Please don’t leave me. You’re my best friend.
“Trance?” I cried into the receiver.
“Viddy? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Trance yelled into my ear.
I clutched Hemi closer to my chest and gasped in pain.
“C-can y-you c-come over? P-please?” I cried out.
I heard the sound of a car door slamming shut, and then the roar of an engine as it sped off in the background.
Normally, I’d nag at him about going too fast, but I was about ten seconds away from losing it, and I needed him here. Fifteen minutes ago.
“What’s going on, Vid? What happened?” Trance asked urgently.
He sounded like he was in a tunnel or something, which meant he’d put me on speakerphone. Which also meant he was at work, ‘cause he couldn’t be caught with a cell phone to his ear while he was driving his police issued vehicle.
“Hemi’s vet called. They told m-me he h-had cancer and he needed to be put to sleep. I knew it was something bad, but I couldn’t take him in until today. I didn’t have a ride, and Paul refused to take him for me.” I cried.
Oh, God. What was I going to do without him here? He was my best friend!
Hemi had started acting strange a few days ago. After several frustrating attempts to get my boyfriend, Paul, to take me to the vet so I could get Hemi checked out, he still refused. My sister was on vacation and there was no way I’d call her to come home for this. She and her husband deserved a little alone time before their baby came in a few more months.
This morning, when I’d finally gotten frustrated and called a cab, I’d never dreamed that it’d turn into this. First, the cab had nearly refused to transport us due to company policies about pets, but when the dam on my emotions broke, he’d relented, but only barely.
Then, as soon as we’d walked into Dr. Tucker’s door, they’d yanked him away from me so fast my head spun. I could practically feel the condemnation pouring off them at the state he’d been in. Yet, I’d called the vet numerous times in a vain attempt to get one of them to pick him up, and they’d said they didn’t offer those services.
That was when I started calling other vets, but with him being a new patient to them, they’d refused as well.
“Oh, baby. I’m so sorry. I’ll be there in just a few minutes. I’m on duty in the residential district right now, but it shouldn’t be more than ten minutes at the most.” Trance’s velvety deep voice said through the receiver.
That was the word that came to mind every time I heard it. So deep. Smooth. Rich and flowing. I wanted to put my lips up against his throat to feel the vibration that poured out with each word that was let loose from his mouth.
Trance was a very good man. When I’d had the privilege of being in his company, I felt alive.
It wasn’t often that I got to see him, though. He was a very busy man. He was a member of the police department as well as a member of the local motorcycle club, The Dixie Wardens.
“Thank you, Trance.” I whispered and then hung up.
Hemi was a nine year old English Setter with the silkiest fur I’d ever felt. He was a gentle, mid-sized dog with curly locks around his ears, flank, and face. I’d been told that he was snowy white with brown splotches, but that wasn’t what made him beautiful to me.
What made him so perfect was the way he’d help me wind through the house, moving little things that might trip me up. On our walks, around the apartment complex I’d just moved into, he’d steer me in the right direction, and always lead me back to our door.
He never barked unless someone was at the door, and always stayed close to my side.
Until he started acting weird.
He still stayed by my side, but he didn’t move as easily. I’d gone to fill his food bowl up and found it still just as full as it was the night before, and the day before that. Then his bathroom habits started to dwindle. He was going out more and more, staying out longer.
Then, yesterday, he stopped drinking water.
Now, Hemi had his head pillowed in my lap as I stroked his coat, and tried to do my upmost best not to freak him out with my crying.
“Oh, Hemi. I don’t want you to leave me.” I cried, tears dripping down my cheeks and most likely onto his face.
Fifteen minutes on the dot, after my phone call to Trance, I heard the front door open and Trance walk in.
The click-click of nails on the hardwood floor let me know that Radar was with him, too.
I could feel his presence like a shock, and knew instantly when his body was close.
He hunkered down beside the couch where I was sitting with my legs folded underneath me. Hemi’s tail thunked furiously on the couch beside me, making the whole couch vibrate with the intensity of it.
I felt the glasses covering my eyes lift to rest on the top of my head, followed by Trance’s thumbs wiping away my tears. “I’m here, baby.” He said reassuringly.
Any and all hope of not crying my eyes out fled, and I curled down until my head was buried into Hemi’s fur.
“What am I going to do without him?” I cried.
I could feel Trance as he stroked Hemi’s head, and finally Trance moved, shifting me and Hemi until we were both situated on either side of him.
I curled into his side, moving as close as I possibly could.
My head was pillowed on his chest, one arm around his back and the other around his front, clutching at Hemi’s head.
Then I felt Radar’s head lay down on my leg, and I cried all the harder.
I’m not sure how long we stayed like that. I know it had to be quite a while, because once I was done with my crying, only little hiccups remained.
“What do you want me to do?” He asked softly, sifting his fingers through my hair.
