“I thought you could use something to make you smile. And maybe it will keep you from adopting any further nocturnal wild animals.”
Looking down at the dog, I say, “Well, he’s awfully cute.”
“I thought you’d like him. He was rescued from a puppy mill.”
“Aww,” I squeal, squeezing the dog a little tighter. “How old is he?”
“They said they think about fifteen weeks, but they aren’t exactly sure. But he is house trained, so we shouldn’t have to worry about that too much.” He scratches the puppy behind the ear. “What do you think we should name him?”
I think for a minute. “Arthur.”
His face scrunches up. “You want to name our dog Arthur?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“You pick oddball names for everything. Do you know that?”
“Coming from the man whose name is Duke?” I tease.
“Fair enough. But can we please not do Arthur?”
He sighs. “Fine. George.”
I hold the puppy up so that we are nose to nose. “Hi, George.”
I sit down on the floor and start to play with George. Now that he’s getting a little more comfortable, his playful side is showing through.
Duke startles us both when he exclaims, “Oh! I have news!”
George climbs onto my lap, thinking Duke is mad about something.
Feeling bad he scared the dog, Duke sits down next to us and gently takes George into his own lap. “I’m sorry, little buddy. I’m not mad at you.”
“What’s your news?” I ask him.
“Oh, Louisa called me earlier to check in, and I asked her about your grandpa. She said that last she heard, he was at Cherry Hill Assisted Living a couple towns over.”
My eyes about bug out of my head. “What?!”
He nods. “She said when we asked about Samuel, she didn’t even think about it because his father didn’t live with him all that long, and she had no idea if he was still alive. I guess she did some asking around, and that’s what she found out.” He pauses for a moment before asking, “Do you want to go see him?”
I’ve been waiting forever to get even the tiniest scrap of information, but now that I have the opportunity to find out more, I’m terrified. What if what he has to say is something that I don’t want to hear? What if this man wants nothing to do with me like my father wanted nothing to do with me?
“Uhm, yeah,” I say. “We can go do that one day.”
Duke sets George down on the ground and scoots closer to me. The moment his hand rests on my leg, a wave of emotion hits me, and I start tearing up. He pulls me into his arms and holds me as the dam breaks, and I start to cry once again.
As if he already knows my concerns with this whole thing, he says, “Alright, Angel. We can wait a little while. You tell me when you’re ready.”
He holds me in silence for a few minutes until George gets both of our attention when he walks into the kitchen, carrying a pair of my underwear in his mouth.
“Where did he even get those?” Duke asks.
“Are you kidding? You’ve taken my panties off in almost every single room in this house and just tossed them somewhere.”
Quickly, I get up and go grab the underwear from him. “Sorry, George. Those are mine.”