hearing his name, his tail started wagging, with the unfortunate side effect of fanning the noxious fumes right at the couple.
“Ugh, I swear. It’s like he does these things on purpose. Like…I’m having to share you with him.” Patty complained as she got up from the couch.
“He’s just getting used to you, and he’s a dog, so he does dog things sometimes. He likes you, really.”
“It’s a good thing you’re cute, and he is too.” Patty scowled at the dog as he flopped off of the couch come sit at her feet, looking up with a grin. “It’s actually fine, though. Much later, and the wait for the bus is really long. Thank you for dinner.”
Will walked her to the stop and waited until the bus arrived. They ignored the bus driver’s gaze during a long, lingering kiss to end the evening with.
The relationship flourished during the next months. The couple spent more and more time together, but most of the little fights they had were about Bear. Patty was adjusting to having a pet in her life, such as having fur on her little black dress. Will and Bear were also making adjustments, like Bear having to share his corner of the bed. Bear and Patty grew close, with her occasionally bringing him treats. All together, the three were settling into a cozy routine.
One evening, though, Bear didn’t come meet Will at the door. Instead, he was lying on the tiles in the bathroom, with vomit around his mouth. Will raced the dog to the veterinarian, terrified and helpless.
“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.” the doctor said as kindly as she could. “We can give you a little time with him, to say goodbye, but not very much.”
Will nodded speechlessly, tears in his eyes, and called Patty to let her know what was going on. He asked her to try to get to the vet’s office before the dog was gone.
“What happened to him? He was just fine this morning. I just don’t understand…” Will trailed off.
“It looks like some organ failure. Being so young, did he get into anything? Cleaners, antifreeze, anything like that?”
“No, we don’t have anything like that around.”
Will rested his hands on Bear’s side, and on his forehead. He tried to keep from crying, as he looked into the brown eyes. The doctors gave the shots to make the dog more comfortable, and Will stayed with his friend all the way until Bear slipped away. Patty arrived shortly after, trying to comfort Will.
Several months passed, and Will’s house just seemed too empty. It felt like something was missing, especially on the other side of the bed. Toys and bowls were packed away. Patty spent more time there, until her apartment was merely a place to get the mail.
They decided that she should move in officially. Will even started discretely shopping for wedding rings. Just before her lease ended, they spent the weekend packing up her things for movers to bring to the house.
Will was boxing up the last of the beauty products from a linen closet when several bottles toppled over. A plastic one rolled forward, filled with a green liquid. Absently, he reached to put it into the box, but as it dropped heavily, he noticed the label.
“Protects cars from the worst that winter can dish out! Guaranteed past -50 degrees!”