I felt the rumble of the question vibrate through his chest, and a low deep thrum of contentment coursed through me. One that I never felt when I was in Paul’s arms. Never.
Which was why I’d never slept with him, despite his nagging about it.
“Will you take him to the park with me? I want him to play…” I started to ask, but the hard pounding at my door startled me out of finishing.
Then the yelling started. “Hey, Elise! It’s time to go. Remember? It’s Tuesday, we have to meet my parents for dinner!”
Why did he insist on calling me by my middle name? What was wrong with Viddy?
I didn’t move, and neither did Trance.
Radar did, however, go over to the door and started growling low in his throat.
“Hey, is that guy in there with you again? Is that his stupid fuckin’ dog? What did I tell you about him?” Paul snarled.
I lost it again. After everything he’d done to me lately, I just couldn’t handle his shit anymore.
Paul was not a nice man. He’d threatened me on more than one occasion on what he’d do if he caught me with Trance again. Not that Trance and I had ever crossed that line, but Paul didn’t care, and wasn’t willing to listen. Everything I did pissed Paul off, and I really just didn’t give a flying fuck anymore.
Paul could go fuck a duck.
I stomped hard towards the door.
Counting my steps, I got to seven and held my hand out, making contact with the door.
“Move over, Radar, I’ve got to get rid of the trash.” I said to the big boy who was still growling low at my door.
Turning the knob, I felt the full blast of Louisiana heat belt me in the face, as well as Paul’s anger.
“What the fuck have you two been doing in there? Your face is flushed, and you’re not wearing your glasses. You know how I hate that.” Paul chastised me.
Paul was an asshole. I’d started dating him a little over a year ago, and I’ve been nothing but disappointed since. My sister hated him. My sister’s husband hated him. And Trance hated him.
Yes, it was definitely time.
“My face is flushed because I’ve been crying, you idiot. Hemi isn’t well, and I’m putting him to sleep later this afternoon. As for you, I would like you not to come back anymore. We’re over.” I said as harshly as I could.
Silence greeted me after that statement.
Paul’s silence wasn’t in my best interest, because before I could even blink, Paul had me by the wrist. “What are you talking about? You know we’re not through. You’ve said that three times in the past four months, but you always come back.”
“Stand down.” Trance’s beautiful voice said from behind me.
I wasn’t sure if he was talking to Paul or Radar until, suddenly, Radar’s low growling abruptly quit at my side.
Then I felt Trance’s heat at my back, and I involuntarily leaned backwards into him.
His hand went around my waist, and he pulled me backwards until I was flush against him with his arm pinning me to him tightly.
“You heard her. Please leave.” Trance’s authoritative tone booked no room for argument.
“You can’t tell me what to do. This is my girlfriend’s place. How about you leave? Hmm?” Paul replied snottily.
“I want you to leave. Now. Oh, and lose my number.” I said stiffly, before yanking my wrist from Paul’s grasp and closing the door in his face.
A snarling snap from Radar had me jumping, and then Paul’s squeal of indignation followed.
“What was that?” I asked in surprise.
Trance snorted. “He tried to sneak his hand into the door before it closed all the way, but Radar convinced him not to continue with that line of thought.”
“Good,” I whispered.
Neither one of us moved.
My head was still pillowed against his chest, and his arm was still wrapped tightly around me.
We stood like that for long moments until Hemi’s heartbreaking whimpering from the couch broke up the moment, bringing us both to the couch.
“He needs to go outside, I believe. Would you mind doing that? I want to gather some of his things to take with us before we take him.” I said, looking into the direction I thought Trance was standing.
His warm hand cupped my face until he moved it up and to the left, before he replied. “Okay, baby. Just let Radar lead you out when you’re ready. I’ll be outside near the grass.”
“Thank you,” I said softly.
He broke away after that. I heard the click of the door handle unlatching, followed by the clicking of Hemi’s nails as he walked out the door, before it closed softly behind them both.
“Radar?” I called.
When Radar’s cold wet nose touched my hand, I smiled and patted his head.“Can you find me the balls?”
I’d heard Trance ask Radar that once, the last time he was over with my sister, when they helped me move six months ago.
I’d had the balls packed in a box, and I’d wanted to show the guys Hemi’s trick at putting three balls in his mouth. Since I’d had no idea where exactly the toys were, I’d been about to give up when Trance had said that Radar could find them. And find them he did.
Walking stiffly forward, I went to Hemi’s bed and picked it up.
A loud bark came from my side as I opened the front door.
* * * * *
“Listen, you need to leave. Things aren’t going to be pretty if you make me remove you. I have things I need to do, and if you make me arrest you, I will not be a happy person.” I said to Viddy’s boyfriend.
No, make that ex-boyfriend.
I didn’t know how much longer I could follow my moral code when it came to taking some other man’s woman